News

PUSD: Fairlands, Mohr, Harvest Park bolster security with new fencing

$922,600 in Measure I1 funding was used for upgrades at all three schools

Three Pleasanton Unified School District campuses have fortified onsite security for the new school year with new 8-foot-tall black wrought-iron fencing that was recently installed as part of a $922,600 project funded by Measure I1 bond revenue.

Crews began erecting new fencing at Fairlands Elementary, Mohr Elementary and Harvest Park Middle schools in April.

Work wrapped up recently, according to PUSD spokesman Patrick Gannon, and the new fences have also allowed Fairlands to expand their outdoor play areas for students while also keeping them safe.

The fencing project utilized funds from the facilities bond Measure I1 that voters approved in 2016. It represented the first Measure I1 project with visible results for the public to see; other Measure I1-funded improvements like the new HVAC at Pleasanton Middle School and new network cabling and power management at Amador Valley High School are less prominent.

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1 person likes this
Posted by Fencing
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2019 at 7:32 pm

I don't know about the other schools, but the PUSD put this awful cheap looking, shiny galvanized chain-link fence at the sides and back of Mohr Elementary. It truly looks like something out of a prison movie...the only thing missing is barbed wire at the top. There is no wrought iron fencing in this location and it really spoils the environment at what used to be nice looking Amaral Park.

I've seen classier fencing in inner city schools in SF and Oakland.

I guess they decided to spend the money on overpriced administrators rather than getting a decent looking fence.


15 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 7, 2019 at 9:09 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Wait, why can schools put up fences but our country can't?


1 person likes this
Posted by Mitch
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2019 at 11:37 am

Looks like a prison


1 person likes this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 10, 2019 at 9:46 am

James Michael is a registered user.

Again, big deal. PUSD builds fences while Dublin actually builds schools...and not like the Donlon expansion either.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 10, 2019 at 11:18 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Is it correct that Dublin has $100MM for the school and cut a deal for maybe $1 for the land? Pleasanton has no such arrangement. And while Donlon is not an ideal plan, I challenge you to come up with a TK-5 school, in the north, and for $35MM.


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Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 10, 2019 at 1:43 pm

What is the purpose of the fence?


1 person likes this
Posted by Fencing
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2019 at 1:51 pm

I think the purpose is to make the schools look like a cross between an impound lot and a juvenile detention facility.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 10, 2019 at 1:58 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Pete, I suppose it’s intended to keep students safe. I really don’t know that fencing can accomplish that (did it help in Gilroy?), and then these young people are potentially trapped inside the fencing like fish in a barrel.

If it’s to protect property, that already isn’t working. And it often means there is no after school hours/weekend access to play areas (taxpayer funded).

Maybe someone has a better response?


2 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 10, 2019 at 2:53 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

KR...there is still land in Hacienda for a new school. The school board must know how to make a deal, no? Maybe not. And it seems to me that the middle school has plenty of land available for a k-5 school right there on West Las Positas. No, not buying your argument. I think we need business people on the school board...you know, people who understand money.


Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 10, 2019 at 4:24 pm

Kathleen,

I was a bit worried that would be the answer. Those one entrance and exit things concern me. These crazies always go where people are unarmed and corralled. Do we have armed police on each campus? Please tell me we do.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 10, 2019 at 4:59 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Pete, no. I’m not sure I’d want that either.

JM, at today’s real estate prices there is no deal that buys 5 acres or more and builds a school for $35MM. They can’t even get Lydiksen built for the $30MM they have for it and they already own the land.


2 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 10, 2019 at 5:12 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

And yet Dublin had the foresight to make a deal with someone, somewhere, at some point in time.


1 person likes this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 10, 2019 at 6:07 pm

PUSD should be soliciting bids from contractors with Central Valley prices.


2 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 10, 2019 at 6:47 pm

So our children are fenced in with no protection. Amazingly stupid and dangerous.


