News


School board approves modified 'lite' calendar

Calendar discussion includes parent survey results, feedback from board, community

The Pleasanton school board approved the modified "lite" school calendar starting in 2015-16 following a two-hour report and discussion on calendar options Tuesday night.

Board trustees also asked the staff to negotiate with the district's bargaining units to agree to use a slightly different calendar in the first year to create a longer summer, which will also be used as a transition period to the new adopted calendar.

The vote was 4-1 Tuesday, with trustee Valerie Arkin in dissent, asking that the decision be delayed for another year to gather more data and feedback.

"I just don't see a compelling reason to do it for 2015-2016," she said.

The other four board members were in favor of the staff's suggested calendar option, finding it addresses the concerns of students' learning loss and stress levels, and achieves the primary objective of having the first semester ending at winter break.

Trustee Joan Laursen stated that learning loss affects all children and requires a significant amount of reteaching during the school year. "Starting early allows a longer window to teach students what they will be assessed on," she added.

The modified lite calendar would schedule school to begin early August and end late May. The calendar also includes a one-week break in October, the first semester ending before winter break and a nine-week summer break.

The current traditional calendar has school starting in late August and ending in mid-June, the first semester ending in January, and a 10-week summer break.

However, to allow for a more normal length summer break going into fall 2015, the board suggested the district negotiate with the bargaining units to schedule school to start the following week and have no October break in 2015-16.

Of the 3,000 parents who completed the school district's survey on calendar changes, 35% were in favor of the traditional schedule while 65% supported one of four new options on the table, according to district officials.

Fourteen parents and one high school student addressed the board with their opinions during the public comment session, with most in favor of the traditional calendar and two parents supporting modified lite or early start/finish calendars.

Most arguments against the modified calendar included:

* the importance of a long summer break for families

* other school districts start mid-August and still have first semester ending at winter break

* extracurricular activities would be affected

* more research and conversations with parents need to be done

* hot weather during August.

In addition, Pleasanton parent Rodney Roloff claimed the information presented to the board was not truthful.

Pleasanton parent Sherry Wight agreed, saying, "The statistics (from the parent survey results) were presented on a deceptive side."

Parents Kelly French and Mary Machi said they favored the calendar modification, explaining that the change is what's best for all kids, not just the high school students -- who were a part of the rationale for modifying the calendar.

"They may not be a high school student now, but all our kids will eventually go through high school," French said.

In other business Tuesday night, the board unanimously approved the Local Control and Accountability Plan and the 2014-15 school district budget.

The board also adopted the "tentative agreement with the Association of Pleasanton Teachers", with trustee Jeff Bowser abstaining to vote, citing the public's concern of a conflict of interest due to his wife being a teacher and union official.

Also Tuesday, Arkin asked for a separate vote on a proposed updated contract for Luz T. Cazares, deputy superintendent and chief business official -- an item originally on the consent agenda. The contract was subsequently approved 3-2, with Arkin and Hintzke voting "no."

Tuesday's closed session included the approval of extending Pleasanton schools superintendent Parvin Ahmadi's contract by one year.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. in the district boardroom, 4665 Bernal Ave.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned Parent
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:24 am

I will vote for Valerie Arkin - she seems to have understood the concern of the parents. Hope she runs again.

I thought Modified Lite was chosen and yet the article says 8 week summer. Should this be 9 week summer?
I hope this is incorrect in the article.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by happy camper
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:27 am

We are disheartened by the entire process. We feel the decision was rushed and could have been voted on at a later date--The teachers that we talked too were not in support of this calendar. The reasons were not compelling to have such a big change....We are all for change but with more time & more feedback, better decisions are made.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Simply unbelievable
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:35 am

What was the outcome of the parent survey. Not one parent I spoke with was in favor of anything but the traditional/EXISTING schedule. Guess the board wants our students on a little remote island and not interact with surrounding neighbors in other cities via sports, activities etc.

Who is going to work with the summer camps of other cities, traveling sports leagues, rec sports leagues with open boundaries for other cities to modify their schedules to take our kids 3 weeks early and make sure everything is over by July so put kids can participate?

So much for traditional family vacations out of state in August...the vacation month for every family I know. Guess we have to ask family and friends to work around our over taxed, stressed and memory loss students because they are so special and have to go back to school early.

This board is utterly pathetic. Maybe they should move to Brentwood or the San Joaquin valley where other schools are on this schedule. We bought in Pleasanton for interaction with our neighboring cities, Brentwood, Tracy etc are not our immediate neighbors!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ki
a resident of West of Foothill
on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:56 am

As for the calendar itself, I'm in favor as long as eventually the summer gets shortened and school is in session year-round. That is what makes a real difference in childrens' learning, whatever the grade level.





 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 18, 2014 at 9:32 am

I like the new calendar, as do my kids. They usually spend August wandering around the house bored. About 70% of the parents polled asked for a shortened summer.

I didn't know Mr. Bowser's wife was a teacher and union official. Seems he should abstain from just about every vote the board considers. I'll remember to not check his name in the next election. Disgraceful that he ran.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cool
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 18, 2014 at 9:46 am

Maybe our Pleasanton Schools need a wake up call, like the Los Angeles Schools are going through


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mom of two
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 18, 2014 at 9:57 am

Oh yes of course the school board rushed into it hell they barely gave any time letting parents take a survey. Lets have parents take a survey the last two weeks of the school year I'm sure it's not a crazy time at all. I didn't even get a chance as I'm sure most parents were unaware. I'm also pretty sure whatever the consensus in the survey doesn't matter cause the school board has its own agenda. Prepare to lose money when families still will go on vacation in August on top of outrageous pg&e bills to keep kids focused in class.

Also if parents are so concerned with children not retaining what they learned maybe you should sit down with your children and have a refresher course. Do more educational outings be involved.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 10:40 am

I am disappointed but not surprised. Next step is probably a year round schedule that doesn't allow kids to participate in any substantive summer activitites at all. By then my kids will hopefully have graduated.

Meanwhile, as "Simply Unbelievable" noted, we must now bid goodbye to camps, music, drama, travel teams, etc. that run in August (some of which are unique and exceptional opportunities).

And for anyone with a high school student involved in a fall sport or activity (band, cheer, football, etc.)the pre season will now be pushed back to mid-July. So those families' summers are now reduced to just June.

Whatever stress we are saving our high school kids in December, we are giving them more in May. AP tests, finals, and spring EBAL tournaments all at the same time.....

Change is not always bad, but this change is just so disruptive and unecessary.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Unreal
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 18, 2014 at 10:46 am

Such an unbelievable decision. Thank you Valerie Arkin....the only one who seems to get it. Let's see how much money this decision costs when people still take their vacation in August.

The survey was just a way to say they did one but they had their own agenda. Survey didn't matter. They we're going to do what they wanted. What ever happened to these elected officials are to be listening to the community? We moved to Pleasanton specifically for the schools. This board has been so very disappointing aside from Valerie.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Valerie Arkin is the only decent school board member
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 10:53 am

The parents favored the traditional calendar in the survey. Valerie Arkin once again shows that the is the only one that listens to constituents.

What PUSD is doing is moving to year round school so that at some point due to lack of facilities, students will have to take turns going to school just like Lodi did. The union has always opposed opening new schools like Neal and a third comprehensive high school.

Use Yahoo to look up the Lodi year round school disaster.

They are disguising this as a 'loss of learning in summer' rationale when in reality, they plan cheat our youth out of summers and continue to have overcrowded schools.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 11:49 am

See above: "the board recommends that the district negotiate with bargaining units for early start/finish for 2015-16". The district negotiated Modified Lite with the Unions long before there was any public discussion of "options". There never were any options and there was NEVER any intention of letting the parents have a voice. These parent meetings were just a charade, so parents can vent and feel like they are part of the process. They aren't. We are being treated like 3 year olds having a tantrum. It is insulting.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by East Side
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Jun 18, 2014 at 11:51 am

35% favored Traditional. The other 65% favored some modification including starting early/mid August. Don't see how that equates to the constituents leaving things as-is.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Abc
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 12:05 pm

This comes as no shock. This board once again proves they have an agenda that is notsupported by the vast majority of parents.
So while you are marking these new dates on your calendar, please keep in mind two board members have terms ending Dec 2014: Joan Laursen and Jeff Bowser
It's time to replace them with members who listen to the community.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I agree with everything Reasonable has posted…
Except, we are not being treated like 3 year olds throwing tantrums… We are throwing tantrums, but it's because we are being treated like we are stupid! It's been this way since we lost Mary Frances Callan.
As far as the survey is concerned, you were forced to vote for your top three, so even someone who voted for "Traditional" was forced to also vote for two modified options…
But since only two options were presented to the Board, why were we shown 5 options?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Very upset
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Since there was some concern regarding not getting enough surveys back from high school parents. Why not in August when we register for school have attached to the Emergency Information sheet the survey. Then at registration when the kids are having their pictures taken for their ID cards have someone there to collect the surveys. I'm sure the percentage of returned surveys would be much higher! Just a thought...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by What A Sham
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 12:54 pm

East Side - The survey asked the question " In general, are you in favor of modifying our school calendar" The results were 60/40 in favor. However, a lot of parents I've spoke to who answered 'yes', qualified that answer in the comments section 'yes but only if we adopted a calendar such as Palo Alto with a mid august start date'. There has been no any mention of the survey comments....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by East Side
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Jun 18, 2014 at 1:39 pm

What A Sham - Palo Alto's calendar is basically the Early Start/Finish calendar. If that was such a popular choice, then why was it only 20%? So only Wednesday before Thanksgiving off and then then an extended President's Day weekend (prior Thursday off through President's Day) are more favorable?

Based on the survey results (like it or not), the Modified Lite option is a balance among the 4 options that is different than the traditional calendar, where the 4 options had a combined 65% tally v. 35% of keeping it the same. I'm just not seeing where the numbers support "the majority wants no change". Perhaps they are more vocal, but not necessarily the majority.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by What A Sham
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 1:58 pm

East side - Yes, I think it is preferable to a lot of people. I agree that the survey showed that 60% want some modification to the calendar but the results also show that 55% do not want a 4th August start date or a week off in October.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by What A Sham
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Its also worth noting that only 3,000 of the possible 15,000 (one vote per child) were cast.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 18, 2014 at 2:34 pm

This is not the last you will hear about this schedule or the superintendents and boards tenure. This is just the beginning.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 2:35 pm

I will continue to take vacations in august, and my kids will not interrupt summer activities. They are worried about absences because of winter break in the traditional calendar? Well, wait and see the many absences they see in august.

And a post above mentioned Jeff B. I agree, he should never have gotten elected and should refrain from voting because of conflict of interest - his wife is a teacher very involved with the union. I will continue to vote against him just like I did this past primary election.

Thank you Valerie Arkin for being a true advocate of the students and community. The rest of the board members are awful and those who do not have a college degree should get one, maybe then they will start to understand how dumb an aug 4 start is.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walnut Grove
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 18, 2014 at 2:36 pm

I am deeply saddened by this decision. Valerie Arkin, thank you for doing the right thing. You have my complete support.

Yet again, the School Board makes a huge decision that is not in our kids best interest.

