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Parcel tax opponents speak out at board meeting

Original post made on Mar 24, 2011

For the first time, opponents of Measure E, the parcel tax to benefit Pleasanton schools, have spoken out against it at a school board meeting. Tuesday night, opponents David Miller, Doug Miller and Raquel Vargas accused board members of being disingenuous about the tax.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 24, 2011, 1:07 PM

Comments (241)

Posted by Beth, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Thank you David Miller, Doug Miller and Raquel Vargas for standing up and pointing out the obvious, but often disregarded facts. Many of us are fearful of the consequences our children might face if we took a similar public stand. I thank you.


Posted by local, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 24, 2011 at 3:23 pm

So the school board thinks these pensions are ok? Those employees must have been paid a lot of money to get pensions that high. It looks like the district is not just paying a straight salary that appears in the budget but some extra money from other accounts so that administrators can retire with pensions over $170K. Those pensions are amazing and a big reason why California is in so much trouble.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Doug Miller said,

"Until and unless the district freezes pay and eliminates these lavish retirements, I cannot support the parcel tax,"

Unfortunately, the only way to change the retirement benefits for teachers is at the state level. Maybe he wasn't talking about teachers.


Posted by Parent of two, a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Parent of two is a registered user.

It astounds me how naive the parcel tax proponents are... If the tax raises $8M, and none of it can be used for raises, they'll simply CUT some other area by $8M and use that money for their step-and-column raises.

IT'S A SHELL GAME.

Put it this way. If I give an alcoholic $10 and tell him that he can't spend it on booze... he'll simply spend that money on food, and take $10 out of his food money and buy booze.

Unless there is a FREEZE on salaries and pensions (better yet, an across-the-board decrease) for the duration of the entire parcel tax, we should vote against the parcel tax.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm

But then I would support Measure E if they called it a salary tax and raised the amount to $400. That would support step and column, allow class size to be reduced, and more programs to be added.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Parent of two,

Or we can follow up Measure E with Measure F next year that will enough money to keep the programs and step and column.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm

How do you "freeze pensions?


Posted by Seriously, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I, for one, don't buy the "No on E" rhetoric. Step & Column are how teachers are paid to recognize experience and growth. Teachers/Admin pay 8% of salary toward retirement. You cannot lump educators with City employees whose contribution is 0 – talk about a shell game. Be fair in your claims – this appeal to emotion is embarrassing. The parcel tax supports student programs. Rather simple - $98 parcel tax, the lowest in our area, supports student programs. The "No on E" gang continues to try to make it about the adults.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I suspect a $400 tax to maintain salary schedules and programs would not pass since the last one for $230 didn't. The consultants didn't seem to think anything higher than $98 would pass.

But it would be honest and that would be a good thing.

$400 might actually do what we need too - save the kids programs for a few years until things get sorted out at a state level.

I would still like to know specifically what our $8 million will pay for if it passes. I think it would make a big difference to know the details. There isn't much of a point to say things will be ringfenced if you're not going to say what is in the fence.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2011 at 6:44 pm

The people quoted above would not vote for any tax any time. The illogic of saying I won't support the people who deliver the service to the kids hence not supporting the education of the young people in this community because the people who amount to the TOP management of a company receive a pension with which they don't agree is short sighted and just plan wrong.

I will agree with the above comparison to private industry when teachers get the same huge bonus paid to employees during the boom times.

BTW Teachers pay into their retirement and in Pleasanton pay totally for their medical.

Can anyone say "Tea Party"?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm

"Board members later noted that pensions are from the state, not the distric"

Both the state and the district need to reform the existing system. Since pensions come from the state, the correct thing to do is vote no on the june tax initiatives, Brown needs to reform the unions before asking us to extend the taxes.

School districts need to do their part by not boosting the pensions of these employees. Remember when Casey re-hired two of his buddies on a temporary basis so their pensions would not get affected? So if the state pays the pensions, it is certainly PUSD who set the amount.

Reform the unions, pensions, automatic raises. NO on E. NO on the june tax initiatives.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2011 at 7:21 pm

"Can anyone say "Tea Party"?"

That is what the union wants everyone to believe. I am an independent, voted for Obama because of Palin (scared me to have such a person anywhere near Washington), and no, I am not part of the tea party since I think they are extremes. BUT I will vote NO on E because it does not make sense.

As for support for the june tax initiatives, here is a survey published in a not-conservative-friendly newspaper (in fact they made fun of Palin in 2008 and continue to make fun of the tea party):

""Today," the PPICers say, "less than half (46 percent of all adults and likely voters) favor the governor's proposal, a decline of 7 points among all adults and 8 points among likely voters.""

"Also: The PPICs found an increasing amount of support for pension reform. Most likely voters (57 percent) favor cutting pension plans for public sector workers. And 74 percent of likelies want public employees to get a 401k-type benefit instead of a defined contribution sysem."

Web Link


Posted by Biden, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 24, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Resident,

give me a break, you voted for Obama who had zero experience and Biden who is a complete idiot because you were afraid of Palin who was only going to be the VP? You are either stupid or lying.


Posted by another parent, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 24, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Let see, CalSTRS pensions are supposed to pay out 2% for each year worked. We have administrators taking $178,000 in pensions. If they worked for 30 years then the salary would have been $296,666 when they left. Funny how it was the assistant superintendent of HR, Casey's longtime buddy that Casey brought over from his previous job, that managed to get a pension this large. Obviously something fishy going on in our district. As Ricki Recardo would say "you got some splaining to do!"


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2011 at 8:48 pm

"Biden", I did the same as resident.

McCain is in his mid-70's so there was a risk factor there. And I believed Obama when he said he would go through the budget "line by line" . . .

I know it sounds stupid now.

But I still won't vote for Palin (or anyone who's on reality TV for that matter!).


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 24, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Resident wrote: "Remember when Casey re-hired two of his buddies on a temporary basis so their pensions would not get affected? "

Remember when Casey wouldn't take a cut in his own pay and offered only a token give-back of his car allowance then announced his retirement the day after the Measure G election?


Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Mar 24, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Casey was a bad, selfish superintendent, wildly unpopular with teachers.

Ok...he's gone. Ms. Ahmadi is the new Superintendent of PUSD. I think Ms. Ahmadi ought to be given a chance to prove she can run the district in a fair, professional manner.

I think Ms. Ahmadi has made a mistake pushing for a parcel tax, because when it fails, that failure will be construed (wrongly) as a "no confidence" vote in her administration--really, it's a "no confidence" vote in the Casey administration.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 24, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Did you know that after PUSD hired Casey, his last district replaced him with someone strong in curriculum and there was a rather noticeable improvement in student achievement? Ahmadi has the unfortunate privilege of having to sort things out after Casey. She's only been on the job less than a year and after all, she's beholden to the board anyway.


Posted by Kelley, a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Mar 25, 2011 at 1:31 am

That word seems to be a problem in America today.. "BEHOLDEN"

And unfortunately it worsens when it is attached to the unions especially in California.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 7:37 am

"give me a break, you voted for Obama who had zero experience and Biden who is a complete idiot because you were afraid of Palin who was only going to be the VP? You are either stupid or lying."

I voted for Obama because of Palin. McCain was old (and still is) and given what has happened and what he has done, it looks like he would not have been any more effective than Obama. Remember, he too voted for the BUSH bailout, and so did Obama - I did not agree with either one of them.

Up until McCain elected backwards thinking Palin, I was undecided, I felt like staying home on election day, but Palin made me go to the polls and vote for Obama.

You may not see it, and neither does anyone in the tea party, but independents like myself found themselves supporting the lesser of two evils, and that was Obama.

If the republicans/tea party insist on having people like Bachman, Palin, etc on any ticket, you will guarantee an Obama second term, and that is very scary.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 7:49 am

"Remember when Casey wouldn't take a cut in his own pay and offered only a token give-back of his car allowance then announced his retirement the day after the Measure G election?"

Yes, I do, but I was glad to hear he was leaving PUSD. The re-hiring of his buddies was something I thought was worse because it had the backing of the board. Casey's buddies had been given pink slips due to the budget cuts at the time. The I love Pleasanton schools raised money, but not enough to re-instate CSR, so here is Casey deciding what to do with "extra" funds they found themselves with, and he asked the board to re-hire his buddies so his pensions would not be affected (the archives do not have the video, but it was a board meeting sometime in the summer after G). The three yes men agreed with him, and so it was done: Casey's buddies were re-hired for a few months so they could then retire without affecting their fat pensions.

I did not like the way Casey did things, but the new superintendent also has a car allowance, I believe it is 600 dollars/month. That to me, is not justified. How much travel does she do on behalf of PUSD?

I agree that the new superintendent should not have been so eager to go for a parcel tax. Some changes should have been made, negotiations with unions should have at least been done before announcing a parcel tax.

The parcel tax would raise about 8 million, and we all know that is not enough to pay for the automatic raise we call step and column. And for those who say they want a bigger tax to support raises: good luck because most people in Pleasanton, myself included, do NOT want to pay extra taxes to finance other people's raises. THere is a reason COLA was suspended by the state.

I am confident that the june tax initiatives (if they make it to the ballot) will fail. I also hope that most can see that measure E is not the solution and will vote no.


Posted by New Mom, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 25, 2011 at 8:21 am

I just moved here and I am appalled at the state of the 'excellent schools' here in Pleasanton. Fulough days? Shortened schedules by one class period? I am amazed.
If I have to pay an exta $98 a year to get the schools partially on track..so be it. And I will be paying tax the on the FULL value of my property (over 2X what the previous owner paid). Education is just that important to me. If everyone paid on the full value of their property.... or at least 2/3 of it... we could get out of this mess...theoretically....the more tax we pay the more they misuse it.


Posted by Mom of School Aged Kids, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 25, 2011 at 8:30 am

I have the utmost respect for the teachers in our community. However, the average teacher salary in PUSD is $10,000 OVER other average teacher salaries in Northern California - including SR, Danville, and Orinda!

Because of the economy my husband hasn't had a raise in 3 years. Why is it that the Union cannot see that Step increases should be frozen - because of the economy. Our teachers should not be immune to the affects of the economy that we are all bearing.

No way I'm voting for Measure E.


Posted by Randy Randleman, a resident of Mission Park
on Mar 25, 2011 at 8:39 am

So let me see if I understand the thought process going on here. Most are mad at the old Superintendent, Casey, so now they want to blame and punish the teachers for for his actions. Remember the ones that directly get hurt here are our kids.

Teachers overpaid?, oh come on now, how many teachers do you see living in Ruby Hills and such. Yes some administrators padded their retirement, but is a State issue, not PUSD. Most teachers struggle as we all do, and maybe even more.

Lets get real here, the $98 is probably less than most of you spend at Starbucks or other favorite habits. Maybe you think this is a time to make a stand, well that is a little late, you should have done it when the problem was here, not after he has left. Lets look to the future, not to the past! I for one don't care if it goes to pay the teachers salaries as long as it keeps the high standard we had here in Pleasanton.


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 25, 2011 at 8:56 am

"Step & Column are how teachers are paid to recognize experience and growth"

Only in the union world.

In private enterprise, performance is the primary metric for pay and promotion. We need to pay and promote Pleasanton teachers based on performance, not experience and growth. The school board reported that negotiations are underway for a new contract. "Performance" needs to replace "experience and growth" as the primary metric.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 25, 2011 at 9:00 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Randy,
I dunno, I don't see anyone writing that they are voting no on E because of Casey. Could you point out who is saying that?

Resident,
The reason COLA was suspended by the State is because it is an easy and hidden way for them to cut spending, even if it isn't the most intelligent way (thoughtful cutting is based on cost-benefit, putting limited resources where it is needed the most/most effective). In the year they did it, there was actually slight deflation so relatively little to zero COLA is justified in that regard, but they keep doing it. It's like how they continue to defer payments to districts for the State's cash flow issues, a practice they started after the dotcom bust, even through good years. I'm concerned that it will be a long time before they resume paying COLA.


Posted by a relevant question, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 25, 2011 at 9:05 am

Mr. Miller,
How do you propose to measure a teacher's performance? I think this is more difficult than it appears.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 9:25 am

"The school board reported that negotiations are underway for a new contract. "Performance" needs to replace "experience and growth" as the primary metric."

Doug,

Can you please point to any top school district that has done something like this and improved results? Districts like Palo Alto, that are even better than PUSD, aren't moving to this kind of a pay for performance system. Why not? Is there a template that PUSD could follow for this, or would be be experimenting with something entirely new here, at least for top performing public schools? Has your experience with the quality of education provided by teachers in PUSD been so low quality that you would only support increased taxes if such changes were made?


Posted by Mom of School Aged Kids, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 25, 2011 at 9:27 am

Randy,

I'm not blaming anyone. I'm simply saying that we are all experiencing the effects of the downturn in the economy. Private companies cannot afford to give raises and must live within their means. Why is it that the District should not live within its means? Why is it that teachers should get Step increases subsidized by the rest of us that are going without?

And by the way, I have teacher friends that agree with me. Not all agree with the Union and are embarrassed to be getting pay increases during this budget crises.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 9:28 am

"And I will be paying tax the on the FULL value of my property (over 2X what the previous owner paid)."

Proposition 13 specifically prohibits parcel taxes tied to the value of a home.


Posted by Mom of School Aged Kids, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 25, 2011 at 9:30 am

PS - Freeze Step Increases and I'd be happy to vote for a Measure to support programs for the kids.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 9:53 am

"Private companies cannot afford to give raises and must live within their means. Why is it that the District should not live within its means? Why is it that teachers should get Step increases subsidized by the rest of us that are going without? "

I got a fairly substantial raise and bonus this year. I wouldn't say that all the rest of us are going without. Electronic design, software engineering, and much of the kind of work in silicon valley is seeing strong demand. I'd be willing to bet a lot of Pleasanton home owners have seen increases. I'm not denying that there are people who have had pay cuts, pay freezes, or have been laid off, but I do think it is wrong to say that the "rest of us that are going without".

I would be willing to pay for a parcel tax with step and column in place.


Posted by javadoc, a resident of Dublin
on Mar 25, 2011 at 10:00 am

javadoc is a registered user.

Doug Miller is spot on with his point about pay being linked to performance.

