Pleasanton district to receive additional $4.2M from feds' ARRA

School board meets tonight on update of state budget, funds

The Pleasanton Unified School District is slated to receive about $4.2 million from the federal government's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This would be in addition to about $2.1 million the district would also receive for special education.

Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Luz Cazares is expected to update the school board on the state of the budget at its regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. tonight at the district board room.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell announced preliminary allocations of $2.56 billion in State Fiscal Stabilization Funds would be would be available for public education, and that an additional $1.1 billion would be available in the fall.

Myla Grasso, spokeswoman for PUSD, said they are unsure when the money would come to the district, since the state is running behind. Funds for special education were supposed to have been received in March and it's still not available.

Unlike the special education dollars, however, Grasso said there don't appear to be categorical restrictions on how the money would be used, except to save jobs and provide new and innovative programs.

The $4,244,533 to be received is said to be an estimate at this time.

"It is important to note that this is one-time money, and there is no expectation that the federal government will continue this type of support for schools," she said. "Most professional organizations are recommending that school districts be very cautious in how they use these funds, particularly as the downturn in school funding is expected to last three to five years."

Two upcoming elections have potential to impact funding to public education. The first is for state propositions 1A to 1F on May 19, and the second is over the parcel tax, Measure G, on June 2.

"The independent Legislative Analyst's Office is estimating the potential shortfall for the state budget at up to $20 billion for this year and next," Grasso said in a statement.

The district's budget would need to be approved before June 30, Grasso said, so she expects those discussions to take place in early June.

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Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2009 at 5:20 pm

What she meant to say was "It is important to note that this is one-time money, where as if we can con the public into passing measure G, we will have that funding forever.”

Like this comment
Posted by David
a resident of Happy Valley
on May 11, 2009 at 7:29 pm

I have no idea why everyone keeps talking about measure G as I believe it is a dead bill and stands no chance of passing. What is the next step?

Like this comment
Posted by YES ON G
a resident of Foothill High School
on May 11, 2009 at 10:00 pm






Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 11, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Yes on G: Fact is $6.7 million is coming to the district from the federal government. No need for Measure G.

Like this comment
Posted by 4theKids
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 9:09 am

Yes on G, Because Education Matters. Kids only go through school once. Will we really be able to teach kids to read in a class of 32? About one-third of all incoming kindergartens in Pleasanton have English as a Second language. In a class of 20, the teachers do get to every student and the students learn to read and our API scores are high.

Like this comment
Posted by No is for our kids
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on May 12, 2009 at 9:14 am

Everyone supports education, I strongly support our kids.
Measure G is not about our kids it is about salary, raises and out of control glut for administrators.
It is in our kids best interest to say no and demand accountability.

No Salary Tax!
No on G!

Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2009 at 9:18 am

There is a good editorial in the Sacramento Bee today on the public employees who are making more than $100,000 per year in pensions. You can find it at: Web Link . They reference a website where you can do a search by agency to see those making more than $100,000 in pensions. For Pleasanton, there are currently 22 retired Pleasanton personal making over $100,000 per year in pensions.

They are:

