News

School board talks overcrowding solutions

Staff to begin engaging community on K-8 options in north Pleasanton

It was a full house at the Pleasanton school board's special workshop Tuesday night, as trustees and staff talked over how to best address overcrowding in north Pleasanton schools.

Specifically, the 3-1/2-hour meeting focused on facilities planning, enrollment projections and the possibility of implementing one or two kindergarten through eighth grade campuses -- all three are subjects that have been discussed over the past few months, but staff and the board decided to talk about them all together in one public meeting, as they all apply to the capacity issues.

"The overcrowding of the schools in north Pleasanton isn't going to go away," Superintendent David Haglund said. "It's going to get worse without a solution to it."

As a workshop, no action was taken, a point emphasized multiple times throughout. However, trustees directed staff to begin engaging the community about K-8 possibilities, something staff didn't want to begin if the board was against that concept.

This week, the discussion centered less on specific programs and more about how a K-8 would address the capacity problem.

The northern Pleasanton schools specifically affected by overcrowding are Donlon Elementary School, Hart Middle School and Fairlands Elementary. As an "impacted site," in the words of Haglund, any possibility of expanding Fairlands was off the table, so the workshop centered primarily on Donlon and Hart.

The options discussed included converting Donlon and/or Hart into a K-8 school, changing the district's enrollment boundaries, expanding the existing sites or building a new elementary school by trading or selling the district-owned Neal property on the southeast side of town for a parcel on the north.

While Hagland said no option was "off the table," there were some constraints.

Changing enrollment boundaries or otherwise bringing children from northern Pleasanton to less-populous schools in the south side of town might keep students from attending their home schools and would just be a temporary fix, according to Board Vice President Valerie Arkin.

"Boundary changes are a pretty temporary band-aid type of fix ... We pride ourselves in this district of kids going to their neighborhood school," Arkin said.

The board had already decided after many talks, Trustee Joan Laursen pointed out, that they wanted to keep elementary school student enrollment at 700, which clashed with any potential expansion of the respective schools.

And the trade or sale of the Neal property for a possible new K-5 school could be difficult, considering the long process of selling the land, finding a new 10-acre spot for a new campus and construction.

When David Kaitz from Davis Demographics presented his company's updated enrollment projections for the district, he also advised against using boundary line adjustments to solve enrollment issues, pointing to the significant enrollment growth disparities between north and south Pleasanton.

According to the demographers' data, northern Pleasanton is projected to see a peak enrollment of nearly 2,900 students in 2023, an increase of about 460 students from this past fall. Southern schools, though, are projected to be "stable or decreasing," Kaitz said.

However, by converting Hart and/or Donlon into a K-8 school, staff said they could potentially solve the increasing capacity problem at both the elementary and middle school levels on the north side.

"The idea was could we convert a, or more than one, school into a K-8 model to solve both the elementary overcrowding issue in north Pleasanton, and then the one that wasn't talked about and that's the middle school overcrowding in north Pleasanton," Haglund said.

Though the different design options were not the primary focus of the workshop, staff touched upon it briefly.

In terms of the rationale behind the various specialized K-8 programs, assistant superintendent of educational services Odie Douglas and Jenni Tyson, director of educational services, emphasized that success of a particular model depended on its implementation, though Tyson also pointed to research indicating that fewer "transition" years could prove beneficial academically to students.

Haglund delved a little more into this topic, noting that a K-8 model could allow children to maintain relationships with staff formed in earlier grades through their middle school years, he said, years often recalled as being "rough."

A few of the eight speakers during the public comments section asked the board to look into re-drawing boundary lines before moving to a K-8 model.

"In your survey, (really) ask parents, 'Are you interested, to take your student to another school in south Pleasanton?'" parent Jill Jones said. "I wouldn't be opposed to that, and I think other parents might be open to that too. Just as a possible solution."

The issue of equity and accessibility also came up during public comments, especially in light of last workshop's talk on possible International Baccalaureate (IB) or dual language immersion magnet schools.

"I looked at the program as much as I could, and it's a neat program and I don't know enough about it," Donlon first-grade teacher Denise Morgan said of the IB program, which has an annual cost associated with it. "But I do have a problem spending money for a school, when we are really working on trying to get the school district a little bit more equitable and equal for our kids."

Douglas emphasized that ensuring all students had equal access to any possible program would be a priority.

Before entering specifically into the capacity discussion, Nick Olson, director of facilities and construction, presented the updated version of the Facilities Master Plan in light of board feedback at the March 27 meeting.

The plan dictates how the $270 million of Measure I1 funds should be allocated; the most up-to-date rendition addresses the board's concerns expressed at the last meeting that too much was being spent on roofing repairs and upgrades to schools' HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems, and not enough on school security.

The plan will return to the board May 8 in its final version and then again on May 22 for possible approval.

In other business

* Before the workshop, the board unanimously approved $11.5 million of the first issuance of Measure I1 bond money for two modernization projects: $10 million will be used to replace portable classrooms at Amador Valley and Foothill high schools, while $1.5 million will go toward installing security fencing at Mohr and Fairlands elementary schools and at Harvest Park Middle School.

* Also before the workshop discussion, the board unanimously approved just under $1.68 million of Prop 39 funds for the first phase of the district's Energy Expenditure Plan.

Comments

2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2018 at 6:13 am

Lets break it down one at a time:
Covert Donlon to a K8. This makes zero sense. Donlon is already at 700-800 students? So if you are looking at a K8, it would be a 1200 size school where you would gain ~360 students at the MS level with no gain in ES capacity. 1200 is a very large K8. It breaks the K8 model. There are only a few K8's that big in CA and they all perform poorly.

Make Hart a K8? How would this increase capacity and be a "real" K8 (same kids enrolled at K go all the way to 8). You can't. Hart is already ~1400 MS. So maybe you acquire the yang fan academy and make it an ES that shares some facilities with Hart. This gets you +600-700 in ES capacity, but then you have to make Hart even bigger to absorb those kids at MS. And now Hart is effectively more crowded because it has to share facilities with a new ES.

Wake up people. If you need a lot more capacity you need more land. Overcrowding your currently maxed out land even more is a good idea how? Add a new ES on new land (ditch these K8 false hopes). Float another bond in 3 years. Portable in the short term. Build a new MS on the East side with dev money.


9 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2018 at 6:31 am

In summary: "School board talks overcrowding solutions"
You can not talk about overcrowding solutions without talking about new land. The metric of overcrowding is students per acre. Portables, bigger buildings on existing land, K8 school structure.... None of those solve your overcrowding problem. YOU NEED MORE LAND to solve overcrowding.


18 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 12, 2018 at 8:48 am

PUSD is a lot like BART, they get the taxpayers to buy the land for them then years later sell the “surplus” land at a profit then who knows what happens to that money?? Get rid of these clowns and bring in people who actually know what’s happening at our schools.


5 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Meadows Resident
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 12, 2018 at 9:51 am

Does this mean open enrollment is back and we can choose to have our children attend Harvest Park instead of Hart?


22 people like this
Posted by Resident and parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2018 at 11:20 am

Quoting Valerie Arkin, "We pride ourselves in this district of kids going to their neighborhood school," Arkin said.

Really? Is that why my kids are being forced to attend Foothill instead of Amador Valley, which is MUCH closer to where we live than Foothill is (i.e., our 'neighborhood school,' where they could actually walk to/from and/or ride their bikes, scooters, etc.) than Foothill is (which they'll have to be driven to/from every day since it's much further away from where we live?

