School district could cut 30 jobs starting July 1 as state aid lags Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Feb 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm
Looking at bad and worse figures from the state, Pleasanton school officials have released numbers that could mean cuts of nearly 30 full-time jobs for the next school year budget that takes effect July 1.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, February 2, 2012, 1:18 PM
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm
All the cuts seem okay to me. The only one I am not in agreement with is the custodians. We need clean schools, so why not get rid of another two or three district management positions instead and keep the custodians?
Looking at the staff on the PUSD website, there are a lot of positions that seem redundant and we could do without. But we need clean schools, and if they need to eliminate custodians do so at the district office. Let the superintendent use dirty bathrooms but we need clean schools. Get rid of more management and leave the custodians alone.
Posted by Newton, a resident of the Charter Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm
I'm okay with all the cuts too, especially the management. And I'm especially okay with the superintendent using a dirty bathroom. But I think we can do without the janitors. (And, frankly, Jim, your message kind of sounds like you're a janitor yourself!)
Has anyone thought of starting up a little program where we bus the kids of Oakland's criminal class to Pleasanton for purposes of doing the janitorial work? That way we'd only have to keep one janitor to supervise the kids in all the schools. The kids don't have any role models except our singing and entertaining food stamp president, and so this would teach them how to work - something their parents obviously never learned to do.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2012 at 3:43 pm
Glenn, can you double-check? I think you're missing the other list of cuts that are slated to be made including increasing class sizes in K-3, eliminating high school sections and much more. These were on the list to be cut last year and then weren't but are not back. There are 75 FTE at stake if both lists of cuts are made.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm Kathleen Ruegsegger is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
You need to go to the district home page: Web Link The first paragraph, center column, lists two documents--previous approved cuts (but saved by other sources for 11-12) and proposed additional cuts. So it's both documents to get to the $5 million figure. One needs to get the docs side by side before you can figure out it is 75 jobs.
For those who think the cuts are okay, I'm not sure how cutting counselors, reading specialists, psychologists, and custodians is in balance with the slap on the hand approach of cutting car allowances for managers (I don't believe these are the assistant superintendents or superintendent by the way). And as I said on Mr. Hunt's post, cutting the Management Assistant (which is on top of the Superintendent's administrative assistant) alone could save the Barton program (or a counselor or a custodian).
This is the list of things that they proposed cutting last year, but did not cut in the end - things like CSR, reading specialists, Barton, Counseling in Middle and High, sections for high school, specialist sections in elementary. So all of these programs and jobs were not cut last year and they are back in the pot for cutting this time. It equates to 53.52 FTE.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm
Glenn, that is the list of new reductions. They need to be added to the list of reductions that were planned for last year but that did not happen. It's next to the other list on the front page. There are 53 jobs at stake from this one. Class sizes did not go up last year, so 26 jobs were saved that are on the chopping block again just as the biggest example.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 2, 2012 at 6:06 pm
Glenn, it's important that people know what the total cuts are otherwise no one will know that last year's proposed cuts are back in play. Readers may think things are mostly fine for K-12, when they aren't at all if you consider the first list, which digs heavily into our kids education.
There are plenty of things on the "possible reduction" list that should replace items on the "previously approved" list if there are concessions.
Posted by Tech Geek, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 8:27 am
Let's not forget that 9 elementary site techs and 3 middle school site tech positions are also being eliminated. All part time, but now 12 schools will not have a person at each site to help maintain the computer and media equipment. And let me tell you, some school are still working off the Windows 2000 operating system! Old, Old computers are like old cars...need more maintenance than the new ones!
Posted by parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 9:47 am
OK, just so everyone is clear:
The list of new cuts for the 2012/13 school year, which includes the things discussed, but not implemented last year + the new proposals include:
1. Reduce District funding for Barton
2. Reduce High School Counseling
3. Reduce Middle School Counseling
4. Reduce reading specialists
5. Reduce one specialist section weekly for grades 1-5 (this means school will end earlier too)
6. Eliminate K-3 class size reduction (raising class sizes from 25-30)
7. Reduce categorical programs
8. Additional sections for comprehensive high schools (reduce)
9. Reduce district office classified support
10. Eliminate health services liason position
11. Reduce library assistants at Elementary
12. Reduce library assistants at Middle School
13. Eliminate site technology specialist at elementary
14. Eliminate site technology specialist at Middle schools
15. Eliminate Band/Strings teachers
16. Reduce Elementary Counseling Services
17. Reduce Middle School Counseling Services
18. Reduce High School counseling services
19. Reduce reading support for elementary
20. Eliminate Barton
21. Reduce summer school for high school
22. Eliminate adult education
23. Reduce psychogists
24. Reduce program specialists (not sure which program)
25. Eliminate home schooling support
26. Secure funds from regional occupation program
27. Reduce graphic services (what is this?)
28. Reduce high school custodial services
29. Reduce middle school custodial services
30. Reduce district office custodial services
31. Reduce grounds services
32. Reduce maintenance services
33. Eliminate car allowance for managers
34. Reduce car allowance for contracted managers
35. Reduce work year for management personnel by 5 days
36. Defer 50% of FY 12/13 OPEB Contribution
So there you have it - the full list of cuts for 2012/13. 75 jobs and our kid's education on the brink.
