Town Square

Pleasanton school board confirms $323M bond for March election

Original post made on Nov 13, 2019

Pleasanton voters will decide next year whether to maintain current funding levels for PUSD facilities after the Board of Trustees unanimously agreed Tuesday night to place a $323 million bond measure on the March 2020 election ballot.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 1:24 PM


Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Nov 13, 2019 at 7:13 pm

David is a registered user.

Here we go again. The district quote on what the bond will fund is somewhat misleading. It will be to upgrade or construct new school buildings and not actually fund any science, tech, math, art, etc and career tech programs and staffing. Yes some buildings need to be upgraded and we think portable or manufactured buildings are just fine. But, it’s disturbing that this is the second bond proposal in a short period of time. Makes me think there is an inability to properly manage taxpayer money. While the new property taxes for bonds may not seem like much to protect property values, consider the aggregate increases to property taxes from the State, City, special districts and HOA dues for some of us. We are 30 year residents that have been paying into this rabbit hole and are slowly being taxed out of the area like so many others.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 13, 2019 at 8:05 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Anybody else thinking south park homeless episode? “Change, anybody have any change”

“Here you go”

“Change, anybody have any change”


We seriously need to send a “enough is enough” message to these guys and the consultants that are just as guilty for syphoning off money by providing false justification for continued services to pursue an irresponsible bond measure.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 13, 2019 at 9:11 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

We couldn’t have expected a different outcome. They pay consultants to tell them what they want to hear, with our money of course.

Here is the link to the October 22 presentation: Web Link It will be years at best before the Donlon expansion is complete. There is no need for more money now; they cannot run that many projects at the same time. They’ve accomplished little in the three years they’ve had so far.

We need no votes to show up and for this district to wait until they have added elementary space.

Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Nov 13, 2019 at 9:23 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Absolutely, mind-boggling, STUPID!


Posted by Ptown mom
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Nov 13, 2019 at 11:21 pm

My kids will be out of school by the time anything new is built. Why would I pay an additional $1500 year in taxes for something my kids won't get to use. I'm already paying over $1000 year for a chromebook. No thanks PUSD. I'm not falling for the increase in property value argument either. Our property value will increase regardless. It's all about location and safety. Our schools will always do well because those of us who can afford to live here can afford private tutors.

Posted by Jeff
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 14, 2019 at 5:51 am

As a 50 yr resident I paid my dues to pusd. They can’t budget, they mislead us.Anybody know when it’s time to vote on replacing the board? Let the parents who wants this start a go fund me account and let them pay for it! So many long time residents on a fixed income can’t afford this. Is pusd goin to help them??? Also they lighting at Amador REALLY SUCKS!! Great job.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Del Prado

on Nov 14, 2019 at 7:49 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Posted by James
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 14, 2019 at 8:00 am

Reading these hateful, sickening comments, why would anyone want to teach in a place as anti-teacher as Pleasanton. You people make every excuse to cheap out on schools and give the schools no credit despite improving test scores. I get the feeling many people here are right-wing trolls, not real Pleasanton residents.

Posted by Willy
a resident of Old Towne
on Nov 14, 2019 at 9:54 am

Willy is a registered user.

James, give it a break! PUSD is a joke when it comes to budgeting funds. BTW, I am one of those right-wingers and I am a long-term Pleasanton resident who put 3 kids through the Pleasanton school district.

Posted by justthefacts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2019 at 10:00 am

Wow, everyone here is quick to criticize the Board and the school district but who is willing to step-up and run for the board? There are 3 seats up at the next election. If you're not happy then get involved and run for one of those seats. Its easy to sit at a key board criticize and second guess--put you money where your fingers are and be part of the solution.

Posted by Julie
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 14, 2019 at 10:02 am

The waste of funds is mindboggling.

You know what we didn't need? Chromebooks.

You know what we did need? The hole in the Amador Band Room fixed; it's been there for YEARS, leaking insulation all over the room.

That's a hard "no" from me on a new bond. Get your priorities straight, get some fiduciary responsibility, then we'll talk.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 14, 2019 at 10:43 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

justthefacts, if three don’t step down, it’s very difficult and expensive to beat an incumbent. All five have stated they support term limits, yet Yee, Arkin, and Laursen keep running; Miller is in his second term. Only Maher is in his first. We should hold feet to the fire to get four of them to step aside.

