No argument filed against Pleasanton school bond

Measure I1 proponents make their case in ballot statement

Pleasanton voters will not be presented with a formal argument against the school district's bond measure when they cast their ballots.

There was no statement submitted to the Alameda County Registrar's office in opposition of Measure I1, as it's being called. Arguments for and against measures were due into the office late last month.

Following years of consideration, in July the Pleasanton Unified School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution placing the bond measure on the November election ballot. If approved by 55 percent of voters, the bond would generate roughly $270 million for district-wide facilities improvements by imposing a tax of $49 per $100,000 of assessed value on Pleasanton property owners.

The money would be spent on projects addressing safety, energy, and water efficiency; updated classroom infrastructure including new science and technology facilities, and on various modernization and renovation efforts.

Pleasanton voters passed the nearly $70 million schools bond Measure B in 1997. Roughly $42 million in outstanding general obligation bond debt remains from Measure B.

In support of Measure I1

The signers on the ballot argument in favor of Measure I1 are Jim Ott, a college educator and former banker; Debbie Look, a parent and former Parent-Teacher Association leader, business owner Jan Batcheller, child advocate and former PTA leader Tanya Ludden, and retired information technology analyst Kenneth Mano. Their ballot statement reads as follows:

"Vote yes on I1 to keep Pleasanton schools among the best.

"Pleasanton Unified School District's strong academic programs, excellent teachers and high-achieving students make our community strong and desirable. Families move to Pleasanton for our schools, which keeps our property values high.

"However, to continue providing top-quality education, Pleasanton's aging classrooms, science labs and school facilities need urgent repairs and upgrades.

"Voting yes on I1 provides the modern classrooms and labs our students need to keep up with the growing demand for science, technology, engineering, arts and math education. Measure I1 provides a dedicated source of local funding to expand science labs, computers and other learning technology so that all students are prepared for success in college and 21st century jobs. Measure I1 will also relieve student overcrowding at some of our elementary schools.

"Vote yes on I1 to:

* Expand classroom space to support programs in science, technology, engineering, arts and math

* Make necessary repairs to leaky roofs, update bathrooms and address safety concerns

* Replace outdated portable classrooms

* Provide facilities and instructional technology needed to attract and retain the best teachers

* Provide up-to-date science labs, science equipment and learning technology to prepare students for college and modern careers

* Build new classrooms to prevent student overcrowding

* Ensure classrooms continue to meet current safety codes

* Improve energy and operational efficiency and utilize the savings to support classroom instruction

"Local control and fiscal accountability requirements keep funds focused on the classroom:

* Annual audits and independent citizen oversight ensure all funds are spent as promised

* No funds can be spent on teachers' or administrators' salaries

* All funds must stay local and the state can't take a penny

* Strong schools make a strong community

"Please join local parents, teachers and community leaders in providing all students with 21st century classrooms and labs.

Vote yes on I1."

Residents qualified to vote by mail can return their completed ballots starting early next month, as sample ballots will be sent to registered voters on Oct. 10.

General Election ballot measures and arguments for and against can be viewed online by visiting the Alameda County Registrar's website and clicking the elections tab.

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3 people like this
Posted by Joanne
a resident of Stoneridge
on Sep 14, 2016 at 1:15 pm

I understand Lydiksen school will be rebuilt as a two story building if this passes. Is this correct?

Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 14, 2016 at 2:01 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Here is the link to the district web site: Web Link

I have heard presentations are being made to the PTAs, but have not seen the requested list of specific projects. There is a presentation on the link that may tell the story.

It is Measure I1; I have not looked for the campaign web site yet, if there is one.

8 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Sep 14, 2016 at 2:27 pm

I don't see it broken down by school in that link Kathleen, but from what I've heard (grain of salt time), $22 million is dedicated to Lydiksen for renovations. Considering that a 2000 sqft home could be built for about $500,000, I'm guessing they're planning to replace Lydiksen with 44 two story homes.

Of course I'm kidding, but they must be joking too! They are likely planning to use this money for all building maintenance and repairs over the next few years so they can use normal school funding for unfunded pension liabilities and teacher wages.

Just last year they were congratulating themselves on a budget surplus and began hiring back teachers and reducing the cost savings they implemented. Why didn't they use the surplus for repairs and keep the cost savings measures in place? Perhaps because they can't be trusted with our money.

10 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:22 pm

BobB is a registered user.


"They are likely planning to use this money for all building maintenance and repairs over the next few years so they can use normal school funding for unfunded pension liabilities and teacher wages."

They can't just move money like that. But if there were a tax that would allow for hiring more teachers and paying higher wages (like a parcel tax), I would be for that. I think we need to continue to reduce class sizes and work to retain the best teachers.

8 people like this
Posted by local
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Sep 14, 2016 at 6:09 pm

Sorry to say but they can do things like that. A part of the operational budget is for maintenance. Once the bond passes, they can pay for the maintenance from the bond, which they have already said they will do, which frees up operational funds so they can pay the increase pension and retirement costs. Don't forget that the maintenance costs go way up this way since we have to pay interest on the bonds, where before it came from the operation budget as we received money from the state.

Kathleen, previously you asked the district to provide the "blue book" of the projects and make it available before the election before you could support the bond (I am pretty sure I heard you say that). Without the blue book, will you support the bond now? I have not seen any effort from the district to produce the blue book so assume it will not be there prior to voting. At this point I am reluctant to support a bond without knowing how it will really be used. I am not a fan of writing blank checks. I am also concerned they can issue 30 year bonds for things like maintenance and technology. They say they would never do a 30 year bond for technology but if I remember correctly, there is nothing in the bond that restricts that should they "change their mind".

10 people like this
Posted by no user name
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 15, 2016 at 12:59 pm

no user name is a registered user.

Here is my argument against -- would this money be turned over to those in charge who have already proven themselves fiscally incompetent hundreds of times over? Yes? then my vote is NO.

27 people like this
Posted by Jim Hansen
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Sep 18, 2016 at 4:05 pm

Jim Hansen is a registered user.

By law, no funds from Measure I1 can pay for teacher or administrator salaries, benefits or pensions. This is included in the Measure I1 resolution that is available on the Pleasanton USD web site here: Web Link

The list of approved projects is also available on the web site (at the above link). Bond funds would only be used for these projects if voters say yes to Measure I1.

5 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 19, 2016 at 3:03 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Jim, the list on the web site does not list by site what is planned. I don't need the blue book, which the district says they cannot produce yet (i.e. Costs by site), but the district had to produce a list of projects by site to get an estimate of the bond amount. The community deserves that list of planned specifics. The list produced for the board is $X million for technology, $X million for 21st Century learning, etc. That is not enough, and as one of the campaign managers, you should be asking for a better list too.

Also, budgets are hydraulic--save on maintenance here, spend it there. You know this after a year as superintendent. The community deserves honesty, transparency, and communication that reaches beyond PTAs.

Local, I am supporting the bond because we need an elementary school. There are 62 portables at the TK-5 grade level. That's at least 30 too many. Our youngest citizens and their teachers deserve better.

2 people like this
Posted by Sandy Piderit
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Sep 20, 2016 at 7:41 pm

Sandy Piderit is a registered user.

Here's the direct link to the PDF that lists the approved projects:
Web Link

It does not break out for all schools, but there is a specific line item for Lydiksen. It is $30 million.

It would be great if informative presentations could be made for other community groups as well -- perhaps a public event at the senior center.

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

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