Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 12:33 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I'm not planning on telling anyone how to vote on Measure E. I'm more interested in getting people to think more deeply about their assumptions and become better informed before making a decision.
People have a right to organize into a union or join one if they want to. The problem lies more in those who put a union's interest ahead of those whose interest they are supposed to be representing. Taxpayers often are ill-represented probably because they don't organize well.
The district can do a lot more with regards to prioritizing items in the budget. It is reasonable to ask for some accountability on how money is spent. While the accountability measures of the No Child Left Behind act have some faults, it has done well to demand an increase educational outcomes in the US. Pleasanton API scores within the decade serve as an example.
Posted by no more teacher raises, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 7:42 am
Sounds simple Start Afresh -- but they will simply say that EXISTING funds paid for the teacher raises and then they will use the NEW money to refund the programs were cut to get the money to pay for the raises. It's a shell game to the PUSD. The dollars raised from the tax will pay for teacher raises and the election in year one, the money will not even cover the teacher raises in succeeding years.
This is a salary tax for the teachers, that's all it is.
Posted by comment, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 8:16 am
I was prepared to vote against Measure E, but then I did some research and discovered that these calls for merit pay, no step and column, charter schools and the like were based on fraudulent results. I did some research on Michelle Rhee and discovered that the results were not real.
I don't have children in the district, but I know many parents who moved to Pleasanton for the schools and are very happy with them. They don't have a problem with some teachers getting step and column raises and supporting Measure E. I don't see any violation of an "E mandate". All of my neighbors are supporting Measure E, and I'll be voting for it too.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 9:57 am
I am bothered by step and column and the outrageous pensions that some administrators are retiring with. But these are problems that need to be fixed at the state level. Brown needs to reform the unions and pension system.
I am voting YES on E and no on the tax initiatives (if they make it to the ballot).
I was against E and have posted my objections but after thinking more about it, I realized that our school district cannot do anything about the root cause: unions and their pensions. That is for the state to fix, for Brown to decide to do something about it - that is why voting no on the tax initiatives is important.
But we should support our children and vote YES on E. Yes, the money will indirectly fund step and column, but that will be financed with or without E, but if we approve measure E, our children's programs will not be affected as much. Again, the issue of automatic raises, tenure, pensions must be fixed at the state level, and Brown needs to take the lead on that.
Send a message to Brown and vote no on tax extensions.
Support the students of Pleasanton and vote YES on E.
Posted by Observer, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 10:50 am
A civilized society's top priority should be it's own future. Children, of course, are our future and education is the vital key. I do not advocate that we should spend 100% of our taxes on our children, we of course need fire and police proctection, and even the military to protect our way of living. However, I do believe that education should be our number one priority. Yesterday is gone, today is waning, let us always look forward to future and rise up to what we might become.
Posted by family of five, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 11:14 am
It sounds like it would be nice if the Measure E tax was a higher amount. But I think the Measure will help, and I'm not sure Ilike any of the consequences if it doesnt pass. Some people seem to know a lot about school administrations, others not much at all.
Some people have been saying larger classes are good for our children. Other people are saying teacher unions are bad. And others are saying they want matters to get worse. All I know is that if the District doesn't get Measure E funds, things will be worse, and maybe a lot worse. I'm voting for E.
Posted by family of four, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 11:26 am
While some of the problems are controlled by the state, the automatic raises and how they paid are controlled by the district and the local unions. While I have respect for most of our teachers and feel that they have our kids in their best interests, the unions do not. The teachers union job is to get the most they can for union members; plain and simple. If they see more money coming in from a local tax, you can bet that they will claim some rights to it. They always do. That is why we are in this situation. Every time the district received more money from the state when times were good, none of it was put into a reserve to help when times were not as good. The unions made claim that all increases from the state should be passed along to the union members. They have the right to ask for that. However, our district administration and board should be looking after the long term health of the district. They should have put money aside when times were good. Since that was not done, we have no way to pay for raises now except by raising a local parcel tax; Measure E.
I would gladly pay a tax, even a higher tax, if I knew it would go to specific programs, and raises ceased during the period of the tax. What we have in place right now is unsustainable and will get worse if we bail it out with Measure E. I am waiting for real reforms before I vote for additional money. I am not against supporting our school system; in fact I am supporting it in many ways right now. The tax will just allow more raises and make it even more difficult in subsequent years.
All four of us in our house will be voting No on Measure E; the local tax for raises.
