Pleasanton schools join in statewide Day of Action Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Mar 3, 2010 at 7:53 pm
In the 30 minutes before school started Thursday, teachers, classified staff, administrators and parents joined the statewide effort to support education. Called the Day of Action, they stood in front of school with signs and handing out fliers to stand up for the future of California schools.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 3, 2010, 5:39 PM
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2010 at 8:25 pm
I wrote to a board member about this. This is drama, again, that serves no purpose. The press will like it of course, but Sacramento isn't listening. This will likely just upset the younger students who will wonder if this is a repeat of the pink days of last spring. It would seem this will just be an inconvenience for families dropping off students. And is this kind of protest allowed on campus? I hope not.
Start a letter writing campaign, an email campaign, a phone calling campaign to legislators. THAT will have an impact.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2010 at 8:33 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I heard about this event awhile ago. I think it is fine, but it doesn't seem to serve much of a purpose other than to make some noise about education because there doesn't seem to be a specific thing the event is supposed to be advocating.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2010 at 8:56 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
It isn't like there's no plan for it either. There's the Governor's Committee on Education recommendations, the State Superintendent's P-16 Council recommendations, and the seminal series of studies entitled "Getting Down To Facts" done by Stanford.
On top of that are all the suggestions by the LAO.
Posted by Elaine, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2010 at 10:09 pm
Here is my personal testimonial to yank your child out of government schools to opt for private (or home schooling, if you are able)...
Tho I pay my fair share of taxes, I have chosen to send our child to private school...yes, it is more expensive...but my child is worth it and I'll sacrifice for our decision. I couldn't be happier with my choice. I am not that well off, and sacrifice in other ways to provide a much better quality education for my child. Our child was somewhat behind others in public school here in Pleasanton. Then after a couple years in private school our child has advanced a great deal, thanks to the attention received from teachers. It is a safer environment too. All in all, I am so thankful that I don't have to deal with the government school issues...and I'll never send my child to government schools again.
Posted by To Elaine, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 3, 2010 at 10:56 pm
My experience went the other way. We enrolled my oldest son in a private school. His grades were quite good, but the faculty turnover rate was pretty high, and he got several teachers who seemed quite green. It was costing a fortune and we were having are hard time seeing the benefit. What's worse is that when we became aware that drugs were actually being sold on campus by a student, there was an inadequate response from the school. Some of the trouble makers remained and only got minor discipline. I can only speculate that a well connected parent made a "contribution".
After getting him out of that mess and into AVHS, he is happier and has already been accepted into a UC school for college.
When you say it is a safer environment, maybe you're thinking about inner city schools? What is dangerous about Foothill or Amador? Are we talking about the same school district?
Posted by tennessee jed, a resident of the Jensen Tract neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 5:42 am
This is unbelievable! Just what we need, more time wasted outside of the classroom. So what forces are behind getting a bunch of school kids out and protesting in the name of activism for the community or some special interest group. Get back in class, stop this nonsense, and put your nose to the grindstone.
Let's see we don't have time for PE so the kids don't get their exercise unless they're doing some kind of nonsensical stretching, bending motion thing in the class for a few minutes. And how about that article where the kids would jump rope for their physical education activity, but they did't have a rope... Get a rope!
How about we just stick to core curriculum, which in my mind would include math, english, science, and constitutional government studies. I don't see where "protesting" is a viable substitute for core curriculum. It's no wonder kids walk around with their pants on the ground, hats on backwards, and no clue as to how to form a sentence, a paragraph, or a cognitive thought and be able express it.
Posted by Awareness starts at the admin level, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 7:26 am
While the concept is nice, what are they planning to accomplish? They say to raise awareness, but we are all aware already.
If they want to really accomplish something, they should march in Sacramento, or better yet, lobby the useless legislature.
Also lobby to get some major changes in PUSD. Maybe in the part of raising awareness, they should raise the awareness of the administration: make them understand we are in a recession, revenue is down and will stay that way for a while, we cannot afford raises so they need to freeze step and column and do without unnecessary expenses (have them release the terms of the newly renewed assistant superintendents' contracts and you will see what I am talking about)
Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 8:30 am
The headline should read, "Students in China and India Studying Despite Odds" and include the dollar figure it takes each year for them to study their math and science. They aren't spending time today protesting, but kicking our #()% in the education arena.
Posted by Parent of 3, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 8:31 am
Whats the big deal? They just want to raise awareness in THIS community. So the parents that drop off the kids as fast as they can might take notice that this isn't a problem far away or at a state level. The problem is here in Pleasanton and we too are fighting like everyone else. Its a small symbol of our support to reform the system. AND you fine people are just sitting mocking them and their efforts. Can I ask what effort YOU put in? Have any of you done anything to help beside poke fun of those who really care and want to get involved? Nobody said a "day of action" would solve everything, but its a start. Everyone who posted these negative comments should be ashamed of yourself.
Posted by AVHS Dad, a resident of the Stoneridge Park neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 8:48 am AVHS Dad is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Elain: Let me get this straight. You want vouchers AND an exemption from any school taxes??? So then anybody that doesn't send their kids to private schools is paying for public AND private schools. Seems a bit greedy to me!
Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 8:49 am
What was accomplished by this? Foothill's Vice Principal, Lori Vella, stood in the roadway on Foothill blocking the drop off zone, creating a safety issue, not just for herself, but for parents trying to drop off their kids. Foothill has such a tremendous traffic problem anyway and precious little area to drop kids safely already, so what was she thinking? And what was accomplished? At the 8:12 bell, traffic was backed up down Foothill to Alviso Adobe park and hundreds of kids were late to class. Brilliant day of action on Ms. Vella's part.
Posted by SteveP, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 8:49 am SteveP is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
A union-sponsored 'day of anarchy'. What lesson is it that we are trying to impart here?
Last week in Berserkely, students and professional protestors destroyed campus, public and private property in the name of education funding. Where's the lgoic, whne the school has to use their limited funding to repair facitities?
Posted by Sandy Piderit, a resident of the Mission Park neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 9:26 am
"Start a letter writing campaign, an email campaign, a phone calling campaign to legislators. THAT will have an impact."
That's exactly what the fliers that were distributed are intended to do -- encourage parents and community members to write to the state legislature. They included names, addresses, and phone numbers of our local representatives and state senators.
At Alisal, parents and teachers with signs and fliers were not on school grounds. We were in front of the bus stop on Santa Rita Road, waving at cars. My daughter chose to come with me, because she thought it was fun to wave at the cars. Many people waved back, or honked happily.
She has visited the State Capitol before, and is curious about how the legislators can make a difference for schools. (The three branches of government are a second grade social studies curriculum content item.)
Posted by Parent of 3, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 9:48 am
Pleasanton Parent, imagine for a second that I wasn't talking directly to just you. I can assume you do know about the funding problems. But imagine there might be one or two working parents out there that don't know as much as you. There are parents out there that think this is a problem that might not hit Pleasanton for a few years. They might not have a way to know as much as you. Thats who the protestors are trying to reach. Someone that has to be hit in the face with physical actions to know the problem is serious. SO WHAT if you had to sit in traffic six more minutes than usual. You can also help inform people rather than bash them on an annonymous web sites. You have an obvious attitude that would be better suited aimed at the Unions or Sacramento itself as opposed to people on YOUR side!
Let me clear, I'm a parent of school kids too, and it hurts more than it helps if you criticised the ones fighting the battle for you. All those people gathered together this morning helped you, maybe just a tiny bit that you can't notice yet, but it helped. It absolutely didn't hurt anything. Now you as well as other come on here and make fun of them, and say its a waste of time. Thats your BAD!
Posted by Holly Sanders, a member of the Lydiksen Elementary School community, on Mar 4, 2010 at 9:50 am
I'm sorry for those who had a different situation at their school, but at Lydiksen, it was minimally disruptive and all the teachers and students were in class within a minute or two after the bell rang as I was there firsthand. I do think this was an effective way to raise awareness, because there are actually still many parents out there who don't know what is going on, regardless of the differing opinions on this budget problem.
Posted by No problems, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 10:12 am
I did not encounter any problems when dropping off my kids at school, and I went to all three levels (elementary, middle and high school). No traffic problems, kids were on time for school. While I do not think much is accomplished by something like this, I don't think it hurts anyone in any way.
People are frustrated and are doing what they can to try to make a difference, good for them. Everyone gets involved any way they can, I personally chose to write to the governor and legislature, as well as Washington and congress. Does it help? Who knows? With so many letters, I do not know if mine will get read, but I did my part.
Posted by Deborah Daugherty-Engle, a member of the Alisal Elementary School community, on Mar 4, 2010 at 10:18 am
GOOOO,TEACHERS!!! Teachers have never been paid enough in the high-income community of Pleasanton, and now the District's Administration is cutting teaching jobs like crazy, allowing too many children per teacher, no raises, in fact, pay cuts, and expecting more hours out of teachers, as well as Pleasanton School District Administrators CUTTING SUBSTITUTE TEACHER'S PAY 15%!!! What are these [Portion removed] ADMINISTRATORS trying to do to Pleasanton Schools???!!! These [Portion removed] ADMINISTRATORS, should have taken a LARGE pay cut first, themselves, as they don't earn 1/3 of the money they make, anyway!!! They make HUGE incomes, for the little, selfish, mental effort that they contribute to the School District, and since I graduated from Amador Valley High School, in 1973, they have cut ALL of the extra-curricular (basically, they cut ALL of the classes that helped students think creatively, and think for themselves, and what I see for the most part ,now, are kids coming out of schools with absolutely no abstract, creative, or individual thinking skills at all, not to mention verbal skills. One more thought; Wouldn't it be nice if school districts changed the rules so that students cannot bring their cellphones to school, and constantly text each other all day??? I've seen 2 teens in the same room together, and they didn't utter one word to each other, they sat there and just texted each other, for hours!!! MY GOD! These young people are going to run this country someday, and they have absolutely no verbal, or creative thinking skills! I don't know about anyone else, but this thought scares the HELL out of me... Pleasanton School District Administrators, Get your "heads" out of that selfish pile of sand you've got them in, set an example, and YOU, THE ADMINISTRATORS, take the pay-cuts first, BEFORE you freeze, cut, and issue IOUs' to the teachers, and let them do their jobs the way that they were trained to do them!!! Pleasanton Teachers, as well as teachers all over this country of ours, deserve much more respect, and pay than they have ever gotten, and Pleasanton School District Administrators, overpaid, useless, and "bloated", need to realize that it was the TEACHERS IN PLEASANTON WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL OF THE AWARDS THE PLEASANTON SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS GOTTEN; NOT THE SELFISH, OVERPAID ADMINISTRATORS...
