News


Pleasanton school board to vote tonight on 2016-17 calendar

Bond measure survey, superintendent search update also on board's agenda

Pleasanton's school board is set decide whether to change the district's instructional calendar and debate hiring a survey firm to gauge public interest in a possible bond measure during its meeting Tuesday night.

The district has been considering changing its instructional calendar for about a year, and a district-wide survey was sent out to parents, teachers, some students and other stakeholders to ask about their priorities and reservations in redesigning a calendar.

The board will be given two options for the 2016-17 school year Tuesday: a traditional calendar or a revised option that moves high school finals before winter break.

The alternative calendar shifts the start and end of the school year up by a week, but it keeps the length of summer break the same and does not change the dates of existing holidays.

The revised calendar begins the fall semester on Aug. 15 and ends the semester on Dec. 22. Exams would run from Dec. 20-22. Spring semester would then start for students on Jan. 10 and would end on June 2, and spring final exams would be on June 1 and 2.

The traditional district calendar begins the fall semester on Aug. 22 and ends the semester after winter break on Jan. 20. Finals are from Jan. 18-20. Spring semester begins Jan. 23 and ends June 9, with finals running from June 7-9.

The school board meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Tuesday at district headquarters on Bernal Avenue.

In other business

* The board will decide whether to grant Seattle-based EMC Research a $24,000 for a 400-person, 15-minute survey in English and Mandarin on a possible school bond measure in Pleasanton.

The district is considering putting a bond measure to a public vote, possibly as early as November, to fund school facilities construction and renovation.

* Board members will hear a presentation on state requirements for helping dyslexic students.

* They will consider a presentation about the effect of anxiety on teen brain development.

* The board will also receive an update on the superintendent search process.

Comments

18 people like this
Posted by Frustrated Parent
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 7, 2016 at 7:59 am

It's about time! The calendar mess the past 2 school years is embarrassing. All of the time, energy and money spent to end up with a proposal that is just a few days different than the calendar that caused an uproar last year. And all of the other tri-valley school districts announced their calendar months ago. Pleasanton looks ridiculous.


8 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 7, 2016 at 8:57 am

Get the Facts is a registered user.

Yes, I too find this ridiculous. So many people objected to "the process" last time, but let's take a look at this process:
-In this process there were fewer meetings about the calendar (only two), I don't recall the number but there were more last time.
-If approved Tuesday there will only be six months notice (it was always said the first time around that there would be at least 12 months notice for any calendar change).
-The result will be exactly the same as before. (I should say the one difference is that there will be no week of break in October, but this wasn't going to happen the first year anyway, so it may never have happened at all).

So just as Frustrated Parent has said, we look ridiculous. We could have been the proactive leader, but now we are the reactive follower.

And I, along with many other teachers and parents, will be looking to add an October week-long break in the next few years. Otherwise, if the calendar stays the same, there will be 12 weeks with just one day off between the start of school and the week of Veteran's Day.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 7, 2016 at 11:08 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Here is s link to the alternative calendar: Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 7, 2016 at 1:48 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

The promise was more and better communication. I hope that was done.

GtF, I guess you can’t have it both ways, get this change in place and give me more time to adjust to the change. I would hope there would be more than one calendar year up for approval. Why not carry both examples through 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 and then approve whichever version for three years out. Based on your comments, it must be to negotiate an October break.*

Pleasanton was never going to be the proactive leader, nor was anyone else in the East Bay. It’s a title without distinction. There were plenty of available examples from other California districts, and from years back.

*I looked at the 180-day schedule, and there are 8 minimum days (varies by grade levels: 1-12, 1-8, 1-5). That means if we count the days as full and minimum, it’s more like 176ish full days of instruction. And yes, I understand minimum days count as a whole instructional day, but they shouldn’t because they aren’t particularly productive instructional days. I think parents should at least understand it isn’t really 180 days.

My suggestion for more days off in the first semester would be to give up two days of Thanksgiving week and put them somewhere else in the first semester. However, the rest of the corporate world may not understand “there will be 12 weeks with just one day off between the start of school and the week of Veteran's Day.”

“Paid holidays are not required in the United States by any government regulations. This is because the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require an employer to pay employees for time that they do not work, such as for vacations or holidays.” Here is a link to “About Money” updated in October 2015. Web Link And another from Redcort for 2016 and 2017: Web Link Also, “California employers are not required to provide employees time off for holidays.” Web Link

I would not argue for district staff not to enjoy paid holidays, but being realistic, working 12 weeks without a day off is pretty normal.


