News

Editorial: Vote Yes on Measure I, Pleasanton Unified's $395 million school bond

Residents in Pleasanton – like their neighbors in Livermore and Sunol – find themselves with the opportunity to decide the future of their school facilities for decades to come on their Nov. 8 ballots.

Pleasanton voters will vote Yes or No on Measure I, a proposed $395 million bond, with approval required from 55% of ballots. As we debate bond measures internally, a common thread connects our conclusions.

First and foremost, the measure must aim to address demonstrated facility needs in the district. The set of projects should be imperative to complete for the education and safety of students in the near- and long-term -- because these bond measures come with major property tax obligations that have real impacts on homeowners in their communities, especially in the current economic climate.

Second, it must be accepted that there is effectively no other option to accomplish any high-dollar school building project, let alone a group of them around a district, than a local bond measure given how school funding works in the state of California. And finally, we must trust that the district has the staff and policy framework in place to advance the projects efficiently and responsibly while remaining subject to true citizen oversight.

After consideration of pro and con arguments in the voter guides and comments from the associated Yes and No groups and other stakeholders, we see this bond measure as hitting those vital marks. We recommend Yes on Measure I in Pleasanton.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

This fall, Pleasanton Unified School District is asking voters to approve a new bond for the third time in seven years -- $270 million Measure I1 passed in November 2016 while $323 million Measure M failed in March 2020.

Measure I, which would establish $395 million bonding capacity for PUSD, would utilize a tax rate of $49 per $100,000 of assessed valuation for Pleasanton property owners to pay off the resulting debt over time. It aims to become only the second school bond adopted by Pleasanton voters in 25 years.

Although we supported Measure M 2-1/2 years ago, we acknowledged at the time that nonspecific catch-all language in the resolution (rather than naming actual site projects) could come back to bite the district. That misstep no doubt contributed to Measure M receiving only 52.40% Yes, short of the 55% threshold.

We're happy to see the Measure I proponents learned the lesson this time around.

Between the ballot materials and public messaging, there are clear commitments to direct bond-generated funding toward important projects such as new gym and theater buildings at both Amador Valley and Foothill high schools and new classrooms at Vintage Hills Elementary School, in addition to other infrastructure improvements.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

These marquee projects are all ones the community should be able to get behind -- and just a drop in the bucket in terms of the roughly $1 billion facilities needs reported by PUSD.

The safety and maintenance concerns at the generations-old small gym and theater at Amador alone should be stark enough to inspire support to fix by any tangible means.

We concur with what we've heard from stakeholders during this campaign: the quality of some of these facilities are truly embarrassing for a district as standout academically as Pleasanton Unified. But more importantly, they present actual problems for staff and inhibit the student experience.

And we respectfully disagree with the No on I contention that this bond measure, at this $395 million amount, is not necessary now.

It is important for the district to be able to lock in such a significant bonding capacity and move forward with these projects as soon as possible. Construction costs will only go up from here, as will the level of deterioration at the campuses, if Measure I is not passed this November.

Not to mention the fact local bond measures are the only mechanism K-12 districts really have to accomplish large construction projects, given the way the state education funding system functions, the large percentage of the general fund that goes toward employee salaries, benefits and pensions, and the inadequate rates for developer fees to actually address enrollment growth.

The district administration is also in a much more stable position than in March 2020, and especially so compared to 2017 and 2018 when superintendent and cabinet turnover contributed mightily to Measure I1's slow rollout. Under Superintendent David Haglund and Ahmad Sheikholeslami, assistant superintendent of business services, PUSD has the plans in place to hit the ground running with Measure I projects.

And the top-priority items are substantial needs based on the current student and staff experience at these schools. Unlike what happened with the district's decision to call off a 10th elementary school for now, a major project in the 2016 bond measure that proved no longer necessary in the immediate due to COVID-19 pandemic effects on enrollment, the needs outlined in Measure I have been longstanding and won't be going away as populations may change.

Now is the time to move forward on these imperative projects. The $395 million bond is the only way PUSD can accomplish that. Vote Yes on Measure I.

Editor's note: A prior version of this article did not correctly refer to the tax rate proposed under Measure I. The rate to pay back the bond debt would be $49 per $100,000 of assessed valuation of properties in Pleasanton. The Weekly regrets the error.

A front row seat to local high school sports.

Check out our new newsletter, the Playbook.

Looking for more Livermore stories? The Livermore Vine will be your new source of vital news and information. Sign up to be among the first to get our daily local news headlines sent to your inbox for free.

