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Mulling over Measure M

PUSD voters to decide $323 million bond question in March election

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A new science building could be built on this grassy spot at Amador Valley High, with funding from the 2016 Measure I1 bond. (Photo by Julia Baum)

Too soon, too late or just the right time?

That is the question Pleasanton voters will face when they decide the fate of a $323 million facilities bond measure for Pleasanton Unified School District in the upcoming March 3 primary election.

A little more than three years ago residents passed Measure I1, a $270 million bond measure -- and the community's first in over two decades -- that has since been used to fund pre-construction work for marquee district projects like revitalizing Lydiksen Elementary School (on track to break ground next month), replacing the portables and adding new science labs at Hart Middle and Foothill and Amador Valley High schools (starting next fiscal year) and eventually building a new school for grades 4 and 5 on the Donlon Elementary site.

Most of the work crossed off the Measure I1 project list so far, however, has been understated like adding network infrastructure or security fencing at various campuses, making some locals wonder why or if another bond is needed right now. Approximately $145.5 million remains to be allocated for the Measure I1 projects list.

"Now or never" was the answer that the consultants who were brought in last year to gauge the public's reception to another property tax gave to the Board of Trustees and Superintendent David Haglund.

A sample poll conducted in late summer showed support for a new bond was above the 55% minimum threshold at a lower amount of $150 million (60%-65%) and closer to the number (54%-57%) at a higher amount of $393 million; the consultants predicted this year's presidential race would likely distract voters and suggested acting sooner, prompting the Board of Trustees in November to unanimously place a $323 million measure on the ballot this spring instead.

Labeled on the ballot as Measure M, the initiative has its critics but district officials and a number of PUSD families argue it is needed to help properly maintain, repair and remodel their aging schools, pointing to PUSD sites and amenities like both gymnasiums at Amador that could use an overhaul.

Currently there is an estimated $1.1 billion of identified projects on the district's 2018 Facilities Master Plan, including a proposed career-tech high school or STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) expansion facilities.

Measure M poses this query to voters:

"To upgrade/construct classrooms and facilities to support science, technology, engineering, math, arts/music and accommodate growing student enrollment; improve safety/security systems; replace aging roofs, plumbing/electrical/HVAC systems; and improve access for students with disabilities; shall Pleasanton Unified School District's measure be adopted, authorizing $323,000,000 in bonds at legal rates, raising approximately $21,300,000 annually with rates averaging 4.31¢ per $100 of assessed valuation while bonds are outstanding, with independent oversight, audits, and no money for administrators?"

Should more than 55% of Pleasanton residents check "yes" on the ballot, Measure M will usher in a new tax of $43.10 per $100,000 of assessed value on residential properties in the district and, according to PUSD officials, sustain a similar tax rate when two bond measures from 1988 and 1997 begin to expire in 2022.

A family that owns a home with an assessed value of $500,000 would pay an extra $215.50 in taxes annually, and a house in Pleasanton with an assessed value of $1 million would generate an additional $431 in taxes each year.

An estimated $21.3 million annually would be generated by Measure M.

Just like Measure I1, the projects that could come to fruition under Measure M vary from simpler objectives like adding covered lunch areas and improving pickup and drop-off zones to more ambitious ones like modernizations of entire school buildings.

But unlike Measure I1 in 2016, which cited specific projects down to the school-site level, the Measure M resolution features catch-all phrases to describe types of projects eligible for funding -- such as "modernize, renovate, replace, re-configure, upgrade and/or construct gymnasiums or related facilities," as opposed to directly listing Amador or Foothill gyms as specific projects.

The same goes for specific campus modernizations, though Vintage Hills Elementary was cited by school board members during bond deliberations.

Also, while the final approved project list includes budgeted amounts up to $323 million, there are no cost estimates per project in the ballot measure.

The ballot measure language states that "the final cost of each project will be determined as plans are finalized, construction bids are awarded, and projects are completed," with listed projects being "completed as needed at a particular school or school facility site according to Board-established priorities." It also notes "the Board cannot guarantee that the bonds will provide sufficient funds to allow completion of all listed projects."