2 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Mom
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Aug 10, 2019 at 8:48 pm

Pleasanton Parent, that is the most stupid post I have ever seen.. this is not about politics on fencing the boarders. Pitiful.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 10, 2019 at 9:19 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Looks like I’ve got old news compared to the timeline on Dublin’s website: Web Link The deal I read about turns out to have been in May 2018. Web Link

I don’t think it changes what’s happening here.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 10, 2019 at 9:38 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Pleasanton mom ,
I disagree. I would offer your post up for said nomination, but to be honest I've read far worse.
Add to the conversation or move along.


1 person likes this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 10, 2019 at 9:41 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Kathleen
How much land has the school district sold off in the last few years?
And the bond language clearly positioned it for a new school, not two new classrooms. Sh1t, even the survey post bond didn't offer the abomination of an option for commentary that we got stuck with.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 11, 2019 at 9:09 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

PP, yeah—although they sold land, and maybe it wasn’t smart in hindsight (subject to the thinking at the time), none of it was where schools are or will be needed—not even the Neal site at this point, which they still own (sorta—it’s not completely paid for). They could sell Neal and use that toward another elementary site, but that $4.5MM mortgage (pretty sure) eats a big hole in what they could buy on the north side.

Pete, it’s an emotional discussion with parents, especially at the elementary level. It seems safer; it supposedly keeps kids in, strangers out; right? A deterrent to those who would damage the property? Didn’t work at PMS. I wonder if perimeter alarms/cameras and other security measures on classrooms would be better. The truth is, it’s sad there is a need.


3 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 11, 2019 at 9:20 am

Kathleen,

It may be emotion but it’s not well thought out. Children fenced in with one way in and out with no armed security. What could go wrong there? Lots!

We vote for a school and don’t get one but we do spend money on a fence around an old school. I thought fences don’t work?


1 person likes this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 11, 2019 at 9:44 am

James Michael is a registered user.

Pete...two valid points. I agree. And in spite of all the bad decisions, both past and present, that PUSD has made there are still some who will defend those mistakes no matter what.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 11, 2019 at 10:19 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

JM, I’m not defending fencing or past decisions, if that’s your intended comment. Whatever the intention, I encourage you to actively participate in board meetings or email/call board members or run for office.

Pete, I thought it was clear I don’t think fences work and there are better ways to monitor a campus to keep everyone safe.

I asked for someone to show what plan you have to build a school for $35MM.


3 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 11, 2019 at 11:21 am

James Michael is a registered user.

Yes, that was my intended comment. And it's not my job to come up with a plan...that is why we vote. And I criticize the PUSD bad planning and decisions while you defend them which is our right on this forum or any other.


3 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 11, 2019 at 12:58 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Kathleen,
I'm going to echo James' comment here. Not our job to come up with a plan, and definitely not after the district floated a bond advertising that that is what it would be used for.
If the district never had a viable plan why was a new school part of the marketing?


5 people like this
Posted by Fencing
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2019 at 1:04 pm

Because the school was supposed to built on the Neal site, land the District already owns.

They only came up with the Hacienda location in order to switch locations like they have done for years....as an excuse to not build a school.

They have done this since about 1970. They get a site like the end location at the Valley Trails loop, with marketing materials to sell houses in the subdivision based on the soon-to-be-school. Then they abandon the location. Then it sits where it is a weedy eyesore until it is sold off.

They did this most recently in selling the high school site to developers in South Pleasanton that they had booted the landowners off decades ago. They then said they would build a new high school on the Busch property near the Valley/Stanley intersection. Then of course, they didn't.

The PUSD's constant tactic is a rather simple 5 step process:

1. Obtain site
2. Never build school on site
3. Hold site until it appreciates
4. Sell site to housing developers
5. Tell community that the "real" growth is happening in another part of town which is where the "new" school has to absolutely be.

Repeat.


2 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 11, 2019 at 1:27 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

Bullseye, Fencing, bullseye...same stuff (BS) that I have heard since 1975.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 11, 2019 at 1:53 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Defend them? Hilarious. Ask the superintendent or board members.

I’ll tell you the mantra—no money for operating costs. Know why, raises that cost millions further exacerbating pension liabilities.

