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Editorial: Vote Yes on Measure M, for students and schools

Original post made on Jan 23, 2020

The $323 million bond measure for PUSD, on the March primary election ballot as local Measure M, is vital for the short- and long-term future of district facilities -- and by direct extension, the success of Pleasanton's students.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 23, 2020, 5:04 PM

Comments (92)

41 people like this
Posted by Bob Naylor
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 23, 2020 at 5:42 pm

Awesome! As a band parent of both Foothill and Amador students, both schools need a facility to have concerts worthy of the fine music programs in place. Foothill should not have to give concerts in the cavernous small gym. And the Amador theater needs to be fixed so the balcony can be used again! Vote Yes on M!


34 people like this
Posted by Kate Duggan
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 23, 2020 at 5:59 pm

Thank you for this thorough overview and endorsement. As a parent to two kids in the district I couldn't agree more. I'm definitely a Yes on M and hope others will support this.


51 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 23, 2020 at 6:48 pm

People contributing money in support of Measure M:
Jerry Pentin, Pleasanton city council member, $100.
Herb Ritter Pleasanton chamber of commerce, $200.
Joan Laursen PUSD board, $525.
Joan Laursen for school board, $975.
David Haglund, PUSD Superintendent $1000.
There are six contributors from other cities in California that contributed $7100.
Gins Piper is also listed as a contributor, $200.

Measure M is a brand new tax with if passed will force seniors out of their homes.


82 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 23, 2020 at 6:50 pm

Many facts have been ignored. I will take some time to reread and respond just as thoroughly. This community deserves all the information before voting. Enjoy the victory lap!


74 people like this
Posted by Kiko
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 23, 2020 at 6:51 pm

So now it seems that the "Mulling Over Measure M" post has been replaced by this post by the "editorial staff". My guess is that we'll see many more posts whether "editorial" or not between now and the election trying to convince voters to vote yes. I think most people have already made up their minds, at least those that I know. But even if M loses...they'll be back again and again and again because its never enough.


25 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 23, 2020 at 7:03 pm

There are twenty-three people and or organizations, businesses, that have contributed $20,576.64 in support of Measure M, as of January 21, 2020.


77 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 23, 2020 at 8:36 pm

Sorry, no specificity on projects or timelines, no funding.

We deserve better than - look this building needs work....and maybe we will use this money to fix it sometime.

Jokers. You want money, commit to its use.

I’m not voting to give you a slush fund


96 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 23, 2020 at 10:54 pm

With apologies for length, I have responded paragraph by paragraph.

Not mentioned: there is $270MM, mostly unspent, unbonded, and in a reserve for the short-term. Long-term means there is time, and there is.

Not mentioned: that $43.10 per $100,000 of assessed valuation is IN ADDITION to what we are paying already for the current bond. Some of those potential bonds have yet to be sold, so the amount we pay will increase without passing a new bond.

Not mentioned: much of what is on the project list are maintenance items that have been ignored for years since the state relaxed the requirements for a special maintenance fund. Instead, those funds have been used mainly for raises and pension obligations. At the January 21 information night, staff admitted neglect, which continues, was a major part of their problems.

Also not mentioned: bonds are not to be used for maintenance, and both the current bond and this new attempt are full of maintenance projects.

Not mentioned: there was a mechanism for maintenance. It was called a deferred maintenance fund, which should have approximately $6MM, and is currently nearly zero for the reasons I stated above. The district’s budget presentation states: “Increased pension costs have reduced the district’s ability to fund educational programs and salaries.” And the maintenance fund.

Not mentioned: our district has agreements with some developers who pay well over the state fees.

Also not mentioned: despite known growing enrollment (each new student brings new funds to the district), portables were used rather than addressing need—need for capacity that still exists.

Not mentioned: with vague projects, the current oversight committee has little choice except to say an expense meets requirements. There is a current list of very specific expenses.


96 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 23, 2020 at 10:55 pm

Not mentioned: other than interviewing me for the other article, I do not see where the many opponents had an opportunity to speak.

Not provided: a link to the resolution so voters can read the projects list. Also needed is a link to the current bond resolution allowing voters to compare and read for themselves that bond dollars are not allowed for maintenance.

Not mentioned: the list is purposely vague, repetitive to the current bond, and the resolution states there is no guarantee projects will be completed even if funds are available.

Again: there is a clause that absolves the district of completing any of the listed projects.

Not mentioned: the poor set of priorities that has hampered momentum for three years, with no added capacity, and none to come for at least two years. There is nothing to indicate the bond market will fail, and one would hope the district will be able to maintain its boasts of bond ratings. If we believe the markets will fail and the district lose its ratings in just two years’ time, we will have saddled the community with higher payments when they do sell the bonds. The “now or never” argument is a false choice. The district has a very long road ahead of it to secure matching dollars. To my knowledge, they have not yet qualified with the current state bond, and there was a long line in front of PUSD for current state funds. And the next state bond also has to pass.

Again: Lydiksen still should not have been first priority and that could have been corrected but was not. Donlon, not the new school promised, will not be ready before 2022. There already are some 200 children that cannot attend their neighborhood school. More could join them. Why is this acceptable while we wait for Donlon?

Haglund and Sheikholeslami, here only three months, need time to deliver on the “smart program”. The majority of the last bond is either unsold or unspent. There is time and money yet to work with and no reason to tax homeowners any sooner than is necessary.

Students, many yet to begin school, will have modern facilities as we complete current projects. Two years will provide the time needed to see the return on our most recent investment before we reup.

Please visit measurem.org to get a series of links to measure language and other important documents, many from the district. While I hope you will choose to tell the district to wait, it is more important that voters consider all the information that is available, much which was omitted in the article above.


24 people like this
Posted by wow
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2020 at 5:07 am

yea keep giving meth addicts more cash. Great idea. next great idea lets give terrorist countries that hate us millions of dollars. Oh yea already did that thanks obama and the liberals who support him. LOL. JUST SAY NO.


83 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 24, 2020 at 9:06 am

@Kathleen Ruegsegger

Thank you Kathleen so very much for your research and information you have provided. I wasn’t going to vote for the measure just based on principle, but you provided me the specifics of why I am against these measures in the first place. Government would rather have us dumbed down about issues in order to use us (taxpayers) as an ATM for their own failings at planning, preparation, and budgeting. Again Kathleen, good work.


85 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 24, 2020 at 10:46 am

Thank you Jake. I am not alone in this grass roots effort. Many cannot step forward because they have children in the district. A vote against M is seen as a vote against children. This is not against children—the district has $270MM in support from us. This is not “now or never”; this is only waiting until we have tangible returns on that investment.