Please, spare me the B.S., Valerie.


15 people like this
Posted by Julie Testa
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Apr 12, 2018 at 11:42 am

R&p, Your frustration is valid, PUSD has failed our community in preparing for new growth and keeping up with overcrowding. But your ire is misplaced, Arkin is the only Trustee in the past decade who has been realistic about growth and tried to get a school built.
Another meeting without the ability to make the overdue decision to build a school!


8 people like this
Posted by Neighborhood schools?
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Apr 12, 2018 at 11:56 am

I definitely think those along Vineyard would disagree that there is any semblance of neighborhood schools in East Pleasanton. The drive to and from Foothill is 42 minutes for a single two way trip (21 min each way - 21 min going and 21 min on return) and doing that twice a day is 42 min X 2 = 84 min.

The middle school is 32 minutes for a single two way trip (16 min each way - 16 min going and 16 min on return) and doing that twice a day is 32 min X 2 = 64 min.

The elementary school is 24 minutes for a single two way trip (12 min each way - 12 min going and 12 min on return) and doing that twice a day is 24 min X 2 = 48 min and up to three to four times a day for the staggered start/end horror.

And that is when there is no traffic and assumes no traffic jam at the schools.

It is so bad that many of my neighbors have pulled their kids out after experiencing this absurd ricochet driving nightmare. And then there are those that don't even bother to enroll their children in Pleasanton schools in the first place.


6 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 12, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Please consider contacting board members (contact info is at pleasantonusd.net). They are only seeing the same few faces at meetings or hearing from us via email. The board will continue to make the wrong choices (my opinion anyway) as long as they believe most people are fine with the directions district staff is providing.


5 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Kathleen - The problem is that they have essentially already chosen the outcome. Once you are painted in a corner (or sunk cost dilemma in econ speak), you have to choose the last option as your only option. Speaking for 2 min at a 3 hour long board meeting or trying to approach the board members one at a time (Brown rule) and trying to convey thought out arguments is usually a waste of time.

They didn't ask for enough bond money because of a bogus (n=120?) survey question. FAIL.
They didn't allocate enough money in the bond for a new school. FAIL.
They can't ask for another bond for 4 years. FAIL.
They rely on demographer reports that aren't worth the paper they are printed on. FAIL
K8 will save the day? ------ Future Fail.


4 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 12, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Anon,

First, you can email all the board members at the same time. They have to answer you one at a time. It's a perfect way to state your case, in full. I often email and say I don't expect a response but that I want them to consider the points I'm raising. Those points have been raised during the meetings without my having to spend my three minutes. Not providing input means we *will* have a foreordained outcome. The board has to hear from more than me and the few others who attend a variety of meetings (City-School Liaison, Facilities Master Plan, workshops, and community meetings.

Currently, the board is not being given enough information to think globally about the entire district. Staff continues to feed information piecemeal and sometimes school by school and so the solutions are piecemeal and/or school by school. It's whack-a-mole, solving one problem and not seeing the next one to pop up until it's too late. This keeps the community divided: why Amador not Foothill? Why this elementary and not my elementary? This community needs to think globally and demand that the board does as well.

There is a bonding capacity limit. Survey question didn't really matter.
It was a battle to get $35 million. Five community members, none of us with current kids in the schools (one grandchild), fought to get that much.
There is a bonding capacity limit. Sadly, it will take growth of property values to get more capacity. And I think a new bond could fail if a school is not in progress (they indicated an opening of 2023, well beyond the growth we are facing).
Totally agree about the demographer. They are responding to criteria set by district staff; garbage in; garbage out (counting portables as permanent capacity).
More and more I do not see the K-8 as a solution. As posted above by others, I don't see where it would add elementary capacity as intended in bond language.


4 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 12, 2018 at 2:56 pm

Jack is a registered user.

Where did all the Ruby Hill money go?


5 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 12, 2018 at 3:30 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Jack, I think the short answer is portables and maybe some other ways to address capacity at existing schools.


9 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2018 at 7:09 pm

This isn't rocket science ..... get real .... QUIT BUILDING !!!!


6 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 12, 2018 at 7:16 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Member, that isn’t going to happen. Check what the state is attempting—no local control, at all. Developers could buy and build and likely avoid fees and rules of Pleasanton. The housing crunch is that severe. They don’t care that we bought into a small, safe community.


16 people like this
Posted by Educational malpractice...
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2018 at 8:03 pm

The tutoring centers in town and at home is where kids are getting their real educations in Pleasanton. If PUSD was in the medical profession, they would be charged with educational malpractice.

The fault is not with the State, but with PUSD that no new schools have been built. I think it is ridiculous to point fingers to the State when clearly PUSD has been operating a shell game to condemn/buy land under the pretext of building a school that never comes to fruition, holding on to the parcels for over a decade, and then sell landing to the highest bidder to build housing.

The city documents specify 600 children per elementary school. The PUSD ignores that and just keeps packing in the kids like sardines in elementary, middle and high schools.

Each and every surrounding community has built schools, but PUSD has squandered every opportunity because 95% of the time, the sell the land to shady savings and loans (that were closed by the RTC) or developers directly to build housing. This has happened for the better part of the last 45 years.

The problem now is that because PUSD offers such a substandard education, they have a product that few people want to have their kids subjected to. And that is why there is so-called declining enrollment. Because there are far better alternatives out there that provide far superior educational opportunities, PUSD offers courses no one really wants in sub-par overcrowded facilities that no one unless they have no other option wants their kids to have to put up with.

Their are far better options out their for children to get superior educational opportunities in great facilities with caring administrators that spend their time focusing on education, not current and former over the top unprofessional PUSD people who seem to spend most of their time posting rants on Instagram and Twitter (see former PIO - Web Link ) or complaining about microaggressions and how some other evil entity prevents them from doing their jobs.

With the constant churn of superintendents who seem to come and go so often they seem to have a shelf life of one year or less, there will never be a new school.
And unfortunately, Ahmadi was there for so long and brought in a complete crew of "woe is me" cabinet staff, it will take decades for PUSD to recover.






3 people like this
Posted by SHale99
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 12, 2018 at 8:26 pm

SHale99 is a registered user.

>Each and every surrounding community has built schools

You speak of Dougherty Valley (San Ramon)? Actually, the developers built or mostly built all the schools here to accommodate all the new housing (still being built). Really, really large schools that are already at or over capacity. The guesstimates are never correct...

Anyway, just a datapoint. When we were moving to the east bay we considered Pleasanton (and Dublin) until we looked at the school districts. PUSD highly or nicely rated, but with very old schools and over capacity issues. Dublin, well, not much to say about there. Landed in SRVUSD due to their high ratings and essentially new schools. What is odd PUSD half the size in schools and kids has a lot more issues than SRVUSD.


8 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 12, 2018 at 9:12 pm

We seriously need a Matt Sullivan like lawsuit on this instead of costco. This is pure fraud. I will not support any further funding proposals as it is not being used for its intended purpose - building new schools.


2 people like this
Posted by Bait and switch politics
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 12, 2018 at 9:32 pm

Good idea, Pleasanton Parent. Better yet, a complaint should be filed with the Alameda County Civil Grand Jury on the grounds that developers' fees collected by PUSD for are not actually being spent on construction of new facilities at PUSD. Homeowners have historically paid an extra $10 to $20 per square foot on facilities that never come to be. The Civil Grand Jury will issue subpoenas and demand an accounting of each and every "gift fee" dollar that has been paid into the system that has resulted in no facilities.