There is $35MM for a school, whatever it will be, because five of us showed up with facts to prove it was needed. Otherwise fencing and computers and bond money spent on deferred maintenance, which should have been handled with other funding, were all you were going to get.

As to voting, you re-elected them and then put no one up to run against them. Whine out here all you want or act.


2 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 11, 2019 at 2:04 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

I actually voted for KR in 2016 and you almost made it. Give it another shot next year because I didn't re-elect them.


4 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 11, 2019 at 3:28 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

JM, most certainly, thank you. It could be a great year in 2020 for someone to run. My assumption is some/one incumbent(s) won’t run. All current members stated support for term limits. With the exception of Maher, we should hold their feet to the fire to step down.


5 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2019 at 3:39 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Mass shootings are so rare anywhere, let alone at schools that there probably isn't much anything we can do about them. We should all mainly just relax and not scare our kids.


Like this comment
Posted by Birdie
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 12, 2019 at 10:54 pm

@Pleasanton Parent, I don't think anyone is saying, don't have border security. Fencing a 600 mile border is nor fool proof and most designs takes only few more minutes to scale. For School it is different, it is just like having a fence or door for your house. I would have rather fenced the high schools. @BobB says it is rare, that is true in Holland it is.


2 people like this
Posted by Patrick Gannon
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Aug 15, 2019 at 10:29 am

Thanks for all of the input and feedback. This is a forum, so I appreciate viewpoints on both sides. It all supports a more robust conversation as long as statements are supported by facts and discussion is civil/respectful. Remember, we are a community of character - it's why I'm proud to work in this community.

A few important points:
Schools with new fences are practicing safety drills (Harvest Park held a successful drill with Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Dept. yesterday) and ironing out safety procedures. ALL schools hold a variety of drills on a monthly basis for fire, earthquake and intruder.

Land is incredibly expensive (similar to current housing prices) - especially the available land when PUSD was looking for a new school site over the last several years (sometimes this comes down to the land owner, not the city - in Dublin's case, the land was owned by the City).

The new school included in Measure I1 (as Kathleen stated - Hi Kathleen!) was a result of community advocacy - and we always encourage our community members to share their thoughts and input with us at PUSD. That's how we make better decisions in the long haul.


3 people like this
Posted by Neal school, the school that never was
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2019 at 10:57 am

PUSD already has 'new' land to build a school that is vacant that they already own.

It is called the Neal Elementary school site on the East side of town, which will be the major growth area in town because of the East side specific plan and the vacant land between Livermore and Pleasanton in the Chain of Lakes area.

There is no need to purchase any new land because it has been already purchased.

However, every time land is acquired by the District, it never builds an actual school. It just quietly holds on the vacant land for two to three decades until it increases in value, then they sell it to development companies to build more subdivisions.

I'm sure the PUSD is trying to unload Neal right now. This is the way they play the game. They do this in closed sessions in secret under "Real Property Negotiations" and "Anticipated Litigation" to keep the public in the dark.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 15, 2019 at 11:23 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Neal, all the current growth and overcrowding is in the north. The need for a school/additional capacity is in the north.

Neal is still in district hands, although there are developers chomping at the bit to get it. To my knowledge there is no plan to sell or build; it is not paid for to my knowledge.

Real Property Negotiations must list the property being discussed. Anticipated Litigation should give some broad information about that potential. If that isn’t happening, someone at the DO should read up on the Brown Act. Not to mention, transparency should be the default as much as possible.

There will be other issues if the East Side development comes to fruition. Perfect spot for a TK-8 campus as the middle schools are overcrowded, as are the high schools.

Still would love to sell the DO site and combine with the city’s pipe dream for Bernal.

Hi Patrick!


1 person likes this
Posted by Neal school, the school that never was
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2019 at 12:17 pm

The bottom line is that the priority of PUSD has been to build a bloated administration housed at the former K-8 Pleasanton school location rather than build any schools for the children. They have stacked and packed the former K-8 school with bureaucrats and continue to stack and pack the students in overcrowded, substandard, poorly maintained schools.

