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School cuts have human faces

Original post made on Jun 3, 2010

Sixteen teachers and 45 classified employees will either be losing their jobs or have their hours cut again under the proposed 2010-11 budget from the Pleasanton Unified School District.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 3, 2010, 7:42 AM

Comments (83)

Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2010 at 8:26 am

It's funny how they say she won't even be able to pay her property taxes. And why are property taxes so high? We get it Pleasanton Weekly, the teachers are awesome saints at the mercy of us cruel residents. Why do you even bother writing articles anymore? We always know exactly what angle you're gonna take. Bunch of propagandists


Posted by say that again?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2010 at 8:59 am

$2100 per month will not even cover her property taxes? That equates to a 2 million dollar purchase price for that home. Sell the house and downsize, get real. Sorry, I am just not feeling much reality in this sob story.


Posted by Jim Ott, a resident of Danbury Park
on Jun 3, 2010 at 9:00 am

Thank you, Pleasanton Weekly and reporter Glenn Wohltmann for putting a human face to the school budget numbers. Our teachers are amazing and dedicated people who change the lives of our children, who care for them, who inspire them, who teach them. Bless you teachers, classified staff, and administrators for all that you do to make Pleasanton the successful district that it is.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2010 at 9:14 am

I am completely sympathetic to anyone who loses a job late in their career, and in no way wish to make light of the choices Ms. Trombadore will face in the coming year. I don't wish to be disrespectful in any way, but it appears that, comparatively speaking, she is in pretty good shape to weather the economic storm. It appears that she has managed to work a part time job that allowed her the benefit and freedom to be near her child for over ten years. Her home is sans mortgage. She will still have a part time job if see desires to stay. It appears she has many palatable options left available to her. I would bet there are two or three thousand private sector workers living in this town that would have made a drastically more compelling story of financial concern.

There are currently three people living in my home that are here because they have lost their home. Within the next two weeks I will be helping a highly educated local business owner move his family possessions into storage and (hopefully) a rental property. It wasn't their fault. They did everything right as well.

By all means, donate to the school system. I have in the past. I will do so again when the means are available. Have hope (and not the kind banished around casually by slick marketing experts promoting political candidates). Make sound choices. And keep some perspective.


Posted by fail, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 3, 2010 at 10:35 am

There is so much fail in this article.

"I did everything right". Yes, except take a huge gamble on your career and pin your entire retirement hopes on your home value.

It's hard to find empathy for Mrs. Trombadore when the solutions are so simple and obvious.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 3, 2010 at 10:40 am

The article should likely have said.. '(annual) property tax'.


Posted by Lee, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2010 at 10:44 am

Sorry that she has had hours cut back. But she has no mortgage, a huge advantage these days. She has to pay half of her health benefits? That is normal these days IF you even have them! She is not in bad shape financially. I know many others that can't pay the rent!!

As to her 15 year old and his old computer, where is the father? Let him buy his son a new one!

As for our family, we will donate to the school system again, like last year. We need a parcel tax!!


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 3, 2010 at 10:52 am

Pleasanton Weekly, please get your facts straight...she took a 90% pay cut 10 years ago? That would mean she was making $13k/year back then. She expects to make $25k this year. That's over 7% increase a year, and that doesn't take into account that she will be working fewer hours. Seems unlikely, even for a union job. I'm guessing the reported property tax payments are wrong too.

My son got his computer in 7th grade. He's 17 now. I don't feel sorry for my son, and I don't feel sorry for Ms. Trombadore's either.

The only way we're going to fix the economy long term is to drastically lower government spending and the only way we're going to do that is to decrease the influence of unions and nanny-staters. Keep that in mind when you vote next week and in November.


Posted by Mew, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2010 at 11:07 am

This article should have appeared at Christmas time when they have sob stories about people who want to be pampered by the public. Wake up and smell the roses. You have it pretty good from where I'm sitting.


Posted by maja7, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 3, 2010 at 12:11 pm

I envy her not having a mortgage, wish I could say the same. These are tough times for all of us, we all are facing our own financial struggles, indeed. I wish her well. I am not sure that her story is the most compelling story, however.


Posted by Bob, a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Wow! Is the writer of this article serious? We're supposed to feel sorry for someone that chose to pass up a higher income and better opportunities because she wanted to be on her son's schedule? That's a personal choice and if she's having regrets about it now, I don't feel she's entitled to having a sob story written about her in Pleasanton Weekly. This town is delusional.


Posted by What kind of nonsense is this?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I assume they meant she cannot afford her annual property tax, but still, that is a lot of money; it is hard to feel sorry for her: she made the choice to be a low earner, and she has NO mortgage, which is more than a lot in Pleasanton can say.

Basically, we have a semi-stay at home mom wanting to leave a not so frugal lifestyle. My kids have had the same computer for years, and we don't buy a new one because it is NOT necessary, upgrades to the OS and software keep it working just fine.

If the PW was looking for a compelling story to show the hardships those facing layoffs are going through, they chose the wrong person.

Sorry, this person chose to be a low earner so she could be with her kids, the same way many choose to be stay at home parents. Deal with the reduced income or go back to full time employment as you had before! You are asking the taxpayers to give so you can keep more hours? Get real, and btw, you can always downsize into a more affordable home where the tax would be less.


Posted by Not earning too little, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2010 at 1:54 pm

2100 dollars per month for hours of work per day is actually pretty decent, considering she gets lots of holidays and time off.

I am a stay at home parent who also works part time here and there, and I do that because my spouse can afford for me to do so without a compromise to our lifestyle.

