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Original post made
on Apr 17, 2011
Someone please help me understand why ANY pay increases for ANY reason are warranted in the current economic climate.
I haven't had a pay increase for 3 yrs because my employer can't afford it and that's how it should be. Companies don't go to their customers and say give us more money so we can pay our employees more even though we can't afford it. Companies go out of business when they pay out more than they can afford whereas the public sector asks the taxpayers to ante up. There comes a time when the PUSD needs to manage the money that it receives and live within its means just as private companies do. It's employees need to accept the tough economy the same as employees in the private sector do.
As to the Measure E funding, exactly HOW does the funding do any of the following?
•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 always support schools and rarely question funding measures but something doesn't pass the smell test when raises are being given in the face of funding deficits. Given the current unemployment rate, no company or school district should have any problem attracting and retaining qualified personnel. A regular paycheck is quite the incentive these days and we certainly should not these this measure to ensure core academic instruction because if we do, we're in more trouble than this measure could possibly fix.
I am very supportive of our teachers and have no problem with the amount of money we pay them. We pay them more, but I feel it is worth it.
However, I am not supportive of raises going out at this time. That is not the right thing to be doing in these fiscal times. That is why I had to vote No on Measure E. I am disappointed in the administration and the unions for not coming up with plan to control salary costs. If that had been done, I would have supported a tax that went to specific programs. Right now we have a game of chicken between the administration and the unions, using our children as pawns.
If we support a parcel tax this year, we will pay for four years but the district will have to come back in another year with a higher parcel tax just to keep the status quo, because salaries keep going up.
PUSD classified employees receive a PAID Birthday Holiday The cost of this Birthday Holiday would more than cover the just eliminated Barton Reading program this year which helps struggling students.
PUSD and teacher health insurance. PUSD and teachers union agreed to place health insurance 'in the schedule' meaning it's included in the salary. Teachers then either pay for a health plan made available through the district, or take advantage of a spouse's health care plan. Only 39% of PUSD teachers pay for health insurance. The 61% pocket the health insurance money. In addition, the high salary makes for higher pensions (half paid for by PUSD pension payments as a percentage of the salary).
Pleasanton taxpayers have been paying millions more to CA for two years. Parents in Pleasanton have been paying $200 per child in increased taxes (through a reduction in the dependent tax credit) since 2009. Roughly $3.6 million a year. In addition, taxpayers are paying an extra 1% in sales taxes, higher personal income taxes and vehicle license fees since 2009. Where has CA been spending that money?
During the term of this parcel tax, the district will give out raises totaling $15,000,000. This parcel tax will not even cover those raises. Continued Step and Column raises: In these tough economic times when those in the private sector are facing job loss, salary cuts, and salary freezes it is inappropriate to impose an additional tax while the district refuses to freeze step and column raises. There will be no money available for instructional programs, libraries, or minimizing class size increases.
School District income increased $18,000,000 during the last three years. District audit reports show 2008 income of $147M and 2010 income increasing to $165M. During those years they have used those funds to hand out $9,000,000 in raises. Rather than freezing salaries, the District chose to eliminate 67 new, energetic teachers while handing out $9,000,000 in raises for administrators and employees.
Excessive Pensions Fifteen of our school administrators have recently retired with annual retirement pay between $100,872 and $178,120 per year. School Administrators would like you to believe that they are not well paid. CaliforniaPensionReform.com shows otherwise. In addition PUSD pays for retiree health insurance. In the past two years, fifteen PUSD employees have retired with annual pensions in excess of $100,000 per year, one a recently retired teacher. A former HR director is receiving $178,000 a year for the rest of his life.
The District wants more of your money but will not commit to how the money will be used. The ballot measure's language is purposely vague and does not outline specific, concrete educational programs. Omission of binding language allows for a lack of accountability to taxpayers.
Election costs instead of student programs Pleasanton Unified School District spent $70,000 on research for this parcel tax, $40,000 on glossy mailers to the public, and $250,000 to pay for this special election. This is money that could have been used to fund the programs this measure addresses.
Even MORE school taxes If you are a homeowner, you are already paying a Pleasanton Unified School District parcel tax averaging $866/year until the year 2024 to pay off school bonds.
There are no rules that direct the spending of the money raised by this measure, and no guarantee the funds will be spent as promised. The measure's vague language regarding the programs the revenues will fund: No specific programs are targeted. Emphasis on math, science, and reading skills, support for specialized science and reading instruction, and keeping libraries open and maintained are mentioned without identifying any specific programs. Due to the vague language, PUSD is not required to increase funds for these programs. It allows for moving existing funds to increases in salaries and benefits.
Where did the reserve fund go? PUSD Removed policy that called for a large reserve fund. A large reserve is what got PUSD through the dotcom bust. Hiring without ongoing funds PUSD Hired extra counselors and technology specialists without identifying ongoing funds, putting their jobs at risk. PUSD utilized illegal bond refunding cash-out practices Several years ago favorable interest rates led the district to 'cash out'. Instead of paying down our debt by $7 million, PUSD spent the money without our approval. In 2009, Attorney General Jerry Brown called these activities illegal "Absent specific approval from the district's electors, a school district may not issue refunding general obligation bonds at a price or an interest rate that will generate proceeds in excess of the amount needed to retire the designated outstanding bonds."