James, the district does not deserve to take all the credit for student success. It takes dedicated teachers, well educated families, hard working students, and an obvious support of multiple tutoring services. Happy to give credit where it is due.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 14, 2019 at 10:52 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

James, I should add there have been three bonds passed since 1988. The first two were a great success. Then years of neglect necessitated the third to include maintenance that should have occurred since and from separate funds, not bonds.

Do not forget how generous this community has been—volunteering, donating to classrooms and schools, PPIE, PTA, and many local businesses over and over and over again. Someone else stated it well, district staff and this board show no discipline, just palms out.

Remember too that this started as a “renewal” bid at $120MM, but consultants, paid for with tax dollars, convinced this leadership team to ask for $323MM instead.

The 1988 and 1997 bonds were nine years apart. They proved the first time that they deserved the second bond. It’s been three years since Measure I1, with no new classroom space or anything tangible to show for it.

Posted by Term limits
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2019 at 10:56 am

I don't know how to break the cycle of career politicians on the Pleasanton school board that don't even have any children in PUSD schools anymore. Unless there is a recall or an initiative for term limits, they appear to want to sit in the seats forever as career politicians do. Unless they are forced to adopt Area boundaries like Dublin, they will be there forever.

I will bet every building contractor who bids on any project will project a cost 5 to 10 times the actual cost just because of the fact PUSD cannot be trusted and the builder knows they will probably be terminated or sued or defamed irrespective of the quality of job they perform.

What other school district has a developer like Signature draw up plans for a school PUSD never intends to build, has internal strife due to tossing Rubino out (over him looking down?), tossing a principal out, accusing a developer of fraud, etc.

Posted by Bettie
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 14, 2019 at 10:59 am

Pleasanton has chosen to not exempt seniors and this is an added expense that we are not
benefiting from therefore I will vote NO!!!!! The school districts just keep asking for more and more.....has to stop.

I am not opposed to supporting schools, which I always do......but I want to choice where my money goes not someone else.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 14, 2019 at 11:34 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Bettie, there are no exemptions for bonds, only parcel taxes.

Term, Same superintendent who started the decline was the person who sued Signature, twice, and lost. Well, the first time he told them he would sue, and they sued the district.

Posted by Frankie
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Nov 14, 2019 at 11:56 am

Frankie is a registered user.

Kathleen, no it was the then anti-growth school board members that waved the litigation flag against the developer. Talk about a dumb move. I agree we need people to step up and be elected to this volunteer and often thankless public service. But there also needs to be a qualified and talented superintendent at the helm who is strong enough to make independent decisions with oversight.
We don’t have kids in the schools but that makes no difference to our position on a bond measure. We simply want fiscal responsibility to fix the basics and not go off first on tangents to build a new school or eliminate perfectly adequate manufactured buildings unless damaged.

Posted by Term limits
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2019 at 12:39 pm

Frankie, the board majority when Signature sued the District was absolutely pro-growth. Where did you get the information that the board involved with the WSignature properties lawsuit were "anti-growth?" The term limits on the ballot fight was with Pat Kernan fighting tooth and nail against term limits. Web Link. Isn't he the one that said the Signature agreement was ironclad in the first place? And isn't 2003 about when the Signature sued?

Why would you call Pat Kernan anti-growth? He is a land use attorney paid by developers to get developments approved, isn't he? And didn't he say he was just such great friends with the developers that Neal was going to be built ASAP? And Juanita Haugen and Kris Weaver were anti-growth? And Gloria Fredette?

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 14, 2019 at 12:48 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Frankie, in a meeting with Signature attorney and the owner, then superintendent told them he would sue. Trust me. He may have had board backing, but he was the blabbermouth. Why would you ever announce that?

Posted by Term limits
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2019 at 1:58 pm

Kathleen, I heard about the meeting and the story I was told is that the then superintendent who had a deal from Signature that they would advance the district $8 million for Neal signed in 2001, but PUSD did nothing and then stalled for two years (the District did nothing to advance the project), then in 2003 demanded that Signature advance them almost double or $13 million and if they did not agree to handing over the money, PUSD threatened to sue. Signature by that time realized that PUSD had no intention of building Neal and it was a sham. So Signature sued PUSD.