Follow PleasantonWeekly.com and the Pleasanton Weekly on Twitter @pleasantonnews, Facebook and on Instagram @pleasantonweekly for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Get uninterrupted access to important local political news. Become a member today.

Editorial: Vote Yes on Measure I, Pleasanton Unified's $395 million school bond

by Pleasanton Weekly editorial board /

Uploaded: Fri, Oct 7, 2022, 8:30 am
Updated: Mon, Oct 10, 2022, 2:28 pm

Residents in Pleasanton – like their neighbors in Livermore and Sunol – find themselves with the opportunity to decide the future of their school facilities for decades to come on their Nov. 8 ballots.

Pleasanton voters will vote Yes or No on Measure I, a proposed $395 million bond, with approval required from 55% of ballots. As we debate bond measures internally, a common thread connects our conclusions.

First and foremost, the measure must aim to address demonstrated facility needs in the district. The set of projects should be imperative to complete for the education and safety of students in the near- and long-term -- because these bond measures come with major property tax obligations that have real impacts on homeowners in their communities, especially in the current economic climate.

Second, it must be accepted that there is effectively no other option to accomplish any high-dollar school building project, let alone a group of them around a district, than a local bond measure given how school funding works in the state of California. And finally, we must trust that the district has the staff and policy framework in place to advance the projects efficiently and responsibly while remaining subject to true citizen oversight.

After consideration of pro and con arguments in the voter guides and comments from the associated Yes and No groups and other stakeholders, we see this bond measure as hitting those vital marks. We recommend Yes on Measure I in Pleasanton.

This fall, Pleasanton Unified School District is asking voters to approve a new bond for the third time in seven years -- $270 million Measure I1 passed in November 2016 while $323 million Measure M failed in March 2020.

Measure I, which would establish $395 million bonding capacity for PUSD, would utilize a tax rate of $49 per $100,000 of assessed valuation for Pleasanton property owners to pay off the resulting debt over time. It aims to become only the second school bond adopted by Pleasanton voters in 25 years.

Although we supported Measure M 2-1/2 years ago, we acknowledged at the time that nonspecific catch-all language in the resolution (rather than naming actual site projects) could come back to bite the district. That misstep no doubt contributed to Measure M receiving only 52.40% Yes, short of the 55% threshold.

We're happy to see the Measure I proponents learned the lesson this time around.

Between the ballot materials and public messaging, there are clear commitments to direct bond-generated funding toward important projects such as new gym and theater buildings at both Amador Valley and Foothill high schools and new classrooms at Vintage Hills Elementary School, in addition to other infrastructure improvements.

These marquee projects are all ones the community should be able to get behind -- and just a drop in the bucket in terms of the roughly $1 billion facilities needs reported by PUSD.

The safety and maintenance concerns at the generations-old small gym and theater at Amador alone should be stark enough to inspire support to fix by any tangible means.

We concur with what we've heard from stakeholders during this campaign: the quality of some of these facilities are truly embarrassing for a district as standout academically as Pleasanton Unified. But more importantly, they present actual problems for staff and inhibit the student experience.

And we respectfully disagree with the No on I contention that this bond measure, at this $395 million amount, is not necessary now.

It is important for the district to be able to lock in such a significant bonding capacity and move forward with these projects as soon as possible. Construction costs will only go up from here, as will the level of deterioration at the campuses, if Measure I is not passed this November.

Not to mention the fact local bond measures are the only mechanism K-12 districts really have to accomplish large construction projects, given the way the state education funding system functions, the large percentage of the general fund that goes toward employee salaries, benefits and pensions, and the inadequate rates for developer fees to actually address enrollment growth.

The district administration is also in a much more stable position than in March 2020, and especially so compared to 2017 and 2018 when superintendent and cabinet turnover contributed mightily to Measure I1's slow rollout. Under Superintendent David Haglund and Ahmad Sheikholeslami, assistant superintendent of business services, PUSD has the plans in place to hit the ground running with Measure I projects.

And the top-priority items are substantial needs based on the current student and staff experience at these schools. Unlike what happened with the district's decision to call off a 10th elementary school for now, a major project in the 2016 bond measure that proved no longer necessary in the immediate due to COVID-19 pandemic effects on enrollment, the needs outlined in Measure I have been longstanding and won't be going away as populations may change.

Now is the time to move forward on these imperative projects. The $395 million bond is the only way PUSD can accomplish that. Vote Yes on Measure I.

Editor's note: A prior version of this article did not correctly refer to the tax rate proposed under Measure I. The rate to pay back the bond debt would be $49 per $100,000 of assessed valuation of properties in Pleasanton. The Weekly regrets the error.