Instead much of the "gift fee" that is the school impact fee is re-directed to operating expenses that the PUSD classifies as 'growth supplies' that have nothing to do with growth and absolutely nothing to do with constructing new classroom facilities either.

The union does not want new schools because they know the "gift fee" when you look at the downstream of where the money goes for school impact fees is being directly paid into salaries.

For example, with the "gift fees" that are not actually used to build new classrooms, this supports the teachers' bloated salaries. For example, one purpose of the "gift fees" is to pay for items that Districts normally pay for out of the General Fund. It's purpose seems to support the bloated salaries of the PUSD staff and administration that comprises the "health plan bonus." Basically very few PUSD folks actually buy the health plan since most are covered under a spouse's plan. However, the salaries are padded with the current cost of the health plan. That means that PUSD staff are some of the most highest paid teachers in the State.

If the "gift fees" that developers pay into the PUSD for school impact fees were actually being used to construct new facilities, then the PUSD would have to use its General Fund to pay for all of the supplies the "gift fees" are actually used for. And then the gravy train that is now being put into the teachers' and administrations' bank accounts would need to stop.

So prospective home buyers are enticed to come to Pleasanton under the promise that these "gift fees" will be used to build more classrooms. But that is pure fiction. The money is being re-directed and the kids are being stuffed into cheap portables.


4 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 12, 2018 at 9:39 pm

Anybody have a strong reference for an attorney that could pursue what baitvand switch recommends?

Our kids are getting screwed and we are paying for them to.


9 people like this
Posted by Bait and switch politics
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 12, 2018 at 9:57 pm

Any one can file the complaint and you don't need an attorney or to be an attorney. Here is the website Web Link and the form is here Web Link . The complaint is confidential.

Ask for a full accounting of all school impact fees since 1986 when they started collecting them. Ask for a full accounting of all gift fees and the amended cooperative fee agreement paid in by developers and average folks remodeling their house.

Ask also for a set of deeds and transactions related to all school sites formerly zoned or purchased or condemned by the school district that were sold to developers, including the high school land in South Pleasanton.

Also ask for all fees paid from the Ruby Hill fees in the school impact fee Fund that Jack asked about that went to Kingsley Bogard, Lozano Smith, and various other attorneys. Those developer school impact fees were not spent on facilities, but spent on lawyers mainly. Ask the Grand Jury to investigate how the District has authority to use school impact fees to hire consultants and lawyers. Ask for all fees concerning the Lozano Smith malpractice lawsuit and the settlement. Ask where the settlement money landed that Lozano Smith paid PUSD. Also ask for all "confidential" settlement agreements that are being paid to students for injuries on campus, as well as for students and their families due to PUSD not actually providing an education.

Ask for the Civil Grand Jury to investigate how their school impact fee collection and dispersal mechanism is lawful given SB30.

The Civil Grand Jury will investigate this and subpoena documents and issue a report. Typically they find some sort of malfeasance if you read a lot of their past reports. If they find criminal charges, they will forward this to the District Attorney or Federal law enforcement, depending upon what they find.

You will also want to ask the Grand Jury to investigate the two Specific Plans - the Vineyard Corridor Specific Plan that included Neal that was never built and the North Sycamore Specific Plan that included the high school site that the PUSD condemned and then sold to developers.

Also since you live in Pleasanton Meadows, make sure you include the second elementary school site that the PUSD sold to developers for the school that never came to be as well as the fake Fairlands Middle School that PUSD announced it was building in the 1986 time frame. Of course, that was never built as well.

Also ask for a full investigation of the "school option" site on the Busch property that was supposed to be site for yet another high school, that ended up being a bait and switch as well.


10 people like this
Posted by Julie Testa
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Apr 13, 2018 at 8:40 am

While none of our current Board members were responsible for the decision of the past it is worth remembering the mistakes of the past and understand that some of the systematic motives still exist.
Given that,, you did not identify the Black Ave school site that was intended to relieve the overcrowding from Donlon and north Pleasanton that is now a crisis. The community fought to save the site but PUSD definitely sold it and it is houses today. The third comprehensive high school was a hard won approval of the Board, land on Bernal was offered by the City and funding was identified but PUSD managed to thwart it leaving us with two severe and permanently overcrowded high schools.
The nearly 10 million dollars illegally cashed out of our past bonds (PUSD can not account for where the money went) deserves mention as well.
We need strong leadership to avoid repeating mistakes of the past. Make a decision and build a school.


7 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 13, 2018 at 9:01 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Educational malpractice, the problems from the state are two-fold: pensions and an effort to force communities (not just Pleasanton) to build with no local control. You could see homes/apartments/condos/townhomes go up rapidly leaving the district without a source of funding to address the growth that brings. And if I understood correctly, the governor is not releasing the matching funds for what the district can afford to build--and then the board was told it is currently a 6-8 year timeline for reimbursement (based on crazed formulas, but possibly millions in eligible projects for PUSD).

I appreciate the history and the concerns about past practices, but we need to move forward and stop looking over our shoulders. Hold this board accountable and let's get a new elementary school, as promised.


4 people like this
Posted by All talk and no action...
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 13, 2018 at 10:11 am

Pleasanton homeowners who buy into Pleasanton or who add on to their house with an addition are paying top dollar for school impact fees that far exceed what would be collected in a Mello-Roos situation, but are getting absolutely nothing in return.
Not only has PUSD not kept up with growth by building new classrooms, but current bond proceeds is being spent on fancy new Apple laptops for staff.

The PUSD treats its properties as if it is a slumlord. The result is that the public is getting dilapidated schools with roofs in perpetually poor condition, that have little to no routine maintenance.

The high rates per square foot for school impact fees for growth/remodels paid by homeowners and developers are one of the highest in the state, but PUSD consistently claims it has no money to build new classrooms or schools.

And this is the current Board's fault because they continue to allow the the developer fees to be spent on items other than building new classrooms. And they authorized bond money to be spent on Apple equipment. Also, they have had years to get the Neal school off the ground, but have done absolutely nothing to move that project forward.

Pleasanton has had local control for decades, but in spite of that the PUSD continues to buy school sites, hold on to them until the land appreciates considerably, then sell them off to developers for more housing almost as if they are playing some sort of buy, sell and trade Pokemon card game.

Usually, the prospective homeowners are promised a school or two as part of buying into the subdivision. But it is all a fraud. If you think that for one moment the PUSD ever had any real intention of building Neal school, why is there an empty lot there now?

They have played hopscotch all over the city from one corner to another promising a school will be placed in a particular location. Then they abandon the site after all of the surrounding houses are built.

Then with the abandoned site(s) the claim the school board members claim that growth is happening at some other section of the city so off they go to get another site, then they buy/condemn it, and the same story happens yet again...and again.

The new elementary needs to be at Neal, the site they already bought years ago. The land is there and ready to go. They need to start construction now.


5 people like this
Posted by still wondering....
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2018 at 10:31 am

Kind of off topic but another example of questionable money spent by PUSD. Still wondering why Lauren Andrade (FHS psych teacher, swim coach, attorney) received $40,000 in Sept 2014 and her teaching credential is self-revoked pending misconduct?


