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City Council, Pleasanton school board both schedule public meetings next Tuesday on budget issues

Original post made on Jan 28, 2011

The Pleasanton school board and the Pleasanton City Council will hold separate public meetings Tuesday that should interest mostly the same taxpayers who support both government agencies.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 28, 2011, 7:27 AM

Comments (50)

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Posted by no more teacher raises
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 28, 2011 at 8:14 am

JUST VOTE NO ON ANY PARCEL TAX
This tax will bring in $2 million each year and for the first year alone S & C will eat up $1.5 million, more after that. What don't you understand about taxpayers wanting to pay for valid and legitimate expenses -- not MORE TEACHER RAISES.
JUST VOTE NO ON ANY PARCEL TAX


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Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Jan 28, 2011 at 9:26 am

"The tax needs a two-thirds approval rating, or 66.6%, to pass."

In a democracy, I thought only a simple majority was required?

My prediction is that the parcel tax will fall just shy of that magical 666--hey, it's the sign of the anti-Christ if you take out the decimal point!--by 1%-2%, and that will kill any idea of a parcel tax once and for all, even though the vast majority of voters and taxpayers in Pleasanton obviously want a tax to support our excellent school system.

I don't think this is a democracy when one-third of the voters can prevent the other two-thirds from having something they want, but that's just how it is. There will never be a parcel tax in Pleasanton and I hope after this second failed attempt, the school board and the majority of the community will just accept the will of the minority and begin laying off as many teachers and shutting down as many programs as possible until we balance the budget. 27 cents a day is an impossibly high tax burden for impoverished Pleasantonians to meet. This isn't a rich area like San Leandro or Livermore, after all.


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Posted by wow
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 9:30 am

"I hope after this second failed attempt, the school board and the majority of the community will just accept the will of the minority and begin laying off as many teachers and shutting down as many programs as possible until we balance the budget"

Wow, you're a very strange teacher!


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 9:40 am

YAT - If the majority actually favored a new tax, the wouldn't have to go to such lenghs to try to sneak it through (mail in special election, carefully placed low profile discussion, etc). It is going to be difficult to pass however, because most people are smart enough to know that a new tax lives forever and won't solve anything.


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Posted by no more teacher raises
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 28, 2011 at 9:55 am

YAT is the best advertisment for why a tax must fail. We give raises to and continue to employ teachers like that because their S & C and tenure protect them. Do you really want to reward YAT and many other tenured teachers with more money so that they can insult those who fund their paychecks?
The biggest problem with the failure of this "teacher raises tax" is that really good teachers will have to go and YAT will remain.


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Jan 28, 2011 at 9:59 am

Vote YES on the parcel tax. The children are our future. All the studies we are finding are showing how low our educational standards are falling to compared to china, India and other countries. This is the least each household can do to keep our teachers and keep the programs Pleasanton schools have been lauded for. 27 cents a day is not a burden for a family. Please dont let the minority win this time.


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Posted by optimistic mom
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 28, 2011 at 10:20 am

The data from the January voter survey seems very positive, with 71% of voters supporting a proposed parcel tax. I know that many of the people I talk to feel that Superintendent Ahmadi is making a big difference in keeping principals and teachers focused on academic achievement.

I'm willing to volunteer in support of the parcel tax. I hope many of those who read the Pleasanton Weekly will be active as well. If this is all going to be wrapped up by May 3, then we will need to get out the word quickly!

One of the parents who spoke at the board meeting mentioned a new website put together by folks who are going to work on the campaign, after the board approves the measure next week. It's Support Pleasanton Schools dot com, and there's a link below...

Web Link


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 28, 2011 at 10:21 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Supermajority voting is usually used in cases where a subset of the population will be impacted by the majority of the voters participating in the election. In this case, property owners, who will be required to pay a tax on their parcels, constitute a subset of the entire population.

So I have an idea. Let's limit voting on the parcel tax only to property owners in exchange for lowering the vote requirements. Another option is to require over 50% of the electorate to participate in the election in order for it to pass. The Ancient Greeks required such high turnout by their citizens to their Council in order to ensure the sanctity of their simple majority voting, so that a minority of the population cannot impose law.


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Posted by long time parent
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 28, 2011 at 10:31 am

There is nothing stopping people from donating to the schools. In San Ramon they receive a lot of money from donations of the parents. I believe it is around $200-$300 per student.

While the 2/3 might seem too high, it is actually a good thing since the district last election had people knocking on doors of all the seniors asking them to vote yes and handing them the paperwork on how to apply for the exemption so they would not have to pay the tax as a senior. Although that is legal, it seems unethical.

