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It's been a full week and PUSD hasn't applied for Federal stimulus dollars yet?

Original post made by Stacey on Apr 24, 2009

On this CDE website Web Link anyone can search for districts that have sent applications in to obtain money from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund in order to avert layoffs. This is an extremely important fund since it is a large amount of money, way more than $2.1MM.

As of Friday night, April 24th, a full seven days (five business days) since the fund became available on April 17th, PUSD has yet to file their application. Livermore filed on 4/20. San Ramon filed on 4/18. Dublin doesn't appear to have filed yet either. What is PUSD waiting for? Why can San Ramon file in a single day and we're still waiting?


Comments

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 24, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Because it is rich district where certificated employees on average get total compensation in the +90K range.


Posted by Get out of the wagon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Here are a few options as to why they may or may not have done so:

Because they "know better" than us lowly parents and tax payers as to how to go about funding "their" district.

Because they have already done the math on what they need via the parcel tax and they don't want to redo the numbers and adjust what they need from the parents/homeowners in P, thereby jeopardizing the pending June vote.

If they just act busy, ignoring the calls for them to do this, maybe no one will notice

I think we should call the District Office to give reminder messages. Anyone else think this is a good idea so we help them to help us??


Posted by Get out of the wagon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Hey Weekly,

Anyone over there up for an "Investigative Piece"?? Can someone look into whether the district/Casey has applied for these funds and it just hasn't hit the CDE website?

I assure you, there are some interested readers...


Posted by Disney fan, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Get out of the wagon has the right idea....every concerned taxpayer should be calling or emailing all the school board members and PUSD to remind them that there's a deadline for filing the application.

Dr. Casey's email address and those of all the school board trustees can be found at www.pleasanton.k12.ca.us


Posted by Get out of the wagon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Hi Disney Fan,

I'll call the DO and email Casey and the Board Members Monday myself. Anyone else joining me??

Someone on another thread thinks only 2% of Pleasanton views/posts here and that, even though only 40% of the community have children under the age of 18, that this is going to "easily pass". Can we do better than that 2% on Monday calling the District Office, readers?


Posted by Disney fan, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Get out of the wagon,
I know lots of people who don't post on the blogs, but they do read them. As for the poster who made claims about the percentage of people who post, and the percentage of people who will vote for the parcel tax - they're just claims, not facts. I never pay attention to people who post so called facts that aren't verifiable.


Posted by Max, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Maybe it's because their consultants told them we don't qualify! I seem to recall that being an excuse one time in the not-so-distant past.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 25, 2009 at 9:02 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Max,

Spill the beans!


Posted by Disney fan, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2009 at 9:40 am

Regarding a consultant telling PUSD it didn't qualify for funding. I don't remember all the details, but remember that a parent questioned the School Board about why it hadn't applied for a huge grant (around $8 million I think) that would cover vocational training.
Dr. Casey became quite incensed (that's why I remember the meeting - his attitude!) and said that his people had checked and PUSD wasn't eligible for the grant.
Actually, and I hope others who were there or saw the meeting later broadcast will confirm this - I believe that not having funding for vocational programs was the basis for PUSD's claim back then (it's been a few years) for why PUSD needed a parcel tax.
Well, it turned out that the Board did require PUSD to recheck whether they were eligible for the grant, and PUSD was eligible, applied for and received the grant. So a Pleasanton parent saved the District millions of dollars.

Wow, it's as if a lightning bolt has struck. PUSD wanted a parcel tax and said it was necessary to provide an important student program. A parent showed how it wasn't necessary and the parcel tax discussion was dropped.

There's a pattern here.


Posted by Get out of the wagon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2009 at 9:52 am

Yes there is...and it is that the district isn't doing their job to responsibly handle our money, and if we don't hold their hands to request available funding, we can expect them to ask for our money.

I will again suggest we all call the district office on Monday to request them to apply for the funds.

Disney fan - can you remember any more details about who would be the "person" that would be responsible for applying for the funds? It would be nice to have a direct contact person this Monday.


Posted by Disney fan, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2009 at 10:11 am

I think the person who is responsible for applying for federal stimulus funds would be the Business Director, Luz Cazares.
I don't know who was responsible years ago for researching grants and applying for them, but maybe others who saw the meeting will be able to provide that information.


Posted by Get out of the wagon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2009 at 10:42 am

Disney Fan -

Thanks I'll start with Luz on Monday with my phone call and at the very least, I'm sure I will get pushed in the right direction.

Here is the link to the district contact numbers
Web Link

It looks like Luz' # is 426-4307

I think this is a very important thing to do.

By the way Luz' resume is online and it is interesting what Luz says are areas of expertise: Web Link

Luz T. Cázares's Specialties:
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
• Budget Development, Control and Analysis
• Cost-Cutting and Revenue-Generating
• Cost-Benefit Analysis
• Procurement and Contract Management
• Performance Management and Monitoring
• Policy Research, Analysis and Design


According to the resume, it looks like we should have exactly who we need to work with.


