News

Fiscal forecast will prompt PUSD to 'make significant changes'

Local budget cuts loom as the state predicts a revenue shortfall

A special online study session of the Pleasanton Unified School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday starting at 5 p.m. will cover a review and discussion of Gov. Gavin Newsom's May budget revise and forecasted reductions attributed to effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The May budget proposal predicts a $41.2 billion revenue loss and $12.8 billion increase in new state expenditures for fiscal years 2019-20 and 2020-21.

To account for these projections, Newsom has proposed "significant" cuts to K-12 education funding including a 10% reduction of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) from 2019-20 levels. Because of this, PUSD said that "the district will need to make significant changes to its 2020-21 budget to remain solvent."

PUSD's assistant superintendent of business services, Ahmad Sheikholeslami, is slated to "provide a detailed update on the May Revise and the financial impacts to PUSD" on Tuesday, during which staff will also review the baseline 2020-21 budget and present options to help keep the district financially afloat including reductions, revenue enhancements "and other modifications."

Details of Sheikholeslami's presentation were not available as of Friday afternoon.

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In other business Tuesday, the board is expected to sign off on an agreement that evening to host a fireworks celebration for this year's graduating high school students at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.

In lieu of a traditional in-person commencement ceremony, the district has brainstormed new ways to commemorate the special occasion while maintaining physical distance.

Graduating seniors and their families will be invited to watch the fireworks display from the fairgrounds parking lot on the evening of May 29. All guests will be required to remain inside their vehicles during the fireworks show.

No district funds will be used for the nearly $45,000 event but the city of Pleasanton and the Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation (PPIE) are chipping in $24,926 and $20,000, respectively.

Executive Director Steve McCoy-Thompson told the Weekly that PPIE did not contribute any donations from their supporters, and instead the organization "served as the conduit for the collection of $20,000, which was largely provided by school-site organizations that had already allocated funds for graduation and promotion ceremonies."

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Fiscal forecast will prompt PUSD to 'make significant changes'

Local budget cuts loom as the state predicts a revenue shortfall

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, May 22, 2020, 6:18 pm
Updated: Tue, May 26, 2020, 9:49 am

A special online study session of the Pleasanton Unified School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday starting at 5 p.m. will cover a review and discussion of Gov. Gavin Newsom's May budget revise and forecasted reductions attributed to effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The May budget proposal predicts a $41.2 billion revenue loss and $12.8 billion increase in new state expenditures for fiscal years 2019-20 and 2020-21.

To account for these projections, Newsom has proposed "significant" cuts to K-12 education funding including a 10% reduction of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) from 2019-20 levels. Because of this, PUSD said that "the district will need to make significant changes to its 2020-21 budget to remain solvent."

PUSD's assistant superintendent of business services, Ahmad Sheikholeslami, is slated to "provide a detailed update on the May Revise and the financial impacts to PUSD" on Tuesday, during which staff will also review the baseline 2020-21 budget and present options to help keep the district financially afloat including reductions, revenue enhancements "and other modifications."

Details of Sheikholeslami's presentation were not available as of Friday afternoon.

In other business Tuesday, the board is expected to sign off on an agreement that evening to host a fireworks celebration for this year's graduating high school students at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.

In lieu of a traditional in-person commencement ceremony, the district has brainstormed new ways to commemorate the special occasion while maintaining physical distance.

Graduating seniors and their families will be invited to watch the fireworks display from the fairgrounds parking lot on the evening of May 29. All guests will be required to remain inside their vehicles during the fireworks show.

No district funds will be used for the nearly $45,000 event but the city of Pleasanton and the Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation (PPIE) are chipping in $24,926 and $20,000, respectively.

Executive Director Steve McCoy-Thompson told the Weekly that PPIE did not contribute any donations from their supporters, and instead the organization "served as the conduit for the collection of $20,000, which was largely provided by school-site organizations that had already allocated funds for graduation and promotion ceremonies."

Comments

Pro-Law
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 25, 2020 at 2:01 pm
Pro-Law, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 25, 2020 at 2:01 pm
4 people like this

Are they still doing the raises (or did they already do them)?