Very disappointing. Once again, I'm left wondering why I moved my family to town. It was for the schools. Not so much anymore.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael Miller
a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 18, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Modification of the school year is not the problem. It is the process used. Reassigning a Principal to Administrative leave is not the problem, it is the process. Choosing which teachers get jobs within the district when moving from one school to another is not a problem, the process is. Do you see a pattern?
As to the modified schedule - where I grew up school started the day after Labor Day. First semester finished before Christmas Break. We did not have a week off for Thanksgiving (only Thursday and Friday) or even a week off in October. We did have off for Jewish Holidays in Sept and Oct (3 days total if they did not fall on on weekend). No day off for election day or Columbus Day or Veteran's Day. We did have a teacher workday or two and there were 1/2 days in Elementary School for parent -teacher conferences. WE DID NOT HAVE LATE DAY every week. We also had 8 periods of school (including lunch) everyday and NOT seven (including lunch). How was that possible, start after Labor Day and end by Christmas.
Spring Semester started the first business day after January 1. We had off from Dec 25 through first business day of new year. Only one week, not two. We did have a mid-Winter Recess (called Ski Week for those familiar with the Piedmont School District schedule) and a week or two days longer off for Spring Break in April around Easter (subject to change for use of snow days). We had off Martin Luther King Day and Memorial Day. Mid-Winter recess was scheduled to provide President's Day off. Again here, there were a couple of teach work days thrown in as well as a series of 1/2 days for Elementary School parent/teacher conferences. We ended the second or third week in June depending upon where some of the holidays fell.
Why is this such a challenge for the School Board?
As to the impact on the citizens of Pleasanton -
Day Care issues - will there be Day Care and babysitters available for the early August starts. If not, will parents be forced to use vacation time to get kids to school and not for true vacations
Summer Camp and other Summer program issues (ain't gonna be no refunds if you need to get to school before the session ends)
Vacation schedules with family you travel with or visit are impacted
I can simply state - if I had a young family and had a choice of PUSD with this new schedule and neighboring districts in Dublin, Livermore, San Ramon and Danville - I would choose ANY ONE of the others over Pleasanton because of this schedule. Thankfully, my family is much older and the impact on us with this change will be minimal, but this schedule is a mistake for the people of the City of Pleasanton.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Will Boycott Early August Start
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Apparently the taxpayers in Pleasanton have no say into their schools, why am I not surprised that the board did exactly what they wanted. Well, no matter what early August start date they may try to force down our throats my kids will be absent most of the first two weeks of the modified schedule, lets see, what are kids worth a day now to the PUSD, is it $50, so that means the PUSD will be out $1,000. Also, does anyone know how to start the process to recall the school board?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bye Bye
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Jun 18, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Teachers with kids in neighboring districts will leave...are other districts using the same calendar or did Pleasanton move forward without considering Dublin, Livermore, SAn Ramon, Castro Valley?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 3:29 pm

I don't see the big deal. If you want your kid to miss school for a family vacation or a traveling team just sign them out of school for the applicable days.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Remai
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 3:52 pm

I have been following this since it cropped up 2 years ago in discussions in Pleasanton. (I am not a teacher in Ptown, just heard rumors floating around). Livermore, Dublin AND San Ramon Unified have expressed interest in changing as well. Livermore adopts a 2 year calendar, so they can't change until after 2015-2016. From what was presented at the Board Meeting May 27th, Dublin has had internal talks with staff over a proposed change. No district is moving yet on this besides Pleasanton. I got the sense that they were waiting to see how it unfolded with Pleasanton. There will be issues--one thing that was talked about at the May 27th Board Meeting was how to reconcile ROP--as the other districts will be on different schedules. The idea of adopting this a year in advance was to give the school district a full school year to "iron out" problems. The Board members were signalling at the May 27th meeting that they wanted something with an October break for the high school kids to have a break to fill out college applications and/or visit universities. Also, besides the fact that they wanted the winter semester to end before winter break, this was pushed because the AP students have to start learning over the summer so that they complete their coursework in time to take the AP test in May and have nothing really to do until school ends in June. Not everyone will be happy, but at least a parent survey was issued. People asked about that back at the March informational meetings--and nothing happened. The board members decided to postpone voting on this at the June 3rd meeting and several expressed a desire for a parent survey. So even though it may have been hasty, it was put out there. Superintendent Ahmadi didn't seem to think it was necessary, but the board pressed on with it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Erik
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 18, 2014 at 4:05 pm

In response to East Side asking how the majority supported the traditional schedule:The statement was, "65% supported 1 of 4 new options that were on the table." Not, "65% supported modified lite." That implies that the 65% were split among the 4 new choices. What they aren't telling us is the actual percentage of votes for each specific option. 65% voting for 4 new options means an average of 16.25% voted for each specific new option. That would make a clear majority for the traditional schedule. If 5 candidates are running for office and the incumbent gets 35% of the vote, and the 4 remaining candidates split the remaining 65%, you don't say, "Well, 65% want change, so lets give the spot to a new guy!"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Agent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 4:52 pm

I know a good real estate agent if anyone is looking to sell.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Flat out wrong
a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Is there any way to try and reverse this decision? Petition? etc?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by does this mean?
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 18, 2014 at 5:02 pm

So does the summer of 2015 will only have six weeks?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Erik
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 18, 2014 at 5:03 pm

When the 2 board members' terms end in December, vote for advocates of the traditional schedule. With Valerie Arkin, that would give the board a 3-2 majority in favor of the traditional schedule. Maybe then it can be reversed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by What A Sham
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Does this mean - Yes, unless the district can get unions to agree to the Early Start/Finish option for 2015/16 only. Then the start date would be August 11th, so 7 week summer.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by What A Sham
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Does this mean - sorry, forget my earlier post. 2015 summer would be 7 weeks with August 4th start or 8 weeks with August 11th start.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 18, 2014 at 6:00 pm

>> Tuesday's closed session included the approval of extending Pleasanton schools superintendent Parvin Ahmadi's contract by one year. <<

No comments on this?

I was not at the Board meeting. Does the contract renewal refer to the 2014-15 academic year? If so, what would have happened, had the superintendent's contract not been renewed? Would she simply have been dismissed? Can it really be that simple to remove a superintendent?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Valerie Arkin is the only decent school board member
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Two people in favor of returning to the traditional calendarneed to run against Laursen and Bowser and win (fairly easy), then once sworn in Arkin and the two new board members can:
-reverse the calendar decision
-put supt on leave for the various mis-steps and bungles (itinerant supt anyone?) and have her do data entry at the district office
-hire someone decent for the supt
-put Vranesh back as principal
-hopefully they won't use the same search firm that they spent $20,000 to $30,000 on the the candidate they came up with Ahmadi that was 6 miles away.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lisa
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jun 18, 2014 at 6:13 pm

I will make sure to vote for Valerie Arkin the next time I have the opportunity.
My children will not be starting early August and will miss the first couple weeks of school. Hopefully this will cost the district a lot of money for making such a poor decision.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by lll
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Usually the contracts for the superintendent and directors are 4 year contracts but what they do is each year they extend the contract by a year so there is always 4 years left on the contract. That means those administrators get a big cash buyout to get rid of them. They can leave at any time but we cannot get rid of them without financial consequences. Another one of those scams by the administration.

Perhaps we can elect some school board members at this next election that can change this policy. Contract renewals should not be every year. I can see on the 3rd year of a contract to renew it but not every year. The contracts should also have some reciprocation clauses. They should lose out in some of their compensation/benefits if they resign before the end of the contract. Sort of like a vesting period. This is how it is done "in the real world." We definitely need to make sure that the two board members up for reelection, Bowser and Larson, are shown the door and replaced by community members who care about the community.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not in favor
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:09 pm

There must be something that we as parents can do to overthrow this ridiculous decision. I spoke with at least 30 parents today who are not in favor of the new calendar abd who feel powerless based on what they have seen happen with this decision. Clearly there are enough parents who disagree that we should be able to impact what happens. I won't send my kids to school on 8/4. How will the district plan to handle those who boycott early August start and don't plan to send their kids to school until the end of August?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A Neighbor
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:27 pm

To Lisa and all others who plan to not start your children on the early Aug first day of school: The only ones who will be hurt by your actions are your children. Your protests will be accurately seen as political in nature and will send the wrong message to your children that taking an intractable position (like we see in Congress every day) is somehow a productive solution.

I suggest that you instead consider sending your children to school on the mandated date and in the meanwhile organize to recall or vote out the school board members who supported this decision. Rational heads are more likely to prevail and that's how it is meant to be done in this country. Mimicking the bad behavior of Congress over this issue sends the wrong message, perpetuates entrenched ideologies and will end up only punishing your children.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by 3-cheers for change
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Partially for "Simply Unbelievable"... but really it's most of you. It's comical what you are saying. Throughout this post, "you" will refer to everyone who has complained about the calendar change.

This calendar change is one of the most beneficial things students could ever be offered. Just because it is "traditional" does not mean it's the best. Our present academic calendar has been around since the 18th century and was designed in order to support agrarian economies. Is anything created in the 18th century functioning? Are we an agrarian economy? No. Open your minds. Ten weeks of summer does NOT set them up for success in recall of information. A 2-week break before semester grades are due does NOT set them up for success in recall of information. A 12-week stretch with no break between August and November does NOT set them up for success in having the drive to work hard for so long.

You're upset about losing the beginning of August? As you yourself pointed out, EVERYone vacations in August. How about we look at the glass half-full since you can't do anything about it-- it's already done. Think about the WONDERFUL and PEACEFUL vacations you can take for a week in October when there is NO ONE on vacation. Ever looked up plane tickets for mid-October to ANYWHERE? Disneyland crowds? It is amazing.

Regarding the horrific prospect of only 9 weeks of summer... We are literally losing ONE week. ONE WEEK. Do you always vacation for all 10 weeks of Summer...? There will be little to no penalty on your precious vacation time. Perhaps try the beginning of June on for size! A wonderful time of year! And now a viable option for vacation. Since, as you also pointed out, August is "so hot", maybe it's better you're not vacationing then. Do you think that school will make your kids more hot than they would be if they were somewhere else? You realize they are in air-conditioned rooms all day, correct? Although you would probably complain that the AC is too cold.

Also, YES. Leagues, clubs, sports, whatever will also change. If 100% of PUSD change (and other tri-valley school districts to follow.. did you think they didn't think of that?), then 100% of PUSD-affected organizations will have to change as well.

Hope you're all able to accept the change, knowing it's happening no matter what. Fortunately, your kids support the change and they're the ones in school. No, not ALL parents were against the change; not ALL teachers were against it; and not ALL students were against it. I fall in one of those three categories, so hopefully my word is just as important as you think yours is on this ridiculous whine-fest.

In closing, look to the words of JFK: "Change is the law of life. Those who look to the past or present are certain to miss the future."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by L
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jun 18, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Thank you to "A Neighbor" by inserting some rational thinking into this argument. He/she is SPOT ON by saying that boycotting school for the first two weeks is only going to hurt your own children. They're really going to thank you for the extra vacation time when they have two weeks of school work to catch up on, I'm sure of it.

Showing your children that a couple more weeks of vacation time is more valued to you than their education is going to come back to bite you in the future, as well. Have fun with that one.


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Posted by Totally (Word removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff) Off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 9:16 pm

I am deeply disappointed by both this decision and the way the district officials characterized the survey.

These are the Parent Survey results for the five calendar options, as posted to the link given in the article:

Traditional - 35%
Early Start / Early Finish - 20%
Modified Lite - 18%
Modified Hybrid - 17%
Modified - 10%

I am utterly appalled at district officials' characterizing this survey as "Of the 3,000 parents who completed the school district's survey on calendar changes, 35% were in favor of the traditional schedule while 65% supported one of four new options on the table, according to district officials." That is an incredibly deceptive characterization of this survey. Pleasanton Weekly should be equally ashamed of reducing something this important to a statement which is so deeply inaccurate.

Just because someone supported "one of four new options" does not mean that they supported ANY of the other three, much less the district's choice.

