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Pleasanton school board looking at scenarios for eventually reopening campuses

Original post made on May 19, 2020

Three possible options for Pleasanton students learning in the upcoming year will be presented to the Board of Trustees at its online meeting on Thursday night, starting at 7 p.m.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 5:34 PM

Comments (52)

Posted by Playbook
a resident of Birdland
on May 19, 2020 at 7:04 pm

The playbook - as California goes through major cuts.
March - provide release notices.
May - grant over $100,000 in raises.
June - go public with discussions of major cuts.

Posted by resident
a resident of Birdland
on May 20, 2020 at 8:32 am

it takes some big stones or a lack of self awareness to ask for a raise during all this when you are already making 300k.

get some optics Haglund. not a good look.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 20, 2020 at 8:50 am

DO NOT tell us there are no operating funds for a new school and then hand out multiple MILLIONS in raises. The school is estimated to cost $750K-$1M per year. These raises . . . spitballing . . . are about $3.4 million ($145MM budget—employees are about 85% of the budget—times 2.75%.

Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 20, 2020 at 9:17 am

A friend of mine has a daughter who's in 11th grade. She just received her report card and she had been graded P (for Passed) across the board. She was in AP classes, btw.

My question is: given she's a junior and Colleges make determinations based on Junior year grades, how will this impact her GPA?


Posted by Rich Serrano
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on May 20, 2020 at 9:31 am

Tone deaf is an understatement. The Superintendent deserves ZERO dollars as a raise. What exemplary things has he done. Uh, no. And we have one of these Board Members running for City Council...really? The entire Board lacks common sense. The nerve to cry poor mouth for a “needed” bond, have it fail, then a few months later want to award raises in the midst of an economic nose dive. Out of touch doesn’t event come close to describing their ignorance. Thank you Kathleen for your super-insightful comments as usual. You are the SME when it comes to PUSD.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 20, 2020 at 11:14 am

Dan, is this daughter in PUSD? That was not what the board voted for when they determined grades. Also, while AP tests have reportedly run into problems, I think the AP test score would outweigh the P grade when the test is taken. I hope your friend finds a solution for their daughter.

Rich, you can bet PUSD doesn’t think so. Thank you though. :o)

Posted by PUSDisShameless
a resident of Del Prado
on May 20, 2020 at 11:54 am

PUSD should get dismantled and the money they waste given back to the hard working parents who can better navigate their kid's education. During the pandemic pusd offered no live classes and didn't service IEPs. In contrast, San Ramon school district was fully engaged with its students and those of us with relatives in SR could not believe the difference in quality.

Pleasanton Weekly has not been investigating PUSD and instead is serving as it's PR company, routinely ignoring complaints from the community. Watch them closing the discussion and removing posts challenging the propaganda.

Posted by Secret coded resignations with no names
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 20, 2020 at 1:30 pm

PUSD putting through raises in the worst forthcoming budget in California history is reckless and irresponsible. It's never about the kids. It's about the cash.

PUSD is not transparent whatsoever. These virtual board meetings have been put in place and PUSD no longer lists names of management employees that are resigning. For example, this Thursday whoever is 1674 is resigning. On April 22, another set of management employee numbers resigned.

This Thursday ---
1674 06-09-2020

From April 22
3715 06-30-2020
12727 06-30-2020
594 06-30-2020
14337 06-18-2020

My neighbors pulled up stakes and moved to SRVUSD two weeks into the PUSD shutdown. There was no teaching from PUSD whatsoever, but since they went to SRVUSD, they have had active teaching.

Posted by Lance M
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 20, 2020 at 1:53 pm

DKHSK(Dan) - this is not how PUSD is grading at the high school level and a student from PUSD would not be getting a report card for 3-4 more weeks. The dsitrict where she got the grades would have to determine her GPA. How UC/CSU will calculate GPA for these students is unknown

Posted by Lance M
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 20, 2020 at 1:56 pm

PUSDisShameless - you have no idea what you are talking about - or how about your anecdotal information does not match up with my anecdotal information. To make a broad comparison based on a few students from 2 districts with tens of thousands of students is ridiculous. My student in Pleasanton is often on live classes and working hard. I've heard from SRVUSD parents whose students did ZERO for almost a month.

