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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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School trustees move decisively

Uploaded: Jan 12, 2017
The decisive move by the Pleasanton school trustees to fire Superintendent Rick Rubino after just six months on the job signals that trustees are serious about bringing the right leadership to the district.
Trustees placed Rubino on leave after an emergency weekend meeting the week before Christmas. They met twice subsequently before announcing he had been fired and Micaela Ochoa will serve as interim superintendent.
I have no clue what the reason was for firing Rubino “with concern”, but obviously it was of great concern to all board members. The timely decision by the unified board sends the right message that they made a mistake in the hire and needed to rectify it and get the right leader in place.
Cutting him loose cost a pretty pile of money-- $256,000 plus benefits—but we should trust the board members that it was right call for the future of the district. And, the decisive action will cost far less than the district has spent on the mess with former Principal Jon Vranesh that still has pending legal action.
Here’s hoping they get it right on the do-over.
We have been fortunate to have a number of effective and long-serving school trustees.
One of them, who had long been out of the public eye, passed on Dec. 21 in Paris, Tennessee. Dr. Geraldine Donaldson was 95 and her life was celebrated last week. She was our neighbor, two doors down for decades and moved to Paris with her son Robert in 2013. For many years, she could be seen daily walking her dog around our very big block.
Her medical practice as both a pedestrian and allergist kept her inside, but she loved the outdoors. Backpacking was one of her favorite activities as former Pleasanton schools chief Bill Berck said at the memorial service. Geraldine was a member of the board that recruited him.
They both belonged to a backpacking group and spent many hours riding together before and after those trips. Their conversations were interesting because they came from opposite sides of the political spectrum and loved to challenge each other, Bill said. As anyone who knew her will testify, she was a very bright person.
Geraldine and her family moved to Pleasanton in 1957 and she was elected to the school board in 1961. She won re-election many times, serving into the early 1980s. Those were critical years as Pleasanton started to grow rapidly, requiring new schools and recruiting additional teachers. Berck remembered how she consistently urged her colleagues to offer the best teacher salaries they could afford so they can attract quality staff.
He also noted how well prepared she was despite the mounds of material that the district staff prepared for each meeting and the demands of her professional career. Her colleagues leaned on her for her expertise.
She, along with her colleagues in those decades, created the foundation for the quality schools that Pleasanton is known for today.

Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by The Pleasanton Weekly's editorial position?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 12, 2017 at 8:34 am

I find it hard to believe that the Pleasanton Weekly's editorial position is "... we should trust the board members that it was right call for the future of the district" unless the Pleasanton Weekly has actually gotten a public records request response with a partially completed investigation report that actually proves there was some wrongdoing.

Let me guess, there was some sort of a "climate survey" done like there was a Walnut Grove, yes?

Tim and Gina, please post the Public Records Act request the Pleasanton Weekly put together and the responses from the District.

This Editorial written by Tim Hunt shows the Pleasanton Weekly's disconnect with the community. Instead the untrustworthy Board who has mismanaged the District for the last 6 or 7 years (since 2009/2010) dismisses a superintendent with a vague message of "not a good fit" or some other vague and idiotic response, and in an act that outrages all community members, essentially "pick pockets" the taxpayers with a payout of over a quarter million dollars.

Also rather than complete an investigation like the District's press release, it never even starts an investigation? And that is untrustworthy?

How does the Pleasanton Unified school district hope to attract any superintendent to the District, much less the so-called "right leader" with its atrocious behavior and career-killing agenda that involves innuendo, lack of due process, and Joan Laursen quotes and press releases specifically designed to ruin reputations?

Mr. Hunt, please share your inside knowledge of the specifics of the situation to lead to your most puzzling Opinion piece.

