Town Square

Pleasanton school board votes to place $233 parcel tax on June 2 ballot

Original post made on Mar 5, 2009

The Pleasanton school board agreed tonight to ask voters to approve a $233 a year parcel tax in a special election June 2. If approved by at least two-thirds of the voters plus one who cast ballots in the election, the tax would take effect July 1 with the school district to start collecting receipts at year's end

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 5, 2009, 8:28 PM


Posted by Kelly F.
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 5, 2009 at 8:55 pm

I am in full support of the $233 parcel tax and the supporting ballot language. Good work PUSD school board! I'm looking forward to the rally on Sunday!

Posted by wow
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Did Pat Kernan vote for the parcel tax? If he did, something doesn't seem quite right there given that he isn't a property owner in Pleasanton yet voting for a tax on the rest of us.

Seems gutsy on the part of the school board to vote to go for a special election that will cost the district $150,000 to $200,000 without any supporting facts to indicate a parcel tax will receive the necessary support. Would putting the tax on the November ballot have made more sense so that at least if its defeated, the district isn't out as much money?

Posted by YES!!
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 5, 2009 at 9:13 pm

It's a no brainer-I'm in!!

Posted by no brainer board
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2009 at 9:24 pm

It's a no brainer that this tax will not pass. The district just commited itself to wasting $300,000 that could've been used in the classrooms. There seems to be this pattern of wasteful spending in the district. There's no way you'll get out votes.

Posted by Concerned about Pleasanton's future
a resident of Stoneridge
on Mar 5, 2009 at 9:33 pm

HEY NO BRAINER BOARD and WOW.....put your names behind your comments, what are the ages of your children in PUSD....ready to tell them they were not worth it......get over your frustration with a few adults and make the children a priority.....let's keep Pleasanton great.....$116.50 every 6 months, $19.42 per month...

Posted by living large
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Some people really don't waste a crisis. Hopefully 1/3 of our voters are smarter than the people we elected.

Superintendent Dr. John Casey is employed under a contract which ends June 30, 2010. His annual salary is $227,002, with a 12-month work calendar and 24 days of vacation. Medical and other health insurance may be purchased at his sole expense, and the District contributes $5,000 annually for life insurance premiums. At the completion of each year of the contract where he has worked at least 85% of the days, he receives a payment of $10,000 into a tax-sheltered annuity. He receives $1,000 per month as a transportation allowance and membership in professional organizations as appropriate and necessary. When Dr. Casey moved to Pleasanton, he received a $200,000 loan to help purchase a home in the community. This loan is interest free and must be repaid within 18 months of the termination of his employment. There is no provision or expectation that the loan would be “forgiven.” The current balance of this loan is $190,000.

Posted by Get over it.
a resident of Beratlis Place
on Mar 5, 2009 at 9:42 pm

The John Casey thing is so old in this argument. He is not the reason for this crisis. Nobody complained about his compensation when he was hired - he's been here for quite some time now. In addition, he really is an excellent administrator. So please, please, let's stop beating that dead horse.
VOTE YES on the parcel tax to help PUSD schools. It's a wonderful place for kids filled with absolutely caring individuals. Yeah, it's not perfect - nothing is. It is really, really great though. VOTE YES to SAVE OUR SCHOOLS!!!

Posted by Bob
a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 5, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Before the vote had been taken they were discussing the strategy to run the renewal campaign in three or four years.
This is a waste of much needed money, it will not pass.

" Concerned about Pleasanton's future" this is not about kids it is about adults salaries and you are a hypocrite.

Posted by Mike
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 5, 2009 at 9:48 pm

This is very reasonable. The real, after tax cost (remember you write off property taxes) for the resident in the 28% tax bracket is two payments of $83.88 or 46 cents a day. Can't get a postage stamp for that price.