Posted by Lance M
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 20, 2020 at 1:59 pm

Kathleen - note that these raises are for 2019-2020 for the teachers. The teachers should already be receiving this money and the increase of teacher salaries is ridiculously behind inflation and behind neighboring school district. I think you number is a little high but not far off.

Posted by Lance M
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 20, 2020 at 2:06 pm

"PUSD is not transparent whatsoever. These virtual board meetings have been put in place and PUSD no longer lists names of management employees that are resigning. For example, this Thursday whoever is 1674 is resigning. On April 22, another set of management employee numbers resigned."

I'm pretty sure PUSD is required to follow the law no matter what you personally want. Once again, the experience from everyone I have talked to has been opposite of what you hear but my communications are mostly about high school students. Apparently you were not paying attention to the outrage in SRVUSD with there grading policy of Pass/No Mark for high school students. I'm guessing your neighbors didn't have any high school students.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 20, 2020 at 2:44 pm

Lance M, the basis of my concern has less to do with the year. My issue is at a recent board meeting, the conversation was about whether there was money to operate a new school. And then they want approval for a different ongoing cost that is likely three times the amount to run a school. My takeaway from one board member response was it was more important to retain a $300K superintendent (and everyone else) than it was to have elementary classroom space. I’m not even sure how anyone can justify a statement like that.

I would have to do a records act request to get the years 2017-2019, but I might be able to find it. The notion in 2016 at least that teachers were ridiculously behind inflation would be unfounded. I have tracked raises from 1988-2016 and compared them year by year to the CPIU. Teachers were receiving raises (and singular bonuses I didn’t count) that pretty well matched inflation to that point in 2016. I’ll do some digging and try to add to the original chart. But, again, the issue is not the raise unless the raise is preventing funds to operate a new school.

Posted by Karl Aitken
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 20, 2020 at 2:45 pm

Millions of newly unemployed, many not knowing when they will be able to go back to work....

Many of us not knowing if and when we will be laid off if our companies fail.....

The US government borrowing TRILLIONS of dollars and handing it out to people who don’t have jobs......

CA Gov says he can’t fund school budgets and wants the Feds to fill the gap....

Pleasanton teachers, other school employees and school district executives getting raises.....

What is wrong with this picture?

Have we entered the Twilight Zone in Pleasanton?

Is the school board that clueless?

Posted by Justin
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on May 20, 2020 at 2:56 pm

Schools should open as close to full capacity as possible in the Fall. The current data points towards children not being the vectors that scientists originally thought. That said, there should certainly be a no penalty opt out with virtual learning options. This would allow for the children that have parents in the at risk population including those that live with elderly grandparents to not be penalized if they decide to play it safe. For the vast majority, sending our children to school does not pose serious risk and we should be able to freely make that decision. Should go without saying that Teachers should be provided PPE if desired and cleaning schedules should be increased to reduce risk to staff.

My personal experience with children in elementary and middle is that the teachers and schools are doing the best they can, but it is not sustainable. The social interactions and experience school provides children cannot be substituted for daily Zoom Meetings forever.

Slipping in that district is trying to give raises into this article about opening the schools is insane. Haglund (and the rest of the board should) be taking a cut to his bloated salary knowing that budget cuts are around the corner and the schools are going to all the money they can get.

Posted by Secret coded resignations with no names
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 20, 2020 at 2:58 pm

I don't know how tone deaf the PUSD can be proposing raises with near Depression levels of unemployment in California and the outlook for next year's budget being extremely grim.

They are seriously warped. If the PUSD board goes for this, thank goodness they will all be voted out (or recalled).

