Town Square

School Board - are they representing views of Pleasanton residents

Original post made by Jennifer on Feb 23, 2009

A number of posts have noted concerns about the School Board - past and present.
My question is, do you feel the current school board (Arkin, Grant, Hintzke, Kernan and Ott) are listening to what Pleasanton residents have to say? Or do you think they follow the lead of PUSD?


Posted by mike, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2009 at 2:15 pm

I think the answer is quite obvious, my dear...

Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 23, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Sandy is a registered user.

I have emailed board members, and two of them responded. I also saw Jim Ott at a meeting after I had emailed him, and we had a conversation about the issues I had addressed in my email -- so I know he's listening.

Posted by Pete, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Doesn't understanding a true partnership represent people taking risks along side each other? What flexibility will we have to motivate others if we all are not on the same page? Having two meetings,Staples(SDE) and School Cuts(Parcel Tax) on the same night,shows a disregard for a lack of collaboration which is necessary in a partnership. I hope this is a sign of strength within our Community. Those elected from one side of the fence better not get their pants leg stuck climbing to the other side.

Posted by George, a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Feb 23, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Lets see if the board are trustees or puppets. If you have looked closely at the agenda for tomorrow night you can see that deals are already being made to save administrators's jobs behind closed doors. Lets see if the board can really be board members and make the decisions. Why are certain positions that were set to be cut, now not on a final cut list as recommended by cabinet(HR Directors)? How can we believe the board and administrators will honor the true intent of a parcel tax if they can not even go forward to what they say they were going to do with cuts? Oh yes, they talk about an oversight committee, did we really have one that had meetings from Measure B?

Posted by Bob, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 23, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Let's see if they will choose to go through with putting the parcel tax on the ballot, knowing that it's highly unlikely to get 2/3 votes. That'll be an indicator on whether the board is leading or following.

We're better off putting that money back into the classrooms.

Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 24, 2009 at 5:50 am

Can a fetus survive without it's Mother's lifeblood?

Please. Board and PUSD = one in the same.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2009 at 7:30 am

I asked my original question because I've heard that many of the board members don't read the PW blog...there seems to be an assumption that if a person isn't willing to speak up at a school board meeting, then what they have to say isn't worth listening to. but I know from personal experience that speaking up can have unpleasant consequences for my children. When I contacted an administrator about the way a teacher was verbally abusing the kids in the classroom, the administrator said he would look into it, but then told me that no one had complained but me, (other parents said they'd also complained) so it was a "he said, she said" situation, and nothing changed except that my child was targeted even more.
So I've been wondering if the school board members, who all have children or grandchildren in PUSD schools, might also feel reluctant to speak up because unless they voice views in line with what PUSD administration wants, their children might suffer.
I used to think that it was a good thing that we have school board members who have children in PUSD schools, but now I'm wondering if their hands are tied.
Because it seems to me that if they are truly listening, then they should be monitoring the PW blogs to get a feeling for what the community thinks.
I admire those individuals who go to the meetings and voice an opinion that differs from what it appears is the school board/PUSD opinion. But I don't dare put my child through another year of misery because I spoke up.
I really wish the school board had agreed to survey the community about the parcel tax since there doesn't seem to be any good way for people like me to make my opinion known without creating problems for my child.

Posted by Liz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2009 at 8:12 am

Putting the parcel tax on the ballot is a done deal, they decided long ago.
We are truly a silent majority that is easy to ignore. They will waste precious resources, $150,000 for a special election, at least that much in donations from community and divide the community leaving damaged relationships when it is over.
The best we can hope for is a real show of serious cuts to non teacher staff and administrative concessions!!

The tax will not pass so they need to make real cuts.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 24, 2009 at 8:19 am

It is difficult to say what Mr. Kernan represents. Past quotes reported in newspapers and attributed to him seem to indicate that he's too tied up emotionally in this issue to make any rational decision. He helped build PUSD up to what it is today and so he has a high emotional investment in it.

Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2009 at 8:54 am

Being a board member is a tough, often thankless job, and they get paid around $400 a month--really more like volunteering. BUT they tend to listen to two sources--staff and parents--and filter out anyone else as not part of their constituency. They forget that many of us already put our children through the system and do understand the issues. And we were the front line of support for the schools in the past.

If they wanted to know how this election would go, they would have done another survey. Instead, they might try for the parcel tax and hope the PTAs will get out the vote. I agree it is a waste of $150,000 and could have the unintended consequence of dividing the community, the assumption being if you vote no, you are anti-teacher or anti-schools rather than anti-tax or against mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2009 at 9:54 am

In all fairness, one board member did vote for the parcel tax survey -Valerie Arkin. It was probably difficult for her to not vote with the other board members and provide a unanimous decision, but I'd guess she realized that support for the parcel tax might not be there, and better to spend $30K to find out what the majority opinion truly is, then spend $150K and have the parcel tax fail.
I've been talking to a lot of other parents and either they're against the parcel tax, or they say it MIGHT be necessary, but only after the budget cuts they want to see happen are done first. They're angry that PUSD has proposed cuts that direcly impact students rather than cuts that impact PUSD administration....and that only after some pressure has been exerted on PUSD are they now willing to talk about PUSD administration taking salary cuts. They're angry that the parcel tax drafts they've seen have very ambiguous language which they believe will allow PUSD to use parcel tax funds as PUSD chooses, rather than the way the community wants it used.
As for PTAs getting out the parcel tax vote - the Pleasanton PTA Council, and some PTA schools have taken a pro-parcel tax position. However, there are a couple PTA schools who have not taken a stand, but instead are soliciting opinions from their members. It's nice to know there are a few PTAs who recognize that they represent their membership, and regardless of board members personal views, they respect the intelligence of their members and aren't trying to influece their membership, but instead represent them.
Disagree w/'re so right about how the parcel tax issue is dividing the's too bad that the board majority vote was against doing the survey.
I agree a board member's job is often a thankless one, but you are right - they tend to listen to staff and parents (and PUSD administration), but they were elected by the Pleasanton community, and since the parcel tax would affect all property owners, they need to listen to everyone.

Posted by Eileen Armstrong, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 24, 2009 at 10:16 am

I have emailed the school board with my position and have received feedback. It seems to me they are trying to represent us, the people who elected them. If we don't want to pay the parcel tax, we can vote against it.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2009 at 10:57 am

A few people I know emailed school board members to say they did not support the parcel tax...and got no response.

Posted by citizen, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 24, 2009 at 11:11 am

Mr. Kernan has two daughters who work for PUSD, so of course he supports the parcel tax, otherwise they will have to look for work somewhere else. They need to make cuts elsewhere in the district, and not in the classrooms. I heard we are second to last in per pupil funding, and may be dead last, and I don't really think a parcel tax will bring us up that much. I think the teachers need to use the technology they have for now (computers, document camera's etc., and if they don't have a new computer, or document camera, then they can pitch in to buy it or wait until things get better. We are really spoiled here in Pleasanton. As far a school supplies, the parents either purchase these outright, or most pay the school's PTA a donation for these supplies-I know times are hard now and parent's might be reluctant to purchase these, but they will need to look for some deals. I can't believe that with the high property values we have, along with the relatively low foreclosure rates, that we aren't generating enough revenue for the schools. What about the Federal bailout which is going to give State's money for various things such as education. Arnold already said that if other state's don't want the money, he will accept it. Won't that money help out. I think people are panicking. Well, PUSD employees may not get a raise for the 2009/2010 school year, but at least hopefully we can save the teaching jobs.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2009 at 11:28 am

It seems to me that Pat Kernan has a conflict of interest and should consequently abstain from voting.

Posted by Lynn, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Kernan refuses to abstain from voting.

Posted by Kate, a resident of another community
on Feb 24, 2009 at 2:42 pm

The School Board members devote their time and energy for the betterment of our children and our school district. They probably make $.50 per hour. Do you really think they don't have Pleasanton's best interests in mind? I am a product of the 33 class size. I have done just fine. If the CSR is eliminated, I have no doubt that our great teachers will rise to the occasion. Similarly, I have no doubt that the few spoiled Pleasanton parents will be complaining every step of the way. Be careful what you wish for!