Posted by Really?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm
"While I have respect for most of our teachers and feel that they have our kids in their best interests, the unions do not. The teachers union job is to get the most they can for union members; plain and simple."
Respect not taken Family of Four- especially with the comments that followed. I assume from your statement that you have no idea about PUSD's union vote last year? You see, after this community voted for further cuts to the public schools with a no on Measure G, it was the union who voted 73% in favor of a salary cut which ranged from $2,000-$4,000 from every teacher. It was the Union who saved the district $4.5 million in order to preserve the education of YOUR children.
The union in Pleasanton IS the teachers, and WE gave back to save the programs that we could not believe the community turned their backs on. To hear comments like yours is in no way respect for teachers taking this action- it is a slap in the face.
Posted by Elephant in the Room, a resident of the Danbury Park neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm
Well I will state what no one else wants to be honest about or say. We have one of the highest if not the highest state income tax rate in the nation, highest sales tax in the state, we in Pleasanton are already paying for two, yes count em, two school bonds already. The California economy is in the tank and seems to be going deeper as more companies leave the state. The state budget deficit is 25 billion and growing. Temporary tax increases are going to expire soon so an additional 12 billion in service cuts will be required to balance the 25 billion dollar deficit and our little city of Pleasanton is running a 285 million dollar deficit and much of this is due to state workers pensions and salaries so no I will vote a resounding no to E and more taxpayer pay increases for part time workers..........yes I mean teachers.
Posted by Do the Right Thing, a resident of the California Reflections neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm
Elephant in the room is why my husband and I will support Measure E. He is consumed with anger, but he's honestly saying what he believes. He doesn't like teachers and he doesn't realize how important education is for the life of the community. So many of the commenters here are saying the same thing as Elephant, but they are only sugarcoating it. Face it. There are people in the community who don't want to pay taxes for anything. I'm just not at all impressed with how they want to drag everyone through the mud the way they do. Supporting Measure E means doing the right thing. For me, it means showing these negative commenters that we as a community can stand united as we move forward together.
Posted by Elephant in the Room, a resident of the Danbury Park neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm
I pay taxes and plenty of them but enough is enough. My money for state income tax and two school bonds already does not benefit the kids. The money is just going to the union controlled teachers. If the teachers/union were truly interested in education they would give up the wage increases entirely but no they will not because it is about them. I only speak for myself so please do not tie me to the others DTRT if you are tryling to paint the picture you want. I will tell you however, that many of my neighbors feel the same way and are sick and tired of funding government workers while we work away for an entire day and all year long with no summers off.
Posted by Moderate, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm
I agree with Do the Right Thing. I'm usually afraid to publicaaly say what I believe at the Forum because I'll jst get swatted down with nasty comments.
Teachers might make more than Elephant in the Room does, but maybe deserve it. I don't want teachers with anger management issues anywhere near a classroom with my child. Pleasanton has one of the best school programs in the State, and we know are teachers are very good. I haven't ever hear of teachers going off on their students. And myabe teachers make more than Elephant but not more than bankers. I think teachers deserve more. But that's only my opinion!!!!! Elemphant disagrees, that's for sure!!!!! I think we should support dthis Measure E.
Posted by Elephant in the Room, a resident of the Danbury Park neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm
If you want to give all of your money to teachers that is your choice and have at it. I already pay taxes for the schools and 2 schools bonds and that is enough. I do not even have kids in the school system. Next!
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 6:04 pm
Elephant, we all pay taxes for schools and school bonds. You're no one special. And public education of our young is in the interests of our overall community, regardless of whether you in particular have children in school or not.
Posted by teacher , a member of the Foothill High School community, on Apr 2, 2011 at 9:06 pm
Elephant, I suppose one could argue that if teachers were really in it for the students, then we'd work for no salary at all.
I am in it for the children, but also to make a living at the same time. Most of us are very passionate about what we do and feel fortunate to be able to do a job that we love and feed our families at the same time. Perhaps your job does not provide the same rewards.
Posted by Probable yes on parcel tax, a member of the Harvest Park Middle School community, on Apr 2, 2011 at 9:44 pm
Gads, first Elephant comes stomping into the room, then Voting no plops down a big one. Is it possible the people on this website are trying to convince everyone in Pleasanton to vote yes on the e measure? I thought this was supposed to be where people find out about the no side. Well, if I were any longer thinking about voting against the measure, Elephant and Voting no would convince me to run as far away as fast as my legs would carry me. LMAO at some of these no supporters.
