Hearings continue today for Vranesh, Pleasanton school district

Former Walnut Grove principal appealing his termination

Former Walnut Grove principal Jon Vranesh is appealing his termination from the Pleasanton Unified School District at hearings now underway at the Office of Administrative Hearing in Oakland, 1515 Clay Street, Ste. 206.

The three weeks of hearings are being held today through Friday, and then again April 27 to May 1, and May 4 to 8. They start each day at 9 a.m. and are open to the public.

For information, see the OAH website.

In late January, an attempt by PUSD to deny Vranesh a hearing into its allegations against him was rejected by Administrative Law Judge Diane Schneider, and the district was ordered to immediately make more than 25 individuals available for depositions.

Several individuals who gave depositions, most of whom are district employees, are expected to testify at the hearing. The district's witnesses will be heard first.

Aside from the administrative hearing, a separate hearing is scheduled for Thursday on the district's motion to stay proceedings in relation to a lawsuit filed by Vranesh against PUSD on Oct. 17, 2014.

Vranesh, who was placed on administrative leave in October 2013 for allegedly creating a "hostile work environment" at the school site has asked for "economic and non-economic damages according to proof, reinstatement to his position with back pay, and punitive damages against the individual defendants … according to proof," and attorneys' fees.


40 people like this
Posted by shadow11
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 14, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Thank you for the update. Hope you're able to make it to the hearings and provide us with updates.

65 people like this
Posted by JackSprat
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Apr 14, 2015 at 5:18 pm

Thank you weekly for making this clear this wasn't a "sexual harassment" case as some speakers at a recent board meeting tried to claim it was.

The district wants a "stay" to drag out the legal proceedings even longer? Come on folks...more time isn't going to make you have a stronger case. You screwed up big time. Lets get this over with.

Big question is how much has this fiasco costing our kid's education in dollar amounts? And how is it being paid for? The public deserves to know how many dollars have been wasted that could have been spent in the classroom.

50 people like this
Posted by lll
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 14, 2015 at 6:30 pm

The administration want a stay to preserve their jobs as long as possible. I would imagine that if the district loses that there will be some firing at the top.

62 people like this
Posted by Lori
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 14, 2015 at 10:31 pm

I'd like to request that the weekly follow this closely and continue to post updates. I appreciate the update that was provided today. I'm just another mom of two students that had the pleasure of going to Pleasanton schools during Mr. Vranesh's tenure as vice principal. I'm truly saddened by what PUSD has done to Mr. Vranesh and his future when he was absolutely one of the best administrators in the district in the fifteen years I have had children in the district. I'm all about keeping money in the classroom and donate frequently just like almost all parents do, but the harm done to this fine man warrants a large settlement. At the end of the day, there's no amount of money that would offset what Mr. Vranesh and his family have been put through. Our board made the decision to hire Ahmadi and she is completely to blame for this fiasco. I'm shocked she hasn't been removed by the board, although I realize they are the ones that thought hiring her was a good idea in the first place.

44 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 14, 2015 at 10:48 pm

Why would the District want to stay proceedings if they've done nothing wrong. Why have they attempted to obstruct and hold up this process if they've done nothing wrong? I would figure the Superintendent and her staff would want the truth to come out in court especially if they've done nothing wrong. How much has the lawyer for the District made on this fiasco?

49 people like this
Posted by Former WG
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Apr 15, 2015 at 8:22 pm

Looking forward to Vranesh's name being cleared and the truth coming out. Hopefully all of the employees who had to move because of the hostile environment created by a handful of teachers will be heard from as well. Though I can't imagine any of them wanting to return to that school, it will be nice to know the truth instead of the mean spirited gossip. Agree - it's going to cost our kids (and us) a lot, but also an opportunity for a lesson on bullying, gossip and cliques (once thought to be the domain of kids, turns out adults can be even meaner). Kids lose.

27 people like this
Posted by Jan
a resident of Parkside
on Apr 16, 2015 at 10:34 am

Bowser falsely said sexual harassment in his infamous fundraising email. Wonder if that will come up at the hearing and be used against the district.

31 people like this
Posted by Charles
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2015 at 10:32 am

It saddens me how gossip has ruined Mr. Vranesh's life. The truth will come out in the court proceedings and he'll be able to walk with his head held high knowing he told the truth all along. Karma is coming to those who have done the harm. As citizens, we should request for all the school board member's resignation and hold them personally responsible for any monies this costs the school district. Our children should not have to pay for their idiocracy.

