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What cuts for top administrators of PUSD

Original post made by Todd, Amberwood/Wood Meadows, on Feb 9, 2009

Simple question: What cuts are the top administrators of PUSD taking for themselves?

Are they being an example by cutting something that they get personally? Maybe they should cut the retirement bonuses they each get. If they each get $40,000 in a retirement bonus, that would add up to $160,000 in costs for the District. What programs can be saved for $160,000?

If they each get lifetime health care at the district expense; let's use a conservative number of $600 per month, or $7200 per year times 4 administrators, and they get this benefit/bonus for an average of 7 years. That cost to the district would be $201,000. Those two figures add up to $361,000. Now what programs can be saved with that money?

How much did the assistant superintendent of business, who just retired get in retirement benefits/bonuses? Board members we voted each of you in office to protect our kids. Is cutting programs so that high paid administrators can live well in retirement a good trade? PUSD board, haven't you listened to President Obama's speeches on CEO's, maybe you should take the President's lead. Board members you want this community to support a parcel tax? Why? So that money can be moved around from one district pot to another, so that these high retirement benefits/bonuses can stay in place?

Comments (53)

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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 9, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Good math and good point. However, knocking on the management costs is NOT going to get everyone where we need to go. The top school administrators don't pull down any significant fraction of the annual budget as their salary and benefits. Instead, we should hold administrator's feet to the fire since they control the budget.

Instead of supporting the idea that a salary freeze is defined as salary annual costs still going up because "step and column" union contract mandated increases must proceed, these administrators must stare down the union on these issues if he/they are to justify the salary we pay them along with their benefits. Instead, it seems to be that it is easier for them to go the voters for a parcel tax.

But, no more. The economic times will force them to earn their salary and benefits. Or go find something else to do.

Look on the PUSD website and download the budget of $131MM. See that teacher costs in the pie chart are the major expenses (Instruction 68% of $109MM). Then, ask what the Pass Through Expenses of about $22MM are (not part of the pie chart which represents $109MM). These additional expenses increase 10 percent each year. I found it very interesting that PUSD does not describe the line items of these Pass Through Expenses. The chart of accounts remains hidden from the public. My question is how much of this $22MM is retirement expenses?

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Posted by Ann
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 10, 2009 at 7:53 am

I have been opposed to PUSD's six year effort to create an illusion of need to justify a parcel tax. I am now feeling it is becoming a good thing since it is forcing the community to ask good questions. When no one was watching they ignored the voter mandates of measure B and gave themselves raises from our reserves, now the community is watching.

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Posted by Smarter than Ann
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2009 at 9:01 am

Ann- Your ill-informed accusations really serve no purpose other than further divide this wonderful community, so please put a sock in it.

If you have done any analysis of the PUSD finances you wouldn't be making those baseless accusations.

All the data I've reviewed points toward one thing: PUSD has done a wonderful job at keeping us shield from a parcel tax until now, when we're faced with a global economic depression.

You should consider taking an Economics class at your local CC; you may actually learn something.

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Posted by Ann
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 10, 2009 at 9:26 am

Thinks they're "Smarter than Ann",

I have supported my assertions with unbiased references... where are yours?

WE have been paying millions in Bond money and parents pay hundreds in fees for their kids free education. PUSD has not shielded anyone.

You might look to see if the local CC offers any anger management classes :))

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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2009 at 10:24 am

For Smarter than Ann: For the school years 2007-08, 2006-07, and 2005-06 - COLAs/raises of 4-6% were given each year. These are ongoing costs the district couldn't afford. $400,000 was taken out of the reserves to fund raises for administrators--money from a one time source to fund another ongoing cost they couldn't afford. $4.5 million on lawsuits they lost was wasted money and bad use of the public's money. Deciding to follow that up with another lawsuit goes beyond bad management of funds. One of the plans is to take the technology fund to try to patch the gap, another one time source of funds to fix an ongoing problem. The oversight committee for the bond hasn't met in five years. It looks like management needs to take the Econ course.

There is no need to shield us from a parcel tax. Plenty of districts have them and for good reasons. What people are saying on these blogs is, given the information above, why would you give the same people more money?

And given the size of the problem and the fact that the majority of the budget is payroll/benefit driven--where else can we find savings that will spare children? This isn't teacher bashing; it's the reality that taxpayers are unwilling to tap their pockets until everyone has faced the reality that a rollback on salaries MAY be necessary to save CSR, art, science, music, counselors.