A more correct (but still deceptive) statement is: District officials stated that "Only 18% of parents approved of the option chosen by the board, so we're going with it! Don't like it? Tough! See if you can do anything about it, baby!"

The only board member with any integrity is Valerie Arkin, who has my vote. None of the others will ever get any support from me in anything that they do. This decision should not have been taken until more consensus-building had been done around the community.

In the survey results link, there's also this incredibly deceptive statement that Modified Lite "Enjoys broad appeal..." (Hello? Just 18% of parents and 30% of staff is NOT broad based!) "...and most closely resembles or aligns with
other popular options" (Hello? The majority of parents and 48% of teachers voted against adding an October break; Modified Lite does NOT align with the most popular options!)

Here's the link to the survey results again, for those who want to take their own look:

Web Link


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Posted by Totally (Word removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff) Off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Response to "3-Cheers for Change":

"Just because it is "traditional" does not mean it's the best. Our present academic calendar has been around since the 18th century and was designed in order to support agrarian economies. Is anything created in the 18th century functioning?"

Actually, yes. The U.S. Constitution and the spirit of democracy is still around, as are many of our democratic institutions. Although, as we see here with the Board's decision, democracy is not in good shape in our nation at present. Other concepts from the 18th century, such as the right of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, seem pretty sound too.

As for mandatory public schooling? That's not an 18th century invention, or even really a 19th century one. Perhaps the tradition that should be thrown out is the far briefer one of allowing PUSD management to run the district contrary to the wishes of the residents? (I'm not saying we couldn't switch calendars at some point, but it's clear from the survey results that the district hasn't made the case to the parents. Whose children are being educated, exactly?)

The current PUSD calendar, at the elementary level, already has about 2 dozen non-productive days among the "180" educational days. There are already 7 minimum days, Halloween, Valentine's Day, a few days before Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring Break, and about 3 weeks in late May / early June where not much happens in terms of rigorous learning. It's good for kids to "just have fun" sometimes, but that's NOT the purpose of school and certainly not on the taxpayers' dime! Let parents add the fun, outside of school hours. Anyway, to this pile of wasted time, we are now adding a few more days in October. Because with the new 1-week break, there will now be a few days of reduced learning before (especially the Friday, which will most likely be a minimum day) as well as on the return after. It's not at all clear to me that this offsets the marginal benefit of reducing summer amnesia by 10% from 10 weeks to 9.

I found your comment "A 12-week stretch with no break between August and November does NOT set them up for success in having the drive to work hard for so long" to be completely at odds with my own assessment. In the real world, including U.S. colleges and most other educational systems around the globe, people including students work hard for 12 weeks at a stretch and frequently much longer. Certainly most of us who didn't go to school in PUSD worked much longer and harder in school than that, and as some posters mentioned above, we did it fewer breaks than PUSD already has, even before "Modified Lite".

"Lite" is right... we are work-ethic lite around here. With Modified Lite, we are now taking a week off every 2 months or so. That is a horrendously bad message to send to our children regarding the need for them to have a strong work ethic and sustained self-discipline to achieve their best in the 21st century.

We are also giving the shaft to every dual-income family who cannot easily support yet another week of vacation in the middle of what should be an extended school year.


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Posted by importantinfo
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 18, 2014 at 9:41 pm

For those of you considering keeping their kids out during the first part of school, you could possibly lose your spot. Look at the attendance policy regarding first part and last part of school. This was part of a Mohr Elementary newsletter.

First and Last Day of School
Attendance Policy
Pleasanton Unified School District has published the calendar for 2014-2015 school year.

The first day of school will be Monday, August 25, 2014.
The last day of school will be Friday, June 12, 2015.

Students not in attendance on the first or last week of school due to extended vacation or other optional activities will be dropped and may have to be overflowed to another school in Pleasanton upon their return.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Jtjh - >> Tuesday's closed session included the approval of extending Pleasanton schools superintendent Parvin Ahmadi's contract by one year. <<

No comments on this?

Valerie Arkin voted 'No' on this and said she wanted further discussion on improving the evaluation process.


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Posted by Alan Heckman
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 18, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Hello Pleasanton Families. I am the parent from Livermore that spoke at the general public comments about our Charter High School - Livermore Valley Charter Preparatory High School. The website for the school is Web Link
From there you can get information about the school including admission information on how to enroll. It is a public school with zero tuition, but privately run.

I must admit I was pretty shocked to hear what was going on in your district. Being in Livermore I really don't pay much attention to Pleasanton district schools, but we have a lot of active parents in our charter high school that are from Pleasanton, and I been hearing (and reading) a lot. Looking at the audience where the parents and children are forced to take a back seat to your union reps speaks volumes.

I hope that you can take a minute to look at our school, and if interested learn more. The calendar is just one issue - You as a parent know your kid best and can determine what is best for them. No parent or child should be taken for granted.

When you can vote with your feet, everyday is election day and the only vote that counts is yours.


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Posted by Completely Annoyed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 11:24 pm

It is very clear that this board (Valerie Atkin excluded) and the Superintendent do not respect the opinions of the families in the district and are merely interested in inflating their own credentials based on whatever intended results this decision achieves. What are the alterior motives behind this change? Are they hoping for better test scores, hence better funding? Give me a break: a parent survey came out amid the craziness of the last few weeks of school, then the results were completely skewed and twisted to "support" the already decided upon calendar choice, NO communication whatsoever from our school site regarding any of these calendar "discussions" or decisions. Then a vote and decision after school gets out at the last meeting until August?! How are we letting this happen to our district?! I don't even want to imagine what is next.

What can we do to overthrow this vote??? We need to do something. Who it he heck wants to be going to school in August?!?! Come on, give me a break.


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Posted by Valerie Arkin is the only decent board member
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 12:25 am

It is time that the parents stand up and the principals stand up like they did with Mary Frances Callan in Palo Alto Unified and demand the superintendent's resignation. It worked there.

Web Link

The principals, tired of being pushed around for challenging Callan, formed their own association called the Palo Alto Management Association and successfully forced Callan to retire.


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Posted by Parent of 2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 12:54 am

I would suggest that everyone views the video of the meeting when available. Even if you support the modified calendar, you will see that that the District has been underhanded over this matter. There has only ever been one option and it was decided a long time ago. The parent survey was a farce. Just before the board's vote, Ahmadi revealed that the district had already agreed the start/finish dates that corresponded with the "modified lite" plan, as part of their collective bargaining agreement. The agreement stated that, if the board voted for "modified lite," that the plan would be implemented or the board could opt to go with the traditional option. But, if the board had voted for any of the other options, the district would have to go back to the bargaining table with teachers and staff before the changes could take place ie not in time for the proposed 2015/16 year. It was clear that the Board had no idea. Whether they were in favor of the modified lite or not, at that point, the Board was obliged to throw it out and start again. And, in my opinion, Chris Grant relinquished his right to vote because he wasn't there for the District presentation or public comments.


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Posted by Evan
a resident of Ironwood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 7:02 am

The new school calendar will work fine. My kids raised in Texas started school mid-August thru late May with a one week spring break. October break for one week is equally fine. I applaud positive change as this was well thought out.


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Posted by Unhappy Parent
a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 19, 2014 at 7:41 am

I believe this was very sneaky and underhanded. I knew nothing about any of this until the last day of school. I am tired of the Teachers and the School Board doing what works best for the Teachers. I will be looking into Livermore Charter School and online school. Will not be voting for this board again.


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Posted by new idea
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 8:12 am

Maybe we should confront this in another manner.

Just recently a judge ruled tenure was unconstitutional.

Maybe this matter should be looked at by an outside professional person to see if the way this matter was handled was properly done. Seems like a lot of the "voting" had already been decided and the survey was just a farce.

Nothing is written in stone.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Avila
on Jun 19, 2014 at 8:48 am

Lost in all this is that Parvin got a year extension. All the turmoil at the schools and her failure in leadership and she was not held accountable. Sad. In addition she is now bringing her cronies in as Principals. Sad.


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Posted by Parent of 2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:18 am

Evan - mid August is not the 4th! And really this backs into last week of July because of walk through registration, laptop boot camps etc


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:40 am

Parents need to flood the superintendents office with phone calls and emails. as well as sending emails to the Board. Don't just take this. Stand up and do something about it.


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Posted by L
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jun 19, 2014 at 11:15 am

Unhappy Parent - why do you think this new schedule is good for teachers? Teachers have families and like their vacation time, too.

I love how everything is blamed on teachers.


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Posted by disgusted
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 19, 2014 at 11:25 am

I am constantly amazed by how entitled the people of this community believe themselves to be. Time and again people here demonstrate that they feel any decision made about changes at school, church, even neighboring facilities should be brought before them and lord help us all if we don't agree with you. Even neighbors want a say in decisions about their neighbors property if there is a chance what someone's doing might infringe on their "space".

I actually took the survey and voted against any changes because I feel unless they drastically change the calendar it's not worth the disruption. But newsflash! Frankly there are some working people out there would not like to have to worry about what to do with their kids for 10 weeks every summer. I know it's hard for the parents around here to imagine but some families have TWO working parents. And I'm not counting "working" at your child's school part time for 7 months. Actual 9-5 50 week a year JOBS.

In addition, do you people realize there is a growing population in our community who educate their children during the summer "break" regardless of the fact it's vacation? They are probably laughing at our outrage over lost vacation time right now. Guess what folks? Our children need to compete with these kids for spots in college and jobs. We need to do whatever we can to give our kids an edge. Not give them more time to sit at home bored, fight with their siblings and watch TV.

Great example that you'll set for your kids if you decide to keep them out of school to go on vacation. What lesson are we teaching? Fun first! Hard work later! My god people grow up! We have it GOOD here, but I guess it's not good enough.




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Posted by Mike LaHa
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jun 19, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Our high schools already rank in the top 2% of all public high schools in the nation. This new schedule is simply not necessary. The survey was manipulative. They claim 2/3 of the voters approved of a modified schedule. This is simply how the survey was written. They counted the 2nd and 3rd votes in the survey to get the outcome they wanted. The proper survey should have been a simple vote.

Who need a week off in October, then a week in November?!!!Simply follow the money. This decision is benigitting someone here financially.

It is clear from the public feedback that this new schedule is not popular. All of these board members needto be voted out of office!


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Posted by WOW
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jun 19, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Jtjh - >> Tuesday's closed session included the approval of extending Pleasanton schools superintendent Parvin Ahmadi's contract by one year. <<

No comments on this?

Resident - >>Valerie Arkin voted 'No' on this and said she wanted further discussion on improving the evaluation process.

How do we keep Valerie Arkin and get rid of Parvin Ahmadi? Seriously, can we start a petition for her removal? I don't have a strong opinion about the school calendar. I do find it unacceptable that time and MONEY were WASTED with a fake vote, survey, working up different options, and communicating these lies to us when the decision had already been made. THIS mismanagement is going to affect us! Home Values! Quality of Schools! Both will eventually go down! A Parcel tax will NOT be successful anytime in the near or intermediate future because of this mismanagement!


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Posted by Parent of 2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Disgusted - The word "public" in public school refers to the fact that it is the citizens themselves who control the public schools. They do this in part by electing a school board, to represent them in local education decisions. The school calendar change has wide ranging impact to the community and The Board did not meet its obligations.




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Posted by FANOFNEWSCHEDULE
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Jun 19, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Not everyone is against the new schedule....just probably the majority of the people posting here. My family really likes the new schedule. I have talked to many people including students and teachers at all grade levels and the majority like the modified light option. For the 2016-2017 school year, school will start on August 9 which is several days later than the proposed August 4th date for 2015-2016. It is a 9 week summer vacation once the transition year is over. Change is hard but I think most people will begin to love this new schedule after people get used to it. Having students take FINALS before the Holiday break is HUGE. There are also a lot of advantages and some disadvantages but personally feel more advantages than disadvantages. We need to put the KIDS first.