2 people like this
Posted by Franco
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Apr 17, 2015 at 12:41 pm

Franco is a registered user.

Yesterday the judge granted the stay of proceedings. Essentially it will likely be temporary pending the outcome of District hearings. The relevant text from her ruling is:

The court has reviewed Plaintiffs extremely voluminous complaint, as well as the Accusation,
Statement of Charges, and Notice of Special and Other Defenses in the administrative proceeding now
pending before the Office of Administrative Hearings to review the District's Notice of Intention to
Dismiss Plaintiff..........

Based on that review, the court readily concludes that there is a substantial overlap in the evidence and
factual and legal issues that the ALJ will apparently be required to consider in the evidentiary hearing
currently set for April20-May 8, 2015, in the administrative proceeding, on one hand, and the evidence
and factual and legal issues raised by Plaintiffs complaint in this proceeding, on the other.......

Plaintiff identifies several ways in which the issues and claims are not identical.........But the fact that the factual and legal issues
raised are not identical does not prevent the court from concluding that to permit Plaintiff to
simultaneously litigate the many common factual and legal issues in the impending administrative hearing and before this court would create a serious risk of inconsistent rulings, impose an unnecessary and duplicative litigation burden on the District, disserve judicial economy, and...........

The court further notes, however, that some of the causes of action in Plaintiffs complaint may
ultimately prove to be sufficiently collateral to and distinct from the issues adjudicated in his
administrative proceeding that it would be permissible to litigate those issues while the ALJ's eventual
ruling is subject to review in a pending administrative mandamus proceeding, should one ultimately be
initiated. The court concludes that it will not be possible to determine whether the stay should be subject
to any exceptions until after the impending administrative evidentiary hearing is completed and the ALJ
makes her factual findings and ruling.

A case management conference is currently scheduled in this action for June 5, 2015. The court directs
the parties to inform the court at that conference of the status of the administrative proceeding and
whether the ALJ has yet issued a ruling.......

15 people like this
Posted by Dee
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 17, 2015 at 5:32 pm

Hintzke and Arkin voted against removal and Miller is new. The only ones who need to go are Grant (up for re-election next year) and Laursen (not up until 2018) Laursen will never resign. Bowser, Laursen and Grant made horrible decisions and ignored public input but they are basically volunteers. You can't hold them financially responsible for arrogance and stupidity.

Ahamdi and Faraghan on the other hand are highly paid (Ahmadi $262K, Faraghan $222K in 2013)and it's there job to get these decisions right. They should be held accountable. Ahmadi is the board's only employee but they can direct her to fire Faraghan. If it's proven that some of the teachers provided false information then they should be fired for willful misconduct and held financially responsible(same for JV if that's the case BTW). At least a couple of them have the money from their large settlements.

We could use a new union rep but that's up to their members and the current one is no better than the last. Hey Janice, we would have more money to give your members if we hadn't burned $1M and counting on this. I don't believe you when you say your daughter who is 1 year out of college working as an administrative assistant makes more than you. Your base salary in 2013 was $98,284. Web Link. No way an admin with little experience makes anywhere close to that.

13 people like this
Posted by Kay
a resident of Charter Oaks
on Apr 18, 2015 at 5:46 am

Does anyone know if the stay is a loss for Mr. Vranesh? I don't have legal experience to understand what the ruling means.

I'm team Vranesh all the way. He was wonderful to my children.

15 people like this
Posted by Franco
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Apr 18, 2015 at 9:00 am

Franco is a registered user.

The only loss is that of time. The Superior Court judge logically wants to see the outcome of the District hearings first before she will let the case proceed. Vranesh's attorney will then need to file motions to proceed with issues "sufficiently collateral to and distinct from the issues adjudicated in his
administrative proceeding that it would be permissible to litigate those issues while the ALJ's eventual
ruling is subject to review in a pending administrative mandamus proceeding..."

It was a tactic on Vranesh's part to try to get his case tried in two separate venues at the same time. However, the judge did not go for that. She wants the District hearing to play out first. That's why she agreed with the School Board's motion for a stay.

This is my take on the ruling.

15 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 18, 2015 at 9:12 am

Maybe we can now finally pass a parcel tax so that it can help pay for the new pre school, the $500,000 we paid the 2 teachers, and the amount of the multi million settlement to Mr Vranish. I wonder if he will file a civil suit against the 2 teachers after this is done? Anyway, a parcel tax is the way to go here.

