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Official Layoff Numbers:

Original post made by Staff, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Jun 5, 2009


At the June 3 meeting of the Pleasanton Unified Board of Trustees, the
Board voted to increase class sizes for the 2009/10 school year from 20 to
25 in Grades K – 3. The Board also chose to increase 9th grade English
and Math classes to 25. The Board left in place the elimination of about
146 positions (full-time equivalents) which affected approximately 60
classified, 16 administrative, and 92 certificated employees. These
eliminated positions include teachers, counselors, middle school vice
principals (3), elementary vice principals (3.5), and District Office
administrators (10). The Board did allocate one-time funds to retain four
counseling, two reading specialist, and three classified positions and to
provide $45,000 in support to the Barton reading program.

In February, because of reductions in revenue from the state, the Board
had approved moving class sizes to 30:1 for 2009/10. The Board’s ability
to have class sizes at 25:1 is a direct result of changes made by the
State of California to the penalty structure for exceeding a 20:1 ratio.
Previously, a school district would lose all funding from the Class Size
Reduction (CSR) program if class sizes exceeded 20. As a part of actions
taken by the state during the current budget crisis, districts pay a
penalty instead of losing all of the funding. That penalty increases as
class sizes increase. For Pleasanton Unified, a ratio of 25:1 is the
point at which the program can be fully funded by the state’s contribution
of $4 million, saving the District $1.6 million from current levels.

The one-time funds used to retain positions became available through the
Board’s decision to postpone a 2008/09 OPEB (Other Post Employment
Benefits) payment of $674,000. This amount will appear as a liability on
the District’s financial statements, and will be paid in future
installments. The positions supported by these funds are for one year
only. District administrators will determine what grade levels and
schools sites the nine full-time positions will support.

Other programs that will still be eliminated for the 2009/10 school year
include: elementary band and strings programs; support for athletic
coaches (costs will be picked up by families and booster clubs); District
funding of some reading and math support programs; staff development;
elimination of 6.4 counseling positions resulting in middle and high
school counseling ratios of 500 students per counselor; 3 middle and high
school campus supervisor positions; seven District Office clerical
positions; ten custodians; and a 20% reduction in school site
discretionary funds.

Comments (16)

Like this comment
Posted by Really?
a resident of Happy Valley
on Jun 5, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Is this REALLY true, from the E-mail from PUSD?

"In February, because of reductions in revenue from the state, the Board had approved moving class sizes to 30:1 for 2009/10."

SO, In the WORST case scenario, looking ahead, this COULD become the case?

In Pleasanton primary grades?

Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Jun 5, 2009 at 5:16 pm

That's what the email we received states. I'm waiting for the "I had no idea" people to start panicking- too little, too late!

Like this comment
Posted by Afraid
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 5:56 pm

So, as we see NO real soulution the Californias problems, or the state budget for several years to come, we can certainly expect that
the 30:1 could become a REALITY, sooner than we think!


Like this comment
Posted by Rae
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 5, 2009 at 6:16 pm

I wouldn't panic yet.

"For Pleasanton Unified, a ratio of 25:1 is the point at which the program can be fully funded by the state’s contribution of $4 million, saving the District $1.6 million from current levels."

Looks to me like PUSD would lose $4 million in state funding if they increased class size beyond 25:1. I don't think they're in any position to throw that money away.

Like this comment
Posted by Get a Grip
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Get a grip, people-do you think that your kids can't handle it? Well I think that they can, and kids will learn because they are sponges and they will soak up the material if there's 30-40 or even 50 kids in a class. The student/teacher ratio is "crap" from the teacher's union to create and preserve jobs and that is A FACT. Fifty students in a class was the norm for me, and my 3 sisters and 2 brothers all graduated from Berkeley "magna cum". The sky is not falling, but your commen sense might be.

Like this comment
Posted by Carl
a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 5, 2009 at 10:36 pm

And if the teachers union had negotiated a salary freeze for one year, 25 teachers would have been saved.

"I had no idea" that PUSD would continue to bow to the unions.

Like this comment
Posted by Think About It
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Jun 5, 2009 at 10:40 pm

To Get A Grip:

You get a grip.

