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PUSD board accepts teachers' union contract

Original post made on Feb 25, 2010

While the school board approved a contract with the teachers' union Tuesday night, one that would save the district nearly $4.6 million, the decision was not without controversy.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, February 25, 2010, 9:16 AM

Comments (99)

Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2010 at 9:47 am

Hey Chris Grant, the teachers were part of the states collapse, specifically their unions. Infantile class size ratios are the single largest burden to the California taxpayer. While the sheister banks were the straw that broke the back of our economy, teachers unions and illegal immigrants were the bulk of the straw weighing us down for decades.

But keep pushing Chris. You will soon find that the majority is ready to start standing up for themselves and make real change to the bloated education system


Posted by Sandy Piderit, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 25, 2010 at 9:54 am

I think there is another board meeting before March 23. Isn't there also a special board meeting for a budget workshop on Tuesday, March 2?


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 10:35 am

First of all, I think this is the least slanted piece I have seen from PW on the district budget issues in at least a year, so thank you Emily for avoiding the temptation to pepper the article with positive spin. That said I think it would have been fair and justified to point out that the concessions will be negated by continuation of step and column raises. Many in the community have vocally objected to implementing a contract that continues this automatic pay increase, and that is the larger issue. With no disrespect intended to those touched by the recent tragedy, backlash from the community was much more likely the motivator to rush to acceptance. There would be no apparent harm in postponing the decision to a more appropriate date, unless the board and administration agreed that further dialogue from the community might weaken their stance.

I continue to hear quotes suggesting that the teachers, administrators, and classified staff did not cause this budget shortfall. That is a very debatable point, but if you accept that premise as it stands, you must also agree that the taxpayer (business or individual) has not created this shortfall either. Tax revenue is based on a percentage of income generated. Skewing that percentage through targeted additional taxes ignores the realities of the economy and unfairly penalizes individuals (homeowners in the most likely scenario) at a time when they are likely making personal concessions to meet their own budget crisis.

1) In my opinion it is unfair to characterize this plan as a "concession" for all. It is effectively a redistribution that equals a net stand still.

2) A property tax increase is absolutely an increase in cost to the homeowner. And history CLEARLY shows it is an escalating and permanent cost, regardless of the inclusion of an expiration date.

Government services must expand and contract with available revenue. And that probably means contraction of individual salary at this point. Balance your budget as any individual, family, or business would be required to do to remain solvent. Negotiate with your vendors (employees and others) for fair market value (that means today's value, not dot com value) and get on with the business of education. After all, it is a business. The only volunteers in this discussion are parents.


Posted by Emily West, Features Editor
on Feb 25, 2010 at 10:38 am

Emily West is a registered user.

Sandy, It wasn't mentioned in the board packet, but I'll double check and if need be, update the story.


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 25, 2010 at 1:47 pm

well stated, resident.


Posted by Emily West, Features Editor
on Feb 25, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Emily West is a registered user.

Sandy, you're right. The budget workshop is scheduled for 5 p.m. March 2 in the board meeting room.


Posted by Anonymousse, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Resident and Don't fire,

You said: "Infantile class size ratios are the single largest burden to the California taxpayer. While the sheister banks were the straw that broke the back of our economy, teachers unions and illegal immigrants were the bulk of the straw weighing us down for decades. "

You are both wrong: PENSION OBLIGATIONS ARE WHAT IS BANKRUPTING THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA AND ITS ABILITY TO FUND OUR SCHOOLS, NOT TEACHERS!

Cutting teacher salaries is not going to solve future budget problems. If that were the case, the state of California could be back in black as soon as next year. You both know that isn't true, and other people realize this as well. The decrease in funding from the state is due to pension obligations that exceed the state's ability to pay them. California is indebted to thousands of current retirees and future retirees for decades. Where do you think the money is going to come from? Trees?

No, it comes out of the money that was SUPPOSED to be paid to our schools and to our infrastructure and health care.

Ironically, retirees generally pay the least amount of taxes and use up the most amount of taxpayer money. They are also the ones who are the most anti-tax, preferring the younger generation to take cuts in pay and benefits so that they can increase their retirement benefits.

Going forward, pensions need to be reformed before anything else, including salary and program cuts, because they are the root cause of ALL OF THIS.


Posted by Wrong and right, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 2:15 pm

"Cutting teacher salaries is not going to solve future budget problems"

What many were proposing was not to cut salaries but to freeze step and column (raises).

You are wrong saying it would not help the budget. Each year, the raises add to the deficit.

Look at San Ramon, Cupertino, Palo Alto, they all have parcel taxes and are about to cut programs so they can fund raises (using the parcel tax money)

Pensions are killing California, you are right, but teachers also get pensions, look at what Casey is about to retire with.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Anonymousse,
I can't decide if your moniker is modeled after a hair product or a dessert, but regardless, you have vastly misstated my position. I agree that the pension system is a tremendous problem. That said it is time for a true public labor cost adjustment. I am calling for the APT union, district, and board to stop playing tricks with numbers and calling them true reductions in cost. If anything the new agreement is merely a temporary slowdown of salary escalation. However a new tax is ABSOLUTLY an increase in cost to many that are making real budgetary concessions to their lifestyle to stay solvent.

Let me be clear here to public employees one and all. WE, THE PUBLIC, DON'T OWE YOU ANY MORE MONEY. AND WE CERTAINLY DON'T OWE YOU A RAISE.


Posted by Anonymousse, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 2:40 pm

You are still wrong, resident. You ARE blaming teachers and PUSD employees for the budget problems. You said: "I continue to hear quotes suggesting that the teachers, administrators, and classified staff did not cause this budget shortfall. That is a very debatable point...,"

While teachers get pensions, they are only a portion of the big picture. By asking teachers to take paycuts and forego raises to resolve the budget shortfall is akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul, with "Paul" being pension obligations, and "Peter" teachers and schoolchildren.

As a fellow taxpayer, I am glad to pay a teacher's salary, as much as I am glad to pay a police officer's and firefighter's salaries. Just as when I buy a company's product I am paying their employees and the stores and middlemen as well. Private sector employees get raises, public sector employees should as well. By your statement that we do not owe public sector employee raises shows your callousness. You take the moniker "public servant" way too literally.

I do not think Pleasanton teachers are overpaid. Most have the equivalent of a master's degree in education, and making $80K-$90K is not unusual for a person with this pedigree.

And to Wrong and Right: you are laying the burden on teachers by making them take salary cuts. Of course cutting salaries will help the budget picture, but so will cutting programs. Why are you calling for the budget to be balanced on the backs of teachers, when they are not the problem?

