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Recent news regarding California public education funding is dismal

Original post made by Taxed Already on Jan 26, 2012

The recent news regarding California public education funding is dismal.
It appears that our district will need to consider even deeper cuts than
in previous years. This is why our district and our schools have partnered
with the Pleasanton Partnerships In Education Foundation (PPIE). PPIE is
proactively raising funds to support valued programs at risk of being cut
each school year rather than reacting to budget cuts each spring. PPIE has
and will continue to fund district wide programs (Literacy & Student
Support, Science & Technology, and Health & Well-
Being) and staff, such as teachers, specialists, library and technology

Comments (42)

Posted by DB, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 27, 2012 at 9:01 am

Governor Brown's agenda is to continue cutting education and services that matter, because he knows they will be either covered locally, or people will be dupped into voting for increased taxes; either way, he gets more funding for Sacramento. So the more PPIE and local sources kick in funding, the more he will cut. So don't waste your time and money with PPIE. Address the real problem: Brown and the oversize government and spending in Sacramento.

Posted by AnnaS, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 27, 2012 at 10:39 am

Using kids and elderly as hostages to make people agree to more taxes is everyday policy of today's Sacramento and DC. But, unless people of America will become smart enough to kick Brown and Obama out of their offices, things will get only worse.
It doesn't mean though that Pleasentonians should just wait for changes to happened by doing nothing. Most, if not all of the programs could be successfully run by volunteers both adults and students.
Maximum, parents can "join" the Occupy movement and "occupy" Foothill and Amador schools by replacing teaches in classes. Somehow, I believe that if parents will start teaching, they will do a much better job than 99% of unionized teaches.
At least, we will know that kids are not getting taught by somebody facing charges in possession of drugs or child sexual abuse.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jan 27, 2012 at 10:44 am

When will we hear that the State is eliminating redundant agencies and cutting staff by half? We should all take a look at the list of California State agencies: Web Link

I can't believe that we need each of those agencies, and none of them could be combined and streamlined.

All we hear is that education, fire fighters and police must be cut, and state parks closed.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jan 27, 2012 at 10:47 am

AnnaS - Your statement about trusting parents more than teachers is fallacious. I hope you really don't believe that your kids are better off under the guidance of a random parent than a teacher that has been vetted through the school employment system.

I agree with most everything else you said.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 27, 2012 at 10:50 am

AnnaS, Can you please explain how you get from replacing teachers with parents to students are "not getting taught by somebody facing charges in possession of drugs or child sexual abuse." You have no way of knowing that about each individual.

And what is with everyone deciding 99% is the new "in" number? The majority of teachers here and elsewhere are good, hardworking, dedicated people. They aren't 99% bad or 99% great.

As to supporting programs, PPIE could be one answer--I personally donate directly to the classroom, to the people actually doing the work of teaching our children and grandchildren.

Posted by DB, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I address Steve's rhetorical question "When will we hear that the State is eliminating redundant agencies and cutting staff by half?" by answering not until we force them to do so by removing those who don't. As you can see in the CA budget presented in the link posted by Steve, there is a great deal of fat to cut.

Brown's cuts amount to blackmail by holding us hostage in exchange for a tax increase; that should be grounds for recall.

I agree with most of what AnnaS says, but better use of parent's resources is to affect change through voting for the right people or recalling the wrong ones, not through unfocused Occupy protests, and most teachers do try to do a good job, and many are well qualified.

Kathleen, while well intentioned,Supporting PPIE is not an answer - that's a net increase in expenditure, exactly what Brown wants, so he can divert taxes for unproductive Sacramento burocracy and pointless agencys. It shouldn't be up to us tax payers to have to setup special groups to donate money to programs that are supposed to be supported by the taxes we already pay! Where would that end? Do we have to start contributing to fire, police, etc.? If Brown has his way, the answer would be yes, and there would still be tax increases.

Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm

It's great that PPIE is stepping up and providing support for the schools. I hope everyone can get behind this as the funds will go straight to the classroom. Many of us moved here for the schools and we do need a foundation to help us provide for the well above average education our students are lucky to receive here. If we want a better than average school system we really need to pitch in a bit on the funding side.

On the cuts - the logical thing to do is to plan to cut the school year a bit shorter (everyone loses, but the pain is fairly distributed) and then if the Nov taxes pass, return to a normal schedule. There shouldn't be a need for cutting programs. Hopefully this is what is being planned.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm

DB, I don't personally give to PPIE--has a lot to do with the money not always going where donors intended; though I believe it was more an issue with previous leaders of the group. Again, I give directly each year to a teacher.