What voters are expected to do is bubble in a yes based on 75 words. The 14-page resolution, which I fear many will not read, is where the meat of the legal contract with the community is located. It very specifically protects the district, not homeowners.

I have a question for donors to school based fundraisers. Michael was kind enough to share the FPPC filing papers with me. PPIE has donated $5,000. Pleasanton PTA Council; $999. Amador PTA Council; $999. When a person donates to these organizations, are they not donating for students? Why then is this money ending up in campaign coffers? Personally, this is why I donate directly to classrooms. I know the money will be used by teachers in the best interests of their students.


29 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 24, 2020 at 11:11 am

Tell me again how the pta enriches the student educational experience? Oh it doesn’t....


16 people like this
Posted by plebe
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 24, 2020 at 11:59 am

FYI, Here are websites with more information on Measure M. Make sure you inform yourself on this vote.

MeasureM.org

and

yesonmforstudents.com


20 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 24, 2020 at 1:15 pm

I wanted to provide the detailed (?) list of expenditures from Measure I1. The question mark is because, while the payee is listed, it is very unclear what the payment is for. This is what the oversight committee sees and approves. I would be asking who the payee --none-- is, in amounts totaling over $600K. I am sure there is a reasonable explanation, but it would be unclear to the public or the committee members on its face. Web Link


16 people like this
Posted by Mr.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2020 at 1:35 pm

It would be great for PW to do an analysis/comparison w similar sized districts in the are, as far as administrative spending. We see so many lucrative positions at the district office level -- eating funds that could go toward repairs and upkeep of our schools (The condition of Amador is inexcusable. We attended in the 1980s and it is truly sad to see the state it is in today). Should a district office Communications Coordinator I position (whose job is to send out district office emails and newsletters to parents) have the equivalent compensation package as a 30 year veteran teacher or principal? Web Link Perhaps the community can organize a habitat for humanity day to have the schools painted, holes patched and cleaned by our hard working taxpayer families whose family budgets are already are being squeezed by cost of living. I would rather volunteer my time in that way if the PUSD is not able to take a hard look at necessities vs. luxuries.


37 people like this
Posted by Spudly
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Jan 24, 2020 at 1:37 pm

@Pleasanton Parent. I am sure you do so much more than the PTA volunteers who do the following.

Web Link

and here is a list of what Foothill High PTA has helped with. Why do you say they do not help kids while they collect ZERO of your taxes?

Campus improvements such as a state of the art campus video monitoring security system to help keep the Foothill High School campus safe
Outdated technology is made current per our technology plan investments
Students and staff have access to refillable chilled/filtered water stations
Naviance, an online college and career readiness system that helps students match their strengths and interests to post-secondary goals, thereby improving longer-term outcomes
Staff grant requests for:
- teacher requests for continuing education and training
- teacher attendance at World Languages Expo
- professional training for Peer Advocates counseling program
- supplies and technology for departments in need
- professional development for We the People teacher
- materials for a memorial seating area
- instructional materials for AP Spanish, AP French & History
- funding for Peer Advocates, a student-to-student peer resource program
- equipment and supplies for Culinary Arts and Ceramics
- raised garden beds, a swing and flexible seating for Special Ed
- sound equipment for Chorale program
- breakout materials for Engineering
Senior scholarships
Local, affordable, LIVE SAT/PSAT prep classes
TalonTalk newsletter, Foothill website, PTSA Facebook page
Reflections, a student recognition program to encourage artistic creativity
Welcome program for students and families new to PUSD and Foothill HS
Hosted Friday Forums where parents receive updates firsthand from our principal
Fundraising efforts such as Jersey Mike's Big Game Fundraiser, Jamba Juice, eScrip, Amazon Smile and more
Project- and volunteer-coordination for FutureFund online registration, Teachers & Staff Appreciation Luncheon, Walk-Through Registration and other school activities
Community partnerships: PPIE


57 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 24, 2020 at 2:47 pm

Spudly, I can't speak for PP, but for me this is not questioning the great work PTAs, or even PPIE, do. This is asking why money donated by families, in good faith that it will go directly to help their children by doing all the things you have listed, is being given to a campaign.


17 people like this
Posted by PTA mom
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Jan 24, 2020 at 3:53 pm

Hi Kathleen,
When parents donate to PTA’s it is to a general fund. Before funds are spent there is a process by which proposed programs and expenditures are discussed and members vote in a transparent and organized manner. It is typical for PTA’s to take positions on issues that affect youth - Measure M being one of them - and donate to the campaign if the membership approves.
Anyone can by all means donate directly to the school if they want. The difference is that with PTA, parent members have a say in how finds are spent through discussions and ultimately, their votes.


45 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 24, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Exactly, it’s not a criticism of the PTA, it’s a criticism of directing funds donated to ppie which is meant for direct student educational enrichment getting laundered into political tax campaigns.


42 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 24, 2020 at 4:06 pm

PTA mom, I know how the organization works. When you say members vote, is it a show of hands at a given meeting or a method where all members (parents and teachers) are allowed to vote? Curious if it is the few who decide.

As to direct donations, it is a vote of one—the teacher. I’m very comfortable with that decision making process. It serves students directly and teachers are not paying for supplies themselves or going without.


24 people like this
Posted by PTA Mom
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Jan 24, 2020 at 5:02 pm

Kathleen, if you knew how PTA works, you'd know that voting has to be done in person, at a meeting.

You are wrong when you state that Measure M adds an additional $43 to what we currently pay. We now pay $64 per $100,000 of assessed property value. With Measure M that increases to ~$90 in 2022 and then ~$87 in 2024 (when the older bond measures fall off) - an increase of $23 to $26, not $43 as you stated.

Curious if you have attended any of the community meetings held by PUSD because if you did, you would know that, including how Measure I1 funds are being spent, why this is the right time and why maintenance spending was deferred. The rationale is crystal clear - if you are open to it.


55 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 24, 2020 at 5:07 pm

Measure M is a brand new tax, no matter how desperately you try to white wash it. Measure M is a new property tax which will force seniors out of their homes.


71 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 24, 2020 at 5:59 pm

PTA mom, of course I know; but it’s worth checking if thinks changed, even at one school. So, maybe 30 people voted? 50? Out of how many members?

Ok, so a swing from $64 to $90 to $87. Per hundred thousand. And still an addition to what we are paying now, and not a real substantive drop when 1988/1997 bonds retire, and still $110MM yet unbonded for Measure I1.

