News

COMMENTARY: 'It saddens me'

Those were the words of school board president Chris Grant last Tuesday night as he reviewed a long list of possible program cuts and teacher and administrative layoffs brought on by the state's looming $41.6-billion deficit.

Grant and fellow board member Jim Ott will now research the language and parameters of a parcel tax that the five-member board indicated it will ask voters to approve in June. This is good. The tax is needed because the state's financial woes mean that our school district will have to reduce its budget by $8.7 million during the current and the 2009-10 fiscal years.

The proposed parcel tax, likely to be around $200, could spare up to 50 percent of the cutbacks, if it passes. With the tax measure requiring a two-thirds majority vote of those voting in a special election in June, its approval is by no means certain.

Commentators on the Pleasanton Weekly's Town Square forum have been arguing the merits of the parcel tax and recommending savings in school district expenditures for more than a month. While most of them are anonymous postings, many are quite thoughtful and worthy of consideration. Here's one posted a few days ago by a resident of the Golden Eagle neighborhood:

"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 meltdown. ... 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. ...

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"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. ... 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 it 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 percent 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 hardship abounds.

"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. 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."

There are many more position statements and commentaries of interest to school district employees, parents, students and Pleasanton taxpayers in general. Check it out at www.PleasantonWeekly.com.

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COMMENTARY: 'It saddens me'

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Feb 17, 2009, 6:47 am

Those were the words of school board president Chris Grant last Tuesday night as he reviewed a long list of possible program cuts and teacher and administrative layoffs brought on by the state's looming $41.6-billion deficit.

Grant and fellow board member Jim Ott will now research the language and parameters of a parcel tax that the five-member board indicated it will ask voters to approve in June. This is good. The tax is needed because the state's financial woes mean that our school district will have to reduce its budget by $8.7 million during the current and the 2009-10 fiscal years.

The proposed parcel tax, likely to be around $200, could spare up to 50 percent of the cutbacks, if it passes. With the tax measure requiring a two-thirds majority vote of those voting in a special election in June, its approval is by no means certain.

Commentators on the Pleasanton Weekly's Town Square forum have been arguing the merits of the parcel tax and recommending savings in school district expenditures for more than a month. While most of them are anonymous postings, many are quite thoughtful and worthy of consideration. Here's one posted a few days ago by a resident of the Golden Eagle neighborhood:

"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 meltdown. ... 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. ...

"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. ... 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 it 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 percent 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 hardship abounds.

"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. 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."

There are many more position statements and commentaries of interest to school district employees, parents, students and Pleasanton taxpayers in general. Check it out at www.PleasantonWeekly.com.

Comments

West side observer
Oak Hill
on Feb 17, 2009 at 9:20 am
West side observer, Oak Hill
on Feb 17, 2009 at 9:20 am
Like this comment

Here is the mathematics lesson that our students must learn about the school budget shortfall: We are spending more than we take in in TAXES (not revenues)and there are no more TAX dollars to be had. What must we do to solve this imbalance?

Here is a political science problem students must learn: When taxpayers (especially in California) are losing their jobs and being taxed to death, what are the chances that a parcel tax will pass muster with the voters in June?

I believe that even those 30 kids in the third grade will be able to figure out the math problem.

Ditto the 30 kids in the 9th grade government class for problem number two.


NO PARCEL TAX


Sympathetic, but practical
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 9:30 am
Sympathetic, but practical, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 9:30 am
Like this comment

The article quoted by Jeb Bing this morning was a thoughtful, well balanced, and articulate presentation of "what ails" our society in general (overspending and excesive leverage), and the current Pleasanton school parcel tax in particular. I've managed three of my own kids through Pleasanton schools and now my two grandchildren as well (Hearst adn Foothill), so I am vitally connected to education in the Pleasanton schools.

But another $200 local parcel tax (that likely won't go away) coupled with +2.5% surcharges on the State budget deficit (maybe another +$200-300 per family this year); +1% sales tax to cover the State (averaging another +$200-300); an estimated +$200 more for increases to car licensing; and years of higher and additional Federal taxes to cover the "stimulus plan" makes a local parcel tax unworkable for most families.