Parent, cutting the school year is shortsighted at best. Yes, it's "fair"; meanwhile we already can't compete with the education at the K-12 level around the world. I hope the tax doesn't pass. If it does, the message to Sacramento is, "threaten our children and we'll give you money." Should sound like the ransom it is.

Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Kathleen, I didn't mean that cutting the school year was a good idea. I just meant it is the least worst option for Pleasanton right now because it somewhat protects the kids in the case of taxes being passed or not passed (in my opinion anyhow).

As a parent, I would rather have a shorter school year without cutting teachers than a full school year with lots of teachers getting pink slips and lots of programs lost for the year. I can't stand how education is being held hostage by Jerry Brown. But it is. So I guess we have to deal with the hand we're dealt with right now and make the best of a very bad situation. I have young kids and want them to get the best education they can in the days they are in school and I can and do teach them when they are not in school.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Parent, I wouldn't, for example, choose CSR over 180 days of learning. And classroom volunteers in that case keep the learning viable. I've said before I think you start with a classroom and build out--students, teacher, curriculum . . . secretary, yes; principal, yes; custodian, probably; PE teacher (K-5), maybe not; on site computer lab tech (teacher?), maybe not; all kinds of unfunded state mandates that require district staff and the completion of volumes of paperwork, not so much.

Cutting the school year (and there is talk of three weeks!) is expedient. No one in Sacramento wants to publish their office budgets or fix the issue of their overspending. Seems I saw that home schooling is increasing; so are vouchers and charter schools. I have grandkids, so I'm volunteering, donating, and worrying right along with you.

Posted by AnnaS, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm

For Steve and Kathleen - if you ever been through the process of applying to a volunteer position at school you know that any random parent must first pass criminal record check; and if you follow the news, you know that being vetted through the school employment system doesn't guarantee from being arrested for possession of drugs.
Web Link
99% is indeed a new "in", or better is a representation of Obama's era arithmetics: 1 million start from 250 thousands; Obama's supporters represent 99% of population of America; everyone who disagrees with his policies represents 1% and they are all racists.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 27, 2012 at 2:06 pm

AnnaS, A volunteer can get clearance if they have not yet been caught with drugs or other illegal activities, so it isn't foolproof. Reposting the Foothill teacher issue (in this case 1 out of 900 teachers) is not proof that volunteers are better.

Posted by Libertarian, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Volunteers are always better. Too much emphasis is being placed on education. Send your kid to college and they are indoctrinated to be liberal nonbelievers. Colleges, High Schools, and their union thug teachers are using classrooms as incoobators for leftist doctrinism.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jan 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm


Do you agree that teachers also get criminal background checks? It's like saying that we need more lay people to replace priests because we can't trust our priests anymore. Or we need more ordinary people in Congress because...okay maybe we do in Congress :)

Hyperbole doesn't help a reasoned argument.

Posted by Libertarian, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Rick Santorum thinks President Obama had indoctrination in mind when he said in his State of the Union address Tuesday that higher education ought to be available to every American family.

The GOP presidential candidate, who is running third in the Florida polls ahead of next Tuesday's primary in that state, told an audience there Wednesday that the real purpose behind Obama's higher-education push is "undermining the very principles of our country every single day by indoctrinating kids with left-wing ideology. ... The indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left's holding and maintaining power in America." To applause, he said people should stop contributing to these universities and colleges.

I'm with Steve and AnnaS. We need to dumb everything down in order to save the nation.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jan 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Libertarian -

You've got a pretty good head start.

Obama's emphasis is simply an attempt to have the Federal government forgive more student loans, provide more grant money and student aid so that overpaid university professors and staff can continue to raise the price of tuition without facing market pressures.

Did you know that Univerisity/College Presidents earn in the range of $1-3 million/year?

Perhaps if Universities felt some of the pressure being put on banks and "evil" corporations by the so-called 99%, they might begin to reign in costs. Instead, they protest that more student loans should be forgiven so students don't have to feel the cost and realize that the investment probably wasn't such a good one.

Posted by LuvPleasanton, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 27, 2012 at 5:52 pm

LuvPleasanton is a registered user.