Comments

MichaelB
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 7, 2022 at 8:59 am
MichaelB, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Oct 7, 2022 at 8:59 am

"...because these bond measures come with major property tax obligations that have real impacts on homeowners in their communities, especially in the current economic climate".

Vote no to minimize these real impacts people are experiencing in the current economic climate. Amazing how some people still think it's "modest" and/or "reasonable" to keep raising taxes in a state with some of the highest in the nation - no matter what.


Jonas
Registered user
Foxborough Estates
on Oct 7, 2022 at 9:21 am
Jonas, Foxborough Estates
Registered user
on Oct 7, 2022 at 9:21 am

Our Pleasanton schools have consistently ranked high in the state and are a primary driver for new families coming to Pleasanton. We are dead last in Alameda County for bond funding.

A recent study in the American Economic Journal looked at the economic impact of school bond measures in Los Angeles Unified School District and found "the benefits generated by the program in terms of housing market capitalization and later life earnings gains substantially outweighed its cost." The study estimated that "for each dollar spent, the program generated $1.62 dollars in household value." Yes, there is a cost associated with Measure I, but that cost might be more of an opportunity cost. If we don't invest now, our children will suffer and so might our property values.

No matter how you might feel about the PUSD, think critically about how voting yes on Measure I will positively impact everyone in Pleasanton and our house values.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 7, 2022 at 9:22 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 7, 2022 at 9:22 am

A very disappointing review, though not a surprise. This editorial board has ignored the key facts of the No on Measure I group.

The language is the biggest problem. Change the fact this language allows the district to do what they do or do not want to build regardless of funds being available.

Then change the amount to something lower. Six years into Measure I1, the district still has $100,000,000 left—nearly half of the original $270,000,000. They do not need $395,000,000 now.

Finally, do not build 13 TK classrooms at Donlon and Fairlands. Build the tenth elementary school.

And that’s just the most egregious parts of the bond.

No.


SHale99
Registered user
Village High School
on Oct 7, 2022 at 3:51 pm
SHale99, Village High School
Registered user
on Oct 7, 2022 at 3:51 pm

>>Six years into Measure I1, the district still has $100,000,000 left

that makes it sound like there is a bank account with a $100mil just sitting around. Not. Projects are STILL going on; those funds allocated. Even the funds near & dear your heart (carve out for a new school that is so not going to happen).

Sure hope you and others attend board meetings and sign up for public comments; words here have no impact.


Pleasanton Valley Rez
Registered user
Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 7, 2022 at 4:04 pm
Pleasanton Valley Rez, Pleasanton Valley
Registered user
on Oct 7, 2022 at 4:04 pm

I still haven't heard back if the district has a buyer for their current facility? So much money spent for something completely unnecessary...put our students and staff FIRST, not the executives.


SHale99
Registered user
Village High School
on Oct 7, 2022 at 6:28 pm
SHale99, Village High School
Registered user
on Oct 7, 2022 at 6:28 pm

>I still haven't heard back if the district has a buyer for their current facility?

the property isn't on the market yet. Kinda hard to have a buyer. District office isn't even scheduled to move until April. And after that, much needs to be done before parcel can be put on the market.


Jake Waters
Registered user
Birdland
on Oct 7, 2022 at 8:50 pm
Jake Waters, Birdland
Registered user
on Oct 7, 2022 at 8:50 pm

For those that are itching to raise our property taxes again I’m voting No.

I can’t control the rising costs of fuel and food; I can’t stop the illogical dependence upon solar and wind; I can’t stop the invasion on the southern boarder; I can’t stop the give-away programs in this state; but I can have an impact against this bond.

For those that want to tell me how great the schools are, and that I am a benefactor of them, perhaps it isn’t the schools at all but the caliber of students attending these schools and the strong parents working with them.


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 7, 2022 at 8:54 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Oct 7, 2022 at 8:54 pm

I have written the board, shared my comments openly. They’re not listening.

That’s fine, I respect their right not to adjust. they can make that decision.
I have made mine as a result.

No.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 8, 2022 at 6:13 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2022 at 6:13 am

Of the $100,000,000–all but the $35,000,000 for the school you say I won’t get—was only bonded recently. So yes, it is sitting around. And the projects, like 13 TK classrooms, are not needed at the schools in the north. A new school is needed.


MichaelB
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 8, 2022 at 10:09 am
MichaelB, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2022 at 10:09 am

"Yes, there is a cost associated with Measure I, but that cost might be more of an opportunity cost. If we don't invest now, our children will suffer and so might our property values."