What is the theory behind step & column? Isn't it that continued education and experience make one a better teacher? So I ask, how do you actually know if someone has become a better teacher? There has to be a way to measure it, or else the point of step & column is null. Why should people get paid more based on an unprovable assumption that they have become better (i.e. more productive)?

The teachers' unions do not want this question answered, because both possible answers harm their official bargaining position. If there is no way to measure teacher success and productivity, then there is no way to justify continued raises. But if there is a way, then there is the possibility that a new teacher who hasn't gone through the step & column dance will outperform one who has, and thus merits higher pay.

It doesn't matter if it is difficult to measure performance. You have to do it, or else you are throwing money down a hole.


Posted by Mom of School Aged Kids, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 25, 2011 at 10:26 am

Concerned parent,

That's wonderful that your company is doing so well - you may want to consider making a donation to the school district! :) However, many of us that live here in Pleasanton have jobs in other sectors that are not fairing as well - real estate, construction, finance. We are working harder for less money because of the strained budget of our companies. To approve automatic pay increases for a company that cannot afford it is absolutely irrisponsible - that's where we are with PUSD.

Why not freeze Step increases? Because our teachers won't be as good to our students if they don't get a raise? Again, they are $10,000 a year ahead of Acalanes - and test scores are higher there!!


Posted by a relevant question, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 25, 2011 at 10:30 am

I agree that just because it's difficult doesn't mean that we shouldn't do it. But I am still left with the question, how do you measure teacher performance? Not just in Pleasanton, but in all school districts.


Posted by Mom of School Aged Children , a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 25, 2011 at 10:39 am

Irresponsible...as an English major I hate it when I make typos!


Posted by Canyon Oaks Resident, a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Mar 25, 2011 at 10:42 am

I agree with David Miller and do not support the parcel tax. It promotes mediocrity. One of my kids' teachers is tenured. She knows she will not get laid off, so she hardly works. She is worst teacher my kid has had in four years at Hearst. Meanwhile another teacher at Hearst who is not as senior works her hind end off. She has given more projects and take individual interest even though she has a two-grade combo class. Parcel tax would give a pay raise to senior and sometimes useless teachers. I DO NOT SUPPORT PARCEL TAX. I'd rather give $1,000 directly to Hearst where my kids go to school.


Posted by results, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 10:48 am

relevant asks? "How do you measure performance?"

You measure performance based on results achieved. It's a practice found in the private sector because without results your business dies.

Here's an idea: Set goals. Test a teacher's class at the beginning of the year...test the kids at end of the year...look at RESULTS! Reward the good teachers. Keep raising the bar and the best teachers will rise to the top, kids will do better. Dead wood will sink.

Everyone will get what they deserve.


Posted by agree with Canyon Oaks, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Mar 25, 2011 at 11:12 am

Could not agree more! There are lazy ones in this district. They are tenured and untouchable. It's shameful; if I was that lazy at work I wouldn't have a job, period. Example, PMS math teacher just hands out worksheets (that he's used for YEARS) with little to no instruction; tenured, not going anywhere so why bother. LAZY!
And Results comment:
'You measure performance based on results achieved. It's a practice found in the private sector because without results your business dies." Absolutely! Wake up PUSD before another failed parcel tax happens. Freeze those salaries now and let's get this parcel tax passed; do you know how many people would vote for it if you did this?


Posted by t_time, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 25, 2011 at 11:20 am

@results,

Nice idea, makes total rational sense, but will never happen. The unions would never allow this because it enforces accountability.

America's parents have been brainwashed into thinking that common sense accountability ideas like yours are attacks on teachers, when in fact it actually supports and rewards the good teachers. Think about it, if there is a system in place that objectively rewards success, then why would the teachers need the unions?

I'm skeptical PUSD's parents will think about this critically enough to understand your argument. It is hard to put the emotion aside and resist the "just throw money at it" response.

I hope am wrong. NO ON E!! No new tax to pay union raises!


Posted by Teachers cheat too, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 25, 2011 at 11:26 am

I don't think there is a good way to evaluate a teacher's performance...that would be difficult. Can't go by public opinion...one of the best teachers my son had was known as "mean" even to parents. I thought she was great and he flourished - she wasn't "mean"...she expected certain things from her class and if that wasn't achieved there were consequences. Kids don't get consequences for their actions so if a teacher exercises those options he/she is mean.

If you measure a teacher's performance by test scores of his/her students teachers will cheat. It is human nature. I am sure it even happens on Star testing...little hints here and there. Come on...if a teacher's job is on the line and he/she feels their students won't "perform" well on an "evaluate-the-teacher" test they will find a way to make sure their students do well so they will look good. It is known to happen and has happened.


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 25, 2011 at 11:53 am

There seems to be an assumption among some that teacher performance can't be measured, that there are no existing models. That would be incorrect. I know of charter schools and private schools in the Bay Area that are not unionized and base teacher and administrator pay on performance. It would not be hard to find successful performance based examples. PUSD and the State of California need to look at these.


Posted by Another way, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 25, 2011 at 11:56 am

There is a way to track anonymous members of the student pool to have a statistical sampling. For each student, there would be an individual relative performance baseline that current semester performance could be measured against. You could also have this performance represent a portion of teacher compensation, not the total.

If there is a will, there is a way. Just like in private industry. But you are right, it won't happen because the unions don't want it. They abhore accountability and our education system will continue to suffer.

While Pleasanton performs well against the miserable national baseline, it too is losing ground to the more important international baseline.


Posted by joy, a resident of Danbury Park
on Mar 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm

If I thought that giving MORE MONEY to the school district would improve Education, I would gladly do it, however it seems that all the money goes to TEACHERS PENSIONS, AND THEIR UNION. I want the Children of this City to receive a good education, instead we hear the head of the teachers union talking about the power the union has. NO ON E


Posted by Bill, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I would gladly pay a $98 per year parcel tax if I thought for a minute that it would actually go to improving the math, science, reading and other academic programs in the Pleasanton schools - I know from experience that these programs need a lot of improvement. However, there is nothing in Measure E to insure that funding for these programs will be increased, there is nothing in Measure E that will allow the District to rid themselves of the teachers who are not doing a good job, and there is nothing in Measure E to insure that administration salaries and benefits will be brought into line with the rest of us who have seen our standard of living drop during this recession. As long as we have school administrators making over $200,000 for a partial year of work, teachers who get automatic raises that are totally decoupled from any attempt to gauge their performance, and cell phone allowances totaling ~$70,000 per year, I will vote NO on any taxes for the schools. A careful review of the PUSD budget demonstrates that our district would prefer to spend $250,000 to put a parcel tax on the ballot instead of cutting unnecessary expenses, cutting high salaries, and getting back to basics.
Bill


Posted by Heather Gee, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm

When is the PUSD and others going to come to grips with the fact that we are broke? The tax payers cannot afford to pay more for anything let alone an education system which is obviously broken. The answer to the unions is always to increase taxes. This hasn't worked. Our taxes go up and the money never goes to the kids. It ends up propping up an over bloated bureaucracy! The tax payers have had enough. At some point the teachers unions and government need to do what everyone else has done, which is live within their means. Our country pays the more for each student than anywhere else yet our education is ranked as one of the worst so obviously throwing more money at the problem is not the answer. It's time the unions give up some of their perks and leave the tax payers alone.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I admire and thank the people that had the backbone to speak up against the Parcel Tax. It is construed as being against motherhood,apple pie and baseball. We keep throwing more and more money into education and the resultant scores show that the U.S. is falling further and further behind.My daughters went thru Pleasanton schools when there were 30 students in the class. They both received 1600 SAT scores , were at the top in undergrad classes at Stanford and Duke , first in Medical School at Duke and UCSF and are both Dermatologists now. I am thankful to the teachers for their efforts but a lot of the work has to come from the parents.

The unions have totally messed up the incentives for teachers. We would be better off giving money directly for specific purposes instead of subsidizing the unions thru a Parcel Tax. David Miller summarized the points very well. I will be voting against the Parcel Tax until I see major adjustments in the salary and pension structure, particularly for administrators. We have become extremely top heavy and need to take some big cuts at the top. $98 is a nominal amount but it is a matter of principle. Vote against the parcel tax and give directly to the areas you want to support. Cut out the Union.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Parkside
on Mar 25, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Posted by Seriously, a resident of the Another Pleasanton


I, for one, don't buy the "No on E" rhetoric. Step & Column are how teachers are paid to recognize experience and growth. Teachers/Admin pay 8% of salary toward retirement. You cannot lump educators with City employees whose contribution is 0 – talk about a shell game. Be fair in your claims – this appeal to emotion is embarrassing. The parcel tax supports student programs. Rather simple - $98 parcel tax, the lowest in our area, supports student programs. The "No on E" gang continues to try to make it about the adults.





Agree!


Voting Yes on E


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm

There seems to be one thing that Measure E supporters and opponents agree on: we don't trust management (the school board) to make the right choices for our tax money. Thus, Measure E stipulates that "parcel tax money can not be used for administrators salaries,or benefits and no parcel tax revenue will be used to increase salaries or benefits for employees."

Unfortunately there is a fatal flaw in this stipulation. Money is fungible. Measure E, under the current circumstances, makes it easier for the school board to continue step and column pay increases and lavish retirement packages. Why? Because the board would then be able to reallocate money from other sources away from the classroom in relation to the Measure E revenue. As one earlier writer noted, it is like giving an alcoholic $10 but telling him he can't spend that particular ten dollars on booze.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 12:46 pm

"The "No on E" gang continues to try to make it about the adults."

The "yes" on E does too.

I think we all need to talk about specifically whether this is going to help the children's education.

What will this tax actually "save" other than a pretty vague wish list?

What programs will be there for our kids for 4 years that they guarantee won't be taken away.

I'm still waiting to hear the specifics and I hope they come out before the vote.



Posted by Gary Schwaegerle, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Gary Schwaegerle is a registered user.

Dare I tread on this subject? but in light of the many comments as an Idea Guy may I ask what if? This Includes All Govt Budgets; We Rolled back Budgets 5 years vs 10 years before there was funny money loans, artificial over inflated values of Real Estate, which generate a large portion of our operating Budget; which got built around Revenues. Thereby many Areas lost 15%-60% in real estate property value - all the people that had property lost value of their assets in that percentile. So how could the Public Sector Jobs & Services run with that kind of reduction? Food for Thought - Love Your input, Gary Schwaegerle


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 1:21 pm

" I know of charter schools and private schools in the Bay Area that are not unionized and base teacher and administrator pay on performance. "

Please give an example of a top public school district in the Bay Area that has done this. I haven't seen any examples. Please give one. I'm open minded. If there is a template for this that would work in Pleasanton, please point it out. We already have what most parents would consider excellent schools here in Pleasanton. If there is a means to make them even better, I think parents would support it. We moved to Pleasanton for the schools, and have been very happy with teacher quality, but there is always room for improvement.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 1:24 pm

"We keep throwing more and more money into education and the resultant scores show that the U.S. is falling further and further behind."

PUSD scores aren't falling further and further behind. In fact, our scores are going up. Measure E isn't about American public schools in general. It is about PUSD.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 1:29 pm

"Our country pays the more for each student than anywhere else yet our education is ranked as one of the worst so obviously throwing more money at the problem is not the answer. It's time the unions give up some of their perks and leave the tax payers alone."

PUSD isn't ranked one of the worst, it is one of the best. Measure E isn't about American public schools in general. It is about PUSD. Measure E rewards an excellent school district for excellent results.


Posted by Fedup, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Get it through your thick heads. The pensions you mention are not from former teachers, they were administrators. If you want to talk teacher salaries and pensions then use relevant fact and data.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 1:40 pm

"Why not freeze Step increases? Because our teachers won't be as good to our students if they don't get a raise?"

No, it isn't that current teachers won't be as good, but that the very best new hires will pay attention and see that PUSD will be the only top Bay Area district with scheduled raises frozen. I think it would make a difference.

" Again, they are $10,000 a year ahead of Acalanes - and test scores are higher there!!"

As people have pointed out before, this is not an apples to apples comparison. PUSD teachers pay their own medical, while teachers from most other districts don't.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm

"Measure E rewards an excellent school district for excellent results."

I thought it was to save programs for the children who live in the district because the state is only funding status quo.

And status quo doesn't cover our escalating contractual obligations. Which means kids programs and teachers jobs are at risk. I'm not sure about it being a "reward".

Concerned parent, you're involved with this more than I am - do you know what they are planning to save other than the general bullet points?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

How about a parcel tax to fund the implementation of reform measures that better align the service with organizational goals? Perhaps one approach would be where the district office is better able to serve the classroom through a system like Toyota Production Systems or Lean production. Like, stop cutting classroom budgets. The classroom is the customer of the school and district. If the district is spending resources on things that do not create value for the teaching and learning that goes on in the classroom, those expenditures need to be reviewed and modified or eliminated.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm

"Concerned parent, you're involved with this more than I am - do you know what they are planning to save other than the general bullet points? "

I'm not sure we'll know all of it before we vote. I'll try to find out.

I agree that reward wasn't the best choice of words. I was responding to people who seem to want to punish the district, or to describe it as broken, or poor in quality.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm

be careful what you wish for. If teachers are paid by performance based on test scores, you risk creating a classroom culture that is focused on how to pass the test and not how to creatively solve any problem you will face in adult/professional life.
What has created much of the wealth of silicon valley? exactly that ability to look at problems in new and innovative ways.
I lived in Asia for many years and played a minor role in designing govt programs there which were desperately trying to roll back the rote learning school culture which always guaranteed high scores but produced robots that couldn't cope if the situation varied from what was expected.
We need our kids to be able to lead innovation and create IP if the country is going to compete internationally.
Unless of course you want your kids to be the next set of worker drones.
Having said that I would very much like to see some detail in how the funds raised would be spent, I find it pretty rude to be asked to pay for something without knowing whats in the box.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 1:57 pm

"I'm not sure we'll know all of it before we vote. I'll try to find out."

Thanks so much, I think it would help a lot.


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm

To 'concerned parent' - Only 39% of Pleasanton teachers pay for medical. Most of those pay the one-person plan which is either $7100 or $8400. And only 67 teachers pay for the $20+K family plan.
The other 61% pocket the entire medical premium that is in their salary.


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 25, 2011 at 2:13 pm

"Please give an example of a top public school district in the Bay Area that has done this"

Your question should have been written, "Please give an example of a top public school district in the Bay Area where unions have agreed to performance based pay and promotion". You already know the answer to your question. The unions fight this everywhere and with every tool in their bag and have been successful to date.