Posted by Good For You, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 11:00 am
Congratulations to all that have brought statewide attention to the ONGOING educational cuts coming from Sacramento.
It amazes me that anyone would have a problem with private citizens exercising their right to protest these cuts….on their own time. (These actions were before school, not during class time).
This state is currently involved in making further cuts to the budget. Those cuts will impact each and every one of us…and will continue to erode the educational system. Private schools – fine – go there, but the vast majority of students will be taught in the public system. It IS worth fighting for.
I, for one, want this subject to be foremost in our minds. We need a call to action – which even Kathleen advocates. Citizens should write, call legislators in Sacramento. Everyone should be involved in calling for support to public education.
There is no question, many were concerned that the PW BLOG would be filled with naysayers, and negativity. I knew it would happen. You all are too darn consistent ;-)
But, with so many other ‘advocates’ fighting for funding for all kinds of reasons, I surely can understand when citizens rise up to draw attention to education…and demand politian’s listen.
So, for each and every one that has a negative word to say about this (and anyone else) – please pick up the phone, write letters…..stay involved with this issue. Education is important. Let those ‘politicians’ in Sacramento and your own local legislator know that you want education to be a PRIORITY in the budget – not an afterthought.
Posted by Protective Mom, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 11:27 am
Private citizens are free to protest. Could they just keep kids out of it? Why bring children into adult issues? Haven't we had enough of this with the teachers discussing budget cuts to small children during class time and pink/black shirt day? Seriously. Start a writing campaign, call your local officials, VOTE for new representatives...keep the kids out of it.
Posted by Davis, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 11:30 am
I don’t know what you have been reading, but education receives a larger cut of the public revenues than any other service by a wide margin. Reduced spending will be required, and that will be painful. Marching around with signs really doesn’t help anything.
Posted by Sandy Piderit, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 11:34 am
The invitation went to parents, teachers and staff. If the kids wanted to join in, that was up to them (and for elementary kids, to their parents.) At the middle school, some of the boys joined in just to chant, and maybe get a chance to be on tv (there was a NewsChannel 5 truck at Harvest Park). Others were there because they knew that their classes are getting bigger, and that's happening all over the state. They care about our future.
Everyone who cares gets involved in their own way. People who care about getting back to the 3 R's, reducing tax burdens, and letting parents make individual choices about what they want to pay for to benefit their own children -- they can write to the legislature. People who care about keeping music and art and PE in Pleasanton schools, keeping class sizes low, and hiring back counselors, librarians, and technical specialists -- they can write to the legislature.
Posted by AVHS Dad, a resident of the Stoneridge Park neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 12:47 pm AVHS Dad is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Of course the kids should be involved. They have a greater vested interest in educational spending than anybody else. I don't think this action will do any good, but I like the idea...except for idiots staning in the street and blocking traffic.
Posted by Really?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 12:52 pm
KR writes"The press will like it of course, but Sacramento isn't listening."
Ok for those who support public education how do we get Sacramento to listen? Have parents and community members write to Sacramento? Thats what this morning was about. It is another time when anything that PUSD does is not good enough for you. Would you prefer to have CTA lobby more than they already do?
Gunslinger writes"As for comparing this to the tea party movement- WRONG! For the most part the tea party movement was truly grassroots, as opposed to this AstroTurf BS."
Are you kidding me????? Tea parties are corporate sponsored events. Dick Armey, Freedom works and Fox news. Talk about AstroTurf.....
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 1:24 pm
I have seen this done where 10,000 letters were written, gathered, and sent to Sacramento. It worked. What happened today is not how it was done and I doubt it will work. Prove me wrong; I’ll be happy with that.
Posted by Rat Turd, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 1:27 pm
hmmmmmmmmm what is the point of all of the protesting? Did they offer some solution I missed? I wonder if the teachers and the administrators realize that in part they created part of the stew they find themselves in. My kids would come home and hear from their teachers about how business was bad, environmentalism was great, low tax no good, wealth no good..........I guess business listened and left. You reap what you sow.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 2:25 pm
Elaine hit the nail on the head. California is in worse shape than Greece and O'Bama is just behind it. There is no way we can spend more money on schools and there is no corelation between money spent and the quality of education. We need major cuts in all govt. areas including education. Greece is cutting their public sector expenses in a draconian way. That is coming to California and U.S. in the not too distant future when we can't even pay the interest on our debt. Living beyond our means is over.
Posted by Qwerty, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 3:28 pm
What were they hoping to accomplish with the "walk out" ? Raise awareness or something else? I'm all for education, but if there isn't any money to spend on that or other services, I'm not sure that the walkout will have much of an effect. It might suggest to some that people need to work together on an individual level. I do volunteer tutoring on the weekends to help kids who might be struggling with certain concepts - but most people who realize that's important are probably already doing that.
Posted by Resident, a resident of another community, on Mar 4, 2010 at 4:30 pm
Ms. Vella should join the picketers at Castlewood, both have purposefully and rudely disrupted traffic flow on Foothill Road. I hope the students in the local area did not get tardies for her traffic obstruction. I also hope the police will tell her that is not acceptable and issue her a warning.
Does she realize her actions likely caused other students and parents to be late for school or work? It is rude to think so selfishly for your own cause to create hardships for others who fortunately have gainful employment, by lost wages and making people late to work/school. Is this your example of "character"?
