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Town Square

School board delays cuts, for now

Original post made on Feb 11, 2009

While no reductions were made at Tuesday night's school board meeting, the deadline to make cuts and put a parcel tax on the ballot are nearing.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009, 4:42 PM

Comments

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 4:51 pm

"The process, according to BAC member Peggy Carpenter who spoke at Tuesday's meeting, has been overwhelming because there isn't "fat" to trim."

What? There is some fat to trim. There are things that can be cut that would not affect the students. Yes, we would still need a parcel tax, but to get the community to support it, they need to stop making statements like this.

What about all the administrative positions like redundant directors, public information officer for example? What about re-negotiating contracts with the administration and get rid of things like car stipends? What about ending the school year 5 days early? What about doing without staff development days and non student days? I could go on. It worries me that the people in the budget advisory committee feel there is nothing to cut that would not affect the students.



Posted by Ben, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 11, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Of course nobody spoke out against the parcel tax at this or other meetings. Any of us with kids in school are afraid of teacher backlash. Duh!

We'll have our say at the ballot box when nobody is looking.


Posted by Question, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 11, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Nobody spoke out against the parcel tax because nobody there was against it. People who are truly against it wouldn't be afraid to speak up. I watched Kay Ayala address the board last week and stated her concerns. So where are your balls, Ben? If you have something to say, come out and say it. Bloggers like you choose to remain anonymous because you don't have any substance in your arguments.

A parcel tax is good for our schools and our community. I'm not afraid to say that in public either.


Posted by Ben, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 11, 2009 at 6:50 pm

Question, me and my balls will see you at the polls...


Posted by david, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 11, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Sorry that most of us didn't think attending your Pep Rally was a worthwhile use of our time. But the balls are out there and will be accounted for when necessary. That's just how we roll.


Posted by Solution Women, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 11, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Has anyone asked this question. What is the percentage that every employee in PUSD would have to take to balance the budget? Maybe administrators take a higher percentage than teachers and teachers take a higher percentage than classified. The bottom line is, if we really want to keep all staff and quality programs, then someone needs to come up with these cost savings across the board, fair and equal. Come on PUSD board ask the question and give us the answers. Demand the answer and don't let these top administrators snowball you.

Figure it out both ways:
1. The same percentage cut for everyone
2. A sliding scale percentage cut depending on your job type.

Maybe if this were to occur the community may embrace a parcl tax later.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 8:15 pm

SW, all I know is that the teachers took no raise last year. Combine that with an increase in medical benefits (which are not extra on top of salary, they are built into the salary schedule), I took a pay cut. And there is no way (not a snowball's chance) that we will get a raise in any year I can forsee, so I will take an annual pay cut for indefinate years due to rising insurance premiums. And you want me to take another cut on top of the annual cuts I am going to be taking? Wow, just stab me again.

If you want the answers to your questions (which I don't have), then e-mail the PUSD financial person, Luz Cazares, and get a real answer. Then come to the board meeting and speak in favor of your proposal, and don't hide behind an anonymous blog.


Posted by Another Homeowner, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 11, 2009 at 8:32 pm

It is obviously a difficult time for everyone, and it is pretty clear that those who have chosen education as their source of employment are now stunned to find themselves subject to the changing winds of our economic melt down. After all, this has rarely, if ever been the case in the past. The mantra of the business of education has always been get on the train and concentrate on your core job. If you make it past the first few years you are safe. You will never see either extreme end of the salary bell curve, but you will make a comfortable living and enjoy the union negotiated benefits of a managed health care plan and full retirement. You may argue amongst yourselves (politely please) where these two items fall on the curve, but this discussion usually digresses to a "grass is always greener" stalemate fairly quickly. The reality is (and I am in a position to know) that a career in education is neither a vow of poverty nor an entrepreneurial path to riches. It has however proven to be a steady path to an enriched life.

Now here is where the discomfort starts to intensify. Virtually everyone agrees that our government must spend in accordance with revenues, but no one seems to be able to stay elected and deliver a responsible plan for achieving this goal. In good times and bad our state and our nation has always managed to spend more than it generates. Of course the federal government owns a printing press, so they have a tool to alleviate their shortcomings, even if the currency is, in fact, nothing more than faith. The state does not have this option, and because of the extreme velocity of the financial crisis, it has few available actions other than starting to rapidly make adjustments to provided services. Passing a hasty tax to solve a miniscule portion of this problem will not do much to alleviate the ongoing discourse, but it will likely create another obligation that will never expire. Unfortunately funding derived from taxation becomes such a muddled mess that is becomes virtually impossible for the taxpaying public to decipher what they are paying for and, consequently, are backed into renewing any dated tax under the guise of averting the next service cut crisis.

The unfortunate fact is that some people are going to lose their jobs because of the current financial climate. Just as with the millions who are facing a similar fate in the private sector, whether this fate is deserved is not really a productive discussion. And while an additional property tax assessment would, optimistically, cover as much as 50% of the current proposed cuts, it would do little to solve the ongoing source of the dilemma and add additional burden to the community at a time when financial hardships abound.

The School Board has stated that they have entered into contracts with the various unions and individuals that are employed by the Pleasanton Unified School District. And thus they are reticent to ask any contracted individual or group to reduce their own pay. And I agree with that thought process and position. But the unfortunate truth is that a substantial dollar amount will be cut from the personnel budget. How many people those cuts affect is entirely in the hands of the employed group, as a whole. And yes, that includes the Pleasanton Unified School District administration team.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 8:56 pm

AH, I have already seen this posting in another thread. Did you just cut and paste? New info only, please.

"This has rarely, if ever, been the case in the past"? You must not be a long-term California and Pleasanton resident. Did you ever hear of Prop 13? This decimated the schools. 98 temporarily saved us, but Arnie and the Sacto gang is taking that down. Also, in the 80's, was declining enrollment, took us down to one junior high. So it has been the case in the past, at least twice in my lifetime. That is about once every decade and a half.

It seems like you are ready to shrug your shoulders and throw in the towel. I am not!


Posted by Generally Concerned, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Its easy to understand why a lot of people are against a parcel tax especially in these times. However, it seems strange that the same people that don't want to spend a few hundred dollars a year are the same people that think that District employees should take a pay cut, essestially paying the parcel tax themselves. Also note that many of the PUSD employees live in Pleasanton, so they will also be paying any parcel tax that may pass.

Its time for us to either stand up for education or sit down and take the consequences.


Posted by Another, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Its easy to understand why a lot of people are against a parcel tax especially in these times. However, it seems strange that the same people that don't want to spend a few hundred dollars a year are the same people that think that District employees should take a pay cut, essestially paying the parcel tax themselves. Also note that many of the PUSD employees live in Pleasanton, so they will also be paying any parcel tax that may pass.

Its time for us to either stand up for education or sit down and take the consequences.


Posted by Another, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Its easy to understand why a lot of people are against a parcel tax especially in these times. However, it seems strange that the same people that don't want to spend a few hundred dollars a year are the same people that think that District employees should take a pay cut, essestially paying the parcel tax themselves. Also note that many of the PUSD employees live in Pleasanton, so they will also be paying any parcel tax that may pass.

Its time for us to either stand up for education or sit down and take the consequences.


Posted by just the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 10:36 pm

I am not a teacher in Pleasanton but even I know that teachers in Pleasanton pay for their own benefits. They do not get a cushy benefit package. So, the previous poster is correct, they have already taken a cut in pay. If you look at how much the pay has increased and factor in the increased rate benefits have cost, they haven't had a raise in years. In fact they have lost money.


Posted by Want to keep my property value!, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 11, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Although I really appreciate how many of you stated your feelings, I have to express my feelings.... It is pass the parcel tax or see your property values decline and your school system be reduced to that of below average. What makes Pleasanton schools rank in the top 3% of the nation? It is the exceptional services that are provided like Class size Reduction, a Comprehensive Guidance Counseling Program K-12, Reading Specialists, and Vice Principals etc. Without these services you jeopardize your children's social, academic and emotional well being as well as their basic school safety. It is very simple. Those of you who have lived in other cities or attended or worked in other school systems know this.
A Parcel Tax is equivalent to one less latte a week. It is small
change when you break it up over the weeks across the year. The
district is looking at a 3-5 year plan. This is a very conservative
and well run district. This is evident in the fact that they have
always kept more than the required amount in reserve. There is
no "fat" here. Just well run comprehensive services.
ANY realtor can confirm that Pleasanton's property values are linked
to our school system. That is why our properties don't decline in
value as much as surrounding cities – even in hard economic times.
I grew up here – lived here for over 20 years. I attended the
schools. I bought a home here. I chose to leave another district to
work here. I also choose to have my children attend the schools here.
You get what you pay for. No tax - no services.
One last thing - In Dublin and other communities, parents at the high
school and some other levels are asked to write several checks as
they register their kids for school. The checks often total over
$300. Other area's home values have sunk this year as well - You will pay it one way or the other… I would rather pay up to $500 in Parcel Tax to maintain my over $100k in property value.
BTW if you live in Golden Eagle you are really benefiting in property value. How could you possibly not support the tax? You must not care for your city, its future or your own bottom line!
Just my two cents!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2009 at 10:54 pm

When Get the Facts says teachers took no raises last year, is that person including step and column? Put those kinds of rising personnel costs on hold first and then have a discussion with the community about a parcel tax. It's difficult enough to get a parcel tax passed during good economic times. What makes the administration and board think it'll be any easier now?

I'm disappointed to see no reports in the news being made regarding what the administration and/or board is doing regarding items on the cut list that were listed as "negotiable". Have they engaged the union at all or not?


Posted by Fed Up With Your Nonsense, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 11, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Let's see … today we got:

An additional 1 % sales tax

An additional 12 cents per gallon gas tax

An additional 5% state income tax

And an additional 100% auto registration tax

So you want to throw that additional latte per day tax on so you don't have to face the reality that times have changed?

Just for the record, my pay and company sponsored benefits have been reduced by ............................ 100%

And I am not alone


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Stacey, please take a look at the certificated (teacher) salary scale. If you are to teach 30 years in Pleasanton (I will teach more than that by the time I am done, as will most teachers), then 16 of those 30 years do not include an increase in step and column. So, despite increased health care costs, on the 14 years I receive a bump in pay due to the salary schedule, I might break even or get a little more in pay (sometimes the health care jump is so high that it is merely a break even proposition). But for more than half of my 30 plus years that I will teach, I will take a hit as health care costs go up almost every single year (once in a while we catch a break and there is no increase).

And by the way, so many people want the teachers to take a pay cut, but let's ask these people why they are not asking the doctors, nurses, and administrators of our health care to take a pay cut? I have a buddy who works for Kaiser, I am certainly not asking him to subsidize my health care through a pay decrease, and thankfully he has not asked me to take a pay cut for his kids.

So yes, Stacey, I am including step and column. There was no increase to the salary schedule as a whole, so all who took health care took a cut, and those not up for a step increase broke even, but really lost as well with no cost of living increase. A portion took a pay bump, but since the numbers change every year I can't tell you the exact amount (certainly well below half).

But thanks for the question, keep 'em coming.


Posted by Curious, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 12, 2009 at 12:30 am

"Get the facts" - Not sure why you feel compelled to justify your pay and raises. Teaching is a tough job, so you deserve your hard-earned pay and annual raises--whether it's step and column, COLA, performance bonus, or the combination thereof.