Some things will have to go of course, it's about prioritizing what's important. So let the school board know what you value as they will approve a final cut list. They are elected to represent our interests and oversee priorities.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 10:29 am
Parent, Cutting the school year (educationally unsound in my opinion) is mostly coming out of teachers' pay. I just want to be sure we are clear about that. And using reserves only is good as long as there are reserves.
Adding things could include moving assistant superintendents to the director level or cutting their work year (and pay) accordingly.
Posted by Kari, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 11:02 am
One important aspect to the District's budget is that Special Education automatically takes a large portion of these funds, (currently 20%). It's federally mandated and this needs to change. It's one of the costliest services and it's one of the last that can be cut because of the federal mandates.
Posted by Kari, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 11:11 am
Kathleen, While I agree that cutting the school year may be "educationally unsound" we shouldn't view our children's education as a jobs program for teachers. If we decide we need to cut days out of the school year, so be it. The private sector makes cuts when and where they are necessary. Most of us have taken pay cuts and greater workloads so I have no problem moving an assistant superintendent to a director level. They like to put the teachers in the firing line when there are MANY other cuts that could be made at the administrative/bureaucratic level. Waste and redundancy tend to be the hallmark of our state government.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 11:18 am
Kari, Cutting the school year hurts the students. That it is taken out of teachers' paychecks is just a fact. Letters to the governor about closing/regionalizing county offices of ed may be a good start when looking at the state picture impacting K-12 education.
Posted by Lynn, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 11:24 am
Let's face it. A lot of the kids belong to illegal immigrant families that are living off the charity of Pleasanton folks give them nanny and yard work. Perhaps if we initiated a self-deportation campaign, a lot of those kids would go back to where their parents came from. I imagine that would save a whole lot of money.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 11:59 am
Lynn, "living off the charity of Pleasanton folks." When did work become charity? And there has already been discussion that illegal immigrants are a boon to the government entities because they pay all the required taxes. No agency is really in a rush to deport these taxpayers or there wouldn't be some 11 million here. Web Link
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
How much does offering the diversity of AP courses cost? I'm not suggesting to cut AP outright (although some schools have). I'm just questioning the need for such a diverse selection of AP courses. They seem more like "nice to haves" while reading specialists are much more crucial to lifelong learning.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm
"Cutting the school year (educationally unsound in my opinion) is mostly coming out of teachers' pay. I just want to be sure we are clear about that."
Yes, we are clear on that.
It will also save a lot of jobs and is the only option that means class sections / sizes / specialists can be untouched along with jobs and pay if the proposed Nov taxes pass.
If we do what is planned right now, jobs will be lost that cannot be restored for 2012/13 and many are unlikely to ever be restored. The money will likely be diverted to restoring buildings etc.
It is up to the district, union and employees to decide. My hope is that it is on the table and being actively discussed. My hope is also that the employees get a vote on this and that decisions are not being made for them by the top.
"And using reserves only is good as long as there are reserves."
Yes, there is some money in there now. Not enough of course, but enough to help restore some programs. This is where the priorities come in.
"Adding things could include moving assistant superintendents to the director level or cutting their work year (and pay) accordingly."
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
While there may be some amount of social promotion, that isn't the real point of reading specialists. If a child has dyslexia, they need help from a reading specialist. Their reading challenge is not solved by holding them back a grade level. What's the common phrase about focusing on the basics: Reading, Writing, and 'Rithmetic?
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm
Parent, All the materials that can be copied for classrooms, board meetings, etc. are done by the graphics department. It too, like adult ed, used to run in the black because it was doing copying for neighboring districts, the city (I think), and PTAs for a reasonable, but profitable, fee. Cutting from 6 FTEs to 5.5 FTEs can be done by cutting everyone's hours, or one half time person, or cutting one person to half time instead of full time. FTEs make it hard to actually track how many individuals work in that department. Losing .5 FTE could be a reflection of what they think they can safely lose and still make money. And it's possible outside users are copying less. One of the early board meetings this school year mentioned the number of pages (millions) copied each year.