A better question is why do the unions fight this concept everywhere? Another good question is why don't the leading charter schools and private schools adopt the public school pay and promotion model based on seniority and degrees earned?

Performance based ratings are coming to public schools. California will be one of the last holdouts because the unions are so closely tied to the dominent political party in this state.

Limiting your search to public schools limits your search for the best practices in the field. Why would you want to do that?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

From earlier this year...

"Latest Study Validates Testing, Forced Retrieval and SQRRR" Web Link

"It is a practice born of yesteryear and quite frankly appears to be giving way to concept-mapping and other forms of study habits. But yet another new study has confirmed that the practice known as forced retrieval today continues to be one of the best methods for learning new material."

I would not favor basing teacher evaluation solely or heavily weighted on student testing. It's a measurement of individual student achievement. But since teacher quality has a big impact on student achievement, it is a somewhat indirect measurement of the teacher, which is why it should still be among multiple criteria.


Posted by Dear Fed Up, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 25, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Regarding "check your facts" Kathy Kindred is a retired teacher . . . .


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 2:35 pm

"Limiting your search to public schools limits your search for the best practices in the field. Why would you want to do that?"

Because what works in a private school district may not work in a public school district. One enormous difference between the two is that private schools can choose which students they will accept and which students they reject. Public schools have to accept any student who wants to attend. Comparing outcomes between public and private schools can be very misleading. The devil is in the details. I certainly wouldn't base a no vote on E on the fact that we like all other top performing districts in Bay Area, don't have a pay-for-performance system.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I agree Stacy, student results are useful as one component of teacher reviews. My post was reacting to some of the more strident calls earlier on that seemed to say using student results alone was the way to go. It's never that simple.
In a common sense world you get all the data you can and assess that in a balanced way.


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 25, 2011 at 2:54 pm

"Because what works in a private school district may not work in a public school district".

'May not' is an interesting choice of words. And your response this time excludes charter schools because, of course, many of them must accept anyone who applies. In fact, many charter schools have a waiting list.

So, we will agree to disagree on this. I think I am asking the tougher questions. I also appreciate the respect and dignity of your comments.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I'm sick of all the talk about how difficult it is to evaluate teachers. We evaluate students by testing them. How about giving some algebra tests to the algebra teachers. How about finding out if the chemistry teachers can balance an equation. How about finding out if the English teachers can diagram a sentence. How about finding out if the history teachers know that the middle class predates the first union by a few hundred years. Competent teachers are the ones who should get raises, and the incompetent teachers should go back to school. Tenure, step and column raises, and the other union nonsense is the fundamental reason why our kids can't compete in the global economy. You can throw money into the schools from here to eternity and it will not make any difference at all until you get the unions out. Let's follow the lead of Idaho.
Bill


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Nice to see a forum with a civil debate and thoughtful comments.


Posted by Gary Schwaegerle, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 25, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Gary Schwaegerle is a registered user.

Pleasanton School District being open & honest are glad to discuss the numbers and it's all relavent. Simply the Facts Mam: we have to bear in mind who is paying there own benefits etc. Here is an Article from Diablo Magazine that compares School Districts in Contra Costa & Alameda Counties Web Link covers per pupil spending student scores saleries degrees & more
Gary Schwaegerle


Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 6:58 pm

To continue to make the argument about the teachers salary is a deliberate circumvention of the real issue which is how the children of this town are affected by the fact that PUSD has cut $20 million from its budget in the last few years.

A school districts "profits" or measure of how successful they are is based on test scores-for this moment, whether the best way to measure or not, it is our merit- and in terms of the private sector definition would be deserving of bonuses and raises. PUSD is ranked 12th in the state, multiple awards, and increasing scores annually. Yet we have been met with multiple cuts to our budgets and salaries.


23% of the district admin. has been cut, teachers have been fired annually, class sizes have increased, programs cut, classroom budgets cut, school SLIP budgets cut, custodial services reduced, teacher training cut, sports funding cut, music funding cut, Visual and performing arts cut, instructional materials cut, need I go on.

The majority of teachers are on the higher end of the salary scale due to many being fired as services have decreased. This means they are experiencing salary freezes annually on the S&C schedule since there are no more columns to move on once you've reached a certain level. There are no annual raises for us, and there won't be for the remainder of our careers. To say ALL are receiving a pay raise on S&C is disingenuous and only meant to convince a community to support these cuts to our schools.

I hear you say you want the teachers to pay for this community's education. Well we did just that. Last year the teachers voluntarily took a $4000 pay cut to save programs and jobs in the district- this after the community voted to support cuts to programs! It was the union who initiated this, supported this, and overwhelmingly voted for this. All that they heard from the community was that it wasn't real enough- yet they were responsible for saving programs and positions that affect your children.

Could they save them all? No, but remember, you all voted to not support the schools and are actively campaigning to do the same again with rhetoric like - throwing money at schools, and the unions fault, and teachers pay! Nothing to do with what the teachers are trying to tell you. The very people you trust your children with, now they are not to be believed? The very people who have shown progress, success and brought pride to this city for the quality they deliver. You somehow don't trust, call us greedy. We are no longer talking about "extras" those have been gone for sometime now, we are talking about sustaining the quality you expect.

We gave back for the kids, so they could retain some of that quality we have worked so hard to achieve. We pay everyday for the cuts this district has had to shoulder , so that your children wouldn't have to feel the effects in the classroom. And yet you don't believe us when we say we are at the bare bones, that the programs and quality no longer can be sustained with the level of funding the state is providing.

We are paying for it this year, many times over, and yet I read these posts with disbelief and sadness at how we are lied about, criticized, and discredited. I am sorry for this community's children, they are the ones who are loosing, and the adults can't see through their agendas to believe this.


Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 7:04 pm

To the PTA members, the parent volunteers and those who continually work and give back to our schools:

Without your support, I can't even imagine how much worse our classrooms would be feeling the effects of the cuts. We are so grateful for your daily commitment to support the children in our classrooms. I respect that you are there first hand seeing what we are doing in our classrooms, and filling in the gaps where the state has let us down.

Your support, trust, and belief in what we do daily is invaluable and appreciated. I wish more in this community could see the amazing learning that goes on every day in our successful schools.


Posted by To Bill, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Bill-
Your lack of knowledge about the education system is astounding. Teachers have credentials, which they received either by taking a series of tests (I took 10 to get my 3 credentials) or because they majored in the subject that they are teaching. Please get in a classroom so you can actually experience what you are criticizing.


Posted by just a resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2011 at 11:09 pm

NO on E............4 votes from this home a guarantee...and can someone please direct me as to whom I need to contact to support NO on E?

4 able bodies willing to volunteer time, energy to defeat E.


Posted by puzzled, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 12:50 am

Some things are clear. The people against Measure E are unable to offer any clear vision of an alternative. They talk about making education conform to a business model. But they fail to acknowledge that many businesses are not very good. Many do not have clear principles by which to hire and fire, promote and demote. Many businesses -- a majority, in fact -- fail. There is no clear recipe of success for businesses. To simply hold up a utopian, vaguely defined business model over teachers' unions, seniority, and s and c is something of a pipedream.

I do not want my kids' teachers looking over their shoulders any more than already takes place. Education is a long-term process. Some teachers are good with some kinds of personalities, others may be good with other personalities. Some teachers are good at preparing kids for tests, others are better at character-building through raising non-test related questions such as what is truth, or what is beauty, or what is the good life. These kinds of questions may not translate to test performance. I want my kid to have a well-rounded education. I don't want my kid's potential imagination, inquisitiveness, sense of wonder about the world stifled by endless test preparation drills -- which is already happening to an extent, but which would happen even more so were teachers to be evaluated on their students' test results.

I do not see the No position as having any clear vision as alternative. It feels like an agenda. It doesn't like unions, and most No supporters are outspoken about wanting to get rid of unions. The great German sociologist Max Weber talked about the 'virtues' of bureaucracy. Although bureaucracies -- e.g. unions -- are imperfect, they are in Weber's estimation our best hope for a stable, rational human environment. They have time-tested rules, their roles are filled by experts, and decisions are made generally in a space protected from the vagaries of public opinion.

What is clear to me is that the NO folks seem to have some kind of agenda. They seem not to know much about the complex practices of education, but they think they do. They want us to believe they can do a better job of educating our kids than can the teachers. I don't believe them.

Surely this whole NO campaign must be about more than 35 cents per day. Just how far DO they want to cut teacher salaries? Just how far are they willing to go in breaking the union and installing some untried business model in its place? To what degree will they insist that teachers -- were they not protected by union rules and regs -- bow to a vocal minority's viewpoints? Do they seem to care even a smidgeon for teacher morale and its effects on classroom teaching? Do they not seem willing to want to gamble on our kids' futures for the sake of some set of vague principles of accountability, or some far-fetched idea of patriot liberty, or, more likely, some sort of personal political gain. I hope people read closely the NO positions being articulated on these threads. Lots of ill-defined anger at a lot of things, now being directed at teachers because ... why? No, I don't think they have a clear view at all. They seem to want to play russian roulette with our kids' futures. It has a certain ugliness about it that I'm not at all comfortable with, and I sure don't want these folks having more say about my kids' education than do their teachers. Our teachers do not deserve to be put on the defensive in this manner.


Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Mar 26, 2011 at 2:05 am

One small problem with the "business model" of "accountability": In business, it's a customer-service model. If I'm a sales clerk in a store and the customer doesn't like the service I've given him, he can complain to my manager. I might be disciplined or even fired on a whim.

Is that what you want for our public schools? Because I have had a few parents (not many, but a few) over my career who have insisted that I change their child's grade and have even gone over my principal's head, appealing directly to friends in district administration and the school board. I even had a student who told me "My Dad's going to get you fired." Wonder where he got that idea?

If I were an at-will employee, in the treasured "business model" of accountability, I would have been given poor "customer service" to the parents (my "bosses") and I would have been fired or else been forced to change the grades.

And this would be an improvement over our current system how, exactly?

The problem in Pleasanton appears to be that many folks in this community cannot grasp the concept of teachers as professionals rather than servants.

People who attack teachers say they respect us, but really, they don't. What is really bothering them is that although we are public servants, we also have professional discretion (within certain parameters) and can't be fired the way they would a recalcitrant maid or gardener.

But just as happened in Wisconsin, the true nature of agenda of the anti-public school teachers crowd will surface. In fact, it already has, and you don't have to look very hard to see it.


Posted by Observation, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 26, 2011 at 8:50 am

YAT - The situation of potental dismissal based on a whim/individual situation is ficticious even in private industry. There are plenty of law/rules that help to ensure there must be a track record of issues before someone is dismissed. This would be exactly the same in education sans a union. But there would be expeditious removal of all the bad apples in the system (or they would get the message that they needed to improve their performance and make the necessary changes).

I still chuckle at all the bad teacher around this country in rubber rooms that are safe from being fired while many of our good, young teachers are being laid off. And it is very unfortunate that the remainder of the education budget continues to get squeezed so that salaries/raises/pensions of more senior teachers/administrators are protected. All while our education system is failing according to international standards.

I believe if there where more dramatic, fundamental changes to the current system, there would be more support from the community for another parcel tax. But unfortunately, there is not. And this is coming from someone who has donated significant money every year and paid the equivalent money in lieu of the previous parcel tax that did not pass.

I will be voting no on E.


Posted by concerned, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 26, 2011 at 9:35 am

The No on E people have been presenting alternatives. They are not just saying No but saying what they feel needs to be done. Like no raises when the state is not giving money for raises. Looking at why we have administrators with excessive pensions. Plus being frank about the bonds that have been refunded and cashed-out without voter approval. Maybe the district received bad advise in the past about cash-outs but it is time they come forward, talk about what happened, and then move on. The district needs to gain trust from the community and by saying no taxes used for raises while they give out $1.5M per year in raises, nothing illegal done with bond cash-outs while they know it was wrong (or at least now know what they did in the past was wrong), if they want to get the community all on the same page. I expect that our district of "character" would be honest about this. The community can deal with honesty, even if it is not always the answer we want. We have a hard time dealing with dishonesty.


Posted by just a thought, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 10:24 am

I know that this won't actually ever happen, but just a thought...what if the PTA/PFC group at each school would pony up some cash to save programs at the district level?

I know the schools my kids go to have A LOT of money they are trying to spend...and one achool really has nothing to spend it on. They have a number of needs, but "can't" spend on these things for various reasons.

I hate to see money being spent on frivolous things (portable laptop computer lab), or sat on becasue their bylaws prohibit them from using the money where it is really needed.

If donations/fundraisers were not for specific, defined purposes, why can't these groups help out? They seem to be doing pretty well in this poor economy?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 26, 2011 at 10:44 am

Stacey is a registered user.

puzzled wrote:

"They talk about making education conform to a business model." Who?

"many businesses are not very good. Many do not have clear principles by which to hire and fire, promote and demote." Which?

"Many businesses -- a majority, in fact -- fail" Again, which?

"most No supporters are outspoken about wanting to get rid of unions" Who?

"They want us to believe they can do a better job of educating our kids than can the teachers." Who?

I read the ballot arguments against Measure E and I see nothing about breaking unions, implementing a business model, replacing teachers, etc.


Posted by DB, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 26, 2011 at 11:11 am

Brown's plan is to cut funding to local services, such as schools, knowing full well that the cost will be covered on the local level, through parcel taxes and other local taxes. This way, Brown doesn't have to cut big government in Sacramento. Don't buy into Brown's blackmail. Do not support the parcel tax. Force Brown to cut the unnecessary overhead and rampant waste in Sacramento.


Posted by DB, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 26, 2011 at 11:14 am

Why do we allow the superintendent who makes $220K/year an automobile allowance? It is appalling that she has the nerve to ask for money from a community in which she doesn't live, while milking us with a high salary and extravagant perks!


Posted by Observation, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 26, 2011 at 11:22 am

Interesting read in case you missed it:

Weingarten for the Union Defense

Teachers Union Chief Randi Weingarten on charter schools, reformers Michelle Rhee and Joel Klein, and her star turn in 'Waiting for Superman.'.

Web Link


Posted by puzzled, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Stacey seems to be jockeying for top 'non-reader' of these posts. A study in intentional ignorance? Unbelievable.