That is because PUSD is not in the education business, but in the land speculation business. Meanwhile, the amount of classroom space in tutoring centers in shopping centers and office space continues to grow an an exponential rate where after school, a significant portion of students go multiple times a week to actually obtain an education.

PUSD booted the students out of one K-8 school, then took it over for themselves as office space. This is outrageous that they would close a neighborhood school and convert it into their own office place, then build two new schools a couple of hundred feet from where they did the K-8 takeover.

What they did was close the K-8 Pleasanton school located at First and Bernal, sell off their previous administrative site on Main Street, then fill the entire K-8 Pleasanton school which use to house students with wall to wall paper-pushing bureaucrats and staff. It used to be that PUSD had a streamlined staff that took care of paying PUSD's bills. Now they keep adding position after position of directors, senior directors and coordinators with job descriptions that sound like they add nothing to the actual teaching profession, but simply compile data and push paper.

Donlon was a K-8 school under the Murray school district and when PUSD took it over, they decided to eliminate grades 6-8 in order to build nearby Hart. There would be no school overcrowding at Donlon had the PUSD not sold off the Del Prado site to developers as they did in their longstanding ploy/game to again retain land for several decades until it increases in value, then sell it off to a developer to build housing tracts.

Once Murray was out of the picture, PUSD decided to sell off all of the Murray acquired land in North Pleasanton that included multiple school sites. And after PUSD was created, they continued to sell off sites acquired by the previous Pleasanton Elementary school district.

Population growth in Dublin and Pleasanton has gone Eastward. That is why Dublin closed Nielsen Elementary and opened up multiple schools in East Dublin. The remaining undeveloped developable land in Pleasanton is on the East side, not the North side.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 15, 2019 at 12:47 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Whoa, Neal-ly, the former Pleasanton school couldn’t comply with standards for accessibility. The Main Street property was sold to the city. I mean, the Blue Agave was the DO at one point—should they still be there? There wasn’t a need for a K-8 school and Hart was nearly not built and was built much after 1988 unification I believe. Let’s at least be accurate. I don’t recall acquiring land with unification, so I’d have to research it.

As you point out, students have paid a price, but I don’t think you were at the board meetings trying to get a school. But you are anonymous and maybe you are someone I know.


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Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 15, 2019 at 3:54 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

That's the trouble with "anonymous"...you never know if its fact or opinion, but I tend to agree with "Neal" because I've heard this all before (and by teachers in the district). I've lived here a long time.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 15, 2019 at 4:35 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I’ve been here a long time and worked in the district. Neal’s comments need some fact checking.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 15, 2019 at 8:01 pm

Patrick’s comments need some fact checking......new school my @$$. How stupid do you think we are


1 person likes this
Posted by The definitive map
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2019 at 9:49 pm

There were plenty of school sites in North Pleasanton but the school district sold them all off to real estate developers (see map).

Once the Pleasanton school downtown was closed in the early 1980's, the district claimed it would re-open it in 4-5 years. But that was not the truth. The truth was that they wanted to sell off the Pleasanton school site to housing developers. This came to light in 1987 when they went public with their plans to sell it off to housing developers, but there was a citizen's petition to stop the and the city stopped them on legal grounds due to a long term lease they had on the sports fields there. Once it closed, they shoehorned most students into Walnut Grove that ended up having around 1000 students. They then converted all but one elementary school to K-6's. Harvest Park was for 7th and 8th graders. The Pleasanton school was not closed due to accessibility issues because the ADA was not even passed until 1990.

The school district is the ultimate organization in the real estate flip market. In spite of promises to build schools so that there would be walkable neighborhoods where most children could walk to school, they failed to deliver (see the map of broken promises and betrayals here --->Web Link ).

The entire story of their deceptive practices goes back to the early 1970's. The Murray school district planned a total of seven K-8 schools in Pleasanton. The Amador High School district planned a total of four comprehensive high schools in Pleasanton (north, east, west, south). The Pleasanton Elementary district planned numerous K-5 and middle schools located within walking district of most Pleasanton neighborhoods.