Posted by Get over it.
a resident of Beratlis Place
on Mar 5, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Back to the John Casey thing. Just for comparison I have a just a BS from a state school. I work in biotechnology, I receive 25 days (5 weeks) paid vacation a year, full benefits, a daily food allowance through our cafe of $10, 401k matching up to 8% of my salary, 5 sick days, stock options - which I used to purchase a house and a car last year when things were still good - and compensation of $194k per year. I don't go to meetings all night long, I don't have to deal with kids and their parents, I don't have to worry about people blogging about how much I suck and am not worth the money. I work 8 hours a day - most days, I do often just put in 6 or 7. When I work from home I usually just check email. I spend time in my day reading this blog. Just because Casey is paid with taxpayer money does not give you all the authority to attack the man just because the economy is in the crapper. Chances are you pay my salary too. The company I work for makes many, many products that you likely purchase. I would take my job over his any day. It's easier and I am paid more.

Posted by no brainer board
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2009 at 9:51 pm

My children can face the economic downturn just like everyone else. They'll learn some valuable life lessons: living within their means and save for the rainy days.

Clearly you and the people who manages the district's money never learned those lessons growing up. It's time for the district to learn to survive in this depression era and stop acting like a spoiled brat waiting for her parents to come to her rescue.

Posted by Anne
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 5, 2009 at 9:53 pm

As a parent of children in PUSD schools, I wholeheartedly support the parcel tax. Economy is bad, and budget is tight. Some of us don't agree on certain school district issues and personnel perks. But in the bigger scheme of things, these are our children's schools that we are talking about here. These are our schools staffed with wonderfully nurturing and outstanding teachers who competetively and competently beat out hundreds of other teacher candidates to get into this sought-after district.

Everywhere I go, I am told by friends, co-workers and relatives how lucky I am that my children are in PUSD schools. Let us keep our schools the way they are - outstanding, highly-regarded and a source of pride. This is a very crucial time when our students, our children need us, folks. In the end, if we don't support our schools, our very own children and our very own community will eventually suffer. Let us not turn our backs on them.

I, along with my husband and all of our friends, will willfully and enthusiastically vote to pass the parcel tax in June.

Posted by Brad Vereen
a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 5, 2009 at 9:58 pm

Brad Vereen is a registered user.

I strongly support the parcel tax. The mid-year budget cuts were not the district's fault; this problem was caused at the state level. There will be numerous cuts at the district level, and unfortunately to maintain educational services a parcel tax is necessary.

It was a difficult decision, but it appears that PUSD bent over backwards to gain the support of the community before making this call. It's the difficult, but correct thing to do.

Posted by YES
a resident of Avila
on Mar 5, 2009 at 10:05 pm

The correct thing to do is always difficult.

Posted by Shared Sacrifice
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 5, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Dear Teachers & Administrators,

The parcel tax is going up for a vote.

There are many people out there like me who are waiting to hear what YOU are willing to sacrifice for my semi-annual payment to your coffers.

I have kids in PUSD and so far, I'm on the NO side of the fence.

Show us you are willing to cut back and keep all those great teachers and resource people and you'll get our votes (3 in my house.

Be selfish and try to save your own skin and you'll be working harder with less resources because the parcel tax won't pass.

You've got your assignment. Deadline at the end of May.

Good luck!

Posted by Liz
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2009 at 10:35 pm

The parcel tax will not improve education. Neighboring districts
have, for years, received approximately 20% less funding from the
state than PUSD, yet their test scores are comparable, if not
The parcel tax would be spent to provide raises in a time
when job and salary cuts are the norm.

Posted by Mom
a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 5, 2009 at 10:37 pm

My son came home from school upset because of things that his teacher told the students today. The teachers should not be telling lies to scare the kids.

Posted by huh?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2009 at 10:40 pm

"The real, after tax cost (remember you write off property taxes)"

Property tax can only be written off if you earn under a certain amount. Most of us in ptown won't be able to write off those taxes.

Posted by Really?
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 5, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Shared Sacrifice,
Teachers and administrators give up too much as it is.
We will not be giving up any more financially to support your kids education.
It's your choice to vote no.
Your child will have decreased time with instructors, overcrowded conditions (it's already pretty bad) and no administrators to enforce discipline.
You can then console your child whose grades suffer and who gets beat up at lunch due to lack of supervision.
Assignment done!
A+ for me!!!

Posted by mom
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2009 at 12:22 am

"Your child will administrators to enforce discipline."

