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"The (PUSD) Board Failed!"

Original post made by Nomad, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Feb 28, 2012

Cries of "The (PUSD) Board Failed!" came from the audience at tonight's school board meeting after the motion to restore reading programs and postpone spending on a master facilities plan was defeated 3-2.
This clarity of thought and purity of expression can stand on its own to describe the inability of this board over the last few years to control its destiny. And the failure to approve a simple motion to prioritize reading over a consultant's study shows the lack of moral imperative in this board.
Kudos to Trustees Arkin and Hintzke who are taking a stand for what is right. And for the rest the board and cabinet? Shame on you.

Comments (59)

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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2012 at 10:09 pm

+1 totally agree.


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Posted by Reality
a resident of Parkside
on Feb 28, 2012 at 10:20 pm

This is a dismal failure of Laursen's so called 'leadership.'

After all, out-of-town consultants are more inportant than children in this community according to Laursen, Grant and Bowser.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 8:18 am

It was the teachers union who promoted, endorsed Laursen and Bowser.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 29, 2012 at 8:35 am

Not a surprise given the makeup of the board. The facilities study makes less sense than ever given the approval of killing CSR. So classrooms will be 30:1 again across all nine elementary schools, which could collapse a few classrooms at each site, making room for growth. It would mean larger schools, of course. I just don't see this community ponying up for a bond or a parcel tax now.


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Posted by Dianna
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 29, 2012 at 9:08 am

This is very poor leadership. Arkin and Hintzke need a third board member to change the direction of the Board. Grant needs to be replaced in November, then Laursen and Bowser when their terms are up.


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Posted by Phil
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 29, 2012 at 9:11 am

Kathleen,

Might I remind you we are already paying one bond and they just continue to flush the money away.


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Posted by long time parent
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 29, 2012 at 9:17 am

Don't know if we can wait another two years for Laursen and Bowser to get to the end of their terms. How hard is it to do a recall of them?

Kathleen is right, spending money on a facilities study when we are not doing CSR, plus we do not even have an approved housing element from the State to know what our future housing will actually be, is a huge waste of money so there must be some personal connection between the administration and the consultants that is keeping this going. Probably the same connection that keeps a PIO on the payroll while eliminating reading programs.

I guess "it is not what you know but who you know."


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Posted by curious
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 12:12 pm

When Joan Laursen was elected to Board President, she talked of taking the Board in a different direction. She never elaborated on what that meant. After last night, we began to get an idea. Stifle ideas/discussion with parlimentary point of order when its not going the direction she wants is one change. Then approve staff recommendations with no questions, or thinking outside the box as Arkin was trying to do. Very disappointing that a consultant study is more important then reading.

Was it me, or did it seem like Laursen, Bowser & Grant were too much on the same page as if they had talked before the meeting--possibly a Brown Act violation?

Very Disappointing almost more so how the discussion was handled vs the final outcome.


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Posted by Freddy 'The Brain' Stricker
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Feb 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm

(Post deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)


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Posted by long time parent
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 29, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Curious, I am sure that group of three always discusses things offline, violating the Brown Act. Look at the meeting where the three of them pushed Jamie out of being the next board president. That was so orchestrated. I have also heard that Joan and the other two are working on a board policy that says if anybody emails any member of the school board, that member has to forward it to the board president for reply so only the board president can communicate with the community. We need to get rid of people like that immediately. Talk about power-hungry and circumventing the public process.


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Posted by New to Pleasanton & Confused by ignorant parents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I can't believe the ignorance on this blog strand. Hintzke and Arkin took the easy way out and catered to the crowd/mob. The Barton reading program serves 150 students. PUSD has more than 1,400 students. You all think a program that serves fewer than 2% of students should be saved over counselors, psychologists, teachers, summer school, etc.?

You need to go back to school to understand basic math...


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The easy way out is to kick the can down the road some more, as the PUSD board has been doing since the economy turned sour.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:26 pm

To new parent: Barton is one example of what could be saved by delaying the facilities masterplan or elimating things like car allowances.

The point being made is that the priorities aren't well thought out right now. You could substitute a counselor's job or a reading specialist for Barton (though Barton's small cost creates huge value for the children it helps due to the huge volunteer team it has attracted). But regardless, there are jobs that can be saved and pink slips that would not have to go out if the Board asked the management to look for better options like the ones suggested.