Don't forget that Pleasanton receives a significantly higher payment per student from the State than San Ramon. If you go to ed-data.com which has the states date, for the last year in that database it had Pleasanton receiving $6,209 per student while San Ramon receiving $5,667 per student. So we receive an additional $542 per student. If you take the number of students in PUSD, we receive an extra $7,798,296 from the State than San Ramon Receives! That is more than the parcel tax that San Ramon collects.

If you compare salaries and benefits (so you can easily compare since San Ramon pays for insurance and we just pay a higher salary), Pleasanton is paying $7450 per student while San Ramon is paying $7009 per student.

The data also shows that PUSD pays $6,047/student for instruction while San Ramon pays $5,346/student. PUSD also pays $504/student for administration while SR pays only $374.

On teachers, we keep hearing that our costs are higher because we have more experienced teachers. That data shows otherwise. In PUSD the average years teaching is 10.3 years while SR is 12.2 years. The average teacher salary in PUSD is $81,928 while in SR it is $64,717.

PUSD has an API performance of 901 while SR has 913.


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Posted by long time parent
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 28, 2011 at 10:34 am

Stacey, I would add on to your suggestion. Only property owners who cannot claim the exception (i.e., seniors) should be able to vote. Or maybe we should not have the exemption. If the rational that we should approve the tax as good schools increase property values, seniors benefit from increased property values as much as anybody else.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 10:40 am

I have a question since some of the people commenting appear to be part of the campaign for the parcel tax.

The original leaflet about this tax said that no money would be used for teacher or administrator raises. Subsequent information has dropped the claim about teachers not getting raises, but does still say no raises on the admin side. My question: Who exactly are included on the admin side who are not getting raises? Is it the non-teaching staff? I thought they had their own union? Have negotiations already happened with them that includes the next 4 years?


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 10:50 am

"Vote YES on the parcel tax. The children are our future. All the studies we are finding are showing how low our educational standards are falling to compared to china, India and other countries. This is the least each household can do to keep our teachers and keep the programs Pleasanton schools have been lauded for. 27 cents a day is not a burden for a family. Please dont let the minority win this time."

Unfortunately the parcel tax in its current form won't help our children or keep teachers. Only enough money will be raised via the parcel tax to pay for salary increases and for the campaign itself. And I will contribute to raise the standards of education for our kids by donating more than the amount of the parcel tax to my school.


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Posted by optimistic mom
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 28, 2011 at 10:54 am

In answer to the question about how the money will be used -- the board has not yet voted on the final parcel tax language, so there's no definitive answer to your question yet.

If you have a strong opinion one way or the other about what the board should do, I encourage you to contact the board members. Their contact information is listed on the PUSD website, at the link below

Web Link


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Posted by Lori
a resident of Parkside
on Jan 28, 2011 at 10:54 am

I know I am just feeding the frenzy, but it is hard for me to understand why there is this negative attitude towards teachers. They offered up a reduced pay schedule and have had to accept 5 furlough days, but still have to teach all the required material in less time. But somehow there is a small contigent of naysayers who are upset about step and column raises. Get a grip on yourselves! Teaching is so much more than having the summer off and the teacher's day does not end when the students walk out the door. The teacher's in this community DO appreciate the parent support and being able to work in Pleasanton. These teacher's also support each other, hence the willingness to take the reduced work days and pay to help save teaching positions. It is easy for those opposing a parcel tax to say it is only about teachers pay. Well guess what, without the teachers you don't have anything. But there are also alot of state and federal education mandates that are not fully funded by the government and the local districts have to make up for that shortfall. So it is as much about programs as about payroll. Since the teachers pay their own benefits through a Section 125 plan, they have also been hit hard on that level as well. So be sure you understand the facts before you bash a possible solution. It will be many years before California digs out of this recession, but the children of our community still deserve a good education. That cannot be accomplished without fairly paid, dedicated teachers.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 10:58 am

This is what I am referring to (from the PUSD website):

"No funds could be used for administration, administrator salaries or benefit enhancements"

Who are administrators? Are they the people in the other union that is not the teachers union? Have they agreed to this?


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 11:03 am

"it is hard for me to understand why there is this negative attitude towards teachers"

I'm all for the teachers - but I mean all of them. I don't like that the new ones will get laid off to pay for the raises of the ones who have been here longer. If you don't have enough money than you need to look at your cost structure. People everywhere are taking pay cuts and all I'm saying is that pay raises are not appropriate in this environment.