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Vintage Hills
on May 25, 2020 at 2:27 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
on May 25, 2020 at 2:27 pm
Like this comment

The raises were for the 2019-20 school year. Done deal as of last Thursday, except executive cabinet.


Repost
Amador Estates
on May 25, 2020 at 8:02 pm
Repost, Amador Estates
on May 25, 2020 at 8:02 pm
10 people like this

Saw this one on May 19. PUSD seems to have pushed up the calendar a bit.

The playbook - as California goes through major cuts.
May - grant raises.
June - go public with discussions of major cuts.


Amador Parent
Birdland
on May 26, 2020 at 9:22 am
Amador Parent, Birdland
on May 26, 2020 at 9:22 am
29 people like this

PPIE is giving $20,000 to the wasteful and unneccessary Fireworks display. I will NEVER give another dime to PPIE. It is for our children's education, not for some ridiculous display that no one wants. The first part of this article says that there will be major cuts to PUSD budget. And then the very next paragraph highlights the Fireworks display. Shame PPIE. You have lost all credibility with our formerly very generous family.


Another parent
Laguna Oaks
on May 26, 2020 at 9:36 am
Another parent, Laguna Oaks
on May 26, 2020 at 9:36 am
22 people like this

To add about PPIE. Below is the mission and vission from their website. Please tell me how fireworks fit into this mission and vision. Since when are fireworks a learning experience? How about taking that $20,000 for fireworks and instead train teachers to use Zoom effectively so that they can hold daily classes and engage students instead of using Khan Academy as their stand in?

From ppie.org

Mission Statement
Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation, a community-based organization, exists to enhance learning experiences for students of the Pleasanton Unified School District through a partnership of business, education and the community.

Vision
It takes a community to grow strong schools and raise leaders of the future. By providing critical staffing support and grants at all Pleasanton schools, PPIE’s vision is to enable teachers and students to innovate, excel and serve to the best of their abilities both in the classroom and in the broader community.


Another Amador Parent
Old Towne
on May 26, 2020 at 9:47 am
Another Amador Parent, Old Towne
on May 26, 2020 at 9:47 am
19 people like this

It's time for sharing the financial pain.

We're all in this together, think of money in your wallet. If you don't have it... don't pre-spend it. Recall raises for 180 days, cut back salary for 180 days.

All PUSD Administration STAFF... to keep jobs:

* Pay Cuts, 15% administration (180 days), 5% all Staff (180 days)
* Freeze on raises, YOU CAN RECALL THEM, it's not too late.
* Health Insurance, larger employee contribution, +1%, (it's pre tax, you will barely notice)
* Increase Class size

THINK DIFFERENT TO SAVE JOBS... else keep going status quo and cut lots of jobs and services.



Michelle
Parkside
on May 26, 2020 at 10:07 am
Michelle, Parkside
on May 26, 2020 at 10:07 am
Like this comment

Why is the state-Gavin Newsom cutting so many funds? Where is the data that shows these cuts? It seems fishy to me.


Don Alum
Pleasanton Valley
on May 26, 2020 at 10:14 am
Don Alum, Pleasanton Valley
on May 26, 2020 at 10:14 am
3 people like this

To Another Amador Parent-
You do know that teachers purchase their own health insurance, right? Teachers also hadn't had a COLA in years (prior to this past year).


Heather
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 26, 2020 at 10:14 am
Heather, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 26, 2020 at 10:14 am
5 people like this

I understand why people are upset about wage increases, but the salary increase for 2019-2020 is not notably above inflation (2.3% in 2019). Some of the teachers we have in Pleasanton are really amazing and a nominal salary increase seems pretty reasonable. Gavin Newsom is making a case for federal relief funding right now given the incredible economic impact of the pandemic and this all seems to be part of this case.


Hart Parent
Pleasanton Meadows
on May 26, 2020 at 11:19 am
Hart Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
on May 26, 2020 at 11:19 am
4 people like this

PPIE was the conduit for funds for the fireworks. It is my understanding that they received donations from,private sources as well as various school groups.


