Now there are 3 in this year's school board election Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Aug 2, 2010 at 8:33 am
Jeff Bowser, who ran unsuccessfully for the Pleasanton school board two years ago, announced Sunday that he will try again in what is becoming a highly competitive race to fill two seats on the board in the Nov. 2 election.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 2, 2010, 7:34 AM
Posted by Homeowner, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 2, 2010 at 8:33 am
Joan Laursen will make a great addition to the school board. She is an amazing individual with lots of energy and great ideas. I hope that Pleasanton will make her a part of this very important school board that always has some very tuff decisions to make for the benefit of our kids and community.
Posted by Best for Schools, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Aug 2, 2010 at 9:23 am
Bowser would be great on the board. He's a local that has lived in Pleasanton all of his life. He knows this community. His business and education background will help to get this district back on a sound financial track.
Posted by curious, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 2, 2010 at 10:30 pm
I find this a bit disappointing. . .i thought there would be a lot more interest in running for the school board given all the concerns expressed over the last 6 months about district finances, selection of superintendent, etc. I'm afraid that with a lack of candidates, Pat Kernan will decide to run again figuring there isn't a lot of interest in the school board and he can continue to collect his monthly honorarium from the district.
Posted by Also a Parent, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2010 at 10:21 am
I agree with Parent! And I will vote for Bowser! He is passionate about creating a better school system, has been in the community for a long time and "gets" schools and their issues. I think the fact that he is married to a teacher actually enhances his appeal! I'm not sure why there is some hostility towards Pat Kernan? I've personally never seen any reason not to think he wants to serve our district as best as possible with the resources and realities we face. Enlighten me, please, if you see otherwise.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Aug 3, 2010 at 10:25 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
The real question is why do you not care where a board member lives, especially when the law requires residency? Students must meet residency requirements. Board members need to also. It has nothing to do whether I plan on running or not and everything to do with ensuring that constituents are represented by those who actually live in the same place as their constituents. It is highly unethical of a non-resident board member to be voting on new taxes which they themselves are exempt from paying by virtue of their non-residency.
Posted by Diana, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Aug 4, 2010 at 1:03 am
Stacey, you are absolutely correct!
I would love to see Stacey run for school board. Stacey would read the packet and do her homework. I have not always agreed with Stacey but I know she researches and makes her decisions from an informed position, she would not rubber stamp. Anyone who has followed the school board can not say that about Pat Kernan.
Posted by A PTA Mom, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Aug 4, 2010 at 8:28 am
As a long time resident and involved in our schools for over 15 years, I think all three candidates would make a great addition to our school board. There's been a bit of "old boy network" going on that was broken up with the last election. I think this one, with a new superintendent will bring a new thinking to the difficult challenges our district is facing. All three have experinces in our district that can help.
Posted by Parent, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Aug 4, 2010 at 3:08 pm
Prove that Pat Kernan doesn't live in Pleasanton- that was tried last year and didn't work, so forgive me for not wasting my energy trying to discredit a hardworking board member. I want good people who care about our kids and will fight for programs that support them- not too much to ask is it? Oh, is they can be smart, that would be great too.............
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Aug 4, 2010 at 9:19 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Actually, the issue has not been tried and the reverse would have to occur, Kernan would have to prove his residency. It would be a waste right now to do since it is too close to the election. Kernan's continued presence on the board means that there is one seat on the board unavailable to residents who are hardworking and dedicated.
What has occurred (two years ago, not last year) is that a county attorney said there is nothing apparently criminal and someone would have to bring a "quo warranto" against him. Now, let Kernan try to run in this election without residency and it would turn criminal.
Posted by Karen, a resident of the Bridle Creek neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2010 at 1:45 pm
I think that one of the benefits of Bowser being married to a teacher is NOT that he is tied to the union or anything of the sort...what it ACTUALLY gives is perspective of what is really happening in the classrooms. I strongly believe that as administrators move to the District Office and the school Board is filled with community members outside of the schools...there is perspective lost of what all those decisions do and how they impact the actual students.
I am open to hearing from all candidates as I want my votes to go to people most connected to students.
Posted by Ron, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm
Karen the point is that the system of check and balance, provides five elected members of the community to balance the perspective of the district. The teachers are WELL represented by their union. The district staff is well represented by the strong influence of the superintendent and many administrators. The elected school board must be a representation of parents/taxpayer and students perspective.
Bowser or anyone too closely associated to the unions or administrators would only corrupt the intent of the balance of the elected position. Fortunatly I am confident the voters will understand that again.