If Stacey has a problem with that, that's Stacey's problem. She probably envies the fact that you're a teaching professional and she's just another blogger looking for attention.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 7:43 am

I'm not looking for any teacher to justify their pay nor am I one of those bloggers demanding that teachers take a pay cut (a decrease in gross salary) in order to balance the budget. I do feel though that Get the Facts is being purposely misleading when saying "all I know is that the teachers took no raise last year." I wasn't asking if Get the Facts personally got a raise. I was asking if the district paid out any step and column last year. It is disingenuous to claim that there were no teacher raises when the district is putting out the information itself that they will spend $2MM to "roll over" the budget, with annual increases in that cost to the tune of about $500,000. That means in four years it will cost the district $4MM to "roll over" their budget, assuming everything remains the same.

The health care cost is a tangential issue that goes on in the private sector too. Stick with gross salary. Anyone can play the net income spin game too in order to rationalize their position. For example, I can start subtracting all that gets spent for say, commute expenses such as gas or car repairs, or the extra some people chose to have taken out of their paychecks for better health care, legal service, AD&D etc. in a cafeteria plan. The lucky folks this year who are keeping their jobs aren't getting any raises either. So it can also equally be spun that many families are taking pay cuts too.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 7:51 am

P.S. If the district is taking health care benefits out of paychecks and paying higher gross salaries to cover the cost, that's an administration issue, not a taxpayer issue. Is this how the administration manages employees?


Posted by Bob, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 8:12 am

I work in private industry. When we have had pay freeezes, the increase was 0%. No steps, columns or other COLA related items. A freeze is just that, and it was very annoying. But not as annoying as lay-offs.


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 12, 2009 at 8:16 am

Bob, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, wrote:
I work in private industry. When we have had pay freeezes, the increase was 0%. No steps, columns or other COLA related items. A freeze is just that, and it was very annoying. But not as annoying as lay-offs.

________________

I second that! Trust me, entitlement attitudes will be the death of all of us. Be thankful for what many do not have in this economy -- a job!


Posted by patron of Main St, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 12, 2009 at 8:25 am

Back to the theme of shared sacrifice. What do the teachers/admins/etc not understand about NO pay raises. None, nada, zip. No step, no column, no cola, no raises. My industry has laid off thousands and I have personally had my pay cut by nearly 50%, my medical costs upped by hundreds per year and my pension stolen. Maybe I should demand a "parcel tax" from those of you who do not even use my industry services to repay my lost benefits. Not much different from parents telling me to pay a parcel tax to educate their kids. Please don't subject me to the whine about "property values". I bought my house for a fair price, not an over-inflated one. It is worth more than I paid for it but less than it was at the peak of the greed-based phony real estate market. It is paid for and not subject to a ridiculous loan, used to fund SUVs and other toys while sucking the equity from my home. I will not submit to the extortion of those who demand that I pay for their mistakes whether those mistakes are a bad loan or trying to raise and educate more kids than they can afford. If you have children in the school system then YOU pay for them, I already pay enough via the property tax. Just take the money that you now spend for their cell phones, ipods, cars and expensive designer clothes and give it to the schools. That will more than fill the gap.
NO PARCEL TAX


Posted by Parent, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 12, 2009 at 8:57 am

Tuesday night was the first time I have ever been to a board meeting. I wanted to share my thoughts on the hardships our families are experiencing in this harsh economy. I wanted to say as a parent we support our schools and teachers, but feel the district must work to reduce expenses without making cuts near the kids or asking for more money when no one can afford it. I don't believe another tax can pass now.
I thought I could say this with sincerity and it would not be seen as anti-teacher. The atmosphere was so charged with tension and intimidation it was clearly not an environment that welcomed any parent input that did not support the pro-parcel tax position. I saw teachers that may have my kids in future, and felt it was not in my children's best interest to speak, I left.
I am so disappointed in what is sure to cause the damage to our community that this parcel tax campaign will bring.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 8:58 am

Stacey, I never said there were no raises. I beleive an increase in pay due to a step up in salary is different than a pay raise. When I say that "all I know is that teachers took no raise last year" is that we took a 0% increase to our salary schedule. When this happens, some will get a bump, some will break even, and some will lose money due to health care costs. Those who got a "bump" (or a "raise") are much less than half of the employees.

Please do not leave out our health care costs. All of the items you mentioned ("commute expenses such as gas or car repairs, or the extra some people chose to have taken out of their paychecks for better health care, legal service, AD&D etc. in a cafeteria plan") are all choices. We do NOT have a choice in health care, we are required to carry it if our spouse does not qualify through a large enough plan. Union dues are also required. All the rest you mentioned are not required, save for commute, but that is all a matter of where you choose to live. So I am only playing the "net income spin game" about dollars that never get to my paycheck! (I have also put years into the social security fund through previous jobs before I became a teacher, but I will never see a penny of that!)

One last nugget: Did you realize that a starting teacher in Pleasanton, if they have two kids, their kids are eligible for a free lunch? Should they take a pay cut?

Stacey, I appreciate what you have to say, and I appreciate that you have not been one to ask us for a pay cut. You and I may not always agree, but you seem to understand more than most people on the PW blog.


Posted by West side observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:16 am

NO PARCEL TAX

No fat to cut? Balderdash. What really needs to be cut though is the BS. We're spending more than we take in. The board needs to make the tough decisions we elected them to make--cut until the budget is balanced. They also need to prepare for the same circimstances in future years because the state legislature is unwilling to make those same tough decisions at the state level.


Posted by parent, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:19 am

How much money is spent on things like - We the People, Gate, Every 15 minutes, Dare, California Distinguished School qualifications, Red Ribbon week, DECA, Science Fair, two sets of school books - why not go green and have them available on line, etc. Can grades be checked on line instead of spending the postage and paper expense. Just another place to look - even if these items are not funded by PUSD they are funded through some other city/state or tax money. I would rather see these items cut than school instructional hours.


Posted by parent, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:19 am

How much money is spent on things like - We the People, Gate, Every 15 minutes, Dare, California Distinguished School qualifications, Red Ribbon week, DECA, Science Fair, two sets of school books - why not go green and have them available on line, etc. Can grades be checked on line instead of spending the postage and paper expense. Just another place to look - even if these items are not funded by PUSD they are funded through some other city/state or tax money. I would rather see these items cut than school instructional hours.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:25 am

Get the Facts, thanks for the response.

I want to write something else about this board meeting subject that has been bothering me. I didn't see the meeting and am wondering how it came about that the trustees can suggest a $197 per parcel tax without knowing yet what they will and will not cut. Anyone know? And why $197? Is that like the $1.99 trick that makes one think they're only spending a dollar when it is really two dollars?


Posted by Liz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:35 am

Yes Stacey, they are looking for the threshold that the community will tolerate.


Posted by Gabriella, a resident of California Reflections
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:40 am

Get the facts said:

"I beleive an increase in pay due to a step up in salary is different than a pay raise. When I say that "all I know is that teachers took no raise last year" is that we took a 0% increase to our salary schedule. When this happens, some will get a bump, some will break even, and some will lose money due to health care costs. Those who got a "bump" (or a "raise") are much less than half of the employees".

Obviously this guy is a Political Science teacher (training our future leaders two opposing words at a time!)

Or maybe it's just the 'New Math'


Posted by Chris, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:40 am

Get the facts, you mentioned that "union dues are also required." Could you shed light for those of us trying to get the facts how much those dues are? Are they taken directly from your paychecks? And have you approached the unions to suspend or reduce these dues in these tough times?

Thanks.


Posted by Seriously!, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:45 am

If you cut the school year by 5 days how much will it cost to have your kids at a child care center? Would you not just rather spend $197 per YEAR and maintain the district the way we have it now?

Oh, and I am not afraid of "teacher backlash" do you think these people are monsters? Really, what are you suggesting that they will do to our kids? Cmon people, are you all crazy?


Posted by Seriously!, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:45 am

If you cut the school year by 5 days how much will it cost to have your kids at a child care center? Would you not just rather spend $197 per YEAR and maintain the district the way we have it now?

Oh, and I am not afraid of "teacher backlash" do you think these people are monsters? Really, what are you suggesting that they will do to our kids? Cmon people, are you all crazy?


Posted by Seriously!, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:45 am

If you cut the school year by 5 days how much will it cost to have your kids at a child care center? Would you not just rather spend $197 per YEAR and maintain the district the way we have it now?

Oh, and I am not afraid of "teacher backlash" do you think these people are monsters? Really, what are you suggesting that they will do to our kids? Cmon people, are you all crazy?


Posted by Seriously!, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:45 am

If you cut the school year by 5 days how much will it cost to have your kids at a child care center? Would you not just rather spend $197 per YEAR and maintain the district the way we have it now?

Oh, and I am not afraid of "teacher backlash" do you think these people are monsters? Really, what are you suggesting that they will do to our kids? Cmon people, are you all crazy?


Posted by Chris, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 12, 2009 at 10:02 am

Seriously, you make a decent point on cutting the 5 days. But are you similarly concerned with our daycare situation on all the teacher workdays? I think many parents would like to see those scaled way back, that would help with daycare as well as save the district money.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 12, 2009 at 10:13 am

A special election cost $150,000.00. A rate of 197.00 for parcel rate.
No no no. Save that 150,000. Use it to the problem you
have now. If it goes to an election..My family is voting NO.
The board has spent to much already. Fix the budget now.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 10:13 am

Chris, I'm not sure the exact total (I do not have a paycheck stub lying around), but I beleive union dues are about a grand each year. I don't complain about this because it has always been there, always steady.

Health care is another matter. For a family like mine, under the cheapest insurance possible (Kaiser), it is 15,000 a year. So you won't really hear the union dues argument, that's small potatoes, but the ever increasing health care costs are insane. Basically we pay more each month in health care than in union dues for a whole year.

Thanks for asking, keep the questions coming.


Posted by john, a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Feb 12, 2009 at 10:15 am

with so much feeling against the parcel tax, perhaps we could onsider putting it as a voluntary contribution on the property tax bill. Though my tax bill(6.9k) is almost double my brothers,who lives in another state that hasn't an equivalent prop 13, i would think about it.


Posted by former teacher, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 10:38 am

Just interested in which administrators get car stipends, and is there any other 'subsidies' for top administrators besides their basic salary. Have heard mortgage payments are included in salary, but find that hard to believe. I'm looking for facts, not rumors.


Posted by former teacher, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 10:38 am

Just interested in which administrators get car stipends, and is there any other 'subsidies' for top administrators besides their basic salary. Have heard mortgage payments are included in salary, but find that hard to believe. I'm looking for facts, not rumors.


Posted by Ralph, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 10:41 am

Did you notice that no one even asked how much the order to generate language would cost? That is because this train is rolling and the board needs to be able to say that they made every possible effort when the train crashes into a wall at the polls.


Posted by Chris, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 12, 2009 at 10:51 am

Get the facts, thanks. I, too, have a family of four with Kaiser, and I, too, pay for it myself. My spouse is working (no health benefits) but I lost my job last month. My family is stretched financially right now and every little bit counts, even $200/year. I'm not sure how I'll vote on a parcel tax, but I'm skeptical at this point. I'm trying to make an educated decision, though, so thanks for your input.


Posted by Seriously, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 12, 2009 at 10:56 am

Sorry Chris..
Changing the workdays to instructional days will not save money. It will cost the district the same amount, but will cost the parents less. We can not expect teachers to be prepared witout paying them. They need time to get things done in the absence of students. I have volunteered at all levels, that job is hectic to say the least.
I do not in any way support cutting salaries for people who are underpaid. I do not want any programs cut. This means I will vote yes on the parcel tax. I don't love it but I want to continue to see students (mine are done this year!) benefit from this school district. John Casey is an excellent CEO! Please stop bashing. None of you have any idea what any school district employee does at his/her job. If you care about kids and our future as a community you will vote yes.