Posted by fred oshner, a resident of Danbury Park
on Mar 26, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I agree with puzzled. It is a good idea to read closely all of the above NO on MEASURE E statements. They seem to be exercises in trying to locate a tempest in a teapot. YES on E seems the most sensible way to go.


Posted by A Pleasant Parrot, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 26, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Oh no, Stacey has lost her Google powers!

Once she could find an obscure triviality to punch a pin-sized hole in someone else's argument, leap over towering logic in a single bound, and reply faster than a rolling O!

Who can save us from this disaster? Where will we get needless pontificating now?!?!


Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Mar 26, 2011 at 1:42 pm

So...fundamental, nationwide reform of our public education system must be taken before certain Pleasantonians will vote for a 35 cent a day tax?

What a lame, lamentable, and laughable excuse that is for non-action.

Anyway, I don't think we should have a parcel tax in Pleasanton. It clearly won't pass, and even if it does, the small amount raised is not commensurate to the effort, money, and political capital required to obtain it.

I think Ms. Ahmadi has misjudged the situation, relying heavily on the counsel of the assistant superintendents from the Casey Administration. Remember, the Board, at Casey's direction, gave three-year contractual guarantees to Casey's handpicked subordinates so that his administration could continue under the new superintendent, old wine in a new bottle. Ms. Ahmadi, unlike Dr. Casey, doesn't get to pick her own staff, which should be every Superintendent's right. I suspect that Ms. Ahmadi was brought in for a limited term; she will use up all of her goodwill and well-earned reputation as an administrator to get the parcel tax, and then the Board will not extend her contract, and instead put one of Casey's people in as the next Superintendent. In other words, Ahmadi will do all the hard work of repairing the damage from Casey's mismanagement and then one of Casey's people will step in. Seen it happen before in other districts.


Posted by While I disagree, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Mar 26, 2011 at 1:44 pm

While I completely disagree with the people who spoke up against Measure E at the board meeting, I have to say it's nice that someone actually spoke out in public, instead of hiding behind anonymous posts on Pleasanton Weekly.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 26, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I thought it had been decided by another poster or posters that putting effort into attacking the messenger was a fruitless way to be building up an argument in support of Measure E. When challenged, the questions could not be answered. It's a study in so-called weasel-worded spin intended to throw voters off the practical matters. Is it really not possible to argue for Measure E on its own merits without resorting to personal attacks? Unfortunate.


Posted by Keep going Stacey, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Keep going Stacey - many of are listening to your argument.

Whenever someone resorts to name calling/character assassination, it makes me automatically question their perspective as it seems they can't win on the logic of their argument.


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 26, 2011 at 2:24 pm

To 'Really' -
How did you arrive at your $4000 figure?
The APT union MOU says 5 furlough days is 2.7% of a full time salary, which would mean the top teacher makes $148,000 per year?
Half of the teachers (per the most recent scattergram) received pay raises with step (~3%) greater than the furlough day effect. So these teachers, received their step raises, and then the furlough days (unpaid vacation days) took some of it back. Net effect is that half the teachers received a pay raise and worked less days. Not too bad, eh?
So, again, how did you determine that "the teachers took a voluntary $4000 pay cut last year"?


Posted by Observation, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm

YAT - There is a fundamental lack of trust in teacher unions/administration. The incomplete/deceptive communications surrounding Measure E is just the latest example.


Posted by Another perspective, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm

...or maybe people see someone obsessively, compulsively posting here day in and day out for years on end?


Posted by p-town parrent, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 26, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I don't think the people against E have made a case. They don't like our teachers. They don't like our administrators. They don't like our board. They don't like taxes. Many don't seem invested in our children. I'd lkike to see a higher tax based upon our curent needs. But I will support E.


Posted by puzzled, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 3:02 pm

One doesn't refute an argument with questions -- especially questions the answers to which can be found with very little difficulty. An expectation of civil dialogue is that arguments be refuted with arguments, not disingenuous questions. Feigned ignorance is not going to convince anyone of anything.


Posted by lc, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Mar 26, 2011 at 3:48 pm

$70:00 for back to school supplies.
$75:00 donation to science classes.
$20:00 donation to art class.
$25:00 to computer lab.
$400 for softball
$300 for baseball
$50:00 for pottery class.
$20:00 donation for drama
$3,0000 for a tutor because my son is struggling in math, and the list goes on!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

puzzled,

What argument? You posted nothing about the merits of Measure E.


Posted by Another perspective, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm

I wonder if your son's focus on computers, art, pottery, baseball, softball, and drama in any way affects his success in math.


Posted by pp, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

lc,
sounds like maybe your kid is struggling with math because he's too busy playing baseball, softball and computer games. a little more math and less pottery time might help. your next-door neighbor.


Posted by Another perspective, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm

What argument? Which Measure E? What disingenuous questions? Feigned ignorance? Who's on first? Who put the ram in the ramalamadingdong?


Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Mar 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm

(feigns a Scarlett O'Hara accent): "Facts? Why, you Yankee beast, how dare you and those evil unions demand facts to support mah opposition to the parcel tax! Why, ah nevah! That may be how you do things in Berkeley but that's just not how it's done heah in Pleasanton!"

Puh-LEESE. I don't support the parcel tax because it's too small and not worth the fight (and it's going to be defeated anyway--Ms. Ahamdi doesn't know what a snakepit of right-wing anti-union radicalism Pleasanton harbors, but she's about to find out), but those opposing Measure E are at last taking off their masks of feigned "respect" for teachers and "support" for public schools.

Fact is, the anti-Measure E folks don't respect teachers, they hate unions and government itself on principle, and some of them (one of them posting here) wants to profit by turning PUSD schools into "charter schools" that will be privately (and lucratively) administered.

"Disingenuous" is another word for "liar". The anti-Measure E crowd, aka the Tea Partiers, are lying about their agenda, same as Governor Walker in Wisconsin. That's ok, we figured it out anyway.


Posted by puzzled, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Stacey,
You're sounding more and more like mr. scrambled eggs every day. If you can't grasp the arugments, then either say so or, as many might prefer, refrain from deflection as a way of turning the spotlight onto yourself. Civil discourse, again, is not about deflecting the thrust of someone's arguments with disingenuous questions. (By the way, you seem to have a nasty little fly nearby who insists on supplementing your offerings with an annoying buzzing sound. Yet you do not denounce his idiocy. Are you that desperate for support?)

Fact is, the folks against the measure seem not to have made an adequate case for an alternative. A lot of anger, hand-waving, and now concerted deflection. I do not think the NO people are doing the citizens of Pleasanton any favor at all. They certainly aren't doing the kids any favors. Just kicking up dust in hopes maybe a political position might be gained at the end of the day is what it seems like. The entire thrust of the NO position seems bound up with a nasty destructiveness. Wish you would leave our kids alone.


Posted by get a life YAT, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 26, 2011 at 5:19 pm

blah blah blah, here goes YAT again. Go ahead and spew your lies about Stacey, we have all heard it before from you.
I happen to be a union member, a Democrat and firmly opposed to the salary tax. Why would that be? Well, YAT, that would be because this salary tax rewards people like you. The tax will barely cover the S & C raises in year one and not even pay for your raises in year two. It is unbelievable that anyone would expect the taxpayers to fund more raises for teachers in this economy. The teachers want tenure and raises at the expense of programs to benefit the kids.
It is not about disrespect for competent teachers (competent being the operative word YAT), it is about PUSD learning to live within its budget. Get rid of the car allowances and the cell phones. Stop the automatic raises for teachers and then come back to talk about a parcel tax that will actually do something for the schools and the kids. Measure E pays for teacher raises. Period.
NO ON THE SALARY TAX


Posted by mickey, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 5:31 pm

To lc:
Math is closely related to analytical reasoning. Your son appears to be having difficulty in math. Are we supposed to be surprised to learn that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree?


Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Mar 26, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I don't qualify for step and column increases for the next four years. Not every teacher gets S&C every year.

So...in addition to other things...if a teacher posts an opinion here that is contrary to anti-Measure E folks, that teacher is automatically assumed an incompetent? Glad you're being open-minded and objective about this :)

I don't get a car allowance. I pay for my own cell phone. I spend $2,500 a year out of my own pocket for classroom suppies. I didn't hire Merlin "Clem" Donaldson as my sidekick and then ensured he got a $178,000 a year pension, Dr. Çasey did.

And absolutely y'all disrespect teachers. You say you respect us, but then in the next breath you say PUSD is a bad district (it's not), teachers are greedy (we're not, that's the Wall Street bankers who melted the economy), that the unions are evil (they're not, unions are the reason we have unemployment insurance, the 40 hour work week, and Social Security in this country).

And on and on it goes. The real reason what's-his-name is mad at me? Because I've exposed the hypocrisy motivating the anti-Measure E crowd. This reminds me of the ending of every Scooby-Doo cartoon: "I'd have gotten away with, it, if not for Yet Another Teacher!"


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 5:46 pm

I just received the sample ballot.

The no argument is strong and makes some good points. However, we're going to vote yes. Although our head partly says no, our heart says yes.

However, I am also looking forward to hearing what will be saved with this money. I want to know what is going in the parcel tax ringfence before the vote and I want to know that it is going towards specific useful things that will help the kid's education.

People like YAT and puzzled aren't helping the yes case because when I read their statements my blood starts to boil and I wonder why I'm voting yes.


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 26, 2011 at 6:08 pm

To 'parent' - If PUSD does not say what the parcel tax funds will pay for before your vote, will you still vote yes?
After all, the way the measure is written, and confirmed by the school board, PUSD will decide each year what the funds will be spent on. One year it could be library books, the next year PE specialists, the next year music instructors, and so on.


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Oh, and let us not forget these parcel tax funds can pay for teachers who receive step and column salary increases.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Start Afresh, I'm finding this very difficult. I want to do the best thing for the kids and newer teachers in the short and long term and these aren't necessarily compatible goals.

I know for sure that I would vote yes if I knew what was ringfenced and knew that these things were kid-facing.

I must not have read the measure properly because I thought once it was decided what was being "saved", it would apply for all four years and that is what the independent oversight committee was supposed to check on.

I hope they can't change what's being saved each year as we lose that feeling of actually saving something important and not having to worry so much. There is also the issue of trust and I would rather not have to rely on trust, I'd rather have things in black and white at the start.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 26, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Did anyone see "Waiting for Superman"? Michelle Rhee, then-chancellor of the DC school system, proposed that teachers could vote to retain the union or get rid of the union and go with merit pay, meaning the best teachers could earn six-figure salaries. The union was so terrified at the proposition of merit pay that the union leaders would not even allow a vote. Disgusting.

The outstanding teachers in Pleasanton are woefully underpaid. The only way to get the money these teachers deserve is through merit pay. Why, on God's green Earth, do people think teachers cannot be evaluated the way the rest of us are evaluated at work?! C'mon people. It's painfully obvious which teachers are good (the majority in Pleasanton) and which are bad.

And please note that Pleasanton teachers do not get benefits because that's specifically how the UNION chose to set up teacher compensation when PUSD was formed in (I believe) 1988. Dublin went with lower pay and good benefits. Pleasanton chose much higher pay and zero benefits -- wisely so, since most teachers have spouses who get benefits.


Posted by A Pleasant Parrot, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 26, 2011 at 7:56 pm

It is so weird to read posts from people who think that a union dictates to its members. A union IS its members, and unions vote on action and important decisions.

Many of you are really, really underinformed about a lot of issues you're fighting against. You certainly have the right to an opinion, but how valuable is an uniformed one?


Posted by Parent, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 26, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I am well aware that the teachers are the union. Perhaps I should have chosen better wording. The teachers voted for higher pay and no benefits when PUSD was formed.


Posted by been there, done that, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 10:03 pm

I was a college professor at a school that had merit pay. The faculty voted overwhelmingly against it, and we have it no longer. Why? Because merit pay was decided by administrators, who abused the idea of merit. My course student evaluations were in highest 5% for 10 straight years. Yet I did not receive a single merit increase. Why? Admin didn't like what I taught, and they thought I was too much a teacher who wasn't sufficiently deferential to administrators. I was by no means an exception. Faculty voted 74%-17% against merit pay. Replaced by? Basically an S and C schema. Anyone with experience in education will tell you basically the same thing. These no-nothing anti-Measure E folks are dealing in fool's gold. They know nothing about education in the trenches. All they have is pseudo ideals that promise a utopia when in fact they will likely create a dystopia. I find it sickening that these no-nothings are attempting to impose their ignorance and half-baked notions on our kids. As someone above stated to the anti-Measure E folks: Leave our kids alone!


Posted by been there, done that, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 10:26 pm

oops.... know-nothings, not no-nothings. Message is still the same to the anti-Measure E folks: Leave our kids alone! They are in good hands, with strong teachers in an excellent school district. They don't need you poking your uninformed noses into their educational lives.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 10:49 pm

"They don't need you poking your uninformed noses into their educational lives."

So that's how you're going to campaign for a yes vote?


Posted by parent, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 26, 2011 at 10:53 pm

"As someone above stated to the anti-Measure E folks: Leave our kids alone!"

I would say the same to you. The state hasn't given money for raises, so lay off for a year or two and leave our kids alone!


Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Thank you Start afresh for allowing me to once again repeat my point

"Despite all of this your teachers agreed to accept 3 furlough days last year and five this year to save jobs and preserve programs. Their sacrifice amounts to between $2,610 and $4,239 in gross salary depending on their position on the salary schedule."

Of course you would have the community believe differently, but anyway you measure this, it goes above and beyond the $98 dollars now asked of the community. The shared sacrifice that was demanded of the teachers was met by one side, yet the community voted to keep cutting from our children's education. And this came from an overwhelming vote from the union which saved teachers, programs, and cuts to your children's education.

Pleasanton teachers have paid and continue to daily to run classrooms dealing with cuts to their funds, and this is the response we hear from the community?

Ignoring the truth, and attacking the teachers with inaccurate information in order to avoid the real issues about what is happening to the schools in this community will in no way improve our education system.

parent, to find what the parcel tax will fund, read here Web Link


Posted by IC, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Mar 26, 2011 at 11:28 pm

What are you people taking about? Baseball my son plays, and donation was made. Softball my daughter plays, and a donation was given. Pottery is a subject in school, and a donation was given. Computer lab is a subject my younger son takes, and a donation was given. The point I was trying to make is that schools ask for donations, and many parents willingly contribute.


Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Mar 27, 2011 at 1:45 am

Hm, let's see, the anti-parcel tax folks are kicking and screaming about $98 a year. Over the past two years, due to furlough days, I contributed roughly $4,000...$4,000 divided by $98 = nearly 41 years of parcel taxes.

$4000 is a lot of money for me, but I knew that sacrifice had to be made.

So the anti-Measure E folks are either incredibly cheap ($98 a year isn't a lot of money) or they have another agenda.

I don't think this is about the money or prudent financial management at all. It's about hostility to the very idea of unionized labor, public education, and even government itself. It's right-wing radicalism at its worst.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Avignon
on Mar 27, 2011 at 6:19 am

That 4 grand you kicked in, YAT, wasn't really your money. That was taxpayer money. You work for us, and your job is to take what we give you. Every time you buy groceries you should be thanking the true productive types in Pleasanton who contribute to the gross national product, unlike you teacher parasites who don't contribute anything to our society. We are suffering from low tax morale, and frankly your measly $4000 means nothing against my $98. Who are you trying to kid? I wish you'd leave our kids alone. I only send my kids to school because the Big Brother state says I have to. I have outstanding reasoning capacity, but my kids aren't doing well in school. Obviously it's the teachers' fault. Their union wants to turn our society into the Soviet Union.


Posted by parent, a resident of Castlewood Heights
on Mar 27, 2011 at 6:55 am

I think if we as parents do our job of educating our kids at home, the teachers will continue to do the fine job they do in educating our kids at school. I have volunteered in the classroom once a week for the past four years and I have seen my kid's teachers up close. They deserve every penny they make. I cannot understand what is motivating people to attack them so. It's not good for the teachers, and it is not good for our children. I see people trying to score some questionable political points at the expense of our children. It is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Measure E will help our teachers and help our kids. I support the measure.


Posted by IC, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Mar 27, 2011 at 8:44 am

To Mickey,

The reason my son struggles at math is because he has a learning disability. I really hope that your own children have more compassion than you seem to exhibit. Use your brain and think about the comments that you make before you judge others. Please except my apology for adding an extra 0 to $2,000, my fingers were sticky. And to the woman who suggested my son plays too much softball, I'm sure he would look good in my daughter's high school softball outfit!


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2011 at 8:48 am

to Really?

These very general points your link led to indicate just about anything can be "saved", including things that we already have that are currently paid for out of money in our general fund.

There is no sense of what is going to be prioritized and it leaves the management board open to prioritizing the things they want rather than the things that the parents and children might prioritize.

Remember last year when they did the surveys and then ignored the results (like the fact that high school parents valued 7th period very highly)?

These are the points from your link:

"Emphasize core academic instruction that improves math, science and reading skills;
Attract and retain highly-qualified teachers;
Support specialized science and reading instruction;
Keep school libraries open and maintain library services and materials; and
Minimize class size increases."

I would like to know specifics so that we, and the newer teachers who are bearing the brunt of this discussion, know where things stand for a few years and we get some breathing space.

An example of telling us specifically what our money would go on would read something like this:

The 8 million will fund the following over the next 4 years:

We will retain reading specialists at the current level - cost $ xxx
Class sizes will remain at 25-1 - cost $ xxx
We will reinstate 7th period: cost - $ xxx
We will not cut the day in elementary: cost - $ xxx

There will be things that can't make this list and then the CORE campaign and union negotiations can help cover these things, but everyone will know where we stand.


Posted by dublin facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2011 at 8:53 am

Check your facts parent. Dublin does not include benefits in the salary schedule. The teachers buy them just like Pleasanton.

However, there does not seem to be the discord in Dublin like there is here. Plus, the district is growing with the opening of another new elementary school.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 27, 2011 at 9:26 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Dublin,

Whatever happened with that battle over a second high school? Reminds me a little bit of the push for a third high school here in Pleasanton.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 27, 2011 at 9:28 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Wasn't that new elementary school in Dublin a source of much controversy itself?


Posted by Another perspective, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2011 at 9:44 am

IC,

Convenient way to turn around your list of "donations" to the school. "I have to pay thousands to tutor my son" doesn't quite condemn teachers as much as you hoped now that you have to admit it's due to his disability, does it?

What a community of caricatures


Posted by The Toad, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 27, 2011 at 9:46 am

Vote no on the parcel tax.
Suspend step and column and maybe I would vote for it.

However, measure E is largely irrelevant to the budget crisis facing PUSD. Costs will always march higher (due to step and column) and revenues are heading down.

The school board, comprised of ostriches, will do nothing do address the structural changes that must be made. Just watch the monthly meetings and witness them sticking there heads in the sand.


Posted by Another perspective, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2011 at 9:46 am

Stacey,

Why change the subject? Could it be you have another astonishing Google to share and need to redirect the conversation before you can use it?


Posted by Parent, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 27, 2011 at 9:58 am

I have checked my facts. This is from the Dublin Unified website:
Medical benefits dollar allocation is included in the certificated salary schedule.

Here's the link:
Web Link


Posted by Another perspective, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2011 at 10:09 am

Parent,

Did you READ that link? It says the teachers PAY out of their salaries, not that it is included.

If this is the level of parent competence that Pleasanton teachers have to swim upstream against, then they are way underpaid.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 27, 2011 at 10:21 am

Stacey is a registered user.

No. Nothing to share. Just provided commentary on the state of Dublin school politics in place of attacking other posters.


Posted by IC, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Mar 27, 2011 at 11:24 am

I wasn't turning anything around. I was simply stating that people make assumptions when they do not know the facts. The list that I put together was a list of donations that I give to the schools in this area. Why on earth would you assume I was running teachers down? I never stated anything regarding teachers. We live in an area where people support schools by giving their time, money and commitment to education. Let's move on!


Posted by Just a thought, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2011 at 11:55 am

"The reason my son struggles at math is because he has a learning disability."

At the risk of sounding non-poltically correct, I must say that school districts spend a lot of money on special ed. This contributes to a deficit because the normally developed students get less attention, and some special ed kids get integrated into regular classrooms, making it more difficult for even the best of teachers to keep the class running smoothly and make sure all kids master the material.

The money needed to keep staff, ranging from reading specialists to counselors, will benefit the special ed population a lot more than the normally developed kids (who will be affected but will somehow get by). So I guess you should vote yes on E?


Posted by another parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm

to Another Perspective, most of our teachers do no take, or want, health insurance because their spouse has the family covered. They instead have a higher salary which also means a higher pension.

There are over 720 certificated employees in the district. I was told that 65 of them take the family health insurance. There are 180 who take a single health insurance but that is fairly well priced at $7,100 per year. For the family health insurance plan, I wonder how many of them have both spouses working in the district where one take the insurance and the other takes the cash. This is probably families like the Delanani's who are listed in the top pension receives in Pleasanton and their combined pension is over $210,000 per year. Underpaid, I think not.


Posted by Another perspective, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Ugh, again with the non-teacher pensions being submitted as a teacher pension issue. As has been pointed out again and again and again on these blogs, the Delaninis were district employees, not teachers. Using their example (or Casey's, or Coupe's) suggests either an attempt to deceive or ignorance.

And yes, something like 40% of teachers have to buy insurance because they are single or they are not covered by their spouse. Are you suggesting they should be burdened even further in order to spite the other 60%? Why mention this statistic at all?


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm

To 'Another Perspective' - Before you rail about parent competence, note the website also says 'The employee's *portion* is automatically deducted from an employee's paycheck.' Emphasis on the word 'portion'. Which means Dublin Unified pays a portion as well?


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Start Afresh,

I just got a new leaflet and you're right, it says "The District is required to present a Measure E expediture plan in a public forum every year".

So the priorities can change each year, nothing is guaranteed to be saved and no one can rest easy about anything even with the extra $8 million.

We just get to fight about what goes into the parcel tax pot each year and we all know for obvious reasons that there will be diminishing funds for the kids programs even if we have flat funding from the state.

So if we really want to keep step and column + programs in place, we'll probably need to add another $100/150 to the parcel tax every year.

If it were up to me, I'd make sure we were ringfencing programs as I've suggested. It would create a lot of goodwill and trust and we'd have an incentive to tackle the structural issues we face as we'd have to figure out how to pay for them, not the kids programs, each year.


Posted by just a resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Yet another teacher says: "I don't think this is about the money or prudent financial management at all. It's about hostility to the very idea of unionized labor, public education, and even government itself. It's right-wing radicalism at its worst."

"hostility" is an interesting word to use if indeed someone was not in favor of "pubic" unions. Hostile is a pretty strong word to use.

Could you be against "public" unions and not be hostile?

And assuming anyone who is not in favor of "public" unions is "right wing" is another interesting belief held by "Yet"

Yet another teacher: Could one be against public unions and not be hostile or right wing? And if so, could that person vote NO on E ?




Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Mar 27, 2011 at 5:02 pm

If you're going to argue against me, don't place words in quotation marks that aren't mine.

I didn't write "public unions".

This is what I wrote:

"I don't think this is about the money or prudent financial management at all. It's about hostility to the very idea of unionized labor, public education, and even government itself. It's right-wing radicalism at its worst."

And yes, the anti-Measure E people are led by anti-government Tea Party radicals. They are following the dictate of right-wing activist Grover Norquist to "shrink government until it's small enough to drown in a bathtub."

And no, I do not believe that if my union agreed to freeze step-and-column that anti-parcel tax folks would suddenly become supporters. This isn't about the money or how it's spent; it's about something more fundamental, which is the very existence of public education, organized labor, and even the legitimacy of government itself.

You see, the Tea Partiers believe President Obama is not really President because he wasn't born in this country (they say he was born in Kenya). Therefore, the US government is illegitimate and UFOS are kidnapping our kids and blah blah blah...it's all Looney Tunes but that's their world.

That's why trying to argue with facts and figures never works. The Tea Partiers don't live in our reality, but rather exist in some parallel dimension.


Posted by just a resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Yet another teacher: I quoted you correctly and specifically gave you credit for your words. And if you read correctly "public unions" was NOT included in YOUR quote but only my way to specifically discern between public vs non public unions least someone would interpret I meant ALL unions.

Interesting thought process, however, that you would bring President Obama, his birth place etc into the conversation and yet never answered what I thought were pretty simple yes/no questions.

so will try again: Could one be against public unions and not be hostile or right wing? And if so, could that person vote NO on E ?











Posted by Bill, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 27, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Posters,
We need to get back to facts. Measure E does not guarantee increased the funding for any important program. Please read the Measure. You will find motherhood and apple pie like "attract and retain highly-qualified teachers", "support specialized science and reading instruction", etc. Then in capital letters: "Under no circumstances shall any of the proceeds of the core academic instruction parcel tax be used for administrators' salaries or benefits and no parcel tax revenue will be used to increase salaries or benefits for employees". They must think we voters are pretty stupid. If the parcel tax revenue goes to buy library books, the money that would have been used to buy library books can go right into raises and perquisites for employees and administrators. In fact, the raises are already planned in the budget. Please vote NO on Measure E - it does not insure that our money will be used wisely, and the current budget is strong evidence that the District does not know how to use our money wisely.
Bill


Posted by Bill, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 28, 2011 at 12:33 am

To To Bill
After a teacher has been teaching for years, is tenured, and has been getting raises whether or not he has been doing a good job, what makes you think that he remembers anything about the tests he took to get his credential many years back? You are right: I have not been a classroom for a long time, but my kids have. I have helped them with homework assignments that were written by teachers whose command of the English language was so poor that one could hardly understand the assignment. I have attended open house days and been blown away by a chemistry teacher whose idea of a good experiment was blowing bubbles with a Bunsen burner. I have dealt with an algebra teacher who could not work the most simple problems without having the answer sheet. My kids had to be home schooled through quite a few of the classes they took in the Pleasanton schools - especially math and science. Look around - why are Kumon, Huntington and Sylvan thriving in Pleasanton? We are paying taxes to the public schools, but parents who want their kids to excel have to pay even more for private instruction and spend long nights working through what the teachers did not do. I know first hand why some of the teachers and all of the union leaders cringe at the thought of merit based pay, test for teachers, etc., and I know first hand why you want us to think that it is SO... difficult to gauge teacher performance. You are a teacher and you don't want the truth to come out.
Bill


Posted by been there, done that, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 1:16 am

The anti-E Measure persons seem to be attempting to calibrate a complex educational system while wearing oven mitts. They seem to have this absurd idea that school systems should be 'democratized' -- that parents should be determining teacher salaries, promotion/demotion criteria, raises, furloughs, and to hear ol' hyperbolic bill talk, course instruction materials.

Teachers are trained to teach. Most are quite good at it. Administrators are trained to administer. Most are good at it. They know their jobs better than does an overzealous, vocal minority who, with little knowledge of the technics of teaching and administration, want to impose a right-wing ideology and agenda upon the system. Sometimes teachers fall short of the system's goals; that's what administrators are for. Sometimes administrators fall short of professional administrative standards; and that's what the union is there for. I don't want right-wing zealots telling my kids' teachers how to teach; I don't want them telling administers how to administer. I want my kids' teachers to operate freely, to experiment, to take risks, albeit within specified parameters. I want administrators to make decisions after careful deliberation grounded in experience and expertise. I don't want tight fences around purse-string decisions. Each year, new problems and needs arise. Student populations go up and down; course needs are shifted based on teacher strengths and student demands; air conditioners break down; the list goes on. Why would we want to hogtie those whose responsibility it is to distribute money across the system?

I send my kids to Kumon, not because their teachers haven't done a good job teaching math, but because Kumon provides a fine supplement. Ol' Bill seems to have had a hard time with a lot of teachers -- claiming I'm sure with much objectivity that teachers' English was so poor that assignments couldn't be understood by him or by his kids (my guess probably especially by him; but at least he hasn't accused them, yet, of being illegal immigrants). I doubt anyone believes ol' Bill. I certainly don't. But even so, good ol' Bill seems to have trouble with just about everything, and so do his kids. Go figure.