Internal fund borrowing weakened fiscal position PUSD Borrowed against the Sycamore Fund for ongoing costs as if it were a reserve fund, essentially cutting their own technology budget. The market rebounded this past year and PUSD lost out on all that potential interest. Neal School lawsuit fiasco PUSD Got into lawsuits over an indefensible contract. Poor facility maintenance PUSD is deferring maintenance on the district's assets, making later repairs more expensive. And we haven't paid off the bonds that built these facilities in the first place! Any long term operational improvements? Or just CUT PUSD efforts are clearly to raise revenues any way they can. They have no intention to improve operations, reduce regulations, bring true local control back to school boards.
PTA lobbies to lower taxpayer protections The California PTA is lobbying the California legislature in support of SCA 5, legislation to lower the 2/3 voter approval required to 55% for special taxes (like local school parcel taxes). SCA 5 was introduced after the CA PTA's attempt to support an initiative process failed. This was championed by Trustee Bowser, and the PUSD School Board through a resolution.
Where is the annual community fundraising program PUSD has not launched/announced yet this year's PSEE/CORE fundraising campaign. The Measure E campaign wanted to be able to raise $100,000 for this parcel tax campaign and keep the attention of the voter on this parcel tax. This short-sightedness puts library assistants and technology specialist positions at extreme risk.
PUSD Budget Advisory Meetings neither advise, nor work on the budget. They held no meetings for a year, and held their first meeting in 2011 on Feb 3 AFTER the school board approved the parcel tax measure.
The dubious promise of strict accountability and an oversight committee: The promises of "strict accountability measures" and an "independent citizen oversight committee" are also vague. The measure omits specifics of how the district will be held accountable and how the members of the oversight committee will be chosen. In addition, past promises regarding oversight committees have proven false, as these committees have not met on a regular basis.
No direct accountability to taxpayers: The district specifically decided not to include language in the measure requiring them to directly inform taxpayers via a website as to how the parcel tax revenue is allocated. This gives the PUSD considerable leeway in how the money is spent without accountability to the taxpayer.
PUSD and unions are purposely NOT completing negotiations so voters will not know if union costs will be controlled. PUSD significantly delayed start of negotiations with the teachers union. In 2010, PUSD and APT had an MOU signed on Feb 10. . PUSD and APT knew that this MOU had a one-year term, and had a whole year to work out a new agreement. This year, the negotiation process did not begin until Feb 8 AFTER the school board approved the parcel tax to be placed on the ballot. And the negotiations still have not completed, even though parcel tax voting has started. PUSD and the unions are in a coordinated plan to control the timing and process in order to increase the likelihood of the parcel tax passing.
Can anyone honestly say that $2 million/year will protect $16 billion of Pleasanton's residential property value?
If only 39% of PUSD teachers pay for their health insurance, that leaves 61% of the teachers and their families without health care coverage, unless the real bread winner of the household is provided such coverage at work.
I am a teacher with a family, and I am unable to afford health care for my family, and thus my family is not covered.
Shouldn't your union have thought about this before they went for the big salary increases a few years ago over the health care?
Really? A few years ago? More like 18 years- but feel free to keep distorting the truth of a successful school district for your political purposes.
Not once did you talk about the effects of the $20 million PUSD has cut on the children of this community.
Another Teacher, Unless something has changed drastically, you have to prove you have adequate coverage to opt out of health coverage at the district.
Really? You know that some portion of the $20 million in cuts has a lot to do with the unsustainable raises given in school years 2005-08. You neglect to mention the reason furlough days are chosen over salary cuts is because it protects the per diem calculation for retirement income. And, furlough days hurt students with loss of instruction or the loss of professional development for teachers which hurts instruction. Just like to be sure that when we are saying someone is "distorting the truth" that we keep everyone honest.
"Someone please help me understand why ANY pay increases for ANY reason are warranted in the current economic climate.'
I have gotten substantial raises and bonuses in the past two years. I work in embedded software development in silicon valley. Silicon valley is in a hiring binge right now. Things haven't been this good in ten years in here. A lot of homeowners in Pleasanton work in technology. We do need to be giving raises to our teachers because we have some of the best schools in California and step and column raises are quite small, and only given to some teachers, and in the case of column increases, are given for earning higher levels of training.
People in financial services who aren't doing well shouldn't complain. They largely caused this financial mess and we're all paying to clean it up. It wasn't PUSD that caused this recession.
Yes on Measure E.
" You know that some portion of the $20 million in cuts has a lot to do with the unsustainable raises given in school years 2005-08. "
You throw that word around without any justification of what it means or any numbers. Ridiculous! I can just as easily say it would have been even more unsustainable not to give the raises, and then present no numbers to back it up. Anyone can make an absurd claim, so go right ahead and just mouth off if you like, but any rational voter will want to see real numbers. Numbers like expected tax revenue and versus the cost of raises. Let's see all the numbers in detail or the "unsustainable" nonsense is just a bunch of hot air.
Vote Yes on Measure E
"Only 39% of PUSD teachers pay for health insurance. "
Another complete falsehood. Show me the numbers. Where is the link on the website that proves this? In my profession we rely on verifiable numbers, not hearsay and speculation. If we're going to just go on hearsay, then why not use the 90% number I read on another thread?
The number 90%, not 39%!
There, I've refuted your argument.
What a lot of hogwash.
Do the right thing and vote yes on Measure E.
Get rid of the Unions, and put all teachers on performance based pay system, you would see how quickly the whining would stop and the quality of education would improve as the teachers would be competing for their jobs.