Posted by SamIAm, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 12, 2009 at 11:17 am

I'm a teacher at Foothill High, and I'll make a deal with the members of the Pleasanton community who are complaining about us "greedy" teachers who refuse to "share the sacrifice" during this budget crisis:

I will agree to a salary reduction equal to your sacrifice. I can afford a $197 salary cut.

In fact, I'll go one better and offer to take $2 of salary cuts for every additional $1 Pleasanton homeowners pay in parcel take.

I can afford a $394 salary cut. I'll have to trim my budget a bit here and there, but I'm willing to make that small sacrifice in order to keep good schools for the children of Pleasanton.

And for those of you who are mathematically-challenged: asking Pleasanton teachers to take an annual salary reduction of $2,000 per teacher on average is not "shared sacrifice"--unless $2,000 = $197 by your calculations. If so, then we really need to hire more and better math teachers.

Now pardon me, I have to go polish the fenders on my Ferrari (that's what I call my 1997 Honda Civic).


Posted by Chris, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 12, 2009 at 11:21 am

Seriously, I see your point, but I'm still unclear. On teacher workdays, there are no kids at school, so no state $ on those days, right? But we're still paying for the teachers, so we're losing money. So at what cost are those teacher workdays? We can argue the value of those days to the teachers, but in order to do so we need to know the cost. As I see it, we're losing state $ on those days right now, and parents must pay for daycare as well. I'm not trying to change your mind, I'm just trying to understand. Please correct me if I'm wrong...

If no state revenue is lost on teacher workdays, then I'm with you Seriously. Does anybody know how much state $ is lost on each teacher workday, if any?


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Chris, I'm not sure on the numbers, but here is how the staff development days (teacher work days) work: The state gives us money for staff development, but it doesn't cover 100% of what it costs the district to have these days. So the state covers maybe 75% (again, I don't know the exact numbers, I'm taking a solid guess), and the district has to pony up the last 25%. The district has felt this is a good use of money, as there is always things to learn in our profession, just as in most professions.

Now, if Arnie up in Sacto cuts all the strings to the money and puts it in one general fund as he has said he wants to do, then we can use that money for something else. But if he doesn't, then we can cut those days, but we aren't saving 100% of what the days cost. Instead, it is 25% or so.

There are a lot of strings attached to a lot of monies that can only used in certain areas. So there are state dollars for those days, to answer your question. Hope this helps.


Posted by Bad Rep, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 12, 2009 at 12:21 pm

"Get the facts": If you're really a teacher, how do you and Ms. Ferrari find time during school hours to post on these blogs? Don't you think taxpayers will question how you use your work hours?

I blocked the internet access on all the workstations in my department last year and the measurable productivity went up 58%. My reports are also more focused and engaged throughout the work day. I wonder if this would work in the public sector?!


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 12:22 pm

BR, can't speak for Ferrari, but I'm on lunch. PB & J baby! Yummy!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 12:25 pm

former teacher,

The PUSD website has information regarding Casey's perks, including the car stipend and the mortgage help. It isn't rumor, although details you may have heard about it could be wrong. Web Link


Posted by On a Diet, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 12:32 pm

"The process, according to BAC member Peggy Carpenter who spoke at Tuesday's meeting, has been overwhelming because there isn't "fat" to trim."

That's my FAVORIE phrase...EVER! I love it! PUSD is at a constant state of denial. Are they smoking the pot sold at PMS?

If there's no fat to trim, what do you call this???

Superintendent Dr. John Casey is employed under a contract which ends June 30, 2010. His annual salary is $227,002, with a 12-month work calendar and 24 days of vacation. Medical and other health insurance may be purchased at his sole expense, and the District contributes $5,000 annually for life insurance premiums. At the completion of each year of the contract where he has worked at least 85% of the days, he receives a payment of $10,000 into a tax-sheltered annuity. He receives $1,000 per month as a transportation allowance and membership in professional organizations as appropriate and necessary. When Dr. Casey moved to Pleasanton, he received a $200,000 loan to help purchase a home in the community. This loan is interest free and must be repaid within 18 months of the termination of his employment. There is no provision or expectation that the loan would be "forgiven." The current balance of this loan is $190,000.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 12:37 pm

I think it is somewhat of a cart-before-the-horse approach to first decide how much to make the parcel tax and then to decide later what to cut and what to save. $197? Just say $200. Why the $3 difference? So they're trying to come up with a number that sounds reasonable to the community? Well then they should have paid a consultant to take a random survey of the community so the board could make a best-effort decision. The way they're doing this now is blind.


Posted by Skeptic, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 12:44 pm

To "Get the facts",
For a teacher, you get quite a lot of "lunch breaks". You posted 3x throughout the last 4 hours of your work day. That doesn't even include the time you spend reading these blogs. What are your students doing you're wasting time on these blogs?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 12:50 pm

BTW, congratulations to PUSD and the Board! I noticed that the Pleasanton PTA is already lining up to support a parcel tax initiative without even knowing what the tax would support, what the cost would be, or what any other terms of the tax would be.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 1:11 pm

The other part of cart before the horse is being able to trust how parcel tax funds will be spent and who will be in control of those funds. Nothing I've seen up to now gives me faith since the unsustainable raises of 2005-06 through 2007-08, the raises given to administrators our of the reserves, the spending down of the reserves (was this the $4.5 million for the two lawsuits?), a new lawsuit that seems ill advised, the Measure B oversight committee that hasn't met for the last five years, the very cart before the horse approach now, etc. I am a big supporter of schools and teachers, but I don't believe I can trust parcel tax funds will be handled any better.


Posted by Seriously, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 12, 2009 at 1:45 pm

The parcel tax would replace money the district normally recieves from the state. Why is this so hard to understand? PUSD was chugging along just fine till the idiots at the state level started pulling funding. The challenges of a school district are ever increasing and funding, should, be increasing. Instead we have been through YEARS of cuts. It's just dramatic this time because it's bigger than in the past and because the private sector is experiencing a downturn. Nobody used to care how much money teachers or John Casey made before all of this came down. It comes down to this - do you believe schools are a vital and fundamental service or not? If not, vote NO. Otherwise pony up the $197 and spend your time recalling the morons in Sacramento. Our schools, teachers and kids should be shielded from this insanity. Therefore, I will vote yes. 0.54 dollars per day. I think we can all figure out a way to scrape that together. If you are that broke you likely don't own a parcel, therefore will not need to pay the tax. Horay for you!


Posted by ????, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Question to John Casey, "What do we owe on measure B bonds?"
John Casey, " Weeeelllll that is an interesting question................."
NO ANSWER!


Posted by Parent, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 12, 2009 at 1:51 pm

One parent Dan Copenhagen presented a good proposal for "shared sacrifice".
I am a parent adamant against a parcel tax but his suggestions got my attention.
I would probably vote yes if administrators and teachers stepped up.
His proposal was not embraced.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Seriously: I work in the schools; I have family and friends who are teachers in the schools; I understand perfectly well. I've cared all along about everything I listed previously. But you're right, it's a bigger deal now. Everything has to be looked at, and now there is a platform for the necessary scrutiny given there is a request for more funding.


Posted by Seriously, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:03 pm

What do you mean by step up?

Pay cuts?

Teachers work too hard as it is. The attitude of some of you is totally unbelievable. You are like a bunch of angry dogs who had their meat stolen, just because you work in the private sector and have to make some sacrifices because the greed you were living off of was totally unsustainable, you attack teachers.

Even if we eliminated John Casey - that would not save much money.

The district and all of the employees "step up" every damn day. Education is a challenging field. That's why you complainers don't do it. You could not! Don't drag everyone down with you. Sorry about your pay cuts, just because you got one not everyone should. You never shared your bonuses with the teachers did you? Spend your time working on your people skills and maybe getting more education so you can be more marketable! Get off this blog and get a part time job. Stop bashing and trying to bring down this wonderful school district.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:30 pm

To whom was your last post addressed? This is a very generous community, particularly with schools. No need to be insulting.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Parent,

What was Dan Copenhagen's proposal?


Posted by 2 Cents, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:35 pm

"His proposal was not embraced."

Proposals made by parents that aren't called "parcel tax" are frequently shot down by the school's administrators as quickly as they are brought up.

These administrators are not out to gather "new" ideas. Rather, it's parcel tax or bust!


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Seriously's went insulting because Parent wrote "stepped up". Seems he/she believes that taxpayers need to get jobs and stop being greedy.


Posted by GP, a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:45 pm

"You never shared your bonuses with the teachers did you?"

Seriously "Seriously", I do share my bonuses with the teachers. Each of my 4 children's classrooms received a donation of $1000 from my personal fund. Those funds come directly from my hefty Wall Street bonus. Now, can I ask our teachers to take a pay cut? Please? :)


Posted by Seriously, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 12, 2009 at 3:19 pm

To GP -
Sure - if everyone with a child in PUSD "shares their bonus" and contributes $1000 per student then we won't need a parcel tax! (14500 students x 1000 = $14,500,000. Seems like that would close the budget gap. Then the teachers can each take a $1000 pay cut. Not sure how many teachers there are - maybe 600? So we will add the $600000 to that same fund. Geesh! I think you and I have solved this problem! No parcel tax needed!
And yes, I know this community is very generous to schools. I am very much part of that generosity. I just feel like someone on this board needs to support teachers, the people who work day in and day out with our kids. I do not want anything taken from them. They sacrifice enough. Really did not intend to be insulting. Let's just be nice and get this figured out?! We need our schools and they have cut back so much in the past five years or so.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Stacey, Dan Copenhagen's proposal was well thought out. He proposed a $200 parcel tax, and 4% rollback of teaching salaries, and the rest from cuts. I can't recall the exact numbers, but the first two covered about 8 mil, and the cuts fill in what's left.

He was then followed by a teacher who suggested that this is not a equitable solution, as a 4% rollback of teaching salaries is, using the example he did of a teacher making 70,000 annually, comes to $1900 a year. A 200 dollar property tax would cost a homeowner $1,000 for five years, but it would cost the average teacher almost twice that in salary every year for the rest of their lives. Not to mention that is hurts retirement, and as board member Jim Ott pointed out, those teachers that are Pleasanton residents would also pay the property tax as well!

But at least Dan is trying to come up with answers, and is willing to stand up and voice his thoughts. He's on the Budget committee, and it looks like he is working hard and trying to help. If anyone reading this knows Dan Copenhagen, please tell him his work is appreciated.

The problem, of course, is that we do not have all the facts from Sacto. Those clowns need to get the budget done so we know what it is we need to do.

GP, thanks for your donations. We have many great parents willing to spend time and money for our schools, we appreciate all you do.

I do not agree with Seriously's tone. I appreciate all people in this great city, even those who oppose my views. I'm guessing that a lot of people can't "get a part time job" because they are not a lot of jobs out there!


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 3:40 pm

To Seriously, the answer to your question is following, found on the PUSD website:


How many employees and managers does PUSD have?
PUSD employs 780 certificated staff, 405 classified staff, and 67 management employees. These figures are from 2007/08 and are in terms of FTE (Full Time Equivalents)--the total number of employees is higher due to part-time workers.

How would a


Posted by Seriously, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 12, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Sorry if you do not appreciate my "tone". I too am very appreciative of all the supportive people in this community, including the teachers. What do you say we all start a campaign similar to Livermores highly successful dollar a day. People could choose to contribute or not. We can raise the money needed, as a community? Then no parcel tax and our level of service - which we have grown to expect - can remain the same.