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Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 19, 2014 at 1:55 pm

WOW is spot on!
The community that we have been in the past and aspire to be in the future, will need to pass a parcel tax of some sort. This will never happen while these people are in charge...


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 19, 2014 at 2:14 pm

There are some unusual folks here that appear to be at risk of a stroke over a couple of weeks difference. I can only guess how much better our schools will be when they leave for Livermore. Livermore, you can have them. Enjoy.


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Posted by No good!
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jun 19, 2014 at 2:22 pm

I'm disgusted with the school board we all need to do something! Let's bring ALL the district's dirty laundry to light and get all the bad out into the main stream media. Let's picket the schools, take it to mediation, make our voices heard! And no, teachers are NOT in favor of this calendar as a whole. Most of us need to take on summer jobs to make ends meet and community college schedules will no longer match up, making it impossible to work that extra job for the much needed income. Despite what a lot of people think, it is not possible to live (especially in Pleasanton) soley on a teacher's salary!


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Posted by Soccer Dad
a resident of Mission Park
on Jun 19, 2014 at 2:22 pm

I personally feel the education my kids get from camps, vacations, etc. during the best weather month of the year, especially in our Sierras, far outweighs the textbook and exam "learning" in schools. And this is from a parent who has had two PUSD children graduate with honors from our UC system and one child still in school. It's frankly horrifying to me that my son's Augusts have been stolen from him for the rest of his public school life.

To be clear to all readers, the planned start date for this new calendar is August 4, 2015 (walk through registration the week before). Even if they push back one week next year, it's still the first week of August going forward, despite what the survey said.

What's worse than all this, though, is the way this was done. We parents (who voted in our Board) were given the impression by our Board that we had a say in this, but apparently they had already negotiated with the union for the modified lite option or the traditional option (note, the survey was NOT worded like this). This is entirely deceitful, if not fraudulent. Whether you support the new schedule or not, you can't support the tactics used to get there.

We are researching recall options at this time, but my understanding is gross negligence and incompetence are valid reasons for such an action, and it would be very difficult to argue against those criteria in this situation. At the very least you all need to make your feelings known NOW to the Board. I, and others, have tried to do this at Board meetings only to be met with blank stares and condescending remarks. I have always thought that the public, once they understood the full ramifications of the new schedule, would be very upset, and this thread seems to indicate that. Now that you're aware, please support out efforts to make sure this doesn't become permanent, and hopefully doesn't happen at all.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 19, 2014 at 3:04 pm

My kids are never bored during the summer. We purchase workbooks and puzzle books and reading books at the beginning of summer, and they readily use them during their free time. Otherwise, they keep busy exercising their freedom from the institutionalized school setting.

I'm sure it kills many of the "it takes a village" crowd that parents can actually care for their children without a lot of help from the "village," but we can and do. And my kids have very little brain drain by the end of summer.

Isn't it amazing that the board feels it's more important to get approval from the union for a one year modification, that to get approval from parents.

Here's a sage quote for our school board:
"If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. -Speech at Clinton, Illinois, September 8, 1854."
― Abraham Lincoln


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 3:12 pm

"The first day of school will be Monday, August 25, 2014.
The last day of school will be Friday, June 12, 2015.

Students not in attendance on the first or last week of school due to extended vacation or other optional activities will be dropped and may have to be overflowed to another school in Pleasanton upon their return. "

But kids get sick, you know? And btw, ed code, read it, there are protections in place. The district can threaten, but you are dealing with parents who know their rights and have the means to hire lawyers.

Let's see how this plays.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 3:21 pm

And for all those parents who voted in favor of less summer because they can't wait to send the kids back to school, or the kids get bored... it is called summer camp, music camp, swimming camp, sat prep camp, etc etc. Schools were not meant to accomodate babysitting over the summer.

And for that post about the need for less summer because of two working parents... what do you think people have to do now in october when the kids get time off? We will have to work from home or hire a sitter...no different than summer really except summer is more convenient because people expect kids to be off during the summer months, but not october!

Is Jeff B's wife behind this? Does anyone know? It is so specific to ask for a week off in october given we already have a week off in november! And it's weird that the staff wants this schedule and the board except Arkin votes for it. Please someone tell me who is behind this dumb idea!


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Posted by Parent of 2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm

FANOFNEWSCHEDULE -
"Change is hard but I think most people will begin to love this new schedule after people get used to it."

On the counter side of 'people fear change' is don't just push change for change sake. Sometimes it is all too easy to set aside very valid dissenting arguments and conveniently categorize them all under the "fear change" umbrella in order to keep pushing ahead the alluring idea of trying something 'new'. The data has to speak for itself and demand change.

Lets be clear, the district agreed that there is no undisputed quantitative data showing clear net benefits of this change and no qualitative information that isn't matched by reasons not to do it. In the absence of hard facts and undisputed information, this is change for change sake, with the community paying the price.



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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 3:32 pm



48205. (a) Notwithstanding Section 48200, a pupil shall be excused
from school when the absence is:
(1) Due to his or her illness.
(2) Due to quarantine under the direction of a county or city
health officer.
(3) For the purpose of having medical, dental, optometrical, or
chiropractic services rendered.
(4) For the purpose of attending the funeral services of a member
of his or her immediate family, so long as the absence is not more
than one day if the service is conducted in California and not more
than three days if the service is conducted outside California.
(5) For the purpose of jury duty in the manner provided for by
law.
(6) Due to the illness or medical appointment during school hours
of a child of whom the pupil is the custodial parent.
(7) For justifiable personal reasons, including, but not limited
to, an appearance in court, attendance at a funeral service,
observance of a holiday or ceremony of his or her religion,
attendance at religious retreats, attendance at an employment
conference, or attendance at an educational conference on the
legislative or judicial process offered by a nonprofit organization
when the pupil's absence is requested in writing by the parent or
guardian and approved by the principal or a designated representative
pursuant to uniform standards established by the governing board.
(8) For the purpose of serving as a member of a precinct board for
an election pursuant to Section 12302 of the Elections Code.
(9) For the purpose of spending time with a member of the pupil's
immediate family, who is an active duty member of the uniformed
services, as defined in Section 49701, and has been called to duty
for, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from, deployment
to a combat zone or combat support position. Absences granted
pursuant to this paragraph shall be granted for a period of time to
be determined at the discretion of the superintendent of the school
district.
(b) A pupil absent from school under this section shall be allowed
to complete all assignments and tests missed during the absence that
can be reasonably provided and, upon satisfactory completion within
a reasonable period of time, shall be given full credit therefor. The
teacher of the class from which a pupil is absent shall determine
which tests and assignments shall be reasonably equivalent to, but
not necessarily identical to, the tests and assignments that the
pupil missed during the absence.
(c) For purposes of this section, attendance at religious retreats
shall not exceed four hours per semester.
(d) Absences pursuant to this section are deemed to be absences in
computing average daily attendance and shall not generate state
apportionment payments.
(e) "Immediate family," as used in this section, has the same
meaning as set forth in Section 45194, except that references therein
to "employee" shall be deemed to be references to "pupil."

Web Link


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Posted by Valerie Arkin is the only decent board member
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Pleasanton teens will no longer be able to get summer intern jobs that include work experience during the summer that college admissions committees look for. Who is going to hire someone that has to go back to school Aug 4th?

I'm sure in all of this mumbo jumbo, that there is a reason the union supported 'modified lite' and that there is a raise in store for all union members for this schedule change that no one is talking about.


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Posted by Focus on the Students
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:07 pm

First, I find it unbelievable that so many commenting here are going to boycott the new start date. This was raised above, but if you want to be part of a community, you need to accept the standards of the community. Taking your kids out of school will be disruptive to the class, cost the district money (I am really apalled anyone would be proud of that choice) and put your kids behind, taking time from other students learning as they catch up.

I also can't believe anyone says they didn't know about this discussion. I work full time, have two kids and a mother living with me with health issues and I've known about it for months - even attended a meeting. It was publicized on the district website, PFC mailings, school mailings, social media, phone calls, etc.

At the meeting I attended, there was definitely opposition and questions, but many were in favor of changing the calendar. I feel the opposition is mostly from a selfish perspective. Summer should be a free time - why can't you take a vacation in June or July? If you think "everyone" vacations in August, you should be able to get better rates and less crowds the other months. And is 9 weeks really that much shorter than 10? The camps, sports, etc. WILL adjust to this schedule. Many other communities have made this change, or always run on a similar schedule, and they seem to work it out. And the Oct break will allow for off season travel as well, which is a definite plus in my opinion.

It seems those opposed are, for the most part, just whinning because it won't be how it's been in the past, or how they like it, but who really cares about that? We all need to adjust some times, and I haven't heard too many strong arguments how this will hurt the students, and isn't that what we should really focus on??


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Posted by 9 vs 10
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Is a 9 week summer really all that different from a 10 week summer? I really don't get the arguments based on this. Kids will still have camp, summer sports, internships. MANY other districts are making this change and/or will make a similar change going forward. Programs will adjust. Businesses will not turn away a talented individual because they can only committ for a 1-week shorter period. These arguments don't seem to hold water.


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Posted by June is Nice
a resident of Mission Park
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:16 pm

For everyone concerned with their August being taken away - doesn't June have nicer weather? I'd much rather my kids play sports, hike through the forest, etc. in June (80-90) than the hot, muggy weather of August. The summer isn't being taken away, it's being redefined.

I wish those who feel so strongly about repealing this decision (not going to happen) or impeaching the board would focus on working with the community to make this transition easier for our children.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:30 pm

"but if you want to be part of a community, you need to accept the standards of the community"

The new superintendent (not so new) is from Fremont. PUSD was doing just fine before her with the traditional calendar. She is the one who is not adapting to our community.

The arguments against an aug 4 start sound a lot more valid than the reasons for modifying the calendar. And again, whose dumb idea was to have an october break? We are already one of the only school districts with an entire week off in november, why add even more unnecessary time?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:36 pm

" The summer isn't being taken away, it's being redefined. "

Are you going to make sure that everyone else redefines summer? Because I have looked, and PUSD is the only good school district facing an aug 4 start. Others, and I am talking about the desirable school districts (ie, not Brentwood) won't start that early or have so much time off in the fall (one week in october followed by a week in november? Are you kidding?). Businesses, camps, etc will continue to offer programs based on the needs of the majority.

PUSD will see a high number of high achieving students absent that first week of school.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:45 pm

"Is a 9 week summer really all that different from a 10 week summer?"

It must be because the staff and admin want it so badly they have alienated many parents.

And I am okay with a 9 week summer IF it is necessary but it is not. Proof? that week off in october.

We are supposed to prepare kids for college in high school, right? Well, colleges don't give so much time off during the regular semester, and their summers are long....long enough to accomodate summer school

So why are we trying to shorten summers, add time off during the school year? The arguments presented are so silly. No, someone here needs time off in October, the question is who?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Here is Palo Alto School District's calendar for 2014-15:

Web Link

Start is Aug 18, end is june 4, one week off during spring, normal thanksgiving break (ie, not all week) and NO TIME OFF IN OCTOBER!!!!!