The sell off of land to the developers started then and hasn't stopped.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 16, 2019 at 7:19 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Map, that is a city general plan—an old one—and not an indicator the land earmarked for schools was actually owned. And it’s a pipe dream. There would never be that many schools in a community so small.

Show me where land was owned. Do a Public Records Request from the district. By the way, I do know the district owned and sold off land, but nothing like what you are showing in that link.


1 person likes this
Posted by longtime res
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 16, 2019 at 12:42 pm

Pleasanton schools has had wars with developers past and present and no one will partner with them ever to build a school given their past history and lawsuit wars. No one wants to have a lawsuit against them with allegations of "fraud and deceit." Pleasanton school personnel have abused and misused developers and has continually deceived the public.

The schools are spread too far apart to support increasing enrollment projections. Without busing, it is impossible to have typical two-income parents commuting daily to the Peninsula or Silicon Valley to constantly ferry there kids to and from schools, some with staggered start and end times, as well as the off-site tutoring facilities that are teaching children math skills. Ten years ago, perhaps 5% of Pleasanton residents sent their kids to schools other than Pleasanton public schools. Now, due to the overcrowding and the deteriorating quality, I would guess that figure is now more like 20%. In some very high income neighborhoods, I would think that figure is more like 80%.

Good luck with that Public Records request. I don't think PUSD will have any luck finding Bob Hagler who handled many of these land deals and I believe is deceased.

The map looks accurate to me but is missing sites the district sold. It includes the 40+ acre Sycamore Road high school site the District sold to Greenbriar, the Mission Park School site it sold off, the 32 acre Vintage Hills middle and elementary school sites that were sold off on Crellin Road to the developers (this is next to Vintage Hills park where the city build the park but the district sold off their land), the Hansen Park property between Hansen Drive and Black Avenue that it sold off, but the district sold off more parcels than is on the map. For instance, I don't see the Stoneson school site that was sold off to Hunt Enterprises and the option site with Ponderosa in Ironwood. Also I don't see the one that was supposed to have the foot bridge across Foothill Road. I do see the disputed Morrison Homes and George Oakes sites, but the Neal site is missing.

The former Pleasanton school used to have a bigger footprint and I think that is reflected on the map. The district has continuously carved out and sold portions of it to developers through the years.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 16, 2019 at 1:32 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

War with one developer—Signature over Neal. That lands solely in the lap of a singular superintendent whose ego was bigger than his brain—twice suing and losing not only the lawsuits, but also the plan for Signature to build Neal in the process. Otherwise, developers aren’t agreeing to anything that doesn’t sell homes. They have been generous, mostly with the homebuyers’ money.

Again, most of the enrollment is in the north where there is high turnover of longtime owners to young families. I would question your data on students transferring out of the district. I’ll look for the enrollment report, which should give us real data. All the land had titles; info must be somewhere.

You can’t say the map is accurate and then say it’s missing information.

In the end, we can grouse about the mistakes (although opinions may vary on which were mistakes), but it gets us nowhere. I showed up repeatedly to say Lydiksen should not be the priority (to no avail). We have no new structures on that site yet. And a remodel of the structures was never considered. I showed up repeatedly to fight for the $35MM we do have to add capacity. Yes, I agree the Donlon plan is not really a new school, but it is land we own and it’s where the growth is.

I will not support the attempt for a new bond. Not anytime soon at least.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 16, 2019 at 1:48 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Here is the enrollment report: Web Link

220 students are being overflowed out of their neighborhood schools—Donlon, Fairlands, and Lydiksen. The majority (132) from Donlon.

Staff, again, did not report students coming to us from other districts nor those who choose to go to schools outside the district (not including special education students in either case).


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Posted by longtime res
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 16, 2019 at 2:06 pm

I can say the map is accurate but missing some properties because that is an accurate statement. The map does not reflect some school district real property purchased outright or obtained through condemnation procedures by the school district after the map was published.

It fairly reflects the "school property disposal list" of Hagler, Berck, McCurtain, James, Callan, etc.

