News


School district to let go dozens of permanent, temporary employees after state funding lags

District to send layoff notices in March for permanent staff affected

Several dozen school district employees will face reduced hours or will lose their jobs this summer after the state did not renew district funding that was fueling those positions.

The Pleasanton school board decided Tuesday night to let go 25.9 permanent full-time equivalent positions and 53.4 temporary full-time equivalent spots.

The decision comes after the district did not receive a renewal of about $3.7 million in one-time dollars that were funding certain positions. Employees were informed of the possibility of staffing cuts in October, according to the district.

"This was a very difficult decision that was not made lightly," interim superintendent Jim Hansen said. "As many of these positions were funded by one-time money from the state that is not guaranteed going in to the 2016-17 school year, we had to move in this direction to be fiscally responsible."

"We are incredibly grateful for the value that these positions have added to the educational programs for the students of Pleasanton Unified," he added.

The district is hoping donations from the Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation (PPIE) will be able to provide some funding for employees who will otherwise have to be let go, but the district won't know if that's possible until March.

Board president Jamie Hintzke said the district hopes the state's updated May budget is kinder to Pleasanton Unified, but it isn't guaranteed.

She noted employees will be given notice in March because the district is required by law to notify employees at that time if their position has to be cut due to a funding issue

Some of the positions that will be reduced or eliminated include some school nurses, vice principals, some instructional coaches and a director of secondary education.

"Our heart goes out to all of these dedicated employees," Association of Pleasanton Teachers president Janice Clark said.

As for temporary certificated employees, assistant superintendent of human resources Dianne Howell said the district often decides to release all its temporary employees each year. She said some of the temporary employees were paid through one-time funding and some were replacements for teachers on leave or teachers on special assignments.

"Every year for the last several years, we have released all of our temporary employees," she said, "and then we do whatever we can to bring back whomever we can."

The board decided to wait until the next board meeting to vote on whether to renew four probationary employees' contracts.

Some employees are part-time, so the count of full-time equivalent slots don't mean exactly 79 people will be affected. Howell said she didn't have a count for exactly how many employees are included in this statistic.

The district will have to contend with possible layoff and release notices of classified employees in April, Howell said. The number of full-time equivalent spots that will be affected had not been released as of Tuesday.

Comments

31 people like this
Posted by ihatetheonetimefunding
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2016 at 10:31 am

I hate the one time funding model. How do we attract the best and brightest teachers when we can only guarantee a year of employment at a time? I just can't imagine my employer telling me that my job next year was based on results of a fun run. I would be looking for a new job.

I do have concerns about how the PUSD is spending money. From what I can see the cash spent on legal fees is way out of line from other districts. I wish the Weekly would do a story on how our legal fees compare to other districts. I know it's a touchy subject as some of the court cases have not been made public (even though court proceedings are in fact public) but I think a story could be done on what we are spending without naming names of who is involved with the cases. We need to have a plan in place to control the amount spent on legal fees, when the money is much better spent in the classroom.

All that being said, I think Pleasanton needs to face the fact we need to have a parcel tax (like many surrounding districts) to ensure our schools are the best that they can be. It not only protects our kids, but property values as well. Talk to anyone who has moved to Pleasanton in the last 10 years and I bet you will hear they did it because of the schools. I think our schools are currently being propped up by generous parents who not only contribute 1000's to fundraisers but also pay for after school tutoring for kids. We need a more stable solution to move forward.


11 people like this
Posted by Makes Sense
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 24, 2016 at 10:37 am

That seems to make sense. It sounds like these employees were positions hired with full knowledge that their future role was uncertain. The money went away, so the positions must also. That's budgeting 101. Less revenue necessitates less spending. Thanks to the board for making the responsible decision. Ms. Clark, there's no need for "hearts to go out to them". If "we" (pusd) hired them, then I'm sure they will quickly find their next gig. Or are you implying that PUSD hires undesirables, and we must now hope and pray that someone else will hire them? Unless the employees were lied to about their employment status, they were given a great opportunity that may still result in full time long term employment. Hopefully they made the most of their chance to prove their worth.