All while still ending their semester before winter break

Now, that is a high achieving, desirable school district. Why is PUSD trying to imitate bad school districts instead of either staying the same or imitating a district like Palo Alto?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 5:01 pm

"I wish those who feel so strongly about repealing this decision (not going to happen) or impeaching the board would focus on working with the community to make this transition easier for our children. I wish those who feel so strongly about repealing this decision (not going to happen) or impeaching the board would focus on working with the community to make this transition easier for our children. "

What do you mean by that? An early end to the school year means more stress for high school students. For them everything now will be even tighter than it already is. You do realize that AP tests, SATs, school sport championships happen in may, right? And you want to add final tests to that stress? WHy? So some parents who can't deal with their kids for the extra summer week can be quiet? Or so someone in the PUSD staff or board or both gets the time off they need in October?

The students do not benefit from this new calendar.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 5:10 pm

AP tests end May 16 next year:

Web Link

Those redefining summer..... are you going to make sure Colleg Board redefines their dates too? Because these dates have been similar for years. SAT dates: yes, many take them in March but many like taking them in May especially subject tests because studying for AP tests and the SAT subject test can be combined.

Or are you going to make sure PUSD teachers do not give finals or final projects in additioon to the AP tests like they do now?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 5:11 pm

I completely agree with "June is Nice" - summer is not gone, simply redefined. I think most of us perform better when we are allowed some decompression time - especially with the growing pressures placed on our high school students. I'm not too old to remember the stress of upcoming finals in high school. I wish this option would've been available to us. Is one week less of summer really that devastating to planning family vacations?


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Posted by jaycee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Thank you Focus on the Students and 9 vs 10. Relax, you'll all be fine....and so will your kids. We moved around a bit when our kids were in all different grade levels of school. You will eventually have to adjust to a different school schedule and certainly vacation schedule once your kids are older or the oldest is off to college or whatever starts to divide your "family" time. This is a very modest change -- hence "lite modefication" - try to be and stay positive! And you'll probably end up looking very forward to that nice break in October! :)


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Posted by Union member, completely disappointed
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 19, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Do not blame the entire union on this one. If you look at the results of our poll, traditional calendar received the most votes. I live in Livermore and now my children will be on a different calendar than my own. One person at several of the meetings I attended mentioned the small lines at Disneyland. So do I pull my children from their school, making it receive less funds, just because a vacation to visit Mickey Mouse fits with Pleasanton's new calendar? I think not.

I am incredibly disappointed in my union leadership. So much so that I will be quitting. And very frustrated that one of the union members leading this charge is married to a teacher in Brentwood, which has a modified calendar. Did he truly want this for the kids? Or did he simply want to match his wife's schedule?

The worst part about it, are my students who will suffer. The at-risk kids who need me at meetings and need office hours. Now I need to rush home after school in order to save daycare money for the several weeks I am no longer available to take care and enjoy time with my own children.

AP students should not dictate the schedule. If an AP class is too stressful for a child, then take another class. Students don't need AP to graduate.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 19, 2014 at 5:41 pm

What is happening in October that requires a week off? Obviously it was so important that it was made part of the agreement with the union.

My comment on the survey was that I was okay with the Modified Lite, except without an October holiday. Considering Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, there is absolutely no need for more time off.

There is SO much time off throughout the year, why are we stealing a week from summer and moving it to October?


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Posted by Pete Fletcher
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 19, 2014 at 5:50 pm

What was the outcome of the parent survey? I think the decision was made before the survey was issued. We play baseball year round with some of the biggest tournaments throughout the summer, I'm wondering how this will impact us.


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Posted by Parent of 2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Steve "My comment on the survey was that I was okay with the Modified Lite, except without an October holiday. Considering Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, there is absolutely no need for more time off."

My guess is they didn't take account of any qualifying comments in the statistics released. Not surprisingly as it wouldn't have helped their cause. How many others had qualifying comments? I've talked to at least 30 people that did on the issue of the October break.


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Posted by Parent of 2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Steve, I think one of the calendar committee lives in Brentwood too. I recall seeing a PW article where he stated that he has never been on the same summer schedule as his children. Biased?


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Posted by Tom F
a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Modified Lite? As long as it's better than the 3.2 I swilled in the Navy, it should be okay.


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Posted by Just Sad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 6:53 pm

I am with "Union member, completely disappointed." I work in Livermore and my kids go to school in Pleasanton. Both of us work and I chose teaching to have time to spend with my children.

When only 3000 responses of 14000 possible were tallied, the district should have realized that they did not have a complete picture, and if the real choice was between traditional and modified lite, then that is all that should have been presented to the parents and staff in the survey. I thought it was interesting that the comments we were able to make were not presented as well. Also, what about the hundreds of families with incoming kindergarten students? They had no code. Valerie was right to ask to delay a decision. I think she finally got it, and I appreciated her pushing.

I was amazed that Chris Grant (I think that is his name) was out of the room through the entire presentation and all of the public comment, yet was there to make a vote.

I hope your union makes some noise about this and lets the board know your position. I have to say that I was shocked to attend thee last 3 board meetings and only hear from one Pleasanton teacher.

There were other ways to get around finals in the winter… AND, when I heard that AP students "have nothing to really do after testing" yet they have to work all summer and over each break…. Well, why don't they start teaching some of that curriculum at the end of the year instead of making kids have to work over their summer? Seems simple to me!

I wish the district had taken more time to really (REALLY) consider all that will be impacted by this decision.


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Posted by Two cents
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Jun 19, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Agree with comments from "3-cheer for change". We are all for changing current calendars. Brentwood school district is not far from us. They have been under a true modified school calendar for a few years. I was told that at the beginning, many families complained. But now everyone loves the calendar. Summer may not be a good season for many vacation designations. The saving in airfares for traveling in other seasons benefit your wallet and school budget. As for camp/sport activities, I am sure adjustment will be made to keep the programs running.


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Posted by August
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Jun 19, 2014 at 7:04 pm

This starts next year right? The reason I ask is that we will be in Europe the first two weeks of August and have had it planned for a year.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 19, 2014 at 7:26 pm

August -

Then you would actually have standing to sue the school district for the cost of your vacation.

It depends on whether you really want to go.


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Posted by Request Board Reconsider Vote
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 8:00 pm

At the meeting, the board was told for the first time that only two options were up for consideration. I don't know why parents were polled on 5 if only two were viable contenders. It makes the survey invalid, the surveys for both the parents and staff.

Parents can and should request a reconsideration of the vote. Valerie Arkin cannot make the motion for a reconsideration since she voted against, but any of the other members could. I urge everyone that is in disagreement with the process and/or outcome to email each board member with this request.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 19, 2014 at 8:01 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

"I'm sure in all of this mumbo jumbo, that there is a reason the union supported 'modified lite' and that there is a raise in store for all union members for this schedule change that no one is talking about."

Interesting comment. Has anyone been following what is going on in Sacramento with the budget? They are capping the reserves a district can have.

"Employee unions, whose support Brown is counting on for his re-election and for passage of the rainy day ballot measure, are the chief advocates of the cap on reserves." Web Link

The apparent purpose is to flush most reserves so it can be spent. Since the economy runs through highs and lows, those reserves are key to saving programs for students and avoiding cuts to what the community values for its children's education. Raises? Benefits? Covering increases to STRS payments? I don't know whether many/most aren't aware of this.


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Posted by Focus on the True Problem
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Regardless of the outcome of the calendar what all parents in this community should be concerned with is THE PROCESS through which this occurred. The only communication with the community was through the 3 forums held in a 2 week window in March and advertised only 2 weeks in advance so if you missed those newsletters those weeks you were out of luck.
Then there was no other information disseminated other than vague summaries of the process asking you to email if you had input found in some school newsletters and buried in the e-connect.
At which point did anyone become aware that the Board was planning to Vote on a proposed modified calendar on June 3rd? Watch the May 27th School Board meeting where the proposed calendar was presented and discussed. Some key items to note:
1. The Asst. Superintendent of Educational Services stated "Research does not support that changing the calendar provides any benefit to students, it is how you use the minutes during the day."
2. The Board was in full support of the "modified lite" calendar during this meeting.
3. Mr. McCoy indicated he had received 200 comments from parents and when 2 Board members suggested surveying the parents the Superintendent was adamant that it was not necessary.
4. Board member Grant called for a vote that evening – a week early.
The vote was delayed on May 30th per an email blast from the Superintendent and at the June 3 meeting it was decided to survey the parents. So I ask you - how you can support this process in that the community being served and paying the taxes was not well informed or able to provide positive, well thought out input to the process? Please stop touting "this change is what is best for our children" unless you believe an underhanded approach by the Union Negotiators and Superintendent to get what they want is the example you want to set for your children. And for the record – the individual union members (teachers) did not vote on this calendar option. They were given the same survey as the parents and that data was manipulated – 66% in favor of a modified calendar which is what you will get from any survey that asks for 3 choices with only 1 option not for a modified calendar – basic math people.


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Posted by You've got to be kidding
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 9:12 pm

"Then you would actually have standing to sue the school district for the cost of your vacation."

Statements like these really hurt the valid arguments.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 9:13 pm

"Brentwood school district is not far from us. They have been under a true modified school calendar for a few years. I was told that at the beginning, many families complained. But now everyone loves the calendar. "

Brentwood is NOT a good school district. Why would we want to be like them? Look at desirable school districts like Palo Alto who do NOT start aug 4, do NOT get a week off in august and still finish the semester before winter break, and end the year the first week of june.

Brentwood IS NOT A GOOD SCHOOL DISTRICT! Do not copy anything from them!! Go to greatschools.net and see for yourself.

And to the union member that says APs are not required to graduate...maybe not but UCs won't even look at you without them if your district offers them. Kids can handle APs just fine, but why add to that stress the final tests during the same timeframe? So that someone can go to Disney and avoid lines?

I plan to keep my kids out of school the week of aug 4


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 9:23 pm

And parents: I just found out that common core testing is optional. We can request for our kids not to take those tests.

So come next year: I will not send my kids to school on aug 4 and request that they be exempt from common core testing. That should compensate for the added stress during May. And I do not want to hear the district asking me for ADA funds. They have deaf ears and so do I.

A district close to us (fremont, which is a lot better than brentwood) also does not have a ridiculous aug 4 start: Web Link

Who lives in Brentwood? WHy are we trying to do what that bad school district does?


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Posted by Alan Heckman
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 19, 2014 at 9:41 pm

"Students not in attendance on the first or last week of school due to extended vacation or other optional activities will be dropped and may have to be overflowed to another school in Pleasanton upon their return."

Ok, here is a trick that every single Livermore Parent knows:

Superintendent: Sorry you lost your place at Amador, your son has been overflowed to Foothill.
You: Why not Amador?
Superintendent: No room, and you were gone so your son lost his spot.
You: Then my son is going to Livermore Valley Charter Preparatory High School.
Superintendent: Wait, a spot just opened up at Amador.
You: I thought so.

The Livermore district finally gave up and made the district open enrollment - you can put your kid in any school.

And Bill - yes, us parents at LVCP would welcome more kids and parents from Pleasanton that aren't "good" enough for you. And everyone will be happier.


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Posted by Surveyssaysitall
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Jun 19, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Read the surveys, review the board meeting in October...read the feedback from Parents and Staff....it is easy to understand why 4 people on the board voted for Modified Lite. Spelled out pretty clearly that over 60% of staff and parents wanted a change in calendar.

Web Link

Supporting Documents
13.1_Calendar Presentation_61714
13.1_Calendar_PPT_Bluesheet_061714
13.1_Student_Attend_Calendar_2015_2016__Bluesheet_061714
13.1_Calendar_Survey_Bluesheet_061714



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Posted by L
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:15 pm

I still can't believe that some of you are purposely going to keep your kids out of school for the first week. The district won't care, and your kid will start the year with make up work. Brilliant.

God, am I happy I don't teach in Pleasanton, and it has nothing to do with the new schedule.