The University of California just imposed a 10% pay CUT for some employees and a wages freeze for the entire UC system. It was just on if you want to take a look.

The PUSD is seriously probably the most greedy, non-thinking organization ever.

I don't usually write in Caps, but this situation calls for it:


Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 20, 2020 at 3:03 pm


No, she attends school in a different district and they've been on distance learning for the last 1.5 months.


Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 20, 2020 at 3:07 pm


Thanks for your input.

I'm really curious how Colleges will react to the next two incoming class years.

What a complete educational tragedy our State and local governments have wrought on this generation.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 20, 2020 at 4:02 pm

Didn’t haugland get a raise 6mo into the job because “he had to be included” after already getting a new salary, relo bonus, etc.


Failed new school, wasted bond money, failed 2nd bond, poor sip extended learning ......he should be paying us back.

Posted by Clarity
a resident of Valley Trails
on May 20, 2020 at 4:40 pm

So if you look at the CSEA tentative agreement item N. The 2.75% it isn't a salary increase but to settle the Classification and Total Compensation Study that the district engaged in with CSEA over the last 15 months. This type of study hadn't been completed in 20 years and many Classified employee salaries were not kept up with in terms of inflation or competitiveness in comparison to comparable districts. While as it has been pointed out APT teacher salaries have been kept at a competitive rate, Classified employees were left behind. The current salary schedule went unchanged in this settlement and stands at the 7/1/18 negotiated amounts, along with the Health and Welfare amounts they stand at the same level as as reflected on the salary schedule from 7/1/18. So there has been no increase to the current salary schedule for the 2019/20 year. This settlement is to bring the classified staff up to the pay that reflects the work that they are doing for the district. AS you can see they also updated all the job descriptions which haven't been updated in a # of years. It also look like they are settling a reclassification MOU from 2017/18 school year. So no increase to the CSEA salary schedule at all. It is curious/ballsy to see the Superintendent, management and executive cabinet being recommended for "me too" raises at this very uncertain economic time!! Given that their contract already allows for yearly step increases which most of the PUSD senior staff has barely begun to reach of the 6 steps they have. Really unconscionable especially if PUSD recommends Classified/Certificated staff cuts in the coming year. Just some clarity after reading through the board docs.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Foothill High School
on May 20, 2020 at 4:59 pm

Just add me to the list of appalled people....unbelievable that PUSD board would even consider ANY raise at this time.

Absolutely absurd appreciating the current financial situations so many are dealing with, and the historic fiscal red ink the state is facing.

And Valerie Arkin is running for City Council? If she votes to approve pay hikes on Thursday, you can forget becoming a City Councilmember anytime soon.

Haglund makes $300k a year. I don't think he needs a raise. I do think he could afford to take a 10% pay cut.

Complete lunacy, and incredibly irresponsible to approve any pay hikes for anybody at PUSD at this time.

Get your collective heads examined, PUSD board. Irresponsible. Incredulous. Insane.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Foothill High School
on May 20, 2020 at 5:08 pm


I don't think anyone cares about these details 'pre-COVID 19,' mainly, because the reality is, that was THEN....this is NOW.

No public entity in their right mind(s) should be seriously considering approving raises at this time.

Welcome to the new normal. If anything, the PUSD board should be talking about pay freezes and/or pay cuts, not raises--for everyone.

Posted by Karl Aitken
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 20, 2020 at 5:23 pm

Forget about all that “school district gobbly goop “ Clarity out lines. Sounds like a lot of acronym b.s. to me.

Here in the real world, executives are actually taking pay cuts to help their struggling companies.

And so are many employees....

Millions are taking the ultimate pay cut - losing their jobs....

The school district employees- all of them - should be happy to have jobs.

To expect a pay raise now, who cares if it covers the last year, is the ultimate slap in the face to the taxpayers of this city that have lost their jobs.