4 people like this
Posted by All talk and no action...
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 13, 2018 at 11:39 am

There is no reason that construction can't begin at Neal, because the State has already approved the construction plans.

The architectural plans and construction plans for Neal were approved by the State Web Link on 4/2/2002. It indicates:

Construction of CONSTRUCTION OF: ADMINISTRATION BLDG. & CAMPUS SITE PREPARATION, INCREMENT 1: INCREMENT II, GYMNASIUM/RESTROOM BLDG. (2) KINDERGARTEN BLDGS. & (9) CLASSROOM BLDGS.

Yet apparently, by 2006 the PUSD while telling the public and newspapers it still wanted to build Neal, it quietly had the State close the project....see the notation at the bottom in "Client's Notes" and the notation on 1/4/2006:

01/04/2006 - gave the project files to Yung for his final recommendation to close (dthomas)PLEASANTON U.S.D.iNCREMENT I = $1089000.00, & INCREMENT2 = 6.01M,Incr.3 =1.26M

The bottom line is that PUSD goes through the motions to build schools and publicly chants they are committed to following through in building schools and actually attempts to tell judges in various courts they are committed to building the school, but they tell the public and judge one thing and tell the State another. By 1/4/2006, they were telling the State Architect to close the project.

By 2008, the project was listed as Void/Cancel (see the top row). See Web Link

No wonder PUSD had no chance of winning any court case.


7 people like this
Posted by I was scammed by pusd
a resident of Ironwood
on Apr 13, 2018 at 12:34 pm

When I bought my house in Ironwood, the Sales Office had a gigantic wall-mounted rendering of the property with the label Future School Site most of one section of the giant map of the subdivision. And I for a fact know that in a secret closed session where they decided not to notify anyone, they decided to not build on the Future School Site.

I called the PUSD superintendent's office before I bought my house and was told that it was going to be a medium sized high school on 20 acres of land and that potentially it would expand to 40 acres. I called the city Community Planning services and was told close to the same thing with the caveat that PUSD has a history of "churning" school sites and something about "Ponderosa" inclusion housing credits.

I bought my house, thinking a school would be in my neighborhood.

I was lied to. I'm told the exact same thing happened to people living near Del Prado park and Vintage Hills park and Fairlands park.

The next thing I knew bulldozers were arriving to build houses, not a school. Around the same time, Federal agents started coming to my neighborhood conducting various surveillance operations that I later learned were related to PUSD's sham university located on PUSD property.

Also, I found out later that for a fact I know that on the exact date 24-Mar-2009, in a PUSD closed session, the PUSD discussed liquidation proceedings for the Neal school site to developers for housing.


5 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2018 at 1:04 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Support SB 827, and quit complaining. The NIMBYS who kept opposing all building caused the housing and traffic mess.

Kathleen, sorry I don't have much sympathy for people who think they "bought into a small, safe" community. Safe, fine. If you want small, I recommend you go at least 100 miles from Silicon Valley. It is people who want both short commutes and low density who have caused this mess.


6 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 13, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

BobB, We bought here (the first time) when the community was small (30,000) and was scheduled to grow to a point (when we moved back) because of the housing cap. I understand the dynamics of why that is changing and will continue to change; for now we are fine with it and will move if it becomes unbearable for us (I don't think that will happen). I will not, however, support removal of local control by our city.

For others posting all the sins of PUSD--those people are gone; they were never held accountable; and some of the most egregious actions were all the raises given *during* the economic turndown and all the added complications it continues to create with pensions. It is why you will continue to hear there is no money for operating costs. My contention is there is no more money for pensions (a state issue that is crippling all school districts).

Please, again, don't just post here and grouse with neighbors. Show up; write; call. The reasons all the other shenanigans occurred is there were only a small handful of people (just like now) that tried to get their voices heard. In fact, without them, you wouldn't likely have had Hart or Pleasanton middle schools.


4 people like this
Posted by All talk and no action...
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 13, 2018 at 1:50 pm

Maybe the NIMBYs in North Korea and Chile also caused the overcrowded classrooms in those countries?

With Pleasanton's overcrowded classrooms, it sounds like Pleasanton classrooms at the K-5 level have similar levels as Chile, the country with the most overcrowded elementary schools in the world, followed by Korea.

According to New York Times, Chile and Korea have the largest class sizes for primary education in the world with both exceeding 30 children per classroom - Web Link

Of course in Korea, because the public schools are so awful and overcrowded, there is "hagwon" where students go after school for intensive tutoring after day after school. After school tutoring is a reality in not only Korea, but Japan and China as well.

And that is exactly what has happened in Pleasanton with the dozens of tutoring centers that have cropped up in the last 15 years. There is at least one to three tutoring centers in Pleasanton, our version of "hagwon," in each and every shopping center in Pleasanton.

PUSD management should of course be very proud to be on par with Chile, North Korea, and South Korea in terms of its overcrowded classrooms.


2 people like this
Posted by Educational malpractice...
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Along with the Ironwood high school debacle, you have to look at the Resolution 86352 to get the entire picture of the whole issue with the Mohr-Martin trickery that the PUSD has historically handed out.

Go to Web Link and look at the Resolutions from 1986 that you can find through the menue. Basically, the school district's elementary schools were all K-8 in the west side of town and K-6 in the central and eastern part of town. The school district indicated they would move all the 6th graders out of elementary schools. The plan was to put them all into a 20 acre middle school that never materialized in the Mohr-Martin neighborhood.

Their faux plan was to build a second elementary school in northeast Pleasanton near Pimlico and condemn 20 acres of land at the northeast corner of Mohr Avenue and Kamp Drive for what they termed the Fairlands Middle School which is dot 7 in the map in the city's website within this document.

They wanted the city to begin to collect fees and also have the city pony up $4 million in addition to that for a total cost of just short of $12 million. They stipulated in the document that all fees collected would go toward the faux middle school they were proposing at the corner of Mohr and Kamp Drive around where they said "growth was happening."

The city collected the fees, but no school ever materialized. The Dot 7 school in the map on page 25 in the resolution does not exist.

Of course as you drive by Mohr and Kamp, there is no 20 acre middle school. And there is no second elementary school in Northeast Pleasanton where they stated they would build one. All you see are houses. And more houses.

And the fees that were collected since 1986 that the school district guaranteed would be used toward the new middle school? Where have they gone? Who knows....


1 person likes this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2018 at 7:29 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@"All talk...",

To equate North and South Korean schools is just crazy. I don't know what you are on about.

I would rather hire more teachers than build more schools. To me, teacher to student ratio is a more important metric than students per square kilometer.

If you know anything about North Korea or Japan, the reason students there get so much after school tutoring is because their parents stress education and achievement. A lot of the same thing is going on in Pleasanton. We have more and more parents who stress the importance of academics an education in Pleasanton because of all the new people moving in. My kids went to classes in portables as well as regular classrooms, and I don't see how in negatively affected their education. I'm so glad to see Pleasanton changing for the better in this way.

I don't think we need another school. I would rather see bond money going to repairs and upkeep. And as to more building more houses and apartments, as far as I can tell that only improves our schools as more students with parents who stress the importance of education move in.

People with an irrational attachment to the past need to move with the times. Just because schools were sparse and open in the past doesn't somehow make them better.


3 people like this
Posted by All talk and no action...
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 13, 2018 at 8:56 pm

BoBb, most of the people who don't want new schools seem to be union teachers and residential developers or school administrators.

