News


School board tries to save some programs as education groups start fundraisers

Casey puts Pleasanton home on market; will commute from Brentwood area

With the defeat of a the Measure G parcel tax initiative, the Pleasanton Unified School District is looking at other ways to balance its budget by June 22.

At the same time, two local educaiton foundations--Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) and Pleasanton Schools Educational Enrichment (PSEE)--have committed to start a campaign to raise money for programs that would have been supported by the parcel tax that failed to pass on June 2.

Also this week, Supt. John Casey announced that he and his wife Jody have put their Pleasanton home on the market and will relocate to the Brentwood area to be closer to their families if their home here sells. Casey said he plans to retire in a year or two and would commute to Pleasanton during that time.

For the school board, one option it looked at in order to balance its budget by June 22 is to take a "responsible risk" and postpone a payment for post-employment benefits. The $674,000 would instead fund in the 2009-10 school year two reading specialists, four of 10 counselors that were previously reduced, and three positions in the library and technical support programs, as well as provide $45,000 for the Barton Reading program.

The post-employment benefit payment, called OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits), would need to be made up in the 2010-11 school budget.

The unanimous decision was made in time to rescind about 40 pink slips by the June 4 deadline. Superintendent John Casey said, however, that if the state budget were to worsen in the coming weeks, the district could announce layoffs Aug. 15.

Also decided in a special meeting June 3 was to reduce class-size reduction to 25 students per teacher in kindergarten through third grade, and ninth grade English and math. Previously, the state provided no flexibility in this program, so the program was included in the $9.7 million budget cuts earlier in the year, which brought classes to 30 students.

Recently, however, the state lifted some restrictions on class-size reduction. As in the past, the 20:1 ratio is funded with $4 million from the state and $1.6 million from PUSD. With the new flexibility, the board decided class sizes would be 25:1, which receives less money from the state, but requires nothing from the district.

The state also allowed flexibility to funding third (of three) tier programs. Any cuts to these categorical dollars could be used "for any educational purpose," according to assistant superintendent of business services Luz Cazares. The school board approved to add about $1.2 million to the general fund from these programs, which includes reductions to the adult and community education offerings.

In budget news, Cazares said about $5 million in federal funds from the state fiscal stabilization fund have been received into PUSD accounts. On May 29, however, the district received word that there would be an additional shortfall of $1.2 million for the district, which is on top of the estimated $6.8 million deficit for PUSD as a result of the second version of the May budget revision. The total shortfall for the 2009-10 school year is around $17.7 million, with $8.1 million said to be coming in from federal funds.

Fundraising campaign begins

Pleasanton's two educational foundations are joining with the school district to raise money for programs that would have been supported by the parcel tax. Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) and Pleasanton Schools Educational Enrichment (PSEE) have committed to start a campaign with the district on an Aug. 15 deadline.

The goal would be to raise $2.8 million, with PPIE funding class-size reduction (at a 20:1 ratio), reading specialists and counselors, and PSEE funding the elementary strings and band programs.

Some Measure G supporters have already gifted the district with donations, which will be put towards this effort. People wishing to learn more and to donate can visit www.ppie.org or www.psee.org.

Casey puts house on the market

A for sale sign dons the front yard of Casey's Pleasanton home, as he and his wife Jody are planning to move.

"I am looking to retire in the next year or two," he said.

The move, he added, "has nothing to do with the district. I love the things we're doing and it has nothing to do with Measure G."

He said he plans to make the most of the market and relocate to Brentwood, where he and his wife are originally from and where his family resides. He would then commute to Pleasanton if his home sells.

When Casey came to the school district in 2002, he was granted a $200,000 loan by the district. He said he owes $180,000 of that loan, which would be paid upon the sale of his home.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 11, 2009 at 6:39 pm

OK, here is 15 million for the district -- freeze the S & C raises! It does not take rocket science to know the district has to cut expenses and these raises need to be the first thing to go. Failing to fund obligations is just plain stupid. Of course, Casey will be gone when those obligations need to be funded in about another year. Why is it so difficult for the PUSD to understand that with less income there must be fewer expenses. Simple. Don't have money, don't incur more debt.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2009 at 7:51 pm

I agree that this is the same irresponsible type or risk assessment that typifies the California situation. Batten down the hatches people. We are in for a rough ride.


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 11, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Some Measure G opponents have also gifted the district, or more accurately, they've gifted to specific programs or classrooms.