Even if funds are available, there's no guarantee that a project on the list will be realized, but Measure M revenue could only be spent on the types of projects on the list.

This summer PUSD wrapped up the second issuance for $90 million of Measure I1 bonds, almost selling out in mere hours. The lightning speed sales and low interest rate were credited to the district's solid credit score, increased assessed values and community stability. As of now, PUSD is ahead of schedule on Measure I1, with the final issuance scheduled for next year.

Senior citizens would not be exempt from Measure M, which is slated to fund a number of big-ticket projects like adding a drama theater at Foothill and, of course, the gyms at Amador, according to Board of Trustees President Steve Maher during a recent tour of several PUSD sites.

"I thought every time I came to Amador that I was coming into an archaic building," Maher, who has 40 years of combined teaching and administration experience at PUSD, told the Weekly about his impression of the large gym when he coached girls basketball 20 years ago.

Not much has changed since then, he said, except that the building has deteriorated even further, and pointed to signs of wear and tear on the walls that he labeled "an embarrassment."

"Personally, a gym is a classroom for me," Maher said. "I think it's an embarrassment; we can't even have a full student body assembly here."

Bryan Gillette, co-chair of the Yes on M campaign, concurred with Maher, adding that he toured the gym in November when it was raining and "thought it would be lousy for the tour, but the weather showed where the leaks are."

The larger gym, which was built in the 1960s, shows its age on exterior doors with splintered areas along the bottom and old wood-paneled walls that have holes in them once occupied by electrical outlets. A deteriorating piece of sound system that appears to be no longer used remains inside on its walls, and the carpet on some is torn.

Both men said features like the chipped concrete steps just outside the smaller gym and the peeling paint on the exterior of both buildings are more of the evidence they think will tip voters in favor of Measure M.

The state of Amador's gyms isn't the only reason Maher is backing Measure M; he said there's outdoor lunch shelters needed at many schools, and troublesome gophers have turned the playfield at Pleasanton Middle into what he called "Gopher City" and might require a turf overhaul.

Foothill also lacks a theater for musicals and stage plays while the one at Amador has enough problems that students regularly use off-site venues like the Firehouse Arts Center in Pleasanton or the Bankhead Theater in Livermore.

The 90-year-old Amador Theater is actually owned by the city of Pleasanton but Gillette said there could be a partnership opportunity to renovate the upper balcony, which has been closed off since last year because of a fire escape issue. The sudden closure increased pressure on the privately funded annual Foothill-Amador joint musical production to sell enough tickets and do more fundraising than usual.

"This is now at the point where we have to do something or who knows when in the future someone comes in and says 'this is unsafe, shut it down,'" Gillette said.

Maher said PUSD could use Measure M to acquire matching funds from the state for some projects and any money saved "could go into other refurbishing."

A "strong economy," "opportunity to leverage state bonds" and overall goal to "maintain continuity and focus on facilities" are also among the top reasons cited by the Yes on M campaign and its supporters for passing another bond tax now.

But former PUSD trustee Kathleen Ruegsegger said district administration has their timing and priorities wrong and, with some major projects still outstanding, that they haven't proven themselves.

"It's too soon; they have not spent the bulk of the $270 million they already have," Ruegsegger said. "With that what they've spent, they've yet to add one square inch of new capacity at a time when over 200 kids are getting sent to other schools. Lydiksen was a bad priority; they should've started with the addition to Donlon."

She said that while buying Macbooks for staff was understandable, the $1 million purchase of 7,000 Chromebooks for students using Measure I1 revenue was unnecessary and mismanaged.

"To just flat out purchase and not figure out the actual need was a mistake," Ruegsegger said. "The (so-called) 'Sycamore fund' was set up to handle technology planning and has over the years been raided. It's been paid back, of course, but they lost all of the interest they could've built over time, and that might have been able to pay for what they just did with the bond money."

Money also figures strongly in Ruegsegger's resistance to Measure M; she argues the $323 million figure on the ballot doesn't include the interest that brings the total financial obligation to $661 million. With the $540 million payback for Measure I1, taxpayers would face a total $1.2 billion in debt liability, according to Ruegsegger.