Posted by OMG, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 12, 2009 at 3:47 pm

"The average teacher in PUSD makes $70k per year" and has to pay his/her own benefits. And, now, some of you suggest taking anywhere from 4-10% of their salary. Heehee. Hardly seems fair. I will pay the $197 parcel tax if each employee pays $197 a year. That's fair. Unless I have two kids, or three or six. Maybe then I should pay more?


Posted by Interesting???, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 12, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Anyone who lives in Pleasanton and moved here before the market melt down, has made a bundle of cash in their Pleasanton home real estate investment. Those who have benefited from the real estate gains need to recognize that your financial gain would not have happened if the PUSD did not organize such a high performing school district. You can thank the PUSD district and staff for your increase in home values. Yet now....somehow....educator salaries are on the chopping block and there is parcel tax opposition. A parcel tax of around $200 a year for 5 years is all that the district is asking for in return so that they can continue to provide the same results. I'm wondering....How's that for pay back? While your home value in town increased well over $200 a year for a sustainable amount of time, you can't make the sacrifice now? Nice community support.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Taking off the teacher salaries is not fair. Putting the step and column increases and other management automatic increases temporarily on hold is. It will save $2MM.


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 12, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Oh Please Interesting??? Pleasanton is MUCH more than it's schools. It's location, it's parks, it's open space. Yes, good schools play a role, but they are not the SOLE reason our property values soared. Look to San Mateo County and it's cities for examples. Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City have even higher values than Pleasanton for the same age homes (if not older), yet crapola schools.

Key are the things noted, yet also being at build-out. If someone wants a P-town zip code, they'll pay the housing price -- regardless of school system.


Posted by Seriously, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 12, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Leave the teachers out of this! Please! They did not cause the problem - all they do all day long is deal with problems. Look at other ways to figure it out. Look closely at the pay scale and you will see that some teachers for many years have their pay "frozen" and after 20 years, nothing. Except for pidly COLA increases. Yet health insurance continues to climb. Many of us in the private sector have been shielded from the huge increases in health insurance by our employers. PUSD employees have been paying thier own for 10+ years and they are getting nailed by increases. Please, leave the teachers alone. Pleasanton has done a great job recruiting great people to a pretty crappy profession. I know I would never do it, I can make more money and not have to deal with all the kids and the disrespect. Lets join the teachers in fighting for fair pay. If you all don't want a parcel tax, let's just donate the money to the district.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 4:28 pm

The $2MM it costs the district in automatic salary increases would pay for CSR programs and keep ~186 teachers employed.

Seriously,

If the district cannot get a parcel tax to pass, popular programs like CSR will most likely have to be cut and ~186 teachers who are probably quite bright and wonderful individuals will be laid off. Those 186 teachers will join the growing multitudes of unemployed (current at historic levels) and will probably have a hard time finding employment in this poor economic environment. That is Plan B if teachers are left out of the discussion.


Posted by Seriously, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 12, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Stacey,
$197 per year per parcel will keep all programs and pay levels where they are now. We really are not talking about that much money. Freezing the pay increases will disproportionatly affect teachers. Again, not the people we want to penalize. Lets just get this parcel tax passed and move on. I like the suggestion of OMG to allow each employee to pay $197 per year also, or a $197 annual pay cut. This is more fair than anything else proposed. I do not want salaries or services cut. There is no need, we have the resources to protect this valuable asset.


Posted by Dont ASSume, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 5:25 pm

"$197 per year per parcel will keep all programs and pay levels where they are now."

That's not entirely true. Casey already said that the parcel tax will not keep everything at the same level they're now. Some programs and jobs are still on the chopping board, in spite of the parcel tax. There will be cuts regardless.

Don't assume everything will be ok once the parcel tax is passed. And brace yourself for another Tsunami next year so don't move too far along.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Don't ASSume is correct. It would take a parcel tax of over $400 a month to pay for all of the 8.7 million deficit.

Parcel tax or not, there will be cuts. That is the one guarantee in this whole mess. Vote for a parcel tax if you want to save SOME of the great things that this community, administration, and teachers have fought to gain over the years. Vote against if you want to see it ALL disappear.

And make no mistake, our home prices will continue to deteriorate, no matter what we do. Keeping strong schools is the only thing I can think of that will help to hold off some of the deterioration.


Posted by Seriously, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 12, 2009 at 6:50 pm

"There will be cuts regardless"

Well then, the angry posters on this blog should be quite happy then!


Posted by Tax Revolt, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 12, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Does anyone know how much Union dues for CSEA and for APT are?


Posted by Tax Revolt, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 12, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Let me get to the point.

In the spirit of 'shared sacrifice' I keep hearing.....How about the Unions waive all dues for two years while PUSD reduces all salaries by 5% for two years (and freeze all step/column increases and movement). Then let's see how much a two year parcel tax is needed to keep all programs and services and teacher jobs intact. When the economy is back in 2 years, and hopefully the CA legislature gets fiscal sense, we might be able to ge back to normal. I just might be in favor of this plan.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 7:55 pm

As I stated earlier today, APT dues are about a grand a year. No idea what CSEA dues are.

I don't come to work and ask you for a pay cut. Why are you asking me for a pay cut? I would never ask you or anyone else to take a pay cut.


Posted by Pleasanton Dad, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 12, 2009 at 8:14 pm

I'm completely against the parcel tax and I have children in the schools. We don't have the money to spend. Look at the mess this state is in because we just can't seem to find ways to cut expenses when hard time come around. There is no silver bullet to fix a budget crisis. We have to learn to cut expenses now.

If the state spent as much energy on developing an effective budget process that worked in good economic times as well as lean times as it does on lobbying and posturing, I would be more sympathetic to funding a band-aid solution in the way of a parcel tax. But until we fix a broken budget process, I have no desire to pay more taxes because of ineffective legislators. Until we all experience the pain, we won't have the stamina to fix the core problem - we'll just roll from year to year putting a band-aid solution together. It will take a painful crisis in our schools before we work up the nerve to demand a real solution and much-needed reform.

The winners of an effective budget process will be students, families, teachers and PUSD staff.


Posted by father of students, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 12, 2009 at 8:24 pm

I'm unsympathetic to a parcel tax. I have had four children in the district for the past ten years. The teachers union is making things worse for everyone. There are many good teachers here, a few really excellent ones, and a few lousy ones. The union system makes it difficult to reward the really excellent ones and to get rid of the lousy ones. My children have had a few teachers that are worth three times what they are paid, and have had a few teachers that children should not be exposed to. I'm not saying get rid of the union (that's a decision for the teachers) but there are other ways to improve education for our children. It's time the unions stepped up and did their job of providing consistent quality in teachers and spent less time lobbying.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 8:35 pm

P-town dad, I respect your right to be against the parcel tax. I agree the state is in a mess, in a budget crisis. I agree the state needs to develop an effective budget process. I would not handle my budget the way the state handles theirs, and I'm guessing you wouldn't either.

We have already had a "painful crisis in our schools", and it was called Prop 13. It decimated education. As for a "real solution", in 1988 we got prop 98, which insures minimum spending levels for K-12 education. Unfortunately, Arnie and the gang want to take that away due to the state of the state. Basically, prop 13 again.

The bottom line with a parcel tax is that we will be saying we are ready to take matters into our own hands. It will tell Sacramento that we can't trust them, that we know we are better off having our own money to spend, to not depend on them, that they will let us down time and again. (Sacramento won't care, of course, but it at least gives us more power.)


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 8:50 pm

To father of students: I realize the union looks bad to many people.  But the union does more good than bad, in my opinion.It is not that difficult to get rid of a bad teacher, but most administrators are not up to the task of the work needed to do it.  Without a union, many teachers would be let go by vindictive principles, of which there are some.  The union protects the teachers when we speak up for the kids, but speak contrary to the administration.  Teachers should be able to say what they want (within the boundries of decency and such, of course) without fear of repercussion.As far as rewarding good teachers, I would love to know what you feel this would look like.  For example, would it be on test scores?  That seems fine in principle, but many teachers, like K, 1st, counselors, psychologists, PE, reading specialists, etc. do not do testing.  And what about a teacher who does a GATE class vs. a basic skills class?Would it be based on administrative recommendations?  To be honest, administrators don't have a lot of time to come observe the classrooms, and if your principal simply doesn't like you, then you won't get merit pay.Parent recommendations?  Some teachers are well liked but are average teachers.  Some teachers are not as pleasant in some ways, but are great teachers.So I'd love your thoughts, but how exactly are we to "reward the really excellent ones"?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:01 pm

I don't think bringing up Prop. 13 is useful to this discussion. In practically every state, in practically every district, they are having this same education budget discussion where there is no Prop. 13 to point fingers at. In the spirit of needing to know where you've been before you can figure out where you're headed, I present for interested readers the basics of education funding in California and its history: Web Link

"How California Funds K-12 Education"
irepp.stanford.edu/documents/GDF/STUDIES/02-Timar/2-Timar(3-07).pdf


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Stacey, thanks for the link, but I seriously doubt very many people are going to peruse this 'light reading'. I hope I am wrong! (One highlight: the lottery only provides 2% of funds for schools. I hope no one thought it was higher!)

I only brought Prop 13 into this as a response to the "painful crisis" comment. I, like you, hope that 13 is a tiny dot in the rearview mirror.

I actually will be reading this, as I know some of our history, but I'm sure there is more to know. Thanks for bringing it to us.


Posted by GP, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:14 pm

"In practically every state, in practically every district, they are having this same education budget discussion where there is no Prop. 13 to point fingers at."

Do you have any data to support this claim? Counties in Texas conduct an annual reassessment of property values and tax accordingly, so all the local schools are well funded as a result. I should also remind you that there is no state income tax in the Lone Star state.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:15 pm

You'll like some of the other pdfs then. There's a TON of good information out there other than just the PUSD Budget FAQ. (I also like the LAO site.)

"Getting Down to Facts:
A Research Project Examining California's School Governance and Finance Systems"
Web Link

"Funding Student Learning: How to Align Education Resources with Student Learning Goals"
Web Link


Posted by Seriously, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Tax Revolt -
Would you mind posting your salary history and a paystub online for us to see? Then maybe a household budget? I am sure I could comb-through that and find a few ways for you to save the $197 for the parcel tax? Just because information about teachers personal finances is readily available to the public does not give us the right to tell them how to spend their paychecks. How are union dues relevant at all? What memberships do you contribute to, that you could just stop, to pay for this parcel tax? I am insulted that many people will not stop attacking these teachers, it's not something anyone would do to you! Like get the facts said, teachers would not come into your job and ask you to take a pay cut. Why does the public, just because they pay taxes, think they can shove the teachers around? Do you do this to every public entity paid by your precious little tax dollars? Leave teachers alone.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:21 pm

GP,

I only have anecdotes in the form of news articles. Not exactly reliable. Google for New York education cuts or any state education cuts. For example: Web Link

"New York State United Teachers today praised five state Democratic senators for introducing legislation that would restore fairness to the income tax code while raising $6 billion to help New York avoid devastating cuts to public education and health care."


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:28 pm

"How are union dues relevant at all?"

Well if we're going to talk about net income instead of gross salary, then union dues should be fair game. This is why I attacked the idea of breaking down paychecks to rationalize a position. The health care costs are an administration problem. It is too bad that California districts don't pool their health care benefits.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Get the facts,

P.S. I know it isn't exactly "light reading". I direct attention to it though because there are those readers out there who I believe truly want to get the facts and become knowledgeable on this topic. This kind of "light reading" is the way to do it.

