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Letter from Superintendent

Original post made by Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills, on May 21, 2011

The following letter was in yesterday's (May 20) edition. I have responded below.

Thanks, school community

Dear Editor,

A total of 13,430 voters said Yes to Measure E. Although the results were not what we had hoped for, I want the school employees to know that I appreciate everything each and every one of them did on their own time to help with the campaign and to get the message out. Remember, over 60% of the community does not have children in school, yet many of them who voted, also marked Yes for Measure E.

Again, the majority of the voters said Yes. Our parents continue to support us through donations and by volunteering in our schools and classrooms every day, because they believe in our teachers, our employees and our students.

Everyone is touched by education, but not everyone is necessarily aware of what it takes to educate children in today's world, especially with the limited budget we have. We have to continue to advocate for all kids, push for reform at the state level, inform the community, and support each other and our employees.

The work that our district does is an investment in the future of our country and the world. I know the days following the election may be tough for our school community but I ask everyone to keep your chin up and know that I truly appreciate everything you do for the district and for students.

Thank you to everyone who chose education as their profession. I am honored to work with such dedicated and hard working employees.

Parvin Ahmadi, Superintendent, Pleasanton Unified School District

Ms. Ahmadi,

I am disappointed in your letter to the editor. The gracious thank you to the staff and community who supported Measure E was certainly warranted. What I find lacking is the acknowledgment that things could have been done better; some comment about what the district will do going forward should have been a key part of the message to this entire community.

Perhaps the letter could have read:

“I wish to acknowledge the invaluable efforts of those who worked tirelessly on behalf of the Measure E campaign. Countless hours of personal time were dedicated to reaching out to the voters in Pleasanton. On behalf of the Board, I wish to thank each of you.

“While the results of the vote were not what we had hoped, this continues to be a generous community that supports students through donations and volunteering—a community that clearly values public education. We intend to reach out further into the community to help determine how best to move forward in these challenging financial times.

“If you have not participated recently in activities at your local school, I invite you to visit us soon or in the fall as we start the new school year. There will be coffees with principals, back to school nights, and opportunities to see the improvements made to school facilities. We also plan to have board members and myself available at forums for the all interested parties for a conversation about what we can do collectively to maintain or improve services and to communicate better with the broader public.

“We have also set up a community input page at ((make a link)) where you can send observations of good events or concerns about what is occurring around the district. You can also reach me at ((add a “superintendent” email)).

“Those who are part of the collective endeavor of providing an excellent education for our students—parents, teachers, classified staff, grandparents, community members, administrators, and business leaders—remain dedicated to that goal.”

This is by no means perfect, but for healing and next steps, it attempts to be more inclusive.

Comments (16)

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Posted by Blossom
a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on May 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm

KR's letter reads like a narcissistic crow from yet another one of the stingy few who looked for any possible reason they could to rationalize not having to pay 28 cents a day for educational improvement.

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Posted by to superintendent
a resident of Birdland
on May 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm

What I found disappointing in the superintendent's messages was "Everyone is touched by education, but not everyone is necessarily aware of what it takes to educate children in today's world, especially with the limited budget we have"

She is saying that those who voted against Measure E were not informed. I was very informed and decided to vote against the parcel tax. She fails to realize that there are others with different viewpoints. Just because some others have different viewpoints does not make them wrong. The superintendent would be better served in understanding why people voted against the tax, and accept it, or fix the issues they see. Saying that those who disagree with her are wrong is not the right way to move on and self-serving.

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Sorry, that was not intended at all Blossom. Thought there should be a way to get the greater community to be stakeholders in PUSD. I donated way more than what was asked and gladly. What would you write?

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Posted by Mojo Jojo
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Narcissistic was just the right word, Blossom, Damn, what a piece of work this one is!

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Posted by Blossom
a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on May 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm

I would have let the superintendent's letter stand. The letter is measured, modest, and shows class. Can't quite use any of those adjectives to describe yours. Sorry. But if it makes you feel better, I'll print out your name so that you and everyone can read it.......... Kathleen Ruegsegger .............

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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm

As you reflect on the deep cuts in our schools and the failure of this $98/household support for our schools, consider that Harold Camping (aka Mr. Doomsday) has received over $100 million dollars in donations from his "followers."

Those dollars were used on millions of dollars in billboards and RVs to promote today's end-of-world prediction, lots of anti-gay hatred, and all sorts of other devisive drama.

Further, every one of those dollars was tax deductible.

What a world we live in.

Like this comment
Posted by b-Minus
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 21, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Laugh at us all you want. My $98 is staying in my bank account.

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Posted by John
a resident of Del Prado
on May 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm

[removed] The superintendent does not get what is going on in this town and in California. If the measure had been for the kids and for the schools and not for teacher salary increases it would have passed with 99% approval. She is probably "down" with the movement as well.

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Posted by John
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Yes, it is exactly the same union entitilement mentality that all government workers have. Just look a Pleasanton's new police "chief" that refuses to take a 10% pay cut even. Disgusting.

