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Parcel Tax Citizens' Group?

Original post made by Dark Corners of Town on Nov 28, 2009

The following letter to the editor was printed 11/27/09 in the PW. Does anyone know what the "concerned citizens' group" is called? Or when/where the "educational forums at the school sites" will be?


Budget crisis has had lasting impacts on schools
Dear Editor,
I would like to respectfully bring to your attention the budget crisis that is looming over Pleasanton
schools. For the 2009-10 year, we received a substantial amount (around $10 million) of one-time monies to help maintain the quality of education. These monies will not be available in the future. I am part of a concerned citizens' group that is trying to educate the community on the nature, extent and impact of the budget cuts thus far and to do what is necessary — pass an adequate parcel tax — to plug the widening funding gap. We presented our concerns to the PUSD board of trustees on Nov. 10, and will continue working on this issue until our community has the educational quality it deserves. We are also starting a series of educational forums at the school sites across the district. As the mother of four children in grades K-3, I volunteer for several hours a week in the classroom, and every spare minute of help parents can offer teachers is desperately needed and appreciated. Imagine trying to help children during math time when you have one teacher, two parent volunteers, and six kids with their hands up needing help. I teach art to a K-1 class because there is no art teacher. My children have diminished access to the school library, and my kindergartener does not have P.E. like his older siblings did. My children now only go to the computer lab once a week. In the science lab, there aren't enough microscopes for each child to have their own because the classes are larger (25 vs. 20 students).
Elizabeth Lester

Comments (199)

Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Nov 28, 2009 at 11:26 am

Well I'm part of a "concerned citizens group" that would like to "educate" YOU on the "nature, extent and impact" of my monthly income being reduce by $1200.00 with no way of "plugging that gap". You are already supported by the property owners and if that isn't enough, then do what many of us are doing...TIGHTEN THAT BELT ANOTHER NOTCH. If you want more then pay for it yourselves or hold another "fund drive" to support the schools like you did last summer. You all shined and showed your true colors then!


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Nov 28, 2009 at 12:26 pm

when you don't limit the size of your family, then everybody else has a price to pay...

it takes a village...


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2009 at 5:00 pm

I think a parcel tax is the best choice for Pleasanton. I'm not part of the concerned parents group, but I would like to get involved. I hope they welcome the input of non-parents as well because many of us understand the importance to the community of good schools. We are really behind the eight ball here in Pleasanton, since all the other high quality school districts in the area (such as Palo Alto and San Ramon) have supported their schools with parcel taxes. We need to do the same here.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2009 at 8:26 pm

A parcel tax is the only way to get the necessary funds we need. We also need the board to go through that budget and eliminate unnecessary expenses: as public sector employees, even the superintendent should not get benefits such as car allowances (come on, Casey lived in Pleasanton and got a 1000 per month car allowance - that is nice in good times but right now we cannot afford it).

As for promoting the parcel tax, the group needs to make sure the community is educated about why we need it. When my child was in elementary school, they had only 20 students in k-3, we need to get that back. We need middle schools that have enough lockers for every student, we need high schools that are not too crowded. We need to support Pleasanton students in every grade, from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade, we need to keep all programs that have made this district a great one.

I support a parcel tax, I do not see another way to continue to have the quality of education we have come to expect.

As for the students that live outside of Pleasanton but attend our schools: should we pass a parcel tax, we need to either limit their enrollment or ask for their donation of the equivalent to the parcel tax - so that the money PUSD receives for an out of district student is supplemented to bring it up to where it needs to be.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Nov 28, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Did all of the pro-parcel tax people donate to the schools last summer? I don't think so because if you had all put your money where your parcel tax mouths are, then the school system would have less problems than they claim that they do.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2009 at 8:58 pm

To Joe,

Not all the pro-parcel tax people were for Measure G. There were many people who say they would vote for a future parcel tax, and expected a future parcel tax that was improved over Measure G.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 28, 2009 at 10:34 pm