Posted by Member, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School,
on Jan 12, 2017 at 9:58 am

Completely agree with the first poster - this editorial is 30 years behind the times. There is absolutely no reason to defer to the Board's decision-making process, which appears to operate by stacking poor decisions on top of each other. I could've told you, as a very casual observer without any background in education, that Parvin was the wrong hire. PUSD is failing and the situation with HR choices is and has been progressively getting worse since 2009. The district is headed in the wrong direction and I am disappointed, as a voter and parent, that Board elections are not resulting in corrective course changes. Someone needs to counter-balance the union leadership. It must be the Superintendent, backed by a strong Board. The Board needs to look outside the Bay Area, perhaps outside California, for the next Superintendent. Presumably, there are no good candidates left in Northern California if the Board has made the same mistake twice after having gone through this search multiple times in the past five years. There is no excuse for making a hire, any hire, that doesn't even last a year. I am including hourly earners in retail in that statement. Please, Board, take back control of PUSD from the union leadership.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jan 12, 2017 at 1:19 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.


So a local government agency makes a decision and we should just trust that they'll do the right thing?

They made the decision in the first place. Who gets reprimanded for the waste of taxpayer funds in hiring and then firing this person?

Why is someone not ever held accountable in government? Qualified immunity is well past its expiration date and the citizens are getting fed up with the incompetence of government and some, not all, of its employees.


Posted by SHale, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 12, 2017 at 7:08 pm

SHale is a registered user.

Where is the hue and cry that the 'fired w/o cause' dude will either get remainder of 12 months salary and benefits or 12 MORE months (unclear) to the tune of over $256k? Must be nice to get a new job and a few months later be fired and still get full annual salary (plus a few weeks paid leave). Whomever wrote that contract must have been dizzy that day. AND still no exact reason of the termination.
And recall the 'board' hired him after months of searching. ooops, yeah they acted 'decisively'.

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jan 13, 2017 at 7:54 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Tim is not a member of the weekly editorial staff!
Tim writes a blog!
Tim's blog is about what ever he wants it to be!
All of the above posters should go to the real editorial and make comment!!!

Posted by SHale, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 14, 2017 at 2:30 pm

SHale is a registered user.

MA: All of the above? hum? Let's try to use a more narrow paint brush, shall we? You need to breath; one, two, three. There you go.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jan 14, 2017 at 4:38 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

MA - "All of the above posters should go to the real editorial and make comment!!!"

Why? Are you the gatekeeper to Tims' blog now?


Posted by Pleasantonian, a resident of Foothill High School,
on Jan 14, 2017 at 6:21 pm

The district is operating decades behind the time. I read in the Independent a few weeks ago that Mark Miller was complaining about valedictorians and school board members wanted to adopt a 1948 United Nations resolution on human rights.

Earth to School Board: **** It is not the year 1948. I repeat. It is not the year 1948.

Meanwhile, rather than be able to provide basic instruction and retain employees, the Pleasanton school system dabbles into "White Privilege" seminars, talks about unpacking the invisible backpack of male dominance, and in general makes a mess of things.

Earth to School Board: **** You are also not the United Nations. If you want to be included as a participating member of the United Nations meetings, drop what you are doing and apply for some sort of United Nations position.

Instead, the discussion at school boards should be focused on students and learning. Instead the entire focus seems to be on swing dances, mariachi bands, and photo ops of kids doing anything and everything except learning academic skills.

Rather than unpacking the invisible backpack of various racial and gender classifications, the Board instead should be addressing and unpacking the quite visible backpack of teacher union run dominance and "union privilege" that has resulted in the downfall of the Pleasanton schools.

I don't see how with the current leadership, the Pleasanton schools have anyway to go forward in a positive direction. I would hope that the elected leaders would step aside and give others the opportunity to take control of the situation.

Posted by SHale, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 15, 2017 at 10:09 am

SHale is a registered user.

PUSD doesn't need to travel far to see how a district =should= be run. Granted SRVUSD has double the schools, double the students and nearly triple the budget.... Just visit SRVUSD... Or at least ask who they used to find a new superintendent. Ours changed about same time as PUSD; no problems with the new one here.....

Posted by Assignment help online UK, a resident of Amador Estates,
on Jan 17, 2017 at 6:17 am

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Posted by A Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 18, 2017 at 2:20 pm

An now the Board has appointed an interim Superintendent currently in the middle of a lawsuit against her former employer. Web Link The beat goes on.

Posted by Rosie Kay, a resident of Dublin,
on Mar 8, 2017 at 9:07 pm

The discussion at school boards should be focused on students and learning instead of talking about school trustees moving or any other discussion should not be a part of it. UK Assignments Help

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