Small class sizes, exceptional educational opportunities, advanced programs are all very worthwhile in today's globally competitive environment, but can be provided only when financially prudent and affordable. They are not affordable today, and frankly the previous writer "hit the nail on the head" when he stated that the basic system is a broken one of "spending up" in the good times and not prudently reserving for the tough times that we all know will come. That systemic problem must be addressed.

We can only spend when there are the funds to cover such a high level of services, as we provide today. When the funds are not available then all avenues must be taken to address the shortfall by expense reductions, furloughs, and unfortunately layoffs. No different to the private sector that also can't raise revenues in a down market economy. Why do we continue to believe that the public sector should operate any differently???

Not much difference to my personal situation when I had to sell the financed car; drop the housekeeper; eat at home most of the time; dramatically cutback on clothing and household purchases; forego vacations; and cutback on Christmas gifts as we did this year, after I lost my job.

And so should it be for the public sector. Time to buckle down and manage to the times. And for those with school aged children to lower their expectations regarding what the schools can provide, and supplement it with your parentally provided education and participation to cover the shortfalls.


Obvious
Birdland
on Feb 17, 2009 at 10:07 am
Obvious, Birdland
on Feb 17, 2009 at 10:07 am
Like this comment

"We are spending more than we take in in TAXES (not revenues)and there are no more TAX dollars to be had."

That is obviously why we need a parcel tax. When the funding to cover those services are not available, we should all pitch in to save those services through additional taxes.

Yes on Parcel Tax! Yes on MORE Government Services!


Get the facts
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 10:19 am
Get the facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 10:19 am
Like this comment

To West side observer:

Here is another math problem: How do you get 30 3rd graders to solve a problem when you only have 20 in a class, due to class size reduction? Answer, you fail to pass a parcel tax that would insure CSR for at least a few more years (depending on the length of the parcel tax). Then, you would have 30 in the class, but right now there are only 20. I hope we can agree that this is a good thing.


Optimist
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 10:40 am
Optimist, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 10:40 am
Like this comment

Eliminating CSR may actually help the children develop better social skills. What's not to like?

Just cut the programs and layoff the staff. Get it over with!

No Parcel Tax!


I support our teachers!
Amador Valley High School
on Feb 17, 2009 at 11:12 am
I support our teachers!, Amador Valley High School
on Feb 17, 2009 at 11:12 am
Like this comment

I support our teachers.
I do not support more lost jobs.
I do not support a parcel tax!
Pleasanton Teacher Union Wake Up!


Editorial in Today's Sac Bee - Our district should be having the same talks.
Editorials: Laying off teachers is not inevitable Web Link

Anyone with a pulse knows that the California jobs picture looks grim: 1.7 million Californians out of work, a 9.3 percent unemployment rate (which may soon climb to double digits), daily announcements of layoffs.

Prospects are tough for individuals unfortunate enough to be looking for jobs.

That makes the annual ritual of school districts sending out March 15 teacher-layoff notices all the more significant. In the past, districts would send out such notices assuming that few individuals actually would be laid off when final budgets were set.

This year is different.

Even with California expected to get about $6 billion from the federal government through a "state stabilization fund" that would help the state avoid layoffs and cuts in services, local school districts still will see deep cuts.

In the current jobs climate, many area districts are looking at options other than sending out March 15 layoff notices.

In the Davis Joint Unified district, for example, administrators and teachers are looking at the possibility of a voluntary salary reduction. The district estimates that if all employees took a 4 percent cut in pay, the district would not have to send out layoff notices to a single employee – and the district would not have to increase class sizes. Top administrators are offering to take a 5 percent cut in pay.

Sacramento City Unified estimates that it will have to cut $15 million out of the 2009-10 budget. If all employees took a 5 percent cut in pay, that would add up to $10.5 million. If employees further agreed to freeze increases on the salary schedule linked to years of service and additional education, that would add up to another $3.65 million. Such cuts would prevent nearly all layoffs.

Other districts are considering similar options.

The question is, can districts and their unions agree on voluntary salary reductions before March 15 notices have to go out? With the current outlook for jobs, voluntary salary reductions sure look a lot better than layoffs.


Bait and switch!
Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 17, 2009 at 11:19 am
Bait and switch!, Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 17, 2009 at 11:19 am
Like this comment

Livermore school district passed a November parcel tax to support Class Size Reduction and is now telling the community the money will be used otherwise and class size reduction will be lost.

PUSD will do the same. Parcel tax is discretionary money they will use it as they see fit.