That said, part-time work is not meant to support a family, and 2100 a month for working only 3 hours per day is a generous salary. That is close to 40 dollars per hour, not great but not bad for the kind of work she does. It is not the same to be the computer support person for a high tech firm where the demands are many and constant as it is to be the computer person for an elementary!


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2010 at 2:31 pm

The ultimate irony of this story is that it was written to evoke empathy and drum up support for an additional property tax, so that Ms. Trombadore can continue to have a decent paying local low key part time job … and pay her property taxes … without accruing debt!

Convoluted, out of touch, unrealistic, dot com logic – pick your description of choice.


Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jun 3, 2010 at 4:19 pm

My children have benefited greatly from Linda Trombodore's teaching these past years. She is a wonderful asset to WG and I am so sorry that her hours will be cut at all...


Posted by Read Between the Lines, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 3, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Why are there many "haters" here who do not like the fact that Ms. Trombadore's mortgage is paid off, that she chose to let go of her high-paying job in exchange for more time with her son, etc. etc.

The point of the article is that in addition to the real faces that represent these employees, there will be students who will be suffering the consequences of lesser technology hours at our schools.


Posted by Linda Trombadore, a resident of Danbury Park
on Jun 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm

The monthly income for next year should have read $400 per full month, 4.5 weeks. I am very grateful to be working and am very thankful to our parent community who make it all possible. I will write more later, when I get a chance.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 3, 2010 at 5:42 pm

If that was the point of the article, then why was there only one sentence that referred to the 'students'? Nice try, but the point of the article was 'Linda', not 'students'.
And notice who uses the word 'hate' first. What I see is the principle of being accountable for the decisions one makes in life. That's not 'hate', that's 'life'.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2010 at 5:49 pm

OK … I hate to call BS, but $400 a month for 15 hours a week is below minimum wage unless you are amortizing the salary for the school year over the full colander year.
I think "read between the lines" is pretty clearly missing the point. No one is mad at her for her financial success. It just doesn't strike many that this constitutes real concern. It appears that she is still in very good shape. Many in the private sector have been under severe financial duress for a couple of years now. It is just now trickling down to the public employees. And in this case, it is a pretty insignificant trickle.

And a minor salary concession from the bulk of the PUSD employees and administrators would have solved the crisis in hours. Beat the drum for your agenda, if you must. But don't be surprised when most chose to answer your rhythm with a more straight forward and pragmatic pulse.


Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jun 3, 2010 at 6:40 pm

My children have benefited greatly from Linda Trombodore's teaching these past years. She is a wonderful asset to WG and I am so sorry that her hours will be cut at all...


Posted by can't believe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2010 at 7:57 pm

I agree w/ most of the "other" posts here which are summed up best by "resident" who says: "Convoluted, out of touch, unrealistic, dot com logic – pick your description of choice"


Choices have consequences. In large part, our society is in trouble today because, personal accountability and the mess and disorder created is always the "other" persons responsibility or problem. PW jumped on this bandwagon awhile ago w/ the rest of the MSM.

Keep telling these kind of stories and before long....we quit thinking, if that has not happened already.

Life always gives you the consequences related to your actions or inaction. The onus is on me, myself and I to amend my mistakes.

to choose otherwise is simply negligence and a big fat F in Into to Life 101!


Posted by Ask a Castlewood Employee, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Ask a locked out Castlewood employee if they would be happy to have a paid off mortgage and $400 a month, at this point. Kinda reframes it all.


Posted by Faces of Students, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 4, 2010 at 6:25 am

Why not compare the numbers of teachers and hours cut to the number of high school students and hours that are being cut by not offering the 7th period?

Sorry PW. You failed to evoke any sympathy with this article. I, too, took a huge pay cut to raise my children. My family also makes sacrifices in our daily spending by getting movies at the library, eating at home (gasp!), etc. just to afford our RENT in this town.

Make it about the kids.


Posted by Former Pleasanton taxpayer, a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2010 at 7:12 am

Where are the faces of the corporate people who have lost jobs and struggle with property taxes? Do they not count?


Posted by Saddened, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 4, 2010 at 7:37 am

I feel really sorry for all you folks who show no compassion at all. Sometimes feeling for other peoples misery no matter how lame it may seem to you gives you comfort and peace. Be ahppy you are not in a situation like hers, but be thankful for what she brings to the future of america.. the children... we all have sob stories everyones sadder than the other.. read the article say your peace and move on but don't criticize one day that may be you...


Posted by nancy s, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2010 at 7:39 am

I still don't get how these furlough days = pay cuts. To me a pay cut is "you work the SAME hours for LESS money". These teachers may get the pay cut, but they are not working, so where is the cut? So then the kids stay home too...I do not see the sacrafice. Also, I do realize it is tough for teachers, however, if their salary is ammortized over the 12 month period, then their work hours should be too...their current work days should be 10+ hours a day! In my job I sometimes work 12 or 14 hours a day with no additional compensation. Take into account they are off all breaks, holidays and summer that your children are off. In this economy I don't think they have it that bad.


Posted by Yep Nancy S, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2010 at 8:15 am

Couldn't have said it better. A pay cut is exactly that! In fact, when times are tough you work even more hours for less to keep the business going. I know teachers work hard, I'm an involved parent, but this story does not evoke sympathy from me, and it doesn't make me want to donate money (already did) but it doesn't make me want to donate anymore. And it certainly doesn't make people who haven't donated and are struggling themselves to give a dime! Our family took a 10% cut this year, but my husband is working even longer hours. Now that's a sacrifice! sorry, but it's the truth. Yes, we support teachers and staff but it's a two way street. We don't all have unions protecting us, whether we are good in our jobs or not. Thank you to the good ones; and the stinkers, well you know (and WE know) who you are and how you keep your jobs....not through merit like the private sector employees. Ahhhh tenure, it's a beautiful thing.