Simply replace the words "children" and "property values" with anything you want depending on the subject matter/topic at hand - and you have the standard (left wing) response for the government to endlessly increase spending and raise taxes.


SHale99
Registered user
Village High School
on Oct 8, 2022 at 10:09 am
SHale99, Village High School
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2022 at 10:09 am

>>So yes, it is sitting around.

No, afraid not. It is allocated, which you know means it is NOT available. Wouldn't they get pounded here by you and others if they DID spend the funds for something else. Can't have it both ways. Ditto for a new school. Show us where the increasing enrollment justifies a new school at this time?. Let's fix the schools there are already first; you know the ones crumbling right this second. sheesh.
We get you are a NO and nothing will change that. Thank goodness the last time a simple majority agreed, but not 55%. Something to noodle on.


Former PUSD Family
Registered user
Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 8, 2022 at 4:35 pm
Former PUSD Family, Pleasanton Valley
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2022 at 4:35 pm

I keep reading about building a new school and or 13 TK classes. Just curious where all the new teachers are going to come from? Anyone care to address that?


Ian
Registered user
Hacienda Gardens
on Oct 8, 2022 at 6:59 pm
Ian, Hacienda Gardens
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2022 at 6:59 pm

I’m voting YES. I can afford it, the kids need it, and the arguments against it are deeply unconvincing. I’m not surprised by the chorus of “No” comments here. It’s the regular gaggle of conservative penny pinchers who got theirs and are ready to pull the ladder up behind them. Disappointing, but not surprising.


ptown
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2022 at 7:59 pm
ptown, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2022 at 7:59 pm

I’m also voting 100% YES, Ian. I agree, our community, and the kids, do need it, in my opinion.

That said, your added commentary about “conservative penny pinchers” is also disappointing and I will add, definitely unnecessary.


Ian
Registered user
Hacienda Gardens
on Oct 8, 2022 at 8:48 pm
Ian, Hacienda Gardens
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2022 at 8:48 pm

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but necessary or not, I call it fairly as I see it. There are some folks who treat nickels like manhole covers when it comes to anything that benefits the generations that come after them. If this fact is inconvenient to you, then maybe that says less about me and more about you.


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 8, 2022 at 9:57 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2022 at 9:57 pm

Ptown,
I respect your right to vote yes without shaming those with valid concerns on why they’re voting no. Thank you for your respectful callout.


Joe Milelli
Registered user
Del Prado
on Oct 9, 2022 at 2:47 am
Joe Milelli, Del Prado
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2022 at 2:47 am

Re: Pleasanton Measure I Editorial.

We all want safe, secure schools, especially when the school's maintenance has been so neglected. Sure this needs to done. But we should all know what we are committing to with the passage of Measure I.

But don't be misled by the: it is only $49 per $100,000 of assessed value. What are the facts, as provided by and inferred by the PUSDs own data.
1.The tax increase for the median assessed residence will increase by $860/year.
2.PUSD total debt obligation, including recent MeasurI1 will increase to $665 Million, not including debt/non-debt of the $30 Million for district headquarters.
3 The total debt obligation, P&I will exceed $1.157 BILLION. With increasing interest rates, would not be surprised if it approaches $1.5 Billion (this is my guess not the PUSDs). PUSD numbers suggest debt obligation of nearly $90,000 per enrolled student.
4.Measure I1 and proposed Measure I bond release schedule runs through 2029, meaning bonds will not be paid off until 2054, over 30 years from now.
5 School enrollment is significantly down, no new schools are needed.
6. As a note, and justification for seniors thinking twice is the Measure I affects senior households to a greater extent. It is true senior average income is only 25% of the average non-senior household income.
7 Between Measures I and I1, the tax rate will be $90 per 100,000 assessed value. This will compute out to $1,600 for the median assessed household.
8 The significant increase in debt will lower PUSD credit ratings, resulting in higher interest rates.
9. It is recognized that $47 Million was budgeted for new schools and building which are not needed. An option to be considered is reprogram the funds through a transparent process or not release the bonds to reduce measure I1 debt obligations, reducing overall debt obligations of I and I1.
Again, the purpose is for all to be aware of the magnitude of debt we will incur.
See www.nobonds2022.org for more information.


