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School board to decide tonight how to allot $459K raised by I Love Pleasanton Schools

Summer-long effort to be used for 2009-10 school year, despite not meeting its $2.8M goal

It was a race to the finish line, but the supporters of the I Love Pleasanton Schools fundraising campaign finished Aug. 14 with $459,889 as of Monday afternoon.

While not close to meeting the group's $2.8 million goal, it will still be donated to the school district at tonight's regularly scheduled meeting to be used in the 2009-10 school year.

At 7 p.m. at the district offices, 4665 Bernal Ave., the school board will discuss how to best use the money raised by individuals and businesses in the summer-long effort that began June 15.

If the total goal had been met, the plan was to support much of what the parcel tax ballot initiative would have covered: class-size reduction at a 20:1 student-teacher ratio (instead of 25:1 that is currently budgeted for kindergarten through third grade as well as ninth grade English and math), counselors, reading specialists and music.

At tonight's meeting, the board will also be given a budget update and STAR testing results. The meeting will not be televised, as there is a conflict with the Dublin City Council meeting that is also broadcast on TV30's Channel 28. However, the meeting will be webcast and also videotsaped for rebroadcasting later on Channel 28.

For more information on the meeting, visit http://www.pleasanton.k12.ca.us.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Faith
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 18, 2009 at 10:16 am

If we want to really help the schools let's just keep the fund raising going. The 2010-2011 school year will need money as well and if we continue the SOS plan we might actually have the money ready and waiting for the school district in August of 2010.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Is this the total money? PSEE raised money for music only, so there is nothing to decide with that. PPIE raised money for CSR, reading specialists and counselors. What was the total raised by PSEE? What was the total raised by PPIE?


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Posted by What Webcast?
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 18, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Check PUSD's website...now there's no webcast of the meeting tonight. It will be rebroadcasted at a later date. Hmmm? For those of us who planned to watch the webcast vs. going to the meeting, it's tough luck. So did anyone go to the meeting and what is the money going towards?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 18, 2009 at 10:06 pm

I haven't seen the breakdown on the funds, but I am hoping the only thing the board is deciding is how best to apply the money in the areas for which it was specifically raised. Maybe Sandy attended the meeting. She has done a great job in the past relaying what was done.


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 19, 2009 at 12:56 am

Sandy wasn't at the board meeting, but I think I saw Stacey. You should have been there. Now you will never know what she looks like.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 19, 2009 at 6:20 am

I have met them both. Can you tell us what the board was deciding/decided?


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 19, 2009 at 10:32 am

Do you ever attend the meetings Kathleen?


Like this comment
Posted by Alex
a resident of Parkside
on Aug 19, 2009 at 10:37 am

I've been searching for information related to the board meeting yesterday. Did anyone attend who could share the hi/lo points?


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2009 at 10:38 am

Please dial your venom back a bit. Kathleen has been vilified by the fanatics, but has served our community well with her thoughtful, well researched postings.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Never Attends Meetings
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 19, 2009 at 11:24 am

Kathleen never attends board meetings. She keeps informed via this blog. The uninformed informing the uninformed. Now that is democracy in action.

From the board packet on the website. 2.5 FTE reading specialists and 1.5 FTE elementary counselors reinstated.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2009 at 11:27 am

The PUSD website states that the meeting would be available today (meetings/agenda site, webcast), but so far it is not there.

Does anybody know what went on?

My understanding is that PPIE raised money for CSR, reading specialists and counselors, and PSEE raised money for music. It is about 460K total donations (according to the PPIE website) but about 90K of that money was donated for music (according to the PSEE website). So it is not too hard to decide what to do with the money.

The district cannot decide to do anything different with the funds. We donated for a specific program, and so did many people.

I would vote YES again if a parcel tax is proposed, but the district needs to do that during a regular election, to avoid the high cost of a special election.


Like this comment
Posted by ???
a resident of Danbury Park
on Aug 19, 2009 at 11:29 am

Did the organizers ever think of donating the money to the district with specific stipulations that the money be used for x, y or z? Seems kind of dumb to let the idiots that got us in this mess makes more lame decisions.


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Posted by At the board meeting
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Aug 19, 2009 at 11:32 am

The district met with the boards of PPIE and PSEE to obtain mutual agreement on how the funds would be spent. Not enough funds for CSR.