Jack - the numbers came from the district office from a direct communication. PUSD has not published it. If you want confirmation of the 39%/61% numbers, call the district office directly.
Another Teacher II, Kathleen is correct. You cannot be without health insurance. You have to prove that you already have health insurance before you can deny coverage by the district.
Jack, glad you got raises. Wish my friends and I were in the same category. We have seen jobs opening up because of the economy but the salaries are not higher. I am in high tech.
The District has stated that there are currently 292 certificated (teachers) purchasing the district medical insurance. That is about 39%. 185 purchase the employee-only coverage at $7,104 per year, the rest purchase family coverage or employee+1. This was in a message from the District that I received a copy of from a friend. If you email the Superintendent or the Human Resources Superintendent you will receive the same information.
Yes, automatic raises, adding $1.5 million per year, are unsustainable. It only works in an economy, and tax base, that grows every single year and income minimally increases to the district by $1.5 million each year. Any less and we are in trouble. If you had a mortgage that increased 3% per year, you would only be able to keep your lifestyle if your income increased every single year. If not, you would be in trouble. No difference. If you put some of your raises into a reserve, you might be ok but the district did not even do that.
You cannot guarantee raises unless you can guarantee income increases, or you put money away when times are better than average for the years when income is flat or decreases.
Tuesday, April 19
Teachers will conserve energy by turning off classroom lights for the last
hour of the day. The time will be used for a quiet activity or game, or an
This is an email from Donlon School. This is just another reason I won't vote yes on E. That last hour of school should be teaching, not sitting around in the dark. How about docking the teachers 1 hour of pay.
Why does teaching always require energy consumption?
The information is out there. It had been printed, verified, and written about ad nauseum during the Measure G campaign. Kathleen is referring to the COLA raises given during those years where the amounts were basically a full pass-through of the COLA from the State. In one of those years, the district used a teacher give-back of a part of the COLA raise (one-time money) for ongoing costs.
The information was available on the district's website. Not sure if it is still there.
Ha ha - it's not April Fools day anymore Ellie! This is a joke, right?
Jack, I was responding to Really, who has those numbers and it was beaten to death with the last measure. Those raises added $2.1 million each year (since reduced to $1.6 million with reductions in staffing). By the way, you only see the amount added as itself each year in the budget presentations. The previous year's impact becomes part of the budget rollover. Sorry to repeat for othesr, but it really goes like this:
1.6 million Year One
1.6 million+1.6 million Year Two
1.6 million+1.6+1.6 Year Three
And so on. Also confirmed by business official at the district.
I already voted, so I'm not lobbying for voting one way or the other. Would like to see those demanding honesty also being honest.
Classrooms have windows, Ellie. Turning off the lights actually teaches an important science lesson. Given that we are in Earth Week, it makes perfect sense to me to model energy conservation with students. Talking about where electricity comes from, how it can be generated in different ways, what the ecological impacts are... all a part of the curriculum.
A curriculum, I might add, that is mandated by the state. Voting no on E will not change the curriculum.
Oh, is this just for a day? That's fine! I thought she was implying it was ongoing and playing games for an hour at school would be a joke.
I've been following the argument on teacher raises at this site for a while. I'm still considering how to vote on the Measure (I haven't read the voter guide yet). I do have an opinion on raises though.
I am very "pro-teacher". I studied to be one and in fact supervise a Head Start (preschool) site. I think if you want quality, you should pay for it. I have found, in my 10 years here, that some PUSD teachers are great and some are not.
Despite how I feel about teachers, I do agree with those who say that raises at this time are inappropriate. My job depends on Federal and State funding. I am not eligible for annual merit raises, or even a definite COLA. I got into my profession with my eyes open - it is not a lucrative career.
I despise all the bashing people have done regarding a teacher's job, schedule (if you want summers off, go be a teacher!), etc. It is an extremely challenging job and, compared to the work load & responsibility in other fields, does not overall pay as well. Why not? Perhaps partly because it is not a job that *makes* money for anyone. If you work in software and your company is selling a lot of software...you likely earn a raise/bonus/etc. for contributing to that success. The challenge with being a teacher is that our contributions are tough to measure. Should it be test scores? I don't think so, but that's a whole other post. Parent satisfaction? Another big no. How do you measure inspiring a child? How do you measure a teacher's creativity? How do you measure patience, energy, persistence, etc.? Teachers are generally using those "soft skills" that are so hard to do!
I agree that raises should be based on performance. I wish mine were...I'd be making a ton more money. Unfortunately, because we don't make money for anyone, we are bound by what the government can pay. For now though, despite the fact that I'm sure many deserve it...no raises. PUSD and other districts will have to do what I do for my direct reports. Find other ways besides money to motivate...create and maintain a positive work environment, be as flexible as possible with teacher time/requests, recognize quality work, etc.
"The information is out there. It had been printed, verified, and written about ad nauseum during the Measure G campaign."
What information? You have to show what the funds coming from the state were expected to be when the raises were given. Only then could you possibly conclude that the raises were "unsustainable." I haven't seen those numbers anywhere.
Yes on Measure E.
"PUSD and other districts will have to do what I do for my direct reports."
No other top district in the Bay Area has frozen step and column raises. Not a single one. All of them, without exception, have parcel taxes. A parcel tax is the best solution for problems that come from the state.
Yes on Measure E.