10 people like this
Posted by Nice
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 7, 2016 at 9:33 pm

Wow, the proposed calendar changes are really unfriendly to anyone who wants to travel for Christmas. Not impressed and quite disappointed.


4 people like this
Posted by Made me laugh..
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 8, 2016 at 6:51 am

"..... working 12 weeks off without a break is pretty normal.".
Good stuff. Normal disappeared many union negotiations ago. Thanks to poor district leadership and terrible negotiations, there is now a "union normal", and a "real world" normal. In the real world, as mentioned by a comment on a parallel thread, it's "weird" for the district to pay an elementary school PE teacher $130,000 (including benefits). Not in the union world. It's "weird" to pay a starting, green, (fresh out of undergrad) PE teacher over $60,000 to work only 9 months a year. It's weird to have employees cry about working 12 weeks without a paid day off.

In the real world, we work hard to please our bosses. If we are valuable employees and our boss mistreats us, we leave and go to another employer who will treat us better. In the unionized labor world, you pay a thug (union association) to threaten your boss into compliance.

Calendar decision not going the union way? Time to send in the knee cap tappers.


5 people like this
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Feb 8, 2016 at 9:21 am

The win/win answer is to change the length of the first and second semester so that we can start at the traditional date and end before Christmas break. I am not sure if they are mental midgets or why they can't come up with this solution, but they seem to love drama. Board members that vote for this won't be elected next time around. Just like last time.


13 people like this
Posted by sue me
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2016 at 9:35 am

I am so tired of educators rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. There are academic issues that need to be addressed. Instead, we waste time and resources on when school should start. When you can educate my kids, actually educate them, between Labor Day and mid June, then we can talk about scheduling changes. Until then, shut up and teach my kids.


16 people like this
Posted by Jill
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Feb 8, 2016 at 11:18 am

Why on earth is the district keeping those ridiculous Monday holidays in February (the one before President's Day) and April that correspond to no other holiday? Is the district trying to make working parents' lives difficult?


6 people like this
Posted by working parent
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 8, 2016 at 11:52 am

With our neighboring districts shifting their calendars, seems like we should change ours, but after looking at the attachments provided on the Board agenda I want to highlight:
1) They still didn't fix all of the November disruptions at the elementary school level. If you look at the "full version" of the survey results presentation towards the very back I see there is strong support to reduce the number of minimum days and the majority want elementary conferences to be optional, but they didn't change anything on those items in the proposed calendars. Seems a bit lopsided on what is being changed. The poor elementary students lose a week or two of summer in August to help the high schoolers with their finals, but yet nothing is being done on min days and conferences for the younger students, even though it looks like there is also support for change.
2)Be warned,if you applied the revised calendar to this current school year instead, school would start in the second week of August. Hope they let everyone know that in some years, school will begin the second week and not the third week of August like the revised calendar is showing for next year. Looks like it depends upon when Winter Break begins. If that is the case, no way would I want an additional October week break as that would make us have to start school the first week in August in some years.


4 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 8, 2016 at 1:08 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I support your concern for November. Including October 31 until the end of the November, there are only 14 instructional days, and four of those are minimum days; the majority are at the TK-5 level.

I would also agree that without calendars for the next three school years, parents don't have a clear reference to the impact of the revised calendar into the future.


7 people like this
Posted by Frustrated Parent
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 8, 2016 at 1:41 pm

The proposed revised calendar shows first semester 86 days, the second semester 94 days. The survey data shows 43% of parents want either 1 - 2 days difference or no difference. 22% would be okay with 3- 4 days and 34% are okay with 5 - 6 days difference. How is that responding to the survey data and parent input?

I want finals before Christmas for the sake of High School kids (mine are no where close) but the proposed calendar seems to not include key pieces of feedback from the survey. My elementary school kids learn NOTHING on the November minimum days and parents overwhelming wanted those gone as well.

I say vote for traditional calendar and propose a better calendar and that shows implications of changes 3 years down the path (as another commenter pointed out).