Joe Milelli
Registered user
Del Prado
on Oct 9, 2022 at 3:23 am
Joe Milelli, Del Prado
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2022 at 3:23 am

Re: Measure I editorial
I have elaborated with previous comments on the financial aspects of the combined Measures I and I1. I certainly agree that past mistakes of the PUSD to kick required maintenance down the road, fail to budget, and fail to manage staff requires correction. A certain amount is clearly required, wading through the numbers is complex, but probably $100 Million? So let this be a priority.Limit modernization to $75M, categorize the rest as nice to haves and go for a $175 Million Measure, perhaps offset by the $45M from I1 non committed funds. This would save hundred of million. in interest and aggressively lower the tax rate.
I would like to emphasize, and this my opinion that the reason the PUSD is desirable, is because of teachers, staff, and highly educated parents, and motivated students. That is why property values are/were high. Sure schools need to be safe and secure, but the current state of gyms, auditoriums, and other proposed upgrades are hear now, they clearly have not diminished desirability as evidenced by multiple offers, houses selling over asking.
A survey of many experts criteria for characteristics of successful schools do not mention the quality of the physical plant, see: Web Link It seems to me that the PUSD administrators, teachers, aides and support plus parents seem to be well aligned with those characteristics and that is where the focus should be, not on the would be nice to haves. Well thanks for listening, but in summary the Measure I is excessive and should not pass.


MichaelB
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 9, 2022 at 7:35 am
MichaelB, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2022 at 7:35 am

"I’m sorry to disappoint you, but necessary or not, I call it fairly as I see it. There are some folks who treat nickels like manhole covers when it comes to anything that benefits the generations that come after them. If this fact is inconvenient to you, then maybe that says less about me and more about you."

I'm sorry to disappoint you, but money doesn't grow on trees and what people earn/save/invest does not "belong" to you or the community at large. Inflation is at a 40 year high and people's retirement accounts have taken a significant hit due to mismanagement at the federal level by so called "progressive" politicians. These are the same people who claimed their misguided and reckless spending policies would "benefit the generations that come after them".


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 9, 2022 at 8:44 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2022 at 8:44 am

SHale, except the district doesn’t have to do the projects because of the language absolving them, right? The language is in Measure I1, which is how the district isn’t building the school—a school that will take 3-5 years to build.

Former PUSD, teachers, in general ,move to the new school from other locations. So to make Donlon and Fairlands smaller, teachers move.

Ian, I voted for the first three bonds. I will not vote yes for $395,000,000 and the district’s loosey gooses language where we give them all the money and they do what they want, or not.

Nope.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 9, 2022 at 8:48 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2022 at 8:48 am

The East Bay Times has recommended a no vote: Web Link

They have recommended no votes on four of five of local bonds.


SHale99
Registered user
Village High School
on Oct 9, 2022 at 10:58 am
SHale99, Village High School
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2022 at 10:58 am

>>except the district doesn’t have to do the projects because of the language absolving them, >>right?

There is a bond info meeting Monday night; perhaps you should attend. Might help.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 9, 2022 at 10:59 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2022 at 10:59 am

Language hasn’t changed. So, no. Thanks anyway!


resident
Registered user
Danbury Park
on Oct 9, 2022 at 11:23 am
resident, Danbury Park
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2022 at 11:23 am

This is not the end all be all of the bond if it fails like the "Yes on I" want everyone to think. M Failed, because of lack of specifics. I will fail because of lack of promise to complete any of the projects listed even if funds are available.

My prediction is this:
Measure W(hatever), next June, will list the projects along with costs allocated to each along with stronger language around completing these projects and not just asking for money for them. maybe even a schedule or list of projects in order of priority. Hopefully the yet to be hired replacement Superintendent understands the community is actually for most of these projects, so much so that we want guarantees that they are completed and not a disclaimer to cover butts when they spend money on other things. \

If thats done, it passes easy. Not sure why they refuse to comprehend this? makes you wonder if they have that language there because they intend to rely on it.


resident
Registered user
Danbury Park
on Oct 9, 2022 at 11:29 am
resident, Danbury Park
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2022 at 11:29 am

One more oddity about all this:

It seems a majority of No votes are voting No because they want want these Projects complete as well as promises that money will go to the projects listed and progress will be made.

the Yes vote wants also wants all the projects but is willing to trust the Board to spend the 300+ million dollars on the projects listed and forego a promise of the funds being spent on the projects.

an overwhelming majority want the upgrades. if the district could just read the friggin room it would save everyone a lot of money on these elections.


ptown
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2022 at 12:23 pm
ptown, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2022 at 12:23 pm

Resident, you make some very important observations. And the comments from others are understandable.