I will support a parcel tax when I feel the district and union have exhausted all other possibilities and develop a sustainable, fiscally responsible, and socially equitable plan. The campaign should involve the community and not attack it with emotional threats.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Nov 28, 2009 at 11:31 pm

to a reader, whether you were pro-parcel tax or pro-G wasn't the question...the question was did they donate to the school district during the fund raiser and the answer we all know was "no". I cannot understand why people that are so intent to push a tax onto their neighbors are so unwilling to help their own cause. Some did contribute, but not many and that poor showing will be remembered if a new tax drive is initiated. I already pay taxes to support the schools and I cannot support more taxes to help your cause when so few of you do.


Posted by no more teacher raises, a resident of Downtown
on Nov 29, 2009 at 7:43 am

Joe, you are so right in what you say. Whose kids are those four? Well if you chose to have all of them you can pay for them. I pay too much already and have NO kids to use the system.
My home is paid for, taxes are the only ongoing fixed expense. I have no cares at all about the value of it dropping to zero, as you parcel tax advocates swear that it will. I plan never to sell it and have no kids who stand to inherit it so drop away. The tax advocates did not care enough to put their money where their mouths are, look at the dismal results of the fundraising. Keep your hands off my money, it does not belong to those who breed indiscriminately and expect me to financially support their kids.
We don't even need to get to the issue of teachers and administrators demanding raises when cut are due.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 8:04 am

To "no more teacher raises",

There isn't even a parcel tax on the ballot, and you are already talking about "teacher raises".

"Well if you chose to have all of them you can pay for them"

That is not the way it works unless you want to change the constitution of the state of California. Public education has been part of the California system for more than 100 years. People pay for K-12 education, whether or not they have children. We all benefit when we educate all our children, not just those whose parents can afford it. An unintended consequence of Proposition 13 was that schools have gotten a lower proportion of tax funds. Read the following link to find out more.

Web Link

" I have no cares at all about the value of it dropping to zero"

You may not care about the value now, but if you get into health problems and need the money, that house may be all you have.

"have NO kids to use the system"

Wrong, we all have kids who use the system.

We need to get a parcel tax on the ballot that meets the community's needs and get it passed. All the other high quality school districts in the Bay Area have passed parcel taxes. They are better positioned to support their schools. We need to do the same thing here.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 8:23 am

"We don't even need to get to the issue of teachers and administrators demanding raises when cut are due."

When did we ask for a raise? My health care went up, while my salary stayed even, so I did take a pay CUT, as did many teachers this past year. We know that we will not see a pay raise for many years, yet our class sizes have gone up, we have less administrative help, and smaller budgets (if any at all) to work with. AND, health care will go up probably every year, giving us a pay cut every year.

We didn't "demand" a raise, we didn't even 'ask' for one, and we won't be asking for a long time.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Nov 29, 2009 at 8:34 am

Nice try "a reader", but Prop 13 is not the problem.
"Proposition 13 slashed property taxes nearly in half, to $5.6 billion a year in 1978-79. Since then, property taxes have risen 800 percent to more than $50 billion, according to data from the State Board of Equalization-far faster than other revenues...." Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee (July 6, 2009).
Here's a thought for all tax advocates. Since the State and Federal Govts. afford all parents deductions for your children, meaning that you get a tax write-off just for procreating and probably pay less in taxes than I do, then why don't you use that "extra" cash to support your cause? Not another dime.


Posted by no more teacher raises, a resident of Downtown
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:24 am

You were wrong on these posts before and are still wrong GTF. It's called step and column. Don't pretend that you do not understand what that is. Raises, pure and simple.
Give them up and we can talk. Keep plugging along with a median salary in the high 80's and we have nothing to talk about.
Teaching is a part time job by any calculation. Every weekend off, every school holiday off and every summer off. For a better than average full time wage. No parcel tax until that ends.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:35 am

To "no more teacher",

Once again, their is no parcel tax at the present time. Maybe some future would have a provision to freeze step and column raises. In that case, raises would not even be an issue. Why are you talking about teacher raises as if it has been proposed. Nothing has been proposed.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 10:13 am

To Joe,

That article says,

" far faster than other revenues, thanks to new construction and transfers."