Posted by Parent Hearst/PMS
a resident of Castlewood
on May 20, 2020 at 6:34 pm

I am glad to see some of the comments here. I have been somewhat accepting of the current homeschool program (not distance learning as it is being described as) since, like many, have been a bit too busy to take on more. I hope that the community will not continue to sit back and accept the way things have been going. There have been pockets of greatness...and situations that are less than that. In the event that "distance learning" continues, either fully or partially in the fall/beyond, we should expect that our district provide a more comprehensive and holistic plan to address the needs of the families and students.

I did laugh the other day when I uncovered an old letter from school dated earlier this kid had missed "too many" days of class..I guess that happens when Norovirus spreads around the schools unreported for days. I am a bit concerned about the ability for our PUSD schools, or any school, to maintain a clean and safe environment. Large corporations are planning return to work protocols...from what I have seen, they are pretty extensive. I can't imagine schools being able to satisfy basic measures against any virus, let alone one that has shut down the globe and caused the economy to tank.

The online Board meeting is 21 May.

Here's the agenda:
Web Link

Public comments can be submitted on agenda items by using the "yellow form" here:
Web Link

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 20, 2020 at 7:23 pm

University of California president Janet Napolitano announced a salary freeze and ten percent salary reduction today.

With Valerie Arkin declaring for city council, she should be brought to account for this raise movement for PUSD people.

Why there is not a reduction in staff?
Why there is no pay freeze?
Why there is no salary reductions?

Everyone else in this county is forced into reductions of all sorts, why is the PUSD community immune???

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 20, 2020 at 10:32 pm

Clarity, you had to read the financial disclosure documents for each group. The cost of these changes/reclassifications/compensation is $883,059 (which includes the impacts to pension contributions) bringing the actual raise to 3.69%. Other non-represented classified will cost an estimated $15,000. Management, $310,575. Executive Cabinet, $36,000. That’s $944,634.

The questions I have pertain more to the overall budget, these ongoing costs into future budget years, what will get cut (oddly, quite likely classified hours and jobs—at a time when we will need squeaky clean schools and office staff to handle potentially sick students), and how long before staff will say we cannot have “E-10”.

Then I would like to understand, accepting reclassifications, why the board is not insisting on two things: that negotiations are more creative using one year bonuses if there is money available rather than having all the money be added to salary schedules (in this case 1.35% on the schedule, 1.35% one time bonus), and that the superintendent/executive cabinet cannot benefit from the raises they “negotiate”. Any compensation to the governance team should be based solely on merit. The first ensures staff is compensated to the best of our taxpayer dollar (budget) ability. The second ensures an environment where the negotiations are not about me too clauses, just what is affordable, again, with available taxpayer dollars.

I also want to keep in the forefront of the discussions of E-10 that the board committed to not spending/bonding the $35MM if they did not build the school. That means they cannot sell the bonds and spend it on other projects. Taxpayers will pay for 30 years for $235MM instead of the original $270MM (much more over that time with the added costs of interest).

Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 20, 2020 at 11:23 pm

Never let a crisis go to waste, am I right local school board politicians, district executives, teachers and unions?!


Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2020 at 12:18 am

Is this a satire article or are people seriously receiving raises?

Posted by Unhappy
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 21, 2020 at 8:29 am

Honestly, the "distance learning" is a joke. Kids are not learning. The "teachers" are not really teaching. I know so many kids were told to go learn on Khan Academy on their own. What happen to "live" online teaching from the teachers?

If the future is online distance learning, do we need the same number of "teachers" just to assign assignment without correcting them? Kids are getting passing grade for trying.

Posted by Online Learning Needs to Improve
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 21, 2020 at 10:46 am

Distance Learning is not effective in it's current format, teachers are not teaching. They are just posting written content, sending kids to Kahn Academy and grading. I understand this might have happened for this quarter because it was a sudden move to online, the timeframe for SIP was unknown and there is a learning curve to use the tools and create content for distnace learning.

