School board set to discuss school calendar again tomorrow

Seven parents, two students ask board to revoke vote

The Pleasanton school board tomorrow may reconsider the 2015-16 school calendar that was adopted in June after parents and students asked the board to revoke their vote at the August 19 board meeting.

The adopted modified lite calendar would schedule school to begin early August and end late May. The calendar also includes a one-week break in October, the first semester ending before winter break and a nine-week summer break.

At the August meeting, most parents commented on the lack of data and feedback presented to the board, as well as the community; and how did they did not feel involved with such an important process.

Pleasanton parent and school board candidate Mark Miller said, "It will be a smoother and more successful transition with us behind you."

Parents also focused on the lack of communication with parents about the change.

Pleasanton Middle School parent Tracy Whelan stated while volunteering during registration she could "hear the shock and awe in the conversations as people were learning about the new calendar."

Whelan also spoke at a June 3 board meeting and said, "I feel like you're trying to slide this under us."

In addition to the forums and emails about the possible calendar change, the district sent out a parent survey regarding the proposed calendar options on June 4, with the results presented at the June 17 meeting.

Of the 3,000 parents that participated in the survey, 35% favored the traditional calendar and 65% favored one of the four new calendar options -- 10% modified, 17% modified hybrid, 20% early start/early finish, and 18% modified lite..

Trustee Valerie Arkin stated that 3,000 parents was only 20% of the district's total enrollment of almost 15,000.

At the June board meeting, the board voted 4-1 for the "modified lite" calendar, with Arkin in dissent, asking that the decision be delayed for another year to gather more data and feedback.

"I just don't see a compelling reason to do it for 2015-2016," she said.

The other four board members were in favor of the staff's suggested calendar option, finding it addresses the concerns of students' learning loss and stress levels, and achieves the primary objective of having the first semester ending at winter break.

After hearing parents and students speak at the August meeting, Arkin suggested putting the item on the agenda for reconsideration.

According to the "Robert's Rules of Order", anyone on the board can make a motion to rescind an adopted item.

The school board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the district's boardroom at 4665 Bernal Avenue.

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Posted by IlovePtown
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 3, 2014 at 8:43 am

I don't have a problem with the change - but let's not say this is what the parents wanted. Most parents didn't want a change at all. There were 35% in favor of keeping the traditional calendar, and 30% in favor of modified lite.

1 person likes this
Posted by Walter
a resident of Parkside
on Sep 3, 2014 at 8:55 am

If we are planning on experimenting with our students - why not look at the top performing schools in the nation for guidance - twist of those went back to school yesterday

2 people like this
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 3, 2014 at 9:48 am

Oh my gosh! 65% of parents are not in favor of a change! We were told to pick 1st choice, 2nd choice and 3rd choice. 35% voted for the traditional and only 30% voted for modified. I should have voted for traditional as my 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice. This needs to alot more work and research!!!!

Like this comment
Posted by change is good
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Sep 3, 2014 at 10:08 am

I am in favor of the lite change. With 2 kids in school, the break in between is really helpful in giving them a break and a chance to relax a bit during the school year.

People needs to stop complaining about not being aware of the discussion. If you don't participate, don't moan and groan and come up with lame excuses about not knowing the change has already been voted. Ignorance and lack of participation is not an excuse.

4 people like this
Posted by Foothill Parent
a resident of Stoneridge
on Sep 3, 2014 at 10:47 am

The primary reason stated by the board for the change was to end the 1st semester at the winter break for high school students so they could enjoy their break without worrying about finals in January. The 2nd reason was to help AP students with an earlier school year to minimize the amount of summer work needed to be done in order to be prepared for AP exams in April/May.

As a result the board is making a very sneaky change (passed after school concluded in June) to benefit only 4/13th (all HS students) & less than 1% (AP test takers) of our student population. HS students know school work is going to take more effort & dedication and they will have to give up more social time to be successful. AP students CHOOSE to enroll in these classes thereby signing up for the extra work, summer work etc & know the vigor of the class. We should not be changing the school schedule to accommodate such a tiny portion of our population.