45 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 18, 2015 at 9:43 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

There is no way voters will approve a property tax measure to pay any of the following:

1. General Obligation Bonds series 2014A. New debt acquired to pay old debt.
2. To fund any of the Vranesh issue.
3. Teacher tenure issue is addressed by the PUSD human resources with profound activity in that regard. Under performing teachers are a drag on the budget.
4. 2012 - 2013 PUSD revenue $122,222,708, 2012 - 2013 salaries and benefits $110,000,000. Reduction in administrative staff is a must to bring spending under control.

30 people like this
Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Apr 18, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Jon Vranesh was one of the best Principals Walnut Grove has ever had. This is a man who lost his job because he followed protocol. Two teachers were paid off in a settlement that neither Jon or his attorney knew anything about. Since when does the state of California do that unless someones guilty. Why were they paid? Nothing was ever settled.

A custodian didn't do her job and falsified legal documents then ran to daddy to save her job (he's the President of the custodial jobs). She should've been fired for falsifying documents alone. Superintendent (PA) who also didn't do her job collected $262K in 2013. Where does the city get the money to pay that kind of salary?

Walnut Grove has a principal who is a giant MONSTER. She thinks she owns the school and can set the rules as she sees fit. Did you know she's BFF's with Parvin? Why wasn't Mr. Munioz promoted to Principal? Steed came from Brentwood (another financial disaster area). She wants the kids to like her so she gives them stickers and roadrunner bucks for good deeds (that don't work). And then they can buy cheap gadgets or toys that fall apart after a day. Don't let her fool you, she doesn't spend any quality time with the children. With the baseball season upon us she ask Mr. Maher to come and play baseball with the kids because she didn't want anything to do with it. Just where is all this money coming from? The vice principal is a throw back from the sixties. Get with it Marla your dresses are too short and put that cell phone away. Try interacting with the children you'll find they're lots of fun and very smart. Walnut Grove Elementary isn't the school it used be.

19 people like this
Posted by bully
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Apr 18, 2015 at 8:47 pm

Disgusted, You are disgusting. Online anonymous bullying at it's worst. A coward who spouts ridiculous insults online to somehow make themselves feel better. What kind of example are you setting for your child? Yuck, you really are disgusting and pathetic. By the way, the new principal is very nice and DOES spend quality time with the children and Walnut Grove is doing great. What makes people think that just because people are public school employees they can come on here hiding behind an ip address and bully them. How is this acceptable?? It's not.

22 people like this
Posted by pusd empl
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 19, 2015 at 11:43 am

Was a pleasure working with you jv. Best of luck.

10 people like this
Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 19, 2015 at 10:33 pm

@Bully-Funny I didn't see you post your name either. Now who's the coward?

Get your definition straight about bullying. I'm speaking the facts. Don't open your mouth on a public forum unless you have the real FACTS.

My child was fortunate to have the BEST principal wile at Walnut Grove.

17 people like this
Posted by PUSD EMP
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Apr 19, 2015 at 10:44 pm

All the best Jon.

23 people like this
Posted by WG parent
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Apr 20, 2015 at 9:00 am

I still don't get it. How is it that everyone knows he is innocent? I wasn't there, so I don't know either way. All these people are eye witnesses?? I met with JV a couple times, nice conversations. But again, I wasn't there, I don't know what happened.

I also haven't witnessed a MONSTER on campus, but maybe I've missed that. I couldn't be happier to see Maher on campus. He brought so much joy to Walnut Grove when we needed it most. I don't know if she's not into baseball or playing with the kids at lunch recess but I do appreciate her reaching out to Maher.

14 people like this
Posted by Roger Smith
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Apr 20, 2015 at 10:43 am

Dear Pleasanton Weekly Good job on covering this and keeping us informed. Please keep the good work. I believe most union workers are lazy and inefficient. They bring down productivity. What is the need for unions in Public Schools. We would be much better off without them. I support Jon for trying to stand up to them.Best wishes Jon. May God help you.

26 people like this
Posted by bully
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Apr 20, 2015 at 10:49 am


Maybe it's time for you to go back to second grade. Stating that somebody is a MONSTER and thinks they own the school and then talking about how someone's skirt is too shirt is an OPINION. Not a fact. This has absolutely nothing to do with JV. The FACT is that the US legal definition of cyberbullying is

"cyber-bullying could be limited to posting rumors or gossips about a person in the internet bringing about hatred in other’s minds; or it may go to the extent of personally identifying victims and publishing materials severely defaming and humiliating them".[2]

FACT, you are a cyberbully. I feel so sorry for your poor children.