West side observer
Oak Hill
on Feb 17, 2009 at 11:26 am
West side observer, Oak Hill
on Feb 17, 2009 at 11:26 am
Like this comment

Dear Get the facts,

Class size reduction has worked how? Our test scores have improved how much?

One to one would be good too, but we do not have the money for that or 20 to one right now.

When we get our reserves up to cover more state funding shortfalls as far as the eye can see, we can go back to programs that have worked--maybe including class size reduction if we feel flush.


Concerned
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 12:13 pm
Concerned, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 12:13 pm
Like this comment

We have been beating this subject to death. The parcel tax is dead as a dodo. The public sector needs to take cuts just like the private sector.The state of California is bankrupt like a lot of the cities. We need pay cuts for state, county and city employees particularly in the retirement and retiree medical areas. We have only seen the tips of the icebergs. More counties and cities will be going bankrupt. Pleasanton is not immune. Instead of waiting for uncle Obama or uncle Arnold to bail us out we need to take decisive action instead of waiting till we run out of money


Get the facts
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 12:14 pm
Get the facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 12:14 pm
Like this comment

To West side observer:

CSR has worked because it allows for more one-on-one time with the students. So your point is correct, "One to one would be good too", and CSR allows for more of that!

Please come into a K-3 classroom now for the 20-1, and again next year for the 33-1 (if we lose it). Then you will see the difference.

To have the reserves to "cover more state funding shortfalls", our reserves would be about 11%, by my simple math/rough estimate. This is unheard of, very rarely done, only in unusual circumstances. Simply not realistic, but if it was, great we cover the shortfall, but what about next year? Our reserves would be tapped.


marie
Castlewood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 12:28 pm
marie, Castlewood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 12:28 pm
Like this comment

The bad thing about a parcel tax is if you don't own property you don't pay. What about all the kids attending our schools from other city's? They also will not pay a parcel tax. Since everyone is being asked to cut how about Mr Casey and his staff cutting some of there salary's. Starting at the top is the best way to shoe employees that you care!!


Concerned
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 12:41 pm
Concerned, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 12:41 pm
Like this comment

I see that our Terminator governor is about to lay off 10% of the state employees. While the private sector is getting decimated why should the public sector be exempt. They cost us a lot more per unit of output when you include their retirement benefits, medical etc. This 10% layoff maybe a good model for county, city, schools etc. Or else let everyone take a 10% pay cuts with the executives taking more of a %ge cut. This was the approach that Hewlett Packard took during hard times. The public sector has become a privileged class that cannot be supported in their current style by the working class serfs.


Stacey
Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2009 at 12:52 pm
Stacey, Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2009 at 12:52 pm
Like this comment

With CSR there's an input of 67% more resources for an output of 4% more students passing a standardized test. That isn't to say that CSR doesn't provide some benefits, just that they are very expensive. The benefits derived from CSR affect the minority of students while the majority of students would do just as fine without it.

It is easy to play up the fear of CSR going away, but education will still go on. Pleasanton has a very good chance of still being considered a quality school district. CSR didn't make Pleasanton a quality school district. Losing it won't make PUSD a bad district.


Mike
Highland Oaks
on Feb 17, 2009 at 3:06 pm
Mike, Highland Oaks
on Feb 17, 2009 at 3:06 pm
Like this comment

It's foolish to spend money that you do not have.
Tighten your belts, take your pay cuts and encourage volunteer help from the people in the community.

Above all, learn your lesson about planning ahead.


Pleasanton Mom
Mission Park
on Feb 17, 2009 at 3:51 pm
Pleasanton Mom, Mission Park
on Feb 17, 2009 at 3:51 pm
Like this comment

Mike - How could they have planned ahead? The schools were told they needed to cut $2 mil, and they planned for that. Then, after elections, the Governor says that the deficit is much higher and the school needs to cut $8 mil. How were they suppose to anticipate that?

Stacey- You are right. Education will go on and PUSD may still be a "good" school - or not. However, they will not be the award winning schools they are now. Personally, I prefer the better school and the parcel tax.