"1.6 million Year One
1.6 million+1.6 million Year Two
1.6 million+1.6+1.6 Year Three
And so on. Also confirmed by business official at the district. "
Like I said above, that doesn't have anything to do with "unsustainable raises". If the district expected that money to be available from the state at the time when the raises were given, then there was nothing "unsustainable" about them. The argument is ludicrous.
"If the district expected that money to be available from the state at the time when the raises were given, then there was nothing "unsustainable" about them"
Maybe that was true in the past, but now we know there is not enough money from the State. Our eyes are wide open this time around and have been for the last 3 years. So now it is "unsustainable" until revenues rise. You can't just keep cutting the kid's programs and teachers jobs.
"You can't just keep cutting the kid's programs and teachers jobs."
And that's why we need Measure E to start with. It won't solve the whole problem, but I will help.
Yes on Measure E.
Sure, but it's still unsustainable. We have 3.5 million in cuts to make, so 2 million in parcel tax revenue and not giving 1.5 million in raises would do the job.
Yes, as I said it won't fix everything, but it will help. The post I was responding claimed that PUSD gave out " unsustainable raises given in school years 2005-08". That was what I was responding to.
That you haven't seen the numbers means you're new to the conversation. It is reasonable to ask for them. It is appreciated if you just tone down the anger. No one is mouthing off. This has been discussed in the past on this site _ad nauseum_. No one wants to feel like a broken record. It is unfortunate that this website doesn't provide better tracking of past discussions.
Kathleen apparently is referring to the S&C raises. I thought she was referring to the COLA raises. As I wrote, the data used to be on the district's website. Here's the archive.org link for it: Web Link
Compare the chart there with the one here showing the percentage COLA given from the State: Web Link The negotiated COLA raises were almost a straight pass-through of the COLA that came from the State. Here's the purpose of the State COLA: "School districts and community colleges generally use a portion of this new funding to provide annual increases to employee salaries through "step and column" salary schedules and raises. Depending on local collective bargaining agreements, the rate of the employee adjustment may be more or less than the COLA rate the state is providing. In addition to salary adjustments, COLA funding also goes to address cost increases for local operating expenses including employee benefits, utilities, materials, and supplies. "
You can also see on the archive page how health care costs have risen. It doesn't matter if the employee or employer pays for it (it would cut salaries/programs regardless), not even historic average COLA from the State could address that problem. Maybe there's things the district can do in terms of how they negotiate for insurance plans, pool with other districts or something, etc. Or a universal health care system.
You'll also want to read those other FAQs very carefully:
"If the District has a $1.5 to $2 million budget roll-over cost every year, why hasn't it been necessary to make reductions in previous years?"
"The year-to-year increased cost due to this [S&C] movement on the salary schedule is about $1.5 million. The District must budget an additional $500,000 annually to cover increases in cost for utilities, insurance, supplies and equipment, and other contracted services. Consequently, if there is no additional money provided by the state, the District must make $2 million in reductions from current levels to provide a balanced budget for the following year."
Or pass a $2M parcel tax which will cover increased costs for only one year?
Teachers' Union to Play "Thug" Card?
By Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
"California's most powerful public employee union, the California Teachers Association (CTA), has budgeted $1 million for a May campaign to browbeat and coerce lawmakers and taxpayers into providing more money, through higher taxes, for teachers.
The action items proposed by the CTA range from the silly -- convincing the Ben and Jerry's ice cream company to add a labor-union flavor to their line -- to the outright threatening -- demonstrations that could create major traffic jams in towns and cities.
Apparently, the union representing the second highest paid teachers in the nation New York pays several hundred dollars a year more thinks nothing of creating potentially dangerous traffic hazards and making thousands of those who still have jobs in California, late for work.
In case you are not caught up in one of their traffic jams, the teachers' union has another way to reach into your life. An activity being considered is having teachers make phone calls to parents to tell them how their child is doing and then talk about the state budget cuts and inviting them to attend rallies. Is it possible that your response to this call could have an influence on the grade your child receives? Ya think?
Some of the activities the CTA is suggesting are fair game. Protesting in front of a lawmaker's office is in the best tradition of freedom of speech and petition, but the union would take it a step further by following officials around all day, which amounts to stalking and creates security concerns.
And the teachers union would like to turn fire/earthquake drills into budget response drills involving students and the community, putting the priorities of government workers ahead of the safety of our children.
However, using our children as human shields we've all heard the expression, "It's for the children!" is nothing new for CTA. This is an organization that spends millions of dollars advertising "every child deserves a chance" which should actually be translated as "every teacher, even bad ones, deserves the highest pay and benefits in the nation and, of course, iron clad job security." Clearly, this is not about the students.
Al Shanker, the former head of the American Federation of Teachers, a large national labor organization, capsulated CTA's approach best when he said, "When school children start paying union dues, that 's when I'll start representing the interests of school children."
Of course there are thousands of individual teachers who are dedicated to the welfare of their students. These deserve encouragement and support. The problem is that the CTA, which is nothing more than a militant labor union..."
The rest of the story: Web Link
"Al Shanker, the former head of the American Federation of Teachers, a large national labor organization, capsulated CTA's approach best when he said, "When school children start paying union dues, that 's when I'll start representing the interests of school children.""
Wow :( How sad.
That's why it's so important for the school board to look after the interests of the children. We have to have someone respresent the kids interests put them first.
Those links didn't work. I just get:
Welcome to Wayback.
as close to the date:
16:16:21 Feb 21, 2009
as is available..