That's an amount that former Pleasanton City Council member Kay Ayala said seniors can't afford.

"Measure M is premature and passed by the school board in the height of the holiday season when no one was paying attention," Ayala said in an email. "Past superintendent (Rick) Rubino assured me in 2016 that the elementary school would be built if Measure I1 was passed. The measure passed and not one square foot of classroom space has been produced and much of the bond hasn't even been issued. At a total cost of $14,000 for every person in Pleasanton, seniors can't afford another tax increase."

"I'm not saying never. I do think there is a need and that they will need more money, but they have a lot more to prove," Ruegsegger added. "They need to add capacity at the elementary level before they come back to the community and ask for more. I supported the last bond; I was happy to support it because they put adding capacity into the plan."

Ruegsegger also shared concerns about the ballot language being "sufficiently vague that they can pick and choose projects and called out specifically that they don't have to do specific projects they say they're going to do, even if they have the money to do it."

In the past year, some Amador community members have said their support of a new bond measure would hinge on the promise of building a new gym.

If Measure M passes in March, Maher said he intends to fulfill that promise, as well as one that he's personally made: "One thing I promised to do was do away with portables," he said.

Measure M project descriptions

The board's resolution for Measure M outlines types of projects that would be funded through the $323 million bond measure. Here's PUSD's synopsis of the key project areas:

* Upgrade remaining roofs and HVAC

* Modernize existing science labs

* Upgrade drop-offs at various sites

* Replace/reseal paving/concrete at schools

* Replace/upgrade playgrounds at various schools

* Upgrade playfields at various middle/elementary schools

* Necessary school building repairs

* Upgrade district wireless network and backbone

* Additional capacity to accommodate enrollment growth

* Covered shelters at various schools

* Replacement/modernization of high school gyms

* Build/update high school theaters.

Editor's note: The story has been updated to correct an error in the top caption regarding funding source for the Amador science building (Measure I1) and to clarify details about the expiration of the two older bonds (from 1988 and 1997) and the voter polling from earlier in 2019. The Weekly regrets the confusion.

We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?

Comments

49 people like this
Posted by skynet
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 16, 2020 at 3:51 pm

When PUSD can to us asking for a bond, they said they had a plan to address their facilities needs, but 3 years later $145 million of that bond has not been allocated. Why should be approve over half a billion dollars for more work without a detailed plan? Did PUSD know they would need another half a billion dollars 3 years after passing the last bond? If so, why not ask for it then? or did they not know their facilities were is just disrepair until today? I support our schools, but not without a clear and detailed plan, transparency and proving they will be good stewards of our tax dollars. Not to mention the state will be asking for 15 billion with the next ballot measure, with plans for another 15 billion for the following ballot. A few billion here, and few billion there could add up to real money.


11 people like this
Posted by skynet
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 16, 2020 at 4:50 pm

Intended to say a third of a billion dollars, not half a billion.


57 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 16, 2020 at 4:58 pm

My thanks to the Pleasanton Weekly and Julia Baum for speaking with me on this topic.

Ahhh, consultants. The "now or never" argument is misleading and creates drama, if not just a soundbite. Admitting the election in November will be a "distraction" is just another way of saying too many voters will show up to choose a president, possibly causing the measure to not hit the 55% threshold.

The $43/$100,000 of assessed valuation does not point out the amounts we are already paying on the $270MM we provided in 2016. The $43/$100,000 in AV is an addition to what we are already paying. It is a new tax (and the 1988 and 1997 bonds expire in about a year, so we are still paying some small amount there as well).

The Amador gym, and many other buildings, are an embarrassment because of continued neglect. Years of it. No money has been set aside for chipped concrete, peeling paint, wood paneling holes, torn carpeting, and a defunct sound system (a 3% reserve, about $6MM, used to be a requirement). That neglect should "tip voters" into asking why is it now taking bond dollars to fix maintenance issues.

It is important for voters to know, as the article mentions, the resolution that supports this new tax clearly states: "the Bond Project List is not a guarantee that the project will be completed, **regardless of whether bond funds are available.**" Despite board member assurances, things within and outside of their control can change that picture with no recourse by voters.