Any district numbers containing where the 'new' growth or turnover is highly suspect, as they have routinely been used in past to simply justify disposing of a site e.g., Stoneson or play one neighborhood location against another like was done when they hired former city attorney Peter MacDonald to push the rezoning of the Hansen Park school site in the Hansen disposal/Walnut Grove money vs east Stoneridge school situation and the countless city meetings that subsequently occurred.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 16, 2019 at 2:24 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Longtime, that map is a plan and it does not indicate that the district owned the property and subsequently sold it. Maybe it was earmarked and refused. Perhaps the way to track it is through the various budgets back then. Land sales cannot be placed into the general fund; the funds have to be used to purchase/build/expand other facilities. If the land was sold and used to improve/build the schools we have (with the exception of Sycamore; that money is still in a separate fund), then the trade off was likely the right thing to do given the myriad considerations at that point in time. Unless we can reconstruct all the factors back then, and even if we actually could, I’m not sure what the exercise gets us now. Other than knowing the history and keeping an eye on Neal.


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Posted by Fencing
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2019 at 4:16 pm

I think the District is encouraging declining enrollment, more than the 2,670 projected by 2026 according to Web Link by retro-fitting the existing schools with the unsightly shiny metal fencing.

Why they could not even match the black color of the existing front fencing with the back and side fencing is a mystery to me unless of course they are wanting to encourage parents to disenroll their children.

In terms of new school construction, although two districts in Tracy can rebuild them with bond money and State matching funds (Central in TUSD) or break ground on new K-8 campuses (Corral Hollow in Jefferson Web Link ), it is simply too bad that Pleasanton can't open new school facilities. No wonder many city staff and police officers and fire fighters live in Tracy.


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Posted by Fencing
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2019 at 7:56 pm

BTW - Land sales by the district were put in the general fund. Kathleen, the information you gave about the sales of school sites by the school district being used for obtaining new or expanding school sites seems to be definitely incorrect based on testimony by school administrators. I Googled some of the names listed above and in the city records it indicates that school district personnel repeatedly stated that funds from sales of school sites by the school district went into the general fund and would be used for operating expenses. The only exception I can find is the sale of the South Pleasanton high school site.

It looks like every time they sold their school land, they had to have the property rezoned to residential or R. One quote is:

"Commissioner Wilson asked Mr. Hagler if the money realized from the sale of their surplus school sites would be used to improve existing schools. Mr. Hagler stated that they (sic) money would be put in the general fund. He explained that they have laid off the grounds men at all school sites and would certainly like to put the money to some use." (11/9/83 Minutes Planning Commission page 15 middle of the page).


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 16, 2019 at 8:23 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Have to look for the law and when/if it changed. Not allowed for years. Ultimately, other than historical reference, boots on the ground haven’t changed the current issues.


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Posted by Fencing
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2019 at 6:34 pm

The school district flipped a school site they had promised Mission Park residents they were going to build a school on for 20 years. They said there were no more new students to justify a new school in South Pleasanton, then developed a subdivision of houses on the Mission Park school site property, then right after housing was approved, they changed their tune. They worked to rezone a nearby property across Sunol Blvd on Case avenue to schools right after they flipped the Mission Park property.

It's all online on the Pleasanton city website the schools declared no more schools were needed in south Pleasanton because they needed an intermediate school near Fairlands along with another north school. Then at the Mission Hills school site next to the park in south Pleasanton, a single family residential subdivision with the school district being the developer with someone named Roger Manning and Superintendent James was approved.

Rather than build a school, the Pleasanton School District itself developed a residential subdivision on the 7.9 acre school site. It is called PUD-87-17 / Ordinance No. 1333 with the developer applicant being the Pleasanton School District and Diamond Properties. It looks like the district has long been in the property flipping business, but I have no idea if this is allowed by state law or not.

Too bad the Mission Park residents never got the school that they were promised for decades.


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Posted by Jennifer
a resident of Country Fair
on Aug 18, 2019 at 9:53 am

I really liked the big signs up at each school that posted what they used the bond money for at each site.

Until I read it and realized it was mostly for security.

That was really not what I thought the bond money was going to be used for when they said it was for “improvements”.

Were Ptown schools really so unsafe before?