BD
another community
on May 26, 2020 at 11:30 am
BD, another community
on May 26, 2020 at 11:30 am
3 people like this

Distance education is not easy. I am grateful our teachers pull it off. However, I think we can still make some improvements. There is too little teaching, too much homework. My daughter stays up late doing homework and then doesn’t wake up until after 10am. I hope teachers can host more zoom lessons following typical class schedules. Having zoom classes can also help kids cope with depression and anxiety because of a lack of social activities.

In terms of wage increase, I think that’s reasonable. No complaints there. I am also fine with the PPIE’s expense on fireworks display. According to the article, they already had that fund allocated for graduation and promotion ceremonies.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Vintage Hills
on May 26, 2020 at 11:42 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
on May 26, 2020 at 11:42 am
9 people like this

Don alum, please don’t keep repeating what really isn’t true. Teachers chose to roll their benefits onto to the salary schedule in order to pump up their retirement calculations. $10,000 was rolled onto the salary schedule. Every raise teachers received has increased the value of the $10,000. The value of that $10,000 has closely matched the CPI over all those years since. Then we can talk about how many teachers don’t buy benefits because a spouse has them (was about 60%). Then we don’t know exactly about what plans they have, whether they have high out of pocket costs or a more costly plan.

Also, teachers move annually on the salary schedule, moving a step (or column) “up”, whether or not they get an annual cost of living increase. So, unless a teacher is at the “top”, they get a raise. True for classified staff as well.


Carl
Birdland
on May 26, 2020 at 12:39 pm
Carl, Birdland
on May 26, 2020 at 12:39 pm
12 people like this

While PPIE may be acting as a "conduit", there is still money being funneled into this firework display from somewhere. It says "largely" allocated from school site funds. What funds are these and can we have a breakdown? Is it from PTAs? I don't remember donating to PTA coffers thinking that some of it will go on fireworks.

This is all very fishy and strikes me as an awful waste of cash that could surely have gone to a better cause.

Yes, it's a bummer seniors are missing out on a ball and all that. But why must we see our donations go to a ridiculous vanity stunt like this? Who are the people making these suggestions and why have we gotten so far?

PPIE also must explain their political donation to Measure M - irrespective of the side. That is not within the remit of their mission and I will never contribute again to PPIE while they are surreptitiously allocating funds donated by well-meaning parents like me that get diverted to political causes.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Vintage Hills
on May 26, 2020 at 3:37 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
on May 26, 2020 at 3:37 pm
7 people like this

Please take a few minutes to review the district’s presentation here (toward the bottom of the page): Web Link

Most disturbing to me is the statement: the district is already deficit spending. Yet we gave $3.7MM in raises for 2019-20. And another slide states step/column raises amount to another $1.9MM. So they knew they were deficit spending and had to cough up nearly two million in step/column raises, yet they spent another $3.7MM they didn’t have and need to cut $11-16MM depending on the scenario. How do we keep doing this and expecting different outcomes (like believing income will continue to increase)?


Carl
Birdland
on May 26, 2020 at 5:04 pm
Carl, Birdland
on May 26, 2020 at 5:04 pm
10 people like this

To the Pleasanton Weekly staff:

Why don't you ask PPIE some searching questions for once? You routinely let them have their say like they're above scrutiny but there are several aspects about this and the Measure M donation they gave that require follow up. Hold these people to account who are entrusted with funds that parents and businesses have donated.

Do a bit of decent investigation instead of being nothing more than a PR puff.

I would gladly subscribe to your site if you had some semblance of a back bone.


Allan
Amador Valley High School
on May 26, 2020 at 7:32 pm
Allan, Amador Valley High School
on May 26, 2020 at 7:32 pm
5 people like this

Our family, friends and neighbours are all looking forward to the graduation and promotion fireworks celebrations on Friday.

I'm sure the district can do without the donations of 'generous' families who don't demonstrate a dime of compassion for the class of 2020 and wish to prevent these celebrations. A holistic approach to education does not dispassionately eject kids out the other end without marking the occasion. This *is* a big deal - in fact it is the whole point of the many years of education. Keep your mean spirited donations in the future, or find a way to disagree but accept, when those you put your trust in, do their jobs.