I don't think that argument will win, sadly. And so we will lose some young, bright, and enthused teachers/classified/management employees through seniority. It is a longer conversation, but I want to be sure to say there are plenty of long serving employees that also are bright and enthused and providing a great education to Pleasanton's children.

I wish I could see the evidence of the "wonderful job" you do.

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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2009 at 10:34 am

Just to be accurate, this is from the PUSD website about COLAs
2007/08 3.382% * 4.12 % 4.12 %
2006/07 5.73% 5.73 % 5.73 %
2005/06 4.60% 4.6 % 4.6 %

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Posted by Dana
a resident of Happy Valley
on Feb 10, 2009 at 10:38 am

You people should considering using the time you spend posting your illogical arguments here to volunteer at our schools and the community. That, my friends, may bring more positive changes to our youth and the community than your endless postings.

Sorry to burst your bubble but none of you know what you're talking about and to think otherwise just shows how naive you really are.

Whether you believe in a parcel tax or not, make your statement known at the ballot box. No one really cares about what you think here, as you can see from the endless tennis matches. You people are going nowhere with these threads.

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Posted by Dana
a resident of Happy Valley
on Feb 10, 2009 at 10:44 am

"Just to be accurate, this is from the PUSD website about COLAs"

It's not accurate if you just conveniently leave out the info for 2008/09.

For every argument you make (legitimate or otherwise), there is a counter-argument (legitimate or otherwise). You're just wasting time posting here.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 10, 2009 at 10:50 am


I'm not sure if you've been following these threads for the past month. Quite a few posters have stated that they DO volunteer their time at the schools and are against any parcel tax until the PUSD administration gets their act together.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Danbury Park
on Feb 10, 2009 at 11:45 am

Smarter than Ann/Dana chooses to ignore rational thought. She/he is not worthy of a reasonable response.

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Posted by I know enough
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 10, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Dana, I’m confused by your first post. As well as your first post on another thread.

You open with a false statement, assuming no one volunteers.

Your second paragraph is unsubstantiated.

Re your third paragraph, people do care about what is written here and I thank the Pleasanton Weekly for this valuable forum. Whatever side of the issue one is on, discussion of the issues needs to happen. This forum is safe and anonymous and allows for the free sharing of ideas.

Here’s my take:

Cut all support staff salaries 10%.

Cut all teacher salaries 10%.

Cut all administrative support positions 10%.

Cut the top salaried administrative positions 25%.

All other administrators should take a 15% cut.

Freeze all salaries for 36 months.

Cut retirement benefits 20%.

Freeze retirment benefits for the next 36 months.

Then let’s discuss the merits of a parcel tax.

John Casey should move back to Monterey County.

Our School Board needs to grow a backbone and not simply parrot what Casey says.

Oh, by the way, I’m a teacher in the PUSD and I have also taught in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. Surprised?

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Posted by Ptown Mom
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 10, 2009 at 12:20 pm

"I know enough",

You are my new hero!

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Posted by I know enough
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 10, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Thank you Ptown mom.

My wife came home yesterday and informed me that the CEO of her company announced that there will be no pay increases for any employees for the next 12 months. We both looked at each other and smiled, knowing full well that a pay freeze is better than lost jobs. Her CEO is a leader. She works in the private sector. She does not belong to a union.

We need to hold the line on cost increases. This goes for our city employees too.

Will any strong leaders in our community stand up and run for office? We need better leadership at every level, local, state, national. We need stateswomen and statesmen, those willing to work for the greater good of this amazing country.

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Posted by concerned dad
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 10, 2009 at 1:04 pm

I know enough, thanks for your frank assessment. How do you get the unions to go along with your terms, let alone the district?

And Dana, my wife and I both volunteer and raise money for P-town schools. If you don't like the tenor of the discussions here, then choose not to participate. But don't try to manage my time and ability to freely participate here. I think we're smart enough to discern what information is good and what is bad, thanks.

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Posted by Anne
a resident of Grey Eagle Estates
on Feb 10, 2009 at 1:40 pm

PUSD can save money by stopping the continuous spraying of weeds on school property with the pesticide glysophate. Many states have adopted a no pesticide policy for their public schools.

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Posted by Ann
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 10, 2009 at 1:41 pm

"I know enough",
I agree with and respect your comments. Do you think there are many other staff and teachers that feel the same and is there anyone who could voice similar thoughts.