But that hasn't happened in Pleasanton. We haven't had lots of new construction. That's what makes the article I posted all the more relevant. "Parcel Tax: The Only Local Option to Raise Funds for School Operations" The parcel tax solves a local issue. Further, that article ignores the fact that Prop 13 causes short term homeowners (those who "trade up") to subsidize longer term homeowners. The maximum allowable increase in property taxes in Prop 13 is lower than the average inflation rate. This means that as people stay in their houses, they pay LESS real money in taxes each year.

A parcel tax is the way to go in Pleasanton. Are schools are losing out, and we have already seen class sizes go up and programs get cancelled.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 29, 2009 at 11:30 am

For a reader and others who support a parcel tax: You are going to have to come up with a better reason than "everybody else has one." As parents and teachers, you've most likely explained to your children/students why this isn't sound thinking as an argument for or against anything. Neither "everybody else has a parcel tax" nor "this is how teachers are compensated" are compelling statements for additional funding.

There isn't a consensus for a tax because it continues to be too loosely defined. It's my reasoning for some kind of poll. And any campaign that is working quietly behind the scenes now is already dangerously late for anything to happen in time for it to be a benefit to students in 2010-11.

And what bothers me about increasing health benefit costs noted by Get the Facts is that a choice was made years ago to roll benefits onto the salary schedule ($10,000 at the time). The purpose was to pump up salaries for retirement calculations (the highest years of pay are used to calculate the retirement payment). Every raise received since that time has, by default, included increasing that $10,000 allotment. So if you were making $60,000 and got a 4 percent raise--$2,000 would have been on the salary side and $400 would have been for benefits. And that has compounded with every raise since this was put in place, which was at least 13 years ago.

The additional caveat is that if your spouse has benefits, you can roll all of that money into a 403b (401k equivalent) or just take it home in your paycheck. I believe it has been stated before that the majority of PUSD staff does exactly that. At this point, if the cost of benefits are too dear, the power to change the plans that are elected is in the union leadership's control.

There are a couple of articles of interest in this weekend's papers: one about changing teacher compensation: Value-added education Web Link The other about additional taxes for those with Cadillac plans: Web Link

The important issue for me is with more and more proposals for more and more taxes--either there's going to be good pay, cadillac plans, and classes of 24 or there is some give and take in how compensation works and perhaps a parcel tax and smaller classes and/or more resources.

If Pleasanton wants to be on the cutting edge, we could consider being the model for California and other states in finding a balance between reasonable compensation and reliable revenue sources. It is illogical to believe there will be additional funding without concessions or changes in how compensation works.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 29, 2009 at 11:43 am

To 'a reader' - Technically, you are right, there is 'no parcel tax at the present time'. However, just like political candidates form exploratory committees for political office, coordinated drumbeats (like yours) for a parcel tax have started. Facebook groups, concerned citizens' groups, discussions at school parent organizations (PTA, PFC, etc.), letters to the editor, school board trustee comments at board meetings, PW town square postings, speeches at school board meetings and more are occurring to condition voters for another run at a parcel tax.

Please allow others in the community to chime in with their thoughts about a parcel tax.

To Joe and no more teacher raises - Thanks for contributing your suggestions regarding the school district's fiscal challenges.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 1:39 pm

"Did all of the pro-parcel tax people donate to the schools last summer?"

We did, and donated more than we would have paid for the parcel tax.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 1:43 pm

"Joe, you are so right in what you say. Whose kids are those four? Well if you chose to have all of them you can pay for them. I pay too much already and have NO kids to use the system."