Posted by Justanotherteacher, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 4, 2010 at 8:28 am

We as teachers don't have it too bad - we chose to enter a profession we knew would never make us wealthy. I don't own a home - I've rented all the years I have lived here - again, my choice. I wanted my kids to go to school here as well and I'm grateful we made that choice. With that said, please don't think that furloughs are a vacation - I was here on "furlough" Tuesday - and I certainly wasn't alone. I still have to cover and teach everything I would have - just a little less time to do it.

Nancy made the comment that our current work hours should be 10+ hours per day. I would argue that most teachers are working 10+ hours each day. Some of us are working here - many of us take work home each night. Lots are coaching, mentoring students in clubs or service organizations, and generally trying to make a positive difference in the lives of your kids. Nancy sometimes works a 12 or 14 hour day without additional compensation - Nancy may be a teacher.

While many people are taking pay cuts or reduced hours in our current economy, not many people have voted to cut their own pay. We did because we believe in what we are doing, and we believe we can do it better by keeping as many of our colleagues here as the budget allows. Pleasanton is lucky to have the teachers it does - and conversely, those of us that teach in Pleasanton are lucky to be here.

If you want to see what is right about Pleasanton schools, simply take a look at Web Link


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 4, 2010 at 9:26 am

Would a teacher please help me understand something?

I have read multiple times in forums such as this that furlough days are not "vacation" days...that teachers are still working. How can that be? Perhaps you are doing work during those days that you would normally have done after school, but that still frees up time to do other things, doesn't it? If that's not the case, why didn't you just take the pay cut without the furlough days? Wouldn't that have been much simpler, and better for the children? After all, it is all about the children.


Posted by sandy, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 4, 2010 at 9:28 am

I wish my house was paid off too. What about child support for the 15 year old?


Posted by Amy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2010 at 9:37 am

People voted for Obama's Hope and Change.

He is delivering on the Change part.

That Change includes deliberate job losses.

Get use to unemployment with the Socialist Democrats running the show.


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 4, 2010 at 9:57 am

Here's the way to save our schools:

Web Link

Web Link



Posted by Enough!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2010 at 10:54 am

"While many people are taking pay cuts or reduced hours in our current economy, not many people have voted to cut their own pay."

Not everyone has a cozy union looking after their collective deals.

By the way, you did not vote to take a pay cut. You voted to:

1) take unpaid time off. Taking a paycut means working the same hours for less pay.

2) Get rid of the 7 period in high school which yes, gets rid of some teachers through layoffs but also HURTS the students. Why didn't you just voted to freeze step and column instead?

This article is horrible. It is not about the kids and how the budget deficit affects them, it is instead about some spoiled mom in Pleasanton who is used to working part-time and getting good money for it. Now that the easy money is going away, she is whining and wants people to donate so she can go on as if the economy is not in a deep crisis?

If the article meant to encourage people to donate, I believe it did exactly the opposite.


Posted by UGH!, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 4, 2010 at 11:45 am

What a disgusting community! No character; no class; just a bunch on whining babies!


Posted by Linda Trombadore, a resident of Danbury Park
on Jun 4, 2010 at 12:52 pm

The figure, 2,100 the article quoted as monthly take home is incorrect. It's important to point out that less than half my income came from PUSD, the majority comes from our school's community fund raising efforts. With cuts, and the way CORE is structured, as it stands today, I will be lucky to take home $400 monthly for next school year. I mentioned my property taxes would take the lion share, about $332 monthly. I am fortunate to have other income, but like many of us, I could not afford my town-home today.
In terms of my "doing everything right" what I meant by this is only that I have been a saver and I have no debt of any kind. It just seems that if you have paid off your home, have no debt, and you work hard and smart to help save and bring in funds to the schools, one should be able to make a decent wage. I don't think anyone should feel sorry for me, far from it. I am indeed one of the fortunate people. As a tech with seniority, I was lucky to not be cut completely as many people everywhere have been. Still, with this job, I can't afford to live here in my paid off house, which I shouldn't have to apologize for, it's just a fact. Even if I and the other techs personally fund raise, and or save the school district more than they pay us annually, it just doesn't matter??? How is that possible? My understanding is that, $135,000, an average of $11,250 each, is what the district paid for 12 tech specialist this, 2009/2010 school year. Compared to what we fund raise and save, we are a good deal by any standard. We have and should take cuts to help out the entire cause. Though to be honest, I would have made the deepest cuts further away from people who impact our kids so directly.
As a parent, I have compelling reasons to ensure my work hours match my son's school hours. Though I worked hard for many years and was able to pay off my town-home, I also understand that I am fortunate to have had such an amazing and well paying business prior to making the choice to work for PUSD. It would be unfair not to mention my son's father, as well. He is a great man and, not only is he available and there for our son, but he also pays child support on time.
The people I feel especially grateful for are our Walnut Grove parents and PTA. The CORE fund raiser would not happen without the parents of Pleasanton. These are the people front and center in all of our schools who fully understand the need for techs and librarians.
I bring in an income from my flame glass sales, child support, and I'm lucky to have any part of this job, as five of our techs may not be so lucky. Still, I can't afford to live here. It's not an issue about whether others have been less fortunate than me; clearly this is true.
Tech specialists are necessary to maintain our schools' computers and other equipment, as well as to keep our students and faculty current in using the technology. In looking at like-communities, their fund raising efforts way surpass ours because those communities understand the impact successful schools have on their children and their property values. It's time we made the same investment in Pleasanton.

