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School board postpones discussion on principal

Original post made on Dec 12, 2013

Three people spoke in support of ousted Principal Jon Vranesh before the Pleasanton school board Tuesday night, although the board announced prior to a closed session that it would not be discussing the issue.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, December 12, 2013, 7:46 AM

Comments (45)

Posted by Sam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 12, 2013 at 10:17 am

I think Erin Lyions brought up some really good points about the amount of money being spent on this. Even if Mr. V did do something to warrant his dismissal, couldn't have it been handled differently? All of this money is being taken directly from our kids.

Posted by skeptical
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Dec 12, 2013 at 10:34 am

Seems like a lot of money and a lot of time given no charges have apparently been filed against the man.

Posted by chris
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Dec 12, 2013 at 10:54 am

Ya amazing how the district will have no problem spending money on this, but when the kids need programs that get cut, there's not enough. Way to go PSUD absolutely brilliant!

Posted by Boot Ahmadi and Bowser
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 12, 2013 at 8:01 pm

It's time for Ahmadi and Bowser to go. Here's a short list of accomplishments:

- Blowing about $70K on a consultant for a parcel tax that failed.
- Currently paying the salaries of two principals for Walnut Grove.
- Letting Bowser take part in salary "negotiations" even though he is married to a PUSD teacher.
- Lower API scores.
- Alienating numerous PTA members, past and present, at Walnut Grove. The same people who help bring in the donations that Cazares noted.
- Paying an exorbitant salary to Odie Douglas($165K + benefits to a guy who publicly stated he wanted to leave his position in Lodi). His contract is up in 2014.
- Lack of transparency throughout the process with JV (delayed communication to parents, scheduling a meeting Thanksgiving week, trying to limit public comments at school board meetings, providing evasive comments on board actions, etc.).

Posted by PUSD Employee
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 13, 2013 at 6:24 am

Former and present parents and teachers need to show up in droves on Tuesday the 17th to support Jon Vranesh.

It is a travesty that this has dragged on for so long for no reason. I've stated before that after knowing this man for years, there is no way he did something so heinous as to be fired. It is simply not in his makeup. If he did something "dumb," and face it, we all do, then let's not continue to make it into something bigger than it is by ruining the career and life of a wonderful man and administrator. If it is something blown out of proportion or something that has been allowed to take on a life of it's own, then the District and the teacher's union needs to take responsibility for handling this situation so poorly, take the lumps deserved, put the note in his file and reinstate the best principal WG has ever had and be done with it.

I think we are all done, done, done with this! I for one will be there to support JV and hope HUNDREDS of others will be also. I know it is the Holiday Season and we are all busy, but what a great "gift" we can give JV by showing our support and encouraging the board to make the right decision to end this process and reinstate JV as Principal.

Posted by Fedup
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Dec 13, 2013 at 6:48 am

So many good points made. I'm sure there are many teachers at WG that support JV. Why don't they speak up? I'm sure they know the truth of what's going on. On the day of the meeting maybe someone should hand out flyers @WG to parents inviting them to support him at the meeting. On those flies some of the facts PUSD Employee listed can be printed on there.

Posted by sam
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 13, 2013 at 8:13 am

With all the terrible administrators this district has and does have, why not get this one back on the job? There are too few out there that actually put the children first. Whatever dumb thing he may have done, if no charges have been filed let's get him back to work watching out our kids! File a disciplinary action if you must, be whatever he did cannot warrant firing him!

Posted by I
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 9:56 am

@PUSD Employee -- IF he did something dumb, why is he not eating humble pie. I said/did X, it was wrong and I embarrassed myself. I apologize to those who I offended....

JV has instead said it is a witch hunt because he raised safety concerns. If he did something done and cannot come out and publicly acknowledge it then he does not belong. If what he did wrong was extreme then he deserves firing. The bar is higher for people in positions of power.

Posted by Jjhh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 13, 2013 at 10:59 am

>> It is a travesty that this has dragged on for so long for no reason. <<

Ah but there almost certainly IS a reason. Very probably tactical. I know nothing about the case apart from what I've read here, but I doubt whether anything of note will happen at the Dec. 17th meeting. If any action is taken, my guess is that it will be during the winter break, in the hope that any parental outcry will have calmed down before school resumes. As was pointed out, an earlier important meeting just happened to be held during the Thanksgiving break.