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 25, 2009 at 1:54 pm

@Get out of the Wagon

Many people who have no children or grand children in the district may end up voting for the measure anyway. I'm hoping they will. Do you think people vote only selfishly. We've already talked about property values being affected by school quality and school performance being more than just a product of a student's socio-economic background. Teachers and schools are of huge importance.

US News and World report ranks both Amador Valley High and Foothill High in the Silver medal category. I think were all proud of that. Let's at least keep them that way. Maybe if we all work together, we can get the gold medal ranking some day.

Web Link

I could say the same the about the University of California system. The schools in the UC system are among the best in the world, public or private. People from all over the world come here for our Universities. The are the crown jewels of the education system. Are tax dollars keep them that way. Of all the things we spend money on, education is probably the most important. We are training the future scientists and engineers who will move our economy forward.

The issue here is not fiscal responsibility. It is quality of education. There was no shortfall of funds in this district until the collapse of the world economy. PUSD did nothing to cause that. They are the victims of it. That is how most people I talk to see it.

This isn't some idiotic Medicare or Social Security benefit we're talking about here. It is education. It is our responsibility as tax payers to educate the next generation. Educating our children and defending our freedom are probably the two most important things our tax dollars do. I keep hearing about cell phones, car allowances, solar panels, and step and column raises. I say SO WHAT. That stuff doesn't amount to a hill of beans. It was the economic downturn that bought about the need for measure G. If Wall Street had not gone all to pieces, we wouldn't even be talking about it. It is precisely because others are cutting back that we need to step forward.


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 25, 2009 at 2:09 pm

@Stacey

Is there any reason you think this is a "first come first served" sort of thing? The PUSD Public Information Officer
has clearly stated their intention to apply for the funds and clearly spelled out the deadline of May 4 for the application. What's the big deal? I don't see any conspiracy to hide anything here.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 25, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Russell wrote: "There was no shortfall of funds in this district until the collapse of the world economy."

This statement ignores history. PUSD has had plenty of shortfalls in the past.

"We've already talked about property values being affected by school quality and school performance being more than just a product of a student's socio-economic background."

Not everyone chooses to interpret the data the way you do. You seem to continue to want to treat school as a black box with inputs and outputs. Wouldn't it be better to look under the hood and attempt to understand what is increasing outputs and replicate that for everyone's benefit? Parents play a large role in test scores upon which housing values are based. Peer effect also plays a role in increasing test scores without regard to socio-economic background. If you want to continue to ignore that, that's your choice to do so.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 25, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I'm referring to this from the No on G group for my above argument: Web Link

There was another news article I saw somewhere once that mentioned schools with predominately low-income students and how they've been able to increase student achievement by applying and interrupting the principles of peer effect and parental involvement. They basically don't make any assumptions with regards to parental involvement and try to take care of everything. Those are not the kind of schools you would find in districts like PUSD or Palo Alto, etc.


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 25, 2009 at 11:18 pm

@Stacey

That web link makes my point. Pleasanton property values fell 16.5%, but Dublin and Livermore fell 18% and 20% respectively. And those school districts aren't all that bad. Loook at Stockton and Tracy.

That link quotes articles with titles like "Strategies to Help Solve Our School Dropout Problem by Schargel and Smirk (2001)". That stuff has nothing to do with school districts like Pleasanton. You see those articles all the time from dogmatic right wing groups that want to privatize k-12 education. A lot of them don't like to admit that there are good public schools. "School Dropout Problem"

My engineering teachers were good because the knew the subject matter and knew how to teach. Good parenting had nothing to do with it. No amount of good parenting can compensate for lousy teachers who can't understand the subjects themselves, much less teach it. Have you ever experienced a really bad school?


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 26, 2009 at 12:04 am

"This statement ignores history. PUSD has had plenty of shortfalls in the past."

OK, so I'm ignorant. What were the shortfalls in funding in recent history that required tax increases? If PUSD is doing this habitually, in good times and bad, we seriously need to think about replacing them.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 26, 2009 at 12:57 am

If I'm not mistaken, Julie Testa was the parent that informed the school board of the avalibility of the grants that caused Casey's tirade(directed at Ms. Testa)...

Later, after the PUSD financial person(the lady with red hair that recently retired)checked and found PUSD did indeed qualify, the school board members gave her, the financial person, a round of applause when she reported PUSD had applied for the grants. I seem to recall Ms. Testa's name was mentioned, but no appaluse...

At the time, I also seem to recall some on this forum refered to Ms. Testa as, for lack of a better term, "a trouble maker" since she was constantly speaking at school board meetings, asking questions and seeking information...


Posted by Disney fan, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2009 at 2:49 am

Jerry:
The lady with the red hair was Sandra Lemmons (later Sandra Lepley). She was the Business Services Director.

As far as I'm concerned, a little more of the kind of "trouble" Ms. Testa made is what we need...she saved PUSD MILLIONS!

PUSD should ask Ms. Testa to review the PUSD budget!


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 26, 2009 at 8:51 am

To respond to Russell:
"The issue here is not fiscal responsibility. It is quality of education. There was no shortfall of funds in this district until the collapse of the world economy. PUSD did nothing to cause that. They are the victims of it. That is how most people I talk to see it."