They should be fairly compensated for their jobs. What I have a problem with is paying "salaries" for people who do not have a JOB.




Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Re: You are still wrong, resident. You ARE blaming teachers and PUSD employees for the budget problems. You said: "I continue to hear quotes suggesting that the teachers, administrators, and classified staff did not cause this budget shortfall. That is a very debatable point...,"

Read it as you like. I chose to avoid the debate (today). Many, including me, feel that the escalation of pay over the past few years has been at an unsustainable rate. I also personally feel that the public payroll should be based on fixed percentage revenue sharing, but that is another much deeper discussion.

Re: While teachers get pensions, they are only a portion of the big picture. By asking teachers to take paycuts and forego raises to resolve the budget shortfall is akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul, with "Paul" being pension obligations, and "Peter" teachers and schoolchildren.

Disagree, and including "the children" in the payroll and pension discussion is nothing more than emotional pandering.

Re: As a fellow taxpayer, I am glad to pay a teacher's salary, as much as I am glad to pay a police officer's and firefighter's salaries. Just as when I buy a company's product I am paying their employees and the stores and middlemen as well.

Feel free to make a donation to PUSD or buy any products you wish. But if you attack me through my property tax bill be prepared for a very bitter fight.

Re: Private sector employees get raises, public sector employees should as well. By your statement that we do not owe public sector employee raises shows your callousness. You take the moniker "public servant" way too literally.

They also get laid off at will, rarely have pension plans, pay for some or all of tier benefits, and forgo raises during tough times. Many take furloughs and/or pay cuts vastly exceeding the percentages being bandied around on these blogs. You don't actually dispute any of this, do you?

Re: I do not think Pleasanton teachers are overpaid. Most have the equivalent of a master's degree in education, and making $80K-$90K is not unusual for a person with this pedigree.
Well, I partially agree here, though I don't think the job is near comparable to full time employment in the private sector. And I think the pressure to perform is, politely stated, very tolerable. You may, of course, choose to disagree.

Re: And to Wrong and Right: you are laying the burden on teachers by making them take salary cuts. Of course cutting salaries will help the budget picture, but so will cutting programs. Why are you calling for the budget to be balanced on the backs of teachers, when they are not the problem?

This is not addressed to me, but I will respond. I personally think that a small percentage (4 to 5 percent) pay cut across all district labor and management would be a more palatable solution than the massive layoffs we are about to see. Any you MIGHT win some additional support for your tax proposal. As it stands you need two people that want the tax for every one that does not. And there are a lot of us that will very actively campaign and vote against a parcel tax at this point.

I have to return to work, so I will leave it to others to pick up the flag at this point.


Posted by Caesar, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 25, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I agree that Emily did an excellent job of providing a balanced view of the budget situation.


Posted by Sandy Piderit, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 25, 2010 at 5:56 pm

I agree, Emily wrote a balanced article. Thanks, Emily!


Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Anonymousse, if you unions think I'm gonna let you take money from elders to fund your bloated school system you're twisted, and oh so typical of those on your side of the debate. It's like a deviant Robin Hood syndrome- rob from the old to give to the illegals and entitled youth

And I'm not even close to being a senior. I'm probably younger than all y'all that chime in hear. I'm so sick of the elder badgering. You unionists and leftwingers in general harbor a Learyesque enmity towards elders. It's really sick. I've seen it time and time again. When we stop giving welfare to illegals, the ghetto youth, bloated education systems and the like, then MAYBE we can consider where elders are getting a free ride. But for Gods sake, don't the old more than everybody deserve a free ride? If anyone does?


Posted by Emily West, Features Editor
on Feb 25, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Emily West is a registered user.

Thanks for the kind words, it's always nice to hear. You can email me feedback any time at ewest@pleasantonweekly.com.


Posted by Fire Don't Fire, a resident of Avignon
on Feb 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Don't fire,

What kind of work do you do? or do you?


Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:00 pm

What kind of work do you do [Portion removed] You want to think I'm some homeless drunk bum so be it. This bum is arguing you under the table. You can't fight logic so you try to engage in personal attacks. For all you know I'm Epic Beard Man and my job is stomping people like you [portion removed]


Posted by Fire Don't Fire, a resident of Avignon
on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:06 pm

I never said you owe me, I was just asking. If you're ashamed of your job, you could just have said nothing. And no, arguing under the table would require rational statements and reasonable opinions, not just swearing, labeling people and saying "LOL!" all the time.

Listen, I know the economy is bad, but I'm sure you'll be able to get a better job some time soon. Maybe even one with union representation to help you keep it. I'll send good thoughts your way.


Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:28 pm

WHAT ARE YOU ALKING ABOUT?! I never said LOL! My opponents say that to me you nimrod! I'm the one who said they sound like their thirteen for using such a adolescent expression. And I don't drink or do any drugs, legal or illegal. I am a health nut if you must know. And I'm sure my accomplishments at my young age exceed what you will ever do. Not that I'm gonna tell you what they are

So homeboy, you wanna debate? Let's do it. I won't curse. I won't use angry language. Let's do this smartass (last curse). Come on. Let's debate


Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I meant to say talking about


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Back to the topic. I thought it would be interesting to look at PUSD teacher salary data and see how so many of them are already at the limit of the salary scale. There are no less than 17 percent of the population who are genius enough to pull down $98K for 9 months commitment, and an amazing 44 percent who command more than $89K in salary. WOW! No bell shape distributions here!! Find that kind of stuff in the private sector!!! See:

Web Link


Posted by Fire Don't Fire, a resident of Avignon
on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I don't want to debate, since it's clear that you're hurting somehow, and confused. If there's anything I can do, please know that I'm here. Whatever you're going through, know that it will one day pass. And I forgive you for the personal attacks.


Posted by Anonymousse, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:36 pm

"They also get laid off at will, rarely have pension plans, pay for some or all of tier benefits, and forgo raises during tough times. Many take furloughs and/or pay cuts vastly exceeding the percentages being bandied around on these blogs. You don't actually dispute any of this, do you?"

You obviously don't know the private sector very well. The MAJORITY of union jobs are IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR--check out the various labor and manufacturing industries and you'll see that most of them are unionized.

White collar jobs are mostly nonunion, and their pay generally outstrips that of a gov't employee. If you compare the salaries of private-sector white collar workers with similar gov't workers, you'll find that gov't employees are paid less.

