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School board learns more about parcel tax, but decides to hold off

Original post made on Apr 10, 2008

School board members learned more about what goes into crafting a parcel tax for the November ballot Tuesday night, but will wait until the state budget is finalized before proceeding with a decision.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 10, 2008, 11:10 AM

Comments (15)

Posted by Reagan Democrat
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Apr 10, 2008 at 6:18 pm

If a parcel tax is approved by the voters to preserve current programs during the state fiscal crisis, will the tax be repealed when the state restores full funding? What do you think?

Posted by Mary
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 10, 2008 at 10:46 pm

No Way. Once they have it, they will always want it. And they will want the amount to go up from there.
Did anyone watch the workshop the other night? Casey talked about the tax like it would be a slam dunk! And indicated that in order for a parcel tax to pass, a citizens group would need to be formed to put up the $80-90,000 to run the campaign! The district can only put out 'neutral' literature but you can bet there will be plenty of money spent by the district. And the unions. But I was dumbfounded by the expectations that community members would step forward with that much money to pay for the campaign!

Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 10, 2008 at 11:29 pm

Was watching the Livermore School District board meeting on one of the local channels a while ago and they mentioned making their parcel tax permanent. One person connected to the board felt they would have no problem making the tax permanent.

Mary hit it out of the park.... Even if the state funding returned to "normal" the PUSD parcel tax would probably be used to fund new programs that would "need to be funded" if the state funding returned to the delimma it's in at the present time. Don't forget - the 50+ new programs the "Dream Team" came up with are floating around out there somewhere.

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 11, 2008 at 8:52 am

This is also my opinion I related in another thread. Economies go up and down always, in cycles. Feeding the money pit is not a solution when the economy is down. Who wants more taxes when the economy is down? And once the parcel tax gets a foot in the door, you can bet there will be calls in the future to make it permanent. School districts need more flexibility with the funds they already get. Write your State legislature representatives and let them know this.

Posted by Nicky
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Everybody should make it clear to the legislatures that they should not be giving out any raises at the state level, including the union strong prison guards, if they are going to not give raises to teachers or worse, cut school spending. They are making a STRONG messages that our schools are not as important as the other state employees and I think that is totally wrong. The state has been given the responsibility to fund the schools and should be one of their highest priorities, if not the top priority.

Every school district is having budget problems because of what the state is currently proposing. From these actions, the state legislature is essentially raising our taxes without telling us since they are telling all the school districts to get a parcel tax. I personally do not think we have a revenue problem (I know my state taxes which are due next week did not go down this year and in fact went up from my previous year's taxes). If the state legislature gives ANY raise to any state employee and at the same time cuts funding to the schools, their action proves that they do not value education and the schools.

Don't be fooled into believing what some of the school board members say when they say a parcel tax gives us more control and less reliance on the state. The parcel tax they are talking about is around $4M. The school district budget is over $120M. Unless the board members intend to come back for an even greater tax later, like politicians seem to do, this additional tax, which should really be coming from the state, will not really give us stability.

Posted by Liu
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 11, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Has anybody heard if the superintendent paid back his interest-free loan for his house? When he was hired I read that one of his benefits was an interest-free loan to purchase a house. I remember it being $200,000 or $250,000 but cannot remember. My guess is that the district did not receive any equity in his home with this interest free loan so the superintendent has also made money on his house thanks to the taxpayers. If he has not paid off this loan yet, I would hope that he feels strongly about our kids, like he says he does, and pays it back right away so the district can have use of that money. That would show a real Community of Character trait.

Posted by Mike
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 12, 2008 at 7:07 pm

No, he has not. The superintendents loan remains interest free until 18 months after he leaves the district.

In addition to the salary of $227,000 per year he receives some pretty good benefits:

10 holidays per year (more if another state holiday occurs on a weekend)

24 days of vacation per year (5 weeks)

$5,000 per year for life insurance

$10,000 per year into a tax sheltered annuity

$1,000 per month as a transportation allowance for use of his personal vehicle

Once retired receives taxpayer paid medical, dental and vision insurance for himself and his spouse until he reaches 65.