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Posted by homeowner
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 19, 2019 at 9:34 am

How can silver chain link inner fencing that can easily be cut with wire cutters be called "secure" is beyond me. It does not even match the front black metal fence. It is a major failure and to date the only evidence that I see of any bond measure spent.

And by the way, my house is on a former abandoned Pleasanton school site, one of at least 5 I know about in North Pleasanton. The Pleasanton school district has failed to be in the school building business starting with when Rudy Gatti took over in about 1973 and they started disposing of the land they had banked. All school building started by his predecessor came to a halt and it has been that way, more or less, ever since.

The developer Robert H. Grant Corp was so sick of dealing with the Pleasanton school district that after several years they pulled out of the development.

Later another developer took over. The school site was rezoned with what is known as a "General Plan amendment" in 1980. No one was notified in houses in the subdivision that were already occupied nor the adjoining Willow West development.

Another developer had to redo all the geological studies from scratch. Anyone living on TRACT 5099 in Linvale in Amberwood/Wood Meadows is living on an abandoned Pleasanton school district site. It is at this location Web Link


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 19, 2019 at 10:17 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

The phrase likely used throughout was “no budget for operating costs.” Yet raises were given that were always more than operating costs would have been (and the subsequent increase to pension costs). Perhaps the conversation needs to be how we support our students in proper facilities and still pay the best teachers well. Just handing bond money or land over to local districts appears to be a mistake. They are educators who are probably not well versed in construction or labor issues.


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Posted by Rezonings
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 19, 2019 at 11:47 am

I looked at the city records online and just Googled Rudy Gatti. From what I see, the district starting in late 1972 wanted to spend funds not on schools for students, but to custom build from scratch office/commercial space with a 48 car parking lot for 26 central office administrators in a residential neighborhood where the Mission Hills elementary school should have been built.

There is no mention of lacking funds online that I saw in the minutes I found. After all, they seem to have plenty in their budget to custom-build their own office space from the ground up. And they have money to build it as well because they state they hope to occupy their brand new offices in a year.

Bill Borg and Rudy Gatti appeared with the architect at the meeting with their commercial office space plans. Their location was in a residential neighborhood near Junipero and the neighbors opposed it, but the school district obtained the zoning board's approval. The city council eventually refused to allow them to build their commercial office space in a residential neighborhood.

On October 14, 1980 the school district requested multiple rezones. It looked like no one from the district even bothered to show up at the city meeting, but their lawyers showed up to request them instead.

But on October 14, 1980 minutes online, it reflects that multiple school sites were eliminated forever by mass rezonings that changed these locations to Residential including:

Change the 40 acre high school site on Sycamore Road to Residential

Change the 9.8 acre site south of Foothill High from Public and Institutional to Residential

Change two school sites in Del Prado Area (6-8 and K-5) on the Hansen property to Residential

Change the K-5 school site southwest of Arroyo Mocho and Southern Pacific Railway Tracks to Residential

Change the 9.8 Public and Institutional site on the northwest corner of Vineyard-Tawny-Pico to Residential

For the last one I am not sure if this was a former school site, because I'm not familiar with that part of town and don't know where Pico road is or was.

BTW - Is Rudy Gatti is the same one that runs the superintendent search firm?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 20, 2019 at 9:47 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

So, if the law when Sycamore was sold stated the proceeds must be set aside for facilities (and it did and it was; the fund is still held separately today) and all these other properties were sold or rezoned (possibly designated for schools, but not necessarily owned by the district because developers can set land aside, but not officially donate the land to the district) at the same meeting, then all these property sales had to have the funds set aside or there was no financial gain. In the meantime, Hearst, Hart, and Pleasanton Middle School were built. Where did the funds come from for those three schools?

The history is helpful, and not all of it seems like great decisions were made looking at them in hindsight. However, three schools were built; some $7MM (?) is still in the Sycamore Fund; we don’t know exactly what drove the decisions at the time; we still “own” the Neal school site.

None of this gets us a new elementary school site. And if the East side is developed, we will need a new TK-5 and 6-8, and likely it will be a single TK-8 school.