And it never returns.
Once again is what you have posted, I see no analysis of the projected state from the state in 2005. All I see is "if there is no additional money provided by the state". That says "if". I don't see anything "unsustainable".
"That's why it's so important for the school board to look after the interests of the children. "
We have some of the highest test scores in the state in PUSD. I would say PUSD is looking after the interests of the children. That's why I moved to Pleasanton. You seem to have a personal political agenda.
I really like how you framed your point. (From someone who works in a non-profit serving foster youth!)
"You seem to have a personal political agenda."
Why? I didn't say they weren't looking after the children, I just said it's important that they focus on this. I feel it is important as the teachers have their union to look after them. In the statement above that someone else posted, the unions are clearly not representing the kids and I did find the comment Al Shanker made pretty shocking.
I have watched board meetings and feel that the board could be a more forceful advocate for the children in the comments they make. I feel they should insist on measures to protect the children while the political battle fights itself out. It's just my opinion though.
I agree with "person" - Julie's post is excellent and makes some great points...
"California Teachers Association $1 Million "State of Emergency" Protests May Include Road Closures, Plus "Labor-Union Flavored Ice Cream"
...the California Teachers Association's plan to occupy the State Capitol on May 9-13 as part of the union's protests to increase tax revenue for the state's schools and teachers. I now have further information, including the news that CTA has budgeted $1 million for the protests.
The union has set up a web site of material for activists at CAstateofemergency.com. The documents include the handout I posted earlier, plus a 10-page list of "potential activities" the CTA State Council dreamed up. The State Council consists of more than 700 elected union representatives from all across the state. I've also posted this document on the EIA web site.
The "potential activities" include:
* Target the businesses of legislators in their home districts.
* Circle the offices of "problem legislators." Target them with various actions.
* Picket/rally in front of legislators' offices/homes.
* Follow targeted legislators for the entire day.
* Have students and parents do informational picketing for one hour outside their school site.
* Have parents and students camp in front of schools all night.
* Have teachers being laid off contact parents and other CTA members.
* Make phone calls on Parents' Day. Call parents to tell them how their child is doing and then talk about the budget cuts and invite them to attend the rallies.
* Refrain from Shopping Day. Show the value of educators and other public employees and the economic contribution they make to local communities by refraining from shopping one day.
* Throw monopoly money in the toilet to show that all our money is going down the drain
* Publish a list of companies that are not paying their fair share of taxes. Send letters to these companies and the media and picket their offices. Withdraw funds from banks that are not paying their fair share. (Editor's note: CTA is a tax-exempt organization.)
* One-day boycott of Microsoft and other corporations that are pushing failed education reform efforts.
* Turn fire/earthquake drill into crisis response drill to the budget cuts (involve students and the community)
* Attempt to close a major artery into town/cities
* Have celebrities involved in the demonstrations
* Dye hair red or wear red wigs
* Homeless encampments of students and teachers as they can afford a place to live
* Have people participate in a run across the state with a torch (like the Olympics)
* Statewide "A Day with No Teachers"
* Pay for everything with $2 bills to show true impact of teachers
* "Lights Out Day" during the week where educators teach in the dark
* Protest at an MLB game. Everyone wears a matching shirt and sits in one section. Have scoreboard acknowledge their presence (i.e., "pink-slipped teachers seated in section ___")
* Work with organization like Ben & Jerry to have them create a labor-union flavored ice cream that can be sold at the rallies and in stores"
If people think this is inflamatory then they can thank the CTA. This article links to a a CTA website, which is where this info originated: Web Link
Please dear people of Pleasanton, can't you realize our children's future is at stake here? $98 is really not even enough for the state of affairs we are in right now. I wish we could all pay the truly required amount of somewhere between $400-750 so that all of our schools, teachers, faculty & staff can be given the tools they need to effectively make our district a model of scholastic achievement.
Please vote yes on E & contribute to your schools as much as you can!
Vote YES on E. The root cause of unions bankrupting the state and nation needs to be addressed both at the state and federal levels. Brown and Obama must initiate those reforms, so vote no on the tax initiatives, but let's get some local money that only Pleasanton can use. Let's support PUSD students while Brown and Obama get their act together or get voted out of office.
YES on E.
Vote No on E. While we cannot control what is going on at the federal and state level, we have control over the city and school district.
Until we make changes, we are part of the problem. Vote No on all the tax initiatives, including the local "salary raise tax". We can do better. $98 is throwing away money unless we do some real reforms.
Vote NO on E and instead contribute to your classroom and organizations like PPIE which fund specific programs.
Wasn't even talking to you Kathleen, yet you felt the need to add more snarky comments. And then to say your not trying to get more people to vote no! I have nothing to say to you.
Observer- I heard today that Silicon Valley reported 2010 as the highest earnings in the past 20 years. There are even billboards advertising for jobs!
Too bad folks, it's belt tightening time. For the residents of Pleasanton, our city government and especially the PUSD. We'll manage to get through all the property value reductions (already happened, were over-inflated to begin with) teacher layoffs (only wish we could cut the dead weight tenured ones) class rise increases & any other doom & gloom prophecies that the Yes on E crowd keep whining about.
We will end up contributing more on an individual level to our respective schools, we will find new & creative ways to raise funds for in danger programs & curricula. Why the "tough love approach" comes across as mean spirited and selfish to some and plainly logical to others belies my comprehension at times. Please "good people of Pleasanton" do not be fooled by the guilt ridden campaign of those who would perpetuate the system of mediocrity & graft that perpetuates the upper PUSD & those who blindly support it.