I do not support a parcel tax but I do not want to see anyone lose jobs. More unemployment will not be good for the economy. Pay freeze and salary reduction is going to be necessary.
I think it is unfortunate that being financially responsible is seen as anti-teacher.

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Posted by I know enough
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 10, 2009 at 2:13 pm


It is almost impossible for us teachers to voice our true views, unless they are union-friendly. It has come to the point that some of us actually engage in conversations agreeing with the union position, just so we aren't cast aside as pariahs. With few exceptions, I don't know the true views of my fellow teachers.

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Posted by I know enough
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 10, 2009 at 2:17 pm

To be financially responsible is to take the long term view, one that supports the district over time. We tend to look at issues right in front of our faces, failing to use vision for the future health of our system.

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Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2009 at 2:21 pm

As many have already said, trim the fat first.

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Posted by Mom
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 10, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Kinda scary, sounds like Germany in the 40's. It is understandable that parents are concerned about their kids becoming targets of union teachers.
It is good to hear that perhaps some teachers can see past the union even if they can't speak up.

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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2009 at 3:48 pm

To Dana: There is nothing to post for 08-09 . . . either a 0% COLA or negotiations aren't closed. I am providing the right information.

To I know enough: BRAVO! I also work in K-12 education.

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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2009 at 3:52 pm

The previous posts might not be teacher bashing, but they sure are union bashing. I wonder how many people who trash the union have actually been a part of a union? If you have ever been part of one, then maybe you would understand the benefit of unions. I'm guessing 90% of you have never been on a union, please let me know if I am wrong.

The teacher's union took no raise last year, and if you buy benefits, then you took a pay cut. Those who don't take benefits (only available if a spouse in a large employer provides family benefits) only received a bump in pay if it was their turn on the salary scale. So most did not get a raise, and many took a cut.

Do you really want the employees of the fourth largest group in Pleasanton to take a pay cut? If they do, then there is that much less extra money to be spent buying frivolous items like gas and groceries, that much less put into the tax base, etc.

Please watch the budget forum and board meeting tonight to learn more about what the problem is. The problem, by the way, is not due to the teacher's union or the current administration, who have balanced the budget quite well in the past. The problem has been caused by Sacramento. The union and administration might be part of the solution, but be clear about this, they didn't cause this problem.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 10, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Ask my father-in-law about the benefits he's received from being in a union. Specifically ask him about the fleecing of his pension fund, money he's never going to see. I'm sure he's got some choice words on that matter. *grin* Perhaps Pleasanton can get a parcel tax going to pay for his pension.

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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Get the facts: I grew up in a union household--know the pros and the cons all to well; been watching my dad try to deal with it still.

Did you mean no raise for 08-09? I will state again that the previous three years were raises that the budget could not sustain. That could be the union for demanding too much; that could be management giving too much; a combination? It doesn't change the fact that the money wasn't there to give. And many posts have talked about the bad deal you are getting on benefits--they shouldn't cost what they do unless employees are receiving a Cadillac/Escalade level of benefits. I don't think that's the case for PUSD, and it certainly isn't the case for most of us.

As a taxpayer, I'm supposed to pay school employees higher wages so they can put money into the tax base? And I suppose it doesn't matter whether I can afford to do that? Or that it is just taking it out of my pocket to bolster the local economy so it can go into another person's pocket to bolster the local economy?

Watching is a good recommendation, but balancing a budget is not a year by year event. It requires looking into the future and being certain there is money to cover the bet, and hanging onto a healthy reserve to cover any unforeseen shortfalls. That didn't happen in Pleasanton.

As to Sacramento, it's a similar discussion. There has been a structural deficit for years that hasn't been addressed--or as our president would say, "they kicked the ball down the field" rather than doing anything that wouldn't see them reelected. In both cases, Pleasanton and Sacramento, the bill is due.

Budget mismanagement by definition has to be caused by those who were in control of the funds.

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Posted by Sara
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Feb 10, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Enough is enough! PUSD just post copies of the top four administrators contracts on the district's website and let the public get the truth! Don't play games with giving summaries, just copy the contracts exactly the way they read and post them. The public has the right to view them.

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Posted by Stacey the Casey
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 10, 2009 at 8:13 pm

Why only the top four adminstrators' contracts? Why not ALL of the adminstrators' contract???