Wow...this is refreshing to finally start seeing comments based on common sense ... it seems to finally be hitting home that our govt agencies, politicians and public employee unions are taking us for a ride and the only way to make them accountable is to reduce their size and power... Please Vote to reduce the size of Govt and let us be free... there are so many examples of govt corruption and ineptitude and some of it has been highlighted in the comments here -THANK YOU - our youngest son is now at UC Berkeley fighting the good fight .... a great training ground for understanding how they operate and exposing the indoctrination ... he says even the kids are starting to see it NOW!- I HOPE SO...

for more insightful info see


Posted by Libertarian, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 27, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Yes, poor Mitt Romney had to pay 13.9% of his 40+ million in taxes. Yet those corrupt public employee unions and govt agencies keep giving his money to black people and indoctrinated students. Liberate Mitt. No taxation. Period. No social security. No medicare. It's all just govt corruption. People are just too stupid or senile to recognize how universities and colleges are tearing this country apart. We need to let corporations decide what is best for us. They're people too.

Posted by long time parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 8:43 pm

There will be more cutback, and guess what, teachers will still receive raises. The system is completely unsustainable. You cannot have equal or less money coming in and giving automatic raises to employees. In the private sector you would go out of business. In government you just provide less services.

For me, until the government does something about the public employee pension problems, something real, I would not vote for another cent of increased taxes. They have had years to do something about pensions, however it gets worse every year since they do nothing.

Also, our district is still giving out free medical insurance to those who retire. Up to seven years of medical insurance, money that comes out of the fund that has to pay current teacher's salaries. That has to stop.

Posted by Libertarian, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm

No kidding! The teachers union thugs talk about ferlows, layoffs, pay freezes, pay cuts. But inquiring minds no that they are really all getting raises. We need to replace Pleasanton teachers with volunteers who won't fill the kids with indoctrinade. Not a nother penny until 50% of teachers are volunteers.

Posted by to Libertarian, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Yeah, it's probably those same friendly union bosses who came in from out of town to "nicely talk to" our city council when the union contracts were up for review last year. They now hang around this message board under lots of different names using silly verbal tactics on every topic. Right?

Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 10:34 pm

"In the private sector you would go out of business." Yet this is the news that I keep hearing about the private sector long time parent- Web Link

Continuing to blame the teachers and the system that employs them certainly takes the eye off the ball, but does fool me for a second. Something needs happen to end this outrageous scam coming from the private sector. In the mean time, I will continue to just laugh at the posts like yours.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 28, 2012 at 8:03 am

Really, from your link: "Though some particularly stellar employees may be able to eventually convince their bosses to give them a bigger share of the bonus pie, nervousness surrounding dismal job prospects on Wall Street will likely keep most bankers quiet." There aren't better jobs waiting for the complainers.

Long time parent is not off the mark. There are plenty of stories of reduced benefits and salaries and of unemployed people who were cut from private sector jobs. A company could keep raising the price of widgets to continue salary increases and benefits, but no one is going to buy the overpriced widget.

Not much of that going on in DC or in any state capital; the answer is always to just raise taxes--and in Sacramento, the proposed increase comes with the threat of cuts to education. No better example of fat cats than elected officials trying to hang onto their jobs and money, and we have no choice about buying their overpriced widgets (programs).

Posted by Libertarian, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 28, 2012 at 9:15 am

Yeah, I can stop buying widgits. When oil companies raise their prices, I'll simply put water in my gas tank instead. That'll put them out of business. But the oil companies know this, so they keep gas prices low. It's the beauty of the private sector. Private sector rules! Public sector is full of union fat cats! Our only hope is to DISORGANIZE the people! Take them out of their groups and make them act like barren individuals. Like me. Then everyone will have more power to fight the injustices of the world -- like teachers' salaries.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 28, 2012 at 9:24 am

Libertarian/Ruby Hill, Actually, people resort to other modes of transportation (buses, trains, bicycles, walking) or carpooling or moving or changing jobs (assuming they are able to do so). And gas prices do rise and fall for lots of reasons. Here are the Fortune 500 companies: Web Link Oil companies suited your rant.

I don't believe teachers make too much.