Is $200 per year really all that much for community's education? I firmly believe that if the local soccer/baseball/basketball programs asked for an additional $200 more per year to pay for Juniors trainer, no one would blink an eye. Get your priorities straight, Pleasanton!

Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Kate, I think people's priorities are straight. There is genuine concern about the vagueness of the language, how the money will be spent, and what prior actions brought the district to this place. I do understand the state budget compounds the problems, but it isn't the entire problem. On other posts we've talked about CSR not being cut by the state, the implications of the new budget, and the money expected from the federal programs. We'll know more tonight, I hope, about what that means in terms of any need for a parcel tax.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2009 at 3:38 pm

For Kate,
I certainly realize that the school board members have a tough job, but when I see how many people post on the PW blogs and indicate they do so because like me, they worry about retribution if they speak publicly, I can't help but wonder if the school board members feel the same reluctance to say anything that could create problems for their own school aged kids.
I do believe that since Pat Kernan has a direct tie to PUSD, he should abstain from voting on the parcel tax because it is a conflict of interest.
I don't think anyone would disagree with the statement that the school board should listen to the entire community, not just those who attend the meetings, or have school aged children.
Had the Board presented the parcel tax option in conjunction with cuts that were truly across the board, so we could all, as the school board has said, share in the solution to this problem, I don't think the parcel tax would be the issue that it is. But they didn't, and combined with some of the financial mismangement that PUSD has demonstrated (e.g. see posting on FHS solar panels)there's some real doubt about how PUSD would handle parcel tax funds.
That doubt has led to what some have termed the "silent majority" - the ones who will not speak pubicly against the parcel tax, but will make their voices known at the polls.
It's not enough that the school board members only listen to those who email them or attend meetings....they need to hear what the community is saying, and it seems the only way to do so is on the PW postings....and many of the school board members refuse to acknowledge the town square forum comments as valid or indicators of public opinion.
What I would wish for is the school board to go back a couple weeks, and reconsider their decision to not do a parcel tax survey. Spending $150K to put a parcel tax measure on the ballot, and one that doesn't appear to have the 2/3 majority required to pass (which it also didn't have when the community was surveyed a couple years ago) doesn't seem responsible. The school board might want the parcel tax. PUSD might want the parcel tax. Many parents, including those who are concerned about the way PUSD manages funds, might also see the need for the parcel tax. But ultimately, if the support isn't there, the parcel tax won't pass, and the district will have wasted $150K to find out what they could have found out for $30K.
What a shame you couldn't have couched your comments in a respectful and thoughtful tone, but like certain PUSD administrators, resort to threatening language.

Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm

I posted this on the other thread as well.

I have had this thought knocking around of how to look at a parcel tax—no more than five years, maybe three is better—strictly for rewarding excellence in teaching and school site administration. It's difficult because I don't think you'd want to tie it to test scores. A teacher can have an exceptional class one year and a less exceptional another year, but s/he is still a good teacher.

I'm skeptical enough that it would require having an oversight committee, but cannot include union leadership or district administration (okay, maybe the head of human resources). It could be a one-time merit pay or for support of an educational program. The idea would be to let great ideas have a chance to flow—to have teachers work together at a grade or department level, to have schools work together, to allow for innovation. Good old fashioned brainstorming or a way to foster excitement in the classroom—for students and teachers.

The committee can be inclusive of parents, teachers, principals, and/or other experts from outside the PUSD community—former superintendents or board members, retired teachers or principals—I'm open.

The language to the community would be specific enough: To establish a committee for the review of meritorious awards to teachers and principals for excellence in the classroom and/or to support innovative programs at the site level. (Needs work, thinking on my fingers here.) It cannot be used to supplant general fund programs (i.e., it cannot pay for K-3 CSR costs not covered by the state; $2 million).

My idea, in a nutshell, is to find a way to reward those going above and beyond in closest proximity to students and to give teachers and principals support from the community that will inspire them and, in turn, our children.