For the school board to continue to say the majority favored something other than the traditional schedule they are obviously not math majors & did not read their own survey submitted. 20% of the student population does not make up a majority. Try sending out the survey at the time of student registration, not the last two weeks of school. Try sending out a letter to parents, not hiding informational meetings info in random updates from the district. Make the meeting notices very clear...we are going to vote for a new schedule on xx date. There was never any indication of a vote during any of the informational meetings (yes I attended everyone).

The board has indicated they want to align themselves to Brentwood schools. Why? They are a mid-performing district, not in our local demographic and have a much smaller student population. How about staying aligned with our neighboring districts, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon?

1 person likes this
Posted by Go Falcons
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Sep 3, 2014 at 10:53 am

Concerned Parent: you are spot on! I tried voting for traditional as 1st 2nd & 3rd, could not. Could not even vote for just 1st choice; had to populate a 2nd & 3rd. Loved the timing of the survey too-last week of school. Fortunately our teacher made a big stink out of parents taking the survey, made it a homework assignment otherwise never would have know about it.

1 person likes this
Posted by Petition
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 3, 2014 at 11:11 am

PW - article is incorrect, only 18% voted modified lite. Anyone not in favor of modified lite schedule, please consider signing the petition 'revoke the calendar change vote' at

1 person likes this
Posted by Another concerned parent
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 3, 2014 at 11:20 am

I applaud re-opening this topic. The survey forced us to pick the 'best of the worst' and those results have been tweaked to support the vote, nowhere have I seen a compilation of comments from the notes section of the survey. Why can't we have as an option not having a week off in October, and still starting a week early than normal (middle/end of August) AND accomplishing the goal of finals by the winter break? This is how many schools across the country manage to do it, and would allow for early August activities to not be in conflict. Why was this not one of the options? Most parents I talk to would be in favor of this, and also commented as such in the survey asking for that alternative. With a week off in October then we come back and have minimum days and conferences? Tough on working parents. I appreciate the hard work done by everyone in the schools, and do feel we should study the issue another year.

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 3, 2014 at 11:25 am

Do any of the calendar committee members or school board have connections with Brentwood? Spouse teaching or kids going to school in Brentwood?

1 person likes this
Posted by Go Dons
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm

There should have been a survey handed out when you picked up your kids "emergency contact" form just before school registration. Had them turned in when your kids got their pictures taken at registration. What's the big deal about having the kids take their finals before winter break. Do you have to change the entire school schedule? I am a widow with 3 kids and I work full time I don't want to have to look for someone to watch my kids for another break in October. The girl that watches my kids during the summer lives in Livermore so she wouldn't be able to help because she will be in school that week.

Like this comment
Posted by LovePleasanton
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Sep 3, 2014 at 12:28 pm

@ Foothill Parent I totally agree with you.

Like this comment
Posted by Peg
a resident of Foothill Place
on Sep 3, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Sadly this is nothing new. Ask teachers at the secondary level about the EOS survey they took over a year ago. By all accounts it was biased and obviously slanted to create the impression that everyone wanted more focus on AP and less focus on struggling and regular college prep students.

According to people I've talked to, when educators voiced their concerns, the response from the administration team was "what? huh? you agree with the survey? great!"

Like this comment
Posted by PTown Fam
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Right on, Foothill Parent! What I'm wondering about is starting the students early AND giving a week off in October. Why? Why is this week in October needed? Seems simple to me: leave out week in October and start as we always have.

We high performing schools in P-town as they are to this date. If parents are worried about real estate values (which I think they are) - good luck once our API scores drop due to this new schedule.

Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 4, 2014 at 8:22 am

It is great to see democracy in action (I hope). When we stand along the sidelines, what happened with the decisions of the school board is what can happen in any type of action in a city.

I hope the school board will start to be part of the community - not just selfish reasons. Of course we can vote next time for candidates we feel will listen to us.

No October break - do not need this amount of time to cut pumpkins for Halloween.

It has worked for years - why change when something works.

3 people like this
Posted by the sky is falling!
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Sep 4, 2014 at 8:59 am

It is amazing to me how any proposed change scares the poop out of this community. It seems there are many good reasons to change to a modified calendar, and many scared people that will try/say anything to keep our existing one.