Thank you PPIE, PUSD and the many PTAs and Boosters who supported this, you are serving the best interests of our kids and families. Go class of 2020!!


hpicfail
Del Prado
on May 26, 2020 at 7:45 pm
hpicfail, Del Prado
on May 26, 2020 at 7:45 pm
10 people like this

Many parents are tutoring their kids at home because online learning at PUSD is woefully inadequate. Then why do we need these teachers(some not all).
District should have layoff as an option for cost cutting.

After reading teachers’ contract, board minutes, etc. one might think that the system just protects and enriches itself.

We need a new board.


@Kathleen
Ruby Hill
on May 26, 2020 at 11:23 pm
@Kathleen, Ruby Hill
on May 26, 2020 at 11:23 pm
4 people like this

KR - I think you are misrepresenting the PUSD teacher salary schedule. Hopefully you just don't understand how it works and are not doing this intentionally, as people on this forum seem to look to you for facts when it comes to PUSD.

You Said: "Also, teachers move annually on the salary schedule, moving a step (or column) “up”, whether or not they get an annual cost of living increase. So, unless a teacher is at the “top”, they get a raise. True for classified staff as well"

This is not entirely how it works. Teachers do not just "get a raise" each year.

A teachers salary can be "capped" - meaning you will not earn anymore money in year 6, and again in year 11 and year 12... unless the teacher pays for and completes additional educational units (ie masters degrees, college courses)... these advanced units can move you to the next column, however the jumps require significant amounts of approved college units (about 15 units per column, and they are not cheap.

For example, if you work 10 years and have a masters degree you will make 88K (totally killing it!!) Hopefully you are lucky enough to be on someone else's healthcare (you continually bring this up) if a teacher is not on someone else's healthcare plan - then they are going to pay through the nose for healthcare so that fat 80k salary is going downhill pretty fast.

The extra 10K deal was made a long time ago, and has not kept pace with current healthcare premiums - so the teacher is the loser as they have to pay for healthcare with the "extra" 10K in their yearly salary.

Teachers also can only pick from from certain district group plans... and that extra $830 a month is not going to cut it for a family healthcare plan these days with what the district offers. (think more $1,600 - $2000.

See the most current link for salary schedule:

Web Link


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Vintage Hills
on May 27, 2020 at 9:31 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
on May 27, 2020 at 9:31 am
Like this comment

I do understand the salary schedule. You are saying employees are capped; I am saying they reach the top. I will use capped in the future. It doesn’t change the key part, that there are increases annually for staff unless they have reached a cap (in addition to any raises that are negotiated).

For health benefits, the value of the original $10,000 was around $22,000 the last time I was looking at the numbers (I haven’t updated my spreadsheet since 2016). That’s enough for premiums at $1,800 a month. I don’t think that’s reasonable, by the way. I also understand that reduces income if you are one who is buying insurance. The people who cut that deal benefitted from it and clearly are not on staff anymore. It is a horrible legacy and undoing it, especially now, would cost millions.

A few years ago I talked to a superintendent who indicated the plans were purchased through PERS. At the time, they were the most expensive plans available and the district I worked at went a different route. They hired a consultant that negotiated the cost of benefits. It did mean people making choices over time about out of pocket expenses—cut the monthly premium and hope to stay healthy. I don’t know what plans you have available or who is doing the negotiating if it isn’t through PERS (I don’t think they negotiate).

So, would this year’s raise be enough to move benefits off the salary schedule? Working at this backwards, I don’t think so. If the district only had to find funds for 40% of 900 teachers (both of these numbers are already guesses) and had to cover only those 360 people at premiums of $24,000/year each, I’m getting $8.6MM. Then there is the possibility that the 60% getting their benefits elsewhere will also want that $24,000/year. I could easily argue against that, but even if it made sense, that would be another $13MM. This likely varies because not everyone needs a family plan. And I’m guessing.

I could try some mental gymnastics trying to figure out how to undo this, but I think there are people much closer to the issue who are already doing this, union leaders for one.


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