HOWEVER... If there is distance learning in the fall, teachers MUST step up their game. My work is 100% distance and we have meetings where we collaborate, agendas that we discuss, Google slides that we present to larger audiences to communicate information and take questions via chat. We have classes on Communication, Management and Leadership that were previously in person that are done very effectively using Zoom and the break out room feature. The only limitation that I see (which is significant for some) is a child's access to the internet. Not a laptop since PUSD has bought every child a Chromebook!!

There is no excuse in the fall for teachers to not stick to the daily schedule, hold sessions virtually, and have a learning experience that is somewhat close to physically being at school. Anything less than this is not doing their job. And cheating our kids out of an education that should be straightforward to get.

Posted by Sarah
a resident of Castlewood
on May 21, 2020 at 11:42 am

I understand that immediate response by this community to what seems like across the board "raises" for all PUSD employees. As Clarity had stated, for the Classified employees this is not a salary schedule increase. Many Classified employees will see zero increase in wages this year. The cost is to merely update very antiquated job descriptions, where many employees have been doing jobs that they are not being paid for. These dedicated employees have done it for years because they love the community and students that they serve. They have not left to the corporate world where the pay would be substantially more. When examples are thrown around about University professors and deans taking cuts or freezes or executives taking pay cuts or freezes, there is no comparison. You are talking about salaries, where 10% pay cut still leaves them with substantial pay. A large majority of the Classified staff makes below $40,000/year. This isn't even a living wage in Pleasanton and it limits who can work in our district to those who have a second income in their home. So before blasting the board for considering this "pay raise", keep in mind that it is not a salary schedule increase or a raise, it is updating and correcting job descriptions that are long overdue. And we are not talking about staff making $300k/year. We are talking about the staff members who support our students and community for a fairly low salary.

The increase for teachers, classified and the upper management should all be looked at separately and in their own merit.

Posted by PUSD High School Teacher
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2020 at 11:46 am

I agree with much of what "Online Learning Needs to Improve" has said. Teachers and students and families are doing the best that they can right now, but if remote learning is to continue everyone will need to step it up and higher expectations must be set for all. I know there are stories of teachers not doing much (and this aggravates me), but please know that many students have checked out. I run several online sessions per week and have fewer than 10 (out of 170) students participate. Should online teaching and learning continue, we will need accountability for all.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 21, 2020 at 1:01 pm

Sarah, the issue is the very real cost of this adjustment. It is not zero. Someone people are getting additional money—the actual percent when finally calculated is 3.69%, not 2.75%. That’s nearly $900,000. And I wouldn’t even quarrel with that much if the superintendent hadn’t suggested just mere days before that there may be no money to operate E-10. Districts are supposed to look at least five years (forms show three years) out to determine whether they can afford an increase that is ongoing.

We have nothing more than plans for E10 with the hope to have this “school” by 2022. So if we stand here today and give raises, not just to classified and management, but to every staff member at a total cost of my guesstimate of $3.4MM and caution that we will not have $750K-$1MM to operate a school, another ongoing cost, then where are the leaders who should be saying: we need this capacity and have needed it for years, and we must be able to afford those costs by 2022 and into the future. OR let’s not put everything we might have now on the salary schedule (some permanent, some a one-time bonus if there is enough money).

But a flaw, and not just in this district, is the people negotiating on the community/taxpayers’ behalf have unwritten “me too” clauses. It’s a game of “I can only give you 1% ongoing and a 1% one-time bonus . . . Oh, drat, your side negotiated really well, 2.75% it is . . . Thank you very much.”

And while I know this is done broadly, public and private, the notion that anyone needs to make more than a neighboring district because the comps say so, ignores who has a bigger budget or more schools/employees to manage. We’ve heard this before, my neighbor has a (fill in the blank); I should have that too. Never mind that I cannot afford said (item).