Posted by Voting no, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 9:54 pm
It is clear from your response that you didn't watch the entire video. I agree with the start being quite partisan, but the narative on what it would take to pay for a year of spending is quite interesting.
I'll admit that this is broader than the E issue, but I believe this speaks to the strong undercurrent of no more tax thinking.
I have actually been quite encouraged over the last few days about who will be voting no - many parents of school-age children that you'd expect to be voting for the initiative. Maybe when this thing doesn't pass for the second time, the district/union will start listening and facing reality. Thank goodness this is going to a vote.
Posted by comment, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2011 at 10:16 pm
All of my neighbors are voting yes, and both in my house are voting yes. We don't even have children. Pleasanton has some of the best schools in the state. The government in Pleasanton is doing a fantastic job educating our children.
Posted by Teacher sibling, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Apr 4, 2011 at 9:46 am
I have to laugh at all of you who think raises for teachers is a bad thing. Teachers are not only 4 year college graduates, but they need additional schooling to obtain their credentials. Also, over the past few years teachers have taken a pay cut because of the furlough days.
Teachers are always underpaid and under appreciated. If with this parcel tax it frees up other monies so that teachers can get the raises they deserve, then fine by me. I wonder how many people reading this would have a fit if they didn't get their yearly cost of living raise.
Posted by Voting Yes, a resident of the Bridle Creek neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2011 at 11:45 am
Having recently moved here FOR the schools, I don't understand the anger against Pleasanton teachers and administrators being voiced here by the "No on E" crowd. Based on the rising APIs over the past few years, Pleasanton administrators and teachers are not only providing our children with a quality education, they seem to be invested in continuous improvement. Applying the private sector merit-pay model, they should all be getting raises for the increased test scores. So why the anger and outrage over potential salary increases (which Measure E expressly prohibits, by the way (see lines 36-39))? I could understand it more if Pleasanton schools were not high performing. Beyond the test scores, our experiences with our children's school principal and teachers have been overwhelmingly positive – across the board supportive, responsive and thoughtful. We feel very lucky to be part of such a wonderful school community. The reality is that the current economic problems of PUSD were caused by the economic downturn, not by bad teachers or administrators. We will be voting Yes on Measure E so that the economic downturn does not affect our children’s education. Also, since quality schools were a driving factor in our recent home purchase decision, we figure future buyers will be similarly motivated and we will be voting Yes on Measure E to preserve the value of our new home.
Posted by Voting Yes, a resident of the Bridle Creek neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2011 at 11:52 am
Sorry, I provided the wrong cite to the Measure E language prohibiting the monies to be applied toward salary increases. The language is contained in lines 32-36 of the bill: "Under no circumstances shall any proceeds of the...parcel tax be used for administrators' salaries or benefits and no parcal tax revenue will be used to increase salaries or benefits for employees."
Posted by Nomad, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2011 at 1:18 pm
To 'Voting Yes' - Since you seem to believe the promise that no parcel tax revenue will be used to increase salaries or benefits for employees.
Let's assume the parcel tax is used to bring back a K-3 teacher who was laid off because class size reduction was eliminated. And let's assume that teacher receives a salary increase this year because they move up a step on salary grid.
Where does the money for the salary increase come from?
Or do you believe like Trustee Grant does, that a salary increase is not a salary increase. Web Link
Posted by A Pleasant Parrot, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2011 at 2:19 pm
Nomad is correct, teachers eligible for a step and column increase will get them under the status quo, parcel tax or no parcel tax. So if you vote no, you can help make sure that MUCH more is cut--both programs and teachers. This is clearly a good thing because...
Posted by comment, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2011 at 10:38 pm
The root cause of the funding shortfall is the national recession which itself is rooted on Wall Street. PUSD gets it funding from the state. Taxes were impacted heavily by the recession. That is where the funding problem came from.
We have excellent schools and excellent teachers in Pleasanton. They did not cause this recession. Measure E can help. I'm voting yes on E.
Posted by comment, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm
"then PUSD is violating the terms of Measure E"
Measure E does not say salaries should be frozen. I don't think we should freeze step and column either. None of the other top districts have done that. That would put us at a distinct disadvantage in hiring new teachers.
Posted by Nomad, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm
Measure E says:
"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."
Therefore, any teacher who is being paid for out of the parcel tax and gets a step & column salary increase, puts PUSD in violation of the terms of Measure E.
