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PUSD is Poorly Managed. Management Shake Up is a Must

Original post made by Devon, Birdland, on Jan 18, 2009

If The Cupertino Union School District can provide their students with high-quality education and programs with only $4373 per student in base revenue limit funding from the state, why can't PUSD offers our students comparable standards with the $2000 extra per student in funding from the state? PUSD receives $6367 per student in base revenue limit funding from the state. Yet, PUSD is still threatening to cut programs and teachers due to the recent budget cuts. Clearly, the district is poorly managed and a shake up is essential. Casey and his crew allowed inefficiencies to thrive and grow throughout the years, indulging into the seemingly unlimited flow of cash from the community and the state. The latest round of budget cuts just brought all those issues to the surface and Casey's immediately reactions is to cut programs and seek bailout in the form of parcel tax. That is just unacceptable! If other districts can do wonders with much much less budget, things just don't add up in PUSD. It's time for new management and elimination of the excess in unnecessary administrative spending (like Casey's mortgage that PUSD pays).

Comments (34)

Posted by bel
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 18, 2009 at 9:16 pm

yes, shouldn't someone making as much as Casey be able to pay their own house payments! Cuts need to be made at the higher levels.

Posted by *
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 18, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Please check into your facts a little further - Cupertino is split into two operational districts - Cupertino Union for K-8 and Fremont Union High School. This is likely the source of the difference. You would also be best served by investigating their budgets and sources of funding.
I guarantee you they have a highly paid superintendant too.

Posted by V.Venkatesan
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Jan 19, 2009 at 3:30 pm

I definitely do not support a parcel tax. We are going thru an unprecedented depression and the private sector that pays the taxes is going thru massive cuts. The public sector (Govt. employees at all levels , teachers etc.) has to take a similar cut. State,City and County Govt. spending has gone up by huge amounts while the economy is stagnating. Govt. employees have become a privileged class being supported by the rest of us. It is high time they took their pay cuts.


Posted by Bob
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 20, 2009 at 1:31 am

We need to make this LOUD AND CLEAR to Casey and his crew at PUSD. There will be NO BAILOUT for PUSD so long as he and his crew continues to slash classes and programs and not eliminate the administrative "FAT". We're all tightening our belts and so should Casey and his crew.

If Casey is not competent enough to do his job of balancing the budget and ensuring that the kids of Pleasanton get the quality education they deserve, he should be replaced immediately. He has to take the initiative to fix PUSD's budget NOW and begin cutting the admin costs. Contracts with the union and himself need to be renegotiated to bring back the millions of dollars funneled into their pockets back to funding the kids' education. This needs to happen NOW!

Posted by Another Gatetree Resident
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 20, 2009 at 5:47 am

While I don't disagree that Management and Staff should feel the budget pain, Pleasanton has lived high on the "developer funded hog" for a long time. Whether the economy crashed and burned, or whether we reached true "build out," this scenario was in our future -- regardless of timing.

Suggestion -- rather than making it all Casey's problem/fault, why not see how you parents can pitch in and volunteer?

Posted by Another Pleasanton Valley Mom
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 20, 2009 at 10:27 am

Another Gatetree Resident, said "why not see how you parents can pitch in and volunteer?"

Well, I and every parent I know volunteers at every level, even for programs that aren't at my own school(S) but other PUSD sites. Several parents I know are also on PTA/PFC boards and work hard for our schools even now when ourselves or our spouses have been laid off. We feel the pinch despite how hard we work without pay for our schools.

I have seen the cuts, they will affect all 4 of my children, but Casey needs to hear from everyone in our city. Yes, I do feel we have to make some cuts, like it or not. These are tough times and everyone needs to do their part, including Mr. Casey. If for nothing else to show he understands and to build the trust he is losing. Maybe then all residents will vote for a parcel tax.

Not everyone is a homeowner or has/had children and we need to respect all of our residents and let their voices be heard. To blame parents and not the man in charge is not the way to go.

Posted by Another Gatetree Resident
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 20, 2009 at 11:48 am

Another Pleasanton Valley Mom said, "Well, I and every parent I know volunteers at every level, even for programs that aren't at my own school(S) but other PUSD sites. Several parents I know are also on PTA/PFC boards and work hard for our schools even now when ourselves or our spouses have been laid off. We feel the pinch despite how hard we work without pay for our schools."

I commendt your volunteering, but there are many others who have had children that do not. They look to the Administration and Schools to do all the work. My post was not intended to dig at anyone who volunteers today, but rather to get those with kids thinking about giving of their time.

As for respecting our residents -- I couldn't have said it better. Unfortunately, I've not seen that respect go both ways in a very, very, very long time. If I felt those with kids had any level of respect for those that do not, I'd be the first one to stand in line and volunteer.