This is standard operating procedure for PUSD. For Measure i1, it asked the voters for $270 million in Nov 2016 and now with nothing to show for it, is asking just a little more than 2 years later for yet another handout to the outlandish tune of $323 million, except this time, the target of their "need more money" is not Signature properties, it is the voters.

The PUSD has not built a new school in two decades and said they would build Neal elementary with i1 money. It lied. Now it claims it needs more money, but they have not done anything whatsoever that I can tell. Lydiksen is still sitting there untouched. And they bought a bunch of laptops.

So the new superintendent is doing the exact same thing that the superintendent that started the downfall did.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 14, 2019 at 2:12 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

One correction, the $35MM is for an elementary. Never for Neal. All the growth is North (Donlon primarily). The point about the other shoe is he shot his mouth off giving Signature the upper hand. Maybe these guys need MBAs.

Posted by Frankie
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Nov 14, 2019 at 11:41 pm

Frankie is a registered user.

Oops. Mea culpa. I was accidentally thinking of the anti growth City Council during the initial PUSD & Signature lawsuit although Cindy McGovern was a major anti-growth if I recall. But Kathleen, you are not a trustee so when you say trust me and speak as if you were in the room, it makes me wonder about who is making the decisions. Anyways, Kathleen says a new elementary school but doesn’t the new bond speak of a new career path high school construction?

Posted by Neal debacle
a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 15, 2019 at 12:40 am

Frankie - the pro-growth city council majority of Matt Campbell, Sharell Michelotti, Becky Dennis, Tom Pico and Matt Campbell are not the ones that sent out the press release announcing that the school's opening date of Aug 2002 was to be delayed. That was what the judge said was a violation of a "time is of the essence" clause under the agreement. The judge also stated that a follow-up agreement, a construction agreement, needed to be in place to obligate the developers to build the school in a specific time frame and for a determined amount of money which was listed in the initial agreement as up to $8.5 million that were they to advance the District. The construction agreement was never even started because the school board never initiated having it drafted.

Ghielmetti agreed to provide $8.5 million of Signature's money upfront to build Neal Elementary School in February 2001 with construction starting in six months. There was never an open ended agreement to build a school someday in the future.

When Casey was hired, he said the demographic report did not support building Neal and then wanted Signature to advance money to the District for $13 million anyway because Casey wanted the money, not the school.

Unless an actual elementary school is built on the Joshua Neal designated property, the public will never issue any more bonds because they know the school board deceived the public once again on I1 by committing $35 MM to Neal. It was only after the public voted on I1 that they then started backing away on building Neal, which is exactly what the school board did in 2001 shortly after the $8.5 million agreement was signed. The commitment was for the school to open in August 2002 but the school board failed to even start construction.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 15, 2019 at 9:52 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Neal debacle, I fought for the $35MM to build an elementary school at multiple board meetings. There was never a promise that Neal would be that school. The growth is not at that end of town.

The rest of what you wrote is spot on.

Frankie, I worked in the PUSD and knew plenty of the administrators when I left and eventually went to Palo Alto. I have to look at the promise list for the new bond. My question, where would they build the career path high school? They couldn’t afford land for a new elementary in the north, hence the Donlon plan.

Posted by Neal debacle
a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 15, 2019 at 11:20 am

In early 2017, from what I remember, the school board by consensus directed staff to explore building the elementary school on Neal - Web Link The east side where the quarry operations are coming to an end has hundreds of unapproved housing units.

Then as always happens, they back off and start trying to find a property that is empty somewhere in another part of town. From what I recall, they signed a fee agreement with Ponderosa agreeing to not oppose construction of housing at the end of Valley Trails where the Evangelical Free church was. Then all of a sudden they wanted to explore building a school at the end of Valley Trails which they had abandoned so long ago it was when Murray school district still existed and probably when Dr. Ray Haskell was the superintendent of the Pleasanton Elementary district in the early 1970s. Then the school board admitted that they had not read the resolution of the fee agreement that had the clause in it about supporting and not opposing the housing development. This is when Ochoa was the interim superintendent. One idea is that there would be a magnet school at Neal until the housing starts appearing on the east side.