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Blossom, yes, I use my name. I hold no expectation for others to do the same, but I believe others are entitled to know who is speaking. Some agree; some don't; I'm fine with that.

My thought is that this was a missed opportunity to reach out to those who didn't vote--about half the registered voters--and to those who voted against. I can't see how the district will gain support without trying to connect to everyone in the community.

Ms. Ahmadi is a class act, no argument there. However, the district has done the same thing twice with two different consultants and two different leadership teams without success. That seems to say the methodology is flawed. I was lookiing to open doors.

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Posted by Mojo Jojo
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm

The methodology is not flawed, Kathleen, your logic and the antischool minority in Pleasanton are. Your hubris is difficult to swallow, even more so now that our once-great school district has been torpedoed. I just can't believe you had the gall to write your "response" to the superintendant. A real Michelle Bachmann moment for you.

Why do you persist in pouring salt into the wounds you and Stacey and Kay Ayala have inflicted upon the rest of us with your specious arguments and children-sacrificing agenda? You seem to think everyone should be high-fiving you in the street, but if I were you, I'd be wary of showing my face in public for fear of being spat upon.

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Posted by Dancer
a resident of Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks
on May 21, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Kathleen Reugsegger is right. Measure E or anything like it will never pass unless the greedy school teachers and administrators try to connect with the part of the community that wants to (1) banish all unions (2) cut new police chief's pay in half (3) cut school days (4) cut teacher salaries (5) do away with county and district supervisors (6) fire all lifeguards (7) impeach President Obama (8)keep low-income people of color out of the community and (9) fire all public library staff who have a contracted pension (10) you pick 'em. Short of that ... well....

What Kathleen Reuggsegger fails to acknowledge is that Pleasanton is overrun with a sizable minority of creeps who look to her and a few outspoken cheapskate others to satisfy their morbid cravings. Make them all suffer! Teachers, cops, librarians, kids, make them all suffer! Too many people around me seem happy and they shouldn't be. Can't you see I'm suffering? Oh Kathleen Reugsegger please help us tear down the walls of the institutions that failed all of us victimized whiners.

@Mojo Jojo: you don't spit on people you don't like. Disagree with them, pity them, and above all laugh at them. You don't even have to respect them. But you do have to respect their rights to free movement without being spat upon. I request that you apologize.

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 21, 2011 at 10:34 pm

My, my. Had either measure passed I would have paid what was asked, still donated, still respected that others, including Stacey and Kay and Mojo and Dancer and Blossom, feel differently than I do about this and many other topics. I would certainly love to make a few biting comments in return, but that or spitting and ridicule would not occur to me to be part of a civil discussion.

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm

I have a personal stake in the success of this district, and no, it isn't property values. I happen to believe the continued success of the district will depend on parents, teachers, and those who work and live here but no longer have children in the schools. The latter group, as you know, worked very hard to help improve this community's schools--to unify the district, to improve facilities, to improve program, to work with legislators.

Again, I thought the letter missed an opportunity to reconnect with that part of the community.

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Posted by Nite Owl
a resident of Birdland
on May 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm

@ KR -- that's Kathleen Ruegsegger, KATHLEEN RUEGSEGGER for those who might not have gotten it.

I find it difficult to believe you could so have misinterpreted the thrust of the super's letter, which was a 'thank you' to educators and the people who worked toward passage of Measure E -- many of whom do not have children in the school system. You seemed intentionally to misread the intent of the letter, and did so to prop yourself up. That's you, in a nutshell.

You can attempt to sugarcoat your self-aggrandizing narcissism all you want. The only people who are impressed are a handful of other misdirected ideologues like yourself and then a raft of ill-educated, stingy fools who look for a voice to provide 'legitimacy' for their greedy tight-fistedness.

When I read you I think of the joke Seth Meyers told about Donald Trump, only it applies equally to you. I see a female version of the Donald hanging out at the local OTB telling know-nothings with money-money-money on their minds which horses to bet on. Not with your money, however.

Unfortunately, Pleasanton's best ally in all of this is time. The tea party gibberish that so attracts those who are predisposed toward fascism has already worn thin with the vast majority of the population. This trend will only continue. Still, the ill-educated people who are attracted to it and remain so are more than likely going to remain where they are. They're living in million dollar homes but paying taxes on 1980s mortgages. So, unfortunately, they're not going anywhere (and keep your kids away from their doors after dark on Halloween!). As new people enter the community we can expect them to be younger, better educated and hence have a more sophisticated view of what education should be like if Pleasanton schools want genuinely to retrieve aspects of excellence that are currently being pared away on account of the 'contributions' of the likes of the Ruegseggers and their winged, ill-educated monkeys. I'd like to say that rational argument could matter; but I think a winged, ill-educated monkey is what it is, and it's unlikely to become anything otherwise.

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Posted by pot/kettle
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2011 at 7:02 am

"You seemed intentionally to misread the intent of the letter, and did so to prop yourself up. That's you, in a nutshell."

Nite Owl, isn't that exactly what you've just done?

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