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Calendar change, security highlight concerns of Pleasanton school board candidates at TV30 forum

Original post made on Oct 1, 2014

The recent Pleasanton schools calendar change, security on school campuses and teacher tenure were some of the issues talked about by Pleasanton school board candidates on a Tri-Valley Community Television 2014 Election Special.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 7:24 AM

Comments (30)

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Posted by Rob
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 1, 2014 at 7:58 am

PW - I think you have a typo here. "In his closing remarks... he said" should that read Miller nor Wright?

3 people like this
Posted by DidshereallyjustSayThat?
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 1, 2014 at 11:13 am

Did she really just say that?

"It affects our socio-economically disadvantaged students,"

She singled out lower income kids as having more information loss over the summer? Where is the data on that? It just sounds so elitist.

Bowser is now worried about the mental health of students? Last school board meeting he only mentioned that he was worried about the mental health of teachers..and urged the math coaches to make sure that "teachers are ok"

1 person likes this
Posted by Lessismore
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 1, 2014 at 11:43 am

What a joke
Not one question about the real problems in PUSD.

Why are we bleeding talent and how would stop it?
What changes would you make at the leadership level of PUSD?

I would like to know where they stand on the real issues

7 people like this
Posted by Jill
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Oct 1, 2014 at 2:32 pm

I would like to know why Laursen thinks that shortening summer break by a week will do anything significant for summer learning loss.

6 people like this
Posted by Dont like Calendar Change
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Oct 1, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Just FYI, my family and I will not be voting or supporting any candidates that support this calendar change. PLEASE let kids be kids and stop pushing them so hard. My kids are in highschool middle school elementary schools. Your teachers assign our students hoemwork every weekend, and school break! Summer is my childrens only genuine break.

8 people like this
Posted by Christine
a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 1, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Here is a, August 15, 2014 fundraising letter as written by Jeff Bowser seeking support for re-election. It is verbatim, atrocious grammar and all. Not something I expect for a school board candidate claiming a background in education...

"Thank you for being a supporter of my past campaigns. It's hard to believe that four years has passed since I was elected to the school board. We have accomplished so much: smaller class sizes, restored reading and music programs, added technology to all classrooms all while maintaining a balance budget with a healthy reserve, thanks to generosity of our employees. Two people are running against Joan Laursen and myself. One wants to bring back a principal who harasses women at his school site. The other is a privileged man who is upset that we changed the school calendar and his kids won't be able to go to summer camp. We need to stand up for our employees and not tolerate harassment. We need to stand up for our students and put in place a school calendar that relieve student and parent stress while benefiting our struggling students. The bottom line is that I need your support both emotionally and financially."

Bowser... Seriously? Sorry but you didn't have anything to do with class size reduction, restored reading and technology. Those things were funded strictly by PPIE and PTA fundraising. Maybe you'll try and take credit for inventing the world wide web, too. And the mudslinging? I see defamation pointed at your two challengers. It's never been proven that a principal harassed women or that a specific candidate is attempting to bring him back. I think it's a conflict of interest that you would even bring it up, considering you were part of the vote in removing that principal from his site. And badmouthing the other candidate by calling him a "privileged man upset that his kids won't be able to go to summer camp? Wow. I'm sure it took a little more thought to run for school board than being upset over summer vacation. Maybe he was sick of the lack of transparency and the disrespect shown to the public.

The current board has spent hundreds and thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal fees to cover up the MANY things they have botched while holding seats on the board. They do not have the best interests (or any interest for that matter) of the students and families of the District. Bowser can't even look up from his iPad during a school board meeting. Sudoku? Solitaire? Who knows.

People, if you want to make a difference, vote for Paige Wright and/or Mark Miller. It's time.

3 people like this
Posted by WhatChristine
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Christine, you need to go back and watch board meetings. Bowser DID have something to do with all of those items.


4 people like this
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2014 at 4:07 pm

I totally support the board members who advocates and supports teachers. Those are Laursen, Bowser and Grant. Why would you vote for board members who DO NOT support teachers? Enough said.

4 people like this
Posted by Karen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Laursen wanted to make bigger changes to the school calendar, but didn't get her way. Bowser will not get my support emotionally, financially, or at the ballot box.
Miller and Wright have my vote!

7 people like this
Posted by DidshereallyjustSayThat?
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 1, 2014 at 4:52 pm

The teachers have a great union, as they should. They already have a loud voice at the district. Why do they need someone who only represents only their interests on the school board? Our trustees should represent children, families, the community as a whole as well as teachers.

The board should serve the community as a whole and not just a tiny percentage of the people in it.

Bowser should be ashamed of the email he sent out not only is it libelous, it's full of grammar and spelling errors.

5 people like this
Posted by lll
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 1, 2014 at 5:02 pm

As someone who has been involved in our community for over 30 years I have to say that Laursen, Bowser and Grant are among the worst board members. A monkey pushing a "Yes" button puts in just as much thought. They are just puppets of the superintendent and assistant superintendent (of finance). I had to stop going to the meetings as the current administration is just plain hostile to anybody with a comment that conflicts with the way they are going to vote (which is always in agreement with the staff suggestion).