There seems to be a strong political agenda at the core of the anti-E Measure posturings. With them, it is one red herring after another. All this is bad for teacher morale, and it is bound to produce negative reverberations that get felt by the kids. I wish the anti-E Measure people would bang a different drum and leave our kids alone. I wish they'd go bang the Bachmann drum or the Ayn Rand Paul drum or the claiming Obama needs to show his birth certificate drum. Those drums can be banged into oblivion without clashing heads with professional experts, teachers and administrators, in Pleasanton's excellent school system. Those drums can be banged without doing too much harm to the community.


Posted by been there, done that, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 1:25 am

I'm a strong supporter of democracy and support most democratization efforts. But it is foolish to want to further democratize the profession of engineering such that citizens have a say over how a bridge is to be built. I want my bridges built on firm foundations by well-trained professionals whose expertise is largely exempt from the vagaries of public opinion. I want my 747 airline pilot in a cockpit protected from a vocal minority amongst the passengers who, because they've read an hilariously philosophically flawed Ayn Rand novel, think they can fly the plane better than the pilot because the pilot belongs to a union, or because he gets a higher salary than they do, or because their ticket price makes them his boss. This is all so much foolishness, that is coming at the expense of our children.


Posted by get a life YAT, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 28, 2011 at 10:51 am

ROLF -- " I want my 747 airline pilot in a cockpit protected from a vocal minority amongst the passengers who, because they've read an hilariously philosophically flawed Ayn Rand novel, think they can fly the plane better than the pilot because the pilot belongs to a union, or because he gets a higher salary than they do, or because their ticket price makes them his boss."
Are you aware that your 747 airline pilot is tested for between 3 and 6 full days EVERY YEAR on every flight system in the plane and every emergency that could possibly ever go wrong and then some? Failing to pass those tests means the end of their job. How often are teachers ever tested once they have their credential? Never.
Oh and the salary thing -- are you aware that captains on jets for regional carriers often make less than $24,000 per year? Or that pilots for MAJOR airlines often make less than $75,000 per year? That is for being away from home (working) more than 300 hours per month, each and every month, not for having every weekend, holiday and summer off. And let's see now, the median salary for a teacher in Pleasanton is more than $80,000. Tell me again why I should vote for a salary tax to pay them more.
NO ON THE SALARY TAX


Posted by mud, and more mud, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Annual test for 2nd grade teacher: 7 + 4 = ?

Following year: 4 + 7 = ?

Following year: 7 + 4 = ?

Can you hear the right-wing loonies complaining about all their taxpayer dollars going into senseless annual testing of teachers? Can't find a legitimate issue? They'll make one up. Wish they'd go home and leave our kids alone.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Before the taxpayers vote for a parcel tax, there should be a detailed plan showing how the proceeds are to be spent and how every unnecessary dollar is going to be cut from the budget. Measure E does neither. The current PUSD budget is wasteful, current administration salaries are bloated, and Measure E contains no concrete plan to increase the funding for critical programs or otherwise improve education. We are already "supporting our schools" to the tune of $130,000,000 annually. What is Measure E going to do besides allowing the PUSD to continue wasting money?
Bill


Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Mar 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm

A rigid plan to spend money is not businesslike. Thought the right-wingers wanted public agencies run more like private enterprises?

Hm, ok, so let's say that Apple allocates $30 million to be spent on developing a new product, the iPlod. Halfway through the project, it becomes clear that the product is not feasible and needs to be abandoned. There's $15 million remaining in the project development account.

WWSJD? What Would Steve Jobs Do? Would he want the $15 million shifted to a more feasible product line or insist that the remaining money be spent on a product that will never come to market?

Of course we know the answer. But the excuse du jour of the right-winger Tea Party folk who infest and infect Pleasanton politics is that the spending of every single dollar raised from taxes must be spelled out in excruciating detail, and then, and only then, will they stop screaming and whining about being asked to pay $98 a year extra....

It's an old trick, bait-and-switch. Freeze step-and-column or no new taxes. Ok, once S&C is frozen, now we need a detailed spending plan. Ok, got one. Now, we need to dissolve the public employee unions, because we don't like them. Ok, dissolved. Now, we need to get rid of teacher tenure because we don't like that, either...

It never ends, does it? Yeah, that's what I thought.


Posted by Voter theft, a resident of Danbury Park
on Mar 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm

So much for these mail in ballots. We have 6 voters at my home and all of us were and are going to vote no on E but that is secondary to this blog. My neighbors are aware of my voting preferences and someone stole the ballots out of my mailbox. My daughers ballot was the only one left and my mail had been pulled out of the mailbox. For those of you voting either for or against this initiative please be aware and look out for this.


Posted by New Sign, a resident of Castlewood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm

I am also voting NO ON E, but a Yes On E sign has mysteriously appeared on my property. I took it down. Anyone have a NO ON E sign?
New Sign


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm

YAT - I think most people - pro or con would like to know exactly what the money will be spent on.

I don't think that we're going to decide a year or two down the line that reading specialists don't work.

I think it will help some no's vote yes. If they know the money is going for and that this can't be changed by anyone, it's a good thing. It helps people trust that their money will help the kids.

And yes, the budget situation might change.

But the community is possibly voting to give an additional 8 million dollars to the school system. It seems fair enough that since every bit of marketing material says this has nothing to do with raises, that this money can be spent on things the community values and cuurent and future financial issues that may come about because of raises can and should be dealt with separately from this funding.


Posted by Yet Another Taxpayer, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Hey Yet Another Teacher,
Last time I looked, Steve Jobs was not begging for taxpayer money, and his shareholders were pretty happy with the way he was spending his PROFITS. If you want to compare the public schools to the private sector, you had better start doing more teaching and spend less time at the newspaper websites. The private sector evaluates performance and demands excellence. In the private sector, if your product does not sell, you fold up your tent, you don't pass a parcel tax.
YATaxpayer


Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Mar 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Thanks for helping make my point. A school district is a non-profit institution and a private enterprise has as its primary concern the generation of profits.

Which is why it's so silly and useless to demand that government agencies be run "more like a business". They have different goals and functions.

But once again, the Tea Partiers throw out more doubletalk: Run schools like a business! But they're not, so don't compare them to businesses! Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

And yeah, Apple has asked for huge tax breaks, as have all of the Silicon Valley businesses. Not only that, but Apple depends on the taxpayer-funded infrastructure of seaports, roads, and bridges (not to mention the police and fire departments), as do all businesses. And one big reason California has Silicon Valley, rather than, say, Idaho, is because of its proximity to California's world-class universities. Private enterprise depends on government services and government depends on private enterprise, but that doesn't mean they can, or should, function in the same way.

Sorry, I realize that reasoning is far too complex for your black-or-white thinking, in which everything private businesses (like British Petroleum or Citibank!) do is wonderful and everything government does is evil and wrong.

Ah well, I did try to reason with you.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 28, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Dear YAT (the teacher),
You asked WWSJD - What would Steve Jobs do if he had spent $15M of his $30M budget only to discover the iPlod was a dead end. Here is the answer: Steve would go to his Board of Directors, who represent the shareholders in Apple, and he would explain where every penny of the first $15 million was spent, and why it did not produce results. Then he would show the Board of Directors the gory details of how he planned to spend every penny of the remaining $15 million. If he were able to get Board approval, he would then embark on his new plan. The taxpayers are your Board of Directors, and YES we do want to know how the PUSD is going to spend our money, and we are not happy with how the PUSD has spent our money in the past. That is why those of us who have read Measure E will be voting NO, NO, NO - assuming we actually receive a ballot in our mailboxes and are able to retrieve it before someone else does.
Bill


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm

For any voters, pro or con: I don't think the ballots are mailed until the 4th April. You may have had a sample ballot in the mail recently.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 2:45 pm

YAT:

I am concerned about the time you spend on these blogs. Your posts are done during SCHOOL time. Do you not have students that you are supposed to be teaching? Or are you that one librarian and that is how you can afford to post during CLASS time?

Yes, some of us take breaks from work during compile time or something and log on briefly, but you are not supposed to neglect your students. I understand that students are not to be without a credentialed teacher during class time. So either you are not a teacher or you are not really teaching but using your computer while your students teach themselves the material or engage in SSR


Posted by Dublin Observer, a resident of Dublin
on Mar 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Dear YAT,
You say "A rigid plan to spend money is not businesslike." You obviously have not been employed at any management position in any business. Well-run businesses always have a rigid expense plan - it may have to be changed, but when it is created it is the best shot. And if the plan has to change, those changes will be reviewed and another rigid plan will be put in place. Seems like a fair request for a school district with a budget exceeding $100 million to be run "businesslike", and for the people paying the bills to be given the details about how money will be spent. I don't know what subject you teach, but I sure hope it is not economics. I am also wondering when you teach, because you are not doing much teaching here - you have a lot to learn my friend.
Observer


Posted by Bill is right!!!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I'm with Bill. There's sixteen people in my household who would be happy to vote for E, but not until PUSD removes all teachers with foreign accents. I want all my kids speaking American. And I want all advanced teaching certificates and masters' degrees rescinded from PUSD teachers, because it's fraudulent stuff like that that pads the s and c format. Only a test approved by myself will pass muster with my wife and my kids and my in-laws in my house.

I ask, along with Bill: "What is measure E going to do besides allowing the PUSD to continue wasting money?" No, you're right, the measure itself probably does answer our question, but like Bill I haven't read the measure, either. We don't need to in order to know what it is we oppose. And believe me, we oppose. Did you know we oppose?


Posted by swollen bunions judith, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Yes, I'll not vote Yes until I see where every red cent is going. I want all the books open. Before I foot any bill, I want to know exactly how much is being spent on every pencil, tape dispenser and workbook. I want every teacher in every classroom detailing each day how they're probably squandering taxpayer dollars. Thumb tacks. Indeed!

Let's make school administrators open their books to the public in the manner that successful businesses like NFL teams and GE do. Not until ... well, there's testing, too ... and the unions ... and teachers with foreign accents ... and teachers make more than I do ... and if airline pilots only make 25K per year (that inspires customer confidence, doesn't it) why should teachers be making so gosh darn much ... and seniority, too, I don't like it ... and administrators, do we really need them. There's a lot more I dislike, too. I'll tell you in a later post. Peace.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm

"The private sector evaluates performance and demands excellence. In the private sector, if your product does not sell, you fold up your tent, you don't pass a parcel tax."

Well, unless your company name is Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, or Bank of Americas. But that is another story.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm

There's no need to be so sarcastic.

All I think people are asking for (and I'm a yes vote) is something like (and this is just an example): "The parcel tax will keep reading specialists at the current level, 7th period and CSR at 25-1 for the duration of the parcel tax."

Then we know what we are saving. I would think teachers would also like to know this.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm

parent,

I think it would be risky for them to make those kinds of promises because the money coming from the state is so variable. We don't really know how much we will be getting from the state over the course of the parcel tax. It could be a lot less than expected, or it could be more.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Concerned parent: The way I see it, that's the whole point of ring-fencing things that the parcel tax will pay for. It will keep some programs away from state funding shortfalls. Our money will keep specific kid's programs safe.

There are many communities in CA that have already dropped pretty much everything legal and they're in a real mess. I've heard too many people from both sides saying that the other side has to see us at "rock bottom" before they'll cave.

Both sides seem to think we need to "show" the other side how bad it can get. Well I'd rather not go there and if we're going to have a parcel tax, let's try to protect something useful for the kids while the grown ups duke it out.


Posted by TruthTeller, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 28, 2011 at 3:50 pm

According to Measure E, the following four points describe how the parcel tax funds will be spent:

1. Emphasize core academic instruction that improves math, science and reading skills;
2. Attract and retain highly-qualified teachers;
3. Support specialized science and reading instruction;
4. Keep school libraries open and maintain library services and materials; and
5. Minimize class size increases.

Point 1: Silly me. I thought we were emphasizing core academic instruction all this time and doing everything possible to improve "math, science and reading skills". We are planning to spend $130 million this year, without the Measure E funds. What WERE we going to emphasize?

Point 2: If you want to attract and retain highly qualified teachers, pay them more and pay the administrators less. Much less.

Point 3: What specialized science and reading instruction do we have in mind? Perhaps a subscription to Scientific American so we can keep some magazines in the Dean's Office.

Point 4: Keep school libraries open? How much does that cost? When did they close?

Point 5: Minimize class sizes? Perhaps the math teachers could help us out here and throw a few numbers around.

If the School Board was unanimous on this, we need a new School Board. Come on PUSD, the State is beyond broke and the taxpayers are tapped. If you can't educate 14,000 students on a budget of $130 million, in the excellent facilities that are already in place, we don't need Measure E; we need a new school system.

TT


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I have been against E since the beginning, and I have posted many times about how I do not like raises in times of budget deficit.

But we have decided to vote yes on E even if we disagree with how the board/district is spending money, and even if we disagree with step and column/automatic raises/tenure.

Why the change? The problems need to be fixed at the state level, there is little the district can do about union type contracts. Sure, they could make sure no one's salary is so off the charts that they retire with 100K+ in pensions, but the root problems (the unions), that is something Brown and the legislature need to address. Also, reading the no on E argument on the sample ballot we got over the weekend, we realized that the no on E campaign is not being completely honest either (neither is the yes on E camp)

Both sides are stretching the truth a bit, but in the end it is only 98 dollars and yes it will go for raises only, but those raises will be given regardless of whether E passes or not. E will minimize the impact. I think anytime Ayala et al are involved in something, it is a red flag: they were against Oak Grove, campaigned for Karla the realtor, etc. They are against E, and that has got to be a red flag for everyone: vote the opposite, ie, vote yes.

I hope the unions at some point get reformed, but that is at the state level.

So my vote and that of my spouse and many neighbors and friends will be: YES on E. NO on the june tax initiatives (if they make it to the ballot).


Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Mar 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Interesting how the Tea Partiers keep moving the goalposts. Run schools like a business--no, not THAT business model, THIS business model! The model I just pulled out of thin air!

Yeah yeah yeah, we get it...you have a bottomless pit of excuses and reasons why you just cannot pay $98 a year to support schools. Nothing anyone says or does will change your mind.

And it didn't take long for people to roll out the ad hominem attacks, but that's what people do when the wheels fall off their arguments.

Just be honest about what you won't vote for the parcel tax: You hate public education, unionized labor, and government itself. You're right-wing anarchists who want it all to burn, baby, burn.

It would be refreshing to hear you admit it instead of having to corner you with arguments until it's apparent. Or do you lie so much and so often that you now believe your own stories?

Now that's sad.