There are things that are not child facing that should be delayed until we have a clearer picture from the state.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I caught the very tail end of the meeting where Arkin was asking about the field that the district owns above the district offices. She mentioned that the district lets the City use that pretty much rent-free. Does anyone know if that's true?


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Posted by NOT New to Pleasanton and Frustrated by Ignorant Parents
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Barton is the most 'bang for your buck' program serving the PUSD. It is largely driven by volunteers, 100 of them to be exact. I say that if even one student is having difficulty reading, that warrants an intervention, wouldn't you say? The money is there, there was a solution. Laursen didn't want to hear it, and the death stares she was giving Arkin were comical. The problem with Barton, is that once it is gone, it isn't coming back. MANY programs on the cut list could be brought back at a moment's notice. It was imperative to save Barton. There is no back up, no proven program such as Barton to take its place. I guess that new special ed teachers could be hired once the kids who need Barton really start falling through the cracks. Oh, wait...


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm

How much it would cost to help these kids learn to read if it weren't for Barton? 5-6 (more?) full time reading specialists = about half a million dollars a year or more all in?


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Posted by questions about Barton
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm

What would happen if Barton is saved but the reading specialists are cut? The Barton reading program is not in all schools. Would it then take place in all schools (if volunteers could be found) or would schools like Mohr just be out of luck?
I'm sure it is an excellent program and much needed EVERYWHERE!!


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Valerie Arkin looked so frustrated. All she suggested is keeping a very cost effective program (which cannot be rebuilt if it goes as others have said) within the budget agreed, by delaying a facilities masterplan ($250,000 + to consultants for a few months work) or paying for it with something other than our general fund.

It just doesn't make sense how this issue is being treated.


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Posted by Troubled
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:53 pm

To Concerned - My son saw a Reading Specialist for months. it did him NO good, he stagnated. He started Barton exactly a year ago and was reading in the 5%. He is now at the 37%, a huge jump. He needed a more intense program than the Reading Specialists could provide, and that is where Barton came in. It is one on one. When he saw the reading Specialists, the kids would sit around in a circle, and go around that circle, reading it until they got it 'right', whatever THAT means. Nothing will take the place of Barton, so sad to me.


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Posted by concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Barton is not in our school either. I think they need more volunteers for the different sites, but am not sure. Someone reading this thread who is part of the program can probably advise. It would make a lot of financial sense to give it full support and roll it out to all schools if possible if more reading specialists are cut.


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Posted by Troubled
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Barton, to answer your question about Barton being at all schools - A couple of months ago, this was a possibility. We received word that if we could raise 106k each year, for the next three years, it could be at all schools. We were all scrambling to find private, local celebrity, and corporate donations. Christina Clark wanted to be sure there was a way to return the money if Barton was cut, or the expansion didn't have enough money.


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Posted by Troubled
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Feb 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm

T concerned - I am a Barton tutor, I currently tutor three students. I do know that in order to Barton sessions to be held, there has to be a paid district employee on site to monitor the sessions. Whether it has been Christina herself, or a tutor turned employee, we have to have a paid employee at all times. Christina would go to different schools to be present if that paid person couldn't make it due to scheduling conflicts, which was often.

A note to the 'new to Pleasanton, fed with ignorant parents', hopefully your child will not struggle with reading. When you see will be done to help these kids without the benefit of Barton, you'll most likely not be so smug.


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Posted by concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 2:02 pm

to Troubled - I agree with you. Barton cannot be replaced, nor should it, especially in these troubled financial times. It's one of those win/win things.

I honestly can't understand how a programme that is run mostly by well trained volunteers is even on this list if the goal is to save money. Especially given it's success rate.


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Posted by Reality
a resident of Parkside
on Feb 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Is it just me, or does New to Pleasanton & Confused by ignorant parents sounds very defensive? Maybe they are one of the 3 that voted to kill the reading program.

"You need to go back to school to understand basic math..." sounds extremely arrogant and condescending. (Also, a friend who volunteered on the prior parcel tax campaign told me something someone on that campaign said something very similar to her, so she stopped volunteering. Is that a way to treat parents by belittling them?)