I posted the 47 pages of where I1 funds have been spent. Notice a lot of it says —none— as the payee. I’m not personally comfortable with that. This past meeting, four people in attendance, where our newest hire (feel terrible for him) admitted neglect is the problem; neglect that continues. Never mind that using bond funds to pay for maintenance is illegal. I can’t be everywhere, but I do know what is happening.

Deferred maintenance, relaxed by the state in, I believe, 2008, has never really been put back in place in order to cover raises and pensions. The words in a board budget presentation and for the information night are: “Increased pension costs have reduced the district’s ability to fund educational programs and salaries.” And the maintenance fund. So carpets and paneling have holes, and bathroom stall doors stick open or shut, and roofs rain on children, and Lydiksen is the first our priority? Or fencing? Can you not see time is needed for all this to be corrected? For tangible results for the $270MM the district already has?

I am not the one wearing blinders. I supported Measure I1 and the 1988 and 1997 bonds. I see this very clearly; I’ve posted mountains of information where most of the sources are the district. This is a money grab, plain and simple. Do you see it? Have you read the 14 page resolution that is vague at best and offers no guarantees for any of the projects?

This is not the time. It’s too soon; too much; and too vague.


36 people like this
Posted by Kiko
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 24, 2020 at 6:38 pm

I don't know how many are aware of this, but...there is a state proposition on the March 3 ballot called, ironically, Proposition 13. It is a $15B school construction bond. Remember, it's never enough. Read all about it on hjta.org and yes, that is the Howard Jarvis taxpayer group and they do have your back.


62 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Family
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 24, 2020 at 9:29 pm

No, no, no, no, and no.

We have not seen responsible spending of our money. Come on, buying laptops for students? That is how you spend our money? Everyone already has access to a computer.

NO!


22 people like this
Posted by plebe
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 24, 2020 at 10:08 pm

Someone is making an argument above that Measure M is not really a new tax
because some previous bond taxes are going away soon.

Respectfully, that logic is extremely flawed and not grounded in basic economics.

When I am 2 years from paying off my wife's car and then buy myself a new car, I don't think the argument that our car payments will only be "slightly higher" in a few years once the first car is paid off will pass the "intellectual honesty" test. In fiscally responsible households, the goal is to get out of debt. Or at least that's my philosophy and most economists I follow.

And of course the ultimate authority on this is Dave Ramsey. :)


31 people like this
Posted by Hi
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 25, 2020 at 6:42 am

Oh brother. Of course Measure M is a new tax! How do you think public education is funded? The fact that anyone believes anyone is trying to “hide” that is comical. Come on, Pleasantonians aren’t that clueless.

Michael, to your comment that seniors will be forced out of their homes. First of all nice try playing the senior card. What can I say except that ALL lives matter and everyone has to learn to live within their means. If this new tax is going to “force” anyone out of there x million dollar home, perhaps they (just like the rest of us) are better off not living in such an “ expensive area? They can sell their home and reap the rewards of the high property value made possible by the demand spurred by.....(drum roll please) our quality public schools. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Students may not have to pay tuition to attend public school but we all know them’s ain’t free. Same for the library, police department, our parks, etc..... made possible by evil TAXE$$$! Sorry but when it comes to community services, everyone needs to pay their fair share. And whether or not you have school-aged kids. we all benefit from an educated populace that can call out bull-doo-doo when they see it and actually DO USEFUL THINGS besides post ridiculous comments online, play the victim, spread conspiracy theories, stoking fears, anger and hatred. Hey, I’m not thrilled at having to a new tax, but I love what being a Pleasanton resident offers me and so I pay. At least with a tax I can be assured everyone is paying their fair share, including the entitled. tightwad, and/or oblivious among us. Leaving vital services like this up to Habitat for Humanity level volunteers and donations is ..just no.


73 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 25, 2020 at 8:24 am

Good morning Hi,
“ . . . live within their means” Except the school district?
“ . . . quality public schools” brought to you by—first and foremost, a well educated parent community; then students who work hard—often with the help of one of the many tutoring institutions in this community and paid for by those parents; and dedicated teachers.
“ . . . made possible by evil TAXE$$$!” Taxes are a necessary evil. But we should not just vote without question. Again, an educated electorate should know the whole story before they fill in either bubble.
“ . . . their fair share” Explain to me how a citizen who has lived here longer than you (guessing from the vitriol about seniors) and paid all the taxes and donated before, during, and after their children attended schools—including the current $270MM bond—haven’t paid their fair share?
“ . . . spreading conspiracy theories, stoking fears, anger and hatred” There may be a random troll, but I don’t see evidence of any of this. So I call bull-doo-doo.

Essentially, what you have said is: seniors, we’ve already drained you dry, so get out (and maybe some are jealous you will make a profit when you do); and voters, don’t bother getting all the information you need before you vote, just vote yes. Get a great education, but don’t actually think. More bull-doo-doo.


52 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 25, 2020 at 9:04 am

Again Kathleen, thank you for your knowledgeable remarks.

@Hi: I already live in a one-party state where I don’t have any say in what goes on I have no control, impact, or push back to all the other taxes that have and that are to come. You are asking people as me to ‘shut up’ and ‘pay up’ without any questions. No! Please don’t speak of what a great education system we have in California that I am expected to continually bail out when we are dead last among the 50 states. And as for the Amador gym that many of you have railed on about that needs saving- why did they let it fall in such disrepair in the first place. That is on par with the notion that I won’t address the holes in the roof of my house until it completely crashes in.

If you are that determined to ‘pay up’ then I suggest you do fundraisers for specific items they are not willing to use the money that is already allocated, or perhaps you can sell your house and leave the area.




31 people like this
Posted by Kiko
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 25, 2020 at 10:49 am

Hi said: "At least with a tax I can be assured everyone is paying their fair share....". Except "everyone" ISN'T paying their "fair share", just the homeowners on their property tax bills. A fair tax would be a city income tax, a dwelling tax, or a sales tax all designated to support the schools, but that will never happen. Bonds and Parcel Taxes fall on the backs of homeowners who are already struggling with their taxes and mortgages so no more "pay up" without questioning.

I stand with Jake Waters of Birdland


17 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 25, 2020 at 9:09 pm

For those interested, the district is hosting a webinar on Monday night. Info can be found here: Web Link Bring your questions!


10 people like this
Posted by Wombat
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 26, 2020 at 7:25 am

Kiko wrote “ Except "everyone" ISN'T paying their "fair share", just the homeowners on their property tax bills.”

Aren’t apartment complexes and rental houses also hit with property tax bills? If so, I would assume that the owners of these properties pass along any property tax increases to their tenants.