That is not the right attitude. I do not have any relatives using social security or medicare, yet I still pay taxes that go directly to those programs. I do not have kids going to community colleges, yet I still pay taxes that support those colleges. I do not have anyone in my family who is unemployed, yet my taxes contribute to their benefits, the list goes on.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 1:45 pm

"We did, and donated more than we would have paid for the parcel tax."

To clarify: my family did, and yes, we donated more than the parcel tax asked for.


Posted by Unbelievable!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Kathleen: what amazes me is that you oppose a parcel tax in your home town yet enjoy the benefits of one in your workplace (Palo Alto school district).

I have a friend in Palo Alto, and from what I have been told, there is a lot of waste from the top down. Union and all, same things you complain about PUSD happen where you work.

Perhaps you should go public in Palo Alto and convince every resident of the waste in their district, demand accountability there, demand budget cuts for salaries there. I bet you won't because it would probably affect you too.

You should also explain to your family (didn't you say you have grandkids in PUSD schools?) - explain why you oppose a tax that would keep their quality of education, while at the same time, you see every day kids in the district you work (Palo Alto) enjoy what your grandkids can't have - thanks to a parcel tax over there and a lack of one here (oh yeah, one you so vocally opposed and continue to do so)


Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Nov 29, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Unbelievable...let the personal attacks begin. It didn't take long.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 29, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Unbelievable: First, I don't oppose a parcel tax (this has to be repeated every time apparently). I've opposed, yes, the waste and the approach and the language for Measure G. I've repeatedly said I'll support one done correctly. And like some, I donated more than the parcel tax would have cost. My family is very clear about

I don't know who your friend is or what the allegations are--makes it difficult to respond. I don't vote in Palo Alto so why would I voice an opinion outside of the avenues already available to me? Palo Alto has asked all employees, among others, for ideas about balancing the budget. Not surprisingly, I have voiced my opinion and it included a suggestion for salary roll back and a few other ideas. I have supported schools in many ways and for a long time and my beliefs hold true on either side of the bridge.

The only unbelievable issue is the inability of anonymous people like yourself to read all of what I write and to be clear about what I have said. I started out by saying a more reasoned approach is needed for presenting a parcel tax. Does anything you posted accomplish that?


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 29, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Sorry -- My family is very clear about my position, has been supportive, and knows I support them and however they may choose to vote.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 3:37 pm

To Kathleen,

"You are going to have to come up with a better reason than "everybody else has one."

Wrong. It is not the only reason, but it is an important one. That is the way competition works. It is a very important reason, and yes, I would teach my children that lesson. The other schools have that source of funding. We don't.

"There isn't a consensus for a tax because it continues to be too loosely defined. "

IT ISN'T DEFINED AT ALL. Do you people even get this? THERE IS NO PARCEL TAX.

"There isn't a consensus for a tax "

Where did you get that idea? For all you know, there is a 100% consensus for a parcel tax. Why would you say something like that without knowing.

"And any campaign that is working quietly behind the scenes now is already dangerously late for anything to happen in time for it to be a benefit to students in 2010-11."

Why don't you get involved with it, if you are concerned?

"And that has compounded with every raise since this was put in place, which was at least 13 years ago."

Weren't you the person who was saying the district used to be well run in the past, like before the current superintendent? So in your opinion, it was bad 13 years ago, back in 1996?

" It is illogical to believe there will be additional funding without concessions or changes in how compensation works. "

But there has been additional funding in other districts without "changes in how compensation works. " We can't solve world hunger in a day. We need a parcel tax now.

Wayne Martin is famous for saying, and continues to believe that Palo Alto is a fiscally irresponsible and mediocre school district. It is well documented that they were poor stewards of the public money. They only made a few token concessions, and yet passed a parcel tax that YOU REFUSE TO CONDEMN. Now, when some concerned citizens express an opinion to the effect that PUSD should enjoy the benefits of what Palo Alto already has, you condemn it before it is even fleshed out. WHY?


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 3:59 pm

To "Dark Corners of Town",

"Please allow others in the community to chime in with their thoughts about a parcel tax."