Have at it!

Posted by Kate, a resident of another community
on Feb 24, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Do you really thinks it is fair to have the school board members or anyone for that matter, reply to anonymous bloggers, most of whom don't use their real name or address? You are ridiculous! Email them directly if you want them to respond to you...and use your real name and address!! Remember face to face? Stop hiding behind your computer!!

Posted by Michelle, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 25, 2009 at 7:38 am

Parcel tax of 200-300 or property value decrease of 100,000.... it is a no brainer if you can afford it. Even if you don't have children in the school system there are positives to the parcel tax. There may not be those wonderful after school activies that are currently available and children will be home or out in your neighborhoods with nothing to do. Inactivity for children means curiosity and mischif in and around our city and neighborhoods. Elderly who can't afford it can vote for it and then opt our due to income issues. This must pass to keep our city "The City of the Future".

Posted by Terry, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 25, 2009 at 7:46 am

What after school activities are you talking about??? After school activities are paid for by parents, if they are paying another tax for more salary, you may be right parents won't be able to afford them.

Posted by Terry, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 25, 2009 at 7:57 am

Pleasanton residents were not represented at last nights Union Rally.

Last night was another Union rally with earsplitting applause for the teachers that demanded the the Board "pass" a BIG parcel tax. It was hundreds of union members not a community friendly atmosphere.

The silent majority will vote NO Parcel Tax!

Posted by Barry, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 25, 2009 at 8:23 am

$200 per year? What's to lose? Terry, I guarantee that the "silent majority" that votes "no" will be the "vocal majority" when it's their kids getting lost in the shuffle. This generation of parents has never experienced K-3 class sizes of 33. The kids will survive but no doubt the standards will go down.

Posted by Michelle2, a resident of Las Positas
on Feb 25, 2009 at 9:00 am

I agree with Barry. The standards for our education 20, 30 years ago are NOT the same standards now. So while difficult, yes, we sat in a 30 student classroom in Kindergarten. This is a NEW generation! What grade were you in when you started fractions, geometry, etc? Spend some time in a classroom in each elementary grade for a day & see what they are learning. My child was multiplying & dividing in 2nd grade. I know I was NOT doing that in 2nd grade. This is why class size reduction is extremely important & having funding SPECIFICALLY for that is essential. Yes, the state is giving us the CSR money, but they took away the CSR restrictions so districts can use that money as needed.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 25, 2009 at 9:05 am


You are WRONG!!! Two of my kids went through with no CRS, in classes often 36 per classroom. They thrived and are doing well in college. Two of my kids had CRS and we all appreciated it. I would like to retain CRS as well as PE and music specialists. I would like to keep every teachers job (not all admin).

We are in a position that reductions must be made.

We have given up all luxuries, we would like to take a vacation (it would relieve stress and improve our quality of life) but we cannot afford it. We would like to buy new clothes but we have not purchased luxury items for two years now.

PUSD and especially the Unions must accept the reality of this economy. If jobs are lost it is not the fault of the taxpayers that cannot continue to absorb the burden, it is the fault of the Union membership that would not support their peers.

There was true panic in the eyes of the PE specialists that knew they could not count on the classroom teachers to make sacrifices for them. It was a dog eat dog atmosphere.

Precious money will be wasted on a failed parcel tax.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 25, 2009 at 9:18 am

"This is a NEW generation! My child was multiplying & dividing in 2nd grade."

My kids that did not have CRS were also doing multiplying & dividing in 2nd grade (love those multiplication timed tests). In fact the curriculum was pretty much the same for CRS and non-CRS until middle school math (no CRS there). I know the teachers were still using all of the same projects as my kids had years ahead. We have four sets of identical projects that all came from the same January box.

It will be interesting to see how fast PUSD identifies CRS as unnecessary now that they can use the money elsewhere.

Posted by K, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 9:35 am

The easy fix is to just do a pacel tax and as other posters have said, "business as usual for the PUSD." Meaning few to any changes in the way they do business and then what will they do after that.. probably go after yet another paracel tax.. just look at San Ramon district.. they are going after a 2nd parcel tax for the schools!