As far as your quote: "I would rather hire more teachers than build more schools" that is exactly what the parents in the community are doing....hiring more teachers They are hiring more teachers, but the teachers they are hiring are tutors in the tutoring centers where the classroom ratios between teacher/tutor and student are much lower so that the students can actually learn. And these teachers in the tutoring centers aren't unionized and surfing the internet or having the kids fill out "Hyperdocs." Instead they are actually teaching.

Alternatively, parents are hiring a family member or two to do the full-time tutoring and keeping their kids out of the current school system completely.

The reasons that parents get after school tutoring is not because they stress achievement, but because their kids aren't getting sufficient education in the classroom. Plenty of parents of many races stress achievement, not just Japanese and Korean parents, as you imply.

You think overcrowded classrooms and school sites bursting at the seems are the answer. Great.

Maybe you should try your hand in opening one of those private tutoring centers in town. Except you should have 40 kids in each classroom and stuff 700 or so pupils in the space. I'm sure that type of business would do quite well, don't you think? Try it and see how many enroll in your program.

No. Because the tutoring centers have a smaller number of kids per teacher and the kids are actually learning something.


5 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 13, 2018 at 10:02 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

BobB, hire more teachers and put them where exactly? Student:teacher ratios don’t have an impact until it gets to about 16:1, or less. That is never going to happen.

Bond money should never have been for routine maintenance. There are other funds intended for repairs. Lax legislation, negligence, and fat raises from roughly 2005-2008 caused the disrepair we will now spend bond money to fix. The majority of the funds are to repair that negligence; it’s paying to tear down and replace ($30 million) a school rather than repair and remodel. Of the $270 million approved, only $35 million is for a new elementary—about 13%. You should be spinning your wheels about the negligence that put us here, not a new school.


4 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 13, 2018 at 10:20 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Education malpractice, there are two new middle schools since 1986, Hart and PMS. The City’s resolution was routine—the district had to declare a need; the City had to affirm it. The district unified to K-12 in 1988, one district rather than two and following city borders.

Nothing gets accomplished with mere finger pointing. Participate in the process to get what this community’s children deserve.


3 people like this
Posted by Laverne
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 14, 2018 at 9:55 am

The stem of the problem is the excessive building. Quit voting for Thorne...he is the leader of this mess, competing with Dublin to see who can build the most buildings!
The 'good ol' boys' days are over... vote in a whole new mayor & city council. Clear out the building folks!


1 person likes this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2018 at 11:33 am

BobB is a registered user.

@Kathleen,

I don't have a problem with portables. Put the new classes in those. Also, I don't agree with the 16 or no improvement on class size. 25 is better than 30. 20 is better than 25. We also need to fix the pension problem, but that needs to happen state wide.

@Laverne,

We don't need less building, we need more. We need more high density housing near BART. NIMBYISM is the main problem.


1 person likes this
Posted by teacher
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 14, 2018 at 3:27 pm

@Kathleen: some of the most egregious actions were all the raises given *during* the economic turndown

Here is a breakdown of teacher salary changes since the downturn in 2009. Feel free to fact check:

09/10 Furlough Days resulting in a negative 1.5% pay decrease for 1 year
10/11 Furlough Days resulting in a 2.5 % decrease for 1 year
11/12 0 pay increase but no furlough days
12/13 0 pay increase
13/14 1% increase for people on the top step only. Most got again 0 increase.
14/15 2 % increase,
15/16 3.8 % increase
16/17 0 pay increase .85% one-time bonus
17/18 2% increase and 1% one-time bonus

In 2013, teachers started paying more to STRS (1% of salary per year increase for 3 consecutive years, I believe)

Here is a link to the CPI which shows the rate of inflation over the same years. Web Link

If I'm reading and adding it correctly, the cost of living has increased by 25% from 2009-2018 while teacher salaries have risen by 8.8% (not including the increased expenses of STRS).

I think the community needs to realize that great teachers are leaving (or not choosing to come here in the first place) because they simply cannot afford to live in the Bay Area based on what PUSD pays. Those who can't leave have seen their real income decrease because salaries haven't kept pace with inflation.










3 people like this
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 14, 2018 at 3:37 pm

If San Ramon made the construction of schools a condition for allowing developers to build, can't Pleasanton work on imposing similar requirements?

I think it would also be helpful if the City stopped allowing developers to make payments, in order to avoid development requirements (eg a proportion of affordable housing within a new development).

The value of the money will decrease year by year, whereas the cost of construction will not. So if the requirement is not met at the time the construction occurs, the contribution will never cover the cost. Basically the developers are getting a free pass.


4 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 14, 2018 at 3:45 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Teacher, I’m talking about the Casey years. I’ve done the comparisons; I’ll pull them up later and report back. I have advocated for ways to pay teachers more. The problem is I think there have to be trade offs—5 years before tenure? I would support a parcel tax to pay our best teachers more for their work. The problem is, no one is willing to even begin a discussion of how to make that agreeable for all sides. Look at it this way. Your best students get an A and the rewards that brings for college and their future. It should be the same for teachers. Not all teachers deserve an A, but you get the same reward if you are not that good or even lousy. You also suffer the same penalties when the budget is tight. Unfortunate.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 14, 2018 at 3:47 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

BobB, then you can build a magnet school of portables and recruit students. 16 is where it matters for students. Anything more and it just matters for classroom management, not learning. I’ll let you do the research.


6 people like this
Posted by teacher
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 14, 2018 at 4:14 pm

@ Kathleen. I agree with most of what you just said, but your original statement was that raises were given DURING the downturn and you called it "egregious" . The downturn began at the end of 2008 and hit our budgets in 2009. As you can see from my previous post, there weren't any egregious pay raises for teachers from 2009 to present, especially when compared with the rate of inflation in the area. Teachers real income/purchasing power has dropped at least 16% within the time period you referenced. So, I think your statement was a mischaracterization of facts.

I do remember getting a very big raise (10%) when I was first hired around 2000. I also interviewed against 80+ candidates for my position because PUSD was the most desirable employer for teachers in the Bay Area. That is no longer the case. PUSD is a desirable employer if you are married to someone who makes much more than a teacher and you can take benefits from your spouse or if you're young and single and can live with your parents and take their benefits. If you don't fit one of those two situations, you really cannot live here as a teacher without getting a 2nd job (hence, the pull of tutoring outside of work hours).

I agree that the number of years to get tenure should be 5. That doesn't have anything to do with rate of pay, though.

I would also be open to merit pay, but I wonder who would be assessing that. We have had a revolving door of inept administrators at my site and at the district. This makes it hard to trust that they actually know how to assess good teaching, and basing pay on test results penalizes great teachers who are willing and able to work with challenging populations.


3 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2018 at 4:40 pm

BobB is a registered user.

"16 is where it matters for students. Anything more and it just matters for classroom management, not learning. I’ll let you do the research."

Have done the research, and there isn't much valid research. Emphasis on valid.


1 person likes this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2018 at 4:44 pm

BobB is a registered user.

And were is the valid research correlating student density with academic achievement? Our schools can easily deal with a lot more students than they have presently.


3 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2018 at 4:44 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Add more science and computer labs in portables while we're at it.


12 people like this
Posted by mother (disgusted)
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 14, 2018 at 5:01 pm

Given the latest controversy over the 'ho' and 'b****'-based rap song the entire student body was required to participate in and be filmed participating in at the AV Lip Dub a couple of weeks ago, I think that Odie Douglas and David Haglund and the entire set of administrators needs to be put on administrative leave at AVHS. Now. And then be fired.