28 people like this
Posted by Karen
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 8, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Gawd people, this is just a week difference! There is no way to make everyone happy here. This calendar would not necessarily be my first choice if I personally got to design it, but of course it's not just about me. This seems like they are trying to make the smallest amount of change while still letting the high schoolers finish before the holiday break. I think it's a fine calendar because I know the high school kids really need that. This is not a big deal. Get over it and move on.


6 people like this
Posted by Keeping up...
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 8, 2016 at 1:55 pm

I absolutely support a change. Having had kids have both calendars before I definitely like early start, early finish. the only thing I'm bummed about is a I have a senior so not going to be able to take advantage of this change....

I do beg to differ on Kathleen's response that we weren't ever going to be the leaders on this one. For a split second we were going to lead the districts with a calendar change in our area until the parents revolt. Now we are following SRV who saw what a train wreck we were so they went about it a different way by moving up start by one week instead of 2 which for some reason our district thought would fly.

I hope the board makes the change and the parents let it happen. Try it, you just might like it, not to mention then we will be aligned with SRV schools in our league (and also DLS and CHS who have had these schedules for years).


6 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 8, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

"I do beg to differ on Kathleen's response that we weren't ever going to be the leaders"
"(and also DLS and CHS who have had these schedules for years)"

Keeping up, Please make your two statements make sense (we could have been leaders except DLS and CHS had the schedules for years)?? We were not the leaders; we weren't anywhere near being the leaders anywhere in the Bay area.

I support a shift to finals before winter break. I also support a multi-year adoption so parents understand the long-term impact. I do not, however, support nearly a week of minimum days right before a week off.


7 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

Kathleen,

I agree with "Keeping up...", we were going to be the area leader. This poster and I agree that the area is Dublin, San Ramon, and Livermore. Kathleen, you are also correct when you say Pleasanton would not have been the Bay Area leader. You are taking a bit more macro view than "Keeping up..." and I do. All of us are correct, it simply depends on the 'area' one is speaking about.

Regarding the minimum days spoken about by many above, I spoke to someone on the calendar committee who said there is no reason these could not be addressed, but a calendar needed to be in place beforehand. (I don't know all the reasons why, this is simply what I was told.)

Kathleen, I don't personally care if this calendar started this year or next year or never. I really don't care. But your comment "I guess you can't have it both ways, get this change in place and give me more time to adjust to the change" makes no sense to me. Many people have stated that they want a year's notice before a change, but it is very possible the board might change the calendar for just six months from now. Fine with me, but many others will not be happy, I presume that some will have vacation plans.

Also Kathleen, school days the week of November will probably never come back. They were taken out long ago due to low attendance, and you know as well or better than anyone here that every district needs to maximize Average Daily Attendance (ADA), and too many families take their kids out of school that week to return to the old days of having school on Thanksgiving week.

Yes, I knew my comment about an October week off and working 12 weeks in a row with only one day off would be laughed at, but just sharing my thoughts. Other than the October week off, I couldn't care less what they do with he calendar. I work 185 days, I don't care where they are placed, but I do prefer an October break.

To "Made me laugh..", before you go all union bashing on us, you need to get your facts straight. An elementary PE teacher I spoke to said it was impossible to make $130,000. The top basic salary a teacher in Pleasanton can make is $105,865. An elementary PE teacher can work extra sections, with the maximum being three extra sections, bringing the top possible salary for an elementary PE teacher to $115,393. There are no other department chair stipends or anything else that can provide a kick in pay. I laughed when I saw that on the other thread, and here it is again. Please don't be like Trump and the rest who spew whatever fiction they want. (And maybe you should go to your local school and spend a day with your child's elementary PE teacher, they do good work.)

And Jill, I would rather see what San Ramon does, they have the first of the two February days on Friday, then the second on Monday, creating a four-day weekend.


3 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Feb 8, 2016 at 7:55 pm

1) It's bizarre and sad to me that the board allowed this decision, which should be made by them based on what is educationally best for kids, to become so politicized and blown out of proportion. Make a decision already and let's move on.

2) @ Sue me and the others who liked those comments: all quantitative measurements point to the fact that our teachers do a pretty darn good job in this community.