This new direction referred to -- I just looked at last night's agenda and can you believe Laursen had a workshop on board etiquette prior to to board meeting? So she thinks surprisingly that *etiquette* is more important than children learning to read, apparently?

It sounds like the 3 board members don't understand the importance of reading.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Phil, Quite aware--but there have been posts suggesting the conclusion of the facilities plan by the consultants will be to float yet another bond--architects want to draw, construction companies want to build.

New, Hintzke and Arkin are not taking the easy way out. Lack of support for struggling readers, via Barton and reading specialists, means failing grades, drop outs, class disruption, stressed teachers, and poor test scores that ripple all the way through high school. It's a small investment to make. Pleasanton's 14,000+ students and all public education is meant to address the needs of all. Otherwise, how about dropping honors and AP classes? That's expensive too and not everyone gets into those classes either. Summer school can be addressed by a partnership with the city, something PUSD continues to ignore. You're going to lose teachers because they are cutting CSR, another expensive program. And there are other things/positions to cut to save counselors or psychologists. How about a parcel tax with specific language to pay for those positions? Nahhhh, "we need flexibility." And yet, that's what gets cut first.


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Posted by New to Pleasanton & Confused by ignorant parents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Didn't mean to be condescending, my apologies. Just think you're missing the forrest for the trees. 150 students vs 1,400 students. Reading vs. Counselors. These threads also seem to have a lot of conspiracies on them-is this usual in Pleasanton? No one seems to trust our teachers, our reading specialists, our special education teachers, our administrators or our board members. Coming from another district (in a different state) where there really was reason not to trust, I'm confused why there's so much hate/distrust in Pleasanton.The schools seem to be really great from my perspective. And no, i'm not a school board member or connected in any way to them-that's why I was watching the meeting last night. Still learning about the whole district as a new parent.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 3:25 pm

To "New to Pleasanton & Confused by ignorant parents",

Some of us elementary school parents haven't liked seeing class size go from 20 to 25, and now to 30. I also don't like seeing some of our best teachers leave our district for other districts voluntarily (like the guy that did "We the People"). People said that failing to pass a parcel tax would have this result, and it appears that it has had that result.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm

New, If you are really new, then you missed a lot of prior discussions about what PUSD has done wrong in the past--and it's administrations and the boards, not teachers and schools.

John, do you know if there has been more than one teacher to leave voluntarily? It's not like things are rosy in other districts. If you go to another district, you generally carry only six years of your tenure with you (I have seen as many as twelve). So if you move to a district with an incredibly senior teaching staff (like Pleasanton's), six years isn't going to be enough to spare you from the cuts there either.

As long as the board majority and administration turn a deaf ear on the community, a parcel tax won't get passed.


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Posted by Reality
a resident of Parkside
on Feb 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm

No community will support a parcel tax for an organization like the PUSD where for the last 10-15 years inquiries and requests, other than some information about a parcel tax, go into a black hole. Morale is lousy. Teachers don't trust the administration. The administration is in never ending battles with developers and other government agencies.

It is a world of difference the way the PUSD operates compared to other government agencies. Try to contact any neighboring school district via phone or email, either board members or administrative staff and ask them to provide you some information. You'll get an answer in a day or two. Contact any city or county or state or other govt agency via phone or email, either board members or any member of their administrative staff and ask them to provide you some information, and sometimes, the reply will come within the hour. Even if you contact some federal agency, you'll get a reply the next day.


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Posted by Reality
a resident of Parkside
on Feb 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm

You know also when people complain about the government entities on these forums vs PUSD, I see a very different response in types of messages.

But whenever there are thoughts about PUSD, there always seem to be a number of responses defending PUSD, with some sort of details posted within the message indicating they are probably part of PUSD, the then the response ends with some condescending or snarky remark saying the complainer needs to either go back to school (i.e. they are not educated yet) or go get a job (i.e., assuming perhaps that people posting do not have jobs).

Some of this ire seems to be coming from those with specific and direct knowledge of committee proceedings (that no minutes exist for) regarding obtaining a parcel tax consultant in the last parcel tax attempt, thus one can only conclude that administrators or board members that were themselves part of that committee are attacking people on this forum.