Then they started going into another analysis paralysis exercise regarding a K-8 school and as it always happens, they once again abandoned construction on Neal even though all the EIR work has been done and it has all the utilities there and everything and the plans have all been approved by the State already and over $6 million has been spent on it already, not including putting in and taking out traffic circles.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 15, 2019 at 12:30 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Exploring the land they, technically, own had to be part of the process. They even talked about selling or swapping it for other land and abandoned both ideas (they do not own that property free and clear). Making Neal a magnet school, at any grade level, presents other problems because it is not centrally located. I don’t believe there are state approved plans. The idea that Signature would build an elementary school was, I believe, because they could avoid most, if not all, of the state process. And even if approved, would the plan belong to Signature or to PUSD?

A TK-8 school when the east side is built is a viable solution for growth at the elementary and the need for another middle school.

The Valley Trails mess was rediscovered in a public records act request. A missed opportunity, although neighbors didn’t want a school there—shortsighted on all sides.

We have district staff and board members who are, in my opinion, not very good at prioritizing budgeting, planning, facility maintenance, school construction . . . and the answers to the missteps are always, “no money for operating costs” and “add some portables” and “if we just had more money”.

There is time; they can wait and prove they can deliver. I will support the next bond when we have the promised added capacity.

Posted by Neal debacle
a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 15, 2019 at 3:07 pm

Regardless of what PUSD says, the plans for Joshua Neal have in fact already been approved by the State and have been approved since 9/4/2002. They were submitted 7/17/2001. Please see Web Link

The bottom line is the East Pleasanton Specific Plan is starting up again and Neal needs to have been built ages ago. The quarrying activities have ended in much of the land off of Stanley. The environmental documents for Neal were also completed and approved 19 years ago. PUSD has been in a stalling act ever since.

They stalled by saying that they were going to build a 20 acre school on the Busch property that they had as an option site from Ponderosa. That was a lie as well. The 20 acre site now has a gated community for seniors on it.

Regarding the need for get a centrally located school, that would mean somewhere like the Alameda County Fairgrounds and I seriously doubt they would ever in a million years turn over their land to the school district. PUSD could re-open up the Pleasanton Elementary school that they closed in the 80s though and that could serve as a centrally located school.

In 46 years, PUSD has only built one additional elementary school (Mohr). All the remaining ones were built in the early 1970s or earlier including Lydiksen, Donlon, Alisal, Valley View, Vintage Hills, Fairlands, and Walnut Grove when the population dwarfed what it is today. They closed Pleasanton Elementary and opened Hearst in its place; therefore, that was a 1 for 1 exchange with no net gain. But the only net change is one additional elementary school in the last 46 years.

That is sad but true....what community around the Bay Area other than Pleasanton has such a dismal track record that with the explosive growth in nearly 46 years, they've opened just one additional elementary school?

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 16, 2019 at 8:33 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Neal debacle, I appreciate the history/details you are sharing. Because I want some additional balance in our conversation, I don’t want to lose sight of the housing cap the city imposed (was it 26,000 units?). The district had reason to believe there would be occasional growth bubbles that could be handled with portables rather than the obvious financial burdens of new schools. The state blew a hole in the housing cap, and not just for Pleasanton. And so portables suddenly became a permanent capacity solution and we still weren’t building new schools. The demographer’s reports have included portables as permanent capacity, at direction from staff, hiding growing enrollment so they could say a new school wasn’t needed.

We could keep drilling down on this—raises, increased contributions to the state for pensions, the desire to once again split out medical benefits from salary—and there will never be enough money for operating costs.

My concern has been that our board members, all good people really, are not very good at asking tough questions of the superintendent. How, for example, did he and the consultants justify going from a renewal scheme at $120MM to $150MM to $323MM? I’ll say the underlying reason is greed, but I’m sure the answer was it will cost just as much to run a campaign for $120MM as one for $323MM. Did even one board member have enough of a conscience or backbone to say: it’s too soon; we need to build capacity? The answer posted on the PW was—we need this now because we won’t be able to pass it if there’s a downturn in the economy. So, saddle homeowners now and oops, so sorry when taxpayers end up struggling?

It is too soon for this bond. There is $270MM already granted and most of it unspent with no added elementary capacity to show for it yet. This is a supportive and generous community (sorry I didn’t mention all the work of the various booster groups before) and they will be there when there is tangible proof of the district staffs’ and board’s ability to deliver on promises already made. In the meantime, they may want to dust off the language of the resolution to be very specific about exactly where money will be spent—by school would be appropriate.