Posted by Libertarian, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 28, 2012 at 10:05 am

Touchy, touchy! I once thought of using the Greyhound bus system to do my 90 mile round-trip commute, but then I decided to ride my bike instead, until I kept getting so many flats, and then I walked cuz trains weren't available. (I walked barefoot from Chicago to California once.) But who needs trains when you can fly, right? But I couldn't afford that. Carpooling is communist. Wake up. When I say public school teachers make too much I mean they're allowed to retire at 60 with generous pensions, you know, kinna like ... well, you know. Point being we need to celebrate how the private sector works -- oil companies -- and continue castigating all those high-paid teacher and public administrator pensioners. Anything else makes one a real hippocrit.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Knew it was you, of course. Pensions were out of control in the private sector as well; however, they could choose to change the course or fail and leave everyone unemployed or get federal bail out money. Public pensions are underfunded. It's a reality that is going to cost taxpayers. I put in thirteen years (three of those on the board) as a non-represented employee (not in teacher's union, not in classified union, not in management). My pension is, well, you know, going to be on the bottom of any lists the state keeps. How 'bout yours?

As to getting to work . . . thank goodness most people plan ahead for their individual needs. You want that train, I'm fine with you paying for it and for your explaining to the communities who don't want it that you are overriding their wishes.

Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Kathleen, my point from the article I posted was that they have been getting bonuses for years now, even through the fall of the economy. They are screaming about how high of a bonus they will be receiving. This is happening in private sector companies all over the country- their earnings are up, bonuses are given every year, and the blame continues to be placed on the public sector.

Posted by HardToTakeSeriously, a resident of California Reflections
on Jan 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Like many other writers, I find it difficult to take seriously this weeping for funds that Democrats cynically pulled in order to force us to vote for their tax increases.

After these same Democrats passed all those laws to promote sexual perversion in the classroom, all I can say is that the sooner parents wake up and pull their kids out of government schools the better. Do your children a lifelong favor and enroll them in quality private schools or home school them. Meanwhile, lobby "your" government for tax credits for this alternative, not "vouchers". Vouchers give these same government officials the right to control the alternate schools.

Posted by Patriot, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2012 at 6:59 pm

To "HardToTakeSeriously",

University of California at Berkeley, University of Illinois, University of Texas, University of Michigan, and many more are government schools to which I would be happy and proud to send my children. I think they stand up pretty well when compared to such private schools as Liberty University.

Posted by Nomad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2012 at 4:47 pm

What is dismal is from the Governor all the way down to the PUSD school board and cabinet, the education structure thinks nothing of correcting the expense structure. Their only playbook is to cut student programs and services while protecting the salaries, benefits and pensions of those who can stay in power. Who loses? The kids and the teachers/staff with the least seniority.
With the list of recommended cuts, PUSD demonstrates it has not learned from the lessons of two failed parcel taxes and the inability to meet any fundraising goals. And clearly has not learned from those in the community who provide many ideas for controlling expenses. What a shame.
And also with this list of cuts, PUSD has brought upon themselves again, another round of community activism that will point out, with clarity and precision, their fiscal ineptitude.
Here we go again, sadly.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm

We need less union....more commitment to pride in our jobs and improved performance not just in teaching but in all government jobs. We also need to stop educating illegal students who should not be in this country to begin with. I am so tired of paying the bill in California, donating dollars and time to the system only to see illegal students getting free education and perks above and beyond. Do some research on the students who get into the UC's and the amount of scholarship they receive. I think most people would be surprised. EVERYBODY needs to give a little - and stop just expecting a free ride. The state needs to release numbers on how many students come into California in high school - just to get a free ride to the college system. I am tired of budget cut threats and until Mr. Brown and his cohorts begin to look at what's really happening in California.....I am done giving.

Posted by Libertarian, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Everybody needs to pitch in, but I'm done giving myself even if I didn't give in the past either. It's all these immigrants and the schools giving scholarships to members of entitlement groups. I think students should give back some of what they're getting for free, especially the entitlement group kids. And we should sweep the schools and get rid of the illegals. Then we need to fire anyone who's in a union, because we want our teachers to be weak. Strong teachers are a danger to all of us who want to spend our money on the pursuit of happiness.

It's the governor's fault. See the way the failed parcel tax votes went? I wasn't for them then and I won't be in the future. Because life is about pursuing my happiness, not supporting some entitlement group kids who'll spend their tuition cuts on drugs. Save the nation. Home school your kids.

Posted by McKinsey, a resident of Danbury Park
on Jan 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm

By now it should be obvious to all of us that the City, Super., School board are all incapable of doing the job the way it should be done and I think we should bring in an entity which does not have a vested interest in supporting the unions to evaluate what really needs to be done to correct this terrible situation which seems only to be getting worse. Brown's potential tax increase, which I will not vote for, isn't even remotely enough to fix this issue. The bigger issue coming is the unfunded state, county, and city pension plans which do not show up in the budget. California has over 850,000,000,000 yes that is right billions of unfunded pension liabilities.