It would be nice if the district could look across their teacher and classified rosters, and fire the worst performers, instead of the most recent to be hired. That's how you maximize organizational performance. Cutbacks should touch the poor performing employees, which actually makes the organization stronger. Unfortunately, in a union-dominated public entity like PUSD this is impossible. The administration and board won't even touch the subject. Instead, they repeat back the association driven message that "every union employee is a superstar, every one is indispensable, and anyone who speaks otherwise doesn't support education!" It's a sad place we've reached where the Trustees we voted into office, and the administrators we pay are both "working for" the unions and tread softly in fear of their wrath.

Firing employees, although not much fun, is a necessary task. Especially when you hire them with a revenue source that you know may go away. Kudos to the Board of Trustees for doing the right thing.


8 people like this
Posted by Rob
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 24, 2016 at 10:47 am

I'd protest at city hall. They have the money.


4 people like this
Posted by makepusdgreatagain@gmail.com
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 24, 2016 at 10:58 am

We need to make Pleasanton schools great again. There is so much wasted spending by a board that either isn't very bright, or worse, is intellectually dishonest - which borders on fraud. Estimates for spending on the school calendar debacle (amount removed because it can't be verified). Consultants, staff time, misc. It isn't there money, they don't care. This is a $100 mm a year business, not a liberal think tank experiment. Legal fees for bungled management decisions and covering up fraud exceed (amount removed because it can't be verified). Would you run your business like this? Would someone get fired? makepusdgreatagain@gmail.com






20 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Feb 24, 2016 at 11:05 am

Are other districts going through such drastic cuts? Look around. When you realize it's just Pleasanton, you understand that someone planned very poorly. You don't fund positions based on one time funding and not all employees knew that they were doing a one year gig.

Pleasanton Unified is a poorly run district. The high test scores are reflective of the involved parents and the types of families moving into the area, not of the quality of the teaching or leadership.


13 people like this
Posted by Scott Walsh
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 24, 2016 at 11:13 am

Juanita is rolling over in her grave. All her hard work up in smoke. Vote down any school bond they may place on the ballot. Appears to be real mess.


14 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 24, 2016 at 11:43 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I've stated many times no bond, no parcel tax without specifics of where the money will be spent. Fund APs or counselors or teachers for K-3 class size reduction for six years. Rebuild a gym or expand learning spaces. But don't tell us you need flexibility; it won't fly.

On the other hand, new people are in place. They are doing their best, truly, with the cards they were left (and it is a deck without all 52 cards). Let's not take our legitimate concerns out on them.

Should new management be held accountable going forward, you betcha!


13 people like this
Posted by ihatetheonetimefunding
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2016 at 12:13 pm

I agree with you Kathleen, that we need to know where the money is going to be spent before a bond or parcel tax will fly.

While I feel we need one, I can imagine supporting one while we are still paying out hundreds of thousands a year in legal fees and legal payouts. I do understand much of the current money is being spend on former admin mismanagement but I think the public needs to know what is being put in place to stop the same thing from happening in the future.

Isn't it all about transparency? For example, we can see in board meeting agenda that in closed session that they are discussing a court case case (not related to the WG principal). It's a public court case and you can see the documents being filed at the Alameda court. I cringe when I look at the long list of documents filed in the case because I know it means we are paying a lot of money to lawyers. Let we have no idea how this is being handled by our district because it is only discussed in closed session. You can't ask a board member because they are not allowed to discuss what is being talked about in a closed session. We as the public have no way of knowing if we agree with how they are handling litigation. But then again we are asked for 1000's of dollars every year in donations and begged to support fun raisers in order to keep jobs.

I don't know what the solutions are but I know the problems in this district directly effect our kids.