11 people like this
Posted by Divided
a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2016 at 10:04 pm

There is a fundamental divide when it comes to the school calendar. I wish people could better understand different viewpoints.
For the teachers and staff that get paid for 185 days, no matter when they will be, and for many of the families with a stay at home family member, they typically support and want multiple days off during the school year. They get more long weekends and have little to no financial repercussions for those days off. Heck, I would too if I were in that position.
For the families with two full time working parents (or single parent households) which I expect will be the majority of new and future families moving into Pleasanton with our high housing prices, those full days off and minimum days are a financial hardship that can also be very disruptive to our work schedules in a job we need to keep to pay our mortgages each month. It is easier and cheaper to get childcare in the summer than during the school year. Plus for the many folks like me who started out with a job with just two weeks off per year, i will always struggle to understand the need or justification for so many days off during the school year.
What we need to align on is what is best for our students. I have seen many classes stick to a 5 day cycle, with certain items done each day of the week culminating to a Friday test. When the 5 day week is disrupted, the whole week of learning is messed up. Plus, we have only 180 days of instruction, minimum days are a waste of a valuable day. A day off here or there is OK but do we really need for example 4 Mondays off in a 5 week period in Jan/Feb? Or as Kathleen mentioned, only 10 full days of school in the entire month of November?
How about we focus on what is best for our students learning and sympathize a bit more for the families who incur additional expense when days off are put in the calendar.


16 people like this
Posted by Made me laugh..
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 8, 2016 at 10:25 pm

To "get the facts", on Transparent California (data submitted by the district) a teacher of physical education at Hart Middle School, made $125,451.64 in 2014. No reason to mention his name, but it is available on the TC website. Given the increases approved in subsequent years, it has likely increased and may be over $130k. I'm sure he, and other pe teachers work very hard, and do a great job. But even paying them $125,451.64 is, well, " weird ". Compensation programs based purely on tenure lead to " weirdness". Plain and simple.


3 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2016 at 11:16 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

To "Make me laugh..",

What you said in your first post was, "it's "weird" for the district to pay an ELEMENTARY school PE teacher $130,000 (including benefits)". So I told you that an elementary PE teacher can only make $115,393.

What you said in your second post was, "a teacher of physical education at Hart MIDDLE School, made $125,451.64"

I capitalized the words ELEMENTARY and MIDDLE because you seem to be mixing these up. The post on the other thread said elementary, as did you in your first post, which are different then middle. I remember the original post about this teacher, and I know this teacher. He worked his tail off that year, as he does every year. I encourage you to spend a day with him to see what a great teacher he is.

So to review, an ELEMENTARY PE teacher cannot make $130,000.

Also, you say "including benefits". We have to pay for our own benefits here in Pleasanton, we have had to do that as long as I've been teaching. I believe that change was made in the late 80's or early 90's.

And compensation is not based on "tenure". It is based on years of experience and post-graduate units. Tenure can come quickly and it can come slowly, due to many factors, but does not affect salary. Web Link

I encourage you to come spend some time observing your child's teachers. I'm sorry you feel the salaries my fellow teachers receive are not earned, but instead "weird". We work very hard for your kids, our students.


8 people like this
Posted by Made me laugh..
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 9, 2016 at 6:57 am

Thanks for correcting my errors, Get The Facts. Unlike you, I'm not a teacher, so I'm not an expert on union rules and compensation. I'm a taxpayer. I'm your boss's boss's boss. The one who pays for things. However, forgiving my terminology mistakes, you have verified my message.

I'm sure that middle school PE teacher is a good person and works very hard. He also made $125,451.64 in 2014 for 185 days of work. If you annualized that to match the 250 days a typical non-teacher works, that's $169,359.71 annual convention compensation. That's weird, for a PE teacher.

Please feel free to correct my paper if I didn't carry my 1.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 9, 2016 at 9:25 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

GtF, Being a leader of four isn’t much of a goal. To me it’s like saying you are the best of the bottom four students in a class of 30. But I’ll take your point that some are only looking locally.

I would hate to think that after the backlash from the last calendar proposals that this one was rushed because “a calendar needed to be in place.” My response about not having it both ways was based on what you posted. I agree that a year’s notice makes more sense. I suppose there is a rush to be on a similar schedule to surrounding districts for a variety of reasons.

As to November, there are ways to clean it up as you noted about the minimum days. How can any educators think it is reasonable for students to get not only so few days of instruction, but also so many days of disruption? Yes, revenue limit districts have their woes with ADA, but those two days essentially penalize all for the few. I can only hope (and that’s probably all it will end up being) that the recent legal rumblings about school funding cause a change for the better.