Huh
Livermore
on Feb 17, 2009 at 4:31 pm
Huh, Livermore
on Feb 17, 2009 at 4:31 pm
Like this comment

Darn, there goes my $13/week tax break that I just got from B.Hussein Obama. (or supposedly will get in June until it goes down to $8/week next Jan)


Mike
Birdland
on Feb 17, 2009 at 4:46 pm
Mike, Birdland
on Feb 17, 2009 at 4:46 pm
Like this comment

Pleasanton Mom,
Do you still not understand that 2 million per year is salary increases. Four million of the projected shortfall is salary increase, If they do not truly freeze salary the shortfall will continue to increase. Do you think it was good planning to dip into reserves to pay raises? They have based salary on a budget that they can not sustain and are not willing to back some of it out the way other communities are doing.


Concerned
Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2009 at 4:50 pm
Concerned, Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2009 at 4:50 pm
Like this comment

The parcel tax will only cover 50% of the cuts outlined so it looks like both will need to happen- even then, the schools will no longer be what they were for all our students. It is impossible for people to remain unbiased as to where the cuts should/could be. I have heard people say why do we need band programs, sports programs, so many reading specialists etc. Point is that they are all pieces of a puzzle and we need them all to maintain our high standards. I would rather pay $200/year (or more if asked) than $50/hour for a tutor!


Funny
Birdland
on Feb 17, 2009 at 4:51 pm
Funny, Birdland
on Feb 17, 2009 at 4:51 pm
Like this comment

"Four million of the projected shortfall is salary increase"

Are you implying that PUSD is willing to trade off CSR and other education programs to increase salary? That's really shocking!


Stacey
Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2009 at 5:45 pm
Stacey, Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2009 at 5:45 pm
Like this comment

"Are you implying that PUSD is willing to trade off CSR and other education programs to increase salary?"

I'm assuming that Funny hasn't seen the salary schedule or understand what it means when the district says they need $2MM just to "roll over" the budget to next year with annual increases of $500K. Changes to that are not entirely up to PUSD, but the unions.


Kevin
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 8:27 pm
Kevin, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 8:27 pm
Like this comment

Do you know what percentage of school funding is allocated to administration?

Reduce the number of district to one per county.

Reduce the redundant administrative overhead burden that robs our students and teachers of necessary funds.

Its time to think outside the box. If higher taxes actually worked, CA would have the best schools in the nation.



Get the facts
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 9:08 pm
Get the facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2009 at 9:08 pm
Like this comment

Kevin:

Administrative cost in Pleasanton are about 6%, which is typical.

Reducing the districts is a good idea, although different cities have different needs.

Higher taxes doesn't mean it's put into the schools. California is very low on dollars spent per student, obviously our tax money goes elsewhere.


PRO-teacher! PRO-kids!
Amador Valley High School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 7:43 am
PRO-teacher! PRO-kids!, Amador Valley High School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 7:43 am
Like this comment

This threat and panic over class size reduction is out of scale. My kids went through PUSD just before class size reduction and they did not suffer. They did well in college and in life.

I do not want to see more people lose jobs because it is bad for the economy; district admin and Unions need to wake up to the reality of this economy and make salary concessions.

PRO-teacher!
PRO-kids!
PRO-community!
NO PARCEL TAX!


Resident
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 8:46 am
Resident, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 8:46 am
Like this comment

Any parcel tax has to be for a fixed number of years. It does not automatically continue forever.

If the Livermore school board is considering using parcel tax revenues for something other than their intended purpose, then the parcel tax law was not written specifically enough. It is possible to put very precise language into the proposed law so that funds are designated for specific purposes. There is also an oversight board to supervise the use of such tax revenues.

If the proposed parcel tax in Pleasanton is not written precisely, then I won't vote for it.


Resident
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 8:48 am
Resident, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 8:48 am
Like this comment

The proposed budget cuts include the elimination of 29% of district administrative positions. That shows a willingness to sacrifice, from my perspective.


Concerned
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 9:20 am
Concerned, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 9:20 am
Like this comment

The parcel tax is dead. We are following the same pattern as the UAW in the auto negotiations and the State of California. Taxpayers have to make a stand and force concessions and paycuts in the public sector. Over the past decade public sector spending has gone up several times the state GDP and school scores have gone up only marginally despite huge spending increases. My kids studied during the old class size period. They went to Ivy league schools and are physicians. Parents are more important than teachers and class size in the future outcome of students. Washington D.C. spends over $13K per student and has the worst scores in the nation. It is time to live within our means.