Like I have heard many times, if everybody is thinking alike, nobody is thinking. These three agree with the administration 100% of the time. A clear indication that they are not thinking.

I sure hope the letter above is a hoax. While I do not support Bowser, I cannot believe he would write something that bad. Seriously, calling any member of our community a "privileged man". If he did indeed write this, I hope it gets published so the community knows who is representing them and wants to be re-elected!

5 people like this
Posted by Christine
a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 1, 2014 at 5:32 pm

The only thing Bowser does is rubber stamp whatever is in front of him as directed by the superintendent. NIce. Laursen and Grant do the same.
Bowser's fundraising letter is NOT a hoax. It speaks volumes of Bowser's character (or complete lack thereof). Perhaps the Weeky could find a place to publish it. I believe the letter was shared with them.


1 person likes this
Posted by Mrs Bob
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 1, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Certainly won't be voting for Miller. ... did he not go to the calendar meeting with parents & teachers? I've worked in schools & see the disadvantages any time off is for the kids & teachers. I agree they need time to re-energize mentally, so need holidays. .. but Kids NEED the shorter holiday. Especially kids that are not A grade students & need that shorter holiday to help them remember the work they've done. BUT I do agree. .. the one week is not enough! The UK has the number 2 best education in the world. State schools have 6 weeks whilst private schools have 8. But they also have more odd weeks off during the year. Kids need those breaks... seems our semesters are just too long with not enough breaks in between. More breaks in between & shorter summer holidays could be the key....

6 people like this
Posted by Not my vote
a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 1, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Anyone who is endorsed by Heintze and Arkin DOES NOT have my vote. They are playing a political game with our students at stake. The calendar change was a BIG part of their political agenda. So unprofessional and a waste of time.

Anyone who wants to see their plan in action, watch the recent board meetings.

BOWSER AND LAURSEN will get my vote!

8 people like this
Posted by lll
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 1, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Arkin is the best school board member there. She does her homework and challenges the district when needed. She is also very accessible to the community. Heintze does some challenging but can become a much better board member if there is enough support and not have three members of the board who rubber stamp everything; making conversations almost useless.

I have not heard from a single parent that they feel the district in these last couple of years has communicated well and made good decisions. It has been one thing after another and the administration does not seems to have a clue.

Time to take the school district back and get rid of the rubberstamper incumbents in this election. Need to vote for Wright and Miller. We cannot accept what we have now.

3 people like this
Posted by SupportBowserandGrant
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2014 at 10:09 am

Boswer and Laursen did listen to the community in regard to calendar change. Over 60% wanted a change with the calendar. They also are responsible for voting to reinstate class size reductions and many other things for the district.
Thank you for all of the work you have done to support our PUSD kids. Your hard work will pay off in November during the election.

9 people like this
Posted by SupportWrightandMiller
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 2, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Its time for some new blood and fresh ideas on the school board. Bowser and Laursen need to be replaced by people who actually care about the students and the community not just the teachers. The current school board is part of the problem in our community and that is why I am voting for change and it starts with bridging on new board members. My vote will be for Wright and Miller and I hope that all the other parents that have relentless complained about the school district follow suit and vote for Wright and Miller also

5 people like this
Posted by Fuzzy math
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Actually, the largest percentage from that survey (35%) wanted a traditional calendar. The 65% didn't all want modified lite. Modified lite was the third most popular option among parents surveyed with a % in the teens. 65% was the total number other than traditional choice, spread out among several other options, lite being only one of them.

5 people like this
Posted by musical chairs
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Oct 2, 2014 at 5:54 pm

There is so much turnover of principals and assistant principals and the district office is so inept that the PUSD's own website Web Link can't keep up with the massive turnover. The district office's own website still lists Mindy Bolar, Steve Maher, and Terri Quesinberry as principals of Lydiksen, Walnut Grove and Alisal. Lori Vella is still employed an assistant principal and Ryan Templeman is at the middle schools rather than at Foothill. And the PTA members listed on the website above are mostly all wrong, too.

It is almost as if the mostly out of town district staff and the incumbent trustees don't care about the quality of the schools. The trustees hiring the latest assistant principal with no sign of an administrative credential on the state credentialing website at Hearst was the last straw for me. At least Carlye Mecozzi has an administrative credential who is replacing assistant principal Munoz (now interim principal Hearst). But at Hearst and Lydiksen, no such luck.

Maybe if Wright and Miller are elected, maybe the reputation of the district will turn around so it can hire an experience superintendent and have it staffed with fully qualified administrators.

7 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Oct 3, 2014 at 8:58 am

Listen to the community? Bowser and Laursen? Are you kidding me! They didn't even want the community surveyed on the calendar change to begin with. And the eventual survey was so poorly designed, the results defied any reasonable interpretation even by the Board! Bowser and Laursen had the chance to do the right thing eg make it a true community decision with a properly run process on a proper timeline. Vote them out!