It's similar to the strategy employed by the planning committee for controversial decisions. I have noticed that when a degree of rallying is expected, the meetings are always almost postponed. e.g. Meetings about the Lin family project were postponed numerous times. The meeting about the new Wal-mart was also postponed. In the case of the latter, it was announced that bigger premises were needed. But I'm sure that the true goal is always to forcing those involved to regroup, in the hope of diminishing the size and power of any expected lobby.

Posted by None of the Above
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 11:14 am

I don't see any way that this can work out. There's clearly no trust between the district and JV, and there's no way he can get a comparable job at comparable pay with this on his record.

Short of a criminal conviction of some kind, I smell a settlement.

If he did something criminal, wouldn't he have been arrested by now, or at least some kind of document released?

If he didn't, where's his due process? How can the district take him out of his job without saying why?

Posted by Another solution
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 11:22 am

Many believe the superintendent and the two union leaders who instigated this should resign over this fiasco. The teachers should have a vote of no confidence for teacher's union president Peggy Carpenter and classified union president Alex Sutton.

Posted by Brian
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 12:48 pm

There is no criminal investigation that I know of, so I believe this is purely a professional issue. I've heard that the school board is investigating an accusation made by a possibly disgruntled Walnut Grove teacher about something Mr Vranesh did that may have violated the terms of the teacher's union contract. Apparently, in such a case, the school board and superintendent have no choice but to place Mr Vranesh on administrative leave and launch an investigation. If that is what's going on, Mr Vranesh did not help his case by publicly claiming this is retaliation for notifying the board about safety issue.

Of course, if that's what's going on, why all the secret closed door meetings?

Posted by Another solution
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 1:25 pm

The site inspections for the SARC (School Accountability Report Card) were done last year in October. In that report the site inspection occurred October 11, 2012. Many believe that Ahmadi has placed Vranesh on leave in October in an attempt to cover up facility maintenance problems at PUSD in Walnut Grove that he has been trying to get fixed. The Pleasanton Weekly should obtain the copies of the recent SARCs from Walnut Grove, at all student accident reports at Walnut Grove from last school year and this year, and maintenance inspection results.

The Walnut Grove SARC from two years ago states that the school grounds/playground were in Poor condition. It states: (11) Bldg 500 Classrooms - Restroom floors are stained around toilets, unsightly but not unsanitary (13) Grounds & Main Playground - Rubber playground surface in need of repair/resurface. Web Link

Last year it said Grounds & Main Playground - Rubber playground surface in need of repair/resurface, but instead of it saying Poor condition, surprisingly it said "Good" condition rather than "Poor" condition. Many speculate that the supt probably made Vranesh change it to Good condition. Here is the recent SARC. locations.

Because of inadequate cleaning by of the facility by the classified union members assigned to Walnut Grove, last year a Pest/Vermin infestation started to occur, likely due to inadequate cleaning by the custodial staff.

Many believe that in spite of Vranesh attempting to resolve the facility issues, Ahmadi and Deputy Superintendent Cazares failed to address the safety issues, repair issues, and pest/vermin issues at Walnut Grove and by moving Vranesh out of the position of principal, are attempting to cover it up.

Posted by Brian
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm

@Another Solution

That conspiracy theory doesn't make complete sense. Why would Mrs Ahmandi ignore Mr Vranesh's request to spend money on required maintenance and safety repairs? It's not their money. They don't gain anything by saving that money do they?

Perhaps Mr Vranesh pissed off Superintendent Ahmandi and Deputy Superintendent Cazares by going over their head and reporting these issues to the school board. So now, the Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent are trying to get rid of him ...or maybe simply not helping to defend him against whatever accusations he is facing.

Posted by Another solution
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Why would Ms. Ahmadi ignore the unsafe playground that is been on official reports as unsafe for 2 years at Walnut Grove (the playground is used multiple times per day) and instead spend over $100,000 of to pay DRT Grading and Paving Inc to Fill, Pave, Seal, and Stripe the Playground at Harvest Park Middle School that is no longer used Web Link ?

Good question.

But the superintendent did just that on October 22 2013, around the time Mr. Vranesh was put on leave.

Ignoring maintenance safety reports that have been identified for 2 years and funding the wrong project is a serious lapse in judgment.

Posted by JFK
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 6:04 pm

As a three-year old, Bowser was spotted on the Grassy Knoll holding a squirt gun, and Ahmadi is suspected to have planted the "magic bullet". Working in tandem, they may have also planted a bwoody gwove behind OJ's house. They've been up to their shenanigans for far too long, and must be stopped. Waaaaaaaaa!