Like this comment
Posted by My 2/100
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 11, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Really? How interesting...I am very curious to find out more about Privatize's gift....maybe a sack of coal? :-)


Like this comment
Posted by Privatize
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2009 at 9:40 pm

"... they've gifted to specific programs or classrooms"

What a bunch of lemmings. Throwing money at broken schools that can't even teach children to read and write. And some of these people call themselves Republicans. IN NAME ONLY, as Rush says.


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 11, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

My 2/100,

Notice I used the word "some". It would be a mistake to characterize all who voted no on G like Privatize just as it would be unfair to characterize those who voted yes as lemmings.


Like this comment
Posted by My 2/100
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 11, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Lighten up, Stacey. :-)


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 11, 2009 at 11:54 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Sure, but there's some readers who won't get the humor and will take exception, even with your smiley. Text-only communication is a b**ch.


Like this comment
Posted by Good enough for Walmart
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2009 at 12:01 am

I say, let's "roll back" costs...of employment. We're not a charity - we're a public funded org and this public is broke. Done. It's over teachers/admin and clerical/custodial (did I miss anyone??)

Time to take a 10% pay cut - effective immediately and across the board.


Like this comment
Posted by 120k?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2009 at 8:23 am

help me out here. I saw that it works out to be ~6k / student.
In a class of 20, thats 120k. so for 120k, you get a teacher, guidance services, building, etc. 10% off this total(which i doubt it could be)= 12k, the cost of 2 students. Might be a feel good but hardly seems worth the effort to go after the 10%.


Like this comment
Posted by Me Too
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 12, 2009 at 8:34 am

A 50% pay cut would be better. Of course a 75% paycut would save even more money.


Like this comment
Posted by $189 Chas
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jun 12, 2009 at 10:12 am

From looking at those websites that are raising funds for the schools, they have broken it down to $189 per kid. 189 freaking dollars people. Does anyone else think this is a lot of bickering for $189.

On another note, I am pleased to see private organizations getting involved to raise the money. A mutch better route that our typically f'd up government organizations say oh well, we need more money, let's just raise taxes...


Like this comment
Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 12, 2009 at 10:27 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Why weren't any of these possibilities discussed or planned BEFORE wasting $300K of district money on a special election?

Part of the responsibility of being a board member is contingency planning, something that this particular group seems incapable of doing. They try to follow a linear plan (no matter how far off course it leads them) until it hits a dead end. Then they back up to square one, and try another path. And another.

How about having a Plan B (or C) ready to go BEFORE your plan A completely dies? It's called "planning".


Like this comment
Posted by vv parent
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jun 12, 2009 at 10:38 am

@Privatize, a resident of another community: “Throwing money at broken schools that can’t even teach children to read and write.”

You must be from Oakland, San Jose or some other community whose schools were taken over by the state. The schools in Pleasanton are excellent (in spite of all the comments you read here) and my child is getting a great education.

To see what these kids are learning in the classroom today compared to 10-15 years ago amazes me. I have all the confidence our Pleasanton schools will more than prepare my daughter for a post-secondary education and beyond.

"... can't even teach children to read and write?" Go pound sand!


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jun 12, 2009 at 3:44 pm

I am wondering why so many people on the school budget NEED a car and phone allowance. I do not mind if they find it necessary but I would like to hear the reasons. AND I am sure nobody checks the bill to hold the persons accountable. Are these records public...? They very well should be. Please explain why I saw a small Pleasanton school bus being driven around on a Sunday morning by one person. No problem for me if it was school use but on a Sunday. I sure hope it was not for personal use......!!!! The phones, the cars, the gas, are they really needed to assist education.....? I am listening.


Like this comment
Posted by Falcon Lover
a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 12, 2009 at 3:46 pm

@Privatize, perhaps you should look at the current Newsweek ranking of the top 1500 public high schools in the country. Foothill is ranked 484 and Amador is 541. Not bad for a city in a state that ranks at the bottom of education. Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by PW
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2009 at 7:06 pm

If you want to Piss off....Piss off on the state or the Feds. Considering all that the PUSD has done, given the state they live in, I am amazed at the success. Get your heads out of the sand and check out reality.


Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 12, 2009 at 9:04 pm

20,000 of the 200,000 loan received in 2002.

That's about 2,800 dollars per year, right?






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

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