The Donlon plan, despite concerns, is currently the only viable place to provide capacity in the north. Unless you want to hand the district many more millions. The board is considering asking for $120MM in new taxes (and that is a much higher amount after interest) . . . And I don’t believe any of the money is earmarked for new schools.


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Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Aug 20, 2019 at 10:44 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Weren't we told by the media and democrats (BIRM) that "walls won't work" on our southern border?

Why would they work at a school?

Dan


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 20, 2019 at 10:59 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Dan, they will not keep out a determined person in either case. I would say they are an expensive minor deterrent. And for anyone wanting to use taxpayer funded play equipment after hours or on weekends, impossible. Wrong plan in either direction. Secured doors and cameras might be more effective.


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Posted by Rezonings
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 20, 2019 at 11:26 am

I can't find much in the last 15 years or so that included any real cash flow discussions that occur between the school board and city council. These seem to have ended halfway while John Casey was superintendent.

Prior to that, McCurtain says on the 6/4/98 meeting the developer fees were funding the construction of Hearst (SF property elementary school) and Hart Middle school (Hacienda Middle School). McGovern says there was $9.95 million for the elementary school and $19.67 million for the Hart Middle school in developer fees that had been set aside. It is unclear if any State funding was applied for. I see also in another meeting the city handed over $4 million for something (maybe PMS?). Also they were going to loan the school board operating costs for Neal, but the district turned them down. PUSD wanted the city to take out COPS (Certificate of Participation loans) for the city to fund building construction for the second gym on a middle school site, but Acosta told them the city could not afford to make the debt payments. If you can find out how much each school cost and what the funding source was please post the info. It sounds like the school district stopped sharing the cash flow statements previous city councils used to review about 15 years ago. Maybe that is because the developer fees stopped being used for any classroom additions or modifications or school construction and were being used for some other purpose like operating costs or debt payments or legal fees.

The next result is that in 1973 there were 8 elementary schools open and operating when the population was about 10,000 in Pleasanton (Fairlands, Alisal, Walnut Grove, Pleasanton Elementary, Vintage Hills, Valley View, Donlon, Lydiksen) but 46 years later, incredibly there are only 9 elementary schools open and operating, a net increase of 1 school, with a population of 80,000 + (Fairlands, Alisal, Walnut Grove, Hearst, Vintage Hills, Valley View, Donlon, Lydiksen, Mohr).


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 20, 2019 at 1:10 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

There are Liaison meetings between the city and district where quite a bit of information is reviewed. The meetings are public, made up of two council members and two board members and whatever staff members need to attend based on the information being shared. Almost no members of the public attend. Minutes are taken currently, but I don’t know if that was always the case or not.

The city had the district take out COPS for the straightening of Vineyard Avenue to the tune of $4MM citing the Neal school’s share of the traffic it would create, if I recall correctly, not the other way around. That $4MM debt was not being reduced and only interest was paid (using developer fees I believe) for many years. The district paid/will pay that COPS off with some of the $270MM in bond money we gave them recently.

Gyms are shared at all three middle schools, and to my knowledge, so were the costs to build them. There also are agreements regarding the fields and their maintenance at schools which are also used by the city. Good examples of why sharing taxpayer dollars can be a good thing for the community in general (and why I think sharing central offices and a board/council meeting room is a great idea).

I can assure you that people fought for more schools. I don’t think Hearst or Hart would have been built when they were without the hard work of community members. The kick the can down the road mentality or “we can’t afford operating costs” have hurt many students over the years (my children attended Walnut Grove when it was over 1,000 students). For years demographers have been told to count portables (temporary structures) for capacity, without indicating that was how it could be argued a school wasn’t needed. I have even heard the argument that a good teacher, a book, and a shady spot under a tree is all anyone needs to educate the young.

I get it—parents are often in two income families. They volunteer where they can at their children(s)’s school (s), donate, help with homework. It’s difficult to find the time to participate much, if at all, beyond that. The biggest problem, as I see it, is that both sides of Main Street will continue to believe they are doing a fine job if no one is around to suggest otherwise or if we continue to re-elect them without question.


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

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