12 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 26, 2020 at 7:54 am

If it is not in the lease agreement, they cannot increase rent.
If they can increase rent, it would be small increments to each tenant, not one large sum as received by home owners.


34 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 26, 2020 at 8:55 am

So let me take a stab at this with the house expert in the background.

You can say homeowners pay the same **rate**: $43.10/$100,000 of assessed valuation (AV).
You can say a homeowner whose AV is higher than another homeowner will pay more.
You can say a property owner/business (PO/B) with 350 apartments has a high assessed valuation.
You can say a PO/B may or may not choose or be allowed to raise rent based on their contract with the renter.
You can extrapolate that a PO/B with an AV of $10MM will pay $4,310–spread over 350 apartments is $12.31/apartment. (This is just an example. I have no idea what an AV on a property like that would be.)
Then you can say, based on tax laws and probable deductions, there may be advantages to the PO/B that a homeowner doesn’t necessarily have.

So, no, not everyone pays the same. Nothing is ever that simple.


30 people like this
Posted by Hi
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 26, 2020 at 11:07 am

Wow, that took a diabolical turn.

In response to Kathleen's comments about living within our means....
I reaffirm my stand that everyone has a responsibility to try to live within their means - all classes, age groups, and yes, even the school district and seniors. PUSD's facilities needs are communicated in plain view for the public to see, they need funds, and now it is up for the voters to decide to what extent they want to support public education in Pleasanton. Its that simple. PUSD is doing the right thing by asking the voters (that's how facilities are funded in California, not PUSD's fault), and this Pleasanton Weekly article does a pretty good job of explaining why they support Measure M.

In response to Kathleen's comments implying that PUSD doesn't really deserve the credit for student achievement...
I agree that high student achievement is heavily influenced by parents, tutoring, and dedicated teachers. Do not, however, discount the SCHOOL FACILITIES where those students spend a good part of their day. Even the most educated parent or gifted tutor would agree that the physical spaces where student learning takes place matters. Buildings age, pavements crack, nature and repeated heavy usage take its toll on buildings, and we owe it to our students and educators to work and learn in up-to-date facilities. And it's on PUSD to provide that, so I applaud for communicating what those needs and taking the next step to put Measure M on the ballot, as they should.

In response to Kathleen's comment "Explain to me how a citizen who has lived here longer than you (guessing from the vitriol about seniors) and paid all the taxes and donated before, during, and after their children attended schools—including the current $270MM bond—haven’t paid their fair share?"

Um, remind me again where I said seniors weren't paying their fair share? You can't because I didn't.

Furthermore, I am still reeling from how my comments caused you to turn me into a senior-hater. Takes a certain kind of warped world view, I guess.

I am nearing 60 myself and my children, and hopefully, grandchildren may choose to raise their families in Pleasanton. Regardless of where they choose, my children benefited from the public schools and I have no problem supporting Measure M to ensure that future generations are able to reap the benefits, as we did. I want my community to be just as great for future families as it has been for mine.

Kathleen, I wasn't just referring to just trolls when I wrote about posters “ . . . spreading conspiracy theories, stoking fears, anger and hatred”. You do a great disservice to this community when you post - and let readers believe there is mismanagement, and that Measure I1 funds are unspent, for example. And just now, you portrayed me as some sort of senior hater??! Following your logic, that would make you a child-hater and enemy of public education. I know that probably isn't true.... at least I have the decency to acknowledge it.

One thing we can agree on is that everyone should learn the facts, ask questions.

Never be afraid to ask honest questions with an open end. PUSD WELCOMES IT, from what I have witnessed time and time again from my interactions with Haglund, all 5 PUSD trustees and any of the assistant superintendents.

Make no mistake, Measure M has the potential to make a huge positive impact on our schools, as addressed in this Pleasanton Weekly Board Editorial, and it benefits Pleasanton, the community where WE live and take immense pride in.


79 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 26, 2020 at 12:06 pm

They have funds. $270MM mostly unspent. Why do you ignore that part? I will agree to disagree; the article left out a lot as I noted above.

Perhaps you are unaware that five people fought to get a new elementary school to get children out of portables. There was a lot of pushback that portables were perfectly fine learning spaces. The list of needs are, by the way, in large part due to neglect (a fact admitted at the last information night). I hate to repeat myself, but the maintenance fund is empty; has been for years. The district is CHOOSING not to care for the facilities and using bond funds to make up for it (it is stated in the 14 page resolution that you cannot do that). You can read why above.

“we owe it to our students and educators to work and learn in up-to-date facilities” Absolutely, so they have $270MM and they have done nothing to correct the needs—choosing fences, Chromebooks, tech infrastructure, Lydiksen—not the new school or roof repairs. At least take the time to go to the links page on MeasureM.org. It’s mostly links to district stuff.

You did say: “If this new tax is going to “force” anyone out of there x million dollar home, perhaps they (just like the rest of us) are better off not living in such an “ expensive area? They can sell their home and reap the rewards of the high property value . . . “ Felt to me pretty much like a suggestion to leave.

Many of us with now grown adults have examples of their moving away from Pleasanton, away from California, living with parents, in apartments with multiple friends. A great education isn’t going to make “an expensive area” cheaper. I supported 1988, 1997, and Measure I1. I want great schools too. And there IS little to show for I1. There is a 47 page list of expenditures on the district web site: Web Link I hope that link works.

Of $270MM, there is something like $110MM yet unbonded. Of the $160MM that is, most is sitting in a reserve fund somewhere. That’s not hyperbole. I don’t post without having the facts.

I explained why I took the wrong impression. Trust me, the people who will vote no and won’t come forward to say so (or who use anonymous names here) is exactly because they will be told they don’t support children or education. Yet this is a very generous community.

I get my information from the district, either through research on their web site or through Public Records Act requests. The people I deal with are always professional and helpful. I know the board members; consider some of them to be friends, even when we disagree. I contact them often, maybe even more than they would like.

I have lived here for over 30 years; I am proud of this community. I worked on unification and served on the board and worked in the district and did all the things parents do when they have kids in K-12. Waiting two years for the next bond gives the district time to have tangible results to show the community we are on the right track with our investment. We don’t need to put more money in the coffers when they haven’t fulfilled most of what the last bond promised.


65 people like this
Posted by Fifty Years Here
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 26, 2020 at 8:10 pm

Let Haglund prove that he's not another Casey or Ahmadi, and let this board step up and prove they can get something done... ANYTHING...before giving them more money to waste.


50 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 26, 2020 at 8:39 pm

Editorial Board:
Fifty years here succinctly sums it up.