The current calendar dates back about 150 years, yes back when we were just starting to get used to the idea of daily bathing, most homes had no indoor plumbing and ran on oil lamps, and the latest toy of the well off was a bicycle... might be worth looking at a change.

I hope that the school board ignores the whining stay at home moms on this one and sticks to the best calendar for the students.

2 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2014 at 9:16 am

If you want the school board to hear you on the calendar change:
1. Sign the petition at called revoke the calendar change vote.
Here is the link: Web Link
2. Attend the school board meeting next Tuesday, September 9th at 7 p.m. at 4665 Bernal Ave.
3. Email school board members.
The only way to make this change happen is to speak up!

3 people like this
a resident of Amador Estates
on Sep 4, 2014 at 9:46 am

I CAN NOT believe that the modified lite calendar option is up for discussion again at the next board meeting. With any decision, some people are going to be unhappy.

There is also a petition and only 277 have signed in over 2 WEEKS of the petition being out. More people signed the lice petition than the calendar change petition. Out of the 15,000's students this is an extremely low rate. And 9 people spoke at the school board...9 out of thousand and thousand of parents.

PUSD Board, I really hope you all stick to your guns and ORIGINAL votes. The calendar has already been communicated, approved, and discussed since last fall. It would cause more harm than good and money going back to the discussion mode. People have changed their schedules due to the new schedule. It was stated many times that the calendar should be communicated in June so families, businesses, camps can make their plans.

And for those Pleasanton parents who didn't know about the change...take some responsibility. It was communicated in the district newsletters, school e-newsletters, pleasanton weekly, board meetings, etc.

Change is hard but we will all manage.

1 person likes this
Posted by Email the School Board Trustees!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2014 at 10:34 am

Let the school board know what you think! Here are the email addresses of the school board trustees:
Jamie Hintzke:
Joan Laursen:
Chris Grant:
Jeff Bowser:
Valerie Arkin:

3 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 4, 2014 at 10:47 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I emailed Jeff Bowser once.
He never replied to my email.

I voted against him in the last election
because he did not reply to my email.
Bowser lost that election.

I am looking forward to his next election defeat.

2 people like this
a resident of Amador Estates
on Sep 4, 2014 at 11:00 am

To email the school board trustees:

I am planning to with the links to the survey that only has 277 votes and has been up for over 2 weeks!
Enough said.

Keep the calendar as is and lets move on to more important things. If this was such an issue a lot MORE people would be signing the petition and attending the board meetings. They are rolling with the change.

2 people like this
Posted by Working Parents
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 4, 2014 at 11:51 am

I am so glad they are reconsidering. We don't want the October break at all. Do they realize that we already need to cover for 29 school days off during the school year (plus up to 8 Min days?). Of which most companies only provide 6 Holiday days. We personally are already staggering our time off (one works, one takes a vacation day) to cover for all of those days. We can't handle another week off in October. How much vacation time do they think people get? In Summer we can find full day camps (8-5, not the half day ones or ones that start at 9 or end at 3 which don't meet full time working parents needs at all), but in October with Pleasanton being the only school district off? Good luck finding full day childcare. While it may be nice for families with a stay-at-home parent to have another week off, I hope PUSD considers the additional strain it puts on families with two working parents or single parent households who are already juggling coverage. Thanks for reconsidering.

1 person likes this
Posted by Changeitback
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2014 at 11:56 am

Just because they voted for it doesn't mean it's a change for the good! Just because someone in the district office says it's for the kids doesn't really mean it's good for all kids.
I attended the meetings/presentations and they said it wouldn't be voted on till AUGUST. How did they end up voting on this last spring? How is it that the district office and the APT president (who has since retired and has no skin in this game) negotiated a selection for the board to vote on that was completely different than what was presented to the parents and teachers.

Although they continue to tell us that these changes for the high schoolers I believe that everything that has come out since has shown this is really all about the elementary kids. The high schoolers are getting burned on this.

The district office (with the backing of the school board) has continually given out incorrect or half information. They never give the full story so who really knows the truth.