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2009 at 8:14 pm

I think most of you would only be happy if the teachers in PUSD were making minimum wage.

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Posted by Obama Pride
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 10, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Not exactly, "Parent". Anything less than an average of $81K per year for 9 months of work would keep me satisfied. Those of us who do make minimum wage rely on welfare to put food on the table. Its time to spread the wealth arond, as our President had said. Reduce teacher wages to fund more welfare programs.

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Posted by Diana
a resident of California Reflections
on Feb 10, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Yes enough is enough.

It is time to ask all of these top administrators to resign and bring someone in from the outside to really look at what has happened.

Not just Dr. Casey, but the rest of his group, maybe the new business person should stay because she is new eyes looking at the district, but everyone else, it is time for them to move on.

No bond oversight committee for the last 5 years for measure B? Isn't this a violation of the law? Who was minding the store?

How much money has been spent by these top administrators for travel and conferences over the last 5 years? Did they learn anything?

Maybe new eyes in all top positions will provide new solutions.
New people will bring new ideas on how to better manage the district from the cost of people to the cost of curriculum for our kids.
The time is now for complete change!

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Obama Pride: That makes a lot of sense.....reduce teacher's salaries to minimum wage so more welfare programs can be funded. Then since the teachers can't make ends meet, they'll need assistance from the government. What a great idea!

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Posted by pam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Obama Pride: Log off the forums and spend some time looking for a job to support your 6-soon-to-be-7 children. I am dumbfounded that you can actually suggest reducing teachers' salaries to pay for the welfare programs you and your spouse abuse. You are an SNL skit come to life.

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Posted by Obama Pride
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 10, 2009 at 9:34 pm

I aint abusing no welfare pam. I earned my right to claim. No one is asking you to feed my kids. I hafe to get in long lines to get the stamps and stuff. You think its an easy life? Were doing our part by being good parents so we stay at home wit them. Thats call responsibility dont you know!

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Posted by Obama Pride
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 10, 2009 at 9:47 pm

The people who are on welfare are the real people that are suffering most from this budget criss. You people live a wasteful life in your glitzy houses and fat SUV. People like me spend the whole day getting food for he family. We need more programs and more funding for our welfare so people like us can survive. We dont drive no fat suv or live in houses like yours. Teachers are making too much as is and should give back some of that money for welfare.

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Posted by Write to your senator
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 4:17 am

Please everyone write to your senator and Washington. "Obama pride" is an example of why we need reform. She needs to be off welfare. Her kids need to be placed in homes where they can be properly taken care of. What a nerve this person has! Entitlement is a problem in this country. People should only have kids they can afford, and work for a living. Imagine if all of us were as silly as this Obama Pride person...who would pay the taxes needed to support everyone? And how can this person have internet access, and time to spend on blogs? Please write to your senators..... end this nonsense should be the message.

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Posted by Get a clue,
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 6:59 am

Get a clue, someone is spoofing you.

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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 7:05 am

My gut reaction to Obama Pride is that the posts are someone's idea of a joke. If the person is genuine, I don't know why anyone would respond to a Livermore resident on this Pleasanton topic. No need to suggest s/he get off the blog--just ignore 'em.

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Posted by Not Amused
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Feb 11, 2009 at 7:27 am

Obama Pride is apparently this generation’s version of Prince Albert in a can. Not nearly as clever really, but the fact that some people apparently “bought it” speaks to how highly charged the atmosphere is at this time.

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Posted by Dad
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Feb 11, 2009 at 7:30 am

Last night was a show of union solidarity designed to intimidate school board and parents. Teachers overflowing the district office, giving one another high fives, they showed the teachers are still out of touch with what is happening to the rest of the world. They collectively stomped their feet and said they deserve more money not less. They seem to think that the parents of this community owe them more money and are being mean to them if anyone suggests we can’t afford it either. They won’t listen to the fact that everyone is taking pay cuts to avoid losing their jobs.

Last night demonstrated why parents must remain anonymous to protect our kids.