Posted by hmm, a resident of the Golden Eagle neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 5:34 pm
Man teachers just can't do anything right these days!!!! According to people on the PW, they don't teach the right material, talk about things they shouldn't, don't spend enough time prepping, ask too much of students, ask too much of parents, don't take a big enough pay cut to help out your kids, shouldn't protest cuts....this list could go on and on and on. Sounds like everyone on this blog thinks they know everything there is to know about everything! They think they know how to be a teacher, how to deal with kids, how to be an administrator, how to be an elected official, how to be governor, how to be a parent, etc, because they sure aren't afraid to let everyone know how to do their job correctly. If you are so perfect, PW bloggers (and you all know the ones I am talking about), get off your flippin computer and go make some REAL change in the world. Quit complaining about how everyone else is the world is a dummy and quit talking like you are perfect and know everything there is to know about everything, and make some real change around here.
How do you know that every single person at those rallies today hasn't already sent a letter to the governor?? Quit criticizing everyone and go find something more productive to do.
Posted by Gerald, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 6:20 pm
If Pleasanton schools go downhill, we can thank the Tea Bag Party Crew. You know, the ones that can't bring themselves to pay one more tax (Measure G), even if the tax helps our schools in difficult times. I guess conservatives would rather put the money toward their third SUV than help our kids. This is selfishness in its truest form.
Posted by Rat Turd, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 6:33 pm
nice try blaming it on the tea party patriots. If you feel money is the answer to greedy unions then feel free to give all of your money to them and enjoy. If we objectively view the situation properly you will see that it is much larger than any parcel tax. Just beginning and will get far worse. Sit back and ask yourself what is going to make this situation better in the near future? You know of any industry heading west rather than heading out of the state? Good luck.
Posted by Rat Turd, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 8:50 pm
Sure they are greedy Gerald. They were and are willing to sacrifice other teachers to layoffs as long as they do not give up their annual merit (step and column) increases. They did not take a pay cut so please do not insult others by projecting it to be that way. I am not a member nor have I attended a tea party event but like the way they voice their opinions. Nor am I white either. I did however drive one of their rallys and I suspect that they have paid far more in taxes than your average citizen. Please open your eyes and you will see that the issues confronting California are far bigger than any parcel tax.
Posted by Seriously, Davis?, a resident of the Canyon Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 9:00 pm
Seriously, Davis? You come back with education gets more money than anything in this state? Where in the world have you been? California is 47 when it comes to spending on education. So why our state might give more to education then anything else, we are still low on the totem pole.
Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 9:06 pm
Anyone else see the 8 union posters hanging in the AVHS campus back parking lot? The posters that said 'California Teachers Association' and 'cta.org'? Since when did school administration allow union posters be displayed on school grounds? Will they give equal access to the Howard Jarvis association or to a Tea Party group? After all, Trustee Grant says we should be respectful of all opinions.
Posted by S Curtis, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 9:13 pm
I was disturbed about the Stand Up for Schools flyer sent home with my Harvest Park child, which had a specific message asking students (and their families) to "...contacting your legislators ... education is a priority ... [no] further cuts..."; and then listing contact information for elected representatives for this political communication advocating a specific position regarding school funding.
Any family receiving this flyer might question:
(a) whether School District copiers / equipment used to write and photocopy thousands of these flyers;
(b) was District staff time used to write, copy, distribute to classs, and then distribute to students this flyer; and
(c) what other political activity is going on in the classroom.
As you know, California Education Code provides:
7054. (a) No school district or community college district funds,
services, supplies, or equipment shall be used for the purpose of
urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate,
including, but not limited to, any candidate for election to the
governing board of the district.
(b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the use of any of the
public resources described in subdivision (a) to provide information
to the public about the possible effects of any bond issue or other
ballot measure if both of the following conditions are met:
(1) The informational activities are otherwise authorized by the
Constitution or laws of this state.
(2) The information provided constitutes a fair and impartial
presentation of relevant facts to aid the electorate in reaching an
informed judgment regarding the bond issue or ballot measure.
(c) A violation of this section shall be a misdemeanor or felony
punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year
or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both,
or imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, or two or three
7055. The governing body of each local agency may establish rules
and regulations on the following:
(a) Officers and employees engaging in political activity during
(b) Political activities on the premises of the local agency.
While the message of the "Stand Up for Schools" flyer was not about a particular ballot measure or candidate, it is clearly a political message about influencing the funding process in Sacramento. And, this message was obviously taking place during working hours on school grounds.
As a relatively new Pleasanton resident who voted in favor of Measure G, donated money to the Yes campaign, put up a Yes lawn sign, made calls to registered voters one Saturday at the Yes phone bank, and then donated to PPIE when Measure G did not pass, I am disheartened when the appearance of / or actual use of public resources for political purposes appears to have occurred. This undermines the District's ability to provide information which parents or other members of the public will believe to be factual or objective in the event of a future parcel tax or other funding ballot measure.
Perhaps the District's Public Information Officer can clarify to families how this Stand Up for Schools flyer was written, copied and distributed; whether this was allowed by District regulations; and whether students will be the (captive) audience for additional political messages - I hope not.
Posted by Rat Turd, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 9:17 pm
What is the unemployment rate in California right now? I believe at the end of this month 5,000 more at NUMMI and 35,000 more statewide will lose their jobs. I hardly think high tech and bio tech are going to grow the California economy. Didn't Roche buy the rest of Genentech within the last year? My understanding from people I know there that they are consolidating the operation and will move most of the R and D out of the state. We have huge issues and there is no job growth.