Say NO to Measure E!
"Really?", highest earnings does not necessarily translate into more jobs and salary increases. In fact one of the reasons profits are up is because businesses are learning to live with less employees. From what I have been seeing, raises are not occurring, or are very small, and there is some job growth in some companies but others are concerned on the long term of the economy and don't want to hire more employees and then have to fire them. Temp agencies are doing good as companies can get specific items done and be able to end the contract whenever they want. The economy seems to be looking better but most businesses are cautious.
"There are even billboards advertising for jobs"
But not high paying and not many of them. I have a good job and earn well but a friend told me about this opportunity at his/her company and encouraged me to apply. I went through the process just because I was curious (I am not looking into switching jobs), and in the end, they could not afford to pay me the salary I am making now. They wanted a highly qualified, with phd, candidate but were not willing to pay for it. And reading the job requisition, it sounded like a great deal, I guess some companies feel they can still hire one of the many people who have been un or underemployed for a while, and do this with low level salaries.
So there are jobs opening for entry level perhaps, but again, not that many and not all companies.
The economy is recovering some but companies are careful about spending and hiring.
btw, that job is still available because the qualified people do not like the salary level, and the ones who would accept such offer are simply not as qualified as what the company is looking for. So maybe that is why some get the impression of "plenty" of jobs available...the same job sits there for months unfulfilled and not because of lack of candidates but because the company has still not figured out some stuff.
Some on these forums speak of their great jobs: good for them but not everyone is as lucky. Remember that many of us kept our jobs (good ones) through all this recession, yet I can personally tell you that yes, the times of plenty are gone, we have a different "normal" today, and we must be cautious with our spending
"But not high paying and not many of them."
Take a drive on 237. These are high paying jobs. High tech jobs are in very high demand.
" they could not afford to pay me the salary I am making now."
What the heck are you making now where $98 a year would be too much for you to pay to the schools?
Also, more tech companies are moving jobs to the US from offshore locations lately.
"Onshoring on the Rise
35 percent of U.S. technology companies outsource services or manufacturing to companies outside the country, down from 37 percent in 2010 and 62 percent in 2009. "
The hiring climate in technology is good.
Here is the link for the above post about moving jobs to the US.
I forgot to say:
Yes on Measure E.
Ignore all the whining and doom and gloom predictions from the no on E side. Paying $98 a year to our excellent schools isn't the end of the world.
"who would perpetuate the system of mediocrity & graft that perpetuates the upper PUSD "
Where does this nonsense come from? We have some of the highest API and SAT scores in the state. We also have excellent college placements rates. We have an excellent schools system. Why make up false claims and lies like this? What are you trying to do?
Jack, I am so happy that your life, job and job sector is great. However, not everyone feels the same way or can jump right into a high paying tech job. It's not all wine and roses for all of us.
Yes, support measure E, many people do, but stop making it sound like the whole economy is so great just because you're feeling great. There are many people who have paid taxes into the school system their whole life, who are paying tons towards a bond that will be repaid probably well after we need a more improvements etc., who would like to see our money used responsibly.
" There are many people who have paid taxes into the school system their whole life, who are paying tons towards a bond that will be repaid probably well after we need a more improvements etc., who would like to see our money used responsibly."
That is my whole point. I've been paying taxes too. I think our money is used responsibly. We have an excellent school district and I'm annoyed when people make up nonsense about our schools being mediocre.
I voted yes on Measure E.
Jack you admitted yesterday that giving salary increases in the full knowledge that the State was not funding then was not sustainable.
In my view, for Measure E money to be used responsibly, the district would need to:
A) halt salary increases including S&C, for the amount of time the State is unable to fund them. It would be fine to do a seperate community parcel tax or fundraiser for this kind spending.
This way Measure E would pass, no furlough days would be needed and no programs would have to be cut (we would have $3.5 million in revenue + savings). Overall teachers would benefit compared to last year.
B) Make sure that Measure E funds would go towards keeping existing teacher jobs and children's programs.
C) Tell us specifically what Measure E would pay for and stick to it.
"Jack you admitted yesterday that giving salary increases in the full knowledge that the State was not funding then was not sustainable."
That is not what I said. I said that I could see no evidence that raises were unsustainable.
I disagree that the school should have no flexibility in how it spends money. I don't have a problem with keeping step and column and passing Measure E. That is perfectly OK with me. I'm for that. We have an excellent school district.
Jack, you posted yesterday: "You have to show what the funds coming from the state were expected to be when the raises were given. Only then could you possibly conclude that the raises were "unsustainable."
The extra money from the state this year from last year is 0 or possibly less. So can we conclude . . .
This article shows how your outlook may be different than others, and perhaps why you don't understand why people who are paying very close attention to finances at home are also paying close attention to finances outside the home:
Many in CA: "A slight uptick in some segments of California's economy will do little to foster long-term recovery, according to the latest forecast released today by the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific.
The report said the state's unemployment rate will be at or above 10 percent through 2013."
You: "The forecast noted that the technology-heavy San Jose area was experiencing "robust growth," and the San Joaquin Valley was seeing slight gains in agriculture, transportation/trade and manufacturing."
I was responding to Kathleen who was talking about raises given between 2005 and 2008. I was asking for evidence that those raises were unsustainable.