The week off in October (like the days I want back in November), from my perspective, should never come to fruition. We educate students 180 days. Of those many count as whole days, but aren’t. Those minimum days and others (weeks after state testing is completed) are often not focused on instruction. I’m not blaming teachers for the emphasis on making high scores for state legislator boasting rights and realize school also has a necessary social aspect. I can think of ways to address it—for every minimum day, give me a full day. I’d pay for it (don’t think all would). Restructure a school day with a break(s)—longer lunch, another break for students to let off steam? Make high school scheduling more of a transition to college? Maybe college freshman dropout rates would be reduced because the newfound freedom wouldn’t be such a shock. I’m spitballing here. Better minds have worked on these issues.

Unfortunately, I think many see teacher unions as a block to innovation. And I would stand with teachers to agree change for change’s sake isn’t productive either. I would love to see a more collaborative approach among parents, teachers, and others who are interested in what is best for our youth (our children, your children, your students, and all of the children yet to come). If we truly want to be the leaders, this community could do it.

Otherwise, while we often don’t agree, I do appreciate your openness and the discussion.


6 people like this
Posted by working parent
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 9, 2016 at 9:30 am

All of this talk about salaries. Personally, I am very supportive of paying our good teachers & staff a wage that attracts them to our district and allows them to live in Pleasanton. They spend more time with our students than the parents do during the week. They teach them so many things, including in PE. My kids learn all of the different sports out there that I would otherwise have to pay a club for a whole season to experience. They teach them that they not only need to exercise their minds but also their bodies and exercise is a good stress relief. Plus many have volunteered to coach the school teams after school. I have no problem paying a good teacher that wage. While 95% of teachers my kids have had are absolutely wonderful and we want to keep them in our district, it only takes one bad apple to do a lot of damage to the students. I know from experience. I wish there was a better way to identify and remove them. I do have a problem paying that wage to the not so great teachers. They are still good people, teaching just may not be the best career for them.

To Get the Facts: I don't understand why the committee needs to understand the calendar first before adjusting the min days and days off. The difference between options is only a week and those weeks don't interfere with the min days and days off in question. Isn't the school board going to approve the entire calendar and not just start and end dates? If so, they won't be able to change any of the days after the approval right? Sorry, that explanation doesn't seem to make sense. Are you sure that is what they said as a reason why they are not fixing those problem days?
To Divided, thank you for the reminder. Most of us who work full time get only 3-4 weeks off a year. If you add up all of the days off that occur during the school year, you will find there are more days off or min days than we have vacation coverage for. That doesn't even include the fact that maybe we would like to save a week to use during the summer to do something as a family together. Right now we try a combination of staggering our days off between parents and paying for supplemental childcare (if we can find it) to cover it all. It is definitely not quality "family time" like I think PUSD thinks is happening.


5 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 9, 2016 at 10:35 am

@ Made me Laugh: "I'm a taxpayer. I'm your boss's boss's boss. The one who pays for things."

I guess by your logic all teachers are entrepreneurs. They pay taxes, too, so they must be their own bosses. Gosh, maybe the problem is that we have too many people who see themselves as the bosses...

When discussing what teachers make, it's important to look not just at the number of days worked but also the level of education and training needed for the job. Someone with a Master's degree could make a lot more money doing something else, and the cost of getting a bachelor's + credential + masters is much higher than it used to be.

We currently have a teacher shortage because of supply and demand. For many, the job doesn't pay enough to make all those student loans worth it (then you add the public scrutiny and constant ridicule, which can't make the job enjoyable, and the fact that you'll have to work full time for a semester at no pay during student teaching while paying your bills and tuition from savings or more loans). Yes, they get summer off (sort of). That doesn't pay the bills, though. So, while evaluating whether or not teachers make a fair wage, lets look at days worked but also look at what it costs to live in Pleasanton and the cost of education and training to become a teacher.


2 people like this
Posted by Days off before Finals, etc.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2016 at 11:45 am

The high school kids really need the three day weekend before finals in January. The proposed calendar change needs a three day weekend in December for finals. (And the HS teachers need to give the HS kids study guides more than a few days before finals.)

If you don't have or have not had a kid in HS, then you don't know how much school work they have right before finals and don't know how stressed they become. A lot of kids would rather have a two week break before intense studying for finals.