Posted by a reader, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2010 at 9:38 pm
" I hardly think high tech and bio tech are going to grow the California economy."
We got a lot of growth in 1993-2000 from technology industries. Intel, Cisco, Oracle, Ebay, Google, Juniper, and many more added thousands of the highest paying jobs. Sand Hill road is still the epicenter of venture capital activity for the world. It ebbs and flows. I can still clearly remember all the doom and gloom I was hearing back in the 1990-1992 time frame. There were all those layoffs from the Peace dividend. Things worked out a lot better than anyone had predicted. Entire new industries were created, and it started right here.
Sure, we have state workers with pensions that are going to be difficult to pay. But even if we fix that, the whole country is still going to be in trouble if we don't fix the problems in New York and Washington. The root cause of this recession is those places, not California, and it has nothing to do with high taxes or spending.
Posted by Get the facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2010 at 12:22 am
To answer the questions of S Curtis:
"(a) whether School District copiers / equipment used to write and photocopy thousands of these flyers;"
No, these were provided by CTA and the locals.
"(b) was District staff time used to write, copy, distribute to classs, and then distribute to students this flyer"
No, Dr. Casey approved the flyer, and that was all. Distribution was in front of schools, and ended at the start of the school day.
"(c) what other political activity is going on in the classroom."
None, at least there shouldn't be any. I'm sure some teachers had to answer questions to kids about what was happening, but that is kinda the point. I doubt it took any real time away from the class.
Regarding a couple of the other points:
"(2) The information provided constitutes a fair and impartial
presentation of relevant facts to aid the electorate in reaching an
informed judgment regarding the bond issue or ballot measure.
(c) A violation of this section shall be a misdemeanor or felony
punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year
or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both,
or imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, or two or three
The information provided had nothing to do with any election or ballot measure, it was simply facts about the budget, for people to do what they want with those facts.
"(b) Political activities on the premises of the local agency."
Not on the premises, but off school grounds. Not one person on this blog said it was on school grounds.
As you said yourself:
"While the message of the "Stand Up for Schools" flyer was not about a particular ballot measure or candidate, it is clearly a political message about influencing the funding process in Sacramento."
Which is completely legal.
"And, this message was obviously taking place during working hours on school grounds."
We've already covered this, it was off school grounds, and happened completely before school. at the sound of the first bell, teachers at my site immediately left to start class.
"Perhaps the District's Public Information Officer can clarify to families how this Stand Up for Schools flyer was written, copied and distributed; whether this was allowed by District regulations; and whether students will be the (captive) audience for additional political messages - I hope not."
Posted by Daniel Bradford, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Mar 5, 2010 at 12:34 am
The State of California spends 20.4% of its budget on K-12 education, which is the single largest category of spending in the state budget.
The national average for all 50 states is 24% of the state budget on K-12 education, so by that measure, California is significantly behind (and ranks 47th among the 50 states in funding K-12 education).
Texas, that paragon of Republicanism where I'm sure many Pleasanton Tea Baggers would love to live, spends 28% of its state budget on K-12 education. I toured some schools in Texas in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, as well as Austin and San Antonio, two years ago and was very impressed with the up-to-date equipment and well-maintained facilities I found at every campus.
Quoting song lyrics as a political argument? The answer is blowin' in the wind....
Source for the statistics (not that they matter, since I am not arguing in a fact-based forum):
By the way, has anybody verified that Lori Vella was "blocking traffic", or just allowing one anonymous poster to slur Ms. Vella's personal and professional reputation? If you're going to accuse someone of doing something wrong, at least attach your real name to it. Anonymous accusers are just the worst sort of cowards.
Here's a thought: if you're so concerned about this alleged incident, why not ask the Foothill High principal, Mr. Dwyer? Nice fellow and I'm sure would be willing to discuss anything you have on your mind.
But I'm pretty sure Mr. Dwyer will want to know your real name.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2010 at 7:19 am
The link you provided was for the budget in 1996, which is hardly current or accurate. Here is a link to the current budget, which pegs k-12 spending at 31%, with an additional 10.6% set aside for higher education.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2010 at 7:25 am
Hmm, I think most posters are clear about the issues and still have respect for teachers and administrators. S&C, tenure, merit pay, financial responsibility--these are the issues.
Sending thousands of letters, emails, or phone calls to legislators, IMHO, would have a greater impact than protests that were good for the media last night and today. But, it's my opinion, and I have no problem with those who felt otherwise and showed up. For myself, I do things beyond the PW blogs by communicating directly with everyone I can, face to face or in writing. Maybe you are doing the same.
In looking for Day of Action, there's a web page but no "about us." Endorsements, however, are listed at Web Link One article states: "These events were part of the March 4 "Day of Action" long-planned by supporters of California's public education system." It would be informative if we knew exactly who "supporters" are.
Posted by Get the facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2010 at 7:50 am
To Kathleen and everyone:
"I think most posters are clear about the issues and still have respect for teachers and administrators."
This is simply not true. They may be clear about the issues, but a good % of them are NOT respectful to staff on these posts.
Yesterday was NOT a protest, it was an informational rally. It is shocking to me how many people in this town, with kids mind you, have no idea the state of the state and how it is affecting education. Yesterday served its purpose, to inform, it was not a protest.