Posted by Get the Facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2010 at 9:47 am
I would love to speak to you about the benefits of a union. Class size reduction, for example, is something we love and strive for. The eight furlough days we voted for last year and this coming year preserved that, for now at least. No chance of that happening without the union. Also, the fourth prep section at the elementary schools was paid for directly from the salaries of teachers.
How do you know that Stacey uses her real name? Stacey could be Oprah Winfrey for all we know.
Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm
To 'Get the Facts' - APT and its teacher members caused the elimination of the 7th period day at the high schools negatively impacting a large segment of the student population. Make sure you tell Tami all the facts.
Posted by Get the Facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2010 at 8:44 am
There is a big misconception that the union caused the elimination of the 7th period day, which is false. The bottom line is that the 7th period days costs money. When the administration chose to look at that, they brought that idea (and many others) to the union. Though we were opposed to its elimination (because eliminating the 7th period costs union jobs, which of course we are against), but did not stop the administration from going forward with the elimination, because we are not in the business of picking and choosing which programs to save or eliminate (that kind of prioritization is not our role). So please don't pin that on us, that was an administrative decision: it cost money, it was chosen for elimination, even though we would have loved for it to stay.
The union will interview and support two candidates in the upcoming election. Those two candidates can choose to accept our support or not. They can even choose to not be interviewed by us in the first place. So just because they get our support does not mean they are indebted to us. And I'm not really sure how much our support helps, because in the last election only one of our union-supported candidates (not counting Chris Grant, an incumbent, who was a slam-dunk for reelection) won office.
You clearly don't like unions, that is obvious. I guess you would rather have a free-market society that works itself out, like what has happened at HP in the past week, where the disgraced CEO resigned and took with him a $300,000 pension. Is that how you want the schools to run? Seriously, Tami, let's debate the unions, even though you "don't need to debate the benefits of a union". Even though they are not perfect, so many great things in our schools happen because of the unions.
Posted by Tami, a member of the Hart Middle School community, on Aug 10, 2010 at 10:27 am
The unions are good for their members......the students and parents are not their members.
School board candidates should decline the union interview.
If they feel they need the unions support to be elected, they will be indebted to them. The union members push the legal limits by campaigning on school campuses. In past elections the union and union members donate money and in-kind donations to the campaigns. The Pleasanton unions have been big on soft money contributions, full page ads that the unions pay for. The unions are powerful special interest groups that should have NO influence over the outcome of our school board election.
Imagine if City Council candidates were interviewed then endorsed by the Homebuilders Association. All school board candidates should avoid even an appearance of being indebted to special interest groups.
Bowser can not avoid his obvious conflict of interest since he is married to a teacher.
Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2010 at 11:56 am
To 'Get the Facts' - Having a 7 period day is job neutral and cost neutral. As was done in the past, teachers/staff would either start early (and end early) or start late (and end late). Allowing students to take an extra class, provided there is an open seat, would allow students to have greater education opportunities. The teachers union has been fighting any attempt to allow a student to utilize empty seats in classes. And yes, it is pinned on the union because that is the history.
It was the raising of the high school and middle school student/teacher ratio that eliminated many teaching positions.
You are misleading when you say it is not the union's role to prioritize. The union's role in the negotiation process is to champion (prioritize, fight, bargain) for programs/rules that benefit its members. For you to claim otherwise is flat out wrong.
Posted by Get the Facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 11, 2010 at 9:22 am
No one in their right mind, while running for school board, would decline an endorsement from the APT. I suggest you run and decline that endorsement, if you feel it such a violation and conflict of interest. Funny how EVERY SINGLE CANDIDATE in the last election opted to be interviewed by the APT, seeking the endorsement. But also keep in mind, like I said before, that Jamie Hintske ran and won without the APT endorsement (even though she sought it). So I'm not sure an endorsement really helps.
Oh, and I am a teacher with multiple students in the district, so, unlike your claim, the parents ARE their members. I would estimate that over 25% of the Pleasanton teachers have kids in the Pleasanton schools.
I wonder what your definition of "great representation" is in regards to the BAC. The APT has all of TWO representatives on the committee. Parents, administration, even students have a larger representation than us. This is something we have fought to change, but it has gone nowhere. It is a bit demeaning to be the smallest group represented.
The elimination of the 7th period day DOES cost money, why else would they get rid of it? Sadly, the FAQ section has been taken down from the district website, but I believe it costs five to ten sections per school, which is now saved revenue. The teacher's union was NEVER in favor of eliminating it, as it costs teachers their jobs. I apologize for not having the exact monetary facts, but trust me, it costs money, it is not "job neutral and cost neutral".