Posted by Neal debacle
a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 16, 2019 at 9:16 am

The problem is that the District is asking the community for basically a blank check of over a total of a half a billion dollars, does not seem to accomplish anything, all the while staying silent regarding plummeting test scores that the District seems to be hiding. In terms of operating expenses, they appear to be spending a lot of time and effort and money in hiring bureaucrats at the District office and at the sites they are replacing actual teaching and textbooks with electronic sources.

From 2018 to 2019, the scores have fallen overall in all but one Pleasanton school, Mohr Elementary, as the Supt has continued to purchase Chromebooks and Apple computers to phase out actual teaching in favor of cobbled together videos and electronic sources and subscription services. According to Web Link which has the results, it compared the 2018 Met + Exceeded with the new 2019 Met + Exceeded, and the results are that Pleasanton scores have plummeted across the board with the exception of Mohr with a negative number meaning the scores are worse this year than last year.

You can look yourself, but here is a summary:

Overall PUSD Eng/LA =-1.96% Overall PUSD Math =-1.82%

Scores at all 3 middle schools are down. Around 1/3 of the White students do not meet math standards. The Asian and Filipino ethnicity outperforms other groups.

HP Middle Eng/LA -2.57% HP Middle Math = -2.97%
(Asian far outperformed other groups)
32% of White don’t meet Math stds; 27% don’t meet Eng/LA stds

PMS Eng/LA = -4.32% PMS Math = -3.93%
(Asians and Filipino outperform other groups)
36% of White don’t meet Math stds; 29% don’t meet Eng/LA stds

Hart Eng/LA = -1.93% Hart Math = -.75%
(Asians and Filipino outperform other groups)
36% of White don’t meet Math stds; 23% don’t meet Eng/LA stds

In terms of elementary schools, Mohr is the only school with rising test scores. Parents in the Tri-Valley now rave that the best elementary school in the area is called J.M. Amador Elementary off of Fallon Road in Dublin.

The only other Pleasanton elementary school with rising test scores were Math at Vintage Hills. Walnut Grove has seen the worse decline in Math scores. This is the one that uses the Jiji silent penquin cartoon figure as the 'electronic teacher' and this has had the worst decline of Math scores in the entire District with a decline of over 5 percentage points. In addition, Hispanic and Asian students are outperforming White students at this school. In the other schools, the Asian demographic test scores are much higher except where noted.

WG Eng/LA = -1.36% WG Math = -5.13%
Asian and Hispanic outperformed Whites in Eng/LA and Math Standard Exceeded

Lydiksen Eng/LA = -1.25% Lydiksen Math = -3.42%

Valley View Eng/LA = -6.63% Valley View Math = -3.06%

Hearst Eng/LA = -4.35% Hearst Math = -2.97%

Alisal Eng/LA = -.94% Alisal Math = -1.09%

Donlon Eng/LA = -1.22% Donlon Math = -.35%
Asian and Hispanic outperformed Whites in Eng/LA Std Met + Std Exceeded

Fairlands Eng/LA = -2.84% Fairlands Math = -.33%

Vintage Hills Eng/LA= -.37% Vintage Hills Math = +3.09%

Mohr Eng/LA = +5.5 % Mohr Math = +1.96%

From a high school perspective, at AV, Math scores declined once again. There was a slight rise in English scores. 40% of Whites don't meet math standards.
AV Eng/LA = +.51% AV Math = -.97%
Gr 11 – 30% don’t meet Math stds which includes 40% of White
Asians outperform other ethnicity groups

Foothill was similar to AV, but 41% of those in the White demographic do not meet Math standards
Foothill Eng/LA = +.31% Foothill Math = -.58%
Gr 11 – 31% don’t meet Math stds which includes 41% of White
Asians outperform other ethnicity groups

Village High Eng/LA = -14.41% Village High Math = -1.18%

All in all, the quality of Pleasanton schools is taking a complete nosedive. Perhaps this is why the sudden agenda item to put a massive dollar amount on a new bond. This is probably a distraction to hide the downward trajectory of the PUSD test scores.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 16, 2019 at 10:12 am

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Stupid white people, ruining it for all the Asians.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 16, 2019 at 11:17 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Neal debacle, would love to sit down over coffee. I looked at your link; systemic problem. I emailed board members. This is just embarrassing, and I believe evidence of the wrong priorities with precious funds and staff time being spent on efforts for a bond.