Like this comment
Posted by A Foothill Parent
a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 19, 2009 at 12:05 pm

With Sincere Gratitude, A Great Big "THANK YOU!" to all the volunteers that worked hard to raise the money in support of our schools!


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 19, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Parent and KNAM, What is it you would have me do if I were there? I have exchanged emails with board members with mixed responses. Most have been shared with Dr Casey as far as I know. It's not like my views are not known. I do not, however, get my information on the blogs. I have posted links to the information where I'm presenting facts to support my comments. It's all out here somewhere if you wish to verify it.

I didn't have a dog in the fight last night (we are donating money more directly). I appreciate those who post what they've learned and I'll follow up looking at board packets and minutes, particularly if I have questions.

Hats off to the volunteers for their work to save jobs/programs that donors valued.


Like this comment
Posted by WoW
a resident of Danbury Park
on Aug 19, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Lay off of Kathleen already! At least she is ONE of FEW, who actually uses here real name and supports her posts.

Kudos’ out to Kathleen!

Geez!


Like this comment
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Well I certainly hope they're not using all the money for reading specialists and elementary counselors. Everyone I know donated their money specifically for CSR and said so as much with their donation. NOT reading specialists and elementary counselors. What will happen with that money? Will PPIE return it?


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Jeff:

here is the article about what they are planning to do with the money raised by PPIE:

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2009 at 3:53 pm

And what happens to the checks specifically donated for CSR? Will PUSD return them? According to the article, $31,000 was specifically directed to CSR. Those people should have their checks returned...


Like this comment
Posted by agree with Jeff
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Aug 19, 2009 at 7:12 pm

I agree, Jeff. They should have that option to receive their designated funds back.

Thank you to all who donated, worked the carnival, etc. to help our schools.


Like this comment
Posted by Why need a parcel tax
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2009 at 9:33 pm

I posted this on another link also.

Here's a pretty good summary of why Palo Alto School District needs a parcel tax.

Web Link

The same applies in Pleasanton. We need to move now before it is too late.

Let's get a parcel tax on the ballot sooner rather than later. "Get out the vote" money can easily close the gap. Let's spend it, and let's get out the vote.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2009 at 9:42 pm

I agree that we need a parcel tax. I am very surprised that only 31K were donated towards CSR - where are all the k-3 parents in the 9 elementary schools? Do they not care about their kids going into bigger classes?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 20, 2009 at 7:01 am

To Why: A few thoughts on the Palo Alto process. They did a survey. The community's priorities were clear. The first attempt at a renewal/increase (a parcel tax was already in place) failed. The renewal/increase campaign was run again and succeeded overwhelmingly. They hired probably the best campaign firm (my opinion and their record), Tramutola. (I believe PUSD used them for the passage of at least one of our facilities bonds.)

Other comments: If it is true that only $31,000 of the money raised by PPIE/PSEE was for CSR, it could be the community at large does not agree the cost is worth the outcome. We need to know if that is the case. Given the current economic outlook and the flexibility provided by the state, even PAUSD is growing classes by one student rather than renovating and opening another school. Palo Altans also chose to fund raises to remain competitive on that side of the Bay. The district is looking at next steps to renew again.

So before there is another attempt, and perhaps too soon, there is something to be learned about process and priorities, and knowing where the district will get another $150,000-300,000 to pay for an election. Missing those steps could mean the same outcome we had before.


Like this comment
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2009 at 8:45 am

I think what the article is saying is that only 31K was specifically designated for CSR. Plenty of people we know sent in checks from the K-3 level but did not say "CSR" on their check, or their enclosed note, or whatever. The K-3 parents definitely believe CSR is important.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2009 at 9:57 am

San Ramon Valley School District also increased class size (to 22) even though their parcel tax was successful:

Web Link

"Board approves recommendation to allow K-3 class sizes (and 9th grade English/Math) to increase to 22 students."

It looks like even with the parcel tax, districts like San Ramon are unable to keep class size at 20.

I am very proud of our Pleasanton administration and board for keeping class sizes at 25 even when measure G failed.

Pleasanton is a great district, and I hope we can either keep raising money or pass a parcel tax next year.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 20, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Jeff, I would be surprised if it wasn't the case that K-3 parents support CSR, but it is taxing everyone to support those with students at four of the thirteen grade levels. I say that only because it's information we don't actually have, but could get so easily via something like Survey Monkey. I had questions out here before, but an example would be: Do you support K-3 CSR at $400,000-$450,000 (figures seem to vary) per grade level--$1.6-$1.8 million (the equivalent of $X per parcel)? You also need to indicate what it costs at 21 or 22 or any combination up to 25 as well. And then you move on to other program areas or support services listing the cost and the cost per parcel, so that when people add up their wish list they can see what their priorities are and what it will cost in order to determine what they are actually willing to pay for.