Time will show that both Bowser and Ahmadi should be commended for their handling of this unfortunate situation. They have held steadfast to respecting the rights and privacy of everyone involved while suffering the slings and arrows of unknowing buffoons.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Dec 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Parvin is bad for our kids!!!!! Our community (of which she does not live in)!!!! The cabinet should be ashamed!!! Pleasanton derserve a better.

Posted by Just Wondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 6:15 pm

QUESTION: How can a person lacking the elementary-school-level basics of CITIZENSHIP -- honesty, honor, integrity, accountability, and at times decency and common courtesy -- be expected to serve as the principal and role model for elementary school kids?

ANSWER: He or she can't.

Posted by PUSD Employee
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 13, 2013 at 8:55 pm

@Just wondering... JV has exemplified all of the above and then some.

He doesn't suffer fools though and that may have gotten him in trouble. Those who have worked for him (PMS, FHS and even currently at WG) have found that when you do your job, are not a whiner or prima donna, put kids first and are a team player, he is your biggest cheerleader and supporter around and will go the extra mile for his staff, his parent community and most of all for the kids.

I don't think there is a conspiracy theory here. Just some bad management on the District's part and a situation that spiraled out of control that could have and should have been dealt with more professionally. Not even totally sure the teacher(s) involved expected the over reaction by the district. Now it has a life of it's own and no one is going to come out a winner.

It is such a tragic fiasco.

Posted by justwondering2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 9:02 pm

JW,its hard to believe your question when nothing but good has been written about this person. (I have never met him nor had a child in a school where he has been assigned.) If you have some examples, please post. Has anyone looked at the district warrants and how much is spent on attorneys each month? I was astounded to see the amount. I'm also wondering how much teaching does Peggy Carpenter the teacher union president do and how much of her time is related to union activities that we the taxpayers pay for? Can someone clarify how much time she spends teaching vs union activities?

I would like to see some costs related to this incident--I suspect it's already more than a year's salary for a teacher and that doesn't include any settlement with Vranesh which seems like the only outcome of this given that only a grievance by the teacher's union has been filed--no criminal charges. It just seems like we've lost sight that the district is to educate our children. No one is an indentured servant to the district--if its a bad place to work find another job not take money from the classroom.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Has anyone wondered why principal number two went on sick leave and is he still getting paid too (the one who replaced JV) and preceded current interim

Posted by common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Im sure the School Board and Administration realizes if no charges are brought a defamation of character lawsuit is sure to follow.

Posted by Interesting
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Dec 13, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Peggy Carptenter is no longer in the classroom. APT presidents leave the classroom unlike most school districts where the union presidents still teach. Maybe APT should do the same. Peggy has a lot of time on her hands.

Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 11:49 pm

The problem with the school system is the arcane set of rules mandated by the contract with the most powerful union in the state, the California Teachers' Association. The CTA prevents any sort of advancement or demotion of teachers based on job effectiveness, commonly known as merit. It also binds the hands of school district leaders and administrators, including principals.

In a normal work environment, a manager is able to make hiring and firing decisions based on job effectiveness and the needs of the business. The equivalent of the first-line manager in the public school system, the principal, is essentially unable to make those same types of decisions. However, the reverse is not true - when a principal or other school administrator falls out of line with the union contract, there is hell to pay, as we are seeing now.

Teachers are able to act unfairly with impunity, because they know that the union is behind them. In those few cases where a teacher is being considered for termination, they don't even need to retain an attorney, because the union is that powerful. As we all know from reading about Mr. Vranesh, he is not part of the union, and therefore had to get his own lawyer to represent him. Bad teachers can't be terminated for doing a poor job in the classroom, so why should they worry about ruining the careers of a principal or two?

Stop blaming the local school board and place the blame where it belongs - with the CTA and all the teachers that hide behind it.

Posted by Mikey
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Dec 14, 2013 at 7:24 am

The truth will be known soon, and when it is, the parents will be very angry at the district

Posted by justwondering2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 14, 2013 at 8:31 am

So let me understand this--the district is paying the full salary of Peggy Carpenter to be the union president? You have to be kidding--when was that negotiated? I certainly would understand not teaching full time but to not teach at all and we the taxpayers are paying for it seems totally out of line!!