The lack of professionalism from administrators or board members that somehow feel the compulsion to write to community members attacks such as...

"You need to go back to school to understand basic math"

"Go get a job" (this was on the thread about the lawsuit called Zangle vs. Pleasanton Unified that PUSD has kept secret)

...have no place in government. It is self-defeating and self-destructive and reflects poorly on PUSD.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Kathleen,

I know of one other from Vintage Hills Elementary who left voluntarily. If heard rumors of others, but nothing concrete. I guess there are probably multiple factors that go into the choice. It get the feeling that the district will try for another parcel tax and I hope the money isn't thrown away on another failure.


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Posted by Reality
a resident of Parkside
on Feb 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm

John, morale is at an all time low based on the administration and leadership. After all, who would have high morale when the administration and leadership calls parents and teachers the name "ignorant."

"New to Pleasanton & Confused by ignorant parents" who took time to write "i'm not a school board member or connected in any way to them-that's why I was watching the meeting last night. Still learning about the whole district as a new parent" obviously is on the school board or connected to PUSD.

If you were an employee of a commercial company and had leadership in the Board or VPs of your company ranting and raving about the company's customers being ignorant, wouldn't you leave too?


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Posted by Troubled
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Feb 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm

"New to Pleasanton & Confused by ignorant parents" who took time to write "i'm not a school board member or connected in any way to them-that's why I was watching the meeting last night. Still learning about the whole district as a new parent" obviously is on the school board or connected to PUSD."

Right on Reality, right on.


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Posted by curious
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Feb 29, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Taking the easy way out would be to want to restore Barton and the reading specialist without offering a way to offset those costs. But that's not the case here. To offset those costs, Valerie proposed to delay (not eliminate) the master plan study for a year and use those funds for reading. It wasn't mentioned last night, but with the cuts, class sizes will be going to 30 now so there should be a number of extra classrooms now available as well as the city doesn't not yet have an approved housing element so the sense of urgency for the master plan has diminished.


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Posted by observer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 7:28 pm

We don't know what will come out of the state - if things are going this badly here, can you imagine how many districts will be heading towards bankrupcy as they've already destroyed the classroom programs for the kids? There will probably be changes over time.

There are concessions too - so it's not all over. It's just this sad wheel turning around and around, doing the same thing, and not getting anywhere.


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Posted by Anonymous because my kids attend
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 10:19 pm

"This is very poor leadership. Arkin and Hintzke need a third board member to change the direction of the Board. Grant needs to be replaced in November, then Laursen and Bowser when their terms are up."

While I agree with you this will be a never ending battle. Better off figuring out how to get rid of the union and their undue influence over district spending, promoting bond measures, promoting parcel taxes, and sucking up tax dollars in general. It is just too easy for the unions to place union friendly people on the school board.


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Posted by Jonathan Howdycorn
a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 1, 2012 at 12:21 am

I'm unhappy with the socialist school board. I'm unhappy with the communist union-loving city council. I'm unhappy with the corrupt in need of a makeover Mayor. I'm unhappy with McNerney. I'm unhappy with Stark. I'm unhappy with the Dems who control this state. And unlike all the cowards on here, I'm not afraid to give you my full name.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 1, 2012 at 7:49 am

Gollum, I am happy with the teachers who are providing an excellent education to the community's children, with those who support their work (classified staff and site administrators) under increasingly stressful circumstances. I am broadly happy enough with the overall community to choose to live here, both Pleasanton and California. I am happy to live in a country that allows me to speak openly about my unhappiness with the actions of our elected representatives. I continue to be happy to point out that your sarcasm is a useless tool . . .


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Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2012 at 8:32 am

Since when does 150 out of 1400 equal 2%? Looks like we should replace the reading skills class with a math class.


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Posted by Logical
a resident of Avila
on Mar 1, 2012 at 8:38 am

We are taking action by pulling our child out of this dismal & incompetent schooling system moving out of Pleasanton.