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 28, 2011 at 11:44 am

And let's not overlook that after 5 years, administrators and classified staff begin to receive longevity bonuses starting at 3%. Thereafter, 20% of the administrators and classified staff receive increases in their longevity bonuses every year.
I bet you won't hear PUSD talk about that now, will you?
There is so much PUSD is hiding from the public. They did not present any budget solutions to the board on 1/25 as promised. They did not convene the Budget Advisory Council on 1/27 as promised.
They are in a head-long rush to tax tax tax and not be financially responsible and transparent with the public.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm

OK, it sounds like classified staff are who I mean. So are administrators part of the classified staff union? Are they saying that administrators and classified staff will not get raises or benefit enhancements for 4 years? Did the classified union agree to this? Or are classified staff like the teachers where they will still get raises?


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Posted by Lori
a resident of Parkside
on Jan 28, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Classified staff operate under the CSEA (California School Employees Association) union. They have their own contract with PUSD.

Administrators are the management within the district which includes principals, asst. principals, superintendent and assistant superintendents and the superindents administrative assistants. They have their own contracts with the district.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Thanks for clarifying Lori.


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Posted by another parent
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm

In the last parcel tax it was brought up that the superintendent and management had some very high auto allowances (I believe up to $1,200 per month). Did the board every eliminate that or greatly reduce that benefit? They were at one point saying that some employees have voluntary reduced it for themselves but I would like to see if the policy or contracts changed.

To the comment that 'parent' made above, I totally agree. I do not like that new teachers have to be fired in order to pay for the raises of others.

In the telephone survey, as I was one called, they said that none of the money would go for raises. I asked if that meant that there would be no raises given in the district and they replied yes. That was why I said I could support a parcel tax. Now I am hearing that they are still are planning on giving out the step and column raises. I cannot support the tax if that is the case. I hope the board members understand that the survey indicated there were no raises so if they still plan on giving out the step and column raises they should expect a lower acceptance rate of the parcel tax. You might be wasting more money on another election if you do not stop step and column or do another survey to get people's input if step and column still occurs.

If the district says that money will not be used for raises in the parcel tax ballot measure but they still give out step and column raises, or any raises, it shows that the district is trying to trick us into paying for a parcel tax using some type of semantics to cover up real raises being given. My feeling is if the district is not honest with us, I would not only vote no on the tax, I will help campaign against it. The school district should be role models for our children. If they lie to the public, they are telling the kids that it is ok to lie, or at least not be totally factual, if it helps your cause. Or maybe they would be saying it is only ok to lie if you are the government. Either case, we should not allow this type of behavior.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 12:32 pm

"In the telephone survey, as I was one called, they said that none of the money would go for raises. I asked if that meant that there would be no raises given in the district and they replied yes. That was why I said I could support a parcel tax."

If this is the case, then the board is about to allow more than $200,000 of taxpayer money, which equals two+ teacher jobs, on something doomed to fail. I would have said yes too if I had been told the same thing. The statement that there will be no raises in the district is a complete gamechanger and I have no doubt that 71% would support that. The consultants have some explaining to do.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm

"If the district says that money will not be used for raises in the parcel tax ballot measure but they still give out step and column raises, or any raises, it shows that the district is trying to trick us into paying for a parcel tax using some type of semantics to cover up real raises being given. My feeling is if the district is not honest with us, I would not only vote no on the tax, I will help campaign against it. The school district should be role models for our children. If they lie to the public, they are telling the kids that it is ok to lie, or at least not be totally factual, if it helps your cause. Or maybe they would be saying it is only ok to lie if you are the government. Either case, we should not allow this type of behavior."

I agree. I would love to pass a parcel tax for the sake of the kids and make sure that they have a great education. I am very concerned about America falling behind. I want my children to have the benefit of a great school district.

But I don't like the tactics being used. I am surprised about how this is being handled and how the last board meeting went. People were encouraged to attend and then the parcel tax issues were raised after 10pm - exactly what happened last year. And nobody talked about step and column and how this will affect the outcome of the election. The board and management team need to start addressing the real issues so that the kids have a long term future. The parcel tax is a very short term bandaid that will not help the kids or the new teachers.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 1:12 pm

"The parcel tax is a very short term bandaid that will not help the kids or the new teachers."