Like this comment
Posted by We are all K-3 once
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Don't pick on us just because we are K-3. We're people too. Next thing you know they'll be coming after the 62+ crowd and taking away Medicare.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 20, 2009 at 9:49 pm

We: Not picking on K-3 or even CSR. Just hoping we can get a set of priorities and their costs before we try for another parcel tax. As to the all K-3 once, it may work if you are in K-3 or about to be in K-3, but maybe not so much when you reach fourth.

So if you know K-3 CSR at 20:1 costs you $100 a year in a parcel tax ($2 million divided by 20,000 parcels), would you vote for it (knowing it's likely there will be renewals of the tax every four years and it will go up from there)? What if 22:1 is only $50 (I don't actually know what it would cost), would that be more reasonable? And if another $50 (bringing you back to the scenario of $100 per parcel per year would buy resource specialists and counselors at the middle and high school level, are those two choices covering K-3 and 6-12 better? Do we also want to have CSR in fourth and fifth so all elementary grades are small? Would we need another school? Can we afford to build and operate it?

There are so many possibilities and so many competing worthy choices, so you can see why I think setting priorities as a community is really important to doing what we can at a price we are willing to pay. If the consensus is K-3 at 20:1 and the votes are there, so be it.


Like this comment
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2009 at 10:55 pm

The 20:1 ratio is not a random number. 15 to 20 kids per teacher is the ideal for promoting student achievement. This only applies to K-3, however. Class size is much less relevant for 4th grade on up. This is why the school district only implements CSR for K-3. I am not aware of the reasoning behind CSR for 9th grade, though.

Also important is early literacy, as this can affect a child's academic performance later on. Studies show that math and reading achievement during 1st through 3rd grade tend to be maintained into adolescence. On the other hand, children with early academic problems are at higher risk for dropping out of school or getting poor grades.

So, it is still important to support CSR even if you don't have children in K-3, as there can be long-term repercussions.


Like this comment
Posted by Amy Taylor
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Aug 21, 2009 at 2:00 am

I believe that a lot of people didn't know they could earmark their donations for a certain area/program. When I gave my first large donation, I didn't know it. I would like to see how much was actually earmarked for counselors and reading specialists. My guess is not very much. My guess is that the percentage of donations that was earmarked at all was low, and that CSR actually had the most earmarked at $31,000.
I would like to see the numbers for the other programs as well.
Disappointed.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 21, 2009 at 6:00 am

Amy, I have wondered about the breakdown of donations for PPIE--perhaps donors need to ask for that accounting. Did the money you worked so tirelessly to raise through the auctions have a specific program designated? I thought it looked apparent that a donor could choose. If anyone reading these threads can tell us, it would help to know whether people were aware they could designate where the donation was to go. Thank you again, Amy, for all your work. It was truly an amazing effort.

Concerned, So far, the data still points to 12:1 as being the magic number. That may change if 20:1 hangs on long enough to draw conclusions, but I would agree there are other values to 20:1 in the overall experience for children and for classroom management.

There is talk now of pre-K being the new panacea for early literacy. I haven't looked for concrete data, but I do know there is a push to make public schools pre-K through high school. That too, would be expensive. At some point, all taxpayers have to decide their priorities and what they are willing to pay. It's no small task to educate taxpayers on all the possible permutations: 20:1 and no pre-K, some other class size and pre-K, etc.

In the meantime, getting P'town taxpayers to tackle priorities is what will be important. I will continue to push for information and a survey. Most people have, had, or will have children in public schools. Continuing to ask people to vote without knowing as nearly as possible what we value is like handing out a test without covering the material to be tested first. What's that saying about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

And this is just one of the four opportunities available to us in the coming year: parcel tax, union contract(s), a new superintendent (retirement was announced yesterday), and the Board election.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 21, 2009 at 7:18 am

BTW, I have not seen any news from the district on the release of STAR results. I realize the assessment position was cut, but no press release that I can find even though that position was saved.

Here is a link to the page where you can look at district or school results: Web Link

I haven't had time to see how students performed, but thought others would like to have access.


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

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