"It will also save a lot of jobs and is the only option that means class sections / sizes / specialists can be untouched along with jobs and pay if the proposed Nov taxes pass." I don't think things can stay untouched. The district will not know if they can keep any of these jobs until after the November election. Teachers have to be notified in March. And someone correct me, but didn't the governor say no cuts to teachers in August? Really, it wouldn't matter, because you still wouldn't have held the election. Not sure why the election isn't sooner. Maybe the governor wants to be sure we are sufficiently horrified by the first few months of school before we vote.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
"Graphic Arts Services is a full service copy and printing in-plant for the Pleasanton Unified School District. The types of services provided are black/white copying, color copying, collating, numbering, folding, business cards, typesetting, and ink printing of a variety of materials, including, but not limited to, envelopes, NCR forms, newsletters, certificates, and graduation programs. The facility also provides services to other non-profit community organizations." Web Link
Sometimes such services can be provided at a lower cost by government than by a private business so I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about it. It does lead to some interesting questions though.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm
Kathleen, if they agree in the negotiations taking place right now that we can cut the school year by one to two weeks if the taxes fail, then hopefully some / all of these jobs don't have to go. We'd have potential cost savings of $2.25 million to 4.5 million agreed in advance, so I would think fewer / no pink slips needed.
I'm hoping the union will make sure that the most jobs possible are saved by any concessions.
So if they can decide before March that it is OK on both sides to cut the school year, school can begin as usual next September and the only thing that would change after the elections is the length of the school year - longer if the taxes pass, shorter if they fail.
Posted by Dan, a resident of the Bridle Creek neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm
I can't really follow the differences in cuts being talked about in this thread, but I do have a question that I'd like to explore that might be relevant to the discussion
My child will be going to Pleasanton Middle School next year and I'd like to understand why there are 9 periods each day (8+A-period? What does a typical day cover?
To make this more relevant to the discussion, I went back to my old report cards from back in the mid-70's, a time when California was, I think, near the top of the heap in education and I found that I had 7 periods: Math; reading/writing; Science; History; P.E.; and 2 electives.
I remember getting out of school at around the same time as the children do now so I have to wonder why the 2 extra periods? Are they really necessary?
I called the school to get an understanding of the schedule but, although she was very pleasant, she was a little flustered in describing the period structure.
I know this is a hot topic but I really would like an explanation from somebody in the know.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm
Parent, I guess if I was in negotiations, I'd be saying exactly what I've said already: start with the classroom and work toward the DO. Cut consultants, earmark less for attorneys' fees (and stop doing stuff to get sued), any management perks, etc. Then I'd give up days if there was a position DO that should be spared. For parents to roll over on days of the year sends the wrong message to everyone--that we are willing to sacrifice learning for students and keep the current bad process rolling along.
Posted by Concern Driver, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm
Have you notice all the new signs for the drivers that drop off/pick up their kids that must have cost money. If the parents would follow the rules the schools would not have to pay money towards signs to remind parents to follow the driving rules.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm
"While there may be some amount of social promotion, that isn't the real point of reading specialists. If a child has dyslexia, they need help from a reading specialist. Their reading challenge is not solved by holding them back a grade level. "
But how many kids do we have that need this type of help? If we have too many, wouldn't it be better to have some sort of class for all of them with one qualified teacher and an aide? That seems financially more reasonable. I have a special ed niece in another state, and she is in a special ed class with kids with the same type of learning disabilities that she has, and she is thriving.
I know that when I was working as a volunteer in elementary school, the reading specialist would come to class and take the kids out. Sometimes, kids missed lessons in math or even language arts, falling even further behind than they already were. Wouldn't it be better to have a class with a qualified teacher and not have to take the kids out for time with the reading specialist?
In HS, we have what they call "Sheltered English" and other similar classes, which students take instead of the regular English or other classes. We also have the Math 1-4 sequence for kids who need extra help (they take this instead of the Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 sequence). Why can't we have something similar in Elementary?
Posted by Lynn, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm
Children of illegal immigrants aren't doing anybody in THIS community any favors. Govt agencies are all socialist and corrupt and the positions are filled by unsavory union characters. Gov Moonbeam wants to pamper these kids and give most of them scholarships that otherwise might go to deserving people. That's why I think self-deportation is so vital, especially now. If you live near an illegal alien, please tell them that you're watching them and that you'd like them to self-deport. This will save us taxpayers much money.