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Posted by notafanofLVCCapproach
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Hi, I was considering checking out Livermore Valley Charter School for my child for high school but Alan Heckman's approach is not an approach at all I feel comfortable with at all. The only reason I would check out and take a tour of LVCC would be due to the size of high schools in Pleasanton. I am happy with PUSD. Mr. Heckman's approach is really a turn off for LVCC. Web Link I would not feel comfortable having this man vote in the best interest of my child with the tactics he used on Tuesday night at the Board meeting and this forum. He is on the Board of Directors at LVCC. Mr Heckman, you are doing more harm than good for LVCC with your approach.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:38 pm

"The district won't care, and your kid will start the year with make up work. "
1) the district will care because they will lose money per kid per day

2) Make up work? Nothing happens the first week of class except in AP classes and ed code is clear: excused absences allow a student to make up work. And kids get sick all the time.... Especially in elementary, are you kidding? Kids could miss entire weeks of school and not lose any learning that cannot be made up at home in a few hours.


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Posted by You've got to be kidding
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:40 pm

"Ok, here is a trick that every single Livermore Parent knows:

Superintendent: Sorry you lost your place at Amador, your son has been overflowed to Foothill.
You: Why not Amador?
Superintendent: No room, and you were gone so your son lost his spot.
You: Then my son is going to Livermore Valley Charter Preparatory High School.
Superintendent: Wait, a spot just opened up at Amador.
You: I thought so."

I didn't know that so many Amador parents live in Livermore.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:47 pm

"over 60% of staff and parents wanted a change in calendar."

The way the survey was designed, I don't think so. But even if the figures are accurate, 60% may have wanted a change but NOT the modified lite, NOT the aug 4 start, NOT the week of in october.

If you did the survey again, presenting only the traditional and modified lite calendars, I am sure the traditional calendar would win.

Since the change is not supposed to be in effect until 2014-15, why doesn't PUSD redo the survey with just two options? I would be willing to retake the survey


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Posted by L
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:50 pm

"1) the district will care because they will lose money per kid per day"

A drop in the bucket. One kid in an entire district? It won't get them to change anything, so what's the point?

"2) Make up work? Nothing happens the first week of class except in AP classes and ed code is clear: excused absences allow a student to make up work. And kids get sick all the time.... Especially in elementary, are you kidding? Kids could miss entire weeks of school and not lose any learning that cannot be made up at home in a few hours."

I guess I'm looking at it from a high school perspective, but I cover plenty in a week. Furthermore, being home because of illness is a far different story than being home because mommy and daddy are pissed that one week of vacation was taken from them. Great example.

Besides, it sounds like you are a far better teacher than anyone in the district, so why don't you homeschool your kid? You can have all the vacation you want, and teach them everything in a mere fraction of the time it takes them to learn stuff at school. Problem solved.


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Posted by Alan Heckman
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 19, 2014 at 11:57 pm

"You've got to be kidding" - Right now, while space is available - any Pleasanton parent can enroll their high school student in LVCP and no waiver or approval is required - you just enroll. And when you have choices, districts stop imposing arbitrary rules.

"notafanofLVCCapproach" - that is an outdated page - I was on the board of CCEF which is a fundraising entity for LVCS - the K-8, but that was a few years ago. The K-8 is full with a large waiting list as it has been around for 10 years now. My approach is to promote the position that parents should have real education options and that they are the final deciders on what is best for their own children. This is the opposite of what your union leader took when she lamented the Vergara v California decision (and yes, it is as big as Brown v Board of Education) as well as the evil reformers.


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Posted by WhysomanyopeningsonthePTSG
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Jun 20, 2014 at 7:53 am

Alan, I just reviewed LVCP site and noticed you are the President of the Parent Student Group at LVCP High School. Wow...maybe LVCP should do an effective marketing campaign and doing ads instead of doing a 3 minute infomercial at the PUSD board meeting and slamming PUSD on these boards. Maybe due to your style and tactics, this is why there are so many open positions on the PTSG. Instead of encouraging PUSD parents to take a look at the high school, you have made me want to stay far, far, away. PUSD has so much to offer and so much to be proud of. Yes, there will always be some hurdles but the accomplishments of these schools and kids are pretty darn impressive.

Livermore Valley Charter School Parent Teacher Student Group
President:
Alan Heckman

Vice President:
NEEDED

Treasurer:
NEEDED

Communications:
Meg Epperly

Recording Secretary:
NEEDED

Volunteer Coordinator:
Alice Wang

Events Coordinator:
NEEDED

Fundraising Coordinator:
NEEDED


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 7:57 am

"I guess I'm looking at it from a high school perspective, but I cover plenty in a week. "

You must be the exception. Come on, the first two weeks of school, students are re-arranging their schedules, trying to get away from bad teachers, etc. Not much goes on the first week. And yes, illness is an excused absence, so are others as per ed code.

"A drop in the bucket. One kid in an entire district? It won't get them to change anything, so what's the point?"

It will be more than one kid, and they care, at least they say that is why they added thanksgiving week, because of the high number of absences.

"Besides, it sounds like you are a far better teacher than anyone in the district, so why don't you homeschool your kid?"

If I do that, do you promise me that I will not have to pay any more taxes to finance our public schools and pay the salaries of teachers etc? I don't think you can. I do not have to homeschool but I do have to do what I think is necessary to keep my kids competitive and from being stressed out, and missing the ridiculous aug 4 start is the right thing to do. Many parents I know are planning the same - we are not about to cancel summer activities because someone with ties to Brentwood wants to copy the choices of a not desirable school district


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Jun 20, 2014 at 8:12 am

Wow, RESIDENT, you are going to keep your kids home from school due to a school calendar change. If your corporation changed your schedule or location of office to a little farther would you miss work. You have the option to change schools, districts, etc. Just like you could quit a job. So many of PUSD parents are whining about a change that is better for the kids. And Brentwood and Oakley DO NOT have this calendar. They start school at end if July and end a week later.

Web Link

PUSD school board, do not let this board fool you for a minute with all of these comments. I know so many people who are supportive of this calendar change and your decision for doing what is right for students.


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Posted by Concerned parent #10
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 8:35 am

Hi all:
I did not realize that there were so many parents who did not want it. I agree that the vote was taken at an "inconsiderate" time which is why I did not get around to voting. I will have a Senior and a Freshman in High school this coming school year. I am all in favor of the modified schedule having lived through 3 winter breaks with tons of homework and projects etc, it seems like there was no point to calling it a "break". It will also be super nice to have the Memorial day weekend "free" with no looming finals. Not to mention the fact that the summer break is too long, kids are bored at the end of summer and it would be nice to start early and have the one week break in October. I completely understand the concept of sports and neighboring school districts but I am sure the neighboring districts will make the same changes in the next couple of years.


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Posted by Laverne
a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 8:52 am

Some of my main concerns are... during these "breaks" the kids still get homework & projects so throwing out an extra "break" only means they get to sleep in, but as far as a break from homework that only happens in the summer.
Also..no one seems concerned, except one other parent on Weekly... the board would not guarentee they will not modify the calendar again within 2 years.
I dont know why that doesnt alarm anyone. I know no one wants to hear "year round school," but...if you look it up... we may be headed that way, with over crowding, no money to build new schools- cities start to modify the school calendar & eventually end up in year round school. Remember.. Mr McCoy stating "they may remodify in 2 years." Maybe that is what the majority of parents want?


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Posted by You've got to be kidding
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 9:57 am

"Right now, while space is available - any Pleasanton parent can enroll their high school student in LVCP and no waiver or approval is required - you just enroll."

Is that a sales pitch or what? I'm just waiting for him to say "Wait, there's more!"


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Posted by disgusted
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 20, 2014 at 10:10 am

You've got to be kidding - I totally agree. When I read Alan Heckman's posts they sound like a guy trolling for casualties from an accident. I wonder if he trolls other message boards from neighboring communities when they have any district unrest? What an ambulance chaser!


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Posted by You've got to be kidding
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 11:40 am

Resident - let us know how it turns out for you on August 4, 2015. In the meantime, why not leave your kids out the first week of school in 2014? Everyone bags on the unions but this same tactic what unions do - sick outs, announced/unannounced strikes. What does doing something in 2015 do when it is already in place? Also having the means to hire lawyers? Good luck.


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Posted by Another resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 11:48 am

Resident - " And Brentwood and Oakley DO NOT have this calendar. They start school at end if July and end a week later.

The point the earlier poster was making is that Brentwood has August off AND what's the bet that the proposed week off in October will align with Brentwood's fall break!


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Parents need to set an example for their children. Sorry if the new schedule is not to your liking. Don't pout and pull your kids out for the first few weeks. Here is a thought: instead of taking vacation in August, take it in June or July.
If you are unhappy with the current school board, run for the position yourself.


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Posted by Another resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Those that are in favor of the modified calendar - Do you also agree with the way in which this process was carried about by the district? The fact that parents were polled on 5 options but only 1 alternative option was ever being considered, the fact that it had already been decided even before the parent informational seminars in March. Or does that just not matter? I know that if the position was reversed, I would still be objective enough to know that the process was underhanded and wrong.


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Posted by Henry
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 20, 2014 at 12:40 pm

My daughter's company closes two weeks each August for annual maintenance. All employees - except those doing the maintenance - are required to take two weeks of vacation at that time. She and her husband will continue to take those two weeks for their annual camping trip. It's her only vacation. She can not afford to take unpaid time off. Their two school aged children will miss class for two weeks. They consider this family bonding time more important than class. The children will need to catch up.


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Posted by L
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jun 20, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Where I work, kids aren't allowed to move from class to class in the first two weeks of school to avoid a certain teacher/have classes with all their friends. What a waste of time.

This calendar change isn't going to take place until 2015, so there's plenty of time to plan vacations for June or July. Besides, I predict that most of the furor will have died down by then anyway.

And for those that plan to keep their kids out, why don't you go one step further and have them picket in front of their school? At least the district will know why you're kid is out, and your crusade will actually reach someone.


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Posted by You've got to be kidding
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 1:01 pm

"Another resident" - while I'm in favor of a modified calendar, I do believe the process was not as transparent as it should have been. I was not a the meeting, and there are a lot of Arkin supporters, but outside of the voting "no" and stating why not put it off, was there any specific arguments by her such as saying the data does not present a clear picture of respondents of the survey? On one hand, one can say that 20% is not a good representation of a survey, but keep in mind that there was an only 18% turn out for this last election - and that is registered voters - not population. Should the votes from this past election be valid representation of what the people want?

I would have preferred to see more data to support the reason for choosing only between the modified lite and traditional. What would have ranked-choice voting have shown? Why was this not presented or considered? While Valerie Arkin can be commended by some for voting no, were reasonable arguments regarding the data presented (survey, past performance, other district success, etc) done to support a non vote at this time? I would think that before the meeting the board members had an idea of which way they were going to vote and if I was the minority and knew I was going to lose, I would have exposed as many issues as possible on the record to make sure my point was known. Saying things like "in hindsight we should have done this or that" pretty much concedes defeat. On a critical vote such as this, the gloves need to come off!


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Posted by Soccer Dad
a resident of Mission Park
on Jun 20, 2014 at 1:56 pm

To all you posters who suggest we take vacations in June and July instead of August, have you been to our beautiful Sierras in early June or October vs. August? No comparison, and that's when and where many camps are held. Do you know the average high temperature in Pleasanton is 8 degrees higher in August than in June? Do you mind more of our district's budget going to pay for cooling rather than directly helping your children's education? Do you care that student jobs and Pleasanton businesses that rely on summer income will be negatively impacted? Do you care there is no proven benefit to finishing the first semester at Christmas time? Our Board HOPES this new schedule will improve test scores and reduce stress, but we KNOW there will be adverse effects as a result of the change.