Intersting that the PUSD doesn't talk about oversight of any money that they current manage or hope to get from Pleasanton residents.

Posted by J the Kid, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 25, 2009 at 9:47 am

How can I possibly support a parcel tax knowing that the top administrators who make 2-3x more than an average Pleasanton household are using our school funds to pay for their gas, mortgage, expensed lunches, and other perks? We're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars here, people.

Until I see real concessions from the top administrators (salary rollback of at least 30% and eliminate all perks), I will not vote for a parcel tax.

I'm a parent of 4 and a homeowner.
I love my children.
I love our schools.
I love our teachers.
I will vote NO on a parcel tax!

Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 9:55 am

The interesting thing about the curriculum being driven down at least one grade level is that parents are keeping their children home an extra year. Effectively, former 7 year olds in second grade are now 7 year olds in first grade. So I don't buy the argument that it's tougher for students today. There are other reasons to support CSR, like classrooms being more manageable.

Did something change that I haven't seen? THE K-3 CSR MONEY FROM THE STATE CANNOT BE USED ELSEWHERE. Other categorical funding has flexibility, but not that.

If the logic is that a $200 parcel tax is going to save me $100,000 in value on my home, why not a $1,000 parcel tax to see if I can recoup recent loses in housing values? This campaign for a parcel tax based on "you'll lose CSR and housing value," is nonsensical at best and an outright lie at its worst.

Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 10:28 am

I should say there are fines (I posted them in the threads before and they range from 5-30%) for having classes over 20:1. Doesn't seem like a good idea or a good trade off to gain funds for other things.

Posted by Karen, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 10:49 am

As a parent who fought for class size reduction in the 90's and the time and $$$$$ spent on implementation it would be a travesty of justice for our children to dismantle the program.

Some children do fine in larger class sizes but many do not. Talk to any teacher they will tell you. I find it interesting - how many of you are teachers? Have you ever really talked to the teachers to find out how difficult it is to effectively teach and manage a class of 32 - 36 students? As far a after school activities, I've had children in this school district for 19 years, and I never saw an after school activity that didn't cost.

I would happily vote for the parcel tax as long as there was transparency - money only to the classrooms. Bottom line children are truly our future that is where we must prioritize.

Stop bad mouthing the board - go to the meetings let your voice be heard, talk to your principals and teachers - direct your energies in a positive vein.

As for Jennifer you should NEVER be intimidated by a school administrator!! If you feel there has been an injustice - talk to the teacher, talk again to the principle, rally other parents. Please don't let this one experience stop you from having a voice - one that is not hidden on a blog. Some principles in this district (one in particular) have taken on a God complex and the standard rotation has been ignored. You have a powerful intelligent voice - use it.

We actually should have CSR in all grade levels not just K-3, our classes are larger than most other states and where are we in educational ranking compared to other states?? HMMM logic.

Posted by Teacher, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 25, 2009 at 11:21 am

"My kids that did not have CRS were also doing multiplying & dividing in 2nd grade (love those multiplication timed tests). In fact the curriculum was pretty much the same for CRS and non-CRS until middle school math (no CRS there)."

As a elementary teacher for 11 years now here in Pleasanton, I can certainly tell you that the standards are much more difficult than then were pre-CSR days! So the fact that your children did just fine going through elementary school without CSR and beyond is frankly comparing apples to oranges. It is different now than it used to be. That is fact. Compare the standards from several years ago to now. You will see the difference. The trickling down of standards happened in all grades - not just at the middle school level. Ask any teacher if they are teaching the same standards that they used to be. They will tell you no. I now use many materials with my 2nd graders that I used to use with my 3rd graders! Standards are much more rigorous than they used to be. This is fact. This is why losing CSR will be devasting to our elementary school kids. Harder standards, more kids per classroom, loss of programs/'s going to be just terrible for all of our kids. This is fact. Yes on a parcel tax!

Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 11:39 am

Again, the standards have pushed down and the kids are entering at older ages. It's a wash.

Why is it that all those who are saying yes to a parcel tax are ignoring all the questions about mismanagement of public funds or that there needs to be a change in how business is conducted at the district office? It seems the point of not throwing good money after bad is lost to them.

Somewhere above I offered a possible idea for a different kind of parcel tax for discussion (and a beat down if warranted), but it's lost in the thread even though it is a way to support teachers and site administrators.

It seems that as long as the "rock" of those pushing for the parcel tax as originally proposed continues to meet the "hard place" of those who see all the flaws in the proposal, the only outcome will be the crush that will make it impossible to pass anything.

Posted by Maria, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Feb 25, 2009 at 3:22 pm

It's $200 per year!!! Casey is taking a $5000 cut in pay! Administrator positions have been cut. Everyone is bashing Casey but for his education level, he really does not make that much! How much did all the 30something dot comers make back in the 90's for doing what? Being at the right place at the right time? COME ON!!!

Posted by Mary Jo, a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 3:25 pm

To Disagree w/B: If you spent as much time collecting aluminum cans as you do posting on this forum, you could make that $200 in one week...and have more time to spend with your family. Really, how much time do most of these posters spend consuming their thoughts with the school budget?

Posted by Teacher, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 25, 2009 at 3:51 pm

"Again, the standards have pushed down and the kids are entering at older ages. It's a wash"

It is not a wash. Simply not true. The ages of the students have not changed....the standards have.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 4:37 pm reply to anonymous bloggers, don't you?

Posted by julie, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 25, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Please!!! Everyone Don't vote yes on the parcel tax unless you know for sure what you are voting for!!! This is not about money because as everyone knows it is not an exspensive tax but there is a need to identify WHAT you are voting yes you? Or is it the scare of more kids in a classroom? That is what this distirct wants you to is SCARED!!! Please be informed as I will when I make a vote. I will not vote because I want something MY way because I know in education that doesn't happen.

Posted by Anne W./Teacher and PUSD Parent, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2009 at 5:25 pm

YES on parcel tax.

I am a first time reader of these forums related to PUSD and the parcel tax. I am horrified at the negativity that is permeating on these boards.

We all know that our country is presently in economic despair. Our state is in dire economic distress. Our school district is in a pitiful economic quandary.

Why don't we all work together and stop all these finger pointing, bashing and baseless demands? Do your research and investigate the facts that you carelessly toss back and forth here (such as administration/teachers' benefits and compensation). PUSD teachers used to be the highest-paid teachers in CA. Not anymore. PUSD teachers buy their own medical/dental benefits out of their salaries to the tune of up to $14,000 a year for the entire family. I get paid so much more in my own district since they also pay for our medical benefits. PUSD is now lagging behind other districts in terms of salaries. Google New Haven PUSD, Palo Alto, etc and check their certificated salaries!

Your teachers work so hard to live up to the high standards that PUSD is known for. They give so much of themselves because this is not just a job to them. It is a ministry and a service. The least you could do is to support them and work with them.

Voice out your opinions at the board meetings and put credibility and validity to your demands instead of bickering here on these boards.

If our government has abandoned us financially, let us not abandon our neighborhood schools. Express our community spirit and let us rise up above this unfortunate predicament.

YES on a parcel tax.

Posted by confused, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Anne W,

Are you saying it's ok that someone in the private sector has to take a pay cut due to hard times in their chosen profession but PUSD Teachers should not be required to make the same sacrifice when hard times affect their chosen profession just because they are teachers. We all work hard at our chosen professions just as teachers do. I don't have the luxury of having a parcel tax to bail my company out and keep my salary as it was in the past.

The whole country is going down the river and no one is immune. Why should private sector Joe and Jane Citizen take a pay cut, pay a parcel tax and not expect a public sector employee to do the same to help their own cause.

I don't understand some public sectors employees thinking in times such as these. It seems they are saying, "Ok, you take a cut in pay if necessary but don't expect me to do the same to help myself because I work harder and have a more important job than you".