Imagine your kids getting home from school and letting you know a couple of weeks ago that the administration had each of them student by student singing Crank Dat (see lyrics) Web Link which they plan on putting up on Youtube. Have you seen what this song is about? Look at the lyrics on any website. It is by a rapper called Soulja Boy.

I called Youtube/Google and told them when it is posted, I will be calling them for an immediate takedown. Imagine purposefully ruining the kids' chances of getting into college and getting a job by having them participate in this women-hating filth and the administrators loading it up to Youtube. The Youtube/Google response? Oh, we've been hearing complaints about PUSD for literally YEARS.

I've come to the conclusion that I now know why the current PUSD enrollment of 14,864 is the exact same as it was in 2007-2008. People are enrolling their children elsewhere because either the place is run by a bunch of fools or sociopaths (can't decide which) whose aim is to sabotage the futures of kids in this community.

There is flat or declining enrollment and unless these people are removed, there is no need for another one of these schools.

And I'll be enrolling my children in a different school system next year. I used to contribute to PPIE and be an active PTA parent. No more.

BTW-Pleasanton Weekly, why haven't you done a story on the AV LIP DUB fiasco?


4 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 14, 2018 at 5:46 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Teacher, to be clear, I was talking about the value of the $10,000 (former benefit allowance) that was rolled onto the salary schedule in 1986. It goes like this:

June 1986 1% salary increase, 0% CPIU. November 1986, 8% and 3%. June 1987, 7.67%, 3.4. July 1987, 1.54% and 0%. 1988, 1.01%, 4.4%. 1989, 0%, 4.9%. 1990, 3.78%, 4.5%. 1991, 0%, 4.4. 1992, 1.75%, 3.3%. 1993, 2%, 2.7%. 1994, 2%, 1.6%. 1995, 2.3%, 2.0%. 1996, 2.75%, 2.3%. 1997, 2.55%, 3.4%. 1998, 4.5%, 3.2%. 1999, 3.3%, 4.2%. 2000, 11.1%, 4.5%. 2001, 3.9%, 5.4%. 2002, .8%, 1.6%. 2003, 0%, 1.8%. 2004, 1%, 1.2%. 2005, 4.6%, 2%. 2006, 5.73%, 3.2%. 2007 4.12%, 3.3%. 2008-2013 no raises. CPIU was 3.15%, .75%, 1.4%, 2.65%, 2.7%, 2.2%. 2014, 2%, 2.8%. 2015, 3.8%, 2.6%. 2016, 0%, 3%. 2017, 2%, 3.2%. (The biggest raises given in 2005, 2006, and 2007 were not sustainable and were immediately followed by six years of no raises. My opinion is those raises were given just in time for the then superintendent to retire and every other staff member payed for the following six years.)

If you start with the $10,000 in 1986, the value in July 2017 after each raise is $22,505. In CPIU dollars, that same amount would have been worth $25,355. That means your actual raises are worth about $2,850 less (1.2%) than the CPIU.

According to Kaiser Family Foundation (who releases information on annual rates of national health insurance premiums), 17% of covered workers are in plans with an annual premium for family coverage of $22,517 and 21% of covered workers are in plans where the family premium is less than $15,011. So 62% are paying somewhere between $15,011 and $22,517 on average. If teachers are paying more than $22K, I'd say you are in expensive plans.

As to salaries, I started with an assumed $60,000 start in 2000 followed immediately by the 11.1% raise and then followed each raise to 2017. That value is $87,684.84. For the same $60,000 multiplied out by the CPIU, the value is $95,601.02. You can't simply add raises or CPIU percentages and say you should have 25% (you actually cheat yourself because $60,000 multiplied by 25% is $73,800). Each raise (or CPIU increase) creates a new base number to use in the next calculation (compounded). Anyway, if you are a teacher who started in 2000 and got the immediate raise, you should be making $87,684.84 in 2017 (and with the CPIU it should have been $95,601.02). But that's not how salary schedules work, so I don't know that you are getting paid more or less than what it appears you should be getting.

Sorry about all the data, but I think it is important to see the actual numbers.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 14, 2018 at 6:01 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

BobB, here is one recent study of studies that concludes CSR is effective, but at 15-18 students per teacher with the most effectiveness cited for economically disadvantaged children.
Web Link

Build your charter portable school (labs included). I think most parents would choose differently. Cramming portables and students and teachers onto current campuses is ridiculous. These are children; we aren't trying to crank out one size fits all people. Putting more students on current campuses will likely mean larger classes because there is no money for more teachers and smaller classes. Better to have classes of 25 and stellar programs on a campus of 700 or less.

We are simply not going to agree.


2 people like this
Posted by DB
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 14, 2018 at 6:16 pm

@ Kathleen Ruegsegger. I am afraid that you have been "Schooled" by Teacher. You comments are myopic in nature and do not account for changes in the community over the past 8 years. Seriously, you are going back to 1986? You also fail to discuss changes in benefits which are typical for any employer of the same time frame. Pleasanton shot for higher wages initially, but completely tanked benefits. Good for the city, poor negotiating by the Union. What is most interesting for me though "being a white middle aged male" is your lack of consideration for the large womens movement currently in place. Please take a look at male dominated jobs within the city such as the police force which received a 9.5% increase over 3 years. What was this raise based on? More difficult job? Maybe...but more a factor of of cost of living increases. Also compare benefits at retirement for police and fire employees vs a teacher who has worked 30 years. Why should these same increases not be applicable to teachers? Is it because they are predominately men while teachers are mostly women? Please help me understand.



3 people like this
Posted by teacher
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Apr 14, 2018 at 6:31 pm

@ Kathleen: Teacher, to be clear, I was talking about the value of the $10,000 (former benefit allowance) that was rolled onto the salary schedule in 1986.

No, Kathleen, you were not talking about this. You're really quite good at the red herring fallacy. Your original statement was that "some of the most egregious actions were all the raises given *during* the economic turndown " (I think you meant downturn). Now you're going back 32 years to 1986 and talking about how the district shifted from having benefits included to no benefits and a $10,000 pay raise.

It is true that in the 1990s PUSD was the highest paying district around. That is why it attracted fantastic teachers in the 1990s and early 2000s. I am looking at 2018, where the average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment is $2,190 per month and the median home price is around $1.1 million. A teacher who makes a middle-of-the-road salary based on the PUSD pay scale Web Link would be making around $75,000 gross - NOT including benefits. They'd be in the 22% fed tax bracket and 9.3% state tax bracket and have another 8% deducted in mandatory STRS contributions, so lets subtract $29,475 right off the top for taxes/STRS. Lets also use your numbers and take $20k out for medical. This teacher now has a whopping $25,525 remaining. If they live the dream and rent that one bedroom apartment, that one bedroom apartment would cost them $26,280 per year, so I guess they have to get a roommate and not eat. Of course, there are lots of variables here. My points are as follows:

Teachers are not overpaid in this area and are, in fact, struggling to make ends meet
Teachers were not given egregious raises during the recession as you explicitly stated earlier
Our school district is in decline partially because the applicant pool is shrinking. Many of the best and brightest teachers can also do basic math, and they are looking elsewhere in order to have a better quality of life


2 people like this
Posted by All talk and no action...
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 14, 2018 at 6:32 pm

The health plan perk needs to be eliminated. I believe if you were to follow the money, this is where the school impact fees are eventually going and this is why none of the facilities are maintained and the District keeps promising new schools that it never delivers on. I did not realize that is was now worth $25,000 and it goes all the way back to 1986. Kathleen, 1986 is the exact year that the District asked the city to begin assessing school impact fees. This is the exact year. These two are tied together and explains why school impact fees are going to salaries/health plan perk.