NO credibility
Mohr Elementary School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 9:55 am
NO credibility, Mohr Elementary School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 9:55 am
Like this comment

"Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood",
PUSD has NO credibility with assurances of restrictions and oversight after the abuse of measure B funds. The required oversight committee for measure B has not met in 5 years (Feb. 2004) in that time more than 3 million dollars was spent on NON-taxpayer approved purposes.



NO credibility
Mohr Elementary School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 10:04 am
NO credibility, Mohr Elementary School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 10:04 am
Like this comment

"Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood",
When PUSD administration agrees to rollback the raise that they SNUCK through days before the budget crisis was announced I will believe they are making concessions. By the way they were so determined to push through their raise knowing the budget crisis was about to be declared that they used general fund reserves to pay for their raise. The board Approved it!!!!!!
In fairness the Board may not have had the inside knowledge of the eminent budget crisis announcement that the administration surely did.



Funny
Birdland
on Feb 18, 2009 at 11:05 am
Funny, Birdland
on Feb 18, 2009 at 11:05 am
Like this comment

"they were so determined to push through their raise knowing the budget crisis was about to be declared that they used general fund reserves to pay for their raise."

That's why Casey gets paid the big bucks! He's good at what he does... ;)


Parent
Amador Estates
on Feb 18, 2009 at 11:32 am
Parent, Amador Estates
on Feb 18, 2009 at 11:32 am
Like this comment

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!


Tim
Alisal Elementary School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 12:02 pm
Tim, Alisal Elementary School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 12:02 pm
Like this comment

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."


Stacey
Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2009 at 1:06 pm
Stacey, Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2009 at 1:06 pm
Like this comment

"California standards are NOT what they used to be several years ago"

I think that's true. Why have the standards changed? I think it goes back to parental demand. For example, I noticed at greatschools.com that in my graduating class only about 23% of the students qualified for UC/CSUs. About the mid-90s that changed suddenly. Over 50% of the graduating class qualified. Why the difference? Entrance requirements were loosened.


Funny
Birdland
on Feb 18, 2009 at 1:27 pm
Funny, Birdland
on Feb 18, 2009 at 1:27 pm
Like this comment

"California standards are NOT what they used to be several years ago"

Yet our standards are still way below those in other states and countries. Below par education at 10x the cost and now they want to tax us more. What a deal?!


Stacey
Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2009 at 1:57 pm
Stacey, Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2009 at 1:57 pm
Like this comment

Perhaps that suggests that the root cause of the problem isn't with the educators or the money.


Jerry
Oak Hill
on Feb 18, 2009 at 2:13 pm
Jerry, Oak Hill
on Feb 18, 2009 at 2:13 pm
Like this comment

Uh Oh!!!

Stacy, now you couldn't perhaps be suggesting our kiddies are........nope, not gonna use the word that comes to mind. I don't want all those mommies blasting me!!!:)


Beth
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 2:15 pm
Beth, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 2:15 pm
Like this comment

I just noticed a poll is being taken on the home page of the Weekly and the results seem to be far different than what is posted on the blogs. Does everyone know about the poll?
I know this is far from any real measure of accuracy but I am surprised things are as lopsided as they are.


Jerry
Oak Hill
on Feb 18, 2009 at 2:41 pm
Jerry, Oak Hill
on Feb 18, 2009 at 2:41 pm
Like this comment

I tried to vote twice but PW wouldn't let me... Now I ask you - Is that fair??? The late, great, Former Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago advised everyone to "vote early, vote often". Guess PW doesn't abide by his advise...

Oh well, guess I'll need to wait until someone calls me and asks my opinion... Do you suppose they will pay me for my vote. Naw......


Stacey
Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2009 at 2:45 pm
Stacey, Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2009 at 2:45 pm
Like this comment

Jerry,

I've pointed fingers in another thread, but left it up to the imagination here. I suggest it has to do with our culture and a lack of national education standards.


Daniel Bradford
Foothill High School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 3:26 pm
Daniel Bradford, Foothill High School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 3:26 pm
Like this comment

I spoke at last night's PUSD school board meeting about the budget crisis. I gave my full name and place of work and stated my connection to the community (I'm a teacher at Foothill High School).

I wonder how much credibility I would have had with the board and with the citizens attending that meeting if I'd given them a pseudonym or just my first name?