We should align all levels and get rid of trimesters in elementary. And also go to block schedule in HS.


8 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 9, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Pay the teachers. Vote for the calendar in an open forum. The proposed calendar looks fine. Time to move on...


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 9, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Block schedules are great, much less stressful. But I've been a fan since 1993 without much movement here.

Jack, "time to move on" comments aren't particularly helpful or insightful. It's following blindly and later wondering how we ended up ****'s creek, and not just on this subject. The calendar could work; it also could be better--and we definitely need more than one school year for approval.


16 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2016 at 1:18 pm

I agree with Kathleen that November has too many minimum days and days off in the proposed calendar. I would rather have more days off before Christmas.

Also, I agree with Kathleen that a minimum day is a waste of time. Not much useful instruction is accomplished on minimum days. Why do we need to have so many minimum days? Is this something that came out of contract negotiations with the teacher's union?

If this is something that is not mandated by the teacher's contract, I would like to see fewer minimum days. For example, perhaps we could squeeze parent teacher conferences into 2 full days rather than 3 days of 1/2 day instruction and 1/2 day of parent teacher conferences followed by 1 full day off for conferences.


6 people like this
Posted by working parent
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 9, 2016 at 2:02 pm

I think going to a block schedule would be a great idea. Spend more time learning and doing homework on a smaller number of topics each day. That would reduce stress a lot more than minor adjustments to the calendar.

Regarding min days, if there is some type of contractual "number of yearly instructional minutes" or something in the teacher contracts and we don't have the money to pay the staff more, I would be supportive of removing the min days and offset it by reducing maybe 1-2 minutes off of each school day to keep the yearly minutes the same.

Also there are a lot of school districts that don't have minimum days or days off during their conferences. They do them after school and don't disrupt the students learning. I had that growing up and I have heard of a few districts in the Bay Area that do that as well.

Regarding HS students, I wish they would go back and find out when the HS students need time off. If they need a day off before finals lets give it to just them, and not mess with the other grade levels. Do they need a day off before AP tests? Seems like the calendar is determined more by what all of the PK-12 teachers want combined and not what is needed for the students in each age grouping. Would have loved to have seen the feedback from HS students or HS teachers on when they really want a break instead of the current proposal of keeping it the same way as it has always been historically.

Why is it the PW commentators are able to come up with a better calendar than the committee did? It only took 2 days to do it as well!


16 people like this
Posted by Lou
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 9, 2016 at 2:42 pm

I disagree with the calendar change, believe the District needs to work on a streamlined calendar that makes sense, and should explore block schedules.

As a native Virginian, the Kings Dominion law means that schools start after Labor Day unless the school district is granted a special waiver because it is the part of the state that receives a lot of snow.

I never heard of a minimum day before I moved to Pleasanton. There are so many days off that it is ridiculous. Also the Wednesday late start day is insane. Why can't the teachers meet between 3 and 4 PM and not disrupt learning?

Also, why is there walk-through registration a week or two before school starts? What is this, the 1940s? I never had to go through any walk-through registration in any state I have ever lived in.

California schools are a big disappointment. Virginia has magnet schools, governor's schools that are year round, governor's schools that occur during the summer and a wide choice of educational opportunities that California seems to lack.


2 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 9, 2016 at 6:41 pm

Kathleen, you hurt my feelings! I am such a big fan of yours!
By "move on" perhaps what I meant is that it is time to let the process play out. The district has come so far in the past 12 months. Right now we have a superintendent and staff who are being honest and seem to be working in good faith with a well meaning board of trustees.
I am not "following blindly" as I attended the same superintendent-search forum that you did.
Thank you for posting the calendar. Honestly, now that the start date is reasonable, and the stupid week off in October is removed, I will let you and the other experts hash out half days, and where the three-day weekends fall.
Most importantly, we are being told the truth, and there is a real process.
I am satisfied to allow the process to play out...


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Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2016 at 6:57 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

"working parent", thank you for your support. Thankfully there are far more positive supporters like yourself then there are negative naysayers. I too do not understand why minimum days and such cannot be solved along with a new calendar. I suggest emailing the people on the committee, it was a very short statement by one of the committee members in a private conversation I had, I cannot give you further details.