There is time for the district to deliver on its major projects. We should decline providing more until we have roofs repaired and additional capacity for our children.


38 people like this
Posted by Jim Bonner
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 16, 2020 at 7:28 pm

MORE MORE MORE!

More money!

Never ending desire for MORE MONEY.

Sure, I would like more money too. Everybody needs more money. Everybody LOVES spending money. Its so much fun.

Except...I have my own needs for my own money. My kids need shoes, food, and healthcare.


49 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 16, 2020 at 8:52 pm

Super easy. No on M

No guarantees on funding projects or timelines, no money


32 people like this
Posted by PleasantonMama
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 17, 2020 at 6:56 am

I voted and pushed for the I1 but will not be supporting this measure. We need to be focused on other issues our schools are facing


32 people like this
Posted by Willy
a resident of Old Towne
on Jan 17, 2020 at 9:58 am

I strongly recommend a NO vote on this issue!


39 people like this
Posted by Keith Lam
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Jan 17, 2020 at 10:42 am

I'm a member of the Citizen's Bond Oversight Committee for the past 3 years and we have been reviewing the bond funds used for I1. Our committee had concluded along with 3rd party auditing, that the board and PUSD is doing what was outlined in the bond.

However, there have been delays due to the robust economy, steel tariffs, and zero or 1 bidder for large construction projects; i.e. the one bid was way over budget so the district had to determine other options, which takes time. Would you pay 2X more for your house remodel you cannot afford just to meet your outside friend's expectations? Probably not. I was joking that we should wait until a downturn, then we can get all the contractors we need, but the bond spending rules do not allow that nor will the public accept more delays.

Bottom line, the I1 funds have been used in line with what was voted on by the public, but not in line with public expectations on construction completion.

If you want to know more, please join us for our next meeting on Jan 22nd at the PUSD offices starting at 5:30pm or better yet join the committee as we have openings.

Link to Bond I1 status here - Web Link

As for the new bond measure, my personal opinion having toured most of the school sites is that we need to do more for our children and need more funds. We should debate priorities with the board but more funding unfortunately is needed. Do I want to pay more property taxes...HECK NO, but will it help sustain our property values and help our children's future...YES.


16 people like this
Posted by Anony
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2020 at 11:29 am

Can someone enlighten me about how we have money for staff raises every year but none to repaint Amador or fix rotting wood? Is it built in to the budget, dipping into maintenance funds? Where is the extra money for raises coming from? I am considering this before I cast my vote. Serious answers only please


44 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 17, 2020 at 11:34 am

Not going to dispute the delays, but the biggest was Lydiksen, which never should have been the first priority. We are tearing down a school when what we need is capacity.

You are approving bond spending because the language in I1 is just as vague as the new bond language. Vague enough that instead of a new school, which is specifically called out because of the work of five people appealing to the board, it will not be a new school at all, just an add on. I am supporting that plan because we need classrooms—years ago.

As an overseer of $270 in taxpayer funds (and a greater payback obligation ), I expect more than “heck no, but.” The district jumped too soon on this bond. They can wait. We need tangible returns on our investment first.


29 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 17, 2020 at 11:51 am

Anony, the state used to require 3% reserves (about $6MM today) for ongoing maintenance. When the state suspended that requirement, many districts chose to spend the money elsewhere. Budgets being what they are, you push some funding in and money is suddenly available for other things, including raises. There is nearly no money for maintenance currently. Hasn’t been for years. So intentional neglect causes repair costs to escalate and you point to that and say we need bond money. I could dive deeper, but I hope that helps.


27 people like this
Posted by Concerned_Resident
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 17, 2020 at 2:02 pm

Beware folks. This is an eye wash. Not all of the money will go to the Pleasanton Schools. Most of it will to towards paying pension for retired folks. Take a look at the budget. Pleasanton does not have the necessary funds to pay the pensions because it is severely underfunded.