Don't fire, I'm not against elder care, but I am against retirees making 120% of their salary as pension upon retirement. I am not for eliminating pensions, but the state cannot promise more than it can pay. Now we are stuck with their current obligations, so guess who gets the short end of the stick? People like you and me and our children, who get less funding for education, healthcare, and infrastructure improvements.


Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Anonymousse, I DONT WANT MORE MONEY FOR THE SCHOOLS! Certainly not at the expense of our elders. I want less. Tear it down for all I care. We don't need it. If the public system system didn't exist rich and poor alike would be able to afford private, and it would be cheaper for everyone.

Fire don't fire, so nice copout. Do you really think anyone reading bought that excuse about me hurting. Yes, I'm such a tormented individual that my only recourse is... What? Blogging about specific issues important to the majority of taxpayers? Have you ever heard of the phrase non sequitor? I am tormented only by the idiocracy of our state and nation. You can't outdebate me. End of story


Posted by Fire Don't Fire, a resident of Avignon
on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Speaking of copouts--what kind of work do you do again?


Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:56 pm

No copout fire don't fire. A copout is a false excuse. I told you straight out that I don't owe you a single bit of information on my personal life. And vice versa. No matter who I am or what I do my words remain the same and they are either logical or illogical. So, can you defeat my logic, or is your only recourse to personally attack me.

For instance, if I say 2+2=4, does it matter what I do?

You're answer would be, "well I'm not gonna address that because you're obviously hurting."


Posted by Fire Don't Fire, a resident of Grey Eagle Estates
on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:58 pm

That's okay. One day you'll understand what it means to work, and then perhaps you'll have an opinion worth listening to when it comes to the workplace.


Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2010 at 8:06 pm

So you can't debate me and you look pathetic to all the readers.


Posted by Fire Don't Fire, a resident of Avignon
on Feb 25, 2010 at 8:07 pm

So you can't find work so your arguments against hard-working union members look pathetic to all the readers.


Posted by Don't fire il you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2010 at 9:22 pm

You're one of those types who believes their own BS. You're taunts are very adolescent. Why don't you just say neener neener


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 9:32 pm

"They also get laid off at will, rarely have pension plans, pay for some or all of tier benefits, and forgo raises during tough times. Many take furloughs and/or pay cuts vastly exceeding the percentages being bandied around on these blogs. You don't actually dispute any of this, do you?"

This wasn't addressed to me, but I'll answer. I dispute plenty of this. I have worked in the private sector for the last 17 years. Most of my health benefits are covered, and I get a substantial 401k match. I have ranked in the top quartile of my rank group and have not forgone raises. Bonuses are smaller now, but they are still being given. I also get stock options and ESPP. As far as I know, teachers don't get bonuses of any sort.


Posted by teacher, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 25, 2010 at 9:42 pm

>As far as I know, teachers don't get bonuses of any sort.

Not unless you count Starbucks cards and boxes of Sees before Christmas.


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 25, 2010 at 10:20 pm

reader. 17 years in the private sector does not make a career. I have the perspective of 39 years in the private sector, a span of time that includes the generation that precedes you. Be careful of what you think is la-la land. The years in front of you will not be like those behind. Wait until you become a consultant in later years when you will have to buy individual health plans at unaffordable prices, especially because you are at the age 50-65 years. I noticed that you don't, for example, have the defined benefit plan that the teachers have, but rather just a 401K with a match. And you don't even have a defined contribution pension plan in addition to the 401K. Do you realize that your pension plan is very thin, barely anything? And the 401K match can easily be reduced or eliminated in times of employer stress? Many have been recently. Compare your benefits to what public employees get for which you pay for as a taxpayer. Get the details before you conclude what a great deal you have.

It is dangerous to conclude a generality simply based upon your own circumstance, which seems to be limited to a single employer or two. And you are young yet, right? (40 or less).


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 10:40 pm

I love reading this crap. (Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)
I have just summed up every post from the past year and for the next year to come. So let's stop posting, so everyone doesn't think we have way to much free time on our hands.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 10:47 pm

"There are no less than 17 percent of the population who are genius enough to pull down $98K for 9 months commitment, and an amazing 44 percent who command more than $89K in salary."

So we in Pleasanton are lucky then. Since we have so many at the top, the Step and Column increases don't really matter and many are already at the top with no more Step and Column. SO why is everyone on the board screaming about freezing step and column? It would seem that if we leave the current plan in place we get everyone at the top and then there are no more "raises" for anybody and the problem solves itself.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Frank - don't sound so jealous and bitter. I'm guessing you had a pretty good 39 years so far.


Posted by Schooling without CSR, a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 26, 2010 at 1:37 am

For what this data is worth, when I was in second grade public school there were 46 in the class. No, that's not a typo: forty-six. I checked my facts by pulling an old school class photo and counting heads. The classroom buildings were larger than in PUSD elementary schools so that six rows of eight or nine desks easily fitted. My third grade class was somewhat larger with at least 50 in it. I really don't think the lack of CSR had much effect on what we learned. I got through okay with enough core curriculum to get to high school and college. What made this work was the absence of non-core classes that divert available instruction time away from Language and Mathematics (reading, writing, arithmetic). There was no music, no strings/band, no civics, no history, no science, no councillors, no reading specialists, no specialist teachers, and no computers. We did have PE/sports taught by the class teacher who did everything else. I don't remember an art program. The school library was effectively non-existent, and there was no school lunch. The classrooms were either in an earthquake prone building that a could have collapsed, or in oversized trailers.

If this was the state of PUSD, we'd all be screaming!! But my classmates and I got through okay, went on to high school, and then into the big wide world.

How did we get through okay with fewer resources, less non-core curriculem, and no CSR? One of the reasons perhaps for why teachers were able to cope with double-size classes was a focus on curriculum that really determines life outcomes rather than stuff that is ultimately irrelevant. I know this is shocking to say, but not learning anything about civics and government didn't make any difference for me. (If I really wanted to know something, why not just ask my parents) There was also less disorderly and disruptive conduct than now that devours instruction time. (There was always a handy cane or a chunk of wood available to restore order, so parents could easily tell if their kids were misbehaving by how many purple welts they had earned!)