Bond consultants pick a March bid because they count on low voter turnout and a higher chance of hitting the 55% mark. I don’t know if we need an organized campaign to fight this, but I think we can be vocal in many ways to get the whole story out to the community.

Posted by Richard Michael 909-378-5401
a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Lots of talk about the past. Has anyone demanded that the board follow the law for the ballot language? Education Code 15122, Education Code 15272, and Elections Code 13119. By ignoring the law -- hiding required language -- and putting a sales pitch -- arguments for a yes vote -- on the ballot, they cheat.

Go ask Tim Tim Dupuis (county registrar) why he doesn't reject the ballot language for violating the law.

Talk is cheap. Do something now. Don't waste an opportunity.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 16, 2019 at 12:31 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Michael, thanks for the tip. I’ll see what I can put together.

Posted by Move the District Forward
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Nov 16, 2019 at 3:26 pm

I wasn't here during Casey or the Neal School debacle or any of this crazy history. But I am here now with three kids in the district. We can't keep looking backwards and blaming the anti-growth this or developer that. Do you know who else wasn't here during those days either? Dr. Haglund. From what I have seen in my years in Pleasanton is that whatever happened back then must have been taxing and emotional for all of you. Touch it. Feel it. Now let it go. We MUST find a way forward as a district. Most past your PTSD and give our superintendent a chance. He is such a good man, who wants to hear/receive input from the community and then execute the best plan. If you crucify him before he even has a chance to make a difference then how is anything ever going to change? We have to fund projects and walk through a lot of hard choices to get out of this mess, but if we never fund anything and just complain about the past we will be left with holes in the band room at Amador and an outdated Lydikson and a need for a new elementary school. We won't solve anything. Maybe for once, we fund the project and have hope and SUPPORT for the possibility that this outcome might be different. We are one of the only districts that doesn't fund our schools with a parcel tax and then we wonder why we have holes in the ceiling. And yes, maybe it is time for some board members to retire. While I am sure they have great intentions, their track record isn't the best.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 16, 2019 at 4:01 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Never fund anything? Two prior bonds; unification; PTAs; PPIE; boosters; volunteers; donations to teachers, classrooms, and schools; many, many tutoring facilities; and falling test scores. And $270MM in bonds just three years ago and no new capacity added yet. The history is important to understand where we were, what we did, where the district let us down (no matter who it was), and where we are going.

This is not about never; it’s about not yet.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 16, 2019 at 4:24 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

The two attempts at parcel taxes failed because the administration refused to be specific about where the money would be spent: X additional counselors or X library hours or anything else you could imagine from consumables to textbooks to class size reduction in K-3 at 20:1 or 15:1 for that matter (can’t do CSR, of course, because there is no capacity!). Happy to support and pass a parcel tax when those in power are willing to list where, exactly, funding will be spent.

Given the test score declines and the preponderance of tutoring facilities, maybe the board should have been looking at a parcel tax instead of a bond. (Parcel taxes are not spent on facilities; bonds are not spent on classroom needs like people or consumables, etc.) Just need the specific language; easy enough.

Posted by Lou
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2019 at 5:25 pm

Haglund has not increased any capacity in the District, has not replaced any portables with actual classrooms, antagonized the entire Chamber of Commerce membership in a speech where he said school capacity would only be added in neighborhoods with the cheapest and oldest housing stock in Pleasanton that has the greatest turnover.

His policies have resulted in falling SBAC scores at all schools except Mohr Elementary.

Haglund is not moving the district forward; from the comparison of 2015 test scores to 2019 test scores, he is driving it literally into the ground. *All* ethnic groups have decreasing test scores in English --- African Americans in English show at 10% decrease in English scores! Even Asian scores have fallen in English since 2015. Obviously the programs they implemented and the decline in morale seems to have had the effect of causing an across the board decline of scores for every demographic group!