When I have written letters to the editors of newspapers and magazines, I was required to give my full name, address, and a contact telephone number so the editors could verify that I was the author of the letter if they chose to publish it.

When students have to hand in papers, they don't get to use pseudonyms, either. They also don't get the luxury of quoting anonymous sources in their research papers.

The commenters here who hide behind pseudonyms have no credibility. It's easy to make nasty comments about Pleasanton teachers when you aren't using your real name. Anonymity on the Internet is obviously corrosive to good manners and decency, and many of the comments appended to this story and others about the budget cuts in Pleasanton's schools prove that beyond a doubt.

My name is Daniel Bradford, and I approved this message.


Stacey
Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2009 at 3:46 pm
Stacey, Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2009 at 3:46 pm
Like this comment

If by "quoting anonymous sources" Daniel Bradford is referring to the above posts with quotes and no attribution, those are responses to what posters above have written. This website has no quote or reply function like email or other social media sites have so some of us have resorted to such confusing shorthand.

As to using full names, while I agree that doing so gives more credibility, there's an element of context being ignored. A potential employer is not going to be searching the public record of the PUSD school board meeting or student papers to get an idea about a potential employee.


Me
Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 18, 2009 at 3:48 pm
Me, Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 18, 2009 at 3:48 pm
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The real problem is were the tax money is spent. $300 dollars a day per inmate in Santa Rita jail. Do the kids get anything close to that spent on them for education. I doubt it. Im not for "No Police" but what good is keeping the streets safe if everyone on them is uneducated. For that matter if one is educated one is less likely to break the law. It seems to me if there is only so much money to go around then this should be considered when passing more laws. In the end the education system suffers. Don't take my word do some research. As more laws have been passed and enforced in California the school system has gotten worse and worse simultaneously. I really find it hilarious that we take better care of our prisoners then our children.


Parent
Foothill High School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 3:51 pm
Parent, Foothill High School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 3:51 pm
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Daniel Bradford,

With your hostility you wonder why I would be concerned about my kid in your class if I publicly spoke against a parcel tax?
I do not support a parcel tax, I am not anti-teacher but speaking against the PT is perceived as such.


Taxpayer
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 4:14 pm
Taxpayer, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 4:14 pm
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It appears there is only one vote per household on the PW. Thankfully my household will have 4 NO votes if it makes it to the ballot.


Surprised?
Birdland
on Feb 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm
Surprised?, Birdland
on Feb 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm
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"Does everyone know about the poll?
I know this is far from any real measure of accuracy but I am surprised things are as lopsided as they are."

Not surprising at all given that most people in this community support a parcel tax.


Disagree w/B
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 4:59 pm
Disagree w/B, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 4:59 pm
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I appreciate the poll, but there are fewer than 300 votes. It is off to one corner and small, so not likely to catch anyone's attention when they visit the site. The district, who spent money on everything else, should have a real poll conducted. Only 30% of the community has children; some portion of the community are employees of the district; after that, I would say it will be difficult to get the rest of us to vote for it.


Blinded by (lack of) Science
Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 18, 2009 at 5:52 pm
Blinded by (lack of) Science, Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 18, 2009 at 5:52 pm
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Surprised?

Not at all ...

How many computers are there at each Pleasanton School? That pretty much accounts for the positive vote in my mind. the registered voters will most likely going to come up with a slightly different tally. You might have a horse race if the law was majority rule. But with a 2/3 requirement of actual voters, this initiative has almost no chance of passing.


Parent
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 7:15 pm
Parent, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 7:15 pm
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Some folks posting here seem very comfortable with the idea that the parcel tax language will be very specific on how money can be spent. Here is the DRAFT language that the district has available. I don't think it could be any more vague and it protects nothing!

"To maintain educational quality and protect Pleasanton schools from the impact of state budget cuts; keep class sizes small; prepare students for 21st century careers; maintain important school services like libraries, counselors, and music; ensure current classroom technology; and continue to provide safe and clean schools for our children; shall Pleasanton Unified School District be authorized to levy _____dollars per parcel with guaranteed annual audits and Independent Citizens' Oversight?"