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Posted by yet another 2 cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 10:14 am

The company my husband works for is doing the responsible thing. They are NOT giving any bonus compensation this year - big pay cut for the executives - and all the management must take off 2 full weeks without pay - non-vacation days - AND they must use up the accrued vacations they've been saving for a rainy day -
Well folks of Pleasanton - IT's RAINING - I agree that the teachers and staff and district personel should accept the pay cuts across the board to help save jobs within the district. People still have jobs- life is a lot tougher - but it is hitting everyone - the teachers union shouldn't have an exemption.
Let's not forget Pleasanton pays a decent salary AND they get a week at Thanksgiving - 2 weeks at Christmas - a week in the spring and about 7 weeks off in the summer - 11 weeks off a year - not bad to spend with their families. They give a lot AND they get a lot from that job.

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Posted by Bruce
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 11, 2009 at 10:30 am

Everyone is missing the point. The teachers should get large raises, and the cuts should come from the administrators. After all, John Casey is not teaching your child squat. He is only necessary to satisfy the totally unnecessary State and Federal education bureaucracies. How many billions of dollars are flushed down the toilet in Washington and Sacramento to justify some bureaucrats ego. How much more would we have to put in the classroom without the unnecessary bureaucracy. How much money could the City of Pleasanton have contributed to this problem if instead of taking a large surplus several years ago and increasing their defined benefit pensions instead of returning it to the city. My feeling is if they have a big surplus, we paid too much in taxes and it should come back to us one way or another. Until the voters realize that all the problems in this country are caused by professional polititions, it will never get any better. Of course, this is only one mans common sense answer to the problem. But where is there a place for common sense in politics.

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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 11:15 am

Bruce, There isn’t enough money or administrators to cut to make up $8.5 million. It’s a start, but the pain has to be shared by all employees. The City of Pleasanton has a separate budget (separate bureaucracy if you prefer), so while getting money back from them may have merit, it is a separate discussion and one that will not help the schools.

There is no money to give teachers big raises; the district couldn’t afford the big raises already given. What will happen is the union leadership will fight to keep the money; the Board will cut CSR and other enhancements; teachers with the least seniority will lose their jobs; class sizes will go back to 30 or 35; teachers will suffer; and students will have the most to lose.

It’s unfortunate that the union leadership, and apparently the most vocal of their members, don’t think far enough ahead to see what they will end up with. But then, the leadership in the district office didn’t think far enough ahead either and much of that is what is causing today’s problem.

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Posted by Donna
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 11:20 am

Then who would sit upon the stages for the 8th grade promotions? If we get rid of all those important people that sit high above on a stage to impress upon the kids how important they are - what would they do at an 8th grade promotion?
Oh - wait - we don't really need to hold a promotion in this town - don't we all EXPECT our kids to make it to high school graduation? Do they just unnecessarily spend money and crowd the school for the administrators to administer to? Maybe we could get rid of the planners for that little charade??? 3 schools don't need it - save some dough there - they don't do it from elementary - why MIDDLE???
start cutting where it doesn't matter!

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Posted by 4xparent
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Feb 11, 2009 at 11:51 am

Amen to ending the pathetic 8th grade promotion ritual.

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Posted by Another Homeowner
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 11, 2009 at 12:03 pm

It is obviously a difficult time for everyone, and it is pretty clear that those who have chosen education as their source of employment are now stunned to find themselves subject to the changing winds of our economic melt down. After all, this has rarely, if ever been the case in the past. The mantra of the business of education has always been get on the train and concentrate on your core job. If you make it past the first few years you are safe. You will never see either extreme end of the salary bell curve, but you will make a comfortable living and enjoy the union negotiated benefits of a managed health care plan and full retirement. You may argue amongst yourselves (politely please) where these two items fall on the curve, but this discussion usually digresses to a “grass is always greener” stalemate fairly quickly. The reality is (and I am in a position to know) that a career in education is neither a vow of poverty nor an entrepreneurial path to riches. It has however proven to be a steady path to an enriched life.

Now here is where the discomfort starts to intensify. Virtually everyone agrees that our government must spend in accordance with revenues, but no one seems to be able to stay elected and deliver a responsible plan for achieving this goal. In good times and bad our state and our nation has always managed to spend more than it generates. Of course the federal government owns a printing press, so they have a tool to alleviate their shortcomings, even if the currency is, in fact, nothing more than faith. The state does not have this option, and because of the extreme velocity of the financial crisis, it has few available actions other than starting to rapidly make adjustments to provided services. Passing a hasty tax to solve a miniscule portion of this problem will not do much to alleviate the ongoing discourse, but it will likely create another obligation that will never expire. Unfortunately funding derived from taxation becomes such a muddled mess that is becomes virtually impossible for the taxpaying public to decipher what they are paying for and, consequently, are backed into renewing any dated tax under the guise of averting the next service cut crisis.