Web Link

English: Standard Met or Exceeded
Year African
American Hispanic White Asian
2015 63.0% 55.0% 79.0% 90.0%

2019 53.61% 54.63% 75.23% 88.54%

He obviously is in way over his head. The board for some reason keeps hiring people with no actual superintendent experience. And VPs with no administrative credentials. The board agendas are now filled with items and resolutions like the recent "let's honor the ethnic group of the Sikhs" rather than focusing on curriculum, teaching, accountability and facilities. They even had an agenda item on approving the "pizza vendor" for the food service choice in the cafeterias. How absurd is that? Absurd given the pressing problems and declining test scores.

The teachers openly mock the leadership in front of the students. They make comments about VPs and Principals sitting in empty classrooms during the school day doing online courses at places like National University, etc. They also openly mock someone just hired at the district that got their doctorate by interviewing three principals on 'Common Core' in exchange for giving them each an Amazon gift card. The teachers have no respect for the leadership in place.

There is no way to move the District forward with the leadership in place. It is just moving backward. No wonder a number of my neighbors put their houses up for lease and are now themselves leasing in Livermore.

Posted by Sinking test scores
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 17, 2019 at 4:38 pm

Odie Douglas announced his retirement last year after the test scores came out following the flood of Chromebooks in the classroom showing that from 2015 to 2018, African American Met/Exceeds scores plummeted from 63% to 56.78% in English and 46% to 42.37% in Math. Now they are even worse. And all ethnic groups have declined since 2015. Test scores since 2015 have been in freefall in Pleasanton for all ethnic groups since the flood of Chromebooks, brought to you by the District Office and Measure I1.

This so-called equity initiative PUSD preached about promising if *all* students were forced to stare at Chromebooks doing mindless busy work, filling out Google tables, and "collorate" making Google slides all day, that this would solve the achievement gap. It is just a complete lie. How is this Jiji penguin working for you, Walnut Grove teachers, the school with the 5% nosedive in Math scores?

Chromebooks for all has meant declining scores for all. And parents have taken their children out of the district schools permanently.

The Laptop Immersion program at HP was started in 2001 after parents of non-GATE students complained they were not given access to GATE classes. To placate the parents the district started the Laptop program based on a program in Clovis to give non-GATE students laptop classes in Block and Science. The idea is that most of these Laptop students would not be college bound, but would gain data entry skills on computers to provide some meaningful employment after a high school diploma.

Now PUSD has forced Chromebooks in the hands of all students in almost every class causing the test scores to sink. Most of the tech firms in the Silicon Valley have studies hidden away in their files that show screen time causes permanent brain damage and addictive behavior in children. I doubt the scores will ever go back to where they were in 2015. Meanwhile, the board seems to be either oblivious about the decline in test scores and the fallacy of their "equity initiative" or are under some gag order to not discuss it.

And now they are asking for more money. Maybe they think giving every kid 2 Chromebooks will raise their test scores. And more MacBooks for teachers so they have 2 for each of them. What a lie.

And by the way, most of these people in the 1:1 device initiative video are gone, aren't they? Web Link

Posted by Secret Agent
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Nov 17, 2019 at 6:28 pm

Hey Sinking, how could you know that most of the tech firms in Silicon Valley have studies hidden away in their files? Sounds like you’re making stuff up.

Posted by Frankie
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Nov 17, 2019 at 6:41 pm

Frankie is a registered user.

Why is a break down of scores by ethnicity relevant? Seems racist to me. Putting a new school in the East Pleasanton area where all the quarries and industrial businesses is dumb. There is already Alisal, Harvest Park and Amador nearby. The traffic is bottlenecked during drop off and pickups. Donlon neighbors complain but try three schools within walking distance of Santa Rita and Valley, and now the thought of another? This area is way over saturated and putting ay school on or near industrial areas seems wrong.

Posted by question
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2019 at 6:54 pm

Are their any C-level tech execs left that still have their children in Pleasanton schools? Most of the ones that were here several years ago have moved. Some of the ones that I knew that used to live in the area forbid their kids to have Smartphones and laptops. Some didn't even have Wifi in their houses in line with Web Link

I'm not surprised that test scores have fallen across the board for all demographic groups and at all schools except for one on the East side near the Livermore border.

Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Nov 18, 2019 at 10:05 am

James Michael is a registered user.