Dr. Haglund and senior staff must be much more open with the community. The trustees, as our elected representatives, must be much more assertive with the Administration and the Board Meetings must be much less scripted. The community deserves robust, civil debate among the Trustees, and respectfully challenging the recommendations of the Superintendent and his staff, and the desires of the Teacher’s Union.

From my perspective, the facility needs are undeniable. I am 100% YES on this ballot measure. My firm belief is the community and our children absolutely deserve the investment and they need it now. However, my expectation is this circumstance also prompts all of us take a much more engaged and active role in PUSD matters, regardless of whether the issues are related to capital or programs. The taxpayer and their money must be respected. We elect the Trustees to represent us and the Superintendent must be accountable to them.


Peter
Registered user
Golden Eagle
on Oct 9, 2022 at 5:54 pm
Peter, Golden Eagle
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2022 at 5:54 pm

An absolute hard NO if this is done using the anachronistic assessed value formula. It's a grotesque abuse of taxation that just amplifies the tax disparity within neighborhoods.

Why should I be expected to pay 2 to 4 times more than my immediate neighbors to support the school building projects?

Prop 13 is a dinosaur that created this underfunding mess in the first place.
This just builds on the most inequitable tax collection system in the country.


Soccer Dad
Registered user
Mission Park
on Oct 10, 2022 at 9:15 am
Soccer Dad, Mission Park
Registered user
on Oct 10, 2022 at 9:15 am

This is trustee Mark Miller. I'm not allowed to advocate for or against a bond we have put forth to voters, but I can address facts about the condition of our facilities, stewardship of previous bonds, etc. I'd like to address some of the concerns put forth by Ms. Ruegsegger on this and other blogs.

First, the issue of language. Ms. Ruegsegger is concerned that the district adds language that indemnifies us from NOT executing on some of the items on the bond list. As a fiscal steward of this community's money, I can say it would be foolish and irresponsible not to provide this caveat. I'm quite sure taxpayers would not want us to proceed with projects that are no longer needed nor financially practical. This summarizes the decision on the 10th elementary school. On the opposite side of the spectrum, bond language prohibits us from performing projects NOT specified, and that is a good thing, and exactly what we have done with I1. This district has done everything it specified in I1 EXCEPT the 10th elementary school, which, by any rational standard, was a wise decision.

As for the portion of I1 funds spent thus far, the district has bonded all but $35MM from the original $270MM. While some projects are ongoing, all will be concluded within the year. The board promised not to spend the money earmarked for the 10th elementary school if we determined it was no longer needed. And we have kept that promise. Note, taxpayers are not on the hook for funding this portion of the bond unless we exercise it.

As for TK classrooms, they are required by recent state legislation, as we expand TK to younger and younger children. As such, all elementary schools will have TK classrooms commensurate with their population (3 – 5 classrooms per school). These classrooms are necessarily larger with internal bathrooms. Existing unused classrooms will be used in some schools, but we do need extra capacity at Donlon and Fairlands.


Joe V
Registered user
Birdland
on Oct 10, 2022 at 3:22 pm
Joe V, Birdland
Registered user
on Oct 10, 2022 at 3:22 pm

Peter.. Prop 13 is how many seniors, on a fixed income, are able to stay in the homes they have lived in for many years. We already have a major homeless problem in the Bay Area, that is using up large amounts of our tax dollars, without Prop 13, it would add to the problem! Think about veterans that were sent to wars, don't they deserve a break if they've lived in the same house for 40 or 50 years. Civil societies make a point of taking care of their elders, and the young, and that is what Prop 13 does.


Pleasanton Valley Rez
Registered user
Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 10, 2022 at 3:50 pm
Pleasanton Valley Rez, Pleasanton Valley
Registered user
on Oct 10, 2022 at 3:50 pm

Trustee Miller,
By voicing your opinion here are you indeed advocating for this bond? Is this appropriate and/or legal?


Pleasanton Valley Rez
Registered user
Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 10, 2022 at 4:08 pm
Pleasanton Valley Rez, Pleasanton Valley
Registered user
on Oct 10, 2022 at 4:08 pm

The district "buying" a new facility outright BEFORE the existing property is sold is a misuse of school funds. IMO. The question must be asked: where did the district/executives get the money for the down payment? Buying before you've sold is risky at best, particularly when the property isn't zoned for housing. Easily researched.


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 10, 2022 at 9:54 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Oct 10, 2022 at 9:54 pm

“ I'm quite sure taxpayers would not want us to proceed with projects that are no longer needed nor financially practical. This summarizes the decision on the 10th elementary school.”

…..ah, but it sure doesn’t stop you from marketing on behalf of things you know may swing the vote, and then reallocate funds once received under the guise of an accountability board/review process.