Posted by Lets not go overboard
a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 14, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Let me start off by saying I completely support Jon Vranesh and admire him as a person and a colleague.

Please relax a bit and stop making things up about the union. Peggy is out of the classroom, but her salary is paid for by union dues (if you know otherwise, show me the proof. If not, stop instigating those who are uninformed). Also, I would like to see proof that other districts - OUR SIZE- have union reps who work in the classroom.

Sounds as though some people watch FOX news a bit too much around here.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Dec 14, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

From the APT Contract:
6.16: Leave for Association President
6.16.1: The District shall grant up to full-time release for the association president upon
6.16.2: The Association president shall receive compensation and benefits as though
he/she were a regular full-time unit member.
6.16.3: The Association president shall be advanced on the salary schedule as though
he/she had been a regular full-time unit member.
6.16.4: The Association shall reimburse the District for all salary and salary-related
costs in an amount equal to that paid on behalf of a full-time, temporary teacher
on Column II, Step 5 of the Certificated Salary Schedule (Exhibit A of this
Agreement). If the Association president is not on a one hundred percent
(100%) leave, the reimbursement shall be prorated.
6.16.5: The Association president shall have the right to return to the exact position and
school he/she left prior to receiving Association leave.
6.16.6: Other provisions of Association leave included in this Agreement are not
affected by this leave.

Posted by Nurse Shark
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Dec 14, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Hey Staceleen, did you read 6.14.4?

Posted by District Employee
a resident of Stoneridge
on Dec 14, 2013 at 4:38 pm

@ Let's Not Go Overboard. The union is part of the problem. And I don't watch FOX news prefer NPR.

Posted by Will
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Dec 14, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Unions are not bad and have historically fought the good fight. However, this union has a long history of backing poor teachers who abuse the system and going after the administrators who hold them to a higher standard. Put that together with a superintendent and cabinet that do not support administrators while giving in to ridiculous demands of the union and you get the current situation. PUSD, its Board and the union deserve to keep fiddling while the ship goes down.

Posted by Seriously
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 14, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Amazing how quickly this community turns on its teachers. I knew it was only a matter of time for it to come back to them and the union. Absolutely unbelievable.

You want accountability, yet when an administrator is called out for his actions the rules go don't apply and you blame everyone but the one who did the alleged actions, that mind you, you dont even know what they are. Yet somehow, based on the posts here, you BELIEVE JV did nothing. You have such respect for JV, yet demand to know what he did to warrant this action when it is his privacy the district is protecting, then demand for the board and the Superintendent to be removed.

So let me get this straight. The district would be doing their job if they turn a blind eye to what JV did and ignored the ones who filed complaint? Youre certain this is a policy of action that you want to stand behind? Is this how it's done in the private sector? This would not have gone on so long in the corporate world for sure, JV would be quickly and quietly replaced, no questions, no discussions, no hearing from the clients. And yet, you complain that the district has taken the time to hear from all involved. Interesting.

Im sure the next step will be to say the person claiming the misdoings deserved it....oh wait, you already are saying that. And you all wonder why moral is low. Have you read what you post? Seriously?

Posted by Community Member
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Dec 14, 2013 at 7:04 pm

@ Seriously. This community doesn't turn on its teachers. From your tone my guess is your a teacher. Take note all groups from this community have been voicing support for JV including 30 of your colleagues from PMS and others who have come to speak on his behalf at board meetings. What you are reacting to is the cracks in the system that are being shown to the community from this event. Also the reason it is going on so long, which is clear to the community, is the inept way it's been handled. What is also clear to the community is that it is not drawn out because the district is being diligent but that there are failings in why this began.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Dec 14, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

It covered the entire topic, yes; otherwise, I could have just posted 16.16.1-3.

Posted by Another solution
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Many children with speech/language disorders and related disabilities throughout Pleasanton have attended Walnut Grove because of the their excellent speech and language therapist Judy Vargas (who recently retired).

It is amazing over the last few years even while Charles Young was principal how many male children K-5 at Walnut Grove with language disorders and related disabilities have out of the blue been accused of some sort of 'harassment' or 'sexual harassment' charge by a teacher or counselor at Walnut Grove based on something these children apparently said.

With that said, take whatever the Walnut Grove teachers or the on-site counselor might accuse anyone of with caution.