Posted by Nomad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2012 at 5:02 am

The PUSD school board led by Trustees Joan Laursen and Jeff Bowser and the APT/CSEA unions have the ability to produce a balanced budget without cutting a single student program or service. And without relying on state/federal governments to fix the issues of illegals or Wall Street compensation.
It will take visionary leadership which is conspicuously absent.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 30, 2012 at 8:57 am

"Libertarian," your comments aren't helpful.

Resident, The question of illegal residents is bigger than they are using our services. They also work and pay taxes, a nice boon for all government agencies.

"The Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) has estimated the state and local taxes paid in 2010 by households that are headed by unauthorized immigrants. These households may include members who are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants. Collectively, these households paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes. That included $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes, and $8.4 billion in sales taxes. The states receiving the most tax revenue from households headed by unauthorized immigrants were California ($2.7 billion), Texas ($1.6 billion), Florida ($806.8 million), New York ($662.4 million), and Illinois ($499.2 million) {See Figure 1 and Table 1}." Web Link

California newspapers have been digging into get the office budgets of our representatives in CA. They, of course, do not want to provide them. There are a lot of rocks to turn over to understand where taxpayer dollars are being spent.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 30, 2012 at 9:21 am

Here is an article from the Sacramento Bee about individual budgets: Web Link

LA Times: Web Link

And the final outcome from CBS in Sacramento: Web Link ". . . each lawmaker's office budgets showing staff salaries, travel expenses and car leases, among other office items. It showed the Assembly, with 80 lawmakers, has spent more than $86 million so far this year, and the Senate, which has 40 lawmakers, has spent $69.3 million so far this year."

You could buy a few counselors or reading specialists with that kind of money.

Posted by Libertarian, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 30, 2012 at 9:56 am

Kathleen Rugesseger is right. Like I was saying, illegal immigrants are lining the coughers of the rich politicians. It's all governments fault they are so corrupt and nowtheir getting paid off by the illegals. We shouldn't have any govt at all. Just let corporations functon according to the free market. Down with unions!

Posted by Dan, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jan 30, 2012 at 10:05 am

The money quote: "Four Republican lawmakers...released their complete office budgets, defying a committee controlled by the Assembly speaker that has said such documents are NOT PUBLIC RECORDS." (Emphasis mine)

Is there anyone that still does not believe that the current political class from BOTH PARTIES lay at the root of our economic problems? A combined ~$150m in expenditures alone and look at the condition of our state and its PUBLICLY FUNDED institutions! What do they do?

A chief of staff that makes $190k a year? Really?



Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2012 at 10:53 am

So the state has a gun to our heads re. education and even if the vote is yes to taxes, it's too late to influence planning for next year.

And planning at the local level should be strategically planning and negotiating for the logical two weeks off until we know more in Nov. as well as cutting non-essentials - basically putting together a plan the whole community can get behind and where 90% of us agree that we're making the best out of a bad situation.

We could do with a year of pulling together as a community and I'm worried it's all going to fall apart again.

So what do we do? How, as a community, do we protect our kid's education for next year? I have heard the comment that a bad year might be "good for us" so it makes people vote a certain way. Is this how we're really going to treat our kids education next year?? But what do we do?

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 30, 2012 at 11:19 am

Parent, I posted this on the other topic about budgets:

I'm pretty sure if we don't all start writing to the board members about our expectations of them as our representatives, they will only continue to nod to staff (well, three of them at least, and that's all that's needed).

Perhaps some independent thinking parents are willing to set up a survey and get the word out to the community so the board gets information directly from the voters. It is an election year for the board (three seats which could change the direction of decision making). I'd be willing to donate to that effort (on-line survey, ads).

Posted by Pete, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 30, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Kathleen, your point is well taken. Have you looked at PUSD televised meetings (staged pep rallies) vs city council (spontaneous and serious) meetings? What a difference!

The 3 that you refer nod to staff look like they are trying to win gold stars from PUSD and their superintendent's department heads from their teacher's-pet-type behavior and general submissiveness.

The staff of PUSD believe it is THEIR board room and they want our elected representatives to be good submissive pupils that spend TV air time praising them, with minimal discussion of so-called 'issues' they've probably rehearsed answering in advance (because they have probably been submitted in advanced).

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