Is there anyone somehow preventing someone from chiming in?


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 29, 2009 at 4:07 pm

To 'a reader' - You sure spend a lot of time throughout PW Town Square supporting and defending a parcel tax that you say doesn't exist. You write often about the virtues of a parcel tax, yet as soon as someone differs you dismiss their position by claiming a parcel tax doesn't exist. Given the coordinated drumbeats throughout Pleasanton for a parcel tax, I think the only things left to do for the ParcelTax2 team are an FPPC#, a church rally and campaign contributions.

Still looking for the answers to the opening questions:

"Does anyone know what the "concerned citizens' group" is called? Or when/where the "educational forums at the school sites" will be?"



Posted by John Adams, a resident of another community
on Nov 29, 2009 at 4:09 pm

I've said it time and time again. All this TAX TAX TAX is just what Obama wants. He wants to destroy America because he hates it. He is a Marxist and a Muslim. He is not a US citizen and has a known birth certificate from Kenya.

If you vote yes for this tax then you are on the side of Obama.

Joe and no more teacher raises and dark corners of town, you are real Americans. We want Obama impeached and we want to stop all these taxes. We are taxed enough already. The founding fathers would be turning in their graves to see what he is doing to our country. Thank you for being Patriots!


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm

To Dark Corners of Town,

"You sure spend a lot of time throughout PW Town Square supporting and defending a parcel tax that you say doesn't exist. "

Yes, I do that, and as far as I know, it doesn't exist.

""Does anyone know what the "concerned citizens' group" is called? Or when/where the "educational forums at the school sites" will be?""

That is my question too. I would like to get involved. Maybe some of us here could set up a meeting, say at the square on Main Street, and hash out some of our ideas.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 4:21 pm

To "Dark Corners of Town",

"You write often about the virtues of a parcel tax, yet as soon as someone differs you dismiss their position by claiming a parcel tax doesn't exist. "

What I dismiss, is people who talk about specifics of "the parcel tax", when there aren't any specifics. As far as I know, there isn't even a parcel tax proposed.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Obama isn't all that bad, when you think about what a mess W. made of things. Like lying about WMD to justify his own personal war of revenge. And secret torture renditions to foreign countries. Then the worst recession since the great depression.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 29, 2009 at 4:59 pm

a reader

I did say there needs to be a better reason, not that it isn't a reason, but "everyone else has one" is a weak starting position. I would like to believe any future campaign won't start there.

It was defined (although, not very well) in Measure G, which is the reference point.

In reading the posts, there isn't 100% consensus for a parcel tax. It is obvious; but then again, a poll would sure tell us both, wouldn't it?

My thoughts are published on what I believe is necessary to pass a parcel tax. I will gladly participate if another attempt is something I can support. In the meantime, it isn't that difficult to find me if anyone would like to talk, and I've posted a few links out here with valuable information already.

Again, this is where reading for meaning helps: compounded--defined as added to the previous amount. This has nothing to do with any superintendent, past or present.

I said concessions "or" . . . As to other districts, they passed parcel taxes before there were funding issues AND the community knew the track record of how those tax dollars were spent before they renewed them AND many districts did make concessions. How "compensation works" is a bone of contention, and I believe it will not go away.

I don't know if you know Mr. Martin; heck, I actually don't know Mr. Martin, and you'd have to provide the link to information about their being poor stewards of public funds. Mediocre is not a word you'll likely hear from just about anyone looking at Palo Alto schools or by any other measure.

I haven't condemned the potential for a parcel tax before it is fleshed out. I am, however, being proactive so that one might have a chance for success.

Dark Corners: I think if you call Valley View you might find the parent who is said to be spearheading the group. If I recall correctly, she spoke at the board meeting when they interviewed the search firms.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 5:58 pm

To Kathleen,

"In reading the posts, there isn't 100% consensus for a parcel tax"

But these posts mean nothing. We could be people from Fresno. There could be one or two people against, and 50,000 in favor. It isn't obvious to me.