Posted by Will
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Dec 14, 2013 at 10:04 pm

@seriously. First off, I did not accuse all teachers. I have known, worked with and met many amazing teachers. I am talking about those who hide behind the union protections to save their no good rear ends. Secondly, I am not asking the district to ignore charges but in JV's case there are no charges. Thirdly, you state that JV deserves privacy but also state that he is guilty and deserves punishment. That makes no sense. Lastly, I do not think his accuser deserves to be treated poorly, I believe she is lying and JV does not deserve to be persecuted.

Posted by Be Reasonable People
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2013 at 11:19 am

Please keep in mind that the the Board is doing what's right for the individual. Let's review. Someone or some people makes accusations against employee. Board orders investigation and places individual on leave. This is a good thing. Removes employee from situation, since we know nothing about the accusation. If accusations were made against the employee and these accusations were unfounded, then the individual's reputation and future employment opportunity outside the district is in tact, because everything is public these days. But if the investigation reveals something amiss, that is when the public will be informed of the outcome and results. Even though its been 8 weeks which seems like a long time, but since we don't know the details of the investigation, let's let the process run its course. If you really like this principal (I have never met the guy), this is really in his best interest to conduct it in this manner. Patience may be best for all concerned. Given the outpouring of support of this individual, I hope it turns out ok for him. Just a parent looking in from the outside.

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm

How can folks be "reasonable" when they want to control the outcome?

Posted by Man or Mouse?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm

What's on the agenda for tomorrow's meeting, sir?

Should we expect a Man, accepting the truth of his own words and actions? A man who could put this whole issue to bed by displaying the integrity and honor his duped supporters believe he possesses.

Or, will a Boy regale us with a continuing lie? To what depths will you spin and deny?

You have the opportunity to do the right thing. Do or do not. The choice is yours. (sound familiar?)

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Do you RULE Man or Mouse? I don't believe that there is anything bad about being a man or a mouse?

Now a RAT is quite another matter! is man or mouse a RAT?

yup...B U S T E D!

now grow up...

Posted by unreal
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Dec 16, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Most teachers at the school do not know what is going on and are being told to remain silent or suffer consequences.

Remove Ahmadi and Cazares for a start. Interesting to see how this plays out. Some teachers need to go as well. This school is going to end up with a new principal and a lot of new staff, then they will see what a mistake this was.

Posted by Gy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Cute. Let's hope there is some resolution to this nonsense soon. The loonies are coming out in full force now.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 16, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Man or Mouse I have been reading these blogs trying to gain some information regarding what is happening in the district. I have read differing opinions which is expected and helpful. However, I was struck by the mean spirit and bullying nature of your comment. What is going on at WG, for this man, and his family is extremely serious. If the issues behind this incident are being driven by that kind of malice the students at WG are being cheated by gravely irresponsible adult behavior.

Posted by Thank you Mr. V
a resident of Foothill High School
on Dec 16, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Mr. Vranesh:

I don't know what this is about. All I know is how you treated and guided both of my children and how you knew us as a family based solely on educating my children. I was so bummed that you were already assigned as principal at WG when FHS needed a new leader last year. I remember thinking how wonderful it would have been to have you at the helm and once again involved in the education of my one child that still attends FHS.

I have come to believe that we are never going to know the truth as some sort of settlement will probably be reached that requires confidentiality. I'm so sorry for Pleasanton kids that it appears we are losing what I feel was the greatest talent in the district with kid's in PUSD for 16 years now.

I wish you only the best in your future endevours and hope whatever happened hereoesn't keep you from where you belong as a leader in an educational setting at the highest level.

Thank you again for all you've done for my children and so many others. I do plan to be there tomorrow night to support you.

Posted by Will
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Dec 16, 2013 at 9:17 pm

@be reasonable: The board would not order an investigation nor put JV on leave. Parvin or Bill Faraghan would have done that. The board makes a decision based on the investigation to give consequences, which can include dismissal. A person, administrator or teacher, is only placed on leave after an accusation and an investigation takes place. Therefore, this should not linger on for 8 weeks, causing a major disruption to the educational environment. If what JV did is so bad, it should not take 8 weeks to make a decision even if he gets a lawyer, as he has done. If, what they have against JV is so decisive, why wait until the Thanksgiving break to try to sneak in a decision? At this point, if you think firing the man is going to make the district safer you are mistaken. It will only narrow the tightrope that administrators must straddle to keep the campuses running and safe. This will paralyze administrators and weaken the district's ability to provide a safe environment.

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