I think whether or not a person is for a parcel tax or not, once they start understanding how this state funds education and what the problems with the system are, they'll start banging on the drum demanding of our Assembly to reform that system instead of just trying to implement the Governator's band-aids.


Posted by 2 Cents, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 12, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Can something be done at the teacher's union level to lessen the burden of health care costs on the teachers? It's shocking to see that teachers are paying $15K for a family health plan at Kaiser. Either the union reps are terrible at bargaining or they're ripping off the teachers.

Something has to be done to lower the costs of health care for our teachers. If the union cannot negotiate a reasonable premium, then teachers should be permitted to purchase their insurance outside of the union. Why would the union "force" our teachers to spend more on health care than they are required, given that our teachers are already making close to minimum wage already.

Can you teachers take this up with your union? I would imagine that the insurance companies won't mind dropping the premium to keep all those policies in this economy.


Posted by Tax Revolt, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 12, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Seriously -

Last I checked, you do not pay my salary. You have no right to my paystub. I did not ask you for $197 a year. You have no right to know how I spend my income.

Last I checked, I (and all taxpayers) pay the salaries of the PUSD employees. We have the right to know how they are paid. They, after all, work for us.

You are right, taxpayers do not have the right to tell a teacher how to spend their paychecks. And neither should a union. If a teacher believes that their $1000 union dues is better spent elsewhere, they should be able to do so.

And yes, it is the taxpayers who are paying for 'every public entity by our precious little tax dollars'. And the public entities keep forgetting who pays their salaries.

We have BAC members and PUSD leaders who are calling for shared sacrifice. The only options on the table are more taxes and service cuts. Where is the sacrifice from the unions? Where is the sacrifice from the teachers? The only sacrifice I'm seeing from the unions and teachers, is the sacrificing (layoff) of the teachers with the least seniority.

If you did the math on my proposal, you would see that the teachers would have more money in their pocket. Don't accuse me of 'shoving teachers around'. I'm trying to save *all* their jobs AND put more money in their pocket. I don't see the unions doing that. So far, they have been conspicuously silent.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 10:34 pm

The problem with the health care is not that they are paid for by teachers, but that they go up at an astronomical rate. I beleive that is something we all can agree upon!!!

Stacey, I couldn't agree more. The problem is how things are done, and maybe this recession/depression that we are starting will fix things in the long term. As we all know California is near the bottom in education spending compared to other states. An overhaul of the system is neccesary.

Then, we can overhaul the health care system!


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Tax Revolt: I might suggest that you ask to be on the BAC. Then you might be able to see if what you suggest is realistic. Maybe the BAC is recommending a parcel tax because they realize it is in the best interest of the kids? (I am not on the BAC, for the record, I am merely suggesting why they might have drawn these conclusions.)

I might be okay with a 5% decrease in pay if you also take a 5% decrease in pay. But if you agree, please keep this in mind: Any decrease in pay now is not for just two years, it is for the rest of our lives. It affects every year from this point on, and also affects retirement. (Kinda unfair to ask a 30+ year teacher to retire on less than what they could have had if they had retired last year.) And also, if you agree to the decrease, then I want your salary public like mine, so I know that you are actually taking the decrease. I'm guessing you aren't willing to do that.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 12:02 am

The cost of benefits does seem exorbitant, but I'm not sure about the math. The benefit payment ($10,000) was rolled onto the salary schedule and was a choice employees made at least eleven years ago. And the COLAs since, ranging from zero to about eleven percent have, by inclusion, covered some of the increased premium costs. So if a staff member was making $50,000 and got a 10% raise (this occurred somewhere in the last six years if I remember correctly), the amount applicable to the original benefit rollover was $1,000. As COLAs have been awarded in the years since being added to the salary schedule (4-6 % in the three years prior to this school year, as another example), it seems that the disparity between what is in a paycheck for benefits and what benefits cost may not be as large as is being portrayed. I have purposely not included step and column increases and the COLA adjustments to that portion I'll call the base salary amount. While those increases could ostensibly cover all the costs of benefits, I wouldn't argue that every dollar of an increase a staff member earns should be strictly to cover benefits.

It also seems the district staff, who negotiate the benefits with the unions and also with the providers, needs some expert help in negotiating with the providers, and those people exist.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 12:07 am

GTF, Retirees from a school system get paid based on their highest year of pay, so a decrease will not impact their retirement. Publicly traded companies do disclose salaries, at least for their top executives.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 8:56 am

To Disagree w/B: You stated "Retirees from a school system get paid based on their highest year of pay, so a decrease will not impact their retirement." It is not based on your highest year of pay, but on you last year of pay. So if you take 5% off, then your retirement will be based on 5% less pay.

I think you are on the right track, but a little off on what you are trying to say.

The health care bit is a lot messier, the details and chain of events that led to this are long and boring, I will spare you the details. I simply know we are between a rock and a hard place, unable to fix it at this time, and for the forseable future.


Posted by health care, a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Feb 13, 2009 at 9:13 am

I don't think the union/district is at fault for bad negotiation of the health care benefits plan. It is my understanding and I could be wrong, but the district has been trying to be grouped in with other California public employees so that they can negotiate as a bigger entity and thus have more power with the insurance companies. It is really the insurance companies who have the power and that is a whole other issue. Plus, if anyone in your group has been using benefits (injuries, high risk pregnancies, etc) that are out of the norm, the costs go up. It's a crazy situation, but that would be why the costs to "buy" the benefits are so ridiculous.


Posted by Curious, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 13, 2009 at 9:30 am

There she is again...a teacher posting during school hours.

Is it lunch time again, GTF?


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 10:09 am

Curious: Not that it's any of your business, but I am a part-time worker. I do not work in the a.m. Can I post during this time, is that okay with you? (And don't assume I am female, there are lots of male teachers, I might be one of them.)


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 10:54 am

GTF: From CALSTRS Web Site Calculator Page: Yearly salaries from your last three years of work: (IF YOU HAVE 25 OR MORE YEARS OF CREDITED SERVICE, YOU ONLY NEED TO ENTER YOUR SINGLE HIGHEST YEAR SALARY). Emphasis is theirs. Here's the link: Web Link

As to benefits mess, I already know the story first hand. I think it is fixable, but it probably means a change in benefits, more choices so people can choose what they can afford. I would guess most districts are being more creative about what is provided, just like the private sector. It needs to be done and waiting serves no purpose.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 11:05 am

Health Care: There are two organizations I know of that have been very successful at beating back the insurance companies on their fees. One district saved millions over a short period of time. Pooling employees could work; I would be concerned about who then manages it--another bureaucracy?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 13, 2009 at 11:37 am

As it is now, don't individual districts have to pay their own benefits administration costs out of their General Funds? Why couldn't benefits be paid for and administered at the State level? Individual districts are small pools while all the districts together are a large pool (i.e. larger pools spread the risk more and thus costs are lower).


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 12:01 pm

I would absolutely love it if the CTA (California Teacher's association) had a statewide health care plan, I'm sure that would save many dollars. I obviously have no idea how far that idea has been taken.


Posted by *42*, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 2:29 pm

To Get the Facts
Teachers belong to CalPERS. One of the largest risk pools. I think #3 in the nation. Only the Fed. Gov. and the armed forces are bigger.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Teachers belong to CalSTRS (California State Teachers Retirement System); classified staff (and other public employees--police, fire, etc.) belong to CalPERS (California Public Employee Retirement System). Data I could find says CalPERS is number two, and CalSTRS isn't far behind.


Posted by Just a note, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 13, 2009 at 5:07 pm

A collection of facts.

Some years ago, CTA wanted to be able to bargain for teachers as a collective, state-wide, so teachers would have more clout when negotiating plans - insurance agencies said no; the courts said no.

Credentialed teachers are CalSTRS.

Pleasanton's APT - Health Insurance: APT has been working diligently (for years) on trying to lower premiums by looking at a variety of options. It's not from lack of effort or intelligence that our premiums are so high - there are a ton of factors, and the largest one involves a rock and a hard place. I'm paying so I ask the hard questions, too!

I heard that there is NO other local community who has passed, or is considering, a parcel tax has asked their teachers to take a pay cut. Interesting.

The proposed cut list is long, and items will be cut. I think there is a little fat to cut (District Office) but if we cut those who work with children, the children lose. If services are reduced (reading specialist, counselor, librarian, VP, custodian) the load on your child's teacher(s) is increased - hard to be all to everyone, and all within the school day. Teachers do their best to reach all children, all day, every day, but one can only do so much with a finite amount of time and many, many children. I worry that children will fall through the cracks. With 33 students in our upper elementary grades, these support services are critical. In the lower grades, they are just as essential, even with the 20:1.

By the way, be you for or against the parcel tax, for or against anything, have any stance, perspective, or whatnot, teaching is about loving your child for who s/he is and helping them grow into the amazing person s/he is. You can have any stand you wish, and teachers will still stand behind your child - s/he is why teachers are here! And why we love our jobs.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 6:04 pm

To Just a note:
Well said! I suggest you take most of what you have said and read it at the next board meeting. It was well articulated and has great info, and is written with passion. I'm proud to serve along side of you!


Posted by PtownParent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 6:49 pm

I hear for about $3,000 we can all send our kids to private schools. Problem solved?


Posted by PtownParent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 6:51 pm

That's 3K per kid, just to be clear.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 7:19 pm

better do your research on private schools. I used to work in that field, in my opinion the PUSD is stronger than what I experienced. feel free to investigate and decide for yourself.


Posted by PtownParent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 7:22 pm

We agree, Get the Facts. I was posting tongue-in-cheek.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 13, 2009 at 7:53 pm


"teaching is about loving your child for who s/he is and helping them grow into the amazing person s/he is."
I wish it were true, I believe you and I believe many teachers share your generous spirit but there are far too many teachers that judge and condemn kids and would condemn the child of a parent that took an anti-union position.


Posted by PtownParent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 8:05 pm

"Far too many?" How many would that be? And how often have you had the opportunity to take an "anti-union position" and then, as a result, had your child "condemned" by a teacher? Quit talking out your backside.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2009 at 8:57 pm

To Parent, there probably are a few who would do really crappy things because they didn't agree with a parent who took an anti-union stance. But most teachers would be willing to sit down with you and have a reasonable conversation about the pros and cons of unions. Possibly no one would change their views, but I beleive an intelligent conversation would take place, and no "condeming of a child of a parent that took and anti-union stance" would take place.


Posted by Linda, a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 14, 2009 at 8:33 am

There was a teacher strike in Pleasanton about 15 years ago. Parents and teachers, parent and parents, teacher and teacher were very hostile. Many parents experienced a very real (non-physical) threat to their students. Anyone that was in Pleasanton at the time should remember how bad things got. Many people still have bad feelings today.
More recently an administrator told me, regarding teachers attitudes, human nature is what it is.
This parcel tax campaign will be damaging to the community. "PtownParent" is already proving that.


Posted by Another, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2009 at 8:52 am

"Last I checked, you do not pay my salary. You have no right to my paystub. I did not ask you for $197 a year. You have no right to know how I spend my income."

I do pay your salary, buy purchasing good or services made directly or indirectly by your company, so why can't I see your paycheck and determine if I want to support your company? You personally do not directly pay a teachers salary, yes you pay taxes then that money goes to the state which in turns comes back to schools (and every thing else). Of course you have a right to know if the taxes you are paying are being spent appropriately, but to judge the spending of your taxes by limiting its range to a teachers salary in one school district in the state seems a bit near sighted. Your taxes pay for teachers across the state, not just in Pleasanton.