But all that is almost beside the point. To everyone posting on the merits of one calendar vs. another, is not one of you appalled that the survey the Board sent to us and the meetings they held with parents to allegedly get our input on five options occurred AFTER the Board signed a contract with the union that ONLY stipulated two calendar options? They had made up their minds before ever asking the parents.

My hope is this is just a big mistake by our Board, but on the surface it seems like willful deceit to me, and, if we were talking about a business, that would translate into fraud...a criminal offense. I can't believe ANYONE would condone a decision and a Board under these circumstances! The more I think about it, and the more other issues come to light, the more I come to the conclusion this Board needs to go. They are simply not competent to do the job we voted them in to do.


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Posted by Vote this November
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm

For all of those that are upset, you can make a difference.
2 of the board members, Jeff Bowser and Joan Laurson are up for re-election.
Voter turn out for school board is not historically high.
Make a difference, campaign for the other people running and get these two off the board.

Laurson stated at the last meeting she wants year round school, Bowser talked out both sides of his mouth.

If you don't like, then do something, campaign and VOTE


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Posted by Another resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 2:32 pm

You've got to be kidding - I think you should watch the webcast when posted. Yes, Valerie Arkin had very reasonable arguments regarding the data presented and they were clearly stated. In Fact, Jamie Hintzse was also very concerned about the survey results and initially stated that her preference was to delay the vote. What swayed her, I don't know. I think everyone at the meeting was clear on how the district played this.


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Posted by Recall The School Board
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Yes elect two new members that understand that Family time is educational - that mid august class room heat is unbearable and a week in October is useless. Recall the remaining members too. They are soo! out of touch with the community. Also fire the superintendent while you're at it.



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Posted by Recall The School Board
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 3:34 pm

@Parent - You said:
Parents need to set an example for their children. Sorry if the new schedule is not to your liking. Don't pout and pull your kids out for the first few weeks. Here is a thought: instead of taking vacation in August, take it in June or July.
If you are unhappy with the current school board, run for the position yourself.

That is absurd (really a lazy argument) - most families do not have the resources time or public speaking skills to run for public office. The board was elected to represent its constituency, and is failing to do so, as a member of the constituency I have a right and duty to show my outrage. I bet you were either critical of the Obama or Bush presidencies, and I am quite certain that no one from Pleasanton ran in either election.





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Posted by Kevin
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 20, 2014 at 4:06 pm

I think in the end, it doesn't matter much for your kids' wellbeing. Roll with it. Your kids will be fine.


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Posted by Abolish the unions!!!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Abolish the teacher's union, kill tenure, recall the board, fire the super, impeach 4 of the 5 city council members, insist on more transparency. I feel so gosh-darned strong about this, that I've taken the time to write approximately 110 of the above posts, using different names of course. Such is the strength of my convictions. Am I a patriot, or what?


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Posted by Divisive
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 20, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Did anyone consider that the reason the district didn't offer a parent poll in the first place was that it would be divisive? All it did was alienate 4/5th of those that took the survey. I knew a few weeks ago when the board caved and offered the survey that this was a mistake. There are certain issues that just don't warrant a survey. You had your chance to give input and many didn't take it. It disturbed me to see so many Johnny-come-latelys jumping in at the end game and pretending they "didn't get a chance to have a say". That's foolish. This has been on the table since last June (and even longer if you were paying attention).

For those that say they never would have moved to Pleasanton had this been the calendar, do you not know that most communities in the area are considering the same or similar switches in the years to come. Feel free to move, but you just may find yourself in the same situation.

I agree, that the Ahmadi's reveal of only two actual options was a bit shocking, but that is part of the collective bargaining process with the Union. While she could have revealed that in a more honest way earlier on in the process, you can't blame her that the Union made that agreement with the board. That falls on our dear friend Peggy Carpenter's shoulders.

From what I can see here is a lot of teachers that don't like the option she represented to the board as the favorable choice. That is the real issue here. When the union president doesn't represent their people, people should take notice. And lucky for Peggy, she just skipped off into retirement. In fact, she was at the last meeting and left before this issue was brought to the table. Also lucky for her she didn't get to hear the gasp in the room when Ahmadi admitted that the vote was between two choices and not 5.

While I am personally in favor of the calendar change, I am terribly concerned with the health of our district. The teachers that I have encountered are amazing and work very hard, but the top tier of management seems to be really out of touch and going their own way. I am blown away that Ahmadi's contract was renewed in a year when so many troubling events occurred in our schools this past year.

If people want to get fired up about something, it should be that.


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Posted by Bob Joe Sally Jane
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 5:45 pm

These comments are so entertaining. I have many, many comments, but will leave it just these three:

1. Many of you believe, and one person even commented, that SO many people are against this change because of all the comments posted here. As of my writing this, less than 7000 views have taken place on this thread. Pleasanton has a population of 70,000. So less than 10% of this city's residents have seen this. And there are many repeat viewers of this thread, like myself, so the actual number is far, far less than 10% (not to mention non-Pleasanton resident viewers).

2. I will be stunned if in five years all the other neighboring districts do not follow suit and make the same calendar change. (Nobody wants to look to Brentwood, but Palo Alto, a very good school district, has already made a similar change.) And I think it will be far less than five years, I just want to give it some padding.

3. So many of you suggest we vote out the board. So who here is ready to step up? I, Bob Joe Sally Jane, will not be stepping up, as I, like you, find it far easier to anonymously blog than to actually do something to affect real change. (Kathleen R. and Alan H., I don't often agree with your positions, but I do greatly respect your posting under your real name. I, like most others, am far too gutless to do that.)

Enjoy your ten week summer everyone, I am enjoying mine.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Divisive - "Ahmadi's reveal of only two actual options was a bit shocking, but that is part of the collective bargaining process with the Union. While she could have revealed that in a more honest way earlier on in the process, you can't blame her that the Union made that agreement with the board." The District made the agreement with the unions, NOT the Board. Board members knew nothing about it until just before they voted. You obviously haven't been paying enough attention!!

Bobjosallyjane - "Nobody wants to look to Brentwood, but Palo Alto, a very good school district, has already made a similar change" Palo Alto (and other good school districts in the area that wanted high school exams before winter breaks) start on August 15th without a week off in October. A compromise that I feel a lot of parents would have happily gone with.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 6:08 pm

"You obviously haven't been paying enough attention!!" was meant for bobsallyjane whatever not divisive


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Posted by Valerie Arkin is the only decent board member
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Although the only choice was between traditional and 'modified lite' apparently, the underhanded and divisive Supt put together a flawed survey with multiple options. The survey was so flawed it could not possibly have been designed by an actual statistician. The board packet included no credentials of anyone that designed the survey and provided no data analysis of any statistical substance. I guarantee that there was no statistician that had any part of this.

This is all so similar to the last parcel tax go-round where some firm waved their arms and said the survey said a parcel tax would pass.

These same bunglers in the governance team and administration have done it again.


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Posted by Aundrea
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Jun 20, 2014 at 10:32 pm

I am very excited about the change. 10 weeks of summer is too long. I will enjoy the 1 week off in October as well. I do think they need to work on November. So many days off and 1/2 days is a waste. Change is welcome!


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Posted by Abolish the unions!!!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Oh curses, Aundrea. Because of your blasted post I will have to invent yet ten more new names along with ten identical posts, all against the school system that failed me so.


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Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 21, 2014 at 12:01 am

Jtjh is a registered user.

I second the following comment, made by Divisive:

>> I am terribly concerned with the health of our district. The teachers that I have encountered are amazing and work very hard, but the top tier of management seems to be really out of touch and going their own way. I am blown away that Ahmadi's contract was renewed in a year when so many troubling events occurred in our schools this past year. <<

And my thanks to "lll" for explaining the contract renewal process.


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Posted by Millie
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jun 21, 2014 at 9:01 am

Jtjh

You have got to be kidding. The reason to be honest that our scores are what they are is the influx of Asians into the district and the hardwork and value they have for education. The parents are engaged and place am importance on education and thus it's important to their kids. Go by Mohr Elementary on Saturday or Sunday and you will see additional schooling going on by the parents.


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Posted by Check out Livermore Charter Prep
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 21, 2014 at 9:05 am

Families -- Go to Livermore Charter Prep High School! Its the BEST school in the area! None of this shenannigans happens there -- they focus on the kids! No unions, no "fake" polling of parents or hidden agendas by Board members, no 40 plus classroom sizes. Your kids will thrive and get personalized attention from teachers who care! At no cost to you.


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Posted by Check out Livermore Charter Prep
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 21, 2014 at 9:15 am

In response to :
WhysomanyopeningsonthePTSG

That part of the website has not been updated in a long time. We have plenty of opportunities for parents to get involved at LVCP. So glad that you took the opportunity to check LVCP out, and hope you realize that the school is much, much more than a website. Hope you take the opportunity to check us out in person.

- One happy LVCP parent because their child is thriving!


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Posted by Mark Miller
a resident of Mission Park
on Jun 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm

@Bob Joe Sally Jane, I am also Soccer Dad on this blog, and I agree, we should not avoid using our real names. When registering for the site, they asked for a screen name, which it thought we were supposed to use.

To all, we attended one of the parent "information nights" last fall as well as the June 3rd Board meeting. What struck us, even last Fall, was that the decision had already been made. These meetings, and the horribly flawed parent survey (@Valerie Arkin... You hit the nail on the head!) were simply designed to make the parents feel like they actually had a say. Btw, I am formally requesting the raw survey data from the district, as I think it was mis-analyzed.

In fact, at the last two Board meetings, fully 22 of 26 speakers were opposed to the new calendar. At the meeting we attended, Ms. Arkin did seem to respond to speaker comments, and Ms. Hintzke and Ms. Lausen continued to speak about the need to reduce student stress (although not a topic raised by any speaker). Ms Ahmadi, Mr. Bowser, and Mr. Guest said exactly nothing. Yes, many of us awoke too late, but was it really too late? Again, it seemed this decision had been made well before getting any parent input.

To all who suggest we'll get used to it, how sad to hear such things. People can get used to almost anything, I agree, but why should we have to when there's so much to lose and so little to gain?


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Posted by taxpayer
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 21, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Whine, whine, whine. Year round school, no breaks, that's the way to go. Kids do nothing but get into trouble when they have long stretches of time free. The helicopter parents in this town have bought their kids every tech toy made, the kids do nothing worthwhile on their long vacations and now the parents cry foul over the change.

If you keep your kid out of school you need to pay the district for the money lost. Every time. I have no kids yet I have spent my working life paying for yours. Suck it up and send the little brats to school year round. I pay for the schools all year, they should be used all year. When the kids are in school they have less time to cause trouble. Win win for everyone.


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Posted by Done Both
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 21, 2014 at 7:21 pm

Any argument that does not detail one way or the other regarding the educational plan of the kids, and what will be best to help them do better and retain more is irrelevant. Any post trying to use what time it is best to visit Tahoe or family reunions is failing to place their kids' education first. None of the camps, clubs, etc …will do anything the STEM subjects where most of the educational system in CA and the US is failing and falling behind more every year compared to the rest of the world. STEM is really what matters. The rest can be taken as electives down the road as their interest goes that direction, if it does.

Any input outside of what is actually going to make your kids smarter than you in the long run does not matter. Go outside those lines, and the education of your kids is NOT your first priority.

My opinion is the board did the right thing. Year round is the smarter way to go. None of farm, and to be on a farming school year schedule is out dated and foolish.

Now I hope the board mores into adopting a school uniform. Kacki's and a golf shirt all around. Most place their kids in those types of clothes for church, family pictures, or nice events they attend anyhow. Why not School? The kids will perform better and plenty of studies have proved it.