21 people like this
Posted by Grant
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 17, 2020 at 2:19 pm

I’ll vote yes. My kids have been fortunate to be a part of PUSD and coming from another district (less affluent are) there is a stark difference. The reason why home prices remain high here is because of the school district. For anyone that owns a home you are just hurting your own real estate values by not supporting the schools. In other districts you would be spending 10,000+ a year to send your kids to private school for the same level of education. Like any business it takes money to run it. The employees deserve raises and good pay and the facilities need to be updated.


41 people like this
Posted by Rob
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 17, 2020 at 2:41 pm

Grant: This bond is not about the cost of doing business, or good pay for the employees; it's about maintenance, refurbishing, and new construction. But, we are still waiting to see what PUSD has done with the previous bond monies that appear to have been used rather haphazardly. Plus, there is still money fron that last bond that has yet to be allocated. If the schools have so many dilapidated buildings, why hasn't any maintenance been done for those with the money that remains?


41 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 17, 2020 at 2:53 pm

...........or why did we buy ipads and install fences (where none existed before, solving what problem???) over taking care of existing in your face issues that are in such need of dire attention (i.e. HVAC, electrical, mold, dry rot, etc).

Providing solutions to non-problems over prioritizing funding for real problems says it all.

The longer the buildings stay in disrepair the more emotional toll the administration and consultants can use to justify taking more money from tax payers.

This is absolutely about siphoning and securing money and has zero to do with kids and their educational needs.

.......all that new housing, all that new tax revenue, all that bond money and still we can't fix the legacy issues......even PPIE is now starting to become a maintenance fund vs an educational enrichment fund.

If any of us ran our own finances and homes this way we'd find ourselves on the street.....can't pay to fix the leaky roof; but I got a 72" 4k LCD.....can't upgrade to copper plumbing......but I built a landscaping retaining wall.....no insulation in the roof....eh, just compensate it by renting solar panels for the next 20 yrs....my monthly bill went down.


32 people like this
Posted by Kanan Sundaresan
a resident of Las Positas
on Jan 17, 2020 at 3:09 pm

Really - Why does PUSD need $21.3 million every year going forward? The amount of money collected each year will go up as the property valuations go up.

Tell the truth - who can guarantee that 100% of the 20+ million dollars collected year after year will go towards Pleasanton schools?

Come on - Can someone tell me how much the ""Now or never" consultants were paid to come up with Measure M?


20 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 17, 2020 at 3:09 pm

We need this debt. Who else is going to give us the money? We are a "wealthy" district. The State of California is not going to do us any favors.

Before voting, everyone who does not currently have an AVHS student should go look at it. It is literally falling apart - one very visible example of the need.

Anyone who runs a business knows that construction and replacement come from capital budgets. Employees and maintenance are paid from operating budgets. Capital budgets are mostly funded by debt, like bonds. Operating budgets are funded through tax revenue. The two expenses cannot mix.

It takes years to plan and construct a building. Having the money available allows PUSD to take the next step and then the next. Nothing happens within three years. If you do not currently have a high school student, you may see results by the time your child gets to high school.

Start now.


33 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 17, 2020 at 3:41 pm

Maintenance is funded from the general fund. Bonds pay capital improvements, adding classrooms for example. This, for me, is not never **and** it is not now. We can look at this when we can house our students in classrooms that have been needed for a generation of children. Current students are being driven by parents across town to schools not anywhere near their homes.

Bonds for some $130MM have yet to be sold; $54MM in bonds recently sold air in a reserve. Give them two years. Show me capacity.

I have the consultant contract. It’s public record, I’ll look for costs. I know the flyers were around $70K, and that may have been the first one (4 page, 3 color, mailed to every home around the holidays).


33 people like this
Posted by Keith Lam
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Jan 17, 2020 at 3:51 pm

Bond money cannot be used for regular salaries or pensions, per the bond rules and oversight. I split this decision into separate questions:

1. Do we need the money for PUSD capital projects? - Yes, if you don't agree, then go to the Amador gym.

2. Do we need the money now? - Per Kathleen, maybe no as we have not used the current bond funds yet. But looking at a market standpoint, we are in a 10-year boom market, so waiting 1-2 years will take us into a down market, where no one is voting for any bond measures. Statistically, this is what happens in the US Economy (Average 8-10 year boom and then downturn). So this is probably part of the argument from the consultant on "now or never".