And mother(disgusted), do you also realize the Amador Valley entire student body was pulled out for about 2 class periods, for the equivalent of about 1.5 hours, to videotape this District-sponsored misogynistic sleaze-fest of "Crank That?"

When did the school board authorize a loss of 2,650 students X 1.5 hours = 3,975 instructional hours to be lost in order to film this school-based activity during class time? And why is the District making minors be Facebook friends with teachers to obtain assignments and why is the District posting minors filmed at schools on Youtube? And why is the District forcing students to do assignments that they are required to forward to teachers in order to post to Youtube?

In terms of fools vs sociopaths, at least from the Internet, it seems that the percentage of sociopaths in education is much higher than the general population, which studies indicate is roughly 4%. Take a look at this PDF Web Link This sounds very familiar including the mob mentality at work.


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Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 14, 2018 at 7:20 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Generally "fools and sociopaths" are anonymous posters!


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 14, 2018 at 9:59 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Ok. Let's all back up a little, and on my account. I mixed up the benefits post with another I had on the brain. My apologies. Thanks also, Teacher, for the correction to downturn.

@DB, I went back to 1986 because that is when the rollover occurred. I don't think it would make much sense if I started somewhere in the middle. It was $10,000. Have to start there.

It wasn't intended as a red herring (Teacher), just data. I stated what teacher pay would look like if you weren't stuck on a salary schedule.

I do not believe teachers are overpaid and have stated that many times over. You ignored that I said I would support a parcel tax to support our best teachers or to set up a different way to pay teachers rather than a salary schedule. The latter will never happen. The prior could. You also made no comment about moving tenure to five years.

I will disagree, however, about the raises 2005-2007--the district could not afford them and the governance team knew it. And the proof is teachers and classified staff paid for it with six years of zeros (and job loss or reductions and furlough days)--seems like a lousy trade. I think that was caused by negligence, arrogance, and was awful for all staff.

And I will disagree about the $75,000 not including benefits. It *does* include benefits. You can blame the union leaders back in 1986 for the place you are in today. I've talked to two past superintendents at PUSD about benefits and how that problem could be solved (get out of the highest priced plans for one; negotiate better using skilled consultants who are doing this for many districts; I'm sure there are other ideas). But there seems to be little will because the majority do not take benefits. And negotiations are yet to be open to the public, so I can give you data, but I can't do much else.

I am worried about how difficult it is for teachers to live in or near our community. It has impacted my family and many others whose children cannot afford to buy (or rent) in the Bay area and are leaving for other states. I think I said it before, the problem is pensions--contributions by teachers and the district. Why isn't CTA clamoring for change? Why aren't boards and city councils throughout this state demanding what it will take to correct the problem. Just an opinion, but I wonder if it isn't because there could be a need for other compromises and so no one wants to broach the topic.

So while I see why teachers are leaving or not entertaining working here, my first concern is students. They are getting the short end of the stick.

DB, I'm not sure if I'm understanding you correctly. You know the city is a separate entity from the district? Different pots of money. So it wasn't good for the city and bad negotiating by the teachers' union. The city wasn't involved at all. And while I'm not a fan of people retiring at 50, that also is the city and not the district. The city has at least done some planning for pensions. The district has not. So, I wouldn't compare police/fire to teachers because (a) different entities and (b) there are male teachers, and they are paid the same as their female counterparts (all done with a salary schedule, stipends).

Sorry if I caused confusion. Not my intention.


3 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2018 at 1:39 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Kathleen,

It sounds more like an aesthetic or cultural thing not to have portables or high density schools. Maybe something along the lines of I want my grandchildren to have the same kind of school environment that I had, regardless of cost or actual need.

I don't need to advocate for a new charter school, because we already have schools. What I will argue against, and what I will continue to make clear to the district, is that we don't need to build another school. There are better uses for the money.


3 people like this
Posted by Out of touch
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2018 at 1:51 pm

I don't think BobB has actually gone to one of the schools recently if ever.

There is no room to put the portables unless you start putting them on athletic fields or on playgrounds or in parking lots. You can't stack 'em on top of each other like some sort of Lego building either. Portables can't be stacked on top of each other.

One option at the high schools is to stack em' on the tennis courts or fill in the pool and put one or two on top of the cement used to fill the pool.

The bottom line is that regardless of whether you put grades K-6 in all the elementary schools like it used to be, turn the middle schools to 7-9 junior highs and have the two high schools become senior high schools of 10-12, along with re-opening the District office as a real school, this will require three more elementary schools.

Obviously in the next county, in the last couple of years a K-8 was constructed for $8 million so if as school can be built for $8 million that is a K-8 and open in 2013, I believe Signature Properties could have built Neal for $8.5.

Because John Casey suddenly said that it would cost $13.5 million, I believe he was trying to get Signature stuck with the COPS bill for the excess of $5 million dollars that PUSD was in debt that it could not re-pay. The $5 million is the exact boost of the COPS repayments when the refi went through that boosted the COPS payments from $22 million to $27 million. Obviously, Casey along with the slimy District was trying to stick McKeehan of Signature Properties with the PUSD's COPS bills. The numbers match and the "increased cost" to build Neal that Casey claimed was from $8.5 million to $13.5 million was all bogus to actually stick Signature Property with the COPS fees.


7 people like this
Posted by teacher
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 15, 2018 at 2:08 pm

@Kathleen: You ignored that I said I would support a parcel tax to support our best teachers or to set up a different way to pay teachers rather than a salary schedule.

I ignored it because I don't think it's worthy of discussion. You opposed 2 previous parcel tax campaigns. They both failed. I don't see anyone trying to pass another one when the community doesn't support it. I don't believe that you would support one either (much like this conversation, the focus would shift to some new reason why you wouldn't vote for it)


You also made no comment about moving tenure to five years.

Not true. Go back and re-read my post. I did comment on it. I agreed with you.


And I will disagree about the $75,000 not including benefits. It *does* include benefits.

When a teacher makes $75k and is expected to pay for medical and dental out of that $75, I consider that to mean that benefits are not included. We can use your logic, though, and say that $22,000 of that $75k is a "benefit" that can be used to pay for medical. The problem, then, is that the teacher now makes $53k in salary pre-tax. It is very difficult to live off of that amount of money in this area. Which brings me to this statement of yours...

So while I see why teachers are leaving or not entertaining working here, my first concern is students. They are getting the short end of the stick.

Can you not see that the two are related? I have kids in this district, too. At PMS one of my kids has had sub after sub in his block class (where he spends 3 hours a day) because they can't fill a position. At Amador, where one of my other kids attends, they have had problems in math, social studies, and science this year filling positions. So, the kids get subs while admin tries to find qualified candidates to teach Physics and Geometry. The fact that we are not attracting the best candidates IS hurting students. You are going to hear more and more complaints from parents about the quality of instruction in the next few years because we are not able to recruit and retain the best teachers like we used to.