It will help the kids and maybe all we need is a short term band-aid. If we don't pass the parcel tax, programs that will help the kids will be cut. If we do pass it, those programs won't be cut. We will pay step and column either way, and I'm for that, and so are a lot of other parents. I keep pointing to Palo Alto, one of the best school districts in the country. There they have passed a parcel tax and kept their scheduled raises for teachers. My friends with kids in the district are very happy with the results. They don't see it as a temporary band-aid. I say let's get it done.


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Posted by Playing us for fools
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 1:15 pm

So both the Council and School Board wanted to thin the herd, and have fewer people to account to or listen to. How convenient they each intentionally scheduled conflicting meetings.....knowing the same concerned citizens would want to attend each. Unbelievable !
Who do you think is assigned the tasks of thinking of news ways to screw us ??


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm

"We will pay step and column either way"

This is where we disagree. I will not vote for a tax to fund raises for the more experienced teachers and allow the newer teachers to be laid off in this economy. And that is all that the parcel tax will do. I don't think it's right and I'm not happy at all about the way the newer teachers are being treated. The board needs to talk about this honestly and negotiate.


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm

To 'concerned parent' - Yes, but Palo Alto also eliminated teacher medical retiree benefits for newly hired teachers and they have other personnel cost savings in negotiation. So point to Palo Alto all you want. They continue to increase their parcel taxes, continue to control their personnel expenses as well. If you want to use other school districts as examples, please be sure to use all the facts and not cherry pick for your advantage.


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Posted by Learn
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm

long time parent- interesting comparison you have made with San Ramon, but I'm wondering what your point was?

The side by side salary is not exactly transparent- subtract the amount I pay for benefits and our concessions and my salary is lower than San Ramon. Also, their voluntary donation of over $300 per child is not presented as voluntary- this pays for aides in every grade level, advanced technology etc.

They have had a parcel tax in their community without demands for the teachers to feel the pain as many decry here. How much money was given back to SR from their teachers? Their teachers are paid with a step and column schedule, they fire teachers based on senority, yet just look at the difference in tone and attitude on their blogs:Web Link=

If you're point is that SR is doing better, you're right, they are pulling ahead, amazing how attitude and priorities for quality schools can affect a city.


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Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Jan 29, 2011 at 12:38 am

Ah, Stacey, the Michelle Bachmann of the Pleasanton Tea Partiers.

Restricting voting only to property owners? Hm, that's illegal, but it sure proves what I've been saying all along: Stacey is a Tea Partier herself.

"Every week, the Tea Party Nation hosts a weekly radio program, calling itself a "home for conservatives." Two weeks ago, Tea Party Nation President Judson Phillips hosted the program and discussed changes that he felt should be made to voting rights in the United States. He explained that the founders of the country originally put "certain restrictions on who gets the right to vote." He continued, "One of those was you had to be a property owner. And that makes a lot of sense, because if you're a property owner you actually have a vested stake in the community. If you're not a property owner, you know, I'm sorry but property owners have a little bit more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners": "

continuing...

"Phillips is advocating a policy of voter disenfranchisement that has its roots in the 18th century. When the United States was first founded, ownership of property was one of the requirements to vote in most elections. Many of these restrictions were phased out by the 1820s and replaced with requirements that the voter pays taxes. By 1850, these requirements, too, were phased out. Nashville Scene blogger Betsy Phillips calls the Tea Party Nation president's idea a "frivolous proposal designed to stoke intergenerational antagonism — as if the people who are older and can afford a home are somehow better citizens than the 18-year-olds who are going off to war to die for our country."

Web Link

As for Stacey's grasp for gravitas, claiming that the ancient Greeks required more than 50% to vote...mmm, no they didn't. The ancient Greeks had a quorum, but they did not have a representative democracy, which is what we have in the United States. The ancient Greeks (I use the Athenians as my example) required a quorum of citizens for certain matters, but theirs was a "direct democracy", more like a town hall meeting in a small New England village. What's more, only freeborn males who were descended from both an Athenian father and mother were permitted to hold citizenship, and officials were chosen by a drawing of lots, rather than elections.

So much for Stacey's grasp of history, which is about as firm as Michelle Bachmann's.

Once again: THE PROPOSED PARCEL TAX IS 27 CENTS A DAY. AND IT'S NOT GOING TO PASS BECAUSE OF THE ANTI-DEMOCRACY SUPERMAJORITY REQUIREMENT.

So relax, for God's sake! Now go listen to some more Tea Party radio misinformation, will you? And have some actual tea, it'll soothe those throats you've made sore from all your yapping and whining.


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Posted by Interested
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 29, 2011 at 7:46 am

Can anyone tell me what time the City Council meeting, regarding the pensions, begins this Tuesday night?