Posted by 38 Year resident
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 20, 2009 at 11:53 am

Shame shame shame -- you're pointing finger why? The reason is that you might have to dig in the wallet, to support an amazingly successful school district, during times bought on by billionaires' greed. Sure if the teachers are asked to reduce thier pay or staff, the administration must join in as well. But to blame the (world wide) budget crisis on a single administrator goes beyound ignorant to the point of absurdity. In this city of mostly 'haves' it amazes me how many have dug in thier heals when the chips are down. Of course every public and private entity in this world could improve, be more efficient, more effective etc.. But the attacks made on this thread have nothing to do with that. They are really about the sad Ruby Hill residents whinning about the wise budget decision not to build the Neal school.

Posted by Devon
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 20, 2009 at 1:48 pm

38 Year resident:

The objective of this post is to raise the question of why Casey and his crew is unable to balance the budget eventhough PUSD is getting a lot more funding per student than other reputable school districts. Cupertino is only one of the examples; there are plenty more. The point here is that, when there is a budget reduction, Casey's first attempt should be to address it by reducing staff spending and pay, eliminate redundant staff and processes, renegotiate union and other senior staff contract to bring the operation cost to a minimal. Reduction in salary and fringe benefits would be a good start. On the contrary, Casey's knee-jerk reaction is to cut educational programs and services for the kids. Those options should be the very last resort, not the first. Casey needs to understand this.

Posted by Parent/Taxpayer
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 20, 2009 at 2:09 pm

John Casey and the Board have been trying to justify a parcel tax for more than three years.
A parcel tax is discretionary money that can be used for salary and has little oversight. The tax will not go away when the state budget improves.
They are exploiting the budget crisis and insighting parents fears.
John Casey is not to blame for the state's budget or world economy but he is responsible for exploiting the situation instead of making good business decisions to make cuts that do not impact the kids.
This district has more money per student than most districts that have parcel taxes.

No Parcel tax!

Posted by parent
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jan 20, 2009 at 6:34 pm

I read the list of proposed budget cuts and I have one question - why is PUSD still in the child care business? Our surrounding communities (Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, Castro Valley) have all left the child care business in order to focus on SCHOOLS. Child care in these communities is provided by outside vendors that pay rent every month - which means the District loses the expense but gains revenue!!! Makes sense to me!!!!

Posted by *42*
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2009 at 12:37 pm

From the Cupertino Union Web Site...
"The Cupertino Union School District is made up of 20 elementary schools and 5 middle schools. It serves over 17,500 students in a richly diverse community representing 46 different languages in a 26-square mile area that includes the city of Cupertino and portions of San Jose, Sunnyvale, Saratoga, Santa Clara, and Los Altos."

The cost of running a high school is much greater than that of a middle or elementary school. Devon is making an "apples to oranges" comparison.
By the way CUSD is also asking for a parcel tax. See the link below and read the Power Point from CUSD.
Web Link

Posted by Barbara
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jan 21, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I would like the district to show us how much other district are getting from the state, also other district's bonds and parcel taxes. The total dollars that other districts have to work with compared to PUSD.
I seem to remember that the reason PUSD would not build the third high school was by overloading the existing sites we could be more fiscally efficient.
Seem like our community gets the shaft twice if we have overcrowded campuses and pay a big fat tax.

Posted by Jerry
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Jan 21, 2009 at 2:34 pm

I'd love to see Dr. Casey's contract and the terms of the loans PUSD have given to him interest-free throughout the years. Why aren't we using those money to fill the gaps?

Posted by Sarah
a resident of Happy Valley
on Jan 22, 2009 at 12:40 am

Whether you like it or not, we're all in this together.

Bad Schools = Plunge in Home Prices.

We need to pass a parcel tax and pledge more donations to the district to save our schools, our community, and our home prices.

Posted by Ann
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Jan 22, 2009 at 7:29 am

Our schools do not need to be negatively effected if good business decisions are made.
With good leadership we should not need a parcel tax.

Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 22, 2009 at 8:22 am

Sarah -- I hereby vote to allow you to pay my parcel tax since you think it is such a good idea.

Posted by Sarah
a resident of Happy Valley
on Jan 22, 2009 at 9:02 am


If you have the stomach to watch the price of your home plunge like that of your 401K, then vote no on parcel tax. Your vote, your choice. But just remember that you may not like the outcome of your decision. Sometimes we have to pay a little to get a lot

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 22, 2009 at 9:27 am

Doom, gloom, and greed.

Posted by *42*`
a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2009 at 9:42 am

Schools are not businesses, thus the business model does not apply. Good financial practices in a school system look very different.

Posted by Jerry
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 22, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Who cares about the PUSD? Let PUSD sort this mess out themselves. I don't have kids and certainly would not live here if I do. If you're smart and have kids, move elsewhere and be happy. Pleasanton is not a family-friendly city.