Posted by Another, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2009 at 9:20 am

There are a lot of good points posted here, but instead of focusing on the district and the problems, why aren't we looking to the state government that has caused this mess. The state should be held accountable, not the teachers and students of PUSD.

As someone said, the district was operating fine until the state starting taking millions each year from all the schools across the state. In additional the Federal Government mandates the standardized testing that costs a lot with no additional funding. (is there some benefit to this testing every year - if it has to be done can't it be done every four years or so)

Teachers shouldn't be taking pay cuts. People argue that there are bad teachers in school - part of the reason is that there aren't enough good teachers due to the salary. Every year in math and science (especially) there is a shortage of teachers. New teachers in the credentialing programs are brought in to cover this shortage.

The state should be cutting budgets else where or if teachers should take a pay cut, so should every other public employee.

Of course let's not talk about the billions of dollars the federal government is giving away so banks can give huge bonuses and retreats and parties and....how about we give this money to the schools of our great country.

While the community should no have to pay more taxes to support the schools, the sad reality is that we must (to maintain our current standard). Other district in the area do support there school. In Walnut Creek everyone pays around $500/yr as a tax for schools (not sure exactly what they call it). Other districts around us have parcel taxes (Dublin, Livermore, etc)

Here is my proposal(s)

(1)Make the cuts necessary and move on. Do not cut salaries, but cut all those classes that aren't required for high school graduation. Most people who want their children to participate in other things already pay for it (let's see - about $750 to be in marching band at AVHS). Hundreds of dollars a year for soccer, tutoring, art classes, science classes.

(2) Pass the parcel tax, but it should cover what we need. If it takes $400 or $500 to cover what we need, don't try for a $200 tax and then still cut a whole bunch of stuff, this will just confuse and anger people (like those that vote for the tax and then the school cuts the only program they care about and thought they were voting to support

(3)We stop paying money for schools at all. All staff (except maybe one person to coordinate the district) should be voluntary. If we only get enough teachers so that there are 300 students in a class, so be it, at least we don't have to pay a parcel tax. With all the extra money we have the district can give money away to the community.

(4)We close the schools - federal government states that everyone must have a "free and appropriate education" but I do not believe a community is mandated to have a school. So the children of pleasanton will still have to go to school just not in Pleasanton and we will not have to face the burden of additional taxes.

(5) Privatize education. Of course this won't be conquered on a local level. If everyone has to pay for education than only those that have children would have to carry the horrible burden of funding schools.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2009 at 9:42 am

Just a note: "I heard that there is NO other local community who has passed, or is considering, a parcel tax has asked their teachers to take a pay cut. Interesting."

My question would be what increase those teachers (and classified and administrators) have received over the last five-ten years and how healthy are the reserves in those communities. One example would be Palo Alto, who passed nearly a $500 parcel tax (a larger renewal of a previous parcel tax) and has held raises to 0-2% for years. They also have very healthy reserves.

I think the discussion for Pleasanton is so difficult because of the large increases awarded without funds to sustain them and various other bad fiscal choices that leaves the district without reserves. People are trying to figure out how to take back some of what should not have been given and really can't support giving more money to those who created most of the mess in the first place.

It isn't that we don't support teachers and schools--we want to keep CSR and all the enhancements (people and program). I think people are asking for give and take in order to get support for at least some amount in a parcel tax. I certainly don't understand why cutting CSR and laying off teachers seems so reasonable to the union (other teachers?). As was pointed out, it will hurt the teachers in many other ways that in turn will hurt kids.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2009 at 11:51 am

I just heard a letter from the district/schools was sent out indicating parents will be fined for students who are out sick. Does anyone have that letter? Can you tell me if it is true and what justification is used for charging a fee?

I know ADA is not paid anymore for absent students (excused or not), but I don't know how a fee can be required. I would appreciate knowing if I heard this correctly. Thanks!


Posted by Seriously, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Tax Revolt -

"Last I checked, I (and all taxpayers) pay the salaries of the PUSD employees. We have the right to know how they are paid. They, after all, work for us."

Wow, you are crazy. We all pay one another in this capitalistic society. Do you harass the postal workers when they raise the price of a stamp? How about asking your trash collectors if you can see their paychecks to determine what they are doing with their money and if you think they are paid too much or not?

Public employees do not answer to individuals in the community. If you are interested in bossing teachers around and making decisions about their salary then run for school board or work for a school district.

You, tax revolt, are a perfect example of the arrogant attitude that makes so many people look down at Pleasanton.


Posted by Barbara, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 14, 2009 at 2:40 pm

The Pleasanton teachers union exploits the low pay and poor working conditions that teachers in less fortunate cities experience to demand more, more , more. Pleasanton teachers are appreciated, paid well and treated very well.

Thank you to the many good teachers in Pleasanton.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2009 at 4:53 pm

To Barbara:I'm not sure how you can say the union exploits when we took no raise last year.  "Exploiting" would be using something to our advantage, and in taking no raise we took no advantage. Many people lost when you account for benefits that went up in cost, and we have to pay for.

But I do agree that, generally speaking, we are "appreciated, paid well, and treated very well." Others may disagree, but I will not. I feel very lucky to work in Pleasanton.


Posted by Dead Horse, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 14, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Enough already. Stop beating on me!!!


Posted by Beat, a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Feb 14, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Beat beat beat!


Posted by Teacher, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 14, 2009 at 10:09 pm

As a teacher who is on the last page of the seniority list I do not agree that teachers across the board should take a pay cut. Yes, i will most likely be laid off this year, which sucks, but in the long term a pay cut for teachers now will lead to even lower pay in the future(and a continued decimation of our school systems in CA). Teachers need not "share the burden" by taking a pay cut - teachers will share the burden by having many more students in each class (and if a parcel tax is passed, paying that too, yes I live in Pleasanton like a majority of our teachers).


Posted by Curious, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 14, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Teacher, sorry to hear that you may be impacted. How long have you been teaching? Do you think it's fair that seniority, instead of performance and business needs, is used to determine who gets laid off?


Posted by Teacher, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 15, 2009 at 6:54 am

"Do you think it's fair that seniority, instead of performance and business needs, is used to determine who gets laid off?"

Curious - in one sense its fair as everyone knows how things are determined and with experience in teaching does come improved skills. Performance should play a role (although I'm not sure what is the best approach to determining performance) , but ideally poor teachers would be removed from the classroom on a regular basis. But with all businesses, without some sort of gross misconduct its hard to fire people. Not really sure about business needs, it seems that the business need is taken into account with credentials (i.e. an elementary teacher can't teach high school physics just because they have 25 years experience) so the district just can't randomly assign teachers to different classrooms which means a high school math department may consist of low seniority people, but they may keep their job over someone with higher seniority if the "business" needs require it.


Posted by Happy Teacher, a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 15, 2009 at 9:26 am

I too will a receive a lay off notice in mid March and notice in mid May that my contract will not be renewed. This is my fourth year of teaching in Pleasanton. Yes, the seniority thing bugs me and I knew it when I started in the teaching profession.

I am amazed at the attitudes of the majority of the bloggers. I teach my students, everyday, about respecting others opinions, not giving put downs, and listening to others opinions. Most of you could take some instruction from our students on problem solving and how important listening is! I know this is an emotional topic. Budget cuts, no matter what they are, are going to affect all of us-the teachers, the administrators, the classified employees, the families, the community and most of all the students. Please think about who you are writing these blog comments about. Ultimately, you are writing about the importance of education for all of our kids and therefore our future.

My stand on the parcel tax actually comes from my finances related to our property values. I bought my house 11 years ago. I bought it at $214,000 and it is now worth maybe $700,000. If I take the last 18 months out of the picture (due to the economy), I can estimate my property value has increased $500,000. That's a whopping $50,000 a year. I truly believe this increase is due largely to the API scores of the Pleasanton School District. Yes-We have a great downtown, beautiful parks, well maintained infrastructure but so do Livermore and Dublin. What they don't have are the API scores. In the last year the median home price in Pleasanton has dropped about 6%, In Livermore and Dublin they have dropped somewhere between 25%-30%.

I think $197 (or more)is well worth it for my investment in my future.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 15, 2009 at 9:33 am

"I truly believe this increase is due largely to the API scores of the Pleasanton School District."

Are you suggesting that limited new housing inventory and easy access to credit have nothing to do with the housing price increase?


Posted by Happy teacher, a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 15, 2009 at 9:40 am

The surrounding communities have had "easy access to credit" available to them also. As far as New house inventory, Pleasanton has that, it's just been able to be sold at a higher price than other communities. Maybe I don't understand your question , or point. Can you reword that response so I make sure I understand it.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 15, 2009 at 11:20 am

OK.

Are you suggesting that other factors that contribute to housing prices have nothing to do with the price increases of the last 11 years?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 15, 2009 at 11:20 am

It would be interesting to look at how the price increases in the surrounding communities compare with the price increases in Pleasanton over the last 11 years.


Posted by LauraAndrews, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 15, 2009 at 11:37 am

Yes, these are hard times for all of us. But many of you are asking teachers to take a pay cut to cover the budget cuts our legislators have CHOSEN to create. Before this budget crisis California was already 46th in the nation for what is spends per student each year. That is down from California being 6th in the nation only about 25 years ago. That is a sad state of affairs to go from 6th in the nation 46th in the nation in student spending in less that 25 years.
(These figures come from "Education Weekly" - where they take into account regional cost of living by states - not just dollars spent) To spite those dismal student dollars, Pleasanton has maintained one of the best rated schools in all of California and is ranked very highly by national standards as well. ALL of Pleasanton property owners benefit from those terrific schools through high property values; which are directly related to school test scores. Home Realtors even brag about the test scores and our school district's reputation to prospective home buyers. Yet many people on this website expect teachers to foot the bill for the budget crisis. Do you ask your doctor to pay your medical deductable? Do you ask your auto insurance agent to pay part of your insurance bill when the rates go up? I agree cuts need to be made, but it is not realistic to ask teachers and administrators salaries to cover a $8.7 million budget shortage. If you have been watching the recent school board meetings you will have seen that the parcel tax they are considering will be about $200 per parcel and this will cover only about half of the budget shortage. The other money will come from cuts made by the school district. These cuts will be made by the same school board and administrators that have made fiscally sound choices in the past; not by people unfamiliar with the process. That is why we elected them to the school board, to make these kinds of decisions.

I believe it is time for all Pleasanton residents to support our schools with a parcel tax, the way most surrounding towns already have done. I am proud to live here, teach here, and raise children here. I support a parcel tax and I am not afraid to sign my name.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 15, 2009 at 11:47 am

Happy teacher,

Forgot to mention, one important aspect of the housing price increase we need to look at to make any real comparisons is to adjust the dollar value from 11 years ago for inflation.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 15, 2009 at 11:56 am

Here's a link to the Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator: Web Link

$214,000 turns out to be $283,233.33 in 2008 dollars. You've only gained $416,766.67 in value, not $500K.


Posted by Happy teacher, a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 15, 2009 at 11:57 am

Stacey,

Those are good questions! Thanks for giving me some questions to research and think about. That is what I think these blogs should be used for. Open our minds to ideas. Maybe our first thought isn't the answer...

I will comment though. Inflation has been everywhere, so wouldn't the percentages for differences be the same? And wouldn't the "other factors that contribute to housing prices" also be pretty much the same everywhere else?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm

"so wouldn't the percentages for differences be the same?"

Well certainly. But you said "That's a whopping $50,000 a year." and we should have an estimation like that based upon correct math. You also mentioned the percentage of the drop in housing prices for Pleasanton and surrounding communities so we should first look at where we've been. We have to first make all things equal before a comparison can take place.