Sam
Hart Middle School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 7:29 pm
Sam, Hart Middle School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 7:29 pm
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PUSD did pay a professional consultant $20K to do an unbiased survey to see if a parcel tax would pass and what would be the monetary threshold the community would support.
The results were overwhelming... the community will not pass a parcel tax at any level!
The PW poll is a poll of teachers, just wait there are many teachers that have not checked in yet. That is why they are called a union.


Parent
Amador Estates
on Feb 18, 2009 at 7:50 pm
Parent, Amador Estates
on Feb 18, 2009 at 7:50 pm
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I find it interesting that in our local neighboring districts, there is not the high negativity towards education and teachers that there is here in PTown.


Sam
Hart Middle School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 8:50 pm
Sam, Hart Middle School
on Feb 18, 2009 at 8:50 pm
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Everyone loves teachers, the teachers union is the evil entity.
There is a nationwide push back on the teachers union.


Another parent
Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 18, 2009 at 9:30 pm
Another parent, Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 18, 2009 at 9:30 pm
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I hear what you are saying about neighboring districts not having this sort of reaction. In Danville, the schools raised a ton of money by having a $10 drive by drop off. I can imagine the backlash Pleasanton teachers would get if they tried that!


Ann
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 11:45 pm
Ann, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2009 at 11:45 pm
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Sell donuts, wash cars, do anything … but do not try to employ another foolish tax. That’s why there is a backlash.


Backlash
Birdland
on Feb 18, 2009 at 11:49 pm
Backlash, Birdland
on Feb 18, 2009 at 11:49 pm
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Backlash only comes from a small group of people in this community. The majority of people in PTown are very supportive of our schools, especially the parents. If we were to hold a $10 drive-by donation for schools, we would do pretty well too.


Ann
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2009 at 12:08 am
Ann, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2009 at 12:08 am
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well then? get on with it!


Disagree w/B
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2009 at 7:05 am
Disagree w/B, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2009 at 7:05 am
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In this morning's news, HP announced across the board pay cuts--20%. Some of the posters here aren't seeing the realities. As to the prior survey, it was why the board pulled the first attempt at the PT. In what I can only believe is further bad decision making, they decided not to spend money on another survey, but to spend even more money on an election.

What is this: "prepare students for 21st century careers"? Or this: "ensure current classroom technology"; there's already a fund for technology from the sale of the Sycamore property. The ballot language is sufficiently vague enough that, like the general fund, they could be spending money on anything with the PT or the relief it brings to the general fund.


Stacey
Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 19, 2009 at 7:37 am
Stacey, Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 19, 2009 at 7:37 am
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"To maintain educational quality and protect Pleasanton schools from the impact of state budget cuts; keep class sizes small; prepare students for 21st century careers; maintain important school services like libraries, counselors, and music; ensure current classroom technology; and continue to provide safe and clean schools for our children; shall Pleasanton Unified School District be authorized to levy _____dollars per parcel with guaranteed annual audits and Independent Citizens' Oversight?"

This is typical of school parcel tax language; just vague enough to be discretionary. For example, it doesn't say how much of the pot they would be required to devote to each item on the list. Pay attention to the generality: "maintain important school services like". Who determines what is important? What's "current classroom technology?" I'll note that they seem to have forgotten a senior exemption in there too.

For links to the text of other school district parcel taxes in California, see Ballotpedia California parcel tax elections 2008 Web Link


PRO-teacher! PRO-reason!!
Amador Valley High School
on Feb 19, 2009 at 8:17 am
PRO-teacher! PRO-reason!!, Amador Valley High School
on Feb 19, 2009 at 8:17 am
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Other districts are making practical, responsible decisions. I wonder if the people making those decisions, that will save hundreds of jobs, are being called mean?
Pleasanton the highest paid teachers in the State can't see the need to make concessions in this economy and are hinting at a strike if they are asked to make concessions.
Asking for reasonable decision making is not teacher bashing.

Repeat:
Web Link
Sac Bee -Editorials: Laying off teachers is not inevitable:

Anyone with a pulse knows that the California jobs picture looks grim:

Prospects are tough for individuals unfortunate enough to be looking for jobs.
In the current jobs climate, many area districts are looking at options other than sending out March 15 layoff notices.

In the Davis Joint Unified district, for example, administrators and teachers are looking at the possibility of a voluntary salary reduction. The district estimates that if all employees took a 4 percent cut in pay, the district would not have to send out layoff notices to a single employee – and the district would not have to increase class sizes. Top administrators are offering to take a 5 percent cut in pay.