Posted by To Daniel, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2010 at 9:36 am
"Texas, that paragon of Republicanism where I'm sure many Pleasanton Tea Baggers would love to live, spends 28% of its state budget on K-12 education. I toured some schools in Texas in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, as well as Austin and San Antonio, two years ago and was very impressed with the up-to-date equipment and well-maintained facilities I found at every campus."
My cousin lives in Dallas. Here is some information for you Daniel:
- If you live in south Dallas, the schools are definitely not good, you must have visited the schools in the affluent areas (around SMU, in the North side, or Richardson, Plano)
- When Ann Richards ran for re-election for governor against W. Bush, she did so with the "robin hood" plan, which was to take from the wealthy districts and give to the poor district, busing was proposed, a way to make it "equal" - she was defeated in a landslide because no one liked her socialist ways
- Teachers in the wealthier districts are actually held accountable, the requirements for becoming a teacher are higher
- Property taxes are 3% and there is no prop 13, but there is no income tax
- I doubt that someone like you would do well in a mostly republican area. Over there, they believe in being fiscally conservative and responsible rather than throwing money at the problem. They do not have the 3 point pension system we have in California thanks to Davis, nor do they have a democratic led legislature.
- Austin is more liberal but you have to be in the wealthier areas to get the good schools. These wealthier areas do not put up with teachers who feel entitled or call a sub because they want to attent their child's assembly. Teachers are expected to work for the money they earn
Posted by A. Morgan, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2010 at 10:11 am
There seems to be one topic that nobody has yet to acknowledge or even admit that is a major cause of the states economic problems but this 800lb. Gorilla, 3rd rail of politics, Pandora’s Box or whatever you want to call it will not go away, will only get worse & eventually will bankrupt this state.
I have the solution & I expect a flurry of hate responses so here you go.
END ALL STATE FUNDING, PAYMENTS, SERVICES & LEGAL/PENAL ACTIONS AGAINST ALL ILLEGAL (that means you crazy Canadians, Germans, Russians & Chinese too) ALIENS & DEPORT ALL CRIMINALS CURRENTLY SERVING TIME IN A STATE PENAL INSTITUTION.
Problem solved. We “suddenly” have an additional $85+ BILLION to help the citizens of the state, fund our schools, repair Medicaid & begin to rebuild our infrastructure & business environment.
Posted by shadowbozo, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2010 at 10:30 am
I agree that something must be done about the budget. I will point out that teachers do work very hard during the school year. My issue is that they only work 8 months out of the whole year. I wish I could make their salary and get 4 months off each year with all the perks they currently receive. I don't get 3 months off in the summer and weeks off at a time during the rest of the year.
Tell me any other occupation that pays as well with that much time off? Why don't we go to year round school so we can compare teachers to other who work for a living?
Dallas ISD is the not so good one, that is why you have the suburbs. See the problems this district had, which became apparent in 2008 (the year the article was written) - also look at what the district had to do to stay solvent.
It seems like you are not too familiar with Texas or California for that matter.
Posted by Anonymousse, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2010 at 2:30 pm
I have to agree with Daniel: nationwide, California is ranked near bottom when it comes to per-pupil spending.
The US used to be ranked No. 1 in the world when it came to percentage of high school graduates; now we are ranked 19th in the world.
California and other US states are cutting school funding, when at the same time developing countries such as China are increasing school funding. What do you think is going to happen in the next decade or so, when our country can't turn out a well-educated workforce because people like tea-partiers don't want to support their local schools?
I understand the notion about not spending money where we don't have it, but if you look at the state's budget, you'd see there are BILLIONS of dollars being spent on pension obligations, with that amount increasing in the future. Now the state is forced to take funds from education and infrastructure in order to pay these obligations.
What we need is a REDISTRIBUTION of funds. The children are the future of America. Tax the runaway pensions and give that money to the schools, where they should have gone in the first place.
Posted by Jake, a resident of the Bordeaux Estates neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2010 at 5:24 pm
It's becoming really difficult to care about any of this mess. Who are we supposed to be concerned about these days?
- The school system that isn't getting enough funding
- The NUMMI workers
- The underpaid government workers
- The people who can't get health insurance
- The people who've lost their jobs because of the economy
- The homeowners who are underwater in their mortgages
- The undocumented workers who are always taken advantage of
There's only one thing they all have in common: they all believe their problems are someone else's fault, and they all want money from someone else to fix it.
In addition to all of these issues, there's the poor Haitian people, the citizens of New Orleans who still haven't recovered from Katrina, all the abandoned animals in the world, our overburdened mother earth, and on and on and on...
I'm becoming numb to it all. I just don't care anymore. I pay a very large portion of my yearly income in taxes. I donate more money every year than the last. I donate blood every 8 weeks. I clean up after my dog. I volunteer at my kids' schools. I smile at everyone I pass on the street. None of it makes any difference. It's never enough. No matter what I do, I'm always just another spoiled Pleasantonian, or an ignorant low-brow conservative, or a rich fat-cat NIMBY, or a white, racist, bigot.
There are only two things I'm sure of:
- It's time to leave California. I've lived here all my life, but it's time for someone else to "enjoy" the Golden State in my place.
- We need a cleansing - we need to separate the people who are willing to take responsibility for themselves from those who will not.
Posted by My 2/100, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2010 at 7:14 pm
>Hmm, I think most posters are clear about the issues and still have respect for teachers and administrators. S&C, tenure, merit pay, financial responsibility--these are the issues.