And our job is NOT to prioritize. We want All jobs AND programs saved, though we know that is not realistic.
Posted by Tami, a member of the Hart Middle School community, on Aug 11, 2010 at 10:14 am
The public has a better understanding of the role of the unions. We understand the self interest of the unions and will respond differently to their endorsement. The school board should have a positive working relationship with the unions but it is time for school board candidates to remain independent from special interest groups.
Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2010 at 6:37 am
To 'Get the Facts' - It was the elimination of the collaboration period that drove the cost savings. How the union/district managed to bargain away the cost neutral 7th period is beyond a lot of us. Efforts to allow empty seats in classes to be filled by students has been soundly (loudly?, angrily?) refused by the teachers union. To do so would mean a cost neutral 7th period schedule would be implemented. Many union members have said that they do not want to do what is right for the students (also known as 'inflict as much pain on parents/students as possible') since the parcel tax was not approved.
I repeat again for your benefit. It does not cost additional sections to implement a 7th period for the purposes of filling empty seats in classes. Teacher/staff shifts are staggered. If a PE section were to be in the 'A' period, then that teacher would leave for the day a period early. It is cost neutral.
That the teachers union and district can not do what is best for the students on this topic is disappointing, sad and only hurts the kids.
Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2010 at 6:46 am
Being declined for a teachers union (APT) endorsement may actually be a good thing this year. Conversely, being endorsed by a teachers union may hurt. Better yet (I agree with Tami), what would it be like if none of the candidates seek the unions endorsement?
Since Laursen and Bowser were both active parcel tax effort leaders (and Piderit was vocal on Town Square) and champions of reducing taxpayer protections, they are *already* in the teachers union camp.
Posted by Get the Facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2010 at 8:02 am
I read again what you said, but what am I missing? I cannot find anything on the current make-up of the BAC, but last that I looked (same words you have used) the APT only had two representatives. I have no idea how many the administration has, only that it was smaller than any other group. That was a while back, and possibly it has changed, but not that I know of.
One role of the union is to negotiate cuts in our pay, as the union did this last Spring. Eight days over 15 months were cut, and many of those members took another hit when their medical insurance (which we pay for 100% out of our salaries) went up again, as they do every year. If we were more "self-interested" as you say, then I guess we wouldn't have negotiated the pay cut which saved class-size reduction. How's that for the "role of the union"??? If you don't like my "role", then I will not vote for the furlough days next time. Just let me know what to do.
I was under the impression that you were talking about the collaboration period, which it sounds like we agree does cost money. But the seventh period day costs money also, as the morning classes are lightly attended, and over the course of the first month or so of the semester, more students drop, as they can't hack the early start. So it is less than the collaboration piece, but it does cost money. Full classes saves money. This is NOT an attempt to "inflict pain" by eliminating something, I'm sorry that you and others believe that, but it simply isn't true. It is a cost savings, plain and simple.
We'll see how the election plays out, hard to tell at this point if an endorsement will help or hurt. I don't think it hurts, but I don't think it helps that much. Much of it will depend on the demographics of voter turn-out.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2010 at 9:57 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I wrote, "the unions", not APT specifically. The website (Web Link) shows CSEA and APT both have 4 representatives on the BAC. That's in addition to three district office reps (who are often union members) and three site administration reps (non-union people). Maybe they don't all attend?
Sometime last year there was discussion here about the make up of the BAC. If you recall, Al Cohen was listed as a parent member on the website but stated here that he had quit the BAC and that there was little parent representation on that committee. It is difficult to tell from the website then if people listed are just to fluff up the list.
Furthermore, based upon Mr. Cohen's experiences he had related here, it would be great if candidates could talk about their ideas on getting BAC issues straightened out. It seems like there's a real lack of understanding between board members and volunteers to the BAC on what the role of the BAC is, how the BAC affects policy, if at all, and even community participation in the BAC.
Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2010 at 9:59 am
To 'Get the Facts' - One of the roles of the union is to protect the automatic salary increase schedule (aka 'step and column') which APT did this year. Those 50+% of teachers who received salary increases last year and this year will see their overall salary increase over the two years.....AND they get 8 days off of unpaid vacation. When those days get restored (maybe via the $1B CA is to get from the federal govt) or when the economy recovers, the teachers get their salary at the higher level and the overall expense structure of the district continues to escalate.