Posted by Tom, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2008 at 10:18 am

Posted by Normal fundng?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2008 at 9:23 pm

The state will never return money redirected at the state level and costs will continue to rise. Good schools need funds to run and this community, as well as every other community in the state who can afford it has been supplementing CA public education for years. We try and educate every one. We try to encourage students to think. It's not the place where we want to skimp on the quality of teachers or materials. The amount of money one would save by cutting back on the superintendent's salary is a drop in the bucket compared to what's needed by the schools. Shouldn't the person in charge of a school district such as this be able to live in the community he works in? Good enough to work here but not good enough to live here? The profit from education is the product and the product is what the students learn. In the long run they will give back many fold what their community has given them in the way of productive citizens.

Anybody ever ask themselves why foreign nationals want their children to have an American public school education, including college?

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Bottom line: reform is needed at the state level, no question about that, but mismanagement from a government entity is NO EXCUSE for our local school board to approve the mismanagement of our district's funds.

It is easy to see that lately, Casey and staff have not been all that fiscally responsible with Pleasanton taxpayers' funds (approving pay raises and not long after that, issuing layoffs of much needed reading specialists is just not all that smart) ....... and that is INDEPENDENT of what the state does.

We have no control over the governor's actions, nor have we control over the state's legislature's actions, but WE CAN have a say over what goes on in Pleasanton, and what Casey and his staff have proposed is simply unacceptable.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2008 at 7:12 am

There are three board of trustee seats up for re-election (terms expire in December 2008) - if three new, competent people get in and replace the incumbents, that would give them a majority, and they alone could make decisions to undo some of what Casey has proposed. Hopefully this time around, the community will not support the incumbents. And hopefully, the community will say no to a parcel tax because the numbers are not accurate, they include pay raises for an already highly paid superintendent.

Posted by A Parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 13, 2008 at 8:06 am


Amen.....Well said.....

"approving pay raises and not long after that, issuing layoffs of much needed reading specialists is just not all that smart"

"what Casey and his staff have proposed is simply unacceptable."

Amen.....Well said.....I want to vote for you Resident!!!!

"hopefully, the community will say no to a parcel tax because the numbers are not accurate, they include pay raises for an already highly paid superintendent."

I want to vote for you Resident!!!!

That is the problem with these posts, I would like to know who I agree with.
It is unfortunate that we know we cannot be public or our kids may be at risk.

Resident for President of the secret Society of Parents!!!

Resident for President! Resident for President! Resident for President!

Posted by June
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 13, 2008 at 12:30 pm

To "Normal funding", I believe it makes sense to have our leaders in our community (guess this fits into another topic out a school board member not living in our community). I don't know if it is wise to give a large loan like this for a house, interest-free, and no equity position in the house. I am sure the superintendent has made quite a bit of money on the house that has been subsidized by the taxpayers but we get none of the profits of the house. I have also heard that he has another house up in the mountains that he bought since being a superintendent here.

Posted by normal funding
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2008 at 1:08 pm

We can argue that point but it was minor one compared to the big picture.
Personalities aside, do you we want to attract top notch people or not? We are the MOST affluent midsize community in the country. We want excellent people to be able to work and live here. At least I do.

Posted by Mom
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Apr 13, 2008 at 2:18 pm

I want to know how much PSUD spends on existing technology and updating it every 3-4 years. Do we really need kindergarteners and first graders sitting in front of computer screens at the same time we are considering cutting their reading specialists? I have read over and over again that technology is the black hole that just keeps sucking the funds away from other vital programs. Updating a complete lab full of computers (33 at the elementary level) every 3-4 years must be costly. Is that really more important than reading, math, science, music....? Just a thought that maybe the list of possible cuts was pretty narrow in scope. I know that one board member wanted to look beyond the possible cut list which was compiled by teachers, administrators, and some community members.

Posted by taxpayer
a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Apr 13, 2008 at 2:49 pm

I think the superintendent has made a significant strategic error. If he had responded to the communities concerns about administrative raises and freezing salaries, as well as a few of the other concerns, the community would have been reassured by the responsiveness. Instead a lack of confidence has built which will work against any efforts toward a parcel tax.

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