Walnut Grove Tech specialist:
JiJi Mind Math Program is a Priority; Train, Facilitate, and manage:
 1200 student visits to our 2 computer labs per week; with K-3rd coming in twice per week and 4th and 5th once.
 Forecast for, budget, purchase, set-up, and inventory; maintain, rebuild, and recycle all equipment:
132 computers, 36 printers used daily on campus, one server. network
 35 classroom PC's from varying manufacturers (15 PC's 7 years old or older)  71 Computer lab PC's (18 PC's 5 years old or older)  9 library PC's (5 years old)  17 laptops  5 Office
10 Projectors, 10 Document Camera's: Start of 2010/2011 16 additional each. Totaling 26 smart classrooms, as necessary to meet education/software need from DO.
Help train and assist teachers and staff with software: Microsoft, Zangle, First Class email, Jiji Mind Math, and Scott Foresman's Social Studies, and Envisions classroom math.

Miscellaneous: After School enrichment classes: 1. A minimum of 7 weeks Jiji Mind Math for under-performing students 3rd -5th 60 plus students per year. 2. Fund raiser typing classes bring in $3,000 to $6,000 averages 120, 3rd -5th graders per school year. 2008/2009: Wrote and won Western Digital Grant for Monitors $4,500. 2009/2010: Built 2nd computer lab, (37 full terminals) at NO cost to DO or parents; approximant value to WG community $20,000.


Demand up, support down. 2010/2011 CORE impact as it stands today:Cut 32.5 hrs weekly to 7.5 for Walnut Grove campus, as the 15 hours per week must now be shared to support second campus. Both fund-raising and enrichment after school class cut. Shut down one lab to augment/support first lab; Jiji Math time cut 50%. Students would not meet minimum requirements. Support for problematic PC's, Projectors etc will take considerably longer.














Posted by david, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 4, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Are we supposed to feel sorry for every government worker whose hours get cut?
Are we supposed to just throw more money at school districts and bail out their unions?
What about the private sector employee who gets laid off because of the weak economy?
Why do public sector workers think that they are entitled to a job in the first place?
Why do I get the impression that the PW writer believes that everyone is entitled to home ownership?
And has anyone ever asked why we keep getting less and less from our schools while our taxes keep going up?
Does anyone ever point out that the teachers unions and their union bosses are taking larger slices of the budget pie?
And my last question is: if the school pays techs like Linda to keep 20-year-old printers running, then would the school not be better off by buying new printers with the money they save from the techs' hours?


Posted by Benjamin, a resident of Gatewood
on Jun 4, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Linda, I'm sorry that you had to defend paying off your house and making the decision to live frugally in order to be there for your son. If more people lived the way you do, our nation would not be in such a mess in regards to the mortgage crises. Too many people tried to live beyond their means. I aplaud you!!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I know someone is going to over-react and I'm going to get shot for writing this, but setting up computer equipment, building computers, etc. sounds a lot like volunteer work. Inventory, maintaining computers and monitoring a computer lab could also be offloaded to volunteers. The other stuff, like managing volunteers, forecasting, budgets, purchasing, and training sounds more like a paid position.


Posted by david, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 4, 2010 at 3:08 pm

A couple of additional questions: Whatever happened to personal responsibility and accountability for your choices? Whatever happened to the idea of free markets in public sector jobs?


Posted by molly, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 4, 2010 at 4:11 pm

some of you need a time out!


Posted by Holly Sanders, a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Jun 4, 2010 at 5:39 pm

To Linda Trombadore,
Thank you for your bravery in putting your personal information out there in order for the public to understand your story. Everyone has a story, so I hope the rest of the comments can be respectful, even if disagreeing. Please remember there are many of us that appreciate what you are doing!


Posted by Get Educated, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2010 at 5:55 pm

I appreciate the fact that the article was helping to explain the importance of the tech positions in the schools. I've heard criticism that the community is not educated about many crucial positions and job descriptions that PUSD employees follow, yet when we do receive information, many dismiss it as complaining.

I know that Linda, like our tech specialist is sick over the cuts to programs this will mean for the kids they serve. I can't imagine how the current job they are doing can be accomplished with the hours they are given. I certainly know of no "company" that serves over 800 people functioning without an IT person to maintain the system.

I agree with Stacey- all of those here who are also out of work, sign up to volunteer as an IT at each of the schools. The schools are in a panic as to how they will maintain thousands of dollars worth of equipment without any help.


Posted by pay cut and pay raise, a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 4, 2010 at 6:11 pm

I have a simple definition for pay cut and pay raise:

When you make more money as the result of, say, working extra and taking additional units (yes, that's a reference to Step and Column) that is a PAY RAISE.

Conversely, when you make less money as the result of having 8 workdays taken away, that is a PAY CUT.

TEACHER BASHERS, YOU CANNOT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 4, 2010 at 7:25 pm

To pay cut and pay raise:

Perhaps you don't understand "step and column". To get a "step" increase, the teacher has to do NOTHING except survive another year of teaching. Once a teacher gets tenure, that is not too difficult. Regardless of how good or bad teachers are, or how many hours they devote to their job, they get the step increases. (These are in addition to cost of living increases that are usually negotiated in their contracts.)

This may help you understand:
Web Link

So, nobody is trying to "have it both ways".



Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 4, 2010 at 8:15 pm

To 'pay cut and pay raise' -

The Pleasanton teachers union doesn't agree with your definition. They say that Pleasanton teachers did not receive raises this year. (Web Link)
However, we all know that the three year contract PUSD and the teachers union agreed to this year keeps the raises intact for the next three years.