Posted by Nomad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 5:39 pm

YAT - Right-wing anarchists? Now you have me laughing. The last few weeks saw all left-wing anarchists in LA, Sacramento, Madison and London. Yup, there goes Bill fire-bombing the district offices.
I think you are wrapped up far too much in your own stories. Really sad. Keep it up.


Posted by Well, a resident of Danbury Park
on Mar 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm

After reading all of this for the last few weeks I am voting no on E. I voted yes on G but this is just to much. Especially after reading the level of appreciation for us already paying taxes plus 2 schools bonds by YAK and such. Just not appreciated and he or she just spends all day on here while working so it shows that we have at least one to many teachers. Vote no on E.


Posted by well is not enough, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 28, 2011 at 7:22 pm

I've red everything their is too read on this madder, and I'm to mad to even right strate. Count me and the 8 in-laws lifing in my house as know on E. I can giv you fore reasons. 1. I hate YAT, 2. I hate YAK, 3. my kidds are doing badly in sckool, 4. teachers sholdn't be psoting hear, 5. we need to get out sh ... t togather.


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I was all prepared to vote yes on Measure E. But a neighbor told me that the teachers' union is against daily drug testing of teachers. If they were really all about educating our kids like so many people say they are, they'd submit to daily drug tests. If grand prix bicyclists have to be tested, why aren't our teachers?

And lie detectors. Who can deny that some of the shortage of taxpayer dollars is probably on account of no. 2 pencils going missing at the end of the day? Hmmmmmmm. I don't think it's the teachers; but I do think it's the union.


Posted by Well, a resident of Danbury Park
on Mar 28, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I guess from now on we know that Arnold and his alter ego, well is not enough is a troll and has now lost any validity to comment on the subject. Probably a teacher. Might even be YAK.


Posted by been there, done that, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 9:05 pm

So, how are Michelle Rhee's kids really doing? Or, perhaps better stated, how fare Michelle Rhee's non-unionized teachers who are being judged on their students' test scores? Seems they're so scared they can't see straight, or act ethically. A large majority of her classes have been flagged for tampering with students' test scores.

On the 2009 reading test, for example, seventh-graders in one Noyes [Rhees] classroom averaged 12.7 wrong-to-right erasures per student on answer sheets; the average for seventh-graders in all D.C. schools on that test was less than 1. The odds are better for winning the Powerball grand prize than having that many erasures by chance, according to statisticians consulted by USA TODAY.

While it's unlikely that Michelle Rhee personally went around erasing incorrect answers from student test sheets and replacing them with correct ones [but who knows?], it seems very likely that the intense pressure she placed on principals and teachers to show massive improvements or be summarily fired created the incentive for some to cheat. Rather than investigating it, Rhee touted their results as signs of her own success. And for that alleged success she was featured on magazine covers, endlessly lauded, and given a massive platform to advocate for her methods as the one true answer to education reform. Clearly, some reevaluation is in order.

Perhaps this is the Michelle Rhee new way for our kids competing in the international educational arena. Just have their teachers cheat and then be rewarded with merit increases by their administrators.


Posted by very concerned resident, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Mar 28, 2011 at 9:20 pm

So, been there, done that, what is your point?

A little bit of cheating happens everywhere. If anything, a few erasures here and there indicates that there's a healthy level of competition at work. That happens in the business world all the time. It shows the teachers are truly interested in the kids' welfare. I'd rather have that than have union-protected teachers who don't feel pressured to cheat their students to higher test scores.


Posted by been there, done that, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Well, 'very concerned resident', that's one way to assess matters. Here's another take:

The reality as hyped by Rhee may yet be a nail in the coffin of an era of pseudo educational reform predicated upon a few facts and right-wing rhetorical slop.


Posted by just a resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm

YAT says: You hate public education, unionized labor, and government itself.

and in an earlier post:

"I don't think this is about the money or prudent financial management at all. It's about hostility to the very idea of unionized labor, public education, and even government itself. It's right-wing radicalism at its worst."

You accuses those who differ in opinion and who may actually vote differently then you as ones who "hate" or have "hostility".

A Consistent YAT theme in most YAT posts.

YAT however is incapable of hate because YAT's opinion is the only one that is correct and is of the purest motives therefore YAT is incapable of hate and hostility.

YATS tactics=those commonly used by the cultural left.










Posted by Bravo, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 28, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Kudos to 'just a resident' for not spelling YAT as YAK this time around. Good for you! And so just what exactly is 'just a resident's' point about the fraud behind the push for nonunionized teachers and merit pay?


Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Would somebody please pass the popcorn?


Posted by Question, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Perhaps someone can help me. I'm new to the area and I haven't decided on how to vote on Measure E. Some people seem to say that teachers should not get pay raises based on seniority and things like getting advanced certificates or degrees; rather, teachers should only get pay raises based on merit as reflected in their students' test scores. But now other people are claiming that merit plans lead to fraud. How can that be? When I was in the Girl Scouts we had to earn merit badges, and that worked pretty well. What's wrong with a merit-based salary plan?


Posted by cornelius 'corny' walker, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 28, 2011 at 11:22 pm

I sympathize with your question, Question. I have two children who graduated many years ago from the Pleasanton School district. They both earned 1600 SAT scores, and one went to Harvard and one went to Yale. Both went on to medical school where they graduated at the top of their classes. Both became podiatrists and lived in Oklahoma for a while. Now, because of excessive malpractice laws, neither is in podiatry and both now live at home with my husband and me. They are currently unemployed, but they acted on principle and swore they would never heal another ingrown toenail if their lives depended on it. I am very proud of them, and I just know they couldn't have become the successes they are if they were going to school now. It's because of the teachers' unions. Our entire household is going to vote NO, on principle.


Posted by response to Question, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 28, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Question, I'm glad you raised such a thoughtful question. The people who support merit over step and column (which is code phrase for immoral teacher practices), think that teachers should be rewarded for such things as meritoriously contributing to higher student test scores.

Supporters of merit hold up Michelle Rhee, who is on a crusade to raise $1 billion dollars for her foundation to rid schools of teachers' unions, as a prime example of teacher virtue without unions. Now, it seems the school administrators she has consistently praised and rewarded for their students' higher test scores are currently in a little bit of hot water. Seems the teachers, scared beyond belief that they'd lose their jobs if their students didn't score high enough, were systematically fudging their students' test scores. How did they do this? Well, they erased their students' wrong answers and filled in the right ones. What they hadn't realized is that the test center has machines that indicate the number of erasures + correct answers that are supplied on each test.

The Rhee-supported teachers, without union protection, engaged in quite a bit of fudging in order to save their own butts. Actually, this is really a small matter and I don't think I'll comment on it any further. We can wake up tomorrow, scramble the eggs a little bit, and this all will have gone away. Thank goodness we don't have to defend Rhee or anything else. Because we're the against E position, we don't need to stand for anything.


Posted by Mom of Four, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 12:24 am

I think Michele Rhee is one of the bright spots in the quandary of education...

I'm not against teachers...my kids have had quite a few really good ones.

I'm just not in favor of tenure or retirement at 50.

...Because who else does that???

and the rest of us are hard-working, deserving and honorable people too.


Posted by corny, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 29, 2011 at 12:38 am

Hey Moms, believe what you want to believe. I'm sure you usually do.

So what do you think of so many of the teachers she presented merit awards to being discovered to have cheated on their students' exams? That doesn't bother you, eh? Doesn't give you any pause for thought, hmm?

"Because who else does that?" You're joking, right?


Posted by Changing My Vote, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Mar 29, 2011 at 8:45 am

I've been a conservative Republican all my life. And I was very much against Measure E. I didn't think S and C was a very good system compared to merit. But after learning about Michelle Rhee and the Charter School cheaters, I'm now convinced S and C is the best way to go. I support our teachers, and I'm changing my vote to YES on Measure E.


Posted by Also changing my vote, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 29, 2011 at 9:02 am

I too was opposed to Measure E. Why pay for S and C salary increases for our teachers when they should be getting raises only based on merit? Charter Schools, I THOUGHT, was the best alternative. But the whole scandal around how Charter School teachers are terribly insecure in their jobs and cheat by changing their students' test scores has been pondering anew. And it is pretty clear that although S and C isn't perfect, it's way better than the unethical merit schemes cooked up in the Charter Schools. I too am changing my vote to YES on Measure E.


Posted by comment, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 9:22 am

I was also prepared to vote against measure E because I'm always against taxes. Then I did some research and discovered that Michelle Rhee was a fraud and was doing all these things to put more money in her own pocket and cared nothing about the children. I'm changing my vote to yes on E also. Spread the word.


Posted by Question, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 9:44 am

Thanks to all the posters here for helping me to make my choice.

Frankly, I was leaning toward a NO vote until I read 'Mom of Four's' comments. Such an ostrich-like head-in-the-sand approach turned me off completely. How can you avoid the obvious conclusion that Michelle Rhee is a fraud? I'll be voting YES on MEASURE E.


Posted by Oh, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 9:45 am

The parcel tax is about salaries now? I thought it was about programs for the children.


Posted by To Oh, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 10:17 am

Oh, didn't you know? The parcel tax is about whatever PEVC says it is about. The well-respected anonymous organization, with staunch supporters like Streve and Chris, has stated that they will not support the parcel tax because, despite what the Measure states, they think some of the money may be used toward higher salaries for S and C teachers. Until S and C is scuttled and a merit system put in its place, PEVC and other clowns claim, Measure E will never get their support.

Now, Streve, Chris and the rest of the PEVC clown club have been conspicuously silent about the scandal surrounding Michelle Rhee and all the false rhetoric about how non-unionized charter schools do such a better job than public schools which have unions for their teachers. It seems the charter school teachers have been consistently cheating -- changing the answers on their students' tests -- in order to raise their students' test scores, which has been the basis for their own merit increases.

Perhaps Streve, Chris, and the rest of the PEVC clown club will now disown their previous remarks about the virtues of a merit-thru-cheating system over seniority + advanced degrees?


Posted by oh, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 10:25 am

Well, given that every piece of campaign literature says this measure is not going to pay for any raises, it shouldn't matter what kind of payment system is used for raises as they aren't coming out of the parcel tax proceeds. Any anyhow, the state has given no money for raises this year under any system.


Posted by oh, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 10:40 am

And taking this a step further . . . if the parcel tax isn't paying for raises, and the state isn't paying for raises, and we don't have money in the reserve to pay for raises, how are we going to pay for the raises?


Posted by Agreed!, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 29, 2011 at 10:41 am

Along with Oh, I too believe what the Measure E campaign literature is saying. Those who have persisted in bringing up the issue of teacher salaries are obviously opposed to the measure and are simply tossing mud up on the wall. I've changed my vote to a Yes on Measure E.


Posted by No Kids in PUSD, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 29, 2011 at 11:12 am

I am not a teacher or union worker of any sort, nor do I have any children attending PUSD. I am a strong supporter of Measure E. If for no other reason than property values, those of you that are voting no should look at the two cities in Alameda County where the schools are the best and the property values follow - Piedmont and Pleasanton. Learn a lesson from Piedmont and funds programs at the schools. Also, volunteer at the schools if you have a talent or skill that is needed.


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 29, 2011 at 11:59 am

With all the sarcastic, pedi-challenged posters on the attack, and with low numbers of volunteers and donations below expectations (Web Link), might Measure E supporters be getting nervous?


Posted by comment , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Start Afresh,

Have you done you research on Michelle Rhee? Just Google "Michelle Rhee fraud". It was a real eye opener.

Come back when you've done some more research and you may well find yourself joining the Yes On E campaign and donating some of your time and money to the cause. I look forward to having you on the team!


Posted by Rhee a fraud?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Rhee a fraud? Give me a break.

I can see that the typical character assasination approach is working well for all faux intellectuals on the left who are knowingly/unknowingly supporting a national education system that continues to fail.

I guess I could start a similar approach for all the failed union hacks but I've got better things to do with my time.

What a joke ...


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm

I think that maintaining the high quality of Pleasanton schools is extremely important for maintaining the quality of life here in Pleasanton. Before I got married, I lived in Pleasanton for may years. After marriage when we were ready to buy a house last year, we looked at various cities around the area but decided to pay a premium in order to live in Pleasanton because of the quality of the schools and the attractive community. I'm a professional and make a good living and could afford to get a house in any of a number of communities but the schools made Pleasanton our pick.

If the schools decline in quality, it becomes a vicious cycle. School quality goes down, professionals look elsewhere for buying a house, and then house prices and school test scores go further down, which then turns off more buyers, etc., etc..

I hear what many people are saying about not school administrators not always properly using funds. But at the same time, I want to support the teachers. The way I look at it, I'm willing to risk $98 per year for four years to see how they put the money to use. If they put it to good use, fine. Great for Pleasanton schools and Pleasanton itself. If they squander it, then they won't get another opportunity to fool me.


Posted by comment, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 1:11 pm

"Rhee a fraud?"

Yes, sadly she is. I too was taken in by what I thought were accomplishments in broken, inner city schools. But I did a little research and discovered it was nothing but a scheme to put more money in her own pocket at the expense of the children. I don't know if charges will be brought, but we'll have to wait and see. You can start your research here, and read much, much more to discover the awful truth. Rhee, understandably, isn't talking about it.

"When reached by telephone, Rhee said she is no longer the chancellor and declined to comment further."

Web Link


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm

"If the schools decline in quality, it becomes a vicious cycle. School quality goes down, professionals look elsewhere for buying a house, and then house prices and school test scores go further down, which then turns off more buyers, etc., etc.."

I know a few people who are already planning to move because of the class size situation, and they are the contributors - the ones volunteering and donating decent amounts. This parcel tax isn't going to save much, we need longer term solutions.


Posted by Wanda Miller, a resident of Nolan Farms
on Mar 29, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Yes, the whole Michelle Rhee matter has left me very upset. I had pinned my hopes on Rhee and the good conservative republicans in Pleasanton who held her up in such high standing. I heard all the time, "Oh, if only Pleasanton's schools were more like those being advocated by Rhee!" Now it makes me wonder what else the ANTI- Measure E side might be making up. I'm probably going to be criticized by a lot of you, but I'm seriously beginning to think that I'm going to vote YES on E.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm

"I know a few people who are already planning to move because of the class size situation, and they are the contributors - the ones volunteering and donating decent amounts. This parcel tax isn't going to save much, we need longer term solutions."