I found another calculator at Measuring Worth that uses six different inflation indicators. Web Link

In 2008, $214,000.00 from 1997 is worth:
$287,070.67 using the Consumer Price Index
$274,427.33 using the GDP deflator
using value of consumer bundle *
$0.00 using the unskilled wage
$329,848.67 using the nominal GDP per capita
$368,010.52 using the relative share of GDP

* The 2008 observations for U.S. nominal GDP, nominal GDP per capita, population and GDP deflator are preliminary numbers that will change.
* Data for consumer bundle is only available through 2007.
* Data for unskilled wage is only available through 2007.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 15, 2009 at 12:23 pm

LauraAndrews,
If you have not read all of the posts that have shown our surrounding districts have less money than PUSD even without a PUSD parcel tax. That San Ramon outperforms PUSD with $600 less per kids even after SR's PT. That we are already paying millions for PUSD bond taxes. That teachers and administrators are only being asked to join the rest of us that are being effected by this economy and are not in a position to pay more. Then get caught up, then post.
Being fiscally responsible is not anti-teacher.
Laura it does not take any courage to post your name when you are saying what the district and teachers union want to hear.


Posted by Happy teacher, a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 15, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Thanks for finding some links. I'm not sure what you are trying to say with your numbers. I just know that $197 vs. $416,766.67 still looks like a pretty good investment to me. I also continue to believe that the value of education that has been the standard of our community has contributed a large part to that investment.

I think I owe it to the community to continue that standard. The kids continue to get a great education. The property owners continue to have good property values.

The parcel tax seems like a necessary thing in some already tough times.


Posted by Happy teacher, a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 15, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Oops. Before you go correcting me. I should divided $416,766.67 by 10 years. Um, $197/year vs. $41676.67 still looks better...


Posted by Curious, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 15, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Happy teacher - what grade level do you teach? Just curious.


Posted by Happy teacher, a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 15, 2009 at 1:46 pm

I've got to say I am nervous about saying which grade I teach. After reading what has been said repeatly about our teachers, I'm afraid of what might be said about my thoughts, or my typos.


Posted by Overpaid, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2009 at 3:05 pm

We need to pity our teachers because they rake in an average of $81K per year and work only 185 days? WOW, now I really hate my job!


Posted by Kim, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 15, 2009 at 4:16 pm

The Pleasanton teachers union exploits the fact that teachers in other communities are truly underpaid and have poor working conditions. They use this perception to create an illusion of the poor teacher so parents in Pleasanton continue to give more.

While I don't think Pleasanton teachers are overpaid, Pleasanton teachers need to stop claiming that they are abused and underpaid. Pleasanton teachers are treated well by the parent community and they are well paid for their 185 six hour work days.


Posted by another, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2009 at 8:51 pm

"That San Ramon outperforms PUSD with $600 less per kids even after SR's PT. That we are already paying millions for PUSD bond taxes."

Not sure exactly what you mean by outperform? API scores of the high schools are almost equal across the board (San Ramon does have a 1 or 2 point lead - by the way, I know Monte Vista has much more financial support in the form of donations than PUSD high schools)

Elementary schools have similar results with all school except 1 in each district having API scores over 900.

Of course you could be looking at completely different data, such as improvement over the past 10 years or so then perhaps there is a difference, I don't have that data or time to look it up, but until you actually support an "outperform" argument with data its hard to take you seriously, you just sound like a "grass is always greener" person.


Posted by Teahcer, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 15, 2009 at 9:41 pm

"Pleasanton teachers are treated well by the parent community"

Hmmm, have you been reading the posts on here and a couple other threads? I have been accused of being vindictive against students if there parents speak out - I'm not even sure how I would go about that. Apparently I also judge and condem kids and don't forget that apparently I am whiny and greedy.

On another note:
I hate to refer all the way back to the first post, but it worries me that a person uses the phrase "there are cuts to be made that will not affect students" and one of the suggestions is "cutting 5 days off the end of the school year". If 5 days is not affecting kinds, why not 6 and if 6, why not 7 days, why not 10, 20, 30... Hmmm, let's just the school year in half.

I have a much better plan. Since about 98% of the students in Pleasanton High Schools pass the High School Exit Exam as a sophmore, we could just have the students graduate after 10th grade and cut off two years of school. That would certainly balance the budget and apparently cutting days of school does not affect the students.


Posted by Larry, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 16, 2009 at 9:01 am

I've neem in this community for 40 years. "They " will comvince you with the scare of CSR and your property values. "They" will get their parcel tax no matter how much everyone tries to stop them. The community will have to step in and bailout the schools once again. I will not vote to make anyone pay a dime more with all the stories I have heard of people losing their jobs, homes, etc and YES here in Pleasanton. I think it is sad that the schools have created so much that they need to reach out to taxpayers for help. The whole thing is sad and teachers are wonderful, dedicated human beings. They work for the kids not for the pay at least the good ones do anyway!!! Good luck to them and their families it will be a rough couple of years.


Posted by Larry, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 16, 2009 at 9:01 am

I've been in this community for 40 years. "They " will comvince you with the scare of CSR and your property values. "They" will get their parcel tax no matter how much everyone tries to stop them. The community will have to step in and bailout the schools once again. I will not vote to make anyone pay a dime more with all the stories I have heard of people losing their jobs, homes, etc and YES here in Pleasanton. I think it is sad that the schools have created so much that they need to reach out to taxpayers for help. The whole thing is sad and teachers are wonderful, dedicated human beings. They work for the kids not for the pay at least the good ones do anyway!!! Good luck to them and their families it will be a rough couple of years.


Posted by Poopie Doopie, a resident of Castlewood Heights
on Feb 16, 2009 at 10:47 am

Let's move on and take this frustration to the California Legislature. How much do they get paid to not balance the budget? Every stinking year, year after year. Our state is mismanaged, the only way we can salvage what we have built as a community is by providing funds ourselves. You all have the right to vote one way or the other, but, this hateful attitude toward our educators is not necessary. We all know that finding and retaining teachers is tough. Do you stop to think about why that may be? Yes, even in Pleasanton it's tough to find qualified teachers. My son currently has a teacher who does not have a teaching credential. He is the only teacher this wonderful district could find, even though the district "overpays". You all need to think about the realities, it sounds great - 185 days, six hours a day. But, that can not be all the job entails. If it were people would be lining up in droves to do it. And again, remember, when the economy was fine we did not attack the teachers. It's unfortunate that some are losing jobs and homes but no need to spread the misery unnecessarily. Our school district and our community, together, have done a fantastic job of making education for our students stellar. Let's keep it that way while we work through this economic situation. And please, let's change the tone of this discussion. The people who work with our kids deserve more, I sure don't want to know what school would be like if they really did only work six hours a day.


Posted by julie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2009 at 12:41 pm

julie is a registered user.

Overpaid, and others like you: Quit turning the parcel tax debate into a teacher bashing discussion. Your information (e.g. teachers only work 6 hours/day, etc.) is always inaccurate and if you are so unhappy with the pay and benefits for the field you chose - make a change!

And, I have yet to see one teacher on here who expects or wants pity, only respect for their field.


Posted by j, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 16, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Poopsie said "And again, remember, when the economy was fine we did not attack the teachers."

When the economy was fine the district didn't offer to share the excess $ with the community, either. If you're going to ask for help (parcel tax) in the tough times, wouldn't it be intellectually honest to share the wealth when times are good?


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Hey j:

"When the economy was fine the district didn't offer to share the excess $ with the community" ??? What is that supposed to look like anyway? Tax refund checks? Lower utility bills?

When class size reduction came, instead of asking for a bigger raise, we turned the money into what was needed for CSR (when I say "we" I mean both the teachers and the administration). The same can be said for more counselors, everyone accepted that it would take more money to have better counseling ratios, money that could have gone into PUSD employees' pockets.

The list of choices like this goes on and on. We do not look at these as sacrifies, but items for the greater good, namely, the good of the students. Everything but salary is for the good of the students, so everytime a program or something is added, it is for the students.

So as far as I am concerned, we have been "sharing the excess $ with the community". How else would you like us to share the money? Would you like us to write you a check, or would you like cash? Or perhaps in a gift card? Or would you like us to share it with the students?


Posted by jhaynes, a resident of Avila
on Feb 16, 2009 at 4:34 pm

As so many are doing during these touch times, I would suggest that each and every employee of the school district take a pay cut. 5% or so would probably save enough money to prevent any cuts to the childrens program...which by the way is why we gladly pay for local taxes. For the kids. Its not about the teachers or the employees of the district...its about the kids and their education. I'm sure the union would be up in arms about a pay cut but I say grow up and give a little instead of always taking. Give back to the school district that employees you. Give back to the kids who are the ones who will suffer.

Enough said...John


Posted by John Haynes, a resident of Avila
on Feb 16, 2009 at 4:35 pm

As so many are doing during these touch times, I would suggest that each and every employee of the school district take a pay cut. 5% or so would probably save enough money to prevent any cuts to the childrens program...which by the way is why we gladly pay for local taxes. For the kids. Its not about the teachers or the employees of the district...its about the kids and their education. I'm sure the union would be up in arms about a pay cut but I say grow up and give a little instead of always taking. Give back to the school district that employees you. Give back to the kids who are the ones who will suffer.

Enough said...John


Posted by Funny, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 16, 2009 at 4:55 pm

According to the Pleasanton Weekly poll, those in favor of a parcel tax outnumber those who oppose it 9 to 1. We will likely have more than the 67% of votes needed to pass this tax. Its great to see that the community is coming together to help our schools.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Hey John, I'm not telling you to take a pay cut at your work (to lower the cost of the goods or services you provide), why are you telling me to do so?

And 5% is not going to do it, the number is more than double that. If you want us to take a cut to subsidize the education of the kids in Pleasanton, then at least you can do is provide the correct figures.


Posted by SuperTeacher, a resident of Danville
on Feb 16, 2009 at 6:04 pm

John Haynes,
"grow up and give a little instead of always taking." Uh, ok. I will give some money back because I don't earn it or anything. Working with kids is a very easy job. Reluctant learners and kids who need extra help are the easiest. I never work until 6 or 7 then go home and work more. Crap John, you figured it all out! Working for PUSD is like welfare, I just kick back all day long. It is about time that I "give back" a little.

Really John, in most cases the school district, and community and kids are damn lucky they have teachers like myself in the classroom. We don't need your insults. We will not be subsidizing the education of the students in this community. You want excellent teachers, pay for them. If not, just send your kids to a school district like Oakland.


Posted by SuperTeacher, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Who are you kidding? Teachers like you are no different than babysitters, a dime a dozen. Don't give yourself too much credit.

You want a high pay and less work, lose that attitude and teach. If not, send yourself to a school district like Oakland so you can deal with drug-dealing kids and guns in your classroom. You should feel damn lucky to be teaching in a Pleasanton classroom.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2009 at 6:38 pm

"According to the Pleasanton Weekly poll"

Yea, that's a real scientific poll.


Posted by SuperTeacher, a resident of Danville
on Feb 16, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Really? We are a dime a dozen, huh? Then why is it there is a teacher shortage? And, my friend, why is it that many teachers don't stay in Pleasanton? Because, while my students usually don't have guns, the parent community is sometimes a bit of a downer.

We do teach, and we push, and we inspire the kids of this community.

Who, by the way, need us because many of them do not like the dysfunctional families they come from. Apparently the same arrogant, belittling attitude we feel from some of the parents the kids feel also.

Many of us have taught in other districts and agree that in some respects Pleasanton is "easier". We love the support we get from some in the community. We love these kids and want the best for them. No matter who walks through my door, I am committed to teaching that student. I will continue to do so through any budget cut.