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 4, 2010 at 9:40 pm

To "pay cut and pay raise":

Let me get this straight...I work part-time and get paid by the hour. I usually work about 25 hours a week. Things are really busy at work, so I work an extra 5 hours a week for a few weeks. I've just gotten a raise????? Wow, that's a really different way of looking at things.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm


yes, Step in column is automatic, but there is a cap. Its not like teachers just continue to get these huge massive raises every year just by being on the job. If a teacher does not continue education, there is no step increase after 6 years. I've been a working professional for MUCH longer that 6 years and nobody has asked me to get more college credit for me to get a raise.

All I am saying is, the step and column increase are not as black and white as many people posting here would have you believe.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 4, 2010 at 10:27 pm

The certified and classified salary schedules are very black and white and available on the PUSD website.


Posted by Get Educated, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2010 at 11:04 pm

What DCOT doesnt want you to realize is that after 11 years of service, you begin the "frozen" time on the schedule. After over 20 years of service you will only move on the schedule 50% of the time you are employed by the district.

This is very different from the annual raises DCOT would have you believing. There have been no COLA increases for years and the cost of our benefits have risen annually. Topped with a reduced pay check for furlough days, I have seen four years of pay reduction.

This is NOT a complaint, before you divert from my point, just the facts that DCOT has left out of his propaganda.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 4, 2010 at 11:22 pm

I moved here a year ago and am happy to pay more to support our schools and the wonderful teachers/staff. We all need to do our share to keep Pleasanton a desirable place to live or else we, homeowners especially, will lose. For those teacher/staff haters and are too stingy to fork up the $ to properly fund our schools during these times of crisis, haul your rear-end to another city and let others who are willing to join this wonderful community.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 5, 2010 at 8:44 am

I agree the Teacher's union, and in some instances the employees of the union, are way out of touch with what is happening with the economy and overall compensation in the private sector.

Furlough days will reduce take home income and save the disctrict some money, but they are not pay cuts.

Regarding Linda's situation, the fact she has a paid off mortgage is irrelevant (regarldess of which side of the fence you're on). It should not be used against her.

If anyone should take special notice to this article it should be the Teacher's union - the union is forcing these cuts, not the community or the district.

What I find unfortunate is that there are people willing to attack the community for calling for a responsible, equitable, and sustainable solution. I want the schools to be better than they are now 10 years from now, and 20 years from then. Blindly throwing money at the situation to get us through one more year does not achieve this.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2010 at 10:15 am

To DCOT,

Tax cuts aren't the solution to all problems, and yes they are tax cuts no matter how people feel about them. You know what I'm talking about. Do the research. Putting the blame entirely on the union is irresponsible and wrong. We have excellent schools here in Pleasanton partly because we pay our teachers well. Education is a vital government service in all communities. We need to fully fund it.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 5, 2010 at 10:37 am

To 'Get Educated' - Any reasonable person is able to examine the salary schedule and see that moving columns requires continuing education. They can also see there is a maximum salary and there are steps where the salary does not increase. They can also see on the scattergram (and PUSD has reported) that over 50% of the teachers had a salary increase last year. And depending on which teachers have retired, resigned or were laid off, you can expect approx 50% of the teachers will have a salary increase this year. After which the effect of the unpaid days off is applied.
Yes, let's work together to fully educate the voters.
Your characterization of misleading propaganda is laughable. Thanks for the morning humor.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 5, 2010 at 10:40 am

To 'a reader' - who said anything about tax cuts?


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 5, 2010 at 10:40 am

.....except, of course, you.


Posted by My 2 cents, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2010 at 2:06 pm

"I agree with Stacey- all of those here who are also out of work, sign up to volunteer as an IT at each of the schools. The schools are in a panic as to how they will maintain thousands of dollars worth of equipment without any help."

For some reason, PUSD does not allow volunteers to fill these positions. It was suggested last year.

I know many people who are former IT professionals who now stay home with their children who would be happy to volunteer for what the tech specialists do in the schools. Does anyone know who to talk to to get this going?

Also, while I feel bad for the budget deficit and its impact, I don't think the district has made the best decisions, and this story was more about some tech specialist than the students themselves. The story talked about the tech specialist's 15 year old son, her mortgage, etc, and how is that relevant to how the budget cuts affect education?

Why didn't anyone do a story on the students who are no longer going to be allowed to sign up for 7 period? The teachers laid off as a result? And the reasons for that? (so an elementary school teacher can keep her prep periods)

Has anyone seen the calendar for next school year? Plenty of "minimum" days for elementary and one day off altogether so teachers can hold parent-teacher conferences! What happened to all those teachers who claim they work a full day and their job is not part-time? Why can't they have conferences from 3-6 every day for as many days as necessary instead of taking a whole day and making students go in for so many minimum days?

Not all teachers have part time work for full time pay but elementary teachers do seem to work only part time and get full time pay. And now high school teachers get to be laid off (7 period gone) so the elementary teachers can have prep periods. Yes, some might say that an 8 year old needs a Science specialist etc, but when you put it in perspective, the high schooler needs the 7 period more than the little one needs the specialist who teaches what the main teacher should teach!

The fact that elementary students can afford to have so many days off and minimum days (when middle and high school students do not) says a lot about the whole thing, doesn't it?


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm

It was volunteers who helped get the first computers into Walnut Grove. It was a non-profit that recycled donated computers and provided them for the schools. It was a district employee who helped with infrastructure and network configuration. It was volunteers who helped with final configuration, install software, and (*gasp*) train the teachers to use Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Why there is any resistance to have volunteers perform this community service again is beyond me. It has worked before, and it can work again.