Posted by A Pleasant Parrot, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm
You don't need to thank me, it's the truth. As far as I know, there is no plan in place for teachers to absorb the costs of the cuts, unlike the last two years. This is not a violation of terms, though--it's part of the anticipated budget BEFORE any parcel tax monies would be added in.
The parcel tax, then, will go to the things that the YES on E supporters claim. Teacher salaries are not at all affected by the parcel tax, so it's not really an issue when it comes to voting. However, I did ask you why voting to prevent this money for programs will be helpful for our community and our children and did not receive an answer. Would you care to address this?
Posted by Nomad, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm
To 'A Pleasant Parrot' - Right, so if a laid off teacher (the anticipated budget BEFORE parcel tax monies are added in) is brought back by the parcel tax money, and that teacher is entitled to a S&C salary increase, then PUSD will have violated Measure E.
So, to your question, it will be helpful to our community, if costs were controlled. One way to make that happen is to prevent the increase in revenue to begin with.
You say that 'there is no plan in place for teachers to absorb the costs of the cuts'. How do you explain to the 60+ FTE teachers how received a pink slip, that they aren't the ones absorbing the cuts? The teachers who remain and get part of the $1.5 million in salary increases are causing some of those teachers to be laid off.
Posted by Nomad, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm
Yes, I'm aware of the cost of all the salary increases the teachers union protects every year that forces layoffs of teachers and hurts the kids. And no offense, but unlike you, I won't won't call you any names.
Posted by Arnold, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2011 at 6:04 pm
Keep up the good work! The PUSD has so many financial issues to contend with that any raise, for any teacher in the well paid district, will lead to a reduction in teachers in just a year or two.
The PUSD knows that there are increased employee costs on the horizon that are already unaffordable. They know that stimulus funds that were meant to retain teachers, but were used for ongoing operations, are about to expire. Their budget can't absorb the almost doubling of the pension costs that are coming soon. Providing raises in this environment is unconscionable, unsustainable, and will only burden future budgets to the extent the PUSD will be talking about teacher’s layoffs and program reductions - again, in 2012 or 2013.
If raises are part of the PUSD solution (and the parcel tax language allows for just that), then approving a parcel tax that allows money to be used for raises will only compound the problem.
Supporting a short-sighted solution only compounds the long term budget issues.
Posted by comment, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2011 at 10:09 pm
"Their budget can't absorb the almost doubling of the pension costs that are coming soon."
You don't understand PUSD funding at all. PUSD budget shouldn't include funding for pensions because that is handled by CalSTRS. Teacher's pensions are not paid out of the PUSD budget. You have this completely wrong. You need to go back and study this issue before you can comment intelligently.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2011 at 11:00 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
The PUSD budget includes the 8.25% they pay for each current certificated employee into CalSTRS and includes the much larger amount they pay for each of their CalPERS employees (classified). Naturally, 8.25% of a high administrator salary is much more than 8.25% of a teacher's salary. The budget also includes Other Post Employment Benefits they pay to retirees, but they've been deferring those.
What Arnold is referring to is this: Web Link In other words, he's worried about the district being required to pay more than 8.25%.
"Though CalSTRS rebounded nicely with a 12 percent return in the past year, the loss of a quarter of its portfolio value in 2008 created too big a hole to count on the growth of investments to keep up with obligations to current teachers and administrators and those already retired. As a result, payments into the system must be raised."
"Conclusion: CalSTRS Soon Will Require a New Funding Strategy..... Fundamentally, there are only two broad strategies to rebuild CalSTRS' fiscal health: (1) building more assets through more contributions from the state, districts, and/or employees and/or (2) reducing the accumulation of future system liabilities, which most likely would have to occur through reduction of the benefits for teachers hired in the future."
Posted by comment, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm
There is nothing what you posted that talked about a "the almost doubling of the pension costs that are coming soon."
There was just some vague listing of proposed "fixes" like: "reducing the accumulation of future system liabilities, which most likely would have to occur through reduction of the benefits for teachers hired in the future." of " building more assets through more contributions from the state, districts, and/or employees and ..." Why should the district plan for something that is mere speculation?
Posted by Nomad, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 6, 2011 at 5:12 pm
To 'A Pleasant Parrot' - What's to admit? Facts are, PUSD and the employees all agreed to use furlough days in 09-10 and 10-11 to control costs. That agreement expires 6/30/11 and without a new agreement, those costs come back next year. Question is whether a new agreement with the unions will continue with those cost reductions, or not.