"Made me laugh..", sorry if you feel I was condescending, but I simply wanted to correct the record on this. I believe a middle school teacher cannot make $130,000 either, even if they hold a masters, doctorate, and National Board Certification (each caries a $750 stipend), is department chair (a stipend here too, I don't know the amount), works an extra section, and is atop the pay scale. But I am not certain, so that is why I have not stated it as fact.

Also, I can't work 250 days. I actually would love to do that, but the school year is 185, I don't get a say in that. No point in "annualizing" that, it's 180/185 days.

Oh, and I pay taxes too, so am I my own boss? ("I'm a taxpayer. I'm your boss's boss's boss.")


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Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

Jack, when was the truth not told? (Please don't tell me it was when the board was told that the union approved only two of the four possible calendars. The union simply said the two they favored - also the two favored by the public - was what they recommended going forward, and was not in favor of the two extreme models. The board could have gone any direction they wanted.)


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 9, 2016 at 7:35 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Jack, I don't disagree with your last post regarding the calendar being a move in the right direction and the much more positive tone and honesty from the people at the district. I sincerely believe the minimum days won't change anytime soon.

Thanks for calling me on" following blindly." It was an unnecessary comment.


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Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 9, 2016 at 10:53 pm

@ GtF... When was the truth not told? Are you kidding? How about anything having to do with the Neal School? Two lost lawsuits and a few thrown out motions I think would show that there were people playing a bit loose with the truth!
With regard to the calendar fiasco? How about starting with the Fact that there were 5 options, not 4. Go back and watch the meeting. Your facts are completely whacked! Early/Start was the clear #2 choice in the parent survey, and it was never considered. McCoy shows 5 wedges in his charts, and yet the Board was only allowed to vote on 2! If that's not dishonest then it is incompetence at the highest level. Take your pick! Either one is grounds for the massive shake-up we've seen...


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Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2016 at 11:01 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

Regardless of our thoughts, I just finished watching the calendar portion of the meeting, and the board unanimously voted to start early next year.

I wish those of you who have vacation plans into the third week of August good luck in changing them, or having your kids miss the first week of school. Despite one speaker mentioning this problem at the meeting, and mentions by all the board members about this conflict, they voted for it anyway.

All along in the first calendar go around it was mentioned how important it was to be at least a year ahead of time, but this was ignored. So I would say the first time the process, at least in this regard, was superior.


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Posted by Matt
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 9, 2016 at 11:24 pm

Comparison of the previously approved and rescinded vs the new one:

The new calendar: Web Link

Start August 15, 2016
End: June 2, 2017
Breaks: Fall : Oct: none, Nov: 11-18 (non-student day), Thanksgiving break : Nov 21-25, Dec 26 - Jan 6 and Jan 9, Spring Break: April 3-7, 2017


Previous Modified Lite calendar : Web Link

School year 2016-17
Start: August 9, 2016*
End: June 2, 2017*
Breaks: Fall: Oct 10-14, 2016* Thanksgiving: Nov 21-25, 2016* Winter Break: Dec 26 – Jan 6, 2017* Spring Break: April 3-7, 2017*


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Posted by Matt
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 9, 2016 at 11:37 pm

I'm confused on that Non Student Day in Nov; it seems that's only on Nov 18, not from Nov 11-18. Web Link

(no, I did not go or watch the meeting).


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Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2016 at 7:23 am

Get the Facts is a registered user.

Matt, the Modified Lite calendar would have started school anywhere anywhere from Aug 4-10, if the October break was intact. The first year, however, the October break was NOT intact, making the calendar for the first year exactly what was approved last night for next year, and there was no guarantee that the October break would have happened. The Board sets the start date for the school year, they never approved a calendar with a week off in October, possibly they never would have then, or possibly will never now.

A minor correction to what you have above: There is school on November 14-17 for elementary and full days for secondary November 14-18. Easy to think otherwise, however, as the notations on the side are written poorly. Thanks for posting the links.


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Posted by WG Mom
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 10, 2016 at 7:30 am

I don't really mind about the early start in August, I agree it might have been sensible to wait until next year to implement it but if you booked a holiday before this was sorted then it's kinda on you, it's been well known that this might change.