The 'pay cut' did no more 'save class size reduction' as did class size increases in the middle school and high school. The APT does not look out for the taxpayer, the student or the parents. They only look out for their members. The teachers union is entirely self-interested.
Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2010 at 11:11 am
To 'Get the Facts' - By the way, teachers and administrators have said explicitly that 'inflicting pain because the parcel tax did not pass' is a primary motivation for many of the bargaining positions the teachers union takes. It is true. Even if you seem to think and write otherwise.
Posted by Get the Facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2010 at 1:31 pm
Thank you for the link to the BAC. I couldn't find it when I searched. Last I had checked, APT had two members, so that has changed. I don't know Mr. Cohen and his issues, and I've never been to a BAC meeting, but ten parent members seems like plenty. I'm sure like any committee, it has it's problems, made more difficult by the tough economic times.
"By the way, teachers and administrators have said explicitly that 'inflicting pain because the parcel tax did not pass' is a primary motivation for many of the bargaining positions the teachers union takes." Please provide a web link to any newspaper article, web site, blog, etc. that has someone quoted as saying that. Unless you can back up that accusation, it is slander. The only pain I see from taking eight furlough days is less money to pay my bills.
And regarding the "50+% of teachers who received salary increases last year and this year", I have it at less than 35% that got step increases. Keep in mind we are top-heavy right now, as newer teachers got laid off. Anyone past 20 years gets no step increase. Anyone at year 13, 14, 15, 17, 18 and 19 gets no increase as well. In fact, if you look at a teacher who teaches 30 years, as most do, there will only be step increases 13 times, less than half. And in almost every single year, health benefits go up (which we pay out of pocket for), negating some or all of a step increase we might get.
"(maybe via the $1B CA is to get from the federal govt)" Don't hold your breath on that one. Spring will roll around and they will be asking for more days next year, I am sure.
Posted by Get the Facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2010 at 2:35 pm
Just as I thought, nothing to back it. Tami and DCoT, back it up or hush-up. I think we can all agree that a few feel that way, but most don't. Otherwise, why would over 69% of teachers vote to take an eight-day pay cut? Basically, 7 of 10 teachers, or more, do not feel that way.
Tami, if the teacher's union were "entirely self-interested", then why did we agree to this cut?
Sounds like you two wouldn't be happy no matter what we do.
Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2010 at 3:52 pm
To 'Get the Facts' - Very funny. You have not linked, referenced, or pointed to anything to back your claims either. Stacey had to find the link to the PUSD website to help you with your 'facts' - doing the homework you wouldn't do. So let's see, is the new teacher/union strategy to rewrite history and challenge anyone who disagrees? Even to the point of using threatening words like 'slander'?
Do you actually think I would name the teachers and administrators who spoke the truth?
69% of you voted for a contract that was the best your union could negotiate given the economic situation. That it hurt the kids by eliminating teaching days and education opportunities while keeping the inflated per hour cost structure does nothing to help you or your union, as much as you would like to think and write otherwise. The other 31% of you wanted to inflict more pain. And that's a fact.
Posted by Get the Facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2010 at 5:43 pm
It is impossible to reference something that hasn't happened. You want me to reference the fact that a man hasn't walked on Mars, which I can't prove, while you want to avoid referencing that a man has walked on Mars. If it happened, you could reference it. I can't reference that it hasn't happened, because no one will write an article in the newspaper to say that such-and-such wasn't said. The BURDEN OF PROOF is on YOU. You are the prosecution (you are accusing somebody of something), therefore you need to prove it. You have failed to do that.
I do not believe "slander" is a threatening word. I do believe you are slandering the teachers when you say something has been said and you cannot prove it.
The contract we voted 69% in favor of was our choice. The district came to us asking for concessions, and we offered eight days. We didn't have to offer anything, we could have said the status quo was fine, but too many teachers wanted to help solve this problem, a problem we didn't cause.
I have done my homework, and it is clear that nothing we could do for you, and many others, would sway your vote for a parcel tax. The teachers did not take days off to get you to vote for a parcel tax, we did it because we thought it was right (there is no parcel tax on the November ballot, there was nothing in those eight days that had anything to do with a parcel tax). Personally, I don't think a parcel tax will ever pass in this city. If we took a 50% pay cut and added 20 days to the school year, it still wouldn't be enough for many people, and only 34% is needed to vote no for a parcel tax to fail.
Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2010 at 8:06 pm
To 'Get the Facts' - Please help me understand the Certificated Staffing Scattergram dated 1/11/2010 located here (Web Link). Since you are a teacher, maybe you understand it better than I do. This shows 51.52% of the FTE employed at that time would receive a step increase for 10-11. Is this correct?
Now I understand that with some layoffs and retirements, that this chart would look different today. But the referenced chart is what the district referred to during the budget workshops earlier this year.
Where and how do you obtain the 'less than 35%' number you used above?
Posted by Get the Facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2010 at 9:24 pm
I'm not sure where I got the 35%, as it is way off. That is from a conversation or document way back, and I should have reconfirmed the numbers. My apologies, I didn't mean to throw numbers around. It is possible that the 35% came with calculations for those who take medical and therefore won't get a raise, but stay steady or take a slight loss due to increase in medical payments (look at the numbers, some of the bumps in pay are quite small). Possibly the number was for those who the eight furlough days negated any bump they would receive. Or, a combination of both. (I, for example, have hit a bump in pay that I won't see this year due to medical increases and the eight-days of furlough.) Bottom line, I can't back it up even though there was a reason for it, so I blew by throwing it out there in the first place. Shoulda never happened, again, my apologies.
And yes, the chart would look different today, but not significantly enough that I would be able to retract my apology. I threw out incorrect facts, and I am man enough (or woman enough, hmmm . . . )to apologize.
So I've done my part, I'm still waiting on your proof that the APT, the CSEA, or the D.O. are walking around wanting the citizens of Pleasanton to "feel the pain". For crying out loud, I TOO AM a citizen of Pleasanton, I TOO would have to pay a parcel tax if one gets voted in, I don't want myself and my neighbors and my friends to "feel the pain". Again, we took the eight days with NO parcel tax in sight.
Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2010 at 11:13 am
To 'Get the Facts' - I've said that I won't break trust and name names.
However, if you are really interested/motivated, try this. Call Trevor Knaggs and ask him if he/union would ask the district to move sections of high school PE to the 'A' period, so students can take empty seats in the arts, AP classes, music, foreign language, and electives. Since the students are already in a PE class, moving a section to an earlier point in the day is 'no cost'. Taking empty seats in classes is 'no cost'. So this is a cost-neutral proposal, and the kids benefit. Let us know what Trevor's/union's position/response is.
This might be a great question for the Trustee candidates!
Posted by Get the Facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 14, 2010 at 9:53 am
It isn't "no cost", as I have stated before. The A period classes are never full. Classes not full cost more money.
It is not Trevor Knaggs' job to ask the district to move something. The APT is not in the business of prioritizing one thing or another. The district took away the A period/7 period day, not Trevor Knaggs or the APT.
Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Aug 14, 2010 at 3:01 pm
No one suggested *adding* a PE class.
Moving a PE class from the regular day to 'A' period is no-cost.
Allowing students to fill empty seats in classes is no-cost.
Administration and several trustees have discussed/evaluated this.
The teachers union was emphatically against this.
These are the facts.
You need to get them.
And yes, ultimately it is the administration that makes all the decisions. Including how many teachers to lay off and how many days of schooling will be taken away from our kids because of the union's cost structure. Another great question to ask the school board candidates.
Posted by Get the Facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 17, 2010 at 8:55 am
There are no empty seats. But DCoT is suggesting we add (or move) a PE class to the 1st/A period, the before school/7:30 slot. THIS would create a class that is not full. He/she is also blaming the lack of the A period on us, the teachers, as if we caused this economic mess, and that we wanted to get rid of the 7-period day. Both are false. He finally admits this in his last post, when he says "ultimately it is the administration that makes all the decisions". But I would be surprised if DCoT does not try to turn this around again, against us, in his/her next post. DCoT is not a fan of the teachers, that is for sure.
Posted by Campaign Funds, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Aug 17, 2010 at 6:55 pm
I hate to tell you but everyone on the City Council takes developer donations for their campaign. Who do you think funds their campaigns? Bake sales? All campaigns rely on donations from influence groups. That's how it works.
Posted by Get the Facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 18, 2010 at 8:16 am
Yes, Tami's living in a political dreamworld. You need endorsements to win. Maybe not financial endorsements, but backing by groups, such as developers as you have said. I would love to see Tami run for school board or city council without any endorsements! Good luck with that!
Posted by Campaign Funds, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Aug 18, 2010 at 8:20 am
The endorsements while important for some does not get very far with the general population. You need $$$ to pay for signs, ads, and mailers. Do you know how many people vote for the person they see on a sign on the way to the polling location. A LOT!