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 26, 2010 at 7:10 am

letsgo, There is the group who has said the governance team needed to be held accountable and financial stability (better choices) restored. We'll get a new superintendent by July 1 and we have an opportunity in November to put better people in office. I don't expect to see real stability until that part of the equation is changed. I don't disagree with the rest of your summary though. It's unfortunate that these discussions inevitably reduce themselves to discussions of "sides" rather than the issues.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 26, 2010 at 9:03 am

Who is negotiating the union agreement? Getting unpaid vacation time (and calling that a real savings) isn't going to cut it. PUSD needs to form a compensation committee with input from the private sector to deal with the union negotiations. What no one talks about is the pension obligations for teachers once they retire. The teachers didn't cuase the economic slow down, but then again neither did all the private sector workers - who are subject to salary reductions and layoffs. Why does the administration get mileage stipends in the first place? My guess is that if the school board was serious about really addressing the budget issues they would be able to cut 10% of their budget, just like the private sector. The problem is the fox is gaurding the henhouse. Ramming this union agreement through (and using this poor girls death as an excuse) is reprehensible.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2010 at 9:16 am

Re: "You obviously don't know the private sector very well. The MAJORITY of union jobs are IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR--check out the various labor and manufacturing industries and you'll see that most of them are unionized."

I am guessing from your response you know little about private trade union work. While there is a guaranteed wage, there is nothing that comes close to equating to public union tenure in respect to job security. If a contractor doesn't like a worker, they just send them home and ask for another. Period.

Manufacturing labor contracts would be a bit more stable, if there were actually more than handful of manufacturing jobs left in the area.

Re: "White collar jobs are mostly nonunion, and their pay generally outstrips that of a gov't employee. If you compare the salaries of private-sector white collar workers with similar gov't workers, you'll find that gov't employees are paid less."

Your statement is true in some cases if you only consider cash today. If you consider the entire package, I believe the "Public" deal is pretty spectacular. If you read YOUR next paragraph, I think you will agree.

" Don't fire, I'm not against elder care, but I am against retirees making 120% of their salary as pension upon retirement. I am not for eliminating pensions, but the state cannot promise more than it can pay. Now we are stuck with their current obligations, so guess who gets the short end of the stick? People like you and me and our children, who get less funding for education, healthcare, and infrastructure improvements."

Not to mention less money for food, housing, garbage bills, water, gasoline, travel, entertainment … and anything else you might require or desire.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 26, 2010 at 9:24 am

Stacey is a registered user.

"If a contractor doesn't like a worker, they just send them home and ask for another."

Unless the worker was placed there by a "community organizer" ...

"While there is a guaranteed wage, there is nothing that comes close to equating to public union tenure in respect to job security."

Don't forget the lost pension from union boss embezzlement from the pension fund!

Unions vs. otherwise: both have their good and bad aspects. I tend to think that the bad outweighs the good. When unions protect producer interests over those of the consumer, they not only harm the consumer, they harm themselves because producers are consumers in other markets.


Posted by Wondering Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 26, 2010 at 11:32 am

It is great that the Board and APT came to an agreement, but does anyone know why the teachers decided that a 5 day weekend (Memorial Day extended) was the option instead of just letting school out early. I am thinking of the childcare dilemmas and that dreadful last week of school.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2010 at 11:41 am

To Wondering Parent...They couldn't change graduation dates.


Posted by Teacher, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 26, 2010 at 12:41 pm

We weren't given the option of which days, we were only given the option of how many.


Posted by Jason, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 26, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Anonymousse:
You are wrong about the majority of union jobs being in the private sector. "It's now official: In 2009 the number of unionized workers who work for the government surpassed those in the private economy for the first time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently that 51.4% of America's 15.4 million union members, or about 7.91 million workers, were employed by the government in 2009. Only one in 13 U.S. workers in the private economy pays union dues. In government, by contrast, the union employee share rose to 37.4% from 36.8% the year before. This means government is the main playing field of modern unionism, which explains why the AFL-CIO and SEIU have become advocates for higher taxes and government expansion in cities" Source: WSJ 02/03/10.


Posted by to Schooling Without CSR, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 26, 2010 at 9:10 pm

As impressive as your "when I was kid" story might be - are you familiar with the concept of the "advancement of society". When I was a kid some volunteer Mom (bless her heart) hacked her way through Science, but I don't wish that for my own kids 40 years later!!

Students in PUSD have professionals trained in Science, Music, Art and PE to educate them..something we never had. This is how it should be. The argument that methods 40 years ago worked okay for us (which is very subjective) is not what I am looking to support for my own children.


Posted by Sandy Piderit, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 27, 2010 at 6:42 am

Frank, I want to go back to your first comment, about the salary data from PUSD... you wrote: "I thought it would be interesting to look at PUSD teacher salary data and see how so many of them are already at the limit of the salary scale." (Paraphrase: 17 percent are. They make $98K.) Here's your chart again:

Web Link

What I'm curious about is, why would you expect to see a bell-shaped curve? Does that happen in the corporate world? If not, why not?




Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 6:55 am

That second Schooling Without CSR shouldve posted as someone else. It seems like an attempt to confuse people as to what the original Schooling without CSR was saying. The original one from Stoneridge was right on. The second one spits the typical union talking point of needing things to be different now because of the differences of the time. We get that. Obviously there would be minor adaptations. We're talking about broad concepts though that can be applied to any time, such as discipline over coddling. Infantile class sizes have zero to do with the needs of the modern world. It has to do with the wimpy nature of modern teaching


Posted by Sandy Piderit, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 27, 2010 at 7:28 am

a resident wrote "I have worked in the private sector for the last 17 years. Most of my health benefits are covered, and I get a substantial 401k match. I have ranked in the top quartile of my rank group and have not forgone raises. Bonuses are smaller now, but they are still being given. I also get stock options and ESPP."

My husband's experience was very similar, as a software engineer. After a decade, he chose to leave Apple for Adobe, where health and retirement benefits are similar, and raises and bonuses have continued for most (even after layoffs began). Software engineers have not experienced anywhere near the rate of layoffs that other employees in different economic sectors have seen over the last two years, and it's easier for them to find a new job if laid off.

Teachers are better off than engineers in some ways. Because they are unionized, teachers are more protected from layoffs, and get longer warning periods, than most software engineers. They have defined benefit plans, rather than 401Ks with a match.

But in other ways, engineers are better off. Teachers make $20,000 to $40,000 less after 15 years of experience than most software engineers. Like engineers, teachers get raises, but teachers don't get them every year. Teachers are not eligible for bonuses or stock options.

So, my experience is inconsistent with the notion that teachers are better off than private sector workers. Teachers have have better retirement plans, but engineers have equivalent health benefits, higher average salary, raises, and bonuses.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 27, 2010 at 9:23 am

Sandy, An interesting statistic might be to find how much of the unemployment rate in CA and nationally is attributable to public sector vs the unemployed from the private sector. Here are several sites (lots of charts!):

Web Link
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link

My point is, and it has been made by others, working in the private sector may pay better, but the risks, rewards, job security, and benefits vary widely, and a reliable retirement is dependent on the individual socking money away (it isn't likely to be social security) and the stability of that investment.