The unfortunate fact is that some people are going to lose their jobs because of the current financial climate. Just as with the millions who are facing a similar fate in the private sector, whether this fate is deserved is not really a productive discussion. And while an additional property tax assessment would, optimistically, cover as much as 50% of the current proposed cuts, it would do little to solve the ongoing source of the dilemma and add additional burden to the community at a time when financial hardship abounds.

The School Board has stated that they have entered into contracts with the various unions and individuals that are employed by the Pleasanton Unified School District. And thus they are reticent to ask any contracted individual or group to reduce their own pay. And I agree with that. But the unfortunate truth is that a substantial dollar amount will be cut from the personnel budget. How many people those cuts affect is entirely in the hands of the employed group, as a whole.

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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Golden Eagle: I agree with everything you said and it was said well. My only objection is this last part: “But the unfortunate truth is that a substantial dollar amount will be cut from the personnel budget. How many people those cuts affect is entirely in the hands of the employed group, as a whole.” It isn’t inaccurate, but after all you said above that quote, I find it discouraging that it will be cannibalistic cuts.

The private sector generally can use attrition, early retirement packages, cutting the least effective people in the organization, salary rollbacks, and other creative/flexible means of trimming the payroll. What I personally find frustrating is that using seniority will likely mean the loss of excellent staff members for teaching the community’s children, and quite possibly for good. And it leaves a superintendent in place that led the race to the bottom of the bottom line.

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Posted by PT
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 11, 2009 at 2:44 pm

What I find amazing is that they truly expect us to pass a salary tax rather than allow salary adjustments to keep everyones jobs.

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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 4:05 pm

I love how so many of you are so quick to point out that young teachers will be gone, and those with seniority stay. Do you not like the senior teachers? Some of the best teachers have been teachers for a long, long time. In the private sector, those teachers would be tossed out for younger, cheaper (but not neccesarily better) replacements. That's one of the facets of a union, protecting the rights of those who have served many years and deserve protection.

And please don't give me the argument that tenure or the union protects bad teachers. Tenure doesn't protect a teacher from being fired, it simply provides due process. Good administrators can take the time to document and get rid of bad teachers. Most don't take the time to do so, making the rest of the group look bad.

Please don't trash the senior teachers, they are mostly a great, experienced bunch. Blame anyone else, but don't blame them.

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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 4:44 pm

I apologize that I wasn't clearer. You'd have to scroll up a bit or check the other blogs to see the issue isn't just whether tenured teachers stay and younger ones lose their jobs. It's about keeping the best, regardless.

The last PUSD teacher that I know of that was released for cause cost over $100,000, required dozens of trees worth of paper, and years of staff time. Meanwhile, students continued to pay the price of getting an inadequate education. In another case, a teacher had been written up in the past and was caught red handed doing the same thing. The result, another slap on the hand. You are not going to convince me that this is about due process.

The corporate world does keep the best and brightest because they have the option to do so. Even great teachers can sour--early on or later in their careers--as is the case in any other field. When it's time to go, it's time to go--particularly in an industry where a classroom full of children can lose important building blocks for the next year at the hands of a teacher who is coasting, burned out, or has lost the spark to teach. Even you admit "they are mostly great," so you are aware there are those who will stay at the expense of others who are better.

I know great teachers, tenured and not, family members and others, so I have great respect for teachers--great teachers.

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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 5:15 pm

The problem with "keeping the best and the brightest", as you say, is how are you going to do that? What scale is fair? Let me attempt to pre-empt your thoughts:

Standardized test scores: This might make sense, but not all teachers give standardized tests. K and 1st, for example, do not. Nor do counselors, Physical Educators, and Phsycologists are a few examples that do not fit in this box.

Administrative review: Have you ever had a boss that has had it out for you? This happens all the time in education. Teachers should not walk around in fear, being unable to speak views that differ from their Principals or VP's.

Parent review: Teachers are liked and disliked by parents all the time. I remember one year a teacher my child had won "Teacher of the Week" (or "month" or whatever) from KKIQ. This is a parent nominated award, but my spouse I simply didn't agree. This is not a good teacher, in our eyes (as we saw it through our child), but others thought differently. (And in all fairness, this teacher is good for one type of child, but not as good for others.)