26 people like this
Posted by Melinda
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jan 28, 2020 at 10:30 am

Dear Hi,
how can someone NOT conclude from your post that you are telling seniors to live within their means? Many seniors have lived here like us for 30 years and we dont have a multi-million dollar home. Nor do we plan to cash out and move. This is our home. We do have a fixed income and are living in a high expense area. We have paid our share and more to schools over the years. Seniors should be exempt from a new school bond measure and parents with children in our school system should pay more and volunteer their time to help teachers and programs.
Personally I do have a philosophical issue with rich communities being able to afford bond measurements whereas poorer cities can not. so much for social justice in the affluent burds


7 people like this
Posted by plebe
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 28, 2020 at 12:16 pm

I missed the PUSD webinar last night. Can someone post the PUSD link to the replay. Where do they usually post these things?


7 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 28, 2020 at 12:25 pm

I sent an email this morning requesting a link to the webinar and the written Q&A. No response yet.


9 people like this
Posted by ConfusedVoter
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 28, 2020 at 1:05 pm

My neighbor said measure m was for a new high school, which we desperately need. But, I don't see any new schools on the measure m project list from pusd. I'm very confused.


35 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of California Reflections
on Jan 28, 2020 at 1:08 pm

To me all this is a big no on M
Tired paying taxes to everyone to have big pay checks.
First try to cut on PUSD pay that ones make more then $150.000 a year you see how much money you be saving


10 people like this
Posted by justwondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2020 at 1:18 pm

Confused, there is money in the bond for a technical high school for 600 students. That would fill a need plus relieve the number of students at Amador and Foothill.

Melinda, it is my understanding that seniors can not be exempted on a bond by law where they can be on a parcel tax. The amount of dollars given back to the district per student is less than what we send to Sacramento as well as less than what neighboring districts receive. Even if this bond passes the spending per student in PUSD is still near the bottom of districts in the bay area.


25 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 28, 2020 at 1:26 pm

Justwondering,
There isn’t a commitment or timeline for that technical school, correct? It’s only presented as an idea for how the money might be used, correct?

This is the fundamental problem with the bond language, no firm commitments for funds. And because of that, the only true justification is “well, we are still paying less than other areas” which is again what’s bad about this. The justification is only a comparison of revenue from other like communities, not a specific project commitment list with vetted cost estimates and timelines.


36 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 28, 2020 at 4:21 pm

CV, I would call the new non-comprehensive, possibly magnet, high school, at best, a stretch goal. It is not a listed project like the “new elementary school” was. And look what that got us, a new building on an existing site (understanding the difficulties that led to that decision).

Just Wondering, there is NO high school called out anywhere in the Measure M resolution, which is what you have to read to understand the legal terms of this measure. Included in that legal wording is something to the effect of: even if a project is listed on the Bond Project List, there is no guarantee a project will be completed **even if there are funds to do so.**” Again, that is official language. No protection for the people whose money the district wants to invest.

PP, you got that right. There is nothing that shows us what those other communities got for their money. Something more tangible than fences I think.


11 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 28, 2020 at 6:28 pm

Here is the link to the webinar video from PUSD last night. Web Link

Q&A to follow soon; there’s a board meeting tonight.


21 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 28, 2020 at 9:42 pm

Melinda,
Thank you for your courage, stepping into this debate.
I have interviewed our senior friends at the Pleasanton senior center. Maybe we had a conversation.

Seniors I had conversations with expressed their concerns with referendums and bond measures, in that, they will increase their property taxes. Seniors I spoke with are on fixed income, maybe have a pension supplement. Some have life insurance policies with cash out value, (they are saving for their grand kids).

Seniors also face escalating home maintenance costs, rising food costs, rising transportation costs, to name a few.

I encourage more seniors to step into this debate, support Melinda and the rest of us, VOTE NO ON MEASURE M.


32 people like this
Posted by Alan
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 28, 2020 at 9:46 pm

Pleasanton friends - don't be fooled by any language you see you see on any bond or parcel tax measure. The language chosen is there only to get you to vote for the measure. It has no basis in law and superintendents always ignore it once they get their hands on the money.

Here is the proof - the response to a very recent CPRA request for documents I made on the Livermore School District as they were doing phone surveys this fall about a possible new parcel tax. As you can see from the document linked below they are not talking about district performance, district goals, any need in the district that truly needs to be filled. They are only doing a survey on voters to figure out which language would be have the highest probability to pass and gauge the probability of passage. The results were not good for the district which is why it is not on the March ballot for us.

And the line "no money will be spent on administrator salaries" - that is the biggest lie of all.

Here is the CPRA document which shows what is really going on:

Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by plebe
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 28, 2020 at 9:54 pm

Thanks for the link to the PUSD Webinar Kathleen. I watched and was really confused when they talked about funds for a high school. They say the language doesn't specifically mention high school, but that they could use the money for a high school, but currently there's not a plan for the high school, but a high tech high school is a priority for the current board, but a future board may not make it a priority.... I'm confused. This is all to vague. What are we voting for again?

Here's the link to where the discuss the high school, it's about 55min in. Web Link


13 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jan 28, 2020 at 11:17 pm

I always hear about how we need affordable housing for teachers in this district. i thought many positions have a salary of 90,000.00 per year and that is working 9-10 months out of the year. Plus health insurance, 457 and pension. Uh, prorated to 12 months, that’s more than many other jobs. Firemen make a healthy salary too and those at fire stations live there 3-4 days per week. I’d like these heros to live here as well but think it’s enough compensation to live at least nearby. Let affordable (rental) housing monies go to those truly in need like waitresses, full time students, health care workers, seniors living on social security and medicare, and those on disability, etc


35 people like this
Posted by Jay Donalds
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Jan 29, 2020 at 10:17 am

Kudos to the PW for its honesty & integrity shown in its 1/13/2017 editorial " From troubled to trainwreck for PUSD" (16,500 views, 102 comments)

and its 3/24/2017 editorial "PUSD must shine a little light, start building trust"

Regrettfully, nothing has changed at the PUSD...only the Superintendent.

Would you give $350,000,000 of YOUR money to any organization the has been described as a trainwreck?

Nor me.

No on M


26 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 29, 2020 at 1:45 pm

WOW! The architect hired for the AVHS parking lot has donated $10,000 to the yes campaign. Sugimura Finney Architects

[Editor's note: Portion removed due to factual inaccuracy]

These facts are available on the FPPC filings. I will keep trying, but i am having trouble getting a link that doesn’t break.