I have friends in education that said they knew they would have summers and breaks and, at least at that time many years ago, job security and rock solid retirements. This does not negate that they had to actually teach (no CSR back then). It was a conscious decision to choose this career, however.

And then there is the whole discussion about receiving a higher salary solely because you acquire a higher level of education. For those teachers at the highest level on Frank's chart, it's longevity plus additional education. It isn't necessarily because they all perform better or took on more responsibility. In the private sector, getting a higher degree might mean higher pay (promotions and increased responsibility) when and if you prove yourself capable of applying what you learned getting that masters or doctorate.

No surprise that I'm in favor of merit pay (I've said there is no reason the best teachers shouldn't make what a principal does), no tenure, real goals, and raises for achieving them.


Posted by Caesar, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 27, 2010 at 9:38 am

To the PUSD board,

During a time of high unemployment, wage stagnation,and reduction and elimination of health care benefits, the taxpayer will not tolerate higher taxes to support automatic pay raises for public employees.

The failure of measure G supports my thesis. Does the baord
believe the economy has improved enough to ask for another parcel tax? They are a misguided board indeed.


Posted by Tom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2010 at 9:47 am

Just One State
This is only one State...............If this doesn't open eyes, nothing will!



From the L. A. Times
1. 40% of all workers in L. A. County ( L. A. County has 10.2 million people)are working for cash and not paying taxes. This is because they are predominantly illegal immigrants working without a green card.
2. 95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens.
3. 75% of people on the most wanted list in Los Angeles are illegal aliens.
4. Over 2/3 of all births in Los Angeles County are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal, whose births were paid for by taxpayers.
5. Nearly 35% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.
6.. Over 300,000 illegal aliens in Los Angeles County are living in garages.
7. The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegal aliens from south of the border.
8 Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal.
9. 21 radio stations in L. A. are Spanish speaking.
10.. In L. A. County 5.1 million people speak English, 3.9 million speak Spanish.
(There are 10.2 million people in L. A. County . )

(All 10 of the above facts were published in the Los Angeles Times)

Less than 2% of illegal aliens are picking our crops, but 29% are on welfare. Over 70% of the United State ' annual population growth (and over 90% of California , Florida , and New York ) results from immigration. 29% of inmates in federal prisons are illegal aliens .

We are fools for letting this continue

HOW CAN YOU HELP ?

Send copies of this letter to at least two other people. 100 would be even better.
This is only one State................

If this doesn't open your eyes nothing will, and you wonder why Nancy Pelosi wants them to become voters!


Windfall Tax on Retirement Income
Adding a tax to your retirement is simply another way of saying to the American people, you're so darn stupid that we're going to keep doing this until we drain every cent from you. That's what the Speaker of the House is saying. Read below................
Nancy Pelosi wants a Windfall Tax on Retirement Income. In other words tax what you have made by investing toward your retirement. This woman is a nut case! You aren't going to believe this.
Madam speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to put a Windfall Tax on all stock market profits (including Retirement fund, 401K and Mutual Funds! Alas, it is true - all to help the 12 Million Illegal Immigrants and other unemployed Minorities!
This woman is frightening.
She quotes...' We need to work toward the goal of equalizing income, (didn't Marx say something like this?), in our country and at the same time limiting the amount the rich can invest.' (I am not rich, are you?)
When asked how these new tax dollars would be spent, she replied:
'We need to raise the standard of living of our poor, unemployed and minorities. For example, we have an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in our country who need our help along with millions of unemployed minorities. Stock market windfall profits taxes could go a long way to guarantee these people the standard of living they would like to have as 'Americans'.'
(Read that quote again and again and let it sink in.) 'Lower your retirement, give it to others who have not worked as you have for it'.


Send it on to your friends I just did! This lady is out of her mind and she is the speaker of the house!






Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 27, 2010 at 10:14 am

Stacey is a registered user.

"She quotes...' We need to work toward the goal of equalizing income, (didn't Marx say something like this?), in our country and at the same time limiting the amount the rich can invest.' (I am not rich, are you?)"

Oh yea? She really said that? From which speech?


Good ol' FactCheck Web Link

"Further proof that the e-mail is made up: None of the supposed Pelosi quotes appears in any news source we were able to find in an extensive search of news databases, nor do they show up in archives of mainstream conservative commentators. Had Pelosi really advocated taxing the retirement accounts of thousands of American workers and giving the proceeds to "illegal immigrants," one would imagine that Rush Limbaugh might have mentioned that."


Posted by Anonymousse, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2010 at 10:30 am

Excerpts from an article "EDUCATION CUTS MAY LEAD TO BRAIN DRAIN" in the Chronicle:

"While California and other states cut higher education budgets, many countries are spending to boost the number and quality of their graduates, setting the stage for brain drains and brain gains as the global economy emerges from the Great Recession, according to a UC Berkeley research paper.

China, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, France and Brazil are among the major industrial nations that have continued to boost education spending despite the recession, while the United Kingdom and Ireland have joined the United States in making cuts, said John Aubrey Douglass, who wrote the paper for Berkeley's Center for Studies in Higher Education.

But the United States has lagged in this regard, partly because its higher education system is decentralized and controlled by state governments, whereas in many other nations the central government coordinates spending, Douglass said.

In economic downturns, some of these international competitors have chosen to borrow to fund education, whereas U.S. states generally can't engage in deficit spending.

For years U.S. industrial and academic leaders have warned that the nation is losing its educational edge even as the world shifts to a knowledge-driven economy.

...two decades ago the United States had the highest college graduation rate of any country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of 30 top industrialized nations. Today it ranks 19th."

WE NEED TO DO WHAT IT TAKES TO *MAINTAIN AND EVEN IMPROVE* OUR SCHOOLS. CALIFORNIA NEEDS TO REDUCE PENSION OBLIGATIONS AND USE THAT MONEY FOR EDUCATION. THE COMMUNITY OF PLEASANTON NEEDS TO STOP DEMANDING THAT SCHOOL PROGRAMS BE CUT. WE NEED TO RESPECT OUR TEACHERS AND INVEST IN OUR SCHOOLS. OUR CHILDREN ARE THE FUTURE OF AMERICA!



Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 11:08 am

WE NEED TO STOP WASTING MONEY ON CLASS SIZE REDUCTION!!! THIS SERVES ONLY THE INTERESTS OF THE TEACHERS, NOT THE STUDENTS!!! OUR KIDS NEED TO COME FIRST!!!


Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 11:20 am

DON'T YOU SEE THAT IF WE PACK STUDENTS INTO LARGE, BARNLIKE CLASSROOMS WITH A SIGNIFICANT STUDENT-TO-TEACHER RATIO THAT THEY WILL RECEIVE A BETTER EDUCATION AND WILL HAVE A GREATER OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE QUESTIONS ANSWERED? ALSO, THIS WILL MEAN THAT STUDENTS WILL GET MORE AND BETTER QUALITY FEEDBACK ON LABS, ESSAYS, PROJECTS AND SO FORTH.


Posted by Einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Feb 27, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Einstein is a registered user.

Stacey,

If you research further I believe you find that Pelosi did in fact make those comments as suggestions she had early on to have the "rich" pay for the healthcare plan. I believe those other stats about illegals and such come from a different scenerio. Regardless I believe both are factual.


Posted by Einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Feb 27, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Einstein is a registered user.

Another interesting link and the reason I will post it is that it impacts the economy in California and the way we vote. California gives Obama the highest approval rating in the nation at 58% but per the attached poll he now has the lowest approval ratingWeb Link of his presidency at about 46% lower than any president since the info has been recorded this early in a presidents term. His economic policies mirror what has been done in California to get us into the situation we currently are in. This should be remembered as it will be when we go to the polls in November.



Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 1:22 pm

So someone can't defeat my logic so they post absurdities as me. I've never stooped so low as to pretend to be one of my opponents, because I know how to win a debate fair and square

The first all caps one was me. The second was obviously not


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Einstein,

From which speech?


Posted by Jason, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 27, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Tom:
What you posted was not from the LA Times but from a widely circulated email attributed to a 2002 LA Times article. In fact the figures came from a variety of sources and vary in accuracy but the actual figures contradict what you posted. As Stacey noted, your statements attributed to Pelosi are also inaccurate.
Web Link


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2010 at 3:18 pm

" In the private sector, getting a higher degree might mean higher pay (promotions and increased responsibility) when and if you prove yourself capable of applying what you learned getting that masters or doctorate."

Kathleen, I got a cash bonus and a pay bump from a successful private sector company just for completing my MS degree. My responsibilities didn't change in the slightest. Tuition and books were also 100% paid by the company, something that I believe teachers don't get. That company still has that policy in place.

Do you have any information on where merit pay was successfully applied in private schools? That may be a good starting point as a model for public schools.


Posted by Holly Sanders, a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Feb 27, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Teachers - Thank you for your concessions! It is appreciated by many here in our community during the worst fiscal times in our state's history.


Posted by Einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Feb 27, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Einstein is a registered user.

Stacey,

I have no idea from which speech but remember hearing it last year and was more than a little upset. She says many strange things so you could probably look at just about any speech she makes and see something wacky. Sorry do not know which speech.


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 27, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Regarding teacher salary distribution, in answer to:

"What I'm curious about is, why would you expect to see a bell-shaped curve? Does that happen in the corporate world? If not, why not?"

The short answer is: those corporations that let this happen go out of business!

Here's the long answer: But you will need to follow the math with me. I found a reference that we can use as representative of typical professional salary distributions. The data is for 2006, but still applicable for this example.

Web Link

Here we see that the middle 50% of mechanical engineers earn between $55K and $87K per year. From this statistic one can estimate the median salary to be about $71K. 25% earn more than this range, from $87K to $104K. 25% earn less, between $45K and $55K (data from BLS). Can you see where this is going? There is no concentration at the high end of the salary range distribution. Yet PUSD has a 44% concentration of earners between $89K and $98K! This shoves their median salary up to about $86K! Even though the low end of the salary range is $55K.

Now I can tell you that no company-for-profit can stay in business if it manages its work force this way. This is strictly a government union phenomenon which taxpayers finance.

Oh, by the way. The link lists the median salaries by sector. Note how the State and Local Government sector has by far the highest median salary. QED.


Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of the eggs, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Even though I don't live in Pleasanton, I feel I should have a great deal of influence over education in your city. YOU MUST ELIMINATE CLASS SIZE REDUCTION! Parents, don't kid yourselves - your kids are going to get cattle jobs, so they should get used to being packed like cattle and crowded into as few classrooms as possible.

Burgers, anyone?

Moo moo! LOL!


Posted by Ginny Mae, a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Feb 28, 2010 at 7:09 am

I like how there are all these serious people here engaging in real discussions and then there's the one kid who says things like, "For all you know I'm Epic Beard Man and my job is stomping people like you [portion removed]," then claims to be a master debator, or something that rhymes with it, at least. In a democracy, even children and loons get to voice their opinions--what a country!

P.S. Editorial staff: is it possible to add an "ignore" feature to block the spammy ego posts of people like Cholo and Don't Fire?


Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 28, 2010 at 7:48 am

Uh Ginny, don't pretend you don't have ulterior motives for wanting to censor me. And don't come in out of nowhere and pretend you know what's going on. I was getting personally attacked by unionists who had been accusing anyone who disagrees with them as being cowards who won't come out from hiding behind a computer. So I flang some mud back, with a bit of humor. I don't understand how people can feel so dominated on by words on a screen. If you don't like what I'm writing then don't read it. Laugh at it. If you think I can't debate then don't worry about me. Move on and chuckle at my pathetic logic. And they're not ego posts. They're facts. My opponents are terrified of letting my words sit unchallenged on a computer screen, so they first argue with me. Then they can't defeat me so they call me a coward or whiner, trying to bait me. When that doesn't work they demand I be censored. Why? If my logic is so inane then why not let my words stand, for the community to see the fool I am. Because most of the community is actually being convinced, if only a bit, by what I have to say. And it scares the crap out of the unions


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 28, 2010 at 7:56 am

a reader: Don't know what company you work(ed) for or how long ago that was. My husband was reimbursed for his MBA program based on his grades, no automatic promotion, no raise, and a bit of guilt/obligation to stay with the company that ended up moving our family to Colorado. To be sure, he has no regrets. I think what you describe is not a common occurrence.

I haven't looked at private school practices. Charter schools might be another place.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 28, 2010 at 8:10 am

This was like shooting fish in a barrel. Lots of sites talking about teacher compensation. All you have to do is look.
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link

Interesting national statistics:
Web Link

Interesting experiment being tried:
Web Link


Posted by To reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2010 at 8:36 am

Reader:

I too got my master's paid for by my company. However, there was no automatic raise or anything. I earned my promotions and raises based on performance, not getting a degree that the company financed.