1 person likes this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

"What is the need for unions in Public Schools"

Roger Smith, can you tell me, have you ever been a union member? If you can answer this question for me, then I can answer your question about the need for unions in schools.

15 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 20, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

@Get the Facts:

Please share your knowledge about the need for unions in schools.

9 people like this
Posted by Daveg
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 21, 2015 at 8:33 am

Daveg is a registered user.

@ Get the Facts................please share your knowledge about the need for any union! Perhaps you could be specific about the need for unions such as the Amalgamated Transit Union that helped bring the BART system to a screeching halt or the ILWU that brought all the West Coast Ports to a standstill and caused millions in losses to both small and large businesses on the West Coast. I realize that this is slightly "off" topic, however glib statements such as GTF has posted should be challenged to deliver.

14 people like this
Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 21, 2015 at 9:51 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

@ Get the Facts: I've been a union member, IBEW, and the ONLY purpose for unions in any setting is to protect jobs, egos and the union treasury. There was a time when a union member possessed a minimum skill level. That is no longer the case. If only all members of the teacher's union were competent, it would be a better place.

14 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2015 at 8:24 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

@ Michael Austin and Daveg,

I am happy to share my thoughts on unionism in the schools. Let me first say that I cannot speak much about unions in other lines of work, like the ones Daveg and mooseturd mention above. I have no knowledge there. Also please notice that Roger Smith has not replied, leaving me to believe he has never been in a union.

Teachers unions have been a scapegoat for the ills of public education for a long time. It is unfortunate. Teachers work very hard and have, in my opinion, earned the right to have union representation. The benefits of a teacher's union:

Salary: Unionized teachers can collectively bargain for improvements in salary. Teachers have a college degree, have at least one post-grad teaching certificate, and many have post-graduate degrees as well. Many teachers I know spend summers taking classes and continuing to improve upon their skills (younger, lesser paid teachers almost always have a second job of some sort). Most teachers work many hours beyond 3:00, completing work and preparing for the next day. The teacher's lunchroom at my site (and from what I hear, every other site) has become a morgue, as teachers are working or collaborating during their lunch. All this work, I feel, deserves a fair salary. As the middle class in this country shrinks, it's good to still be there, for now at least.

Job protection: This is a sticky one for many, as no one wants to see a bad teacher remain in place, even the union. But a teacher should not be removed at the whim of a principal or administrator. A good example of this is an acquaintance of mine worked last year at a private school in Dublin, never having a bad review. A new director came in, and let go of four teachers, which happened to be four of the five most senior teachers. This is not acceptable! A union member with tenure has due process, which frankly all workers should have. (And by the way, it is very possible to remove a teacher. I have spoken to a former administrator who removed teachers. She stated it simply takes work, and in her words most administrators are not willing to do the work it takes to properly remove a teacher.)

Advocacy: A union member is able to speak out, either as a group, or as an individual, against perceived injustices. I had a former principal who I was not afraid to challenge, both publicly and privately, and this principal needed to be challenged. No way could I have done that without my union. Many teachers speak out at board meetings, as another example, calling out things that they feel are not best, either for teachers of for students. I would hope you would want teachers who are willing and able to advocate.

Here is a balanced (in my opinion) viewpoint about unions from a non-union teacher. It's a short and interesting read:

Web Link

Michael and Daveg, I welcome your thoughts.

15 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 22, 2015 at 8:15 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Get the Facts:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

My issue is with teacher tenure that protects under performing teachers. As with all union agreements there are performance standards in the agreement, that management can and should utilize to discipline. The PUSD human resource department is oblivious in addressing those performance standards, taking necessary actions that would move under performing teachers out of the PUSD system.

21 people like this
Posted by PTown Teacher
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Apr 27, 2015 at 7:45 pm

PTown Teacher is a registered user.

It was a pleasure to work with you, JV, and I'm sorry you and your family have had to go through this. Truly cannot imagine what life has been like. I hope that PW will continue to update the community on the proceedings. Really looking forward to the truth.

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

Couples: Wanting, Yet Missing One Another
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 635 views

Superintendent's new contract may portend difficult employee negotiations
By Tim Hunt | 6 comments | 399 views

Scott Raty bows out as CEO of Pleasanton Chamber
By Jeb Bing | 0 comments | 314 views


Nominations due by Sept. 17

Pleasanton Weekly and are once again putting out a call for nominations and sponsorships for the annual Tri-Valley Heroes awards - our salute to the community members dedicated to bettering the Tri-Valley and the lives of its residents.

Nomination form