It is simply different, the teaching world is different than the corporate world. Please give me other suggestions if you have them, I really would like to hear them.

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Posted by Solution Women
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 11, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Has anyone asked this question. What is the percentage that every employee in PUSD would have to take to balance the budget? Maybe administrators take a higher percentage than teachers and teachers take a higher percentage than classified. The bottom line is, if we really want to keep all staff and quality programs, then someone needs to come up with these cost savings across the board, fair and equal. Come on PUSD board ask the question and give us the answers. Demand the answer and don't let these top administrators snowball you.

Figure it out both ways:
1. The same percentage cut for everyone
2. A sliding scale percentage cut depending on your job type.

Maybe if this were to occur the community may embrace a parcl tax later.

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Posted by School volunteer and then some
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Disagree w/B, you are so right-about a good many things.
"Senior" teachers are very difficult to move out of the district-especially when you face principals who will support a teacher every single time despite many, many complaints from parents (are you reading Mr. Whitney, PMS?).

This leads me to a point I'd like to make regarding the seeming unwillingness I see from the teacher's union (and some activist teachers) in wanting to support the "shared sacrifice" concept.

Why does it seem that some parents are balking at a parcel tax?

Many parents realize how pampered Pleasanton teachers are...and can’t understand why some teachers don’t. Those of us who have come from other states cannot believe the extent PUSD’s elementary school teachers rely on parents to support them in the classroom. Room moms not only plan parties, they put up and take down bulletin boards, find drivers for field trips, drive and supervise students on the field trips, help with special "events"-organizing and supervising, help with actual curriculum by grading papers, leading reading groups, and helping with math centers etc. They also buy wrapping paper and cookie dough they don’t need to raise money to support the expenses in the classroom, not to mention but gifts for the class from the "wish list," and, in some schools even support ancillary staff who provide teachers with added daily or weekly prep time.
In middle and high school, while we aren’t there in the classroom some of us are raising money for the schools again, not to mention driving our kids around for “group project” meetings, as well as providing computers and video cameras for Power Point or video presentations (which, you have to admit, are easier to grade than straight individual writing assignments!).
We also medicate (Ritalin and antidepressants etc.) our kids to help control their behavior in the classroom, pay for private tutoring to help them keep up, and feed them so they come to school sated and ready to learn. While there are surely many horror stories in the teacher’s lounge about this or that child or family, on the whole due to the caring attitude (and sacrifices) of Pleasanton families, Pleasanton teachers have it pretty good.
Many of those Pleasanton families are hurting right now, sharing the sacrifice is the RIGHT thing to do.

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Posted by ...
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 13, 2009 at 6:17 pm

"2007/08 3.382% * 4.12 % 4.12 %"
APT took less money so it could be given to the Science Program, a great addition to our elementary program.
2008/2009 - no COLA given.

"Cut all teacher salaries 10%."
How many room mates would I have to have?! That's a high level to tolerate, especially as I'm single. I'm conservative and pay attention to all my pennies - guess I'll start collecting every one I find on the ground!

Step and Column freezes - that money has to be paid back to teachers (in full) at the end of three years. It's like taking a loan. Decided at the state level, not by APT.

"Cut retirement benefits 20%."
"Freeze retirment benefits for the next 36 months. "
For teachers, CalSTRS manages the accounts and determines what happens. Not controlled at local level.
For Admin - don't know how their's works...

"Let's not forget Pleasanton pays a decent salary AND they get a week at Thanksgiving - 2 weeks at Christmas - a week in the spring and about 7 weeks off in the summer - 11 weeks off a year - not bad to spend with their families. They give a lot AND they get a lot from that job."
Ask ten teachers what they did with that time, plus watch as teachers leave for the break - what is in all those bags? Often, a break follows report cards for elementary which is a two-week marathon of grading, reporting, and commenting for upper grades with 33, which means no time off on weekends, either. :) During the second week of August, check the parking lots. The third week? Notice all the cars of teachers who aren't being paid for their time.

"Many parents realize how pampered Pleasanton teachers are...and can’t understand why some teachers don’t." We understand and appreciate all the support from the community! I've taught in other CA districts and know that what happens here does not happen everywhere else. It's very appreciated!!! Still a very tough job - more to do than there is time to do it - keeps us movin'!

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Posted by Ceaser
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Feb 14, 2009 at 6:47 pm


They're going after the hardest working group....The janitors
Go figure.

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