Search by First, Last or Full Name Search by Employer


Name Monthly Annual Employer Name

TIMOTHY NEAL $14,035.34 $168,424.08 PLEASANTON

STEWART GARY $13,168.05 $158,016.60 PLEASANTON

SUSAN ROSSI $12,499.04 $149,988.48 PLEASANTON

GARY TOLLEFSON $11,854.06 $142,248.72 PLEASANTON

JOHN GOODWIN $11,482.71 $137,792.52 PLEASANTON

BRIAN SWIFT $10,523.83 $126,285.96 PLEASANTON

DAVID RADFORD $10,451.79 $125,421.48 PLEASANTON

THOMAS BRAMELL $10,361.76 $124,341.12 PLEASANTON

ERIC CARLSON $10,271.48 $123,257.76 PLEASANTON

WILLIAM EASTMAN $9,770.95 $117,251.40 PLEASANTON

JOSEPH BUCKOVIC $9,407.05 $112,884.60 PLEASANTON

MICHAEL STJOHN $9,275.80 $111,309.60 PLEASANTON


SEAN CHAPMAN $8,856.90 $106,282.80 PLEASANTON

CARL COUSINEAU $8,821.74 $105,860.88 PLEASANTON


PAUL HELMS $8,691.66 $104,299.92 PLEASANTON

GREGORY WIXOM $8,593.63 $103,123.56 PLEASANTON

STEVEN ROSS $8,583.76 $103,005.12 PLEASANTON

PAUL MOLKENBUHR $8,555.76 $102,669.12 PLEASANTON



My guess is Roush will be near the top of this list once he retires, especially since the Council is voting to give him a raise JUST BEFORE RETIREMENT and MAKING IT RETROACTIVE so he can get an even higher pension. I think this would be a great article for the weekly. Hope they pick this up and be trule informative to our residents on our pensions. On top of this we also have a mostly unfunded liability on retiree medical to the tune of over $100 million! That is just Pleasanton. The Pleasanton School District has a completely unfunded liability of over $11 million in retiree medical. Now with the losses in the pension fund, the taxpayers are on the hook since these retirees have guaranteed income (defined benefit). The retiree medical will also eat us alive since insurance rates keep going up. While the city has a little control at the high end for payout in the end of the next contract, the school district has no cap, and we as taxpayers are on the hook for the medical insurance, no matter what the cost is.

Like this comment
Posted by Nosy Neighbors
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 12, 2009 at 9:23 am

...For the children, for the children, the children are our future...don't you mind numbed & brainwashed fools have a better mantra to keep on mumbling? Excuse me but the last time I checked, we (as in the parents, family unit, mama & papa types) are our children's future. It doesn't take a village, it doesn't require administrators, principals, asst. directors of nutritional development (still my favorite, sorry) school board members, state legislatures & the, god forbid, teachers unions to shape our kids future.

If all you plan on doing is dropping your kids off freshman year & then expecting that four years later they'll magically be showing up with cap, gown & diploma in hand then you need Measure G. You also need parenting classes & a swift kick up your backside (IMHO) & a trip to your local PTA meeting to bring you in touch with the reality of what it takes to bring up a child within a family.

OK, I'll get off the soapbox now...maybe switch to de-caf too.

$4,2M??? I'd say Measure G just was nullified.

Like this comment
Posted by Ken in South Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2009 at 9:40 am

If you really believe our future is the KIDS, then you won't burden them and their children with a tax burden they will not be able to repay. Measures A-G do just that. These measures continue the spend-without-conscience mentality of our state legislators. Passing them will emboldent the legislature to continue raising taxes to continue their out-of-control spending. Approval of these measures means that your and my kids won't have a future in California. They will have to move out of state to raise their families or they will have to hope we all die quickly so they can get their inheritance. Oooops...President Obama is likely to allow that to change, so our kids better just plan on moving out of state. VOTE NO AS MANY TIMES AS LEGAL AND SEND A LOUD MESSAGE TO OUR LEGISLATORS THAT THEY ARE NEXT! WE'VE SIMPLY HAD ENOUGH!

Like this comment
Posted by Cindy
a resident of Danbury Park
on May 12, 2009 at 9:49 am

I read the information today about the Fed $$ going to the Schools. $4.2M + $2.1M for Special Ed & a $1.5M line of credit from the city & yet $7.8M not enough for the Unified School District to keep functioning. What's wrong with the schools and they way they are being run?

It seems to me, throwing more $$ down the rat hole without fixing the problem of the shortfall seems rather inane.

Why should we pay a parcel tax in view of the latest development from the Feds?

Like this comment
Posted by Underfunded Pension Mess
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on May 12, 2009 at 11:10 am


Good info from the Sac Bee and City of Pleasanton employee pensions. Sunday's Times reported that CalPERS will need public/taxpayer assistance (e.g. bail out) to meet its obligations to retirees since investments took a 25%+ hit. BTW, my 401(k) only took a 40% hit, but I guess that's OK. I also would like to see the Weekly do a story on this. The Michael Roush retirement pay issue is not uncommon in local, county and state government and should be exposed for what it is: a rip off of our tax dollars.