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Posted by Marianne
a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 1, 2012 at 9:58 am

So much complaining. Please look at other school districts and tell me how PUSD stacks up. To Logical, where will you move to? You will have to buy a house that will cost much more than what you sell your current house for because to get your child into a "better" school district, you will have to live in a more affluent area (Palo Alto, Danville, etc).
I am not a teacher or in any way associated with the PUSD, however, I am related to many teachers who have had to work in Hayward and I can assure you the problems of PUSD pale in comparison to that of the HUSD. I don't believe that makes it any better when you see programs that work cut from your child's school, but budget cuts are what all school districts have to deal with. I read that PUSD needs to cut over $5million from their budget; this means that good programs will get less funding or cut completely. Too bad the parcel tax didn't pass; we probably wouldn't be having this discussion.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 1, 2012 at 10:08 am

Marianne, The complaint is that there are obvious cuts that actually save programs that are not being made. I think everyone is quite aware that cuts have to be made somewhere.

As to the parcel tax, without specificity, the priorities of what the district would cut would not change. Barton, reading specialists, CSR, and counselors ALL would still be on the list precisely because nothing would have protected them from being cut, including the last two parcel tax proposals.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 1, 2012 at 10:13 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I disagree. I think we'd still be having this discussion if the parcel tax passed.


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Posted by concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2012 at 10:20 am

I also think we'd be having exactly this discussion if the parcel tax passed.

One, it didn't come close to raising this kind of money. Two, it deliberately avoided specifics, so would have gone into the black hole. Yes a few programs may have been saved, but CSR and many other things would be right back on the chopping block. And then the following year even the programs that were saved for a year would be gone.

If we have a parcel tax it needs to be for more money and the money has to be guaranteed to be used to save certain programs and not "facilities masterplans" and new employees at the district level.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 1, 2012 at 10:20 am

Stacey is a registered user.

The state has cut how much from PUSD since 2008? And PUSD costs have risen how much since 2008? Then you'd know how large the parcel tax would have needed to be in order to not have this discussion...


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

Even Palo Alto increased class sizes and their PT is over $500. Piedmont's is well over $1,000. San Ramon has increased class size and had to do some cutting and they have a PT. What I recall from the discussion was PUSD needs well over the $200 to make a dent, and I suspect it would be a small dent. I suppose if you spread the $20 million they indicate they have cut and add this new $5 million and spread it out since 2008 over 20,000 parcels, you'd have some idea. And I think S&C is about $1 million a year, plus increases in operating costs, and depending on whether you wanted to give additional raises or hope to make the reserves whole. Anyway, I'm getting at least $250 per parcel for each year since the 2008-09 school year and through 2012-13 without the latter considerations.


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Posted by Come On
a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 1, 2012 at 11:23 am

This is how I see it. WHY should Barton be brought back before anything else when it serves VERY FEW children! A small majority of passionate people got the better of Arkin and Hintzke. Laursen, Bowser and Grant were looking at the total picture and kudos to Ahmadi for her statement that "all these items on the cut list are important".


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

Come On, It's about the building blocks for learning and reading is the foundation. AND it's about those items that can be cut without impacting students and weren't. They could have saved whatever the bigger priority is for parents, counselors, reading specialists, Barton. "All these items on the cut list are important," but a Management Assistant is more important and never made it to the cut list. Yes, come on.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The facilities master plan consultant was also not on the cut list. Talk about missing the bigger picture!


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Posted by Lee
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Barton is a special interest group. Like many others they think their program is more important than any other. Pleasanton Unified does have Reading specialists in place already to help kids who need it.

Throwing a fit when you don't get your way should hardly be lauded as purity of thought and clarity of expression.


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Posted by Reality
a resident of Parkside
on Mar 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff for containing unverified or personal information.)


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Posted by Reality
a resident of Parkside
on Mar 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff for containing unverified or personal information.)


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Posted by Mother of 2 Barton Students
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm

It saddens me that Barton students are seen as special interest. I know that Barton works. I've had one child who started Barton in 3rd grade leave the program at the end of 8th grade. She is now a college bound sophomore - she was able to EXIT special education. Regardless of your opinion on this it's a fact that she is now in regular classes and not costing any extra money.

My second child will not have this chance. He started later because the program was cut at elementary school. The fighting over the budget has meant fewer hours for the 1.5 years that he had had Barton. He's in 7th grade. He's almost up to a 3rd grade reading level. Barton is the ONLY method proven to work for children with dyslexia. I cannot teach them. I have it myself.