16 people like this
Posted by Kiko
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 29, 2020 at 3:03 pm

Sugimura Finney is just looking for more contracts. But the Pleasanton Weekly is not a bit surprising. If I recall weren't they all in on the parcel tax, and wasn't Mr. Bing's wife employed by PUSD in some capacity? I could be wrong but I seem to recall some connection to the school district. Someone with a better memory can correct me if I am wrong.


25 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 29, 2020 at 3:08 pm

So, there is another $10,000 from a contractor. That people who will not pay this tax can donate to, and then benefit from, the tax is appalling.

If you want to look yourself, go here: Web Link
Search for committee id: 1423382

There are multiple filings, mostly because there is a deadline for filing after large donations.

I think the Yes committee should pay the district for the two fliers that cost nearly $32,000. Maybe we can get a petition going. ;o)


8 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 29, 2020 at 3:12 pm

Hold on! I may have the PW thing wrong. I am clarifying that this may have been a payment to rather than a donation from. YIKES! So sorry.


15 people like this
Posted by plebe
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 29, 2020 at 3:41 pm

Thanks for the link Kathleen! Those forms are confusing.

Van Pelt Construction Services donated $10,000 on 1/19. Wow!


40 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 29, 2020 at 4:21 pm

The yes campaign made a payment to PW for advertising. They DID NOT make a donation. My most sincere apologies to Gina and Jeremy and the entire staff of the PW.

However, here is the money to follow (anything in parens is the town):

Mirador Capital Partners. $2,500
Walker Family Trust (Woodland) $2,500
PPIE. $5,000
EKC Enterprises (Fresno). $1,000
Facilitron (Los Gatos). $2,500
AMS.NET.Inc. (Livermore). $1,000
National Electrical Contractors Northern CA Chapers. $1,500
Aedis Architects (San Jose). $1,000
Construction Testing. $1,000
King Consultants (Sacramento). $1,000
Sugimura Finney Architects (Campbell) $10,000
Hearst PTA. $1,000
Ann Kennedy Group (North Folk). $1,000
Mohr PTA. $1,000
David Haglund (Dublin—but our superintendent) $1,000
UA Local Union 342 Plumbing and Steamfitters (Concord). $1,000
Hisber Yamauchi Architects (Oakland). $1,000
Fairlands PTA. $500
Van Pelt Construction Services (Fairfield) $10,000
RGM Kramer (Concord). $5,000
Mercedes Badger. $750
Escape Tech (Roseville) $750
Dannis Woliver Kelly, Attorneys (San Francisco). $750

So this means, of these 23 donations, 15 are from outside Pleasanton (including Haglund), and totaled $45,250. And PPIE and three schools (maybe I missed Amador?) donated $7,500 of parent donated money that should be going directly to students/programs.

Please spread the word about who exactly is backing Measure M. Most are those who will benefit from your tax dollars.


12 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 29, 2020 at 7:20 pm

Sick to death of bellyaching seniors citizens when they are the biggest welfare people of all. The federal deficit is now at a trillion and you know where most of that goes? Medicare and social security! Oh but you "paid in all your life" and it's "your money" and all that. Nonsense. You paid taxes and now you are getting welfare. You are getting handouts. You are living off the people who actually work and do something useful for society so you can sit around and not work. The average senior citizen takes about three times as much as they put in! The debt is getting so big that future generations will have no chance to get anywhere near as much as you got! Consider yourselves lucky! If you want to help society, vote for politicians who promise to cut Social Security and Medicare.

Now as to measure M, I'm still undecided. I'd really like to the school district step up and show us that they will spend it wisely. My kids are too old to benefit if it does pass but I'd be willing to pay it for the greater good.


30 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 29, 2020 at 9:15 pm

BobB:
All those seniors you claim are bellyaching when they are the biggest welfare of all, are those same seniors that worked thirty or more years in the work force contributing to social security and Medicare so that you and others your age can be the "biggest welfare" people of your generation.

The liberal democratic government beginning with Franklin Delano Rossevelt 1939 wrote the laws that forced all employers to withhold wages for social security. All those seniors after 1939 turning sixty-five years old were immediately recipients of social security benefits without any contributions through wages being withheld.

The liberal democratic government in later years passed the Medicare law which forces employers to withhold wages to pay for this program. All seniors complied with this law, in turn, GOVERNMENT PAY UP, this is your law.

BobB, your beef is well misplaced, it is not the current senior generation which you fault with, it is the previous generations and your generation failure to provide any resolution for this mess.


30 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 29, 2020 at 9:34 pm

BobB, but they haven’t shown us yet. That’s my point. It is too soon.

Would you give social security more money? I don’t think I understand your point.


19 people like this
Posted by Anony
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2020 at 10:16 pm

Agree with BobB. In fact the real reason this district (as well as others) is asking for more money is their pension obligation is eating into funds for school maintenance, repairs, modernization, etc,

However, the district keeps giving out raises every year, which increases their pension obligations down the road. I believe adding another school at this point is unnecessary, especially given the lack of funds for more pressing needs like new roofs, new paint, and HVAC repairs. School enrollment went down from year to year in the last report, I recall. This is probably a trend that is not going away. There are fewer families to support the district, yet there's growing pension obligations, and maintenance, modernization needs. Something has to give, and unfortunately, it's not seniors and the dwindling number of families enrolling in this district.


25 people like this
Posted by Kiko
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 29, 2020 at 10:19 pm

That's some rant, Bob. Are you sure that you're not confusing Social Security and Medicare with Welfare and Medicaid? Maybe just a little, huh? And how about the "elephant in the room"...the pension problem which is the main reason that school districts are constantly pandering for money, anything to say about that?

Now as to Measure M, I'm still voting no.


10 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jan 29, 2020 at 10:44 pm

yes, I agree bonds and parcel taxes put a big burden on seniors. but I worked 40 years and raised kids here as well as did volunteer work. The SSI is only a small check and we rely on 401k saved diligently for years. I don’t apologize one bit. Pension obligations have always been out of control and putting the City Council or elected school boards as well as special districts (flood control, mosquitos abatement, etc) is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. i have retired public agency mid-management friends who have life-time medical coverage but complain their pensions are not greater! Hellooooo. Until the public gets involved en mass to provide over sight, don’t blame seniors alone.


16 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 29, 2020 at 11:06 pm

@BobB

Bob, sounds like you have some anger issues. You are correct: Seniors are citizens, and it is important to understand that. How a country takes care and looks out for its seniors is because a nation has strong values. In case you have been on holiday, there is a segment of our society that wants to give everything away to provide for and protect those in this country that are not citizens and who haven’t paid into the system.