Like this comment
Posted by Huhh?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 11:33 am


The people on your retirement list are former police and fire senior managers (Safety Pulbic Employees Retirement System -PERS). What does that have to due with Measure G? Teacher retirement plans, (State Teachers Retirement System - STRS), are mandated and managed by the State. Since STRS and PERS is managed by the State the district is not "on the hook" for any shortfall. The district and the employees are obligated to contribute to the plan just as a private company would match your 401k.

Like this comment
Posted by Huhh?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 11:38 am

Nosy Neighbors

Sounds like you should home school your kids. I hear it works well in the Appalachian mountains. Or you can drill a well and process your own sewage. Create your own landfill for your garbage. We live in a community with services that benefit the whole community. That is why we live in cites. Free will is great.

Like this comment
Posted by Underfunded Pension Mess
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on May 12, 2009 at 12:14 pm


All (most) are former public safety employees, with the exception of #3 on the list: Sue Rossi was the city's finance director. The city (e.g. tax payers) fund most if not all of the city staff's retirement benefit, with some employee groups (fire, police) contributing their portion with city match. It's a system that will have to change one day for our public servants (including teachers) to move to a defined contribution program.

Like this comment
Posted by Linda
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on May 12, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Luz informed the BAC that there is nothing, nada, ZERO dollars in the post employment benefit account.

Like this comment
Posted by no employee payments
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Underfunded Pension Mess, none of the city employees pay a cent towards retirement benefits. It is 100% funded by the city (aka the taxpayers). Not sure where you got that fire and police contributed portions but that is not true.

Like this comment
Posted by Ken in South Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2009 at 1:50 pm

When CalPers income is decreased (as happened when the value of their investments fell a mere 25%) they are required to make up the balance by charging the municipalities that employ(ed) their beneficiaries a larger annual amount. Why do you think most of the commercials in favor of props A-F are sponsored by and feature public workers (eg fire and police). They don't want to put their cushy pensions at risk. Funny thing, though. They have very little to risk because their unions have the legislators in their back pockets and pull the strings tight around their cajones when threatened. VOTE NO AS MANY TIMES AS LEGAL AND SEND THE MESSAGE THAT WE ARE SICK AND TIRED OF THESE GAMES! We work hard for our income and expect our taxes to be handled in a manner similar to what we would do personally if we could keep the money in our own pockets.

Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Birdland
on May 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm

I just came back from the Post Office. Two NO on G votes in early.

Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm

The point of these retirement salaries listed is that we are paying big money for retirements and more money in fact than many of us make working and yet it is our taxes which are paying. Drop down a few thousand below the ones listed here and you will see a ton of teachers. We need to transistion and quickly to an undefined retirement program. Keep in mind that Sacramento in some corners must be considering filing for bankrupcy in order to get out of all of these government union contracts of which California is the only one with the 3 point program. The other 49 states have 2 point or lower and in many cases have transistioned over to an employee funded program for retirement.

Like this comment
Posted by Bryan Moran
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 12, 2009 at 4:25 pm

To paraphrase an old saying “It's the property values stupid”. Why do you think Pleasanton property values have moved barely at all compared to our neighbors? It’s due to the extreme premium buyers put on SCHOOLS. It certainly is not to live next to a bunch of whinny soreheads who don’t want to pay their freight. Once a reputation is lost it is gone (remember that poor girl in high school who lost her reputation? Did she ever gain it back?) right now Pleasanton is near its peak in desirability, DON’T LOSE THIS. Pay your parcel tax now or pay it in a $200,000 price drop in your home after our schools are “just like everybody else’s”. If you’re mad at the district, the teachers, the unions, the administration THAT is different conversation. Do you really think putting the squeeze on these fools will solve whatever it is you’re mad about? Please vote for your enlightened self interest and not “send a message” that won’t be heard except when it lands on your head later. If you really do want to actually do something about whatever it is your mad about attend a school board meeting, run for office, or organize an effort to change it. Otherwise you just like to complain.