Now my sister in law got a law degree financed by her company, there were no promotions but she had to agree to work for the company (and not quit) for three years as a condition for the company to agree to send her to law school)

Your company is not the usual thing. Most private sector companies reward employees on merit, just getting a master's means nothing if you do not perform at work.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2010 at 8:58 am

From the first link:

"According to the NCES report Private Schools: A Brief Portrait private schools win out on this issue. Why? Most private schools have small class sizes. One of the key points of private education is individual attention. You need student to teacher ratios of 15:1 or better to achieve that goal of individual attention.

On the other hand a public system has to take almost anyone who lives within its boundaries. In public schools you will generally find much larger class sizes, sometimes exceeding 35-40 students in some inner city schools. At that point teaching rapidly degenerates into babysitting. "

Looks like class size is a key thing we should be looking at.

I was asking about merit pay. Only the last link touched on that.

At any rate, I thinking worrying about merit pay should be way down the list of priorities for PUSD. We have other far pressing matters to worry about, namely compensating for lost revenue due to the global financial crisis.


Posted by To "To Reader", a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2010 at 8:59 am

I had the three year commitment rule also, but that would have been invalidated if the company required me to move.


Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 28, 2010 at 9:26 am

A reader, while many private schools have low class sizes, many have larger class sizes than public schools. The ones with low class sizes are far more expensive per capita than the public system could afford. Yes, such small class sizes should be reserved for those who wish to spend $30,000 a year on their kid's pre-college tuition. Rich parents buy their kids $30,000 cars too. Does that mean we owe every kid in America a $30,000 car? After all, this is their safety and thus future we're talking about. Yes, the rich can afford more. However, I would never send my kids to such a private school. Such kids often come out too sheltered, too soft. I will send my kids to the private schools that have larger class sizes than public, but demand discipline. These ultimately cost far less per capita than public, but that is not my reason. I believe small class sizes teach kids that life will pander to them. In the real world, we scramble with the masses to make it. I also believe in the auditorium effect, where there's for lack of a better word, a certain coolness to being in a large class, with a crowd, all eyes ahead, in a large amphitheater-like classroom. There's a certain nursery room claustrophobia to small classes with a few kids in it. Anecdotally, I've heard countless kids describe this as true.

Besides, the only ones who benefit from small class sizes, if at all, are early elementary schoolers. Well fine, maybe they can have it then. Once they hit late middle and high school though, we go up to forty and I dare say higher


Posted by Al Bumen, a resident of Grey Eagle Estates
on Feb 28, 2010 at 10:04 am

I agree with the poster from earlier: Can we get a "hide" feature like Facebook has so we don't have to slog through the tedious anecdotal claims of a vocal, but uninformed minority?


Posted by To reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2010 at 10:11 am

"Most private schools have small class sizes. "

Catholic private schools have classes as big as 36 students per class.


Posted by To reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2010 at 10:15 am

""Most private schools have small class sizes. "


Private schools also hire on merit, talent. They fire bad teachers.


Posted by To reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2010 at 10:18 am

"I had the three year commitment rule also, but that would have been invalidated if the company required me to move."

The point is most companies don't promote and give raises just because an employee gets a master's. In fact, if that employee is not performing, he/she won't get the tuition financed by the company. The "window" jobs existed in the dot com era when anyone who could breath and had some minimum qualifications got hired and paid well. Things have changed, and it is a matter of time before your company demands performance instead of "on paper" qualifications.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 28, 2010 at 10:26 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Good point. When the money flows, the private sector does silly things. When the money isn't there, the private sector flexes and does away with the silly things. Compare with the public sector where it doesn't flex with the times very well.


Posted by Reform the pension system:, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2010 at 10:30 am

This opinion (Mercury News) is interesting and calls for a reform of the pension system as a way to save California:

Web Link

The same applies to the teachers' unions. Their pensions and benefits are and will continue to be a burden to taxpayers and it is time to reform the system.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 28, 2010 at 10:48 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Reform the pension system,

Thanks for that link. I reposted your link to a thread already started about California public pension systems: Web Link


Posted by To To reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2010 at 3:30 pm

" The "window" jobs existed in the dot com era when anyone who could breath and had some minimum qualifications got hired and paid well. "

This was 1992, before anyone had heard of a dot com. Yes, there were the normal performance reviews, and there were grade requirements for the MS program, but there was a bonus at the end of it, just for completing it. The company is doing pretty well eighteen years later.


Posted by longtime parent, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 28, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Maybe I missed it somewhere in all these posts but we have been told by the district to not take our kids out of school for a day because the state will not pay the district for the day the student was not in school. So if the teachers take a class day off, doesn't the district loose all state funds for that day? I would be interested to know what the district gets from the state for a day of teaching vs. what it costs us per day to pay the staff. While we might be saving by not paying teachers for a day, we also loose funding from the state so I do not know what the net is.


Posted by Sandy Piderit, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Frank, thank you for your thoughtful answer. The data you provide for mechanical engineers shows more of a bell curve.

I'm still not convinced about this assertion, though: "The short answer is: those corporations that let this happen go out of business!" I understand that it is possible for companies to go out of business because they do not manage the costs of employee salary and benefits. I just don't think it's a hard-and-fast rule.

Think of GE, for example. Jack Welch is well known for his policy of selling business segments if they're not #1 or #2 in their industry. GE also has a long-standing policy of firing the lowest 5% of employees each year, based on performance. I'm not sure that it follows, from those two policies, that GE will have a bell curve of salary distribution, though. In fact, if they're retaining more top performers, and pay them more, and retain them as a result... they'll have more people in the top salary brackets, and fewer in the lowest.

And, conversely, there is the potential for a doom loop in the opposite direction. If a corporation underpays workers, they can't retain their top performers, so they have to invest more in recruiting replacements and training those incoming workers, so the costs of salary, recruitment and training together escalate. If selection and training are not top-notch, this becomes a doom loop -- a vicious downward spiral.


Posted by To reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm

"This was 1992, before anyone had heard of a dot com. Yes, there were the normal performance reviews, and there were grade requirements for the MS program, but there was a bonus at the end of it, just for completing it. The company is doing pretty well eighteen years later."

The requirements today are different. No longer is a bachelor's good enough, for one. Many companies require a master's as a minimum (this may not be said but it is how the hiring decisions are made). Completing post graduate degrees is expected, and no bonuses or promotions are given, what you get is you keep competitive.

In my company when I got my master's, I had been working for a while and had been promoted to a higher pay and job level (that of people who had master's got hired at), so getting the master's was not a big deal, it simply made me more competitive.