Posted by can't believe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2010 at 7:16 pm

To Jery who said:

"I moved here a year ago and am happy to pay more to support our schools and the wonderful teachers/staff." Jerry: You don't need anyone's permission or an increase in state taxes or local taxes to do this. Go for it if it makes you "happy".


" We all need to do our share to keep Pleasanton a desirable place to live or else we, homeowners especially, will lose." Jerry: are you the "fair cop?" Define "fair" And enough w/ the "homeowners will loose" argument. Your home value is not my responsibility.

To Jerry who said:
"For those teacher/staff haters and are too stingy to fork up the $ to properly fund our schools during these times of crisis, haul your rear-end to another city and let others who are willing to join this wonderful community." Jerry: No haters here. And do you get to define "stingy" too? Calling your neighbors in Pleasanotn "haters" and stingy" says a lot about you. Perhaps the people who disagree w/ you are just eople who live in reality and lead w/ their brain. And if "haters" do live here, they are not stopping others like you from moving here. I see lots of FOR SALE signs in P town! All opinions welcomed!



Posted by common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Not having read every comment above. But, doesn't every job lost have a human face involved?


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2010 at 8:57 pm

"To 'a reader' - who said anything about tax cuts?"

What we have now is a system that gives out tax cuts on a regular basis to people who stay in their homes. That is what we have now and that is a big part of the problem. It isn't just the unions. Property taxes are not allowed to rise to match inflation. Taxes are payed with dollars that have less and less value, less buying power every year -- at an average rate of over 3.75% per year. But taxes property taxes are not allowed to rise faster than 2% per year, and frequently rise at a rate slower than that. That is a tax cut. That is a big part of the problem. The people you talk to may not "feel" that it is a tax cut, but it is.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2010 at 9:03 pm

"It has worked before, and it can work again. "

There you go pointing backwards again. My great grandmother went no further than sixth grade. That "worked" too. It is a different world now. Technical services are now essential. I don't think citizens of Pleasanton want to look backwards. They want to look forward. They want to take a fantastic school system and make it even better. They don't want to cut corners here pinch services there and tear apart what so many have worked hard to build.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 6, 2010 at 9:38 am

To 'a reader' - There's quite a difference between 1900 and 2000. No need to exaggerate
Of course technical services are essential now. The volunteers who put the first computers into Walnut Grove were the first to recognize this and personally do something about it. They believed this so much they put hundreds of hours of time into that project. Community spirit, putting kids first, training teachers on new technology, taking care of our local schools, working hand-in-hand with the district. I think the citizens of Pleasanton want more of it. I look forward to increased volunteering and community involvement with the schools to make them better.
You, on the other hand, want to prevent it.


Posted by Get Educated, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2010 at 9:58 am

Why do you make it sound like volunteers are no longer doing many things with technology in the schools? I just wrapped a nice token of my appreciation for my tech volunteers from my classroom this year. They did repairs, worked with kids, and helped me enormously. But I was fortunate to have these volunteers this year. Last year, no one was available. Even the two who helped this year had busy lives that came first, and at times were not available. Since they were not paid for the position, they didn't show up. They were there for one day a week for one classroom. Although it was helpful to my class, this doesnt even begin to cover the job our site tech does for every classroom.

The project you speak of was wiring the schools. That job is no longer needed, the needs have changed since the days you speak of. Are you aware of today's tech needs in the schools?


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 6, 2010 at 10:17 am

To 'Get Educated' - you said "The project you speak of was wiring the schools". Wiring was part of the effort. Most was configuration, installation, testing and teach-the-teacher. Yes, I'm fully aware of today's tech needs.
As for your experience with volunteers? You said "Since they were not paid for the position, they didn't show up." Huh? That's an insult to the thousands of parent volunteer hours that are contributed to the schools each year. Of course we volunteers aren't paid. But we show up in droves all over the district. We show up when the requests for help are well formed, when there is structure, when we are welcome, and when there is a meaningful place to contribute. Maybe something is lacking with respect to the techs at this point in time. Maybe PUSD needs to layoff a few more techs and hire one technical project manager who can organize an army of tech volunteers.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2010 at 11:19 am

"You, on the other hand, want to prevent it."

Where did I say I wanted to prevent volunteering? I would never say that. What I don't want to do is replace essential skilled and trained staff with volunteers. Volunteers are great supplements to the full time staff. Their contributions are highly valued.


Posted by Get Educated, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Anyone knows that a paid position results in a person showing up no matter what. A volunteer may have priorities that need to come first (a sick child etc) and can not show up for the "job". This is not their fault, but something that is not always easy to plan for when counting on volunteers to take over positions that used to be done by school employees. Do you work coordinating volunteers? Do you realize how often this change in plans occurs? Think for a moment how that could affect the jobs that need to be completed on a consistent basis.

Of course volunteer are invaluable, I said that. You implied that we were not using tech volunteers anymore, that people are trying to prevent them from helping, and I am simply letting people, who now believe what you wrote, know that it isn't true.

Your twist on the point of my post, pulling out only part of what I said, is adding drama that only diverts from the original point, which you completely missed. Why the need to be so rude?


Posted by unclehomerr.., a resident of Downtown
on Jun 6, 2010 at 6:07 pm


The problem, people, is NOT the teacher's, the tech's or the volunteers! The problem is.. has always been.. and will remain, the School Board.

If you read The Independent Thu., you may have noticed the article about the PUSD authorizing their 'Revenue Enhancement Committee'.. [ROFLMAO]! wait a minute.. hold on one.. OK, I'm back!

