News

Pleasanton schools may face layoffs this spring

$3.7 million in one-time dollars haven't been renewed, prompting forewarning

The Pleasanton Unified School District may be facing layoffs since funding to extend one-time appointments haven't come through.

The district released a letter to all employees last week that stated the district is currently employing at least 40 staff members with $3.7 million in state dollars, but that funding hasn't been secured for future years, so the district may have to let those people go.

"While we are not making budget cuts, we need to make personnel reductions to be consistent with the budget," interim superintendent Jim Hansen wrote in the Oct. 23 letter.

If the district isn't able to come up with the money by the spring, the list of layoffs will go to the school board for approval in February, and layoff notices will go to affected employees in March.

"It is very difficult to share this information with you, and members of the Superintendent's Cabinet and I feel it more appropriate to communicate this information sooner rather than later as we want to be transparent with the entire community," Hansen wrote. "Please know we are also discussing possible opportunities to bring in more revenue to the District and implement efficiencies that could help us save money."

The letter didn't name specific positions, but a PUSD budget document outlines the positions that were hired or extended with one-time dollars.

At least 40 jobs are at risk -- possibly more when part-time positions are considered. A few technology specialists, some literacy and math coaches, some counselors, some library assistants, some custodians and some vice principals' jobs are at risk, according to district budget documents.

However, the 40 full-time equivalent positions doesn't equal out to 40 jobs since some staff members could have half-time, three-fourths-time or other part-time positions.

Comments

7 people like this
Posted by Great....
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 30, 2015 at 12:12 pm

Did the district go on a spending spree??? It would be very sad to see the district go backward to where they were several years ago.


8 people like this
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Oct 30, 2015 at 1:13 pm

I remembered reading that the PUSD legal expenditures, including those to former board member Pat Kernan's legal firm Kingsley Bogard, were close to $1.5M by July of this year. Nice retirement commissions for a former school board member who didn't actually live in Pleasanton his last couple of years on the board.

With a dubious cost to benefit ratio, perhaps some budget cuts should include PUSD's lawyers, and the money saved could be better used elsewhere.

Web Link
Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2015 at 10:39 pm

I think it is time for some Pleasanton residents and forum posters to step up and get on the school board. I think there are some spots open soon. C'mon - let's get some people who know what they are doing on the board and care about pleasanton students and teachers.


Like this comment
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2015 at 5:25 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

To "Great...":
Yes, the district went on a spending spree, but that's what you do when you have one-time monies. If you don't use it, you lose it.

To "Billie":
The legal expenditures had nothing to do with the original post, about one-time monies.

To "Me Too":
I would love to see some new board members, and I would encourage more people to get involved. Current board member Mark Miller did just that last Fall, he didn't like what he saw (especially with the proposed calendar modification), and ran and won a spot. Every even numbered year two or three of the five spots on the board are available. Next year three spots are open, and at least one of the incumbents will not be running.


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 31, 2015 at 8:18 pm

GTF,

Maybe we should consider making the board positions paid. One of the reason we don't get good options is because people are working so much and it requires a lot of time. It's my feeling that we need business people on the board with executive e peri emcee


Like this comment
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2015 at 8:42 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

Jerry,

I don't really disagree with you. People are very busy, I actually spoke about that in another thread. I'm not sure paying people would make the most sense, as unpaid (virtually, they get a small stipend) candidates do it because they want to help the schools/students or have an issue/objective that they want to see changed or accomplished. Paid people might do it just for the money, and not really care.

Executive experience would be great to bring to the table, I believe Miller is an executive, and Grant is on the board for Kaiser. Two of the three ladies on the board do not work, which is helpful too, as they are free to go to more of the school functions and speak in Sacramento for educational causes, which I know Laursen has done. But keep in mind business executives would be unfamiliar with the way education is run. There is no product, so to speak, to sell, education is more like a non-profit. Funding comes from the state and is constantly fluctuating, and then there is the educational code to deal with. So though I agree with you that having executives would be good, they would still be at a loss as to the ins and outs of education until they had some time under their belt. I actually feel the best is mix, some employed some not, some in the private sector and some in government, men and women, and different nationalities. We have most of these, but four of five are caucasian, we need more diversity on the board, in my opinion.


Like this comment
Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2015 at 9:28 pm

GTF - the sad part is that Mr. Miller ran an won only because he didn't like the day that school started. There was no desire to improve the schools, just that he found a group of people that didn't like something and got those people to vote.

I am starting to hear rumors that Mr. Miller may be changing his position on the school calendar. Again, only unsubstantiated rumors, but could this be because he actually started looking at how the calendar change may actually benefit students and no just how it makes a few parents agree for a couple years.


Like this comment
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 1, 2015 at 4:39 am

"Get the Facts",
I find it interesting that while most of the at-risk jobs mentioned fall into the "nice to have" category that benefit our students, jobs like custodians and vice principals are not normally optional, one-time only, temporary appointments. These jobs should be accounted for and funded within the PUSD budget.

In addition, as with all funds in the budget, including those associated with legal expenditures, the Board must take a critical view of areas where, as Mr. Hansen stated above, the district can "implement efficiencies that could help us save money." KB has, and is, taking a good chunk of the school budget with not only their contract/commissions, but with the sometimes dubious payout deals they have negotiated. Their efficacy and cost-to-benefit within PUSD should absolutely *not* be excluded from budget review and the possibility saving money and/or a better firm.


7 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 1, 2015 at 7:51 am

Get the facts

You bring up an interesting point. We are no longer an isolated city but rather just one in a large metro area. At the same time we have had a huge influx of Asians and I like that. I was struck by how polite their children were last night on Halloween. "Yes sir and thank you sir have a nice evening". That said We are no longer a community of young white people but rather lots of young Asians parents and older white people. I believe our board should reflect the changing demographics.