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:44 am

"If you want to use other school districts as examples, please be sure to use all the facts and not cherry pick for your advantage."

"cherry pick for your advantage."

Is this some kind of contest? Are you trying to win something? Please, let me know what Palo Alto is doing to control personnel costs that you think we should apply here. Please provide all the links that you like. Maybe you're saying that you'd be happy to support step and column if new PUSD teachers gave up their retirement medical benefits (I didn't even know they had them). I'm a parent, not some kind of anti-tax advocate trying to win something.


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Posted by google is my friend
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:54 am

To interested in Birdland --

the City Council meeting/workshop starts at 6:30, according to the agenda online on the city's website.... here it is: Web Link


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 29, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Column raises are given for increased competency. The cost of the classes teachers take to achieve that level comes out of their own pocket. At a certain point there are no step increases if you have not met the column requirement. Teachers pay for the extra training to achieve those raises.

Just so you know, the increase in the cost of medical has more than eaten up every raise given in the past ten years or so and teachers were furloughed 5 days this year. There was an increase in class size (work load) and no reduction in what was required to be taught in order to be prepared for testing in the Spring. A child is only in a grade for one year, so any cutback in services or increase in load impacts that child's acquisition of the concepts needed to succeed.

I beg to differ also with the notion that the cost of a public education should not be shared throughout the community whether you have children or not. There is a direct relationship between the undereducated and crime and poverty. This year was the first time ever that California paid more for prisons than schools. Pay now or pay later.

Retired teachers are on medicare by the way. They don't pay into social security but they do pay into medicare.

Oh yes, just look up the recent ACLU ruling in California and what constitutes a free and public education. It will have a huge impact on students in areas where the request for donations has filled in the budget gap.

Remember you get what you pay for.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Sorry, posted this on the wrong thread earlier...

A supermajority is used in cases when a tax will be imposed only upon a subset of the population. California wants to ensure broad support in such cases where only a subset will have a tax imposed on them.

What YAT wrote is not at all inconsistent with what I wrote. The ancient Greeks required a high participation level to achieve quorum on important issues and went so far as to physically force indifferent people to the meetings. We do not have any quorum requirements in our parcel tax elections and these parcel tax elections typically are low voter turnout elections. In other words, with simple majority voting (it means more than 50%), we can end up with a minority imposing a tax. I was only suggesting that we add such a quorum requirement if we were to switch to simple majority voting for parcel taxes. That way we can continue to ensure that there is a broad level of support and no minority is controlling the outcome of the election.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Column raises are given for additional educational units, not competency. Advanced degrees are not very well linked to better student achievement. While there is a good intention behind it, there's also an industry that has grown up around the idea of offering additional educational units to teachers and it is often criticized as being nothing more than degree mills. So we have a salary schedule that encourages teachers to spend their time and money chasing after these things that do little to improve student achievement (the compensation system is not aligned with organizational goals). For me, that's the problem with the column aspect of the salary schedule.

I agree that since teachers spend their own money to make the column jump, that should not be something frozen. Step is a different issue.


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Posted by long time parent
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:26 pm

"There was an increase in class size (work load) and no reduction in what was required to be taught in order to be prepared for testing in the Spring"

Sounds like you are arguing that since the class size went up that the teachers should be paid more. If that is true then we we instituted class size reduction, the teachers salary should have gone down. It did not.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The spring testing should be pushed off to the end of the year. I don't recall the reason why they do it in the spring. I only remember the reason sounded rather poor.


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Stacey - there are no reasons other than schools start and end at different times. The state requires that you have 85% of the school year done during the testing window. If we wanted to raise test scores, its would make sense if we had 95% or more of the school year done when testing time came.

testing is a huge problem. Obama sort of mentioned it in the SotU address last week, but who knows where that will go.


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:53 pm

One interesting issue that I haven't seen talked about is that the district receives more money per HS student then elementary. The state understands that it takes more education and such for a HS teacher then an elementary. yet as a UNIFIED district the salary schedule is the same. Even with class size reduction putting 20 students in an elementary class was HS is still 30+ pay was the same. While we keep funneling money into elementary its the HS that keeps us afloat.

Just another something to chew on


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Does it? I thought that the State has higher revenue limits for HS districts, lower revenue limits for elementary school districts, and unified districts are in the middle, not that they give more in unified districts for high school.