While I know that there is always a need to uneducated workers to do the menial jobs, it's unfair that the only reason my son will not be able to progress in life is because he cannot read. I guess you'll be seeing him at the car wash or delivering newspapers - if he can read enough to pass his driving test.


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Posted by Judy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I hear the cry for community volunteers to take over crucial district level positions, why are the Barton supporters not organizing their tutoring program and the 100 volunteers for after school programs? Why are parents not paying for this service?

Barton targets a very specific reading disability, the number of kid who receive this is minute compared to the numbers of students at each school site, not to mention all the elementary schools are not even receiving services from this program! No one seems to mention the cost to the participating Elem. schools either- they have to pay a lot out of their school budgets- this point is never brought up in the total cost for the Barton program. This is not the bang you think your getting for your buck, especially when you look at the actual reading needs in PUSD and what this program does to solve all those needs.


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Posted by Reality
a resident of Parkside
on Mar 1, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Judy, reading is fundamental. Perhaps you should spend some time to do some reading. First, start with the Constitution that says children are entitled to a free education. Parents paying to learn to read? That is ludicrous. The Federal and State government gives the public school districts money to teach children to read.

If Laursen, Bowser, and Grant can't do their jobs, they need to resign or be recalled.

Also, why did the three above board members of PUSD use General Fund dollars to pay for a Facilities Study rather than use the Capital Facilities fund?


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Posted by Judy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Wow, didnt expect such a rude response to a discussion, if the program is so crucial, then why aren't all students getting the opportunity to be in the program? How is that "Constitutional" or even smart use of funds- small bang for your buck for sure! Community members call for volunteers to take over important district positions, yet here is a program with 100 volunteers that still needs to take more of the district's funds?


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Posted by Reality
a resident of Parkside
on Mar 1, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Outsourcing all education, getting rid of the bureaucrats, and disbanding the public school system in order to privatize it would make a lot of people very happy.


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Posted by Nomad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2012 at 6:10 am

Next up comes the annual PUSD / APT union concessions dance where both parties wil trumpet some millions of dollars of concessions. A peek behind the curtain shows those positions were eliminated two years ago, and through the ploy of one-year agreements, come 'back on the table' every year. In reality, nothing is conceeded, raises are handed out, classified bonuses are paid out, paid birthday holidays continue to be taken and the song plays on.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 3, 2012 at 8:21 am

The three-year contracts for top administration--ones we lamented locked the new superintendent into prior staffing decisions--have been renewed (and are done so, by contract, annually making them perpetual three-year contracts) and currently run through 2014 (which means they are up for renewal this month to 2015--notice of non renewal has to be provided 4 months in advance). It should be noted, that with each renewal, an updated version of the contract is drawn up. The only way to track whether salary awards have been granted is to request the prior contracts. I did not request prior contracts, so I do not know whether awards were or were not granted.

Excerpts include (parens are my questions/comments):

2.1.1 The board shall consider other annual adjustments when the Assistant Superintendent is evaluated.
2.1.2 Such salary adjustment shall not reduce the salary below (dollar amount) during the life of this agreement.
2.4 Board may also consider an additional bonus based on performance.
5.5 Sick leave days shall be credited at the rate of eighteen (18) days per fiscal year. (Unused sick leave accumulates and can be used for retirement calculations.)
5.6 Assistant Superintendent shall be entitled to at least all leaves and retirement benefits as granted to certificated and/or classified employees.
5.7 Upon retirement with at least seven (7) years of service to the District, Assistant Superintendent and spouse or domestic partner shall be entitled to District paid medical, dental and vision premiums on the same basis as regular certificated, classified and/or management employees. . . . attains the age of sixty-five (65).
5.9 Upon retirement with at least seven (7) years of service to the District, in addition to District-paid medical, dental and vision premiums, Assistant Superintendent shall be entitled to the District-paid golden handshake described in Administrative Regulation 2200.
6.3 Assistant Superintendent shall receive Six Hundred Dollars ($600.00) per month for the operation of her personal vehicle in furtherance of all District business and for non-reimbursed business expenses. (I realize these amounts have been proposed to be reduced, but this isn't a car allowance, this is buying a car--IMO.)


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