I have a daughter starting kindergarten this fall. At the introductory briefing for parents about a month ago, we were told that the kindergarten class size for Pleasanton has historically had a student to teacher ratio of about 20:1. But with the budget cuts the kindergarten class size for this fall would be about 30:1 (!).


Posted by Rhee is not a fraud!!!, a resident of Parkside
on Mar 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm

All this madness is on account of a biased report in USA Today, which everyone knows is a left-wing Communist rag. Rhee is a fraud? Gimme a break! What a joke!

What would you rather have, a capitalist system where teachers cheat on your kids' behalf, or a communist system like Pleasanton's where all teachers are forced to belong to a union? Rhee is a great defender of human liberty. In Pleasanton's communist teacher union, the teachers don't even feel a need to cheat because they are so comfortable in their positions. I'll take the cheaters any day of the week.


Posted by To Sam, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Class size is overrated. Signed, PEVC


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 29, 2011 at 4:59 pm

To 'comment' - Here are documents the USAToday reporters used. Web Link Can you help me understand why some allegedly unethical teachers in the DC schools would be reason to join the Yes on E campaign?


Posted by common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm

The vote will surely be close, the amendment was poorly written and in this time of economic uncertainty, I'm not sure if people without kids want to pay for the people that do. Given all that, parents should unite and support their own kids and not expect others to do it for them.


Posted by typical citizen, a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Mar 29, 2011 at 5:33 pm

I for one am sick of all the teacher bashing and all the unfounded accusations being made against Board members. That's enough for me to vote YES on Measure E.


Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Interesting to see the Rhee/ anti union/anti public education advocates back paddle and support Rhee now.

Web Link#

This is only the beginning of the fraud, unfortunately, no one wanted to listen to educators who said it was wrong from the beginning. Absurdity is what it is.


Posted by comment, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 11:08 pm

To Start Afresh,

The reason I'm changing to yes on Measure E is that everyone was saying we need to run our schools like Michelle Rhee wants us to. You know merit pay, charter schools, no step and column -- the whole bit. Now I see that the whole thing was just a fraud! This was all about putting money in Michelle Rhee's pocket and it was never about the kids. We need to stick with what works. That's why our schools in Pleasanton produce such good outcomes. Everyone in my house, my neighbors, and everyone I know will be voting yes on E. We need to get the word out.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 29, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Who cares about Rhee? This is all irrelevant to Measure E and the PUSD. If you believe that the PUSD has cut all of the unnecessary expenditures, is running a bare-bones budget, and will wisely apply the parcel tax funds toward better education, then you should vote yes on E. If, on the other hand, you have actually read through the budget to see all of the money spent outside of the classroom, checked out the salaries of the administrators, and studied up on how the teachers get automatic pay raises at taxpayer expense, then you should vote no on E. I will be voting no on E because I believe there is plenty of money being spent on the schools already, I don't get automatic pay raises and don't see why other people should get automatic pay raises using my money, and I don't believe the funds from Measure E will make Pleasanton schools one bit better.
Bill


Posted by comment, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Bill,

I have to say that I used to think the way you do, but now I see that PUSD has a system that works. I don't have any kids in the system, so I thought PUSD schools were just typical low quality schools. I did some research and discovered that we have one of the best districts in California. The systems we have for hiring and paying teachers, principals, and administrators is a system that works. We get top results because we do things right and don't follow the latest fad like Michelle Rhee would have us do. Everyone one in my family and my neighbors are voting yes on E. I was the last holdout, but now I'm a yes on E too.


Posted by hmmmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Bill: "I don't get automatic pay raises and don't see why other people should get automatic pay raises using my money"

A little bit of that good ol' tea party navel-gazing, as evidenced by the petulant little child that Bill is. Fortunately, most of us are capable of seeing things with perspective, beyond our selfish desires and emotions. Morally oblivious to the moral quagmire he and his fellow tea party clowns recently created for themselves and sank into (does he even grasp it?), good ol' Bill presses on, undeterred.

(Or am I perhaps giving him too much credit? Can he even begin to grasp a moral concept? Or are his postings rather nothing more than a cry for help?)


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 29, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I guess it's been forgotten that Pleasanton has its own recent history of possible cheating: Web Link


Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Bill,

This is what you want for our children's education? Bare bones funding? Did you read the post from Professional Educator here:Web Link

Is this how you would run your business and treat your employees? I wonder why you do not believe educators? Teachers in our district prove their success annually with rising test scores. Yet they have already cut $20 million - now educators are telling you that with more cuts to programs, that has been at bare bones for quite some time with most of this community not even noticing, there will be a decline! Yet you feel the need to actively campaign for more cuts.

My yes on E will be a vote for our schools, and a vote against the mentality of those who are out to harm them.


Posted by hmmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 11:48 pm

She's baaaack. And here we have it again. Stacey apparently wants us to see moral equivalence between the following: (1) one isolated instance of a single teacher in Pleasanton mistakenly sharing a STAR practice exam with those around him; and (2) scores of teachers in Rhee-awarded schools changing wrong answers to right answers on student exams. Of course, Stacey'll likely deny this clear moral failing on her part: "I'm just sharing information!" But this begs the question of why in the world she'd share THIS information, in THIS context?

Once again, Stacey provides evidence of the moral hole that runs through her world view. Less time counting the beans, more time thinking about her moral shortcomings, might be just what the doctor ordered.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 30, 2011 at 12:04 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Nah, I'm just humoring myself with the idea that if you're going to make a big stink about cheating, then make a stink about the act of cheating. Cheating is wrong. Period. There's no such thing as good or bad cheating. Sorry, I learned that from my teachers.


Posted by hmmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 12:13 am

Yep, there it is. A clear-cut, authoritarian's view of the moral universe. Cheating is wrong, and so she is unable to recognize the moral difference between a single isolated instance of mistakenly sharing a practice exam and a full-fledged, several year-long, systematic effort to change students' test scores, for political gain, and with no moral consideration at all for the children who were being told they were proficient when they obviously were not. So, I wonder just what back-woods hick teachers Stacey learned about cheating from? I wonder if her teachers talked at all about the moral wrongs of launching and perpetuating witch hunts within the community?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 30, 2011 at 12:23 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I learned from PUSD teachers. Didn't you know?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 30, 2011 at 12:28 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I would never call my PUSD teachers "back-woods hick teachers"! Shame on you for saying that!

PS: I scored way down low on the authoritarian part of the Political Compass, way lower than Obama or Bush.


Posted by hmmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 12:40 am

The posturing continues, and again Stacey misses the point. It is not a matter of where she was educated, nor where she scored on some pop culture test. Heck, even Streve claims to score in the near-genius range, if you know what I mean.

But she is apparently unable to unpack a clearly false and wrong-headed moral equivalency - one which she herself brought to our attention. The cases of wrongdoing between Pleasanton's single instance and Rhee's prolonged and systematic actions of rewarding cheats are so patently different in degree of intention, in scope, and in amount of harm caused to students. Stacey either can't or won't acknowledge it. I wish she'd go back to school, learn something new from her teachers, and leave our children alone.


Posted by Yelena, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 1:01 am

"I learned from PUSD teachers. Didn't you know?"

No stacey I never hear it from you. You tell us much else about yourself. I donot find you interesting.


Posted by Just the facts, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 30, 2011 at 8:47 am

You know the more you folks attack Stacey, the more we listen to her. She really must be on to something that threatens you given all the attention and personal attacks.

In all sincerity, keep it up Stacey. We are listening.


Posted by comment, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 9:21 am

What really changed my mind about voting no on E was when I discovered that the whole merit pay, charter school system promoted by the no on E side turned out to be based on the Michelle Rhee fraud. They kept pointing to what this person did in the broken, inner city schools in Washington, DC, and wanted to apply that to PUSD. I did some research and discovered that Michelle Rhee was just a fraud. That really changed it for me. I also did some research and discovered that PUSD is an excellent school district. Everyone in my family is now voting for measure E.


Posted by Mary, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 9:42 am

A new tax to fund ongoing raises for public employees. Nope.


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 30, 2011 at 9:42 am

NO ON E


Posted by Rhee a fraud?, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 30, 2011 at 9:48 am

[portion removed] It's funny that "Waiting for Superman" was produced by one of the "left of the lefts" and yet you guys are able to find smoke and do your best to pin it on someone who was trying to make a positive change. Please help me understand the conspiracy that Rhee orchistrated from the top. Please help me understand it wasn't a lazy good-for nothing group of union teachers who are at fault.

When I see stuff like this, it makes me want to pack up and leave for a better place.[ removed]


Posted by comment, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 10:09 am

To "Rhee a fraud?",

You can start reading about it here.

Web Link

There is more here.

Web Link#

Once I looked into the matter, I discovered that none of the alleged improvements in the school performance actually occurred. There was no vast conspiracy by the makers of "Waiting for Superman" just a misguided attempt to document a supposed method for improving broken, inner city schools. It now turns out that those improvements were a fiction. Michelle Rhee's methods not only don't work, they can actually make matters worse. People were even saying that PUSD, an excellent school system, should apply these methods. It is sad. Everyone in my family will be voting yes on E, as will all of my neighbors. Our schools are excellent and we support them.


Posted by oh, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 10:15 am

We will not receive any money for raises of any kind (S&C or merit) from the State. But we do have contractual obligations to pay S&C and it's not a system that is going to change overnight.

The parcel tax is not allowed to pay for raises. So we need to find this money somehow so it doesn't cut into the kids programs.


Posted by Mary, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 10:20 am

The new contract that included the S&E raises was rushed through by our current board about 45 days before the parcel tax talks started. Coincidence? Not likely.

Again, no more taxes to support unsustainable public employee benefit packages.


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 30, 2011 at 10:24 am

To 'comment' - I don't understand your answer regarding why some allegedly unethical teachers in the DC schools would be reason to join the Yes on E campaign?
If Superintendent Ahmadi says that she wants a certain subgroup of students at Pleasanton Middle School to have higher math test scores. And we find out that teachers and contracted tutors are teaching test taking techniques that are questionable. And Supt Ahmadi brings in experts to study the issue, and subsequently has an administrative action against one of the teachers, and changes the test taking procedures (Web Link). Would you then call Ms. Ahmadi a fraud?
I'll ask again, why would some allegedly unethical teachers in the DC schools be reason to join the Yes on E campaign?


Posted by Yelena, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 10:35 am

Funny guy is start afresh. He lead to me laughing.


Posted by comment, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 11:36 am

Start Afresh,

Yes, my whole family will be voting for Measure E.

What we see in Michelle Rhee case, that was given over and over as an example of why PUSD needs to abandon its pay system and go to charter schools, is that there was no evidence of any real improvement in performance. The alleged improvements were all due to fraud and cheating. I don't have any children in the PUSD system, but when I did my research, I discovered that we have an excellent school system here in PUSD. We are doing our part to support it. The Michelle Rhee fraud thing was sort of the last straw for me. Everyone I know is now saying yes on E. I hope that you will be supporting it too, in light of all we now know.


Posted by get a life YAT, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 30, 2011 at 12:35 pm

As usual, when there is no good argument in favor of unearned raises, the yes on salary tax folks throw out a red herring. Measure E has nothing to do with Michelle Rhee. Nothing. At. All.
Measure E is all about funding teacher raises. If the S & C was frozen for the term of the parcel tax every voter in our hosehold would vote yes. The parcel tax will pay for only teacher raises and the election in year one, not even for the guaranteed raises in year two. Simple. Freeze the raises, get our votes.
NO ON A SALARY TAX


Posted by Holly Sanders, a resident of Stoneridge
on Mar 30, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Many cuts have already been made these last few years by PUSD and employees due to the state continuing to take away massive funding each year - Thank you teachers and classified! It will take a variety of actions and changes to save the great schools we have, and Measure E will be a stable stream of money the state can't take away. I am definitely voting YES ON E which will help our children now at only $98 per year.
Yes on E.


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 30, 2011 at 12:52 pm

To 'comment' - When I read the Measure E sample ballot, there is no mention of abandoning pay systems and going to charter schools. The website listed in the sample ballot Web Link does not mention it either. And an associated website Web Link recommends reforms that are "achievable and practical in the areas of improved evaluations and rewarding excellence". So, no, I don't see the Michelle Rhee case 'given over and over as an example of why PUSD needs to abandon its pay systems and go to charter schools.
If the same situation happened here in Pleasanton, I don't think anyone would call Ms. Ahmadi a 'fraud'.


Posted by comment, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 1:22 pm

To Start Afresh,

"When I read the Measure E sample ballot, there is no mention of abandoning pay systems and going to charter schools."

You misunderstood what I said. Measure E doesn't call for abandoning pay systems and going to charter schools. It is the opponents of Measure E who are calling for that. Scroll up on this page and see how many times "step and column" are mentioned. Doug Miller was calling for "performance based" pay. Do a google search for Michelle Rhee on these town square forums and you'll see this was brought up by the no side over and over. It is interesting that Ms. Rhee is refusing to give interviews. I don't know what she knew or when she knew it. That is not the point. The point is that there is no evidence that her methods work. We have a good system here and our schools are excellent.


Posted by Luv4Ptown, a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Mar 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm


I love this town. The teachers have been great for my kids and the school district very responsive to any question I have ever asked. Read the measure and cast your votes. Period.
If you state you are considering moving because of this measure? MOVE ALREADY! I'll take your parking spot and my kid can enjoy your childs seat in class. Buh bye.


Posted by lessismore , a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Mar 31, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Why are we still talking about Casey? Last time I checked he was no longer with PUSD. Deal with the problem at hand and the further and not the past.

I am no fan off increased taxes or of the unions including the teacher's union.
Pension and union reform is needed in CA or the state will go broke. But that is a state issue and under the current leadership of Mr. Brown it's not going to happen.

As for the parcel Tax:
I vote for it last time and will this time. If $99 help my kids get a better education in this highly challenging society then I am all for it.


Posted by lessismore, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Mar 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm

To Luv4Ptown
Very well said


Posted by Pleasanton Mom, a resident of Mission Park
on Apr 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I think home owners should have to pay property taxes on what their home is valued at now, just like in other states. Seems this would solve the problem.


Posted by Voting no, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Must watch video for those on both sides of the isle - the tax/spend crowd and limited government crowd. Very eye opening.

Web Link




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