And that is unethical and deceitful. While it’s not illegal because of you’re cya statement, I don’t vote $400M bonds unless you’re sure you need the money for projects you’re advocating on behalf of.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 10, 2022 at 10:51 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 10, 2022 at 10:51 pm

I would suggest people read the resolution. The language being stated as coverage for projects no longer needed is a straw man argument. With the language listing the projects also being vague, the district is asking for our $395,000,000 and saying they can handle it. I don’t believe it. Don’t build 13 TK classrooms on the two most impacted schools and say they are necessary. 13 TK classrooms says you need a school in the north.


Teacher & Mom
Registered user
Mohr Elementary School
on Oct 11, 2022 at 10:05 pm
Teacher & Mom, Mohr Elementary School
Registered user
on Oct 11, 2022 at 10:05 pm

As a teacher and a mom, I have seen classrooms sit empty in elementary schools this year. Overflow kids are going back to their home schools. Principals are praying for more enrollment.

Why would the city choose to build another elementary school?

I may not think there is a need for 13 TK classes, but the state mandates the move in that direction. So where is this argument going?


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 12, 2022 at 7:43 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 7:43 am

The state doesn’t require attendance for TK or K. Even if we needed classrooms, why are we putting 13 at the two most impacted schools? And someone please tell me where the 1,000 missing students are, because it isn’t a matter of 1,000 graduating with no replacement TK or K students or, again, why are we building those 13 TK classrooms?


Jimmy The Jet
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2022 at 8:23 am
Jimmy The Jet, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 8:23 am

We shouldn’t single out PUSD for lower enrolment. Enrolment is down across the state. I’ve heard here on the Weekly that families with kids move in but more students are moving out. A family with 3 children moved out last year and now a family with 1 student moved in next door. One account does not equate to data. However, enrollment is down across the state. The 13 TK classes are only needed if the district does not redo the boundaries. There is not a need for a 10 elementary school. A 10th elementary school would be a huge waste of our funds. The state may not require K or TK yet but PUSD must have a place for these students. These classrooms require bathrooms and are not like normal classrooms or portables that can be added at a later date. Amador’s Ladies Volleyball team has a home game on 10/13. Come by and marvel at the rundown gym. Don’t forget to cheer on the Lady Dons!


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 12, 2022 at 11:03 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 11:03 am

The district has the answer, but isn’t saying why enrollment is down. I understand birth rates are lower across the state, but 13 classrooms at these two schools is ridiculous at best. To my knowledge, the 13 classrooms are a given, not an “if the board doesn’t redraw boundaries.” There is more housing coming in the north and I believe this is there answer.


Jimmy The Jet
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2022 at 12:13 pm
Jimmy The Jet, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 12:13 pm

"The district has the answer, but isn’t saying why enrollment is down."How would the district know? When families leave PUSD are they given an exit interview?


Soccer Dad
Registered user
Mission Park
on Oct 12, 2022 at 1:12 pm
Soccer Dad, Mission Park
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 1:12 pm

Trustee Mark Miller here again to clear up some factual misperceptions. TK classrooms at Donlon and Fairlands are already planned for construction with leftover money from the I1 bond. It is expected there will be 3 – 5 TK classrooms at each site, in line with student population. The TK classrooms will either be conversion of exisitng spaces or new construction depending on the school. I am not sure where Ms. Ruegsegger gets her 13 classroom number, nor why she thinks these are included in the new bond. As mentioned previously, PUSD is mandated, as a result of state legislation, to provide transitional kindergarten to successively younger students. Each elementary school will include between 3 – 5 TK classrooms. The need for new classrooms at Donlon and Fairlands is most immediate, hence the use of existing funds. Other elementary schools will require new construction, and it is that construction that is part of the new bond.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 12, 2022 at 3:32 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 3:32 pm

Jimmy, the district has to forward student files to other public districts, to private schools, to other cities or states.

Mark, the numbers came from district presentations. But tell me why 3-5 classrooms, which isn’t far from 6 or 7, at these two already overcrowded schools? Why is Fairlands planned to have a two story structure? Please tell me where in Measure I1 it says anything about TK classrooms. Web Link


Former PUSD Family
Registered user
Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 12, 2022 at 3:35 pm
Former PUSD Family, Pleasanton Valley
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 3:35 pm

“The district has the answer, but isn’t saying why enrollment is down."

Really??? Give me a break. People leave for different reasons - it’s called life. It’s really unfortunate the amount of misinformation that gets spewed on here.