As to that link you sent, yes I'm aware that things are bad in Sacramento. I'm well aware that Pleasanton is not Sacramento. That is part of the reason I believe we need Measure E to make up for what is not coming from state.
"As to that link you sent, yes I'm aware that things are bad in Sacramento. I'm well aware that Pleasanton is not Sacramento. That is part of the reason I believe we need Measure E to make up for what is not coming from state."
How does that fit into your theory that raises are justified? Wouldn't that increase the overall cost structure and lead to more problems down the road? And when I say my more problems I'm really talking about teacher layoffs, program reductions, and a need to increase the parcel tax.
The increased pension contributions are coming. Why add to the problem by also increasing compensation, which also increases the pension contribution? I admire your tenacity, even if I don't agree with your logic, but I think your short-term agenda will only accelerate and exacerbate a looming problem.
During difficult financial times it is important to plan conservatively.
" Wouldn't that increase the overall cost structure and lead to more problems down the road?"
Only if the increase was expected to exceed revenues. I'm talking about the raises given 2005 to 2008. That's what I was responding to in the earlier post. Concerning the step and column raises today, I would continue to give them, just as all the top districts are in the Bay Area. Either way I would support Measure E.
"Only if the increase was expected to exceed revenues...Concerning the step and column raises today, I would continue to give them, just as all the top districts are in the Bay Area"
If the increase (raise) isn't expected to exceed revenues then what is the purpose of the parcel tax? Could it be that the increased raises do exceed revenue? Isn't that why the parcel tax is needed?
You never answered my question about the coming pension contribution increases. CalSTRS just announced that what has been reported as 40 billion dollar unfunded liability is actually a 56 Billion dollar unfunded pension liability. I'm sure it's much worse than reported but that is a separate topic. The question was/is:
"Why add to the problem by also increasing compensation, which also increases the pension contribution?"
I doubt the PUSD has even included these significant additional costs into their five year budget, although I hope I'm wrong. Jack, I would ask you to consider a broader, more sustainable view. There is just too much financial uncertainty in the Golden State to even consider building a structural deficit into the PUSD budget; not that it should ever be done but that is what you're proposing.
If it is all about the teachers then keep up the good work. If it is about the long term health of the district, or concern for your fellow taxpayers, then your argument is shortsighted and fiscally irresponsible.
It seems obvious that Jack is doing real well in this economy and he thinks that anybody who has not received a raise, like he has, is a sucker. Plus since he has received a good raise, everybody should pay a higher tax to pay for the raises of teachers.
"If the increase (raise) isn't expected to exceed revenues then what is the purpose of the parcel tax? Could it be that the increased raises do exceed revenue?"
That was my whole point. I was responding to a post by Kathleen that was talking about raises given between 2005 and 2008. Those raises were given based on the based on revenue projections at the time those were given. Based on those projections, the raises were sustainable.
" Could it be that the increased raises do exceed revenue? Isn't that why the parcel tax is needed?"
Yes. We had a recession. That recession was much deeper than anyone was predicting back in 2005. Many respected organizations and economists (such as Standard and Poor's) weren't even expecting a recession at the time. There was a lot of talk of a soft landing in the economy. The recession led to shortfalls in revenues. Thus the need for Measure E.
"You never answered my question about the coming pension contribution increases."
It may or may not happen. If it does, Measure E would help. The reason I'm for keeping step and column in place is that we are hiring new teachers (not many, but it is happening and will be happening over the coming years as teachers retire or quit), and we need to hire the best we can in order to maintain the quality of our district. None of the other top quality school districts in the Bay Area have frozen step and column raises. It will be a factor in hiring. I am a taxpayer and I am concerned for my fellow tax payer. I think this parcel tax is well worth $98 a year.
"The reason I'm for keeping step and column in place is that we are hiring new teachers"
No, we are firing teachers, lots of them, certainly lots more than we'll ever be hiring in the next few years. To pay for S&C.
If I were a new teacher I'd be a lot happier to work for a district with a sensible forward financial plan. I would deal better with a frozen salary than the uncertainty of getting pink slips year after year and the chaos that would cause my family year after year.
Freezing S&C will save teacher's money because the parcel tax would pass and they would not have to take furlough days. It's much better for the kids too without furlough days.
It might time to open Charter schools in Pleasanton
Somebody take "Common Sense's" computer privileges away until he comes to (or away) from his/her senses. We don't need rabble rousers like that on this message board, spewing statements that actually make sense, are cohesive, logical and sound.
C'mon your making the rest of us lunatics look bad!
We expect to be firing some teachers this next year. But on the off chance we need to hire some teachers, I think a new good teacher would be reluctant to come to Pleasanton. The Parcel Tax only covers one year of step and column. Next year we are in trouble again. So if there is a new teacher this year, they will be the first in line for cuts next year. If they survive that year, they have to watch out for the year after that. A new teacher would have to bet that income from the state will increase in a year or two, otherwise they will end up loosing their job in Pleasanton because of automatic step and column raises and we do not have any reserves that could be used.
You seem to have an interesting perspective as to what constitutes a healthy school district. I'll ignore that you choose not to directly answer any of my questions, and I'll conclude that your interests have absolutely nothing to do with a financially healthy school district. We can agree to disagree on this point.
IMO, your concerns, denials, and comments only raise more questions and concerns.
And I still think that Cash-Out refinancing, at 3-4 times the going rate for refinancing bond debt, is something that should concern every taxpayer.