18 people like this
Posted by Clean house
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2016 at 1:49 pm

District office positions like the so-called do nothing curriculum directors need to be terminated. The teachers don't seem to be teaching a curriculum anyway and show youtube videos most of the time. Get rid of the teachers that sit surfing the internet on their laptop while giving students busy work.

All the so-called 'instructional coaches' need to be terminated and the position eliminated. Someone that needs a 'coach' should not have been hired in the first place.


6 people like this
Posted by The District Lies
a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 24, 2016 at 2:04 pm

It not true that the school district lost one time funding from the state. They have used the "one time funding ploy" for years. It's their irresponsible spending on raises and teacher pensions.

Time to get the truth out.

The school board to too caught up in politics and dumping principals that they don't like. Its so disruptive.


4 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 24, 2016 at 2:17 pm

I think we are missing the pulse here. I will not vote to approve anything regardless how detailed until such time we pay off the existing two school bonds we already have and see a detailed well thought through 5-10 cost reduction plan and strategy. Then come see me. If our board members do not have the capability to put a plan together then let's bring in a business consulting company to out the plan together and give them 10% of the savings they achieve as payment.


12 people like this
Posted by Mark Miller, PUSD Board
a resident of Mission Park
on Feb 25, 2016 at 6:48 pm

Mark Miller, PUSD Board is a registered user.

There is a fair amount of misinformation on this thread. I'm available Friday, Feb 26 from 11:30 to 5:00 if anyone wants to meet to discuss this or any other topic. Please email me at mark_miller@pleasantonusd.net if you're interested in chatting.


Like this comment
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2016 at 7:51 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

Mark, thanks for checking in. "makepusdgreatagain" spouted off a crazy number at the board meeting on Tuesday - and again on this blog - about the cost of the calendar committee. Can you give us the actual cost?

Thanks!


6 people like this
Posted by Mark Miller, PUSD Board
a resident of Mission Park
on Feb 25, 2016 at 9:19 pm

Mark Miller, PUSD Board is a registered user.

@GettheFacts, there were a few minor expenditures related to the calendar, e.g. the mailer sent home, but that's it, to my knowledge. It's fair to say that several district employees served on the calendar committee, so one could count those hours, but they were salaried employees so they weren't paid extra for their efforts.


2 people like this
Posted by Zenmonkman
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Zenmonkman is a registered user.

Schools in crisis!

The eternal trumpet call of every school, college, university through-out the state. Before moving a step in any direction, I challenge anyone to look at the distribution of funds and salaries of the district. Here's my guess. Big money and salaries go to administration (a place for district insiders to get out of the day-to-day drudgery of classroom teaching). Extract 80%-90% of top heavy funds and reallocate them to classrooms. There would be no need for any additional funds, and most likely a surplus.

Administrators will scream and send up bountiful smoke screens to keep the antiquated system in place (for the worst offenders take a look a UC Berkeley). The public buys their blather and we end up with the perineal cry "We must lay-off teachers, we have to cut student services".

Note: (So it doesn't sound like I'm just another disgruntled taxpayer / community member). I taught for a very short while in a special program. I poured my heart into it. I was told this experience would be valuable to the district and students. It was an after school program. Here's what happened. After working hard to get major endorsements for museums, corporations, and other related organizations to give students "free" admissions / services, the director gave me a brisk rant on not wasting her time on these matters (What?????) ... when parents asked me for my cell phone number, they needed it so they didn't have to come in, in case they were running late so I could stay an extra hour, got the worst stares under the sun from mothers when I did not comply ... one mother told me that my job was to take-care of her kids after school so she could work, that was what she was paying for (what????) ... a babysitting program -- not advanced education ????

I'm not disgruntle ... I'm self-educated on what education is all about. It's not about education ... you are not paying for what they sell you.

Okay, I'm a little blurty right now. But I hope you get my point.


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

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