...authorizing their 'Revenue Enhancement Committee' to advertise for, interview, and engage a consultant to advise the Board on the best way to manage another election for a PARCEL TAX.

Hang in there, Linda! The Cavalry's comin'.. they're just over the next ridge..

The PUSD, in their wisdom, has decided to spend money on 'how to raise money' rather than make any sacrifices themselves. God forbid they cut their own hours/salary.

unclehomerr..
NOT ONE PENNY MORE!


Posted by Richard, a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2010 at 7:24 am

I read this article and found it to be very telling on how our communities look at education and it's funding, and about our reflections on making the "right" choices. I have lots of respect for educators, their dedication to their profession and their willingness to give. Our future is in the hands of these students, they nurture and they mentor the future. Artisans and educators have had to struggle with funding and it always amazes me how it has become a struggle to fund such rewarding endeavors.

I don't know where the original numbers come from, but I read this article and it says Ms. Trombadore will be making $400 a month...how can one possibly sustain life as we know it in this state, let alone this area...?? She had the forethought and made the choice to be debt free. How many of us, given the choice, would do that? Great job!! Looks like we may be losing another educator and mentor, and without community participation, personally and financially, our future is not looking too bright.

Kudos to those positive comments...and I love it that the those first few sour comments are nameless with as much sensitivity as a bully or worst...I read a few comments referencing an income of $2100 (a retraction or edited version of a previous story??)and perhaps that had something to do with it.

Best of luck to all you teachers, those on the front lines, in the classrooms, nurturing and mentoring our futures. And to those who can read it and comprehend the written language...thank a teacher!!
Thank YOU!!


Posted by grrrrrr, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 9:59 am

I say to ALL union workers....quit your union, take the money you pay in dues to your unions and put it into your retirement (for living expenses and health insurance). I say to everyone....BOYCOTT union shops! The unions are not the only reason for the fiscal mess in America, but they certainly one of the biggest reasons! Cities, counties and states in America are failing because of union contracts. And when everyone needs to buckle down and ride out the storm, the unions want to ride it out on a yacht!


Posted by Techie, a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 7, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I believe that having volunteers help with tech issues is a good idea - for some issues. Printer won't print? Screen won't come on? LCD filter needs cleaning? That is all fine and dandy...however, I am certain that these teachers who have problems with their computers have privileged or have access to priviledged information on their computers that should not be available to parent volunteers.

As a parent of kids in the district, I would not want my child's information available for viewing by other parents. So I am sure that the district shying away from tech volunteers has a lot to do with privacy. I am just saying.

And I believe that the story the PW ran on Linda was about the people affected. I am sure that they misquoted her in several areas of the article. Do not slam her for stating that she has no mortgage...there are other things on her plate that would be affected by a drop in pay.

I just hope that Pleasanton schools can come out of this and remain the high quality schools that most of us moved here for.


Posted by Nice but, a resident of Avila
on Jun 7, 2010 at 7:25 pm

What crybabies these district employees are. Grow up and deal with the realities of a bad economy. Can I publish something in the weekly so my employer can read it and feel bad for me? Then they will change their mind and *DONATE* my job back to me!


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 9:02 pm

"The unions are not the only reason for the fiscal mess in America, but they certainly one of the biggest reasons! "

You're talking about a problem that looms for the future. The roots of the recent recession begin and end with Wall Street. Failures at Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, and others that eventually led to government bailouts had nothing to do with unions or state and local pension obligations. The failures had everything to do with naked credit default swaps, structured investment vehicles, synthetic collateralized debt obligations and other financial shenanigans at large financial firms. The solution to that is fixing the financial regulatory system.

The problem with unions and state and local pension obligations looms in the future and could kill the current recovery if government credit defaults start to become a problem soon. Unfortunately, I think more federal bailouts are on the way. I don't see how the federal government will be able to say no to a bailout of California when it has already said yes to AIG, GM, and Chrysler. Probably many more bailouts are on the way.


Posted by Not true, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2010 at 7:32 am

"As a parent of kids in the district, I would not want my child's information available for viewing by other parents"

It already is, I think. PTAs have access to information such as your phone, address, whether you donated or not. That is information that imo should not be shared but it is.

As far as other sensitive information, I do not see how parent volunteers would be able to access that by simply helping with the tech side of it. You would be working the tech end of it, not working as a data entry person. And as for Zangle, I believe the PIO took over the duties of that at the district level.

Volunteers could certainly configure computers, update software, teach the teachers how to use Zangle, etc WITHOUT looking at the students' information.


Posted by Not true, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2010 at 7:35 am

"The problem with unions and state and local pension obligations looms in the future and could kill the current recovery"

You are kidding, right? California is in this deep financial crisis becase of the unions! Haven't you been paying attention? Cities all across California are bankrupt because of the pension obligations. Just talk to people in Vallejo.

We have firefighters retiring at the age of 50 with 200K pensions. Yes, pensions will be a problem in the future but they are a big problem NOW. In the future there will not be money to fund them, period. Right NOW, the state is stealing money from many places including higher education, just to fund PENSIONS.


Posted by Diva, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 8, 2010 at 9:13 am

For every problem, there is always a solution. If you're concerned with the pensions paid to state retirees, then move to another state. That way, you don't have to fund those programs through your taxes. Problem solved.

And for those who don't want to pay more taxes to support our schools, then move to another school district and be happy.