To be fair to a few board members who responded to me, they indicate they won’t vote to increase their stipends. A gesture that saves very little, but is a nice gesture if they do have enough who agree.

The bigger issue is the system is broken. Some deserve to be paid more; some have the experience and the ability to implement policies that are good for our students. But that is not everyone. Three people can start in the same positions and with the same education and experience. One will work above and beyond what is required and one will do the minimum and one will bump along and manage to do just enough not to be called out. We should not pay all of them the same. We should be able to reward the best, encourage the minimum to excel, and be able to find the bump along and determine whether additional training will help or whether they just need to go. There is no will to do any of it.

PUSD HS Teacher, thank you so much for doing more. I am sorry that some teachers (I hope the few) and students are underperforming and totally agree that accountability is meant for everyone.

Posted by Karl Aitken
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 21, 2020 at 4:20 pm

Update from the Real World: 2.4 million more people join the unemployment roles

Sarah - many words used to convey some classified employees ARE getting raises.

Regardless of the reason for these “raises”, with the definition used in the real world being “an increase in the amount paid“, this is not the time to be doing this.

I can appreciate classified individuals are lower paid employees, but the majority of the newly unemployed are lower paid people, with more highly paid people now getting laid off or furloughed.

In the real world people get laid off. In the school district people get to keep their jobs. Seems they should be willing to delay a raise until we actually see how severely the economy is impacted.

As far as the executives go - they should just be ashamed of themselves if they except a raise.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 21, 2020 at 4:50 pm

I want to untangle some of this. Teachers settled for 2.75% earlier in this school year. Management decided to wait on their “me too” until after classified settled (I could make some comments here, but whatever). Classified was delayed while reclassifications took place. COVID increased that delay. The optics on this are awful. The timing could not be worse.

My main point, again, is that these raises are being given while stating there may not be funds for operating a new elementary. That should have been predictable before even the teachers settled. And this raise should have either been less or non-existent so we will have the elementary school we need. (It was a guessed $3.4MM budget hit—why not $2.4MM and money for operating E-10?)

This is important, all employees are on salary schedules. If they have not already achieved their top pay, they will move a step or column on their respective pay scale. So, every employee, unless they are already at the top, receives a raise every year, regardless of performance. Plus they will get this 2.75%.

I do not think the board members should raise their stipend, as little as that is. I think Dr. Haglund should not accept this 2.75% either. He too will get an automatic increase if he receives a satisfactory review (he will). He also could receive a bonus based on board sentiment. I think we’ve seen that be as much as $10,000. There is one way for him to do the right thing—he accepts the raise and immediately donates that amount back to the district. That way he keeps his new retirement calculation (really what is all about), but the 2.75% is not a cost. Perhaps the entire executive cabinet could do that.

At some point, the salary of a superintendent will be so out of control that when this one retires and we need to hire someone else, it will be $350,000 to start because it is rare for the new person to come in at less than the person who just left. I don’t see how that is sustainable into the future.

Posted by Been there done that
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 21, 2020 at 7:53 pm

Pay raise? Don't even think about a parcel tax, bond or any form of tax increase.
PUSD is tone deaf, clueless, reckless and bloated.
You won't get another dime out of me.

Posted by factchecker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2020 at 7:22 am

Does anyone know what happened last night at the board meeting with regard to pay raises?

Posted by Karl Aotken
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 22, 2020 at 12:20 pm

Latest update from the real world:

In the noon KGO 7 update, 1 in 5 Californians are unemployed

How can the school district justify giving any raises, regardless of what they are for, when so many have lost their jobs?

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 22, 2020 at 3:24 pm

I believe this is correct: the CSEA raise was granted (I don’t recall the vote—please see the reasons this passed that I posted above); the raise for management was passed on a 3-2 vote (Maher and Arkin were the no votes); the board chose not to have a stipend Increase (I think it was just consensus not to do it); and the executive cabinet raise was postponed. Hopefully the PW will have a story soon to confirm or clarify what I think happened.

Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2020 at 3:44 pm

And managers taking pay cut in Palo Alto...only noted because salary is based on what others do around region. That is a talking point used...always. Perhaps, Swalwell could forfeit his salary for the party... until he starts working again...for his region.

Posted by hpicfail
a resident of Del Prado
on May 22, 2020 at 4:07 pm

@Kathleen Ruegsegger or anyone else who can shed light -
How is teachers' performance measured? Where do they get input for the metrics? Are there any resources I can read up on?
My kid is at HP; there are quite a few dedicated teachers who work so hard to put the foundation in place, build passion for learning and then you have a handful who do the bare minimum, i.e: Khan Academy for most of the topics, posting homework at 8-9 pm regularly, no show for classes with no notice to school, zero time to spend with kids after class/flex/breaks, no response to parent inquiries. These undo all the work put in by the hardworking ones.
How do you hold the teachers and school accountable?

Any insight you can share is much appreciated.
Thank you

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 22, 2020 at 4:49 pm

Complicated, hpicfail. Here is a link to the teachers’ union employment agreement with PUSD: Web Link The salary schedule for 2019-20 is included; assessment/evaluation begins on page 42 Even I need to look at this again; it’s been a while.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 22, 2020 at 4:57 pm

Pete, that’s the City of Palo Alto, not the school district, just to be clear. In early May, PAUSD indicated they have a $3MM shortfall, so cuts are likely.

Posted by LSAG
a resident of Downtown
on May 22, 2020 at 5:27 pm

@PUSD High School Teacher, first thank you for doing online teaching. Unfortunately, none of my son's high school teachers did that. So yes, he started to check out after a month of independent study disguised as remote learning. The other big mistake I think was revising the grading system. There's probably a lot of thought put into that. But look at it from the perspective of my son and other kids like him--"My teachers gave up teaching so what's the point of doing the work when my grades are where I want it to be?" I hope we all learned from this past experience. I agree that accountability is required from all but if remote learning were to be successful, PUSD should enforce the same policies and standards as if the kids are in schools physically. The teaching should not have stopped just because the kids are not in physical classrooms. And we know it can be done because other districts/schools have done it successfully. Figure it out before school resumes in the Fall!

Posted by Election Year
a resident of Birdland
on May 22, 2020 at 10:20 pm

Must be an election year. No votes for management - one up for re-election; the other running for city council. Have to question if votes were not discussed prior to meeting.

Posted by factchecker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 23, 2020 at 7:27 am

Actually I believe 3 seats are up for re-election; Trustees Maher, Yee and Arkin. Trustees Maher and Yee have said they are going to run for re-election. Trustee Maher has been consistent on his position regarding pay increases--no politics there unlike Arkin.

I don't understand why pay raises aren't being considered as part of the budget discussion that's taking place next week. By all accounts, its going to be pretty sobering to hear the numbers and what that means in terms of cuts to get a balanced budget. Its great to want to hand out raises but do it in context with the financial situation of the district. (I believe 2 of the cabinet members have been in the district less than 1 year. They shouldn't be expecting raises now!)

Posted by hpicfail
a resident of Del Prado
on May 23, 2020 at 8:17 am

Thank you, @ Kathleen.

Distance learning has been unproductive for the most part for my child at HP.
An ELA teacher has online classes like she normally would. Students are required to be present for the session, she engages them actively, sends out class content ahead of time, provides additional support after class to the kids who need help. She emails the parent if a kid doesn’t show up for class.
Shows us what is possible with online learning.

Rest of teachers - thumbs down. Theres a specimen that has two interactions each week via email. First one sending online links of topics for the week, and second giving one line feedback for homework. Seriously?!
Time and effort is minimal.
Friends at other schools in PUSD have the same feedback.

Pay hike indicates a job well done. Reality is far from it.

David Haglund, administrators and school principals -
The decisions you make have a lasting impact on the children. Get your head out of the sand, adapt to the situation and deliver!