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton was nice forty years ago
a resident of Castlewood
on Nov 1, 2015 at 8:14 am

When you chose one person over another because of race you are practicing racism. Diversity is not a get out of racism free card. Maybe you can tell me how you obtain diversity by picking people based on their race to even things up?
GTF and Jerry


6 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 1, 2015 at 9:00 am

Forty,

I am not talking about forced diversity I am just saying that based on selection and statistics it will level out. I am an old white guy and my viewpoints and opinions based on my experiences are not as diverse as others and we all can learn from more exposures. It is a way of continuing to develop to new ideas.


4 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2015 at 9:42 am

@Forty,

People pick who they want. If they vote for candidates who reflect a variety of cultural backgrounds, that has nothing to do with racism.


4 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

To "Forty",

I agree completely with Jerry and BobB and their replies to you. In a perfect world, we would have four or five different cultures represented, and a 2/3 split of man/woman (or vice-versa). I never said you or anyone had to have diversity, you vote for who you want. Sadly, we have had almost exclusively caucasian candidates lately, limiting the board to being almost completely white.

"Me Too", I have heard the same thing too, that Mark Miller was considering a calendar change, but I have no idea if that is true or rumor. Mark, you have posted in the past, can you possibly post what your current thoughts on a calendar change are, and what is happening lately with the calendar discussions?


19 people like this
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 1, 2015 at 9:31 pm

In my opinion Pleasanton District is going to Hell in A Hand Basket. Staff at some schools put horrible ideas in kids head and the staff themselves do some of the bullying that is going on in schools. It is not just the kids. The district doesn't return phone calls to parents and if there is a meeting the topic is always pushed under the carpet.


2 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton was nice forty years ago
a resident of Castlewood
on Nov 2, 2015 at 8:18 am

When you choose one person over another because of their race that is racism. I never said forced I said chose. If you choose to hire only white people because they are white that is racism. When you choose not to hire someone because of race that is racism. Regardless of what you think. When you say we need more Asian board members because they are Asian that is racism Now if what you say is true then the people chose these Caucasians. Are you not happy with the content of their character or the color of their skin? regardless of your reasoning to even it out I you must choose, in this case less white people.if you choose less white people you are practicing racism. Now maybe by some miracle of chance the numbers all come out even ( never going to happen). So we are left to choose as you would have us do and choose less white people in your own words. I think it's a conundrum you cannot deny. People will have to choose to make things even they will have to choose by race. That is the clinical definition of racism, However you rationalize it. It does not matter the racial makeup of the community. ( see redlining) choosing by race is racism justifiying it by using the word diversity does not change the fact decisions are being made based on race. That is racism. Sorry you can not have it both ways. But this thread explains a lot about society. If I sell my houses in Pleasanton to white people because I don't like the cultural changes am I practicing diversity ? Jeez


6 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 2, 2015 at 9:37 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Quote:

"I think it is time for some residents and forum posters to step up and get on the school board".

Interesting comment, the forum posters would be running anonymously.


8 people like this
Posted by Mark Miller - PUSD Board Member
a resident of Mission Park
on Nov 2, 2015 at 1:30 pm

@Get the Facts - my opinion on the calendar has not changed. I still do not feel the positives of moving the calendar up outweigh the negatives. But my main opposition with the last attempt was with the process, and I pledged, as a Board Member, to support a reasonable alternative calendar option if that's what the majority of parents, teachers, staff, and students want, and if a sound process were employed in determining that sentiment. We have a Calendar Advisory Committee in place, composed of representatives from the aforementioned groups, to determine if a calendar change is desired and what that might look like. They have a timeline, posted here, toward which they're working:

Web Link

If you have an opinion on this, I'd love to hear it! I can be reached at mark_miller@pleasantonusd.net.


11 people like this
Posted by Another parent
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 2, 2015 at 4:07 pm

A majority of staff at the district are just sitting behind a desk doing nothing and collecting a paycheck. Be honest. They don't care about the safety or anything else to do with these kids. Look at the test scores from the past to now. I have been in this district since we moved here in 1971. My nieces and nephews have gone through this district so I have seen all the changes. I now have a child in 9 the grade in Ptown and wow. What a joke. I have had nothing but problems with this district. We need to get rid of the riff raff. Get people who will take care of the problems.


5 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

This is SO false! Though I am not one to toot the horn of the administration, they work long hours, and I do mean work, 10-12 hour days. And when the cuts came a few years back, the district office got hit first and hardest, the remaining staff had to do the same amount of work with far less people.

You don't have to like the people, but don't accuse them of "just sitting behind a desk doing nothing and collecting a paycheck" and "They don't care about the safety or anything else to do with these kids". They are, for the most part, hard-working and caring people.

If the district is such a "joke", then feel free to move to another district or take your child to a private school.


8 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 2, 2015 at 5:27 pm

I can't tell you how many times I have walked into the district to find the women talking about parties or what someone did and just let you stand there. You must be one of those parents that don't deal with their child after school instead let them go to the library and bully kids or loiter outside. Until you have had the same horrible experiences I have had in the district you know nothing of what you speak.your kids must be the ones bullying others


14 people like this
Posted by Another parent
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 2, 2015 at 5:55 pm

@ Mark Miller: I don't understand why that calendar committee has such heavy representation by parents and such light representation by educators. The calendar decision should be driven by educational pros and cons, not peoples vacation plans. I think part of the problem in this community is that a vocal minority of parents have been empowered, and they're basically driving decisions that are beyond their area of expertise.


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

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