Posted by Dont fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Jun 8, 2010 at 9:26 am

Firefighters and teachers are two different things. Teachers do and are worth far less. Let's not lump the giant load that is the teachers union in with firefighters. Teachers are the single greatest expense of the California budget, by far. They need to be singled out and refined. Raise class sizes, increase discipline via exercise and proper nutrition, and we'll cut said expense in half with our kids coming out better. And no education for illegals or children of illegals. Sorry. It ain't our problem


Posted by Not the right solutions, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2010 at 5:15 pm

" If you're concerned with the pensions paid to state retirees, then move to another state. That way, you don't have to fund those programs through your taxes. Problem solved."

Problem won't be solved. Only those in the public sector agree with the unreasonable pensions. Imagine if everyone who is financing this nonsense leaves California, where would the money come from? Besides, soon there will be NO money to fund these pensions. You do know that the problem got worse after Davis was elected, right? The recall did not help because the legislature refused to do anything and Arnold was not willing or strong enough to take on the unions. The solution is to elect a governor who will actually solve the problem and reform the pension system, and to replace the clowns in Sacramento.

"And for those who don't want to pay more taxes to support our schools, then move to another school district and be happy. "

No, I choose to stay here where I OWN a home . I will continue to vote NO on parcel taxes until I see good fiscal decisions being made.
One of those should include freezing step and column.

The librarians and tech specialists could have been saved if the teachers had agreed to freezing step and column. Really, the only peoople who seem to want librarians are the elementary ones, looking at the money raised so far. Upper grades do not need a librarian on site, and could benefit more from the 7 period instead of a librarian they seldom talk to or get help from.

A neighbor said that in his opinion, the upper grades are being lied to. It is not possible to have extra sections with the amount each high school would get (given that the bulk of it would go to library support), even if the goal were reached.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2010 at 9:18 pm

"You are kidding, right? California is in this deep financial crisis becase of the unions! Haven't you been paying attention? "

No I'm not kidding at all. You have your cause and effect all wrong. The United States of America has just experienced its deepest recession since the Great Depression. It began in 2008 and was caused by first a credit crunch then a credit crisis. The credit crisis was caused by the collapse of large investing companies like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Morgan Stanley, and others. They collapsed because of synthetic derivatives they had on their books but could not pay because they didn't have sufficient reserves. The derivatives were mainly side bets on mortgages and other kinds of debt. This caused a contagion that spread to the whole banking and credit industries and froze up the entire financial system. Banks and other creditors abruptly stopped lending and the entire economy went into a crisis. Business small and large could not get loans and many jobs were cut. Consumers could not get loans and that led to slower sales and more cuts. Ultimately the US Treasury and Federal Reserve bailed out of many large investment banks.

None of this had anything to do with unions are pension obligations. The current financial downturn was caused by bad behavior at large investment banks and insurance companies like AIG.


Posted by to Reader, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jun 9, 2010 at 6:56 am

Reader.. This is the classic case of a little information is dangerous.

Ok, if you finish your argument you would state that the Unions BASED their pensions and salary structure OFF of the ballooned economy because of the easy money that was available so that everyone could afford a home. This was a hard push by Clinton to make sure everyone could afford to buy a home even if they really couldn't. So that inflated the housing market and people lived off of their overly leveraged home etc… That ended badly.

SO, the Unions negotiated contracts based on the their assessment that the party train would never end (DOW 20,000 etc..) and NOW California can no longer afford what was negotiated when times were great and the Union is unwilling to make any concessions. And thus we will suffer with less services at a higher cost to pay for all of the inflated Pensions.

That party train will end! Unions in this day and age are ridiculous.

Look at the Castlewood situation, what a joke to see those picketers asking for what they had even though the union has agreed that what they are asking for is not competitive at all with other similar positions in the area. Classic Union.


Posted by david, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 9, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Watch out for the double speak coming from this Socialist administration.
When they speak of "helping the middle class", they are really talking about giving more money to labor unions. When they talk about bail outs for California, they are really talking about bailing out the labor unions - by funding their criminally exorbitant pensions and other benefits.

The unions have bankrupted GM and Chrysler. The unions are bankrupting California and other States. The unions are bankrupting the Federal government! And our state legislators are wholly in their pockets! We need to vote these bums out!


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2010 at 9:17 pm

"Ok, if you finish your argument you would state that the Unions BASED their pensions and salary structure OFF of the ballooned economy because of the easy money that was available so that everyone could afford a home. This was a hard push by Clinton to make sure everyone could afford to buy a home even if they really couldn't. "

You're making my point. Also, I'd add Alan Greenspan, George Bush, Phil Gramm to that list. The real estate bubble was bad, but it was just the trigger that led to losses in the derivatives markets. They brought credit markets to a halt. Sure unions based their pension structure on false hopes and an over heated economy. So did General Electric for that matter. The point is that we would have had this Great Recession with or without the unions or pension obligations. Those weren't the causes. Scroll up, and you'll see people claiming:

"The unions are not the only reason for the fiscal mess in America, but they certainly one of the biggest reasons! "

But that wasn't the cause at all. It sounds like talking points, like saying the recession was caused by high taxes and government spending. But none of that was really the cause. If we don't fix the real cause of the recession, the trouble with local and state pension obligations and salaries will seem minor. A kind of half-baked plan is working its way through congress. I hope they have the courage to do this right.

Web Link

Web Link=

Web Link


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 10, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link

Now why would CalPERS take such risk? Maybe it has something to do with the overly generous retirement packages...


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Yes Stacey, like a said "they based their pension structure on false hopes and an over heated economy."

But that had nothing to do with causing the credit crisis or the recession. Those causes had everything to do with an opaque, unregulated derivatives market and the perception that the government would bailout companies perceived as too big to fail.


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