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Posted by Answers1
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jun 22, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Teachers and administrators get several additional weeks of pay, most of it vacation time, paid out of our pockets. Just follow the money. This is what Californians get for voting for liberals.


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Posted by L
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jun 22, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Okay, "Answers1", I'll bite - explain exactly how teachers and administrators will get several additional weeks of pay.


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Posted by Parent of 2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2014 at 8:18 pm

@Done Both - "Any argument that does not detail one way or the other regarding the educational plan of the kids, and what will be best to help them do better and retain more is irrelevant."

The fact is that the educational benefits of a modified calendar are far too subjective, not quantitative and with just as many arguments on either side of the qualitative debate. This idea has been around for decades and in all that time, the hypothesis of any supposed net benefits correlating to a change to a year round calendar has not been shown. The benefits are just not there!

Independent research on the subject shows no compelling justification for change, and falls well short of the claims of benefit. Here is just one of those studies.

Year Round Schools Don't Boost Learning – This 2007 Science Daily article reviews research by Ohio State University Professor and research statistician in sociology Paul von Hipple. This research clearly showed that students attending schools with year-round school calendars did not learn more than their peers attending schools following a traditional nine-month calendar.


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Posted by kh
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Could anyone answer why the mysterious 1 week of vacation is put in October? Maybe the reason why the union is pushing this idea lies there??


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Posted by change can be good
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2014 at 8:47 pm

I don't know why October was chosen, but I have a guess.

Most teachers will tell you that October is the longest, toughest month of the school year as it's a long haul between labor day and Thanksgiving--no three day weekends or other breaks for students or teachers. Lots of teachers use sick/personal days in October. I think that's why they often place a staff development day near Halloween, to try to provide a mini-break for everyone. The school year is like a marathon and periodic rest breaks are needed for educators and for students to finish strong.

I will also point out that when Easter is late in the year (and break is schedule at the same time as Easter) there are a lot of absences in March/April as well.

Seems like we should give the change a try and if it doesn't prove beneficial, we can change back in a couple of years.


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Posted by L
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jun 22, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Personally, I feel like the time between President's Day and spring break is the worst. The kids are getting weary of school and starting to tune out....it's tough. At least in October the school year is still fairly new and everyone still has some energy.

Anyway, one reason I heard that an October break could be good (at least for high school kids) is that it's a good opportunity to do college visits before applications, instead of taking a bunch of time during the school year to travel. I know that really only applies to mostly juniors and seniors, but it makes some sense I suppose. Also, if you look at the year, yeah, there really aren't any days off in October, so they probably figured that was as good a time as any to make up that loss of vacation.


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Posted by Parent of 2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2014 at 10:07 pm

At the meeting they mentioned both those things - college visits and too long from start of the school year to TG. I'd also hazard a guess that the week will conveniently align with Brentwood fall break. I wonder what the absence rate will be like after labor day, people taking an extended break because of the lack of vacation in August.


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Posted by Spudly
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Jun 23, 2014 at 10:51 am

If any of the people who commented on the value of Livermore Valley Charter could post some reviews, api scores, attendance rate vs public school, etc. please do so as it would be nice to compare their program to what PUSD offers.


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Posted by Mark Miller
a resident of Mission Park
on Jun 23, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Sorry @Done Both, my two who have already graduated and one still in school have learned way more outside the classroom than in. It's true, if we delegate all education to our schools, then more time in school SHOULD improve results, so for some families this schedule could be better, but you're missing the point. The fact this was done in a deceitful manner should outweigh anything. After all, the ends don't justify the means.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2014 at 3:37 pm

"Answers1", I don't know about administration, but teachers are paid for the days they work. They are not paid "vacation" time.

I agree with Mark Miller. The time my children are not in the classroom is some of the most valuable learning they get all year. What makes me the most frustrated about this is that the board said they are doing what is best for all children. I don't think this is what is best for my children.

They should have listened to Valerie Arkin. She was right. They should have waited for the vote to get more information and take time to really listen to the concerns of parents. The members of the board were rude and almost made fun of some of the arguments parents were making. Not impressive.


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Posted by LOVETHENEWCALENDAR
a resident of California Somerset
on Jun 23, 2014 at 6:57 pm

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the new school calendar. Thank you Pleasanton School Board. You voted on the right change for our students of Pleasanton. Parents, the kids will still have 9 weeks of summer.


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Posted by Parent of 2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2014 at 9:10 pm

@Karen "The members of the board were rude and almost made fun of some of the arguments parents were making. Not impressive."

I agree with you - rude, condescending and arrogant, particularly Chris Grant.


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Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 23, 2014 at 9:38 pm

As poorly as the Board may have treated parents and audience members, I thought Ahmadi, Faraghan, and McCoy were condescending to the board, treating them as if they are on a "need to know" basis…


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Posted by Done Both
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 24, 2014 at 5:47 pm

MARK MILLER-

"Have learned way more outside the classroom than in."
– That is a non-quanifiable statement. Seriously, how would or could you even begin to measure this?? Also, that is more of a statement regarding the quality of the teachers rather than the schedule, which is an entirely different topic all together.

"It's true, if we delegate all education to our schools"
– I would make the completely un-verifiable opinion that more than half do.

"But you're missing the point. The fact this was done in a deceitful manner should outweigh anything. After all, the ends don't justify the means."
– Yes, They do. In this case, and on this topic, if it leads to more educated children, the ends absolutely justify the means. The issue I keep reading above is how parents have the knickers in a wad because it is cutting into family vacations and the like. Those reasons and other similar to them are irrelevant.


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Posted by Parent of 2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2014 at 6:01 pm

@Done both - I'd refer you to my earlier post above about unproven educational benefits.


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Posted by Pololo Mololo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 24, 2014 at 6:05 pm

To: Abolish the Unions!!!

I strongly recommend that one of your new names be "penny" OR missy penny!

in my opinion...."fart face" would also be waaaaaaaaaaaay cute!


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Re: learning more outside the classroom than in…

It is hard to quantify and quality of teachers does matter. However, it is clear that my children have the opportunity to learn different things outside the classroom than within. Even with the best teachers (and we have had great ones), they are one of 25-30 students following the pre-set curriculum at some kind of average pace.

During the long summer break, they can spend weeks exploring topics that never or barely get touched upon during school. They study foreign languages as elementary students, have time to read books beyond those assigned in class, get deeper into math and science. Summer is a time for individualized learning, and for us that has worked best in long blocks rather than random weekly breaks during the school year. Summer is like a sabbatical for public school students to discover and pursue their own interests, academic and other, and then return to the school year both refreshed and enriched.


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Posted by Be Positive
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2014 at 11:00 pm

I agree Parent- some of the best learning comes from external experiences that children have with their families- it is one of the reasons Pleasanton kids do so well- they have had the benefit of experiencing many wonderful learning opportunities. Although this is true, please keep in mind that not all children in this community have that opportunity. Many have parents who work multiple jobs, are left home alone, and actually have never gone anywhere outside the community and public schools are a place which work to equalize these learning experiences.

My question to you- how is this experience changed by moving the actual calendar dates this outside learning could take place? Couldnt it actually still be possible for it to occur?

I so wish, from the number of views, comments, passion, and fervor devoted to a topic concerning our schools that the same energy could be put towards the positive aspects of the education in our community. I find it sad that all of the positive articles that PW posts receive little to no comment. This actually concerns me more than our days of attendance being changed.


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Posted by Thankful
a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 25, 2014 at 9:20 am

I'm very thankful that the majority of board members did not give in to the pressure of the vocal minority to toss out the schedule change. This is a good first step in moving our school district forward and not just keep an obsolete schedule just because it pleases the vocal minority. Many of those who oppose the change claim that they were not informed. That's total BS since this proposal was out there for months. Don't blame PUSD just because you're living under a rock.


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Posted by Rowie
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 25, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Agree with "3-cheers for change".....

And it seems like for some of these parents, the extra-curricular activities and vacation are more important that the kids' education. It is a week difference! Be open minded. Changes can be good!


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Posted by Susie
a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 25, 2014 at 12:28 pm

I think the change will be good in the long run. Suggestion to the board, it would be better to start mid August and nix the week off in Oct the first year we transition. Makes the change a little easier on everyone.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Be Positive - I am remaining fairly positive about the change and personally the October break is great for my family to visit extended family back East when the weather is better than August. One week isn't a huge deal, except that we remember what 12 weeks was like growing up and in college so 10 already seems short. Our kids will be there on the first day of school, giving the new schedule a fair try.

Of greater concern are comments like Rowie that disparage extra-curricular activities and vacation and pit them against valuing kids' education. If we are part of a vocal minority that is being requested to keep its mouth shut then this may no longer be the community for us. My kids don't need the year-round schooling, shorter breaks so they don't forget everything, school uniforms, etc. that has been recommended. I am fine with tax-dollars and even parcel taxes going to support school programs, maybe summer school, that meets the educational needs of students with different out-of-classroom opportunities. But it would be an educational loss for my kids to lose a long summer break.

The issue may not be valuing kids' education vs. vacation schedules and extra-curriculars. I do wonder what the real educational needs now are for Pleasanton kids, and what we expect them to be in the future. If we are in the minority, so be it and I am sure someone will suggest just going away, but we researched, chose and sacrificed to move to Pleasanton because it was a good match for school, extra-curriculars, and family life so please understand it is sad to see that may be changing.

Everyone here probably values education highly. We may all have different student populations in mind, and there are different points of view on priorities for becoming an educated person. Reasonable people can disagree on the details, but I am glad to be living in a community that takes education, both within and beyond the classroom, so seriously.


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Posted by Hanna
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jun 26, 2014 at 11:25 am

This is VERY DISAPPOINTING TO HEAR. This decision was made to quick and WITHOUT more time and options for parents to vote. We needed an in person voting poll, mail, forms sent from school, phone, in Addition to the internet voting. There are still MANY families/people that did not vote. I am from this area and whoever these school district authority employees are making a mistake. This should be taken to the school board in Sacramento CA. The schools may now loose funding and MANY parents will pull their kids from school in August for vacation still. You are breaking our children's traditional schedule, this is a DRASTIC change! Maybe one week would work but NOT this modified lite schedule that they are claiming it. Your also causing STRESS and WORRISOME for our children......isn't it all about them and the families? NOT the school board. People who are not from this area do NOT understand our school calendar tradition. Locals, true Bay Area Californian's do. In the end you ARE TAKING AWAY SUMMER VACATION!!! Also, it's Vintage Hills, your have Vineyard Hills? A VERY concerned parent and family.


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Posted by Peter
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jun 26, 2014 at 11:28 am

Very disappointing to hear, they should keep the calendar the same with maybe one week earlier they start and one week earlier they get out. That simple.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 26, 2014 at 11:32 am

This is too bad, NOT in agreement. Why doesn't the district have all the kids vote? You may be surprised on your answer. To short change summer for them is Not good and disappointing. I hope this goes to Sac CA and the school will see this will Not work out in the end and probably go back to the traditional schedule.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Twilight Zone
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 13, 2014 at 10:32 pm

It's so odd to me to see so many parents use the "they're taking away our august/summer vacation" as a noteworthy reason to be so hostile towards this new school calendar. I took the time to read through all the posts and still don't understand why people are so pissed off except that some feel "entitled" to be part of the decision making process. I personally like the new schedule, but even if I was against it I would not allow my children to miss the first day of school in the name of squeezing every last minute of their summer vacation. The uproar and hostility all seem a bit silly. Like others have said, you can always choose to transfer to neighboring cities and keep your summer vacations through August. I look forward to the smaller class sizes!


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