Sorry Kathleen, your list of issues is well-summarized, but on this (and related articles) most posters spend far more time opining on the following: whether or not teaching is a full time job, the number of staff work days per year, the evils of unions, why large class sizes build character, the length of PE shorts, too much homework, too little homework, how teachers will target their children if they post their names...the list of idiotic and useless points goes on and on.
Anyone with an axe to grind over public education is free to weigh in (helpful or not.)
Very little of this addresses the root cause of the problem: the vast majority of public school funding comes from the state, and the state has inflicted budget cuts and even mid-year budget cuts. The community is inclined to bridge some of the gap, but not on the super majority basis Prop 14 requires.
If I were a teacher I would would be wary of the solutions posed by the likes of the Don't Fires, Gunslingers, Elaines, and Rat Turds of Pleasanton.
Posted by Parent volunteer, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm
"This is drama, again, that serves no purpose. The press will like it of course, but Sacramento isn't listening."
Informing the community that their tax money isnt being returned to the communities they live in to fund public education is not important?
Handing out flyers with addresses for people to write to legislators is drama?
Seems like the only drama comes from your complaints Kathleen, you want the community to be informed and when they are, you claim it wasn't done right. You want people to write to Sacramento, but it has to be a thousand letters. I know 600 families that were asked to do just that, and that was only one school site. I see right through your "who me" cloak and "hard work" to halt the progress of education in Pleasanton. Your hypocritical posts are becoming very clear every time this community takes another step to support the public schools, even steps you demmanded, yet now you criticize.
Thank you once again pleasanton teachers and involved parents for tackling this issue on all fronts, including the root of the cause in Sacramento. Your actions speak louder than the lame comments from the complainers here.
Posted by frank, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm
I have issue with the "taking responsibility for themselves" conclusion. I have my entire life and have much to prove it, but I have still been screwed over by certain elements of our society that conservatives, for example, would hold up as "gold standards".
His list includes "people who've lost their jobs because of the economy" and his conclusion suggests that it is their fault..... Gimme a break!!!! And the "people who can't get health insurance". Of course, Jake, it's because they did not take responsibility for themselves! They got old!!!! Shame on them!
Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community, on Mar 5, 2010 at 7:43 pm
Just remember to vote in all elections, especially the special. Once the majority of voters vote in special elections, the unions will be screwed. They count on the majority not being aware of special elections, and thus not voting, so that unionists can stack the vote. We vote- they lose. More aptly- We vote- we win
Don't bother trying to reason with the AstroTurf vocalists anymore. They have an agenda that will never and can never vibe with the majority. It's not about the children, or our property values, or other nonesense union talkin points. No matter what we say to them to discredit their notions they cling to their talking points because they don't care what we think. They just want what they want. Time to vote
Posted by a reader, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2010 at 8:47 pm
I'm sure you'll agree that the ones I added should lead by example and not keep asking the taxpayers to pay for their mistakes, even if the board at AIG arranged to have Goldman and Morgan pay us back the money they got from Treasury. (Don't hold your breath on the money they got from the Federal Reserve, but that's not tax money anyway...)
Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community, on Mar 5, 2010 at 9:27 pm
Dude, you're acting like we don't get that the bankers and Fed are sheisters. They're the captains of the boat of thieves. The unions are their first mates. And yes, no more BS wars. Have we covered it all
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2010 at 8:52 am
I said I appreciated what Jake wrote and wrote "especially" for what really rang true. I didn't say I agreed with every point.
My 2/100: I said most. Yeah, some are not using their best manners out here. I know some of the posters, suspect who others may be ("voice" counts), and will even lament that anonymity makes it easy to behave badly. It's their choice. I tend to ignore the adverbs, adjectives, and EMPHASIS and look at the points being made . . . or skip them altogether.
There is no argument that state legislators and the economy have hurt education. As you know, I take exception when it comes to some of the decisions made in PUSD that put a good community at peril before outside forces made it worse. Imagine if Measure G had been run properly and earlier, if the district was transparent about . . . well, everything, if better choices had been made. Had the district been able to say, "we have conserved (reserves) and been good stewards (S&C, COLAs) of your tax dollars, but now need your help to keep those programs in place that the community is known to value: ___fill in the blank___ (CSR at X:X, seventh period day, Barton, counselors)"; where might we be now? I certainly would have been a supporter.
Posted by Anonymousse, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2010 at 11:08 am
The budget crisis was not caused by the school district; I repeat, the budget crisis was not caused by the school district. Certain people on these forums villify the district to mask their own guilt. What they are not telling you is that they don't have children in the district anymore and thus don't want to support the local schools.
There is money to spend--IT'S BEING SPENT IN THE WRONG PLACE, NAMELY PENSIONS THAT THE STATE CANNOT AFFORD. It's ironic that people such as resident, rat turd, and kathleen, who are probably early beneficiaries of Prop 13 and enjoy very low property tax rates (much lower than those of us who have young children and have bought recently) and who will probably be retiring soon and using government programs, ARE THE VERY PEOPLE WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED MOST TO THIS BUDGET SHORTFALL, YET THEY ARE ALSO THE ONES WHO WANT TO CONTRIBUTE THE LEAST TO SOLVING THE PROBLEM.
Make no mistake, people, as much as they blame the school district and rally against the government, what they really want is more government funding for themselves in the form of higher pensions and social security.
As I stated earlier, the US is falling behind the rest of the world in terms of school funding. California is near rock bottom when it comes to per-pupil funding.