My problem is these stupid minimum days scattered throughout the year. If you look at the Livermore calendar, they have two nice long weekends with thursday and fridays off. They don't appear to have any minimum days. Minimum days are such a waste of time.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 10, 2016 at 9:55 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

November appears to be:

No school TK-12 November 11
Regular day November 14
Minimum days grades 1-5 November 15, 16, 17
No school TK-12 November 18
No school TK-12 November 21-25

It's awful for the elementary level. It's disappointing the board sees the problem, asks the right questions, and votes rather than saying, "please fix this and bring it back." That is part of effective leadership.


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Posted by Ptown Pride
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2016 at 11:23 am

Yes, it is awful at the elementary level. The running joke has always been "No School November" and it's now at another level. Totally agree with the useless minimum days too, which include a lunch period no less! Three minimum days in order get a pointless 20 min conference with an elementary school teacher leaves me shaking my head.


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Posted by NoName
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2016 at 11:32 am

Thing is if the board would have said fix this and bring it back it probably would have been another month before they could vote on a calendar, then people would have really been upset at lack of notice.

Remember anytime anything is "fixed" it has to be approved by both unions.

I do agree all those min days as well as late Wednesday starts are just ridiculous and do need to be fixed sooner rather than later.


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Posted by Lou
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 10, 2016 at 11:42 am

After the State testing in April, the teachers basically don't teach for the rest of the year. I believe that the Pleasanton teachers don't get penalized for being basic slackers.

Shortened classes on Wednesday due to the union meeting during school hours means tests can't be given on Wednesdays at the middle and high schools because the classes are shorter that day. It is time to dump the late start Wednesdays and dump all of the minimum days.

Why can't conferences happen after school? Why again does the union contract give the over-entitled teachers during the class day to hold conferences so that learning is disrupted?

Also, the month of November has so few classroom days that they might as well announce a break for the entire month.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 10, 2016 at 1:13 pm

No teach November.....hmmm. Ok, the District changed Thanksgiving break from 2 days off to the entire week because....parents, similar to those in this thread and others relating to the subject, were pulling their kids out for the entire week with significant disruption to the entire classroom learning progress and loss of funding from the state. Priorities?

If you are a parent with a child that, after 6-8 weeks of instruction, is clearly struggling, a session with the parents which involves discussion and laying out an instructional plan would seem to make sense -you know, the old checks and balances thing and I would think, to those parents with a struggling child, the conferences aren't "pointless". Or for those helicopter parents in the community who want to hear how great their kids are - these 'check-ups' with the teacher are a productive tool and important part of melding the home-school environments in order to keep kids learning and productive. So, when should these parent-teacher conferences happen? Oct?, Dec? or never? Unfortunately, November seems like the best time for assessment. 6-8 weeks after school has started and with clear trends in individual learning capabilities -what a great time for review.
They don't happen after school for a number of reasons -1.) teachers have 30+ kids that all need conferences and while it's hard to grasp, teachers actually put a significant amount of time into preparing because they care about their kids (and, shhh, it's why they are teachers), 2.) parents would complain because Timmy, Tommy, and Sally have after school engagements (sports, music, dance....) -goes back to the Thanksgiving comment.

So many of these comments are so typical of Pleasanton- complain, complain, complain, don't be part of the solution, and look only at your individual situation. "Pointless conferences". Really? Are you for real? Oh, and I forgot, teachers are lazy and over-paid....

Get a grip people...and the next time, how about volunteering to be on a parent-teacher-administration committee so you can offer your superior point-of-view.


10 people like this
Posted by Lou
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 10, 2016 at 1:54 pm

November is far too late to identify struggling students particularly since it is now 3 weeks before the end of the first semester. For a 180 day school year, I'd think that by day 30, if the teacher was at all paying attention (but they probably aren't), the parents should be told which would make it end of Sept/early Oct.

Instead PUSD waits until the end of the first trimester to let the parents know the child is not meeting standards?

Also, in a child-centered school district, teachers should be able to have conferences between 3-6:30 PM for several days after school so that learning will not be disrupted. Instead, the union-centered school district cancels classes.


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Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 10, 2016 at 2:27 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Holy moly!

It appears to me the calendar does not substantially change YoY aide from moving the start/completion date in one week and moving finals to before Christmas break.

I honestly don't see why people make a big deal out of this change. In fact, I think having finals before Christmas break is a good thing, at least for my kids it will be.


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Posted by Me
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2016 at 4:20 pm

Now all the kids can be coddled over the break - will allow time for some much needed helicopter repairs


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