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Why would one want to teach in Pleasanton?

Original post made by Jeff Keller, Birdland, on Nov 8, 2021

In PUSD the superintendent and his cabinet have secured extremely generous raises for themselves before settling with their teachers’ union. Standard practice for school districts is to first settle with their unions and then to take care of themselves. Most often, there is a “Me Too Clause,” allowing administrators to receive the same raise as their teachers, thus ensuring parity. The superintendent, his cabinet, and the Board of Trustees will hurt our district for years to come, as they are acting in ways that could severely limit the potential pool of qualified teacher candidates interested in working in Pleasanton.

By taking care of themselves first, senior district leadership is creating a divisive and toxic culture. It’s our actions that communicate what we value. When I take care of myself first I communicate that I am more important than everyone else and that others do not matter as much. This leads to distrust and feelings of unfairness. If you do not have relational trust as an organization the work will be compromised, and qualified candidates will not come. Who wants to work for leaders who do not value their employees?

Many teachers will not come to PUSD because they cannot afford to do so. For money to not be a motivational factor in negotiations, you need to pay people enough to be able to make ends meet.

Daniel Pink, author of “Drive” states that, “Effective organizations compensate people in amounts and in ways that allow people to mostly forget about compensation and instead focus on the work itself.”

A teacher in Pleasanton with eight years of experience placed in Column 5 (bachelor’s plus 75 units), will gross $91,314 per year. After taxes, their monthly net income will be $5,441. When deducting medical expenses ($2,641 per month) and rent for a two-bedroom apartment ($2,800 per month), you are left with a negative income of $71 each month.

Teachers in Pleasanton have to pay for their medical benefits. This is before paying for transportation, utilities, food, child care and many other things. Why come to Pleasanton to teach when paying bills is such a challenge relative to other districts? Teachers will choose to work for districts that value them and compensate them well enough to support themselves and their families. It’s sad that our children will suffer the most. The teachers of PUSD need our support.

Comments (3)

Posted by Truth
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 9, 2021 at 3:42 pm

Truth is a registered user.

When neighboring districts offer better overall compensation you won't attract the best teachers. Period.

PUSD leadership has some hard decisions to make if they have any intent of bringing Pleasanton Unified back to being the crown jewel district it used to be. They have paid lip service and said they recognize the need to make big changes like adding benefits, but then they negotiate exactly the opposite with their teachers. The district office is full of redundancy and inefficiency - finding the funding (beyond their huge surplus) should start there.

It's time for the school board to seriously look at options for a new cabinet, but the current members seem very cozy with the superintendent and cabinet. Two seats up for election next year. If community members want to stand up for teachers, you'll have their full support.

Posted by Todd
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 10, 2021 at 3:05 pm

Todd is a registered user.

Getting away from the financial and medical side of things, for a bit, is there any data on how students have been performing since the current superintendent came on board? In general have test scores stayed the same, gone up, or gone down? For anyone that wants to use Covid as an excuse I’d then ask how does PUSD’s numbers stack up compared to other surrounding districts.

Interesting enough today noticed today that San Francisco is recalling three of its school board members - just saying.

Posted by Jeff
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 11, 2021 at 8:14 am

Jeff is a registered user.

Good question. The superintendent is ultimately responsible for the learning of all students. Their performance should be measured by how well students are doing, and by the health of the organization. Clearly, PUSD is not healthy, and Haglund and his cabinet have negatively impacted the culture and climate of our district. There isn't much recent data for student achievement, but one can search the performance of schools and school districts across the state by going to Educational Results Partnership (see the link below). You can see the demographic makeup of our district, as well as how students have performed on the state summative assessments (CAASPP) over time. Student scores have been flat for several years, and you can also see large gaps between different groups of students. Pleasanton does well when compared to many other districts because of our demographics. When students struggle most parents get tutors. Another measure to consider is the degree of implementation of the key initiatives or strategies in our district. Do district employees even know what the key strategies for improving student learning are? Does the district know the degree to which any of these things are being done?

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