I responded to a similar statement you made on another thread and repeat it here (two paragraphs):

Russell, The crux is to remember that the district had a stated goal to have a seven percent reserve. The goal was abandoned and large raises were awarded instead. Any long-time educator will tell you that the tide ebbs and flows in school funding. These cycles must be planned for because they will come. A seven percent reserve now would have bought time for the district and the community to determine what it values and is willing to pay for. I believe a more conservative approach was discarded at the district's peril. In its rush to cover its backside, we are being harried to the voter's booth. The crisis at the state level exacerbated the district's woes; it didn't create them. It didn't have to happen this way. In fact, it shouldn't have happened this way.

We actually don't have a clear picture of the risk. There are two levels of federal funding available; one of those is providing $2.1 million to the district; the other amount the district qualifies for isn't known at this time. Other economies have been suggested that will save jobs, including not spending $300,000 on this election (that would save roughly four beginning teachers). We are being asked to vote for a tax before the district has to finalize its budget. It is very likely we could put a tax in place that isn't needed, and then we will have given $18.4 million with very vague goals of where it will be spent and with no guarantee that current fiscal behaviors will change.

As an aside to the US News and World Report rankings, it's important to know the rankings methodology: Web Link

Also "What makes a best high school" for purposes of this ranking. From Brian Kelly, editor: "But I think the real value of rankings, if they're done well, is that they become useful instruments to help demystify institutions and even promote best practices." Web Link

The district is the "victim" of its own bad planning. Many of us who oppose this tax at this time are saying over and over that we would support the right tax—after the district is held accountable, after we know all the funds they will receive, after they have finalized a budget, and after the community has the opportunity to determine what it values with its hard earned dollars. Once we know what we are willing to pay for, we would actively support a very specific list of how the right parcel tax would be spent (X counselors, X teachers, X whatever the community values), which actually could include those things that would put us in the Top 100, if that kind of ranking is what the community feels is important.


Posted by Disney fan, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2009 at 9:55 am

Wow Russell, you had engineering teachers in high school?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 26, 2009 at 10:01 am

Stacey is a registered user.

To anyone who wants to criticize the parents who are against Measure G for wanting to remain anonymous, I suggest you have a little chat with Julie Testa. It doesn't matter if a majority of PUSD employees remain professional. All it takes is one to ruin the party. It can and does happen. We're only human after all.


Russell,

"Pleasanton property values fell 16.5%, but Dublin and Livermore fell 18% and 20% respectively. And those school districts aren't all that bad. Loook at Stockton and Tracy."

Having a science background, I think you know better than to make such offhand comparisons. Can you honestly say that you're properly controlling for all the other variables that go into housing prices when you compare Pleasanton to those other towns?

Schargel doesn't appear to be a right-winger. Web Link I'm not understanding your point. Certainly Pleasanton's school district is a far cry from those that need more help because of a lack of parental involvement. Turning your statement on it's head, good teachers can't make up for lousy parenting, that is unless the school administration is going above and beyond. Have you seen this? Web Link Or is that just another right-wing turn-off?


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 26, 2009 at 9:22 pm

@Disney fan

"Wow Russell, you had engineering teachers in high school? "

No, I didn't but there are programs. Someone mentioned the programs at Monta Vista in Cupertino. You can study computer design in high school. Teams compete in national robotics competitions.

I think it would would be great for our students and our community if we did more of that kind of thing in Pleasanton. If there isn't enough money from taxes, I'd be looking to borrow it, or making cuts in other programs.

Web Link


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 26, 2009 at 9:27 pm

@Stacey

"Can you honestly say that you're properly controlling for all the other variables that go into housing prices when you compare Pleasanton to those other towns?"

No, I can't say that. I agree with you. Someone said something to the effect that Pleasanton property values aren't correlated with spending on education, and used the 16.5% drop in Pleasanton to justify that argument. My point was the 16.5% drop, taken by itself doesn't prove much of anything.


Posted by Max, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2009 at 8:50 am

Jerry remembered the same thing I did about the state money available and that Pleasanton wasn't applying for it until Julie Testa brought the money to public attention. I think that was one of the reasons that they could no longer justify the last parcel tax they wanted. I think that was about a year and a half ago.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 29, 2009 at 7:44 am

Stacey is a registered user.

It looks like PUSD finally sent their application in!

Pleasanton Unified 01751010000000 Submitted 4/27/2009 6:13:01 PM


Posted by Disney fan, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2009 at 11:48 am

I agree with Russell - by golly. To compete globally, American education has to focus on the latest technology, and I'd like to see that made a priority in our schools.

Glad to hear that PUSD sent in their application, and now I hope they've developed a budget plan that takes into account the parcel tax failing.


Posted by Get out of the wagon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Hooray! It looks like the phone calls may have helped? Perhaps, **someone** is reading these blogs! :)

Thank you, Stacey, for keeping up with the good, no, GREAT news!

Next, salary rollbacks from irresponsible administrators!

Let's see if we can "save our schools" with responsible fiscal policy.