And to that woman who posts and is always yelling "PEOPLE", that is rude. There are better ways to address others.

2 people like this
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm

My family, my kids...most of the teachers we spoke to LOVE the NEW calendar. PUSD School Board, please realize that most people on this board are negative. This is NOT a representation of what PUSD parents and students want. People can interpret the data any way they want to benefit their position. 65% of PUSD parents surveyed wanted a change with the calendar.

2 people like this
Posted by I believe change is good
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2014 at 1:20 pm

I am really hoping my children get the option of trying the new calendar for 2015-2016 school year. Change is good. Maybe for the people who do not like it, they will learn to like the new calendar as well.

3 people like this
Posted by whatisbestforkids
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Sep 4, 2014 at 1:37 pm

The calendar change is what is best for the kids, not what is best for parents, work schedules, vacation schedules, camp schedules, etc. What is best for the kids. In my opinion, the calendar change to Modified lite is the best option.

Check out the PUSD website for information that has been continuously updated since last year regarding this issue.
Web Link

Thank you, school board, for creating a change with the calendar that is best for the kids. Please do not revoke the calendar that was already agreed upon with a vote of 4-1.

2 people like this
Posted by insert uber-patriot nom de plume here...
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Wait a minute...

A week of vacation, in October when the weather is still nice? We can take a family vacation without having to skip school, or encounter the hordes - all trying to cram vacation into the same time, same place.

2 people like this
Posted by Love the idea of an October break
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm

To: insert uber-patriot nom de plume here...

Ditto those comments. I love the idea of an October break.

2 people like this
Posted by To resident
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 4, 2014 at 5:18 pm

The union representative who was pushing the modified lite version and discounted the voice of many other union members, is married to a teacher in the Brentwood school district.

Many union members ARE NOT in favor of changing the calendar. We feel betrayed by our union.

2 people like this
Posted by lovethepositivecomments
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Sep 4, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Just read all of the comments and very happy to see so many positive comments about the calendar change. Often times it is just the na sayers that post. Keep the positive comments coming and email the board members as well.

Jamie Hintzke:
Joan Laursen:
Chris Grant:
Jeff Bowser:
Valerie Arkin:

1 person likes this
Posted by Kati
a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 5, 2014 at 9:09 am

School board members: Show some backbone and stick with your original vote. Change is hard to swallow when it doesn't benefit your "lifestyle". School calendars should not be determined by when families take their vacations.

3 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2014 at 9:48 am

Only 18% of parents and 30% of staff voted for modified lite. Even if in favor of the new calendar, surely nobody can agree with the process. Why were parents polled on 5 options when the district had long agreed and negotiated with the union for modified lite? Even the Board was blind-sided when told they could only vote on 2 options. The survey was invalid. I don't agree that modified lite is the best option for our students - there is no hard data to support this change and the cons clearly outweigh the pros. However, I will stop 'whining' (as someone mentioned earlier) if the process is handled correctly and results from a valid survey show a clear majority of staff and parents support this change.

1 person likes this
Posted by agreewithkati
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2014 at 10:28 am

Totally agree with Kati. PUSD school board, keep as is and recognize that there are improvements that can be made with every process but do not revoke it. It would do way more harm than good.

1 person likes this
Posted by jaycee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2014 at 8:37 am

People are almost ALWAYS resistant to change, although I'm not always sure why. God forbid you ever have to move to another state or district that isn't exactly on Pleasanton's school calendar. I would welcome an October break! Modified lite would work well for the kids -- and parents might be surprised they actually like it too!

2 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2014 at 10:23 am

Perhaps if the school board were doing there Job - teachers would not be fleeing the district in droves to Livermore (who has recognized the discontent and agreed to hire Pleasanton teachers with full credit for years of service) there are 100s of student being taught by subs as the district struggle to attract teachers to work in the cess-pool. They are trying to drive an agenda to experiment with our kids when they can't even get the primary job accomplished

5 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2014 at 11:06 am

Sometimes it is all too easy to set aside very valid dissenting arguments and conveniently categorize them all under the 'fear change' umbrella

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on Feb 25, 2017 at 3:38 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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

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