5 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2018 at 2:32 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Out of touch,

I currently have children in AVHS and had in them at Vintage Hills Elementary. Look at Vintage Hills Elementary. Go to satellite view on a map. Do you see that big empty field behind the multipurpose room? They never used it for anything. There is plenty of room there, if needed for even more portables.

Look at the satellite view for AVHS. Look at the current row of portables next to the baseball field. There's room right there for seven more, if needed.

There is no need for another elementary school in Pleasanton.

There is a need for more housing.

Happily, Pleasanton is losing its obsessive NIMBY irrationality, and building new housing while holding the line on new schools. It is the right thing to do. I'm glad my voice is being heard at the school district and with the city government.


3 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 15, 2018 at 2:35 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

BobB, Portables are what you do *to* students and their teachers, not *for* them.

There’s nothing cultural or aesthetic driving this issue; I went to crowded Catholic schools in Chicago and suburbs until high school. The ship has sailed for my children who never saw the benefits of the last bonds and my grandchild will be done before anything fixes those schools or overcrowding.

There is need for not just one, but at least two new elementary schools. You know it. The demographer has said so while including portables. And the demographer and the district were surprised by the 100 students who showed up over winter break. ‘ . . . cannot predict the current housing turnover.” People my age are cashing out and families with student aged children are moving in.

Out of $270MM, you can spare $35MM. What we shouldn’t have done is tear down Lydiksen. There could have been other approaches to that site. What we shouldn’t be doing is having taxpayers paying a bond for the negligence that put our current schools in disrepair. What we shouldn’t be doing is shuffling some 200 students out of their neighborhood schools. What won’t happen is $35MM going for what you deem as better uses; they agreed unanimously that either a school gets built or they will not sell those bonds. If they go back on their word, another bond will not pass. They need to fulfill their promises to keep the trust of voters.

Out of touch, that governance team took a big gamble, foolishly, and lost . . . twice. And the current bond pays $14.27MM for those mistakes as well.


3 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 15, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

BobB, you cannot build housing and not build schools to meet the growth. Otherwise, why not just one large K-12 campus to house 18,000 children—maybe with all portables so it is flexible. The district could sell all their schools; we can build even more housing on all that property; buy a big chunk of the east side land for the Pleasanton Penitentary Public School where the vision can be be “We don’t need no education” and the goal is “All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall.” Sounds great.

Luckily, the city is warning the district they need schools because the growth is coming and faster than most were counting on. And the district will build.


2 people like this
Posted by Out of touch
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2018 at 3:17 pm

Kathleen, the Sarich's have made millions on selling portables to school districts. They live in the big huge mansion off of Vineyard in the big house on top of the hill you can see from Stanley. BobB asking for more housing and more portables more than likely is related to the Sarich company. More housing. More housing. Or from some real estate or property developer. The more housing mantra usually comes from them anyway. He also wants to put more high density housing near the two BART stations so that he may not actually live in Pleasanton anyway to know that high density housing is actually at the two BART stations already. BobB may not live in the community, but just be a troll who obviously does not know high density housing surrounds both of the Pleasanton stations anyway. Anyone in Pleasanton knows that already.

There is no room to put portables at Vintage Hills next to the backyards of the houses facing Kottinger Drive and Grillo Ct because those are playgrounds.

Kathleen, BobB will next advocate putting the children in the Santa Rita Jail facility in the entire Tri-Valley, closing all the schools and parks and building more housing there.

BobB is so out of touch from his out of touch comments that I seriously doubt BobB lives in the area. Trolls are on the internet all the time because they have nothing better to do anyway.

And he'll be back next commenting that more housing is needed, more portables are needed, and by gosh, MORE housing. Oh yes, NIMBYs are evil doers.


5 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2018 at 5:06 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Out of touch,

If you don't like what I'm saying, you have to attack me personally, cast aspersions, and suggest ulterior motives. Makes your argument weak.


5 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2018 at 5:11 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Out of touch,

I've been posting on these forums for years, as a registered user. Who are you? I've never seen "Out of touch" as a screen name here before. Sounds like you made up that trollish name to personally attack me. It seems that you are the one with the problem.


1 person likes this
Posted by Out of touch
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2018 at 6:03 pm

I know BobB that from past postings, you do not believe that high school graduation is necessary. Wow. And that portables are fine.

"BobB is a registered user.
Stop telling everyone that graduation from high school is necessary for everyone or a requirement for success in life. People can do just fine without a high school diploma."

Your arguments are all weak and make no sense. You do not value education and obviously, you don't believe that graduation from high school is necessary. If that is the case, then you have a right to that opinion.

Most people who live in Pleasanton believe is is very important that not only do their children graduate from high school, but they also have the opportunity to attend college. You do not support that view.

Who in Pleasanton is a success without a high school diploma? And what companies in Pleasanton or surrounding communities are advertising for high paying salaries that would allow you to afford to live in Pleasanton without a high school diploma? Please pass that along.

Most people have to pay between $1 million and $2 million to afford a house in Pleasanton; therefore, many of the newcomers to Pleasanton not only have high school diplomas, but Masters degrees or higher of post-secondary education. Paying the property taxes associated with a $1 million or $2 million house and having the children placed in portables while being told by teachers, no problem, there is no need to graduate high school is not being in touch with reality.

If you know of these great employment opportunities in Pleasanton for high school drop-outs please share them with everyone.


5 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2018 at 6:23 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Who in Pleasanton is a success without a high school diploma?

I know of several. I have a coworker now for example who took the GED many years ago and will be retiring within a year. People should not feel ostracized or ridiculed because their method of learning is unconventional. I was writing that to reassure kids who may be struggling that there are many pathways through life, and for some that doesn't include graduating from high school. I also know someone who committed suicide because he thought he would never get into a college good enough to satisfy his parents or his peers. I stand by what I said.

I ask again who are you, who needs to make up a name just to mock someone you disagree with? Why do you do that. Do you realize how petty that makes you look?


4 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 15, 2018 at 8:24 pm

No more stack and pack housing, stack and pack portables in our overcrowded schools and end the free for all red light running, speeding cut-thru commuters. Enough is enough, sirens every morning and evening at prime commute hours, not to offend the relative newbies to this town who came from the big city but this place was just fine quit trying to change it!!


7 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 15, 2018 at 8:58 pm

Jack is a registered user.

I agree with Kathleen on most of these posts...
The bond was passed so we would have enough money to "catch up or get ahead." To get Pleasanton the schools it deserves.
"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" when the first three things the Board wants to spend the bond money on are laptops, roofs, and air conditioners...
Where does all the "regular" money go, if we can't budget enough to maintain our roofs and HVAC systems?


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 15, 2018 at 8:59 pm

The trailer shacks on campuses are not conducive to learning. No sinks means no science experiments can be done. Little natural light makes learning depressing. Children have to go in groups to the main building to even use the restroom. Rats and roaches can live underneath the shack. The acoustics are awful. There are no storage cabinets. What a shame that children are put in these trailer shacks because there has been no one stepping up to fix this outrageous situation.


8 people like this
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 16, 2018 at 2:06 pm

So sad to now be part of a community suffering from inaction and failed leadership by not preparing for the future and not building new schools. We have let our children down, no excuses.


11 people like this
Posted by Billie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2018 at 3:51 pm

Here’s a hot tip for everyone.....the money went to salaries and pensions so now we must maintain the schools and facilities which were ignored.


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

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