You don't understand that when the state reduced classes to 20:1, they also added tons of standards and programs for teachers to teach. K-3 students in 20:1 classes nowadays are doing so many things that your brothers and sisters did not do when they were in school especially in Language Arts, Science and Math. Your brothers and sisters grew up during those times when API scores throughout CA were mostly 700+. In the new era of CSRs, API scores esp. for Pleasanton schools are in the 900s. Kids are smarter now, better-equipped and higher order thinkers which is a relief because they need to keep up with the rest of the world. The student pool of the CSR generation has upped the ante for learning.

Change that configuration of smaller class sizes and teachers will have to drop some terrific programs to realistically reach and teach individual students. Take away reading specialists and counselors. What will happen? At-risk students (academically and emotionally) will just get lost in the crowd. What if your own child was born with a learning disability or with an emotional disorder? Without all these academic support and intervention built into our school systems, more and more kids in the long run will be overlooked. Drop-out rate will go up, crime rate could also follow suit. Domino effect ensues.

A very well-functioning school system is essential for a neighborhood to thrive. Most cities and towns with great schools OFTEN have low crime, low drop-out rate and a high rate of college-bound kids.

We need to keep our schools great to keep Pleasanton the great town for all.

Support our schools, support our neighborhood. Everyone benefits if you do, including YOU.

Like this comment
Posted by All of you get a grip
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 11:06 pm

First of all,

You both need to relax a bit. The patient hasn't flat lined and he hasn't even had a heart attack.

Okay, here is the scoop. If you actually watched the Board meeting on Wednesday night you know that we are at 25:1 for grades K-5 and 9th grade math and english. That was approved based on the financials at this point. If the state gets more funding out, then those numbers can change.

A parent at Valley View came to the meeting and asked if they could raise money for their school to go back to 20:1. Casey said no, that the schools had to have consistency in numbers and funding. He did say, however, that if all the schools raised 200K, for the 1.6MM needed to drop the class sizes down to 20, then we can do it for 09-10.

As far as 10-11, no one will know anything until about a year from now. Obama likes CA (is that really a good thing?) and may throw a little money our way again, the state ecomony could change. There are a whole host of variables you cannot account for.

If you are a CSR age parent and you want to really help the kids, then volunteer more in the classroom. The more volunteers mean each child has more time with the adults. And here is the kicker: if you are volunteering more and there are more kids, it's possible for the kids to do even BETTER because it is more likely that the kids who need more help (usually 20% of kids, so in this case 5 kids) will actually be able to interact with the teacher. The other kids can take their instructions and do the work with the other parent volunteers.

This is not a crisis! Good grief people, RELAX.

And as far as our "property values" you all keep freaking out about...

Remember, it isn't $$ we give, or even the class's the API scores people look at. As long as you keep doing your job as the parent and making sure your kids value their education, go to school daily and prepared, get rest and nutrition, and you actually smile when you spend quality time with them, we will retain our excellent schools.

Good Night, Y'ALL.

Like this comment
Posted by All of you get a grip
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 11:07 pm

I meant to say K-3, sorry.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2009 at 8:47 am

so the parcel tax would have saved 10 district administrators? That was not said in the ballot language. I would have been upset if money that was supposed to go to programs went to administrators. I guess I am not so sad anymore about G not passing.

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2009 at 8:49 am

and why have we not heard anything about eliminating perks like car allowances, rolling back salaries, and freezing raises for teachers and others? What about ending the school year early and getting rid of the many days off such as the entire thanksgiving week? There are cuts to be made, that would not affect the students, yet why haven't we heard about those?

Like this comment
Posted by My 2/100
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 6, 2009 at 9:20 am

>What about ending the school year early and getting rid of the many days off such as the entire thanksgiving week?

Not sure what you think this can accomplish. First of all, schools receive funding based on the number of students that show up. The purpose of the Thanksgiving week break is to avoid the financial impact of having school when so many kids are taken out by parents for family vacations. This is not a "day off;" the year is the same number of days (three more days on the front or back end.)

Or, you may be referring to the governor's comment re: cutting back the number of statuatory days from 180 to (I believe) 175. Your mileage may vary, but IMO cutting back on instructional days definitely will affect the students and is NOT a good idea.

>There are cuts to be made, that would not affect the students

If you think that there are cuts that can be made that won't affect the students, by all means post your ideas. Car allowances are token at best. "Rolling back" salaries (I'm assuming you mean pay cuts but for whom? Classified? Admin? Certificated?) is about the only option that can achieve a meaningful level of savings. I think this would be tolerated for a in the short term (PUSD is above average for teachers in this area, not sure about classified). But, in the long run, making the job less attractive will result in lower quality staff.