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Stacey - I'm not 100% sure, but I will try to find out. It is my understanding though that the ADA money per HS student is higher than an elementary (again, if others have more/better info please post)


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Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Jan 30, 2011 at 12:03 am

Forget ancient Greece, fast-forward to 21st century Pleasanton.

It is not a democratic vote when one-third of the voters can nullify the will of a (nearly) two-thirds majority.

The idea that only property owners can vote in an election is fundamentally anti-democratic. A citizen's right to vote is a fundamental one, and should not be denied to him because he hasn't got the money to buy a house.

Only the far-right Tea Party nutters think disenfranchising poor voters is a good idea, and the last vote on the parcel tax made it clear a large majority of Pleasanton's voters wisely favor a temporary parcel tax to assist our public schools' finances. It's a shame that a vocal minority can thwart the will of the majority of the community, but that's how things are in the Land That Prop 13 Ruined.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 30, 2011 at 9:47 am

Stacey is a registered user.

YAT calls two-thirds undemocratic because a minority can control the election. Whenever less than 50% of the voters turns out to vote, we run into the situation of a minority nullifying the rights of the majority (which is why the ancient Greeks were concerned about quorum). The analogy here would be if the school board were to vote to reduce salaries without a quorum. In a 50% turnout election with simple majority, one would need 25.1% of the total voting population to impose a tax. Still a minority, but that's a lot better than a 25% turnout election where one would only need a minority of 12.6% of the total voting population to win (far less than the one-third it takes to stop a parcel tax election). Now California can't control how many people turn out for an election (and school districts try to game this to their favor by using low turnout mail-only elections, etc.) and the state is not interested in dragging people out of their homes to vote like the ancient Greeks did. So California puts in the two-thirds requirement as an alternative to gain that board support it requires.

YAT is concerned with disenfranchising voters and mistakenly believes only "poor people" are disenfranchised. The solution is to open voting to include those property owners who are not allowed to vote in a PUSD parcel tax election because they do not live within the boundaries of PUSD. And all voters who live outside of PUSD but have their students attend should also be allowed to vote. We should not be denying people the right to vote because they live outside of PUSD boundaries. To do so is undemocratic.

I was suggesting to limit voting to property owners only as a method by which to get around California's requirement for two-thirds in cases where a tax will be imposed on a minority. If the election is limited only to those who will be paying the tax, we no longer need the "broad support" requirement. This plays into the definition of a special tax versus a general tax. California law defines parcel taxes as a "special tax" because they benefit only a subset of the population, which is why they need to meet the uniformity requirement. YAT will find Tea Partiers under every rock.


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Posted by Consider this
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2011 at 10:42 am

10 people live on a desert island. 9 vote that the 10th should be their servant or they will beat him. Democracy, right? Can the majority pillage the minority at will? This works as long as it's a desert island and the one productive person can't leave. Not so California. We've already seen an outflow of businesses to other states. What happens when the productive minority just leaves?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 30, 2011 at 11:39 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link

"In the world of fiscal affairs, vote requirements have always mattered. The 1849 state Constitution required a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to place a measure on the ballot to borrow money. At the 1879 constitutional convention, the requirement was extended to local voters under the general theory that asking future generations to pay for a particular public good should have a high threshold for approval."


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2011 at 9:04 am

David Miller, please don't spam this forum with duplicate announcements of this event.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2011 at 9:11 am

Yet Another Teacher, only the property owners are voting, because only the property owners are being asked to pay the tax. Maybe they should propose a city sales tax instead?

Stacey, sounds good to me. Wish we'd had that when Pres. Bush was shoving these $2 tril wars down Congress' throat. Oops! We attacked the wrong countries. I can only imagine where we'd be heading as a nation if we'd spent that "extra" money on extracurricular education programs.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2011 at 9:12 am

Sorry, misread YAT's comment and Stacey's response. But I'm with Stacey on this one...not wild about the property taxes.


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Posted by Bart Hughes
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2011 at 9:22 am

Please note that the city council meeting starts at 6:30pm tomorrow evening. This is 30min early.

b- we finally agree on one point! The $2T spent on wars could have been much better spent on our own people and bettering their lives. We could have taken a much more focused and less costly approach to eliminating the original threat within Afganastan. Trust me, I am no fan of Bush. But let's not forget that many representatives on both sides of the isle voted for this mistake.


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Posted by StillNo
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 1, 2011 at 12:17 pm

My vote is still no on parcel tax.

Private sector has had to figure out what we need to keep and cut during this great re-set and now it is there turn.

Step and column a good place to start.

School board don't forget you work for the citizens of Pleasanton and not the teachers association. . .remember????


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