2. Do we trust PUSD to use the money effectively - Sounds like many say No. This needs to change and having bond money or no bond money does not matter for this question. Vote the board out if we don't agree with them. This is on us!

3. Are PUSD priorities the same as ours? - This will almost never be Yes for anyone but if you care, show up at meetings, influence the board, vote.

This forum is a good way to get our frustrations out but as Shakespeare says, "..full of sound and fury signifying nothing"

Get involved if you actually care!


31 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 17, 2020 at 5:47 pm

How many bonds have used “amador gym “ as a reference.....ha, I guarantee it’s been brought up every time......and still not fixed.

No line item projects with quotes and timelines....no money.

Pusd owes the community specificity if they need money, they don’t get to dictate to the community what level of commitment they get to agree to. We do.

No on M


33 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 17, 2020 at 8:52 pm

PP, “they don’t get to dictate to the community what level of commitment they get to agree to.” That hits a point I hadn’t thought of and it is very much at the heart of this issue.

Keith, first let me say I appreciate the time you are putting in on the committee. Volunteers and oversight are so important with this amount of funding.

1. Amador’s gym is in as bad a shape as it is, and I’ve been there, because of neglect and no regular maintenance.
2. We don’t know there will be a down market, and I don’t think you get to take money now one that premise and perhaps cripple families with a new tax if the economy takes a dive.
3. I asked every board member to step away from this bond, but with a consultant flashing $$$ and dreams, they did it anyway. In order to vote them out, you need willing candidates to run. And running against incumbents is expensive and difficult to win.

Again, we have an elementary school in this bond because five people showed up to multiple meetings armed with data to prove the need they ignored. And we still aren’t getting an actual school.

Grant, the reason for the excellent reputation of this district is because, first and foremost, the education levels of and importance placed on education by the parents, then the hard work of students, then dedicated staff, then a generous community. I think in that order. That is how you get high home values (also parks and many other amenities). We have provided $270MM already. Not a penny more until we have tangible results.


20 people like this
Posted by urmomz
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2020 at 12:38 am

Hey Keith -

Just wanted to say thank you for stepping into the den of anger and vitriol. It's refreshing to get a perspective outside the normal war drums on PW.

Thanks for your service on the committee and for the more objective perspective.


20 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 18, 2020 at 7:42 am

urmomz, I don’t think it’s vitriol. There are real reasons and facts to consider and that, for the most part, is what is being shared. We need informed voters no matter what bubble they end up filling.


17 people like this
Posted by Birdie
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 18, 2020 at 8:53 am

I supported I1 and will support this also, I like PUSD, we spend so much on useless PGE, high level of taxation in this state and also on many subscriptions, ring etc, I will do this for our schools and students and trust PUSD to use this wisely, will campaign for this.


20 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 18, 2020 at 9:11 am

Birdie, liking the district is nice, but does not equate to wise use of funds. The facts show otherwise. When you campaign, please be honest about your reasons.


13 people like this
Posted by Patrick Gannon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2020 at 10:32 am

Community members interested in learning more about progress on Measure I1 and information related to Measure M are invited to join PUSD on January 21 at Amador Valley High or January 27 at the comfort of your own home to learn about school facility improvement updates including:

-Progress on #MeasureI1
-Facilities projects included and tax information on Measure M, PUSD's general obligation bond that will appear on the March 3, 2020 ballot.


Tuesday, January 21
Amador Valley High School Multipurpose Room
1155 Santa Rita Road

Monday, January 27
Live webinar. RSVP: Web Link


16 people like this
Posted by alexisthegood
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 18, 2020 at 10:51 am

Some of our schools are falling apart. If we do not upgrade and modernize them now, our school ratings and children will suffer. The last bond measure was a lot of money - but not enough to cover everything that needs to be done.

If that alone doesn't sway you, just remember that a huge reason why our property values are so high is because of our schools. If the schools go downhill, how many thousands and thousands of dollars will you lose on your home value?

It's an investment in our schools, our kids, and our property values. A triple win.


33 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 18, 2020 at 11:40 am

I already explained why our schools afford us a high housing value. It is not the buildings.