I am a senior citizen BobB, and I served my country, worked 30 years in a career, paid my taxes and raised a good family. I never used welfare or unemployment insurance. I had no choice but to pay into social security or Medicare. Don’t make us (Senior Citizens) the bad guys here because we question where the last funds went and what they need the new funds for.

Interesting bit of reality BobB is that soon you will be living off the generations behind you.


5 people like this
Posted by Nick
a resident of Avignon
on Jan 30, 2020 at 4:10 am

There is more info need on this topic that only we can get clarification on it. to Know more post should be updated soon.


11 people like this
Posted by Karl
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2020 at 8:30 am

BobB and others who agree with him -

I am one of the younger aged boomers getting ready to retire.

I was told back in the 80s that because of future funding issues my full retirement age would move from 65 to 66 and 10 months. I was also told that the withholding “tax” would be based on inflation adjusted income that would be done automatically rather than by periodic legislation. It was a good, reasonable plan and I have made sure my 410K and IRA will cover my retirement costs with Social Security acting as a safety net.

Now I am being accused by all of you as going on welfare. This is not fair. I’m certainly not going to be getting 3X what I put into the system. Even Medicare won’t raise it to this level.

It may be true for my 90 year old father that he is getting 3X, but not for me.

You may want to review your math and possibly adjust your opinions

Unfortunately for our country, all that extra money that was supposed to saved to cover the boomers in the “lock box” has been spent and not on the boomers.

A simple action to take would beto once again adjust the full retirement upwards for those now starting their careers. Just like boomers had to do. Bit this won’t happen because this type of action is now called a reduction in benefits.

Back in the 80s and upto about 3 years ago I have always assumed I would not get anything from SS because all the money that was supposed to ne saved being spent. Look in-the lock box now and all you will see is a bunch of IOUs. I now understand that is how SS was really designed. A pay as you go system. Anybody who thinks otherwise is not looking at reality

You all have benefited from the spending of all the extra money boomers have put into the system, boomers included.

Now it’s your turn to pay up as the system design requires.

And any of you that support Medicare for All. Good luck paying for all of that and good luck with ever being to retire


40 people like this
Posted by DrSmith
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2020 at 9:11 am

Everyone has their own reasons to vote Yes or no.

I'm a no.

The MeasureM.org website sums it up.
Too Soon, Too Much, Too Vague.

When pusd quits playing games with the parents and voters, I'll reconsider.

Their credibility in the 10 years I've been observing is horrible.


15 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 30, 2020 at 10:47 am

Agree local and state government pensions are a huge problem.

@Karl -- Using a "lock box" for Social Security or Medicare never made any sense. That was always propaganda.

@Jake W -- I've been "paying in" for more than 35 years. Current benefits are too high to be sustainable. That's my whole point. I'm not ashamed to take handouts. They just need to be sustainable.


17 people like this
Posted by Suzann
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 31, 2020 at 10:12 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger - thank you!!!! I would love to be as passionate as you are on this issue. I find Pleasanton spends money on many inane things.
You're expose of each of the items in the Measure are superb and I would never have been able to capture the subtleties by simply reading the measure.
With all the "Yes on M" signs, there's a built-in bias being reflected. I appreciate hearing from the opposing side and will now vote NO on M.
Thank you - AGAIN!


17 people like this
Posted by erik peter
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 31, 2020 at 7:54 pm

Measure M is total BS. I sent my kids through the existing schools and they got a great education. I WILL VOTE AGAINST measure M. Why do I have to pay extra taxes, and at the same time see my property value decline due to these higher taxes? This is so inconsiderate to senior citizens!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All Senior citizens should vote against this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


13 people like this
Posted by Suzann
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 31, 2020 at 10:06 pm

Well it seems that Bob has taken the discussion off track of Measure M.
Yes, I worked the last 42 years putting money into IRAs, employee stock plans, savings accounts and living on way less than I made so that I wouldn't be dependent upon Social Security. However, if I had placed my SSI deductions in a simply savings account, I'm sure I would have more than what I'll probably receive from SSI. So don't tell me I'm a welfare case.
My seniority isn't the reason why I'm voting NO on M - re-read Kathleen Ruegsegger's points - she does a great job on explaining my reasons. I worked too hard and for quite a while to allow our local government squander my money.


6 people like this
Posted by Bryant Annenberg
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 9, 2020 at 12:27 pm


Many are complaining about the Amador gym required repairs (a very valid complaint).
With such an urgent need, why are Measure I1 funds not being used? The teachers at Amador made a solid argument that the gym actually is a classroom, and that I1 funds should be used for the required repairs.

Well folks, this is a great example of political payback.

The bonds issued in the 90’s were not enough to cover all the items specified. Consequently, none of the 90’s bond money was spent for Lydiksen Elementary.

The PTA and parents of children attending Lydiksen were the primary backers (along with Jill Buck) of the YES campaign to pass the $270MM I1 bond.

So what is the very first major project of I1 bond $$$$....you guessed it, tear down Lydiksen and rebuild it.

Currently the Lydiksen project has had significant cost over-runs which PUSD now has to use a financial engineering tactic of “Lease/Lease-Back”. So instead of a capital expense, PUSD now has a lease agreement with the developer, an operating expense.

Lydiksen, located in the west of 680 neighborhood, has one of the smallest enrollments in the district. The POD buildings are in excellent condition, but the PUSD is tearing them down.
As Jill Buck stated at a public meeting “those poor Lydiksen kids” deserve better.

PUSD should pull the plug on the Lydiksen tear-down & re-build. The $40MM+ should be re-allocated to fix the Amador gym (and other projects)

No on Measure M

Bry


1 person likes this
Posted by Jan
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 11, 2020 at 1:55 pm

@Bryant Annenberg. The original amount they were asking for on the last bond measure had money for the gym & language about the gym in the measure, but at the 11th hour they (the Board with the input of some small group of influencers) removed it in fear that a bond measure that large would not pass. This came as a great surprise and disappointment to the Amador community. It's not correct to say, though, that the bond measure passed with the intent of fixing up the gym and then the money dried up. The reality is that the money was never there as part of the last bond measure.

Tony Battilega made the case to the school board that the gym was, in fact, a classroom. He hoped that if it could be defined as a classroom then the bond money could be used to fix it the gym under the last bond measure. The lawyers for the district counseled advised the district not to fix the gym, as the district could be sued for not keeping with the original intent of that bond measure.

So, now we have a new bond measure...


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 11, 2020 at 2:17 pm

Jan, The influencers, of which I was one, argued for an elementary school. They did not argue against the gym. I was there when Mr. Battillega spoke, and I supported the gym rather than Lydiksen. I asked several times for Lydiksen not to be the priority, obviously to no avail. I just want to be certain we stick to the facts.