We cannot keep cutting from schools and expect to keep turning out a world-class education. We need to invest in the children of America, as they are the future. We need a REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm
Anonymousse, Really now. Read the posts. I have a grandchild in the district. I have a vested interest in the success of our community as a whole as well. I donated more than was asked of the parcel tax. The district made huge errors and it did cost us all--like it or not it has been proven and much of the evidence confirmed by the district.
As to pensions, you are correct--they are out of control and going to get more expensive as they try to make up for losses and future commitments. Beneficiary of Prop 13, nope--been in my current house 13 years. Moved here originally after Prop 13. More of that assumptive reasoning on your part I'm afraid .I had a conversation back in 1988 with a current elected official who told me, "you are paying more for the privilege of living in California." My response to this long-time, pre-Prop 13 resident was, "I don't mind paying, I just think you should pay too."
I personally have other plans in place for my retirement because I don't believe social security or my pension plan will be very reliable. It seems to me CA was ranked 46th when I arrived here in 1988. Here is some background on the problem: Web Link
I work hard, play well with others, plan for my future, pay all that is asked of me, donate where I think there is the greatest need and likelihood of it being used for that need. I don't think I owe you a damn thing; nor you me.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2010 at 2:16 pm
Well, I'm still working, so I haven't collected that fat pension. Worked the majority of my time in the private sector, so I won't have enough years in to ever get a fat pension from PERS--far less generous than STRS where people retire with 80-100% of their pay. That said, I too am paying taxes, as is my husband.
But I said I agree with you that public pensions (starting in DC) are out of control and about to get worse. I'm all for fixing that problem. So no, I don't owe you.
Posted by a reader, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2010 at 9:13 pm
" you that public pensions (starting in DC) "
But the people I know who work for the federal civil service and hired in the last 20 - 25 years don't get anything like what state workers get in pension. In fact, the ones I know get far less than federal workers got when they were hired in the sixties or seventies. Someone hired in 1990 would get 1% of pay for every year of service. But someone who was hired in 1970 would get 2%. Furthermore, salary and pension obligations to civil servants are a small portion of federal spending. Something like 38% goes to Social Security and Medicare payouts alone. Have you done your homework on this one?
Posted by yep, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2010 at 12:24 am
I agree with MOM....Mom's are always right, right? :)
Because of the union, my kid has another crappy teacher this year.
If I had this teacher's work ethic, I would be out of a job because I'm not in a union. So I have to go to work everyday and do a really good job; isn't that the way it should be? Nope, not for this teacher...tenure, it's a beautiful thing for the incompetent.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2010 at 8:58 am
I'll go look for the info later today. Seems to me I recall that after 8 years of serving, US congressional leaders retire at full pay and with really royal health benefits. Can't confirm that right now---off to see Alice; seems on topic!
Posted by An Anne White fan, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2010 at 5:18 pm
If you happened to see the Livermore Unified School District Board meeting and the repeats on cable that are currently running, Anne White, a trustee for the Livermore school districts, talks about a joint meeting they had with Pleasanton. The entire Livermore school board talks about how ridiculous it is that Pleasanton administrators have car allowances and that Livermore perks for management had been discontinued 20 years ago.
I wonder if Pleasanton uses their so-called closed sessions to bully the school district trustees into continuing these absurd perks, e.g. car allowances.
It is not as if you actually ever see these administrators on school sites. And the entire area of the school systems, is what, a distance of 5 miles one way, and 6 miles the other? It is not like this school district covers an entire county or something with several hundred square miles.
The fact is that the financial problems for the District here is caused by local mismanagement of funds. It is not the Governor's fault.
It is time for the local leaders to stop the blame game and start taking responsibility for their actions.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2010 at 5:43 pm
I am afraid that we will have to wait until we get a new Superintendent and replace Ott and Kernan on the Board before we see any real changes. The car allowances should have already been removed. The car allowances are the district's way of snubbing their noses at the taxpayers. The superintendent and board pushing through 3 year contracts for upper-management also stinks. With today's economy as well as a new superintendent coming on board, this is absolutely the wrong time to be extending contracts, especially those that were not even expiring.
One thing I did not realize was that management also gets step and column raises. I heard last week that there were one or two Assistant Superintendents, who are already very highly paid, that will be receiving a step and column raise this year. There is no reason why the board cannot put a halt to step and column raises for management today. They should do so!
Posted by Einstein, a member of the Mohr Elementary School community, on Mar 7, 2010 at 7:18 pm Einstein is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
It seems after reading many of these blogs on various subjects most do not seem to get the real issue here. We have had a spending problem for a long period of time and have wasted money needlessly on various issues, state union workers salaries, pensions, retirement programs, healthcare, tuition for illegal immigrants, medical care for illegals, welfare programs, food stamps, and yes what many are talking about the union requirements of our teachers who seem not to care about the issues of others. When we had tons of business revenue with many industries and yes manufacturing jobs in the state no one noticed. As I and many others have mentioned we have chanced our tax revenue out of the state and are only left with the like of google, oracle and such. Now everyone is screaming where is the money!!! The answer is the money left the state and more is leaving each and every day. If you want this to change vote all incumbants out of office and elect pro business candidates. It will take years to correct what has transpired over the last 25 years but we must start to correct this now. In the meantime we are going to need to sacrifice many things near and dear such as drama, music, sports, teachers raises, etc. while we correct the direction of our state.