Like this comment
Posted by Fred
a resident of Del Prado
on May 12, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Bryan Moran,

You are misinformed and again the parcel tax is going to do nothing to protect home values. If you want it vote for it. For the rest of us I believe the answer is no on G and make that 6 votes from my house.

Like this comment
Posted by Mom
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 12, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Uh, I don't know about YOU, Bryan, but my house value has already dropped $200,000. (And it is NOT a million dollar home) This is a scare tactic and it is not working on ME. Pleasanton schools still have plenty to be proud of and will continue to attract potential buyers. Stop the drama NOW.
Anyhow, I am happy the school district will receive 4.2 million in stimulus money and eventhough I have 4 students in my house and adore the schools and their teachers, I will be voting NO on G. The measure does not clearly define where the money will be spent and I certainly do not want to see it fund teacher raises at this time.

Like this comment
Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 5:24 pm


It would have dropped a lot more if Pleasanton had a bad school district -- the kind that won't properly fund its schools. I've already posted comparison to surrounding neighborhoods.

This "send a message" thing sounds a lot like Phil Gramms' "starve the government with low taxes" plan. We all know how that worked out.

Like this comment
Posted by Doris
a resident of Castlewood
on May 12, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Something else to consider if Measure G does not pass and the district does not find the funds to support Class Size Reduction:

At this time, you have many teachers that have been teaching in their subject matter for several years. These are the newest hires and they have been in the district for 1-6 years. They may be a new teacher in a second grade class or a six year eighth grade language arts teacher.

If they are laid off, then you will have quite a bit of reshuffling amongst the retained teachers. In most cases, the experienced teachers in grades K-3 and 9 will then move into the other grades, replacing those that were laid off. As a result, other grades will then be filled by former elementary teachers.

I am sure that there will be quite a bit of adjustment and chaos next year as teachers settle into their new roles. Not saying that this will happen, but do not be surprised if API scores do go down due to the inexperience of teachers in their new environment.

Not saying I am pro or anti Measure G, but everyone who has been through a lay off understands the transition an organization has to go through afterwards.

Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Doris, Teachers move up and down grades levels more often than you think. And it isn't necessary anyway . . . there is federal money coming that saves CSR and makes the parcel tax unnecessary . . . nearly $7 million to buy us time to put the district budget back on a healthy path in the coming year.

Like this comment
Posted by Mom
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 12, 2009 at 7:34 pm

I disagree with your argument. Teachers who are credentialed for K-6 will ONLY teach K-6, and Kathleen is correct in pointing out that teachers move around grade levels with some frequency. They are trained to teach at any elementary grade. The others who are credentialed for grades 7-12 will also stay at their level and will attend meetings with grade level heads to get on track. Besides, CSR is just another scare tactic- there is money to retain it and I believe PUSD will do what's right and hang on to it.
And to Russell, housing prices would not have "dropped a lot more if Pleasanton had a bad school district" because prices would have never been so HIGH!
Personally, I am not "trying to send a message", rather, I am interested in the school board taking more time and committing more effort to balancing the budget properly without any more of my tax dollars. And when they decide to put in writing EXACTLY how my money will be spent, I will more likely consider a parcel tax. Meanwhile, I am not ready to just merely "trust" the board with all of that money, especially given their history.

Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Castlewood
on May 12, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Wow! I feel slighted as it sounds like everyone's homes have appreciated other than mine. Was worth 2 million and now only 1.6. Thank god I paid it off so I do not have a payment and can ride this thing out.

Like this comment
Posted by Nosy Neighbors
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 12, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Hey "Huhh" If "home schooling" in your warped universe means going over your kids homework with them, discussing current events & taking an active part in their education, well Yeeeee haaaaa! I guess I'll just knock a few teeth out & put a gun rack in the Toyota then. Fer crying out loud you goose stepping moron this is a community that is wholly defined by it's CITIZENS not the government nor it's underlings. That is also precisely why we're even allowed to have this election, this debate & argument over such an otherwise meaningless topic.

I think you'd be very comfortable in a more structured society where you can take your all inclusive, cradle-to-grave care & social equality that is provided to you (provided that you do or say nothing to argue the official govt. position of course) & the rest of the silent masses.

...nice try.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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