Posted by Jerry
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 22, 2009 at 1:01 pm

We should be focusing our efforts and money on things that really matters like improving our downtown, curb appeal, roads, and highway. I find it a pain commuting to work down 680S everyday. While we're at it, free up some fundings to make the water softer too! I hate that white residue in my glass and coffee maker.

Posted by Michael Miller
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 22, 2009 at 2:08 pm

This is enough already.
Everyone on both sides of the issue needs to stop this useless angry rhetoric. It does neither side any good. It merely divides our community by creating an atmosphere of anger.

Personal attacks on both sides and uneducated comments on both sides, on an issue that is not even in front of the public yet need to stop. I encourage everyone on all sides of the issue to go to the School Board meeting to listen and to be heard, to campaign on the side of the issue that you believe in, and NOT ALLOW INDIVIDUALS FROM OUTSIDE PLEASANTON finance or influence your activities.

This is a Pleasanton issue and it would be a shame if either side allows outsiders decide what we should do in Pleasanton. Learn from what went on in other communities, use their strategies, but decide for yourself what, in your interest, is best for Pleasanton.

If the adults in our community can not communicate in a civil manner how can we continue to create a uniquely successful community that combines the "old town" feel of downtown, with the necessary revenue generation opportunities of the several modern business parks in Pleasanton. No matter how much or how little money the PUSD has, these types of communications and behaviors will destroy everyone's ability to provide a safe and high level educational environment for our children.

Anyone that knows me (and as you can see I USED MY REAL NAME) knows how I feel about this issue but please be aware that this request is not a plea for people to agree with me, it is a request for civil behavior from both sides. The border line "libelous attacks" need to stop on both sides of the issues surrounding our children.

On a personal note, if you feel the need to attack someone personally, the least you can do is put your real name out for all to see. It is not only unfair to those you attack, it places a shroud of anger over the people who fall on the same side of the issue that you do. I do not believe that you want to put that negative impression on everyone that could help your cause. It would be a shame for everyone that agrees with your position to be labeled as a "name calling blowhard who hides behind the anonymity" when in fact there are very strong arguments and intelligent people on both sides of the issue. If you are not proud enough of your words to visibly stand behind them, then should you really put them out for all to see?

Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Don't be a chump, no parcel tax!

Posted by An AVHS involved parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Let's get back some perspective here: What is most likley needed to fix this budget crisis (and it is a crisis whether it was created by an irresponsible school board or by an economic situation larger than the PUSD or a combo of both) is a parcel tax smaller than PUSD wants AND cuts to the "4 inch thick" PUSD budget.

Anyone who purports to tell us that there is no fat in the budget to cut is outright lying! On an equal note, if anyone purports to say that the amount of state budget cuts that are going to happen can be handled by budget cuts alone are unrealistic! Come on.....I know there is fat, but do not believe that fat represnts $7M which is the number I've heard is the estimated shortfall over the next three years.

As a parent of a PUSD student AND a Pleasanton homeowner, I feel a huge responsibility to make the right decision to protect both my child's education AND my property values in this great community. However, in order for me to wholeheartedly support a parcel tax, I need to feel confident that the PUSD budget is as tight as it can be (I mean I want to hear squeaks!!) with the LAST RESORT cuts at the student/school levels!

I do not want to hear "threats" of doom from the PUSD, as that is not going to cut it! I also do not want to hear that a parcel tax to cover the entire shortfall is the ONLY way to go! I want to hear practical, fiscally responsible and student centered policies for getting back on tract. I've seen the list of proposed cuts and if the budget is really "4 inches thick" this list was pretty short and many, many, many "pet" programs or expenses did not make the list......why is that? I will be the first to support a parcel tax IF that needs to be PART of the solution, but that better be in conjunction with some major fat cutting!!!!

I'll be at the Budget Community Forum on the 26th at AVHS to give my feedback AND hear out the ideas of others and I urge everyone else to do the same. This problem effects us all in one way or another and we all should assume the respoonsibility to help resolve it.

Posted by Jerry
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 22, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Imposing any additional taxes to support a failing school district and greedy staff and teachers is throwing money into the toilet. If additional fundings are needed, they should come from people like Michael Miller who aren't paying their fair share of property taxes. His tax obligations are merely $3011 a year while many of us pay 2-4x that amount. The budget crisis can be easily solved when people like him start paying their fair share.

Posted by An AVHS involved parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2009 at 4:43 pm


I am sure that there are some "greedy" staff and teachers (bad ones as well) just as there are in ANY vocation and I am all for weeding those ones out. If staff has to be cut, let's find a way to cut there first! However, I can honestly say the vast majority of teachers I've encountered in my years of volunteering have been really great. We ask these folks to educate the next generation and we pay them less than most non-college grad union members??? Now that should make us all go "huh"???? (I apologize in advance to the non-college grad unioin members of which my husband is one!!).