1 person likes this
Posted by LanceM
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 11, 2020 at 11:14 pm

Kathleen - you keep saying "stick to the facts" and within the first post I read of your you state " Instead, those funds have been used mainly for raises and pension obligations." This is not fact.

I appreciate you thoroughly reading and providing many actual facts on this topic.

Maybe we should look at the extra $10-$20 million the district is (for lack of a better word) hiding


1 person likes this
Posted by LanceM
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 11, 2020 at 11:16 pm

Bryant - Unfortunately, the way the bond was written (and the law), PUSD can not use Measure I1 fund for the Amador gym.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 12, 2020 at 7:41 am

Lance, I could go into a long explanation of the deferred maintenance fund being suspended, funds being dumped into the general fund, and then being used for raises. Taken from A, moved into B, spent on C. It is a fact.

Amador’s gym was in I1. It was taken off the project list in favor of other things, including the needed elementary school. But it didn’t have to be removed (Lydiksen did not need to be rebuilt, for example and IMO). Technically, and I would agree even Measure M makes the statement in its resolution, that funds cannot legally be used for maintenance (I1 either). But, when you have ignored maintenance for years, things like Amador’s gym or all the roofs needing repair or the beams at PMS become a crisis and somehow that is allowed.

I don’t think I’m aware of the district hiding $10-20MM, but budgets are hydraulic in that money can be taken from A, moved to B, spent on C.


2 people like this
Posted by Piglet
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 24, 2020 at 2:49 pm

Thanks Kathleen for your thorough comments and research! I personally benefited from it a lot, although it didn’t change my decision to support Measure M. From problem solving point of view, admitted it is subjective as well, I think support M going to solve the facilities ran-down than not. How to monitor the implementation and enforce it is another topic. It will rely on each one of us to raise the concern at various meetings, enforce the transparency, even run for some vacant seats to be the decision maker. This discussion would not change the decision of those who have formed their opinions, but to exchange the different point of views so that those who haven’t not, will do their own research, and make their own judgement independently. With that, thanks again for sharing your views and please keep doing so!


3 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 24, 2020 at 3:30 pm

Piglet, can’t ask for more than for people to make informed decisions and to fully understand the issue. All good!


5 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 28, 2020 at 4:42 pm

A quick question about recent Yes on M fliers. There have been at least three in recent weeks, provided to me by a friend who is a parent. They have been addressed to the parent (not “Resident”). Interestingly, I am not receiving them. So are they being mailed only to parents?

Seems to me that would mean the campaign/district has written off anyone who no longer has or does not yet have children in the schools. Certainly a strategy, but a questionable one. Amazing the amount of money the lawyers, architects, contractors, unions, and other hangers on, who will benefit from this bond with hefty contracts, are putting into this campaign.

You can look at the FPPC reports here: Web Link Search on committee ID: 1423382.


4 people like this
Posted by Kiko
a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 28, 2020 at 6:35 pm

Kathleen...I received at least three Yes on M fliers and the were all addressed to ME, my legal name...not to resident or voter or occupant. So, maybe they don't like you...just kidding. I had three daughters, all went to Catholic elementary, high school and university. I guess I paid twice then. But to who and why they send the "propaganda" to is anybody's guess. It's political so maybe there is no logic.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 28, 2020 at 7:05 pm

I don’t want to be paranoid, but I was wondering!


11 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 29, 2020 at 9:14 am

Picking apart this latest mailing. (A phenomenal amount of money that could have been spent anywhere else in the schools .)

“With its rigorous academic programs and excellent teachers, Pleasanton Unified School District is one of the top performing districts in California in student achievement.” No mention of the two factors that make the real difference here, educated parents and dedicated students.

The flier mentions oversight, and we know that has not been rigorous with I1.

“Update aging schools to keep them safe and well-maintained.” Much of what we are spending in I1 is to fix maintenance neglect. There currently is $11,000 in the maintenance fund (instead of the $6MM ish that once was required (3% of total budget). Just how will our investment be well maintained? Web Link Item 17.5, attachment E “Other Funds”.

“Build a new career technical specialty high school to accommodate growing student enrollment.” If you read the 14-page resolution that is where the legal language of M is found, there is no guarantee this school will be built. Web Link “Inclusion of a project on the Bond Project List is not a guarantee that the project will be completed (regardless of whether the bond funds are available.)”. Bottom of Page 9 to top of Page 10 of the resolution. This is why the district can expand Donlon rather than build the promised new elementary school (which was called out in the ballot language).

If you watch the webinar, the superintendent states he cannot promise this facility. Web Link

“No fund can go toward administrator salaries.” This continues to be an outright lie. The Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee just approved bond expenses for the prior year (the auditor’s report) which included nearly $500K in salaries for administrators. From the resolution: “Limitations on Use of Bonds. Proceeds from the sale of bonds authorized by this proposition shall be used only for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of school facilities, including the furnishing and equipping of school facilities, or the acquisition or lease of real property for school facilities, and not for any other purpose, including teacher and administrator salaries and other school operating expenses.” The argument from a board member is that “other” is the key word and not everything between “used only . . . and not for any other purpose.”

Clearly, I am against Measure M. There are finer details that most are not likely seeing. We need to have real accountability, clear language, transparency about the interpretation of that language, and true commitments to projects. The district can wait two years (they have plenty of funds still from I1) and we can use the time to get this right.


8 people like this
Posted by Kiko
a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 29, 2020 at 10:17 am

Build a new school...I think I've heard that line before. That is why the fliers are nothing but propaganda. Thanks for all of the in depth information, Kathleen. I hope it does some good!


1 person likes this
Posted by 1 more thought
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2020 at 8:47 pm

I wish I had the time of the day that Kathleen has. She responded paragraph by paragraph.


3 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Mar 3, 2020 at 10:42 pm

This was very important to me, so I made the time. It helps that I’m retired and that I have enough background with educators to know what to look for.


5 people like this
Posted by plebe
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 3, 2020 at 11:34 pm

Pleasanton needs more Kathleens. We should put up a statue of her outside the PUSD offices. :)


Like this comment
Posted by Bryant Annenberg
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 4, 2020 at 6:53 am

Ditto Plebe

Bry


1 person likes this
Posted by Fisher
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2020 at 5:39 am

I am not the one wearing blinders. I supported Measure I1 and the 1988 and 1997 bonds. I see this very clearly; I’ve posted mountains of information where most of the sources are the district. This is a money grab, plain and simple.


5 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Mar 17, 2020 at 8:51 am

Fisher, that’s my statement. What fish are you trying to catch?


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