Sacramento City Unified estimates that it will have to cut $15 million out of the 2009-10 budget. If all employees took a 5 percent cut in pay, that would add up to $10.5 million. If employees further agreed to freeze increases on the salary schedule linked to years of service and additional education, that would add up to another $3.65 million. Such cuts would prevent nearly all layoffs.

Other districts are considering similar options.
The question is, can districts and their unions agree on voluntary salary reductions before March 15 notices have to go out? With the current outlook for jobs, voluntary salary reductions sure look a lot better than layoffs.


Curious
Birdland
on Feb 19, 2009 at 10:12 am
Curious, Birdland
on Feb 19, 2009 at 10:12 am
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"Pleasanton the highest paid teachers in the State...are hinting at a strike if they are asked to make concessions."

That is news to me. Where did you find these "hints"?


Concerned
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2009 at 3:20 pm
Concerned, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2009 at 3:20 pm
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Hewlett Packard just announced 20% paycut for the CEO, 10% for officers and 5% for everyone else across the board. They are a well run extremely profitable company. When is the PUSD going to stop kidding around and face the issue. We are in a nation wide depression. If we don't face up to this the whole country is going bankrupt. Pretty soon no one (Japanese, Chines, Arabs etc.) are going to buy our worthless paper. California and Pleasanton can't even print our own money.


Funny
Birdland
on Feb 19, 2009 at 3:46 pm
Funny, Birdland
on Feb 19, 2009 at 3:46 pm
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"Pretty soon no one (Japanese, Chines, Arabs etc.) are going to buy our worthless paper."

The Chinese and Japanese are already offering their own bonds on the market so it is unlikely they will be doing much buying this year to support Obama's spending. Hopefully our Arab brothers can come through for us.

If all else fails, Obama and the dems can fire up the press and start printing more "Benjamins" to support their spending spree.

Hello, Stagflation!


Jerry
Oak Hill
on Feb 20, 2009 at 12:35 am
Jerry, Oak Hill
on Feb 20, 2009 at 12:35 am
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No expiration time table???

Does "Protect Pleasanton Schools from the impact of state budget cuts" mean "cuts" made throughout the 21st century and perhaps beyond. Sound like they may be counting on making this thing permanent.

"Continue to provide safe and clean schools for our children". Does this mean if the parcel tax isn't approved the schools won't be "safe and clean"... If I had a still had a child attending PUSD someone would have some explaining to do. The top priority of PUSD is the safety of "our children". Make sure they're safe, then educate them...

I'm still on the fence as to "yea" or "nay" but if this is the wording that will be on the ballot, I may be leaning...


Resident
Birdland
on Feb 20, 2009 at 7:49 am
Resident, Birdland
on Feb 20, 2009 at 7:49 am
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Once these taxes are passed, they're likely to become permanent. They will come back and threaten to eliminate programs at time of renewal and again hold the taxpayers hostage.


Forever tax
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2009 at 6:56 pm
Forever tax, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2009 at 6:56 pm
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Yes, once passed the district knows they have us. Los Gatos has had a parcel tax since 1990, renewed and increased in amount every few years. Los Altos the same now up to $597.
I have been to a couple of the community meetings that have been held and at each one someone has asked if there are districts who have not renewed their parcel tax. Each time the response was that they didn't know and would have to look into it. I believe this wasn't done because they do not want to tell the public the reality. They want us to think that it will be just for a few years to "get us through this difficult time."


Stacey
Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 23, 2009 at 7:08 pm
Stacey, Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 23, 2009 at 7:08 pm
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"I have been to a couple of the community meetings that have been held and at each one someone has asked if there are districts who have not renewed their parcel tax."

Haha! Good for that person to keep asking! At the meeting I went to, PUSD said they'd put the answer up on the website. Well, it's been almost a whole month and no answer yet. That's because the answer isn't favorable.


Mike
Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 23, 2009 at 8:39 pm
Mike, Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 23, 2009 at 8:39 pm
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NO MORE TALKING LET'S PUT IT UP FOR A VOTE IN A SPECIAL ELECTION IN JUNE.


Name hidden
Ridgeview Commons

on Apr 26, 2017 at 7:47 pm
Name hidden, Ridgeview Commons

on Apr 26, 2017 at 7:47 pm

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