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 23, 2020 at 8:53 am

factchecker, yes, three seats. For Steve Maher, this would be his second term if he wins (he will). Valerie Arkin is running for city council, leaving one seat open for a non-incumbent candidate. Jamie Yee has served 12 years on the board and has no children or grandchildren in the district.

In 2016, all board members stated, including Yee, they were in favor of term limits. The city council is two terms. The board should be the same, which means 8 years. Even if you could argue it should be 3 terms (roughly time for a Kindergartener to make it to graduation), Yee has served those terms. She should step aside and let new people have the opportunity—because it is otherwise expensive and very difficult to beat an incumbent.

Here is the background . . . most board members will cite a multitude of reasons for staying: experience, crises (Covid, budget, retention of management). Thing is there is always some perceived crisis that “no one can handle better than me”. And you can’t get experience if you can’t get on the board in the first place.

More importantly, superintendents (and not just this one) hate change on their boards. The truth of it is, they establish a rapport such that what we see, most often, is yes votes on anything that superintendent wants. They will, and it has happened here, asked board members to run to “maintain stability”. Maintaining stability means we are not looking for change or even just a fresh perspective. (By the way, I have no issue with board members and staff being friends or socializing outside the confines of a board room, but chumminess has no place in the board room.)

Based on her own comments, Yee should not run for board again and should step aside. I know of at least two people who would like to serve on the board. They have children in the district and have experienced firsthand what online learning did well and where it failed. Let’s give them that chance. I hope when they step forward that you will strongly consider supporting them.

Jamie, this is not personal, it’s just time.

Posted by Karl Aitken
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 23, 2020 at 8:53 am

Raises this week.......

Plan for layoffs next week?

It’s financially irresponsible to agree to raises, knowing hard financial decisions will be made next week due to the known state funding short fall clearly communicated by the governor.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 23, 2020 at 10:06 am

Karl, and at a time when we will need squeaky clean classrooms and staff to handle students who may not feel well, Covid or otherwise, it will be classified staff—custodians and site office staff—who will see their hours and jobs cut first.

Posted by FullTimeStudentsWithOption
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 16, 2020 at 2:53 pm

I just have questions.

- Have teachers been training all summer on conducting online classes?
- Have teachers figured out how to teach classes while caring for their own kids at home?
- Are all classrooms retrofitted with cameras, large flat screen monitors and speaker systems that provide easy interaction between teachers, in-class students and at-home students?
- Are all parents able to work from home?
- If parents cannot be at home with their younger kids, will they be placed in child care?
- In regards to infection control, what is the difference between 1 day at school + 1 day in child care and full-time student?
- Is the district purchasing software for online classrooms rather than relying on Zoom freeware that can't support 25-30 students at once?
- Are we ready for the lifetime impact this experiment in low budget online classrooms will have on our kids?
- How will high school athletes get college scholarships?
- After an August of chaos, confusion and frustration, will the school district admit defeat and switch to full-time classes? Or will they take a week off like they did during Spring Break, act like they've made changes, but return to the mess.
- When will the district announce the new, new grading policy?
- Since Khan Academy has become a substitute for teaching, do we need to pay teachers anymore?
- Will teachers maintain a normal class day, and provide "office hours" to provide extra assistance?

I have a lot more questions, and all of these need to be publicly answered before we allow the distance learning nightmare to continue. I see no planning, training or infrastructure build outs to indicate that anything is changing.

We need to go back to full-time classroom teaching this fall. An optional online capability can be offered as well.

Posted by Gotoclass
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:20 am

As a parent of a PUSD High Schooler and a germaphobe, I still say students should go back to classroom education with masks and sanitary practices like wiping down desks between classes. Also get rid of flex days and do regular classes to then enable school to be dismissed before lunch..7am-1 pm M-F for High School. Any family that is not comfortable with that can do the free online K-12 California option.

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