My children learn their discipline from home and are taught to respect people and differences in opinions. Who in their right mind would leave it to the school to teach or enforce discipline?

"You can then console your child whose grades suffer and who gets beat up at lunch due to lack of supervision"

All 4 of my children receive my private tutoring everyday afterschool, so I have no doubt they'll make the grades. Their karate and Judo lessons will keep them safe during the lunch hour.

Thanks for your concerns. NO PARCEL TAX!

Posted by Pathetic
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2009 at 7:47 am

The newer teachers that lose their jobs, your peers, will have you to blame for your selfishness.
This tax will not pass, money wasted!

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2009 at 8:47 am

In response to:

Posted by Really?, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, 9 hours ago

“Teachers and administrators give up too much as it is.”

You mean like having to work throughout the year or after age 60?

The average Pleasanton teacher makes over $81,000 for a part time job. You have cost of living adjustments. You have a full retirement plan. You can chose to give yourself a promotion through step and column raises. It takes an act of congress to fire you, once you have been around for a few years, so there is not much pressure to perform.

“We will not be giving up any more financially to support your kids education.”

Don’t you DARE hide behind this argument. This proposed property tax is PURELY about the continued salary progression of adults.

“It's your choice to vote no.”

Thankfully you are correct on this one.

“Your child will have decreased time with instructors, overcrowded conditions (it's already pretty bad) and no administrators to enforce discipline.”

Yeah, things are really tough on the mean streets of Pleasanton.

“You can then console your child whose grades suffer and who gets beat up at lunch due to lack of supervision.”

Or my child can learn to stand up for himself, get along with others, and recognize that there will always be threats from those who try to scare people into supporting their view.

“Assignment done! A+ for me!!!”

Pathetic … and you wonder why people are so upset about the tenure system.

Posted by An actual PARENT
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2009 at 9:29 am

Wow. You people need to get a clue.

Do you think the teachers and administrators are swimming in milk and honey in those classrooms? My wife is a teacher and we spent approximately $3,000 a year in supplies and items for the classroom that go to educate YOUR CHILDREN. You're being asked to contribute an extra $300 or so each year and you act like you are being asked to contribute your left arm!

$81,000! Wow. That's alot of money! No, it really isn't. That barely will pay to live in a rental appt. in this town. Do you realize that most of our teachers have to depend on their spouse to work to make ends meet? 81K is not a lot of money.

It sickens me to think of the many people on this message board that probably live in the rich places in this town and are members of 1 or 2 more clubs (come on, how many of you are members of Castlewood AND ClubSport???) and you're balking at actually providing more funding to schools?!! You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. I bet your "food bill" at Castlewood each month is bigger than the entire parcel tax.

Shared sacrifice? Are you kidding me? These teachers are giving so much to our kids already. They are reaching into their pockets and PAYING for things that the school district has already cut. How much more do you want from them?? Do you want a pint of blood on the way into the classroom each day?

This community is a FAMILY community. People move here to raise their kids in a GREAT place. We have GREAT schools, GREAT parks, GREAT city programs, etc. If you don't want to support this community and keep it as one of the few great places in the Bay Area to raise children, they may I politely invite you to find somewhere else to live.

Find a nice retirement community out there in the Central Valley or something. The rest of us are committed to making this a GREAT place to live and will gladly dip into our pockets and pay a little extra to make sure OUR KIDS continue to have GREAT schools.

I assume that most of the people on this board are people who mistakenly think that because they don't have kids or their kids are out of PUSD that they shouldn't have to pay a parcel tax. Guess what? You're part of a community. Those great schools help educate our children and help them become good citizens of this community. Without that education and support system, you create a whole other kid of adult.

And if you are parent who isn't supportive of this tax, you should be ashamed of yourself. Tomorrow morning, look your kids in the eye at the breakfast table and tell them they aren't worth $300. That's essentially what you're doing when you vote against this parcel tax. Most of us are already paying more than that each year for Baseball, Soccer, Karate, Piano Lessons, Boy Scouts and everything else our kids do. Be an adult and do the right thing. Support and fund your kids education.

I will be out there voting for this parcel tax and I will encourage everyone I know to do the same.

Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 6, 2009 at 9:58 am

Sandy is a registered user.

I'm reposting this comment (which I don't usually do) because for some reason, there are two topics with the same title.

The list of cuts approved last week totals over $9 million. A $200 parcel tax is estimated by the school district to yield only $4.4 million per year, so by my estimate, $233 would only yield about $5 million.

There will still be cuts, even beyond the administration layoffs, regardless of the outcome of the parcel tax vote, to the tune of about $4 million. If the state's May revision to the budget includes additional cuts to school funding statewide, some cuts will need to remain in place even if the parcel tax passes.

The unions are in negotiations. I wish people would wait and see what comes out of them, before assuming that no one in the school district is willing to give up anything. Last year, the APT asked the district to use half a million dollars to ensure that every elementary school would have a science specialist, rather than taking that money in cost of living adjustments. I am sure that the teachers will do something concrete again to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to students' welfare.

Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2009 at 11:04 am

Maybe there are Pleasanton teachers who would willingly take a cut to save their peers' jobs, but ultimately, the APT will take the position they are told to take regarding pay cuts, by the state teachers' union leader.

Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2009 at 2:19 pm

It is a NOBRAINER that this parcel tax will not pass. We need major concessions from administrators, teachers and everyone else in PUSD. The market is trading at 1996 levels a drop of of almost 60% in the past 15 months.Unemployment in CA is over 10% but probably over 15% including people who have given up. The private sector has taken massive paycuts but the govt. and public sector employees march merrily along demanding their ever increasing pound of flesh. We have had revolutions for far less. The tax payer has had it upto here. Scare tactics cannot work any more. Maybe we should home school our kids.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Mar 7, 2009 at 10:22 am

I moved to Pleasanton about eight years ago. I have been highly impressed with the PUSD. I received my education in the Richmond School District System and came out all right. I went on to college (even with the large gaps in my educational experience). In my professional life I spent years visiting school sites throughout Alameda and Contra Costa County and in the Central Valley. I know of many sites which would love to have some of Pleasanton’s thoughtful, highly qualified, and dedicated teacher, administrators, support staff, and parents, not to mention the amount of educational programs and materials. This community’s dedication to its schools is impressive. Parents here expect the best from PUSD and PUSD responds to those expectations.

What is clear is that our problems were not created at the local level but, for the short run, will need to be dealt with locally; with or without a parcel tax as only one of the solutions. If the community decides the parcel tax is one of the ways it will support the schools then schools will be gutted less. However PUSD will still be working with less and will face large challenges in adapting and doing without all the resources they are used to. If the community feels the parcel tax is not a way it can support the schools then the PUSD and School Board will balance the budget, as it always has, making more hard choices and doing without even more resources. But PUSD will make due with whatever they have. I have no doubt PUSD won’t be thoughtful in their decisions and do their absolute best they under the circumstances.

I wanted more for my children than I received, and honestly more than what other children receive in troubled school districts, but for now that may not happen. I can adjust. We will have to lower some of our expectations, we will need to find new ways to support our children, our teachers, our administrators, and our schools support staff. That will be true whatever point of view you hold or whatever decision the community makes. I hope this community finds a way to pitch in no matter what happens. We will need it because things will change and we will have to change too. Expectations will need to be realistic and not the same as they once were. I hope anger begins to be directed towards Sacramento soon and less at those who take time to support our schools or at Pleasanton Unified School District itself; neither has failed this community.

Posted by Lynn
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:45 am

If you value children, education, and the future well-being of our community, Vote “Yes” on the Parcel Tax. If you don’t value anything more than your own interests and your own investments, Vote “Yes” on the Parcel Tax. $233 for the next 4 years is the cheapest, best investment you can make toward minimizing the loss on the value of homes in Pleasanton.

Posted by Trish
a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:56 am

Further example of PUSD's irresponsible spending practices is their decision to move the Parcel Tax from the May election date to a stand-alone special election two weeks later in June. The registrar of Voters office advised them that this would increase the cost of the election by 20-30% bringing the cost to near $300,000. The purpose of this decision is to manipulate the voters.
There is no cost too great for PUSD'S manipulation of our community.

No parcel tax!