Posted by Jason, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm
Outsourcing all support services would significantly reduce the District's expenses (use ABM for facilities management, ADP for payroll, etc.) without impacting service. It would also enable the elimination of an assistant superintendent. The private sector did this years ago and realized not only cost savings but also better support. The District's sole focus should be the education of our children.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 8:58 pm
Jason, Not as easy with union contracts involved. And unless things have changed, PUSD was doing payroll for neighboring districts as well and making money at it, so switching to ADP would not be a savings. First you have to believe that all assistant superintendents are necessary, but what I suggested was downgrading the jobs to the director level, not eliminating them. No disagreement about what the focus should be.
Posted by Jill, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 9:42 pm
I did see on the last agenda that they accepted the retirement of one of the assistant superintendents, Educational Services, as of the end of the year. To save money, they should not fill that position. One less assistant superintendent to pay. On the district website (Web Link), it has her employment contract from 2007 at $176,887 per year Plus a master's stipend of $1,300, plus bonuses, working 220 days per year (8 weeks off per year), 18 days of sick leave per year, upon retirement she gets free medical and dental insurance till she hits age 65, a golden handshake payout at retirement, $600/month car allowance, gas card paid for by the district. I am sure the rest of the assistant superintendents have similar contracts. It is time to right-size the district office personnel and put in the appropriate pay scale. I am sure we can do well with somebody in a director level. It is important we all keep an eye on the district to see what they do with this position and what kind of contract they offer a replacement.
Posted by Truth, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 3, 2012 at 10:26 pm
Interesting..cutting all kinds of services...police get cuts to their pensions and public employees all get pay and benefits cut ....all the while the city has over twenty five million dollars in reserves..when will the public realize it's their money and rise up?
Posted by Ex-Ptown resident, a resident of another community, on Feb 4, 2012 at 8:39 am
Sad and quite pitiful really...
CAR ALLOWANCE??!! How is this even possible when PUSD cut school bus transportation years ago, leaving parents to figure out how their kids would get to school. I'm incensed that public school employees, granted they are what might be equivalent to the CEOs, etc. of a corporation, the fact is that public education isn't a profit-making company. Considering all the cuts in the past and what will be the near future, CAR ALLOWANCE should have been one that was dropped all together. It's time to do the RIGHT thing and cut everything and everyone who is not absolutely essential, especially that which seems to be administrative "perks". It's just another good reason for some of us not to vote to help support PUSD with more taxes, etc. Not sorry for leaving Ptown, hopefully things improve soon...
Posted by Jason, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2012 at 9:13 am
I agree that the union contracts would make this difficult but I think this issue warrants serious consideration. It's frustrating that the unions have put their interests above those of the students. Regarding payroll, I don't think the revenue results in zero net cost to PUSD.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2012 at 9:59 am
Jason, There already is some sharing of costs, I believe, with the city (corporation yard?). If contracts weren't the stumbling block, grounds maintenance could be shared between the two entities. What I recall about payroll is the district was getting income from perhaps Dublin, Sunol, and San Ramon and it covered a lot of the expenses for PUSD's staff. Same with printing department, it was making a profit by charging nominal fees to other non-profits like the city and PTAs. This kind of lends itself to pooling the services of surrounding districts to save money for each of them. You wouldn't even have to go to ADP (which also isn't going to be a zero net cost).
And from the corporate side, I know that paper checks and paper pay stubs are being eliminated--direct deposits and URLs for income info seem to be the direction. Don't know what or how much that could save and go back into the classroom.
And not be be a wonk for Apple, but the iPad is changing textbook usage, which could be a huge savings to a district that buys two class sets of every book. So there are opportunities if the will (and some seed money) are there.
Posted by Jill, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm
Kahtleen, there is currently no sharing of the corporation yard with the city. The school union shot that one down previously.
Payroll as a whole costs the district a lot in personnel, whether or not we make a profit from other districts for part of it. We should look at the price of outsourcing payroll for us, and then we can compare things. My guess is that we really do not make money off of other districts for doing their payroll once you figure in the total cost (including retirement, retiree medical, etc.).
The district should also outsource technical support. I think that can be more cost effective plus there are resources like the district mail server and web server that should be removed and replaced with services out in the private sector which are much cheaper than they used to be. There is really no reason to host services like this at your own site now as it is cheaper to outsource it, especially when you calculate the support costs. As most of us know, the district website leaves a lot to be desired. Seems to have problems downloading pdf files all the time.
Posted by Newton, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2012 at 9:57 am
I think a 20% cut of jobs across the board would be fair to everyone involved. We need to put money in people's pockets so that this economy will recover. Plenty of low-income kids from the criminal class to pick up the slack. And the people who have their jobs cut can find something in the burgeoning space industry. We need to put pressure on the school board because they don't know what they are doing.