7 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 3, 2014 at 11:55 am

Wright and Miller have my vote. The current board does not represent the kids best interests.

2 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 3, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Mark Miller helps to run a summer camp in August that will be negatively effected by the calendar change. If he thinks his soccer coaching and volunteer camp experience is enough to qualify him to direct a school district I question his judgment from the get go. He is passionate but passion does not equal ability or qualification.

6 people like this
Posted by A real parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2014 at 9:28 pm

You guys must be getting desperate to post and write such negative things about new candidates. Mr Miller isn't doing this for the soccer, he's doing it for the children and community of Pleasanton who have not been represented for years.

3 people like this
Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Oh yeah, Arkin offers so much at board mtgs, representing all of Pleasanton- haha- Im sure you caught her biggest input last meeting- she wants to add Columbus Day as a day we celebrate in our schools, and I quote her, because she's Italian. Watch the video- she said exactly that.

Did you read the Independent about the candidates? Miller and Wright basically agreed with Bowser and Laursen on all the issues they had a clue about, which wasnt many. Most questions they were not able to answer because they had no idea about those programs in our schools. It is in print, read it. And yes, they wont meet with the teachers. Is this what you are looking for in a school board- one that is coming in with a divisive us vs them attitude? Is this how you expect our schools to be teaching cooperation and collaboration to our children?

Let's be totally transparent as you all wish- they are simply running to fire the superintendent and reverse the work that has been done this year. That message has been repeated by their supporters all over town. These are not candidates who are doing this for our children. Think about it, Arkin and Hintzke are supporting this, they are just looking to pursue their best interests.

2 people like this
Posted by musical chairs
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Oct 3, 2014 at 11:55 pm

After seeing that the school board, the superintendent and the PTA officially sanctions parents paying fees for "Teacher Time" with district staff members Web Link , I've come to the conclusion that not only do the union mouthpieces Laursen and Bowser need to be booted out of office, but the PTA leadership in Pleasanton as well.

5 people like this
Posted by Quotes
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 4, 2014 at 12:40 am

If we are going to talk about quotes from the last meeting..why not talk about Bowser and his quote that "parents are freaking out" and he wants to make sure that teachers are "ok" and even mentioned "therapy" in regards to teachers having to teach common core.

He didn't say parent's are concerned. He didn't say parents are worried. He said parent's are "freaking out" and that teachers need therapy for doing their jobs.

Bowser needs to run for president of the teacher's union. It seems to be the job he really wants.

4 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 4, 2014 at 8:46 am

Once again, calendar schmalendar…
But one of the following statements is true:
Either, The existing Trustees knew all along that they were going to vote for Modified-Lite and stood by as the staff sent out a BOGUS survey to the community that included five options.
Or, The existing Trustees were as shocked as everyone in the audience to learn at the meeting, in front of TV cameras, that they got bamboozled by the Superintendent and her staff and were only allowed to consider Two options if they were going to meet their self-imposed deadline.
One of those statements is true...

1 person likes this
Posted by plezrez
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 4, 2014 at 11:04 am

Exactly what Jack said!!!

7 people like this
Posted by Valerie Arkin
a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm

I would like to correct some misinformation that was posted on this thread. This is in regards to the post by "Really?" above.

I will preface my post by saying that I am indeed Valerie Arkin.

At the last Board meeting, there was discussion on updating our Board policies and one included holidays and observances. There was a list of holidays observed where school is not in session. There was another list that was titled "Ceremonial Events" and under that it said "commemorative exercises". These are not holidays, but rather, it states "schools shall hold exercises to commemorate the following special days". Various days were listed, including Susan B. Anthony day, U.S. Constitution and Citizenship day, and Bird and Arbor day. Columbus Day is neither listed as a holiday (how it was in past years) or as a ceremonial event/commemorative exercises. I asked that it be included on the commemorative exercises, NOT a holiday!! Considering that other days (like the ones I mentioned above) are included, it only seemed fitting to include Columbus Day in the commemorative exercises. When the Superintendent didn't quite know what to say about it, I did make a comment to the effect that maybe it's more important to me because I'm italian-american (and said it in a jovial manner). Since other Board members had issues with this entire policy, the Superintendent agreed to continue working on it and will bring it back to the Board at a later date.

I think it's important to have correct information. Please watch the Board meeting (on the district website) if you want further clarification.

There are many important issues facing our school district and I hope everyone will become informed. If anyone would like to talk to me about any of the issues, you are welcome to call or email me at any time. My contact info is on the district website. I welcome your thoughts.

2 people like this
Posted by Thank you
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Thank you for your for your service as board member Valerie. I've always found you approachable and appreciate how you represent the students, parents and teachers of Pleasanton. I know it is not an easy job and thank goodness we have your independent voice.

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