Your issue with property tax is valid, but is a Prop 13 issue, no??? I suggest you throw your weight behind that issue to get it changed if that is your belief, but that is not going to help the situation at hand right now and is WAY outside of the scope of the PUSD.

So, while I respect your views, I could not disagree more that this is "the" solution.

Posted by Michael Miller
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 23, 2009 at 8:30 am

Jerry - you are an ignorant, uninformed, spiteful individual who is afraid to come out and show yourself for what you are. I pay all of my taxes as required by law on time. I pay exactly what the state requires me to pay, what the federal government requires me to pay, and make charitable contributions of my time and money as my personal and financial budget allows. To claim that I do not pay my "fair share" of taxes is an utter lie and I will be working with the managers of this blog to find out who you are so that I can speak with an attorney about the filing of a law suit against you.
The property taxes int eh state of California are a joke and completely inadequate to support the basic services of health, safety, and education that the state and local governments are allegedly here to provide. But just as I am sure that you do not pay any more than required neither do I.
You have some nerve hiding behind an anonymous posting to attack my financial situation, my status as a law abiding taxpayer, or anything about me.

Posted by Jerry
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 23, 2009 at 10:24 am

Michael - I see how the intention of my comments can be misinterpreted and I do apologize if they offended you in any way. Those comments are not directed at you personally but are directed at the larger issue of "The property taxes int eh state of California are a joke and completely inadequate to support the basic services of health, safety, and education that the state and local governments are allegedly here to provide."

I think most of us would agree that we don't pay a "fair share" of property taxes to support the basic services we're entitled. Just take a look at how clean the streets are even after all the leaves have fallen. Services like that costs money, lots of it. To ensure that our schools and other essential services are properly funded, we need to look at an annual reassessment of property values and taxes for everyone [except our senior citizens, of course] to fairly distribute the costs of funding all those essential services. Artificially imposing a parcel tax for the sole purpose of saving the schools is NOT a solution.

Posted by PJ Fan
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jan 23, 2009 at 12:43 pm

To quote P J O’Rourke: “Giving money and power to the government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” It would be difficult to support a parcel tax without exact limits for the expenditure of the money, an oversight committee of community representatives, and an outline for what efficiencies will be put in place for the general fund.

Things PUSD staff and board members need to be cover include:

• how they will ensure the influx of parcel tax money won’t allow for wage increases and adding staff from the resulting savings to the general fund (a hydraulic of the proposal).
• whether senior citizens will be exempted? Those exemptions can be substantial enough to require the general fund to cover the shortage to programs already guaranteed by the parcel tax. (i.e., a parcel tax program costs $1 million, but after exemptions, only $900,000 is collected, with an unintended cost to the general fund of $100,000.)
• an explanation of K-3 class size reduction funding and the substantial loss in funds provided by the state. Is the parcel tax going to support CSR in order to keep the state funding? If the parcel tax isn’t passed in time for the 09-10 school year and state funding is lost for that school year, will the state restart the funding in a subsequent year once they have withheld it? A genuine concern given the state of the state.

I will add my voice to those who feel current management is culpable for the mess and my belief that they were headed for this disaster because of the bad decisions they already made which now are only exacerbated by the problems at the state level. We hold teachers and students accountable in multiple ways. It is time for management and the longest standing board members to be held accountable.

Pleasanton has great schools (and good housing values) and high performing students because of the community makeup, not because of district staff—who can only support or get in the way of what happens in the classroom. The closer you are to the student—teachers, resource aides, principals—the more important you are to the learning process of a child. This is not where the cutting should occur.

Posted by Michael Miller
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 23, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Jerry - thank you for the apology and I also apologize for the name calling. That was not appropriate of me. The property tax issues of which you and I appear to agree are related to the education problems but were not part of my original post which was a call for everyone (both sides) to change the tone of the conversation to a more civil tone and not one of name calling and other unproductive comments.

Posted by Michael vs Jerry
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 23, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Battle of the dim wits...

Michael, you sound like a touchy feely quack. And you dont have any grounds to sue. Get off it...

But Jerry, you did fold like a cheap suit when he mentioned lawsuit.

Dont you people have anything better to do with your time. Wow.

Posted by Mikey Likes It
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 23, 2009 at 1:52 pm

So let me get this right: Michael's entire purpose of his post was to get people to knock off the name calling, and as soon as someone insulted the taxable value of his home... he insults him.

Way to go people.

Get back to work!

Posted by michael miller
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 23, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Exactly why I apologized. I was wrong.

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