"No, we are firing teachers, lots of them,"
But we are also hiring them. Haven't you seen what was already posted? There are new teachers being hired.
"If I were a new teacher I'd be a lot happier to work for a district with a sensible forward financial plan."
I think districts like Palo Alto have a sensible plan. I agree that the threat of being fired would be another factor in not wanting to be hired by PUSD. I do think we will need to follow up Measure E with a second parcel tax that will close the gap. That way we would be able to retain our teachers and continue to provide top quality education to Pleasanton's children. The amount would still not be large and would be well worth it.
"and I'll conclude that your interests have absolutely nothing to do with a financially healthy school district."
Not true. I think we should get there with parcel taxes. If it takes to steps, that is OK with me.
"that you choose not to directly answer any of my questions"
I thought I was answering. I said that the state may or may not ask for more money from the district for pensions. The state may, as I hope, take measures like raising the retirement age for teachers to shore up CalSTRS.
"And I still think that Cash-Out refinancing, at 3-4 times the going rate for refinancing bond debt, is something that should concern every taxpayer."
Had it been me making that decision, I would have done the cash out refinancing as well. I support the decision. It appears to have benefited the district.
"Forget you all" for the idoitic comments. Our schools need $'s, because we can not rely on our state. Move out of our community and then you will see if the grass is any greener.
I think moving out of the state might be smarter still . . .
If you think more money makes the schools better, I have ocean front property in Arizona. You have fallen hook-line-and sinker for the CTA. I was SHOCKED to have a student volunteer call me last night at 7pm asking for my vote (my money) LEAVE THE KIDS OUT OF THIS! She should have been being a kid, doing homework, etc - not being a slave for the greedy, corrupt teacher association. Have you seen Waiting for Superman? There is ZERO evidence that more money helps schools. I'd rather flush my money down the toilet. The teachers are in it for job preservation, not quality education
I have seen "Waiting for Superman". I saw all the business with Michelle Rhee, and sadly many of the "results" from applying her methods were fraudulent.
That movie was all about low or middle performing schools, and has nothing to do with Pleasanton. Pleasanton has excellent schools. Parents move here for the schools. I moved my family to Pleasanton 9 years ago because of the reputation of the schools and we have been very pleased with them. They are better than the private schools my children were in previously. You sound as if you don't realize what excellent schools we have here, and how different they are from the schools in that movie. You are trying to generalize where it is not appropriate. Do you have children in PUSD? Have you ever dealt with any other school districts?
Measure E will help our local, excellent schools here in Pleasanton because the money can be used to preserve programs that benefit children. That is why I voted for Measure E.
I am a life long Pleasanton resident - and product of the Pleasanton schools. When I was in school in PLeasanton, our schools were good and we had less money that the schools have now.
I have children in the Pleasanton schools.
I have watched for years as Pat Kernan, et al wasted the district money. They got greedy during the good time and failed to save for the future. They negotiated ridiculous contracts, which employed their own children. I have seen first hand the terrible teachers that still teach in our schools. There are great young teachers losing their jobs because of tenure and the union. That is the issue here. Not overall funding.
Our schools are good because of the families who choose to come here and their involvement in their kids lives. The increased ethnic diversity in our schools has mirrored the increase in test scores.
You must have missed the part about Woodside high and how test scores can be easily skewed by a few top performers. The kids in the middle are not getting that great of an education. You must have also missed how well those charter schools were performing.
I stand strong in my opinion of our schools. They are good schools. We need to continue to have well educated families in town - that is what makes the schools good - not money or tenured teachers.
This is not about the kids. It is about the teachers
"You must have missed the part about Woodside high and how test scores can be easily skewed by a few top performers."
No I didn't miss that part. Woodside High isn't anywhere near the level of quality of Foothill or Amador. The comparison doesn't work. PUSD schools are much better. Look at the API scores.
" When I was in school in PLeasanton, our schools were good and we had less money that the schools have now."
How long ago? Back 25 years ago when Pleasanton didn't have its own district, the schools weren't near as good as they are now.
" I have seen first hand the terrible teachers that still teach in our schools. "
I haven't seen that in nine years of having kids in school here. We've seen a range from good to excellent. My children have had plenty of excellent older, tenured teachers and also excellent young teachers. As far as charter schools go, I haven't heard of any demand for those in Pleasanton. I have no problem with them. Parents like me are very happy with the schools we have. We moved here for the schools.
It is teachers that make our schools good. I'll ask once again. Have you ever had your children in a bad school district? Do you know what that is like? PUSD is an excellent district, and teachers are an important part of that.
I voted yes on Measure E.
"the schools weren't near as good as they are now."
They were still considered good and a reason why people moved here. It is problematic to make such a raw comparison anyway because curriculum and requirements have changed over the years. For example, when I graduated, it was much more difficult to get into the UC system and so the graduating class had a lower percentage of qualified graduates than now. UC later lowered their requirements and there was an associated increase in the percentage of the graduating class who qualified for UC/CSU. This was before the explosion of diverse offerings of AP classes. I'm not sure if the number of AP classes are a true measure of school quality.
" I'm not sure if the number of AP classes are a true measure of school quality."
If take the average test scores on AP tests into account, I think it is a useful measure. The private school I went to back in the early 80s offered a large number of AP classes and taking them (and passing the exams) was very helpful for getting into selective colleges and Universities.
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