We all realize education is important but go to a person you know that has lost their job and ask if they are willing to give part of their unemployment funds, if they are lucky enough to qualify, to a parcel tax. Most of those people are just trying to keep their family fed. It is easy to say "Yes on a parcel tax when you are employed and making ends meet.

Posted by Get educated!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Disagree w/B- you have had a lot to say in the blogs, so I ask you be open to the possibility that you are not always correct on the facts you claim are true. By stating blanket statements like:

"Again, the standards have pushed down and the kids are entering at older ages. It's a wash."

This really not a responsible or accurate fact. Do you know for a fact that all kids are entering school a year later? Did you know that this year some schools have a record number of 4 year olds in Kindergarten? The change in standards since your children were in school is a crucial point that teachers are trying to make. I am curious why the incredible distrust you are stating against those who spend their lives in the classroom, the ones who really know what will happen when the specialists are cut and class size reduction is gone.

When you state information like:

"Why is it that all those who are saying yes to a parcel tax are ignoring all the questions about mismanagement of public funds or that there needs to be a change in how business is conducted at the district office?"

Your misunderstanding of school funding, state mandated reserve money, and how the financing of the PUSD really works is clearly evident.

Where were your comments last year when all neighboring districts were voting for parcel taxes to save their schools and PUSD had to make major cuts. Did you comment on how helpful the districts conservative budgeting was when they were able to off set the cuts the STATE made? Do you realize how much they have in the reserve budget due to this conservative budgeting? Do you realize what you are saying when you comment that teachers need to share in the pain of this situation? I didn't hear comments from you from the past years as California has continued to make cuts to education and schools/teachers have been taking the hits. Did you even realize that there were major cuts to the district and do you know what the cuts were?

You stated:

"Somewhere above I offered a possible idea for a different kind of parcel tax for discussion (and a beat down if warranted), but it's lost in the thread even though it is a way to support teachers and site administrators."

I've read your posting, on the many threads you listed it. Again, I ask you, when did this become an issue about the quality of schools and merit pay? Where were your comments when PUSD achieved top scores in the state and the nation? This budget issue is not an issue about the quality of education in Pleasanton, it is not about paying good teachers bonus money. This is an issue of the State of California cutting billions of dollars in education. This is an issue of how the district now has to run our schools with millions of dollars cut from the STATE budget.

I can see you feel passionately about this issue of being asked to pay $200 a year to save only a fraction of school programs. No matter what happens with the parcel tax, millions of dollars will still need to be cut. You probably will never understand the impact these cuts will have by being closed minded to what is really going on in the schools.

I urge you to take your passion to the state level and let them know how you feel about being asked to support your local school systems because of the STATE budget problems. I urge you to take your passion about good education to the classroom, become a volunteer so you can really understand the issues students are facing today. I also ask that if you are going to continue to post your opinion as fact, get the facts correct instead of going off your interpretation of what you are hearing.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 27, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Get Educated,

If I recall from an earlier thread, Disagree w/B is or was a teacher.

Posted by Parents for the Parcel, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 28, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Get educated!- you make some very good points. I find it ironic again (as in the posting PARCEL TAX) that when facts are presented, the people who are spreading propaganda have nothing to say. I know there are so many postings that this one probably got lost, but with the amount of postings I see from Disagree w/B throughout this site, I would think he/she would have a lot to say. Maybe it is just easier to disagree!

Posted by LIZ, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 1, 2009 at 7:53 am

Taxpayers will have a hard time justifying yet another new tax that will go to pay PUSD's, high payed administrators and well paid teachers, continued salary increases (call it what you like S&C are raises).

Without a true and absolute salary freeze MANDATED in any parcel tax language FOR THE LENGTH OF THE TAX it will become a game of hide the pea. Money will be moved around, paid by the parcel tax in one pot and freed up in another for raises. It is not that teachers are not valued but this economy can not support raises for anyone. We must preserve jobs over raises.

We love our kids we care about our community and we support our teachers but everyone must make concessions.

As the parcel tax stands now it will fail and a lot of money and community resources will have been waisted!!!