You are talking about a long time ago, so I understand now. I thought you were taling about these days.

Right now, today, a science teacher cannot just expect to be hired in the private sector without proper qualifications/experience. That is in most companies, the ones that will make it and stay great after this recession is all done.


Posted by To longtime parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2010 at 6:34 pm

"Maybe I missed it somewhere in all these posts but we have been told by the district to not take our kids out of school for a day because the state will not pay the district for the day the student was not in school. So if the teachers take a class day off, doesn't the district loose all state funds for that day? "

That is why these teacher "work days" (ie, students get the day off but teachers go to "work") are so silly. The district pays all the staff for "working" yet they do not get the revenue from the state.

When the teachers also take the day off but without pay, there is no revenue but also no expenses.

What we need to do without is teacher "work" days, development days, collaboration days in middle school (ironically, they got rid of it in high school, to the detriment of the students because no 7th period, yet they kept it in middle school), half days in elementary, and so many days off that the teachers get paid for indirectly (thankgiving week)


Posted by To longtime parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Also, I believe the elective teacher days off were kept, and those are costly because: 1) teacher gets paid when not at work even if the absence is not justified and 2) a substitute teacher needs to be hired/paid

The days the teachers agreed to have off/no pay are around holidays, and those days already many teachers called in absent and subs were hired, so in that respect the district saves money but what they should do is simply tell teachers they can no longer have elective days off. Sick time is fine but many in PUSD were abusing the system.

The days off that the teachers don't get paid should be at Thanksgiving since the teachers already get that time off and no student goes to school (no classes in k-12). It would be so easy to just make these three days the days off, but I guess the teacher's union would never go for that.


Posted by To reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2010 at 6:45 pm

By the way, reader: "window" jobs existed even back in the early 90s, and existed as of recently when the market crashed and made individuals and companies re-evaluate the way they do things.

The public sector is the one that has refused to understand the financial reality and adjust practices accordingly.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 28, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

longtime parent wrote: "So if the teachers take a class day off, doesn't the district loose all state funds for that day?"

My guess would be no. The reason is because the district's revenue limit is X amount per Average Daily Attendance. So they're guaranteed X amount. If the school length is 175 days and a student attends 100% of those days, that's not different from 100% attendance of 180 days.

I would be surprised if it is otherwise and if it is, I'd be disappointed that this was not disclosed as part of the fiscal impact statement of adopting the new contract.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 28, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Calculating Average Daily Attendance: Web Link

"ADA is calculated by dividing the total number of days of student attendance by the number of days of school taught during the same period."


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 28, 2010 at 8:08 pm

California is providing flexibility to school districts to reduce the school year by up to five days without any financial penalty. School districts receive funds even though the schools are closed and the employees do not get paid.

This option shows up many places, but here (Web Link) is a good place to start.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 28, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Ah, districts receive incentive funding to provide 180 days of service. So in addition to the revenue limit per ADA, they actually get EXTRA funding via a categorical and the Legislature won't take that extra funding away.


Posted by To longtime parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2010 at 9:19 am

From talking to a friend who works in a different school district, I found out that districts will have flexibility (ie, still receive the funding) and will be able to:

- make the school year shorter by up to 5 days and still receive the money. The 3 furlough days PUSD is talking about will still get funding from the state even if the students are not in school.

(the question I have now is what about the 3 extra days off at thanksgiving? Is the district losing money or breaking even and why can't those be the days PUSD teachers have off/no pay?)

- PUSD and all school districts will continue to receive some subsidy or CSR even if their class sizes are 25 or even a few more. PUSD will continue to receive money for CSR...what are they doing with it if supposedly the teachers' concessions will pay for that?


It seems to me that PUSD and other districts are again playing games and not being completely forthcoming.

They continue to get money for X yet they are using that money for raises (the state was clear that no COLA was given)


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 1, 2010 at 10:41 am

Stacey is a registered user.

The money that districts receive from the State for CSR isn't enough to pay for the full program. That's why it is called "incentive" categorical funding. The State will pay most of the costs, but not all. They expect districts to fill in the rest. If a district can't afford their share due to contractual obligations like automatic pay increases, they either cut it or ask for concessions.


Posted by CSR, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2010 at 3:54 pm

"The money that districts receive from the State for CSR isn't enough to pay for the full program. That's why it is called "incentive" categorical funding. The State will pay most of the costs, but not all. They expect districts to fill in the rest. If a district can't afford their share due to contractual obligations like automatic pay increases, they either cut it or ask for concessions."

I assume then that PUSD could not afford it because of the automatic pay increase (step and column), but why then would they ask for concessions from high school teachers (7th period/collaboration) to continue to fund CSR in elementary?

What do they plan to do next year, and the year after that?

Until PUSD freezes step and column, the issue of not enough money for CSR will be there year after year.


Posted by longtime parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2010 at 5:28 pm

I see that Chris Grant is pushing for a parcel tax again. Until Step and Column is taken care of, I would not support a parcel tax. With step and column and a parcel tax, we are just kicking the can down the street.


Posted by Fed up with Whiners, a resident of Laguna Vista
on Mar 1, 2010 at 6:56 pm

I am joining this thread late in the game, so this is addressed to the negative posters close to the top/beginning of this thread, and to all the other negative posters in similar threads:
==============================================================

These people who make negative comments and attack others on print do not have the majority's respect and admiration.

DO something and leave your computer for once. Stop this armchair philosophy and put your passion into constructive action.

Attend board meetings in person (watching them on TV does not count). Run for office. See if you could do a better job.

Wake up in the morning and for once, say something nice about your fellow citizens, neighbors, etc. This negativity is bringing this once-beautiful and wholesome city DOWN.


Posted by Caesar, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 4, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Fed up,

You are correct that those of us who oppose higher taxes to fund a bankrupt system are in the minority. This board has chosen to ignore the concerns of taxpayers that want reckess spending reigned in.

This blog is a forum for those of us that have no representation on the board. You say our negativity is bringing this city down.
To the contrary, we are trying to save this city from economic disaster. It is peope like you who will bing this city down by granting public employees overly generous pay and pensions.

Finally, you say that we should run for office. We can't because once again we are in the minority. If these seats were open for election all at once, one of us would have a chance. That is not the case as it stands.


Posted by Rat Turd, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Caesar,

I think you are correct. We have a major problem with reality in this town. We cannot seem to see that we are running out of money and that spending more is not the answer. The ones standing at the end will be the ones which saved their money and stayed out of debt.


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