However, babysitters we are not. Again, I caution you from bashing and disrespecting the people in this profession. What is the difference between a district like Oakland and Pleasanton? For the most part, better teachers. Oakland has great teachers but they have far more "babysitters" than Pleasanton does.

A teacher is education. Without the teacher you have nothing to guide a student.


Posted by j, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 16, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Get the facts, I'll take a $197 parcel tax credit, please.

Sounds like the schools are just like the state: spend it all (and then some) when you've got it, and don't save for a rainy day and/or economize when the rainy days come. Would anyone argue that Sacramento or the CTA are synonymous with frugality and economy?

I didn't think so...


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2009 at 8:07 pm

The PUSD is required to maintain a 3% reserve at all times, which they have done. If they state required itself to do as they require the school districts to do, then maybe we wouldn't have this mess. And recently the district had more than the 3% reserve, although I can't say exactly what it was (somewhere between 4 and 4.5%).

The CTA is paid for out of my paycheck, not yours. Say whatever you want about them, but you do not pay for them. I don't think the CTA and Sacramento is a good comparison, as the CTA knows how to balance a budget.


Posted by j, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 16, 2009 at 8:55 pm

So what is that 3-4.5% reserve for? A rainy day? Hello, have you checked the weather outside?


Posted by Poopie Doopie, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Say goodbye to the reserves. And, smart folks, how much should a school district save? The needs are never-ending. You make it seem like when times were good the district was partying it up. They were spending money on, uh, educating the kids. Enhancing and improving education. Education is not a business. Why can't some of you understand that? What actually needs to happen before we can discuss this rationally is agree to some "standard of education". The problem is that those in the trenches see what is really necessary and are the custodians of our dollars. I have kids in the district, there really are not any excesses. The teachers my kids have had are very frugal with supplies and spending and the district has been very good about conserving energy to cut costs. I am hopeful that the super non-scientific Pleasanton Weekly poll is correct about support for the parcel tax.


Posted by Get educated!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2009 at 9:30 pm

The reserve WILL be used, the problem is it is not nearly enough to cover the 8.6 billion being cut from education at the state level.

The parcel tax has never been an issue of management of PUSD funds, our district is one of the only in this area to currently not have a parcel tax due to conservative budgeting. There has always been a large reserve and they have "spent their rainy day funds" for the past few years as other cities residents have been paying parcel taxes to make up for the cuts. Funny how no one gave the district credit when they were being spared a parcel tax.

If you are frustrated that now you are being asked for the support, take your energy/anger to the state level. Write to the legislators who are the responsible ones for you having to pay a parcel tax. Better yet, continue to get educated on the facts and stop the false information from becoming what many bloggers here claim as truth.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2009 at 10:47 pm

j:

Even if we were allowed to use the reserves (which we are not), as Get Educated! said, it will not cover the shortfall. It won't even cover half.

The parcel tax, if it is listed at about 200 bucks, will only cover half. The rest will be cuts, and the kids will be affected. If the parcel tax doesn't pass, then the kids will be affected even more.

Did you know that Senior night at Foothill costs $175 bucks? This is for one night, and most parents will pony up the cash in a blink of an eye. The current suggestion of a parcel tax is only slightly higher than that, and it is for a whole year. Tell me, which makes more sense?


Posted by j, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 16, 2009 at 11:39 pm

"take your energy/anger to the state level"...

I couldn't agree more. In fact, I've written to our several esteemed representatives (Pleasanton has been gerrymandered into several different districts by Democrats so that more conservative representation is hard to achieve) and have received nothing more than lip service back. What has our district (or any others, for that matter) done to organize the community's outrage to Sacramento? Not much, as far as I can tell. That would require a stand against the Democrats and unions, so I'm not holding my breath. It's much easier to ask local taxpayers for more money and not bother with the real culprits.


Posted by NO Salary Tax, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Feb 17, 2009 at 10:59 am

"Get the facts" needs to get the facts straight. Based on what I have paid in recent years I believe $175 is the cost for the entire year of senior fees. Safe and sober grad night is only one piece of the senior fees.
Keep your hand out of my pocket if I want to contribute to my students senior year and not your salary, or put $197 in my child's college fund that is what I will do.

This parent does not support a parcel/salary tax.


Posted by Poopie Doopie, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2009 at 12:48 pm

To NO salary tax,
What do you think $197 per year is worth? You do realize that teachers ARE education. Without them it does not happen and my darling, you need to remember you get what you pay for!


Posted by Matt, a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2009 at 6:35 pm

I'm a teacher from out of the area. I have a friend from Pleasanton who asked me to review this blog. I'm amazed by what the community feels a teacher's life and job is like. I especially liked the person who complained that teachers only work six hours a day. When do you think grading occurs, while we're teaching? As an English teacher, every couple of weeks I collect essays. Try grading 90 four to five page essays. See if you can get that done in a thirty hour work week. I frequently grade essays through most of my evenings and weekends. You need to know that most teachers put in more time outside of the classroom than inside the classroom. We get Christmas vacation, spring break? Do you think that the things your kids do in the classroom come about by magic. We work through most of those holidays, both grading and planning. Also, much of the summer is spent in training or planning for the next school year, especially the younger teachers who face losing their jobs because of class-size reduction. If the community will not support a parcel tax then what the teachers need to agree to is that they will work the same amount, the forty hour work week in the contract - and no more. If the community won't support a parcel tax than teachers should not be expected, as we always are, to pick up the slack. Every one of you needs to agree that you will work your contract hours and no more. If your community decides that they don't care to invest in the student education of their own community, then they've made the decision. It is not your job to make up for uncaring community members. As for the community, remember, most of your teachers can't afford to live in your community. While they obviously care about your kids, they can't care more than you do. If you choose to tie their hands, there's not much else they can or should do to help your community. Oh, since I don't live here, and don't care how anyone responds, just know I won't be reading reactions.


Posted by Poopie Doopie, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Hooray Matt!
Many of us do support and appreciate our teachers. I do hope that the negativity on this blog is not indicative of the majority. We love our kids and want the best (even the best teachers!) for them.


Posted by caring teacher, a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2009 at 8:37 pm

I think we need to all remember that it is the children who will suffer the most if the community does not come together to support this parcel tax. Yes, teachers may lose their jobs, but we will probably find something else. The students will not get these years back when they are shoved into a class with 32 other students. Can you imagine trying to read with that many other students trying to tackle this task at the same time? Not to mention that reading specialist will be cut, placing even more demands on the teachers that are left. We all know that times are tough right now, but the students should not have to suffer as a result. They deserve more than this!


Posted by I support our teachers!, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 7:26 am

Children should not have to suffer, teachers should not lose their jobs, and homeowner should not have to pay a tax that we can not afford to absorb right now.
The teachers union and district administrators must look at the world around them and agree to a salary roll back that will save hundreds of jobs.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 18, 2009 at 11:32 am

What many of you don't understand is that the California standards are NOT what they used to be several years ago! The standards have trickeled down through the grade levels. What used to be 4th grade standards are now 3rd grade standards. 1st grade standards are now K standards. Years ago, Kindergarteners were not expected to read by the time they leave...now they are! So, to those that say "...my kid was fine when we didn't have CSR...why do we need it now?" It is because your child was not expected to master these same high standards! There were other standards, yes, but not to the degree that the students must master now! Teachers are able to teach these more rigorous standards due to CSR. Please support the children...after all, one day they will be supporting us!


Posted by Tim, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 12:01 pm

NO parcel tax.
"The teachers union and district administrators must look at the world around them and agree to a salary roll back that will save hundreds of jobs."


Posted by Another, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 2:54 pm

John - your statements make no sense "which by the way is why we gladly pay for local taxes. For the kids. Its not about the teachers or the employees of the district..."

So your happy to pay taxes, but not pay anyone to teach them or run the schools. I'm very confused. What are you actually intending to pay for then when you pay taxes. When I pay taxes for national defense, I am paying for military personnel to be trained and prepared. I've I were to say I pay taxes for national security, not for the men & women of the military, that doesn't make much sense either. So when you pay taxes for a child's education, you are assuming that the districts and states get the best people for the job. Good teachers benefits the kids, not just the money.


Posted by Ted, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 7:32 pm

We love teachers, We hate irresponsible taxes.
No Parcel Tax!


Posted by concerned, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 24, 2009 at 2:23 am

I am not in favor of a parcel tax but for different reasons than most of you. I don't mind our teachers not taking a pay cut IF they would teach our children during the time they have them in the classroom. So much of our educational hours are WASTED time. School administrators need to LEAD and MANAGE their particular schools and employees. They are not there to befriend our kids or to let the ever powerful UNION run our schools. Our schools are spending too much time on things that look good instead of being good. Our teachers are spending time managing kid's behavior instead of instructing students. Teachers are also surfing the internet and talking on their cell phones during class time. In years gone by I taught school. We did not have prep periods and we corrected our own papers and had just as many kids. We did not have TA's that corrected papers for us and it didn't take us months to give back corrected work. Yet, we also had parents who parented their own kids and did not expect the schools to do that. We also respected teachers and didn't support the "whims" of our child's poor behavior. We managed and disciplined our own child instead of expecting the school to take on that job. We need a major step forward in looking at what works and what doesn't work in our schools and a big step backwards in regards to classroom instruction and school management. Learning should be enjoyable but our schools do not have to be recreational outlets. We do not have to tolerate kids who do not want to spend their time getting an education. We do not have to condone classroom disruptions because we're afraid of a parent's lawsuit. Let's have everyone do their best in the educational process - including parents - and then maybe the support that used to be widespread in our town will return in the form of dollar support.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Avila
on Feb 27, 2009 at 4:39 pm

I know the economy is bad. I am lucky my husband still has a job. I am on permenant disability due to cancer, so basically have no income. We choose to live in Pleasanton because the schools are great. We have made alot of sacrifices in order to do so. Education is continually cut in our state, which is a shame that we dont value education more. These kids are our future. (Our state situation is whole other situation that we really seem to have no input on! Sad!!)I have seen 1st hand how hard our teachers work, without knowing their income. I will vote for the parcel tax because our future needs it. In response to the person who says they dont want to be made guilty for not voting for the tax because of home values, you are wrong. I bought my home more than 13 years ago before the overinflated costs. After 13 years my home is worth the same not as then. I dont want my home value to go down because our school district is not reputable. YES ON PARCEL TAX!!


Posted by Neighbor, Parent, and a citizen, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 27, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Yes on Parcel Tax


Posted by A concerned HPMS parent, a resident of Ironwood
on Feb 27, 2009 at 10:37 pm

Completely, "IN FAVOR"!! Do people move here for the robust business environment we DO NOT have on our Main Street anymore? I think not... Do people move here for the amazing '70's style outdated homes that many of our neighborhoods have? I think not... People move to Pleasanton for the SCHOOL DISTRICT and location to silicon valley!!!!! GET REAL People!!!!!!! Our home values and our lifestyles will diminish if we do not invest in our kids education.. RETIRED or NOT, this affects everyone!


Posted by Parent, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 28, 2009 at 10:09 am

I would like to also add that those Silicon Valley employees drive 45+ minutes and climb the Sunol Grade everyday for the SCHOOL DISTRICT primarily. It is the families that keep us on the map and keep Pleasanton young..

"Pleasanton has the reputation of being a well-run, midsize city with a strong economic base, whose charms are especially attractive to young families: Sixty-four percent of the city's 23,311 households consist of married couples; 40 percent of households have children under the age of 18 living in them." San Francisco
Chronicle -Jan 2009