Kathleen R...
"...maybe the board should have been looking at a parcel tax instead of a bond."
Except that a parcel tax takes 66% to pass and seniors can ask for an exemption and a bond takes only 55% to pass and seniors can't opt out. I think they know that a bond has a better chance and they'll get money and only the angels will know how they really spend it.
The state is still trying to "gut" Prop. 13 buy lowering the threshold form 66% to 55% for parcel taxes so even if this bond measure fails you can look for a new attempt at a parcel tax attempt in the future.
Nice try by putting this on the ballot when a low voter turn out is perceived to better the chances of passing. I don't think it's gonna work though because WAY TOO MANY people know about this and they are not happy.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 18, 2019 at 10:41 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

A parcel tax would be for soft costs like program support, especially with dropping scores. A bond is strictly what I’ll now call hardware—facilities and the recent addition of tech.

I agree the many are aware and unhappy, but you won’t get the board to believe it. They will spend a fortune and lose and blame it on anyone but themselves.

Posted by Ptown Mom
a resident of Avila
on Nov 18, 2019 at 7:20 pm

The chrome books were a terrible choice. The teachers seem to have a new curriculum in every subject and they don’t seem to know how to teach. A lot of my neighbors are pulling their kids from these schools and we are thinking of doing the same. Pleasanton used to be an outstanding district, not any more.

Posted by Best tutors in USA
a resident of California Reflections
on Nov 18, 2019 at 10:46 pm

The math decline under curriculum department since new Superintendent is rapid. All students who are passing math classes and exams do so because of tutors in Pleasanton. The curriculum department trys to make pathways that hold students back but they do not help the teachers with the tutoring and teaching.

The people in the curriculum can not do math and we are allowing them to be in charge of the math for the whole district? PUSD needs to demand better qualified employees to lead the math department for the district.

Posted by Livermore Parent
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 19, 2019 at 10:27 am

Pleasanton should look at Livermore to see what happens when you pass parcel taxes and school bonds. Livermore Superintendent Kelly Bowers gave herself a fat $60,000 raise after the last parcel tax passed and is now making $410,433 a year!
And after our school bond passed Livermore Superintendent Kelly Bowers hired her son and used the school bond money to buy nice buildings in the Livermore Hills for her office - kids got signs and bleachers. Bowers also uses borrowed bond money to pay around $600,000 a year in administrative salaries. Citizens Committee? What a joke, they just rubber stamp whatever she does.

Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Nov 19, 2019 at 1:22 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

Livermore Parent...Interesting, so I looked her up. I don't know if she does a good job or not but she sure gets paid well. From 2012 through 2018 her Total Pay and Benefits rose by about 39% or 5.5% annually and I'm pretty sure there was a 2019 raise. Now that's a future pension to be reckoned with considering the 3 point rule.
I'm sure Pleasanton is in the same leaking boat.

Posted by Livermore Parent
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 19, 2019 at 1:53 pm

James Michael - Look up the other stuff.
The two biggest lies on the bond measure will be:
No money will go for administrative salaries.
It's for the children!

And no, Livermore school are awful. Livermore Superintendent Kelly Bowers looks out for Kelly Bowers.

Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Nov 19, 2019 at 2:07 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

Ronald Reagan was famously quoted as saying that the scariest words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." Well, the scariest words in the Tri-Valley are "It's for the children". ;>)

Posted by FiredUp
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Neal Debacle - Test scores are down, so let's not fix the roofs. Kids can feel the rain on their heads until the scores improve. From the bottom of my child's asthmatic mold infested lungs, cough, cough, thank you.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 21, 2019 at 5:24 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

FiredUp, There is money in the current bond to fix leaking roofs. Info on PUSD website: Web Link. I suppose one could get fired about about that.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 21, 2019 at 5:34 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

If you look at the chart, there is $2.5MM slated for roofing this year. $13.1MM in 2022. $23.9MM in 2024. I wonder why fencing was the priority at $1.5MM or $30MM for the Lydiksen rebuild or 7,000 Chromebooks. It seems additional capacity and repairs to multiple schools should have been the initial focus.

Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Nov 25, 2019 at 11:24 am

James Michael is a registered user.

Just so you know, the State of California also has a bond measure on the March 2020 ballot. It's ironically called "Prop. 13" but it's nothing like the's a $15 Billion bond. Read John Coupal's commentary on the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association website.