SHale99
Registered user
Village High School
on Oct 12, 2022 at 3:59 pm
SHale99, Village High School
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 3:59 pm

>> Don’t build 13 TK classrooms on the two most impacted schools

Instead build a new, not needed, elementary school? Justify that beyond it was in I1 bond language. Justify the enrollment, where staff will come from and also the budget to run it.

At least now you know the $35m is not sitting in an account someplace. Has not even been exercised yet.


Jimmy The Jet
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2022 at 6:05 pm
Jimmy The Jet, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 6:05 pm

Jimmy, the district has to forward student files to other public districts, to private schools, to other cities or states.
I have a hard time believing that it's someone job to tally up where they send the files. I don't think this information exists. Thanks Mark for the clarification on the Tk buildings. There seems to be some misunderstanding and I appreciate you attempting to clear it up without advocating for the bond in this form. well played and thank you for your service to our community.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 12, 2022 at 8:53 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 12, 2022 at 8:53 pm

I am saying the district has the answer and we should know if children are leaving the district but still living here. That’s not just life.

I believe a school will be needed and the district is hedging their bets by saying they will hold the $35,000,000 for a possible K-8. They have yet to say they will not bond the funds. And, yes, I have said that it isn’t bonded before.

Trust me, the district knows the answer. Computers.


Jimmy The Jet
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2022 at 11:40 am
Jimmy The Jet, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 11:40 am

KR, Let say that the district does have this information. Are you implying that students are leaving the district because of some reason only known to you? And the district is hiding it? Or could it be the lack of modern school facilities?


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 13, 2022 at 3:10 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 3:10 pm

It has to do with the pandemic and how it was handled.


Former PUSD Family
Registered user
Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 13, 2022 at 3:30 pm
Former PUSD Family, Pleasanton Valley
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 3:30 pm

Just one of many other reasons including how the issue of grading was handled during that same time as compared to private and homeschool.

The pandemic and how it was handled is only a branch and not the stump. I’ll give you a large branch but not the stump.



SHale99
Registered user
Village High School
on Oct 13, 2022 at 5:42 pm
SHale99, Village High School
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 5:42 pm

>>It has to do with the pandemic and how it was handled.

Certainly Covid had an impact on declining enrollment. But I assure you most likely a tiny few was it due to 'how' covid was handled. Otherwise every single district in Calif would have the same problem.

Surrounding districts had declining enrollment BEFORE covid due to a bunch of reasons: population, private schools, home schooling etc.

Not clear why you feel the district is to blame for declining enrollment or that they are 'hiding' the causes. Also unclear how that would effect bond(s) much needed.


Former PUSD Family
Registered user
Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 13, 2022 at 6:39 pm
Former PUSD Family, Pleasanton Valley
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 6:39 pm

Time to get over spilt milk and move on.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 13, 2022 at 7:57 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 7:57 pm

I never said the district is to blame. I have stated they know where the students went.


John
Registered user
Birdland
on Oct 13, 2022 at 8:34 pm
John, Birdland
Registered user
on Oct 13, 2022 at 8:34 pm

Enough already. The same people defending their positions over and over with no end in sight. Vote and shut up. That is the american way. For the love of god close this thread.


Jon A
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 14, 2022 at 5:09 pm
Jon A, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2022 at 5:09 pm

I'm voting YES. It's time to invest in much needed repairs and modernization for our schools. Don't let Livermore and Dublin supplant Pleasanton as the destination for homebuyers seeking quality schools.


Karl A
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2022 at 6:12 am
Karl A, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2022 at 6:12 am

John

Posters have the freedom to post as much as they want as long as they follow the guidelines of the site.

You also have the freedom to not read what they post. So just skip reading this one - of course after reading my wise words. :-)


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 15, 2022 at 8:26 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2022 at 8:26 am

Jon, I think very few people believe no investment makes sense, but bad language and a $395,000,000 price tag—and trust me the district has a new billion dollar wish list and will be back for more soon if this bond passes—is too much only six years into I1’s $270,000,000. Remove the bad language and ask for a smaller amount, I’ll vote for it.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 15, 2022 at 8:55 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 15, 2022 at 8:55 am

I have been wondering about the comments saying TK is mandated and requires new classrooms to be built. Here is what I found: “School districts can apply for this service to construct new classrooms or **retrofit existing school facilities** for the purpose of providing transitional kindergarten or full-day kindergarten instruction.” Web Link

So IF the district is changing boundaries and IF the district is losing students (and birth rates are down), why are we building new classrooms? Why not retrofit classrooms for the two-year TK-K classes?


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

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