Say something three times to be heard—the district has $270MM, mostly unspent, and many large dollar projects to start, let alone finish. This is not never; it’s just not now.

I am willing to invest, and I have for three bonds. The first two were spaced nine years apart to show progress and promises fulfilled. This one, at three years, is too soon and has not added desperately needed classrooms. Come back in two years.


30 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 18, 2020 at 11:54 am

I WILL VOTE NO FOR NO MORE NEW TAXES!!!


27 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 18, 2020 at 7:56 pm

Alexisthegood,
Then request commitment on projects before voting to fund. Currently you’re just voting to put money in a bucket


30 people like this
Posted by Jim Bonner
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jan 19, 2020 at 9:21 pm

I'm not impressed by the "invest in the schools to maintain property values" argument at all.

Come on, give me a break. That's always going to be the excuse to push for MORE.

At some point, you have to say no. My kid has a million reasons why he should get a brand new Jeep for his car...the answer is NO. My office manager wants to hire an assistant...the answer is NO.

We've already given a huge amount of bond money to the schools. They need to live within their means, just like the rest of the world.

NO MORE BONDS.


26 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 19, 2020 at 9:37 pm

I agree.
The property value claim is a farce!


28 people like this
Posted by Kiko
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 19, 2020 at 9:53 pm

Whenever you hear..."it's for the kids" or "it will keep your property value high"...then run in the other direction as fast as you can. I will vote no more again forever.


10 people like this
Posted by plebe
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 20, 2020 at 6:28 pm

I wasn't paying attention when Measure I1 passed in 2016. I was a soft NO, but didn't really research it much. Now it's only 3 years later and another bond measure is before us?!? I'm gonna dig into this more. Thanks everyone for the great discussion. Everyone wants our great school to be sustainable indefinitely. Kathleen's reasoning seems sound, some of the pro M responses seem reasonable. Also, I havent seen any vitrol in this post. Just people with disagreements debating. That's what it's all about.


14 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 22, 2020 at 9:48 pm

Make the right vote for yourself, but if I were the district I’d be asking the consultants for a vote guarantee......all neighborhood forum activity points to M getting shot down. And in my opinion, for the right reasons. I hope the district gets the message that requesting funding without committed projects and timelines is a failure on their part to deliver on basic fiscal responsibility vs the community not supporting schools.

If M fails, as it should, it’s not because this community doesn’t want to invest in education, it’s because the district failed to commit to what it wants to invest in.


15 people like this
Posted by plebe
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 22, 2020 at 11:10 pm

I was talking to my neighbor today and he wasn't even aware of Measure M. He thought I was talking about I1 from 2016. When I explained there was a new bond vote in March he hit me with expletives that would make a sailor blush. Something related to PUSD needing bond money because the pension tsunami is draining the general fund of dollars that should to to maintenance (but with more 4-letter words). I was surprised because he's got 3 PUSD kids and is even a big supporter of PPIE.

I'm starting to feel a bit like PUSD trying to shake us parents down. Maybe some valid arguments for Measure M are out there, but I'm having trouble seeing them.


8 people like this
Posted by wow
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2020 at 5:33 am

hey i need some cash for my crack fix,,,er i mean food. Can you fine citizens take out your wallet and hand me some cash for food. LOL
Yep sucker born every minute.


19 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 24, 2020 at 9:14 am

@Kathleen Ruegsegger

Thank you Kathleen so very much for your research and information you have provided. I wasn’t going to vote for the measure just based on principle, but you provided me the specifics of why I am against these measures in the first place. Government would rather have us dumbed down about issues in order to use us (taxpayers) as an ATM for their own failings at planning, preparation, and budgeting. Again Kathleen, good work.


3 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jan 29, 2020 at 10:08 am

I think the City of Pleasanton is carefully watching the bond vote since they want another bond in the future to build a new fancy civic center with city hall offices. We can’t handle more taxes!!
Unless development can participate in financing public or capital projects in the future ( i.e. CostCo shouldering I680 access improvements) with a financed pay back, we are going nowhere and furthering the divide between have and have nots of who can afford to have a home in Pleasanton.


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