Like this comment
Posted by Think About It
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Jun 6, 2009 at 10:38 am

To All of You Get A Grip:

Parent volunteers CANNOT replace highly-trained teachers, reading specialists and counselors especially when it comes to teaching academically and emotionally at-risk children. More and more children are coming to school with autism, depression and various learning disabilities. They are just not trained for that. Parent volunteers are valued and welcomed to help with centers, classroom parties, field trips, etc. but not the actual teaching and intervening. These professionals cannot just focus on the 20% at risk everyday and let volunteers teach the rest of the class, even if they are highlly functioning. That would be so unfair to the rest.

And yes, I know about the scoop. I have watched all of the board meetings including the latest one. API scores will eventually go down especially because after 2009-2010, there is a huge possibility that class sizes will change again, this time 30:1. I know that many are already bracing for more layoffs in the next two years. Arnie will be cutting more money, parcel tax will never pass, and PUSD cannot magically postpone paying OPEB for another year. There is talk among school communities that the Union might indeed do an SC salary freeze, but that is not confirmed. Even so, it is still not enough.

So, everyone, brace yourselves for 30:1 in 2010-2011.

UNLESS... the community comes together and help avert this. But again, I don't see that happening.

Like this comment
Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 6, 2009 at 10:44 am

Resident -- the parcel tax would not have saved those administrators' jobs. You are correct that those positions were not included in the parcel tax language.

Remember that the cuts passed in late February were worth $9.7 million. If the parcel tax had passed, it would only have brought in $4.58 million -- less than half of the cuts could have been rescinded. The 6.5 vice principals and 10 district administrators were never in that category.

I'm starting to think that a part of the communication problem was a reliance on electronic PDFs and emails, that got summarized into pro-G fliers, rather than paper copies of the full-detail documents that could have been distributed by the school district to the community.

check out the PDF! "FAjun32009.pdf" can be downloaded here: Web Link

pages 11, 12, 13 -- the cuts made in February
page 14 -- the cuts that would have been reversed by measure G

Like this comment
Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 6, 2009 at 11:06 am

My 2/100 -- I agree that cutting school days will affect students. Compared with some of the other possibilities for cuts, though, it may be desirable. It would affect all grades equally, rather than asking the first four grades to take a big hit two years in a row.

From teachers' perspectives, cutting school days affects every teacher in the district (just as a pay cut would -- which is why cutting school days would save money. It is a pay cut.) Growing class sizes in K-3 only directly affects elementary school teachers. Middle school and high school teachers won't see the impact of larger elementary class sizes for several years, till the children from next year's K and 1st grade classes end up in 6th or 9th grade.

From my perspective, keeping class sizes small in K and 1st grade is especially important.... kids who fall behind on learning the basics then will continue to fall behind, and we will see the impact of that on API scores over the next 12 years.

Of course, most kids will be "fine" even in classrooms of 25 or 30. And yes, teachers will figure out a way to keep control in class and maintain learning opportunities. But if there were 4 kids out of every class of 20 that really need a lot of support while learning the basics, now there will be one or two more, and the teacher will have 20 others to keep focused, instead of just 15 or 16. No teacher, no matter how professional, can have the same impact on those kids who need support as she could if she only had a class of 20.

And the same is true at the top end of student ability in a classroom. A child who is already reading at 4th or 5th grade level in 2nd grade -- that child is not going to be challenged as much if the teacher has 24 other kids to keep on track, instead of a class of 20.

The argument that "I was in classes of 30-40-50 and I did well" is missing a whole bunch of data on how well the class did *as*a*whole in class sizes that large. In statistics, we call it a survivors' bias. Looking back, it doesn't seem to have had a negative impact, because you don't have data on how many of those kids dropped out of school, or stayed in but never performed at grade level, or met grade level standards but could have exceeded them.

Parents can make a big difference too, and yet with children who really need support, at either end of the spectrum, the specialized educational background that a teacher receives makes a big difference. Teachers can actually help parents help their kids learn most effectively -- when they have time to get to know those kids, and their parents.

Like this comment
Posted by john
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Jun 6, 2009 at 12:13 pm

thankyou "All of You get a grip"

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