Parcel Tax 2
Original post made
by parent, Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 7, 2011
I received a leaflet from the PUSD talking about a new local school funding measure saying that:
"After consequtive years of budget shortfalls, there is little to cut but teachers and classroom instructional programs that directly impact the classroom."
Clearly in this fiscal environment pay raises should be cut before cutting teachers and classroom programs - so has this been negotiated so we can successfully pass a parcel tax? If step and column had been cut two years ago I think we would have saved $1.6 or 1.8 million a year x 3 (since it's cumulative), so more than $4 million.
The leaflet says none of the new funding would go towards raises and benefit enhancements, but that's only going to be true if they are frozen because otherwise it's just moving financial pots. But the tax is for 4 years and that sounds like a very long freeze, especially if the budget situation is better before then.
I'd like a parcel tax to pass to support the kids and hope this is a realistic effort.
Posted by Been watching this for some time
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:18 am
I agree that step and columns raises ARE raises. Until the district first comes out and admits this to the residents, we do not have a working relationship and giving more money is not going to help.
I heard the district was looking at a parcel tax that was less than $100 because of the survey results. Interesting as I don't think the $100 will even pay the step and column raises so we are no better off. Remember, step and column is additive. The cost is $1,500,000 the first year. Since this is a raise, those people receive that money the next year and then there is an additional $1,500,000 of step and column raises give out. So year two now costs $3,000,000. Then the next year it is $4,500,000, and the following year $6,000,000. If you add this up, the cost of step and column over four years is $1,500,000 + $3,000,000 + $4,500,000 + $6,000,000 or $15,000,000, for five years it is $22,500,000, but it does not end there. In 10 years this step-and-column raise, which board member Grant is says "is not a raise", will cost $82,500,000 The current system is completely unsustainable. Another way to look at this, with step and column costing $1,500,000 per year, if you say the average salary of a teacher is $75,000 (I am just making this number up for illustrative purposes as I don't know the true number), you have to fire 20 teachers per year to pay for step and column raises, or the state income has to increase by this amount every year to stay even.
Here is why we are in this situation:
When the economy was on fire, more tax revenue was collected. The schools received more money because of proposition 98 as a certain percentage of the revenue goes to the schools. When the schools received the additional money, it was mainly used on salary increases to employees through cost of living adjustments and step and column. The schools did not bank the funds when times were exceptionally well but instead spent all the money. Now that the economy is doing an correction, tax revenue is down. Although the percentage of tax revenue that goes to the schools is the same, the dollar amount is less. The only way to make the numbers work now is for the employees who received raises when times were good to decrease salaries when times are bad.
There are two methods that you can use here:
1) When times are good, you put a certain percentage away before giving out salary increases. This was when the economy contracts you have money to continue operations.
2) When times are good, you give it all out as salary increases. When the economy contracts, the salary increases need to be reversed in order to balance the books. This is the model the district and unions have chosen. If they do not like this, they need to switch to model 1. However, I do not think our unions will ever support this as their job is to get as much money for their members as possible and they previously gave the district a real hard time about increasing the reserve as they thought the employees were entitled to the increased revenue.