"a poll would sure tell us both, wouldn't it?"

It all depends on the poll, and who answers it.

"As to other districts, they passed parcel taxes before there were funding issues "

If there weren't funding issues, then why did they pass parcel taxes? Isn't the whole idea of a tax to address the issue of funding?


Posted by long time resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm

I think it may have been pointed out here but our teachers and administrators are still receiving raises. I don't remember the amount but believe we gave out over $1M in raises this year alone. Teachers do not like to call "step and column" a raise but that is exactly what it is. The current contract gives out raises based on longevity. The raises,and management extras, have to stop before you ask the community to dig in more.

To Resident (at the top of this posting), You are asking for more funding for things like crowded high schools and lockers in middle schools. We are already paying more for those items through our current Pleasanton School Bond tax.Look at your property tax bill, the one that is due in 10 days, and you will see "SCHOOL UNIFIED" there. Each household is paying over .08% of their home assessment, per year, for facilities. My bill this year is close to $1000! It is amazing that we are paying that much already for facilities and we have crowded classrooms and no lockers. Soulds like the district has not been spending the Bond money appropriately. A parcel tax would not be used for those items anyway.

Somebody can check the facts to confirm but I am pretty sure that even with San Ramon's Parcel tax that we receive more money per student than San Ramon because of the way the State distributes funding. If we want to keep parity with San Ramon, the district we always compare ourselves against, we need to look at how they do fund raising. You will find that with the fundraising, it gives the parents more control on what their schools do. They know exactly what the money will be used for and they control it. Unlike a parcel tax where the district administration decides how to use the money and they appoint their own committee like they have done with the Budget Committee. However, if you are going to have a parcel tax spending committee that we can believe in then a good idea will to be to have half of the committee appointed from those who put their name on the ballot for the last parcel tax, and the other half appointed by those who put their name on the ballot against the parcel tax.





Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 29, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Kathleen,

Perhaps if "a reader" repeats it enough times, people may begin to believe it. After all, Iraq had WMD.

It must be ok to cheat on tests because everyone else does it.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 29, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

It is ok to have waste in PUSD because Wayne Martin found waste in PAUSD. Everyone else does it to that's ok here too.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 29, 2009 at 7:33 pm

a reader, Fresno? Really? I suppose if I look at it that way, I could be the only Pleasanton person out here--with the exception of the others I know. I don't think these posts mean nothing--I appreciate those participating in the discussion.

"Depends on the poll" . . . maybe, coulda, woulda, shoulda . . . whatever. The who would be a cross section of the community, logically. Do the poll, you can determine a lot with the data, including dismissing the results if you don't agree, I suppose.

Different districts chose different reasons to meet their community's needs and desires--CSR at fourth and fifth grades, for example. Parcel taxes have generally been used to put enhancements in place--art, music, counselors--reasons as varied as the community's they serve. It is hard to succeed if those values aren't known and addressed in advance.


Posted by Tired, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 7:55 pm

I'm so tired of all you Pleasanton parents wining about giving your kids a good education. My kids did just fine with a mediocer education, and I don't want to pay for a premium education for your kids.

I own my house free and cleer and I like my taxes low. Who says education is a right? Its a privelege in my opinion, and those of you who want it should pay for it yourselves. How selfish of you to ask other people to help you!


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 8:23 pm

To Stacey,

We need to remember that all the other high quality school districts have parcel taxes in place. We are competing with them. They are our competitors. If we don't have a parcel tax in place, we can not be competitive with them. It is a simple fact. If we want to get be cheap we can be cheap. We just have to be aware that we want to be cheap. I think a lot of Pleasanton residents would rather not be cheap.

"After all, Iraq had WMD."

This is the second post that has said something about WMD. I still can't figure out what WMD in Iraq has to do with a parcel tax in Pleasanton.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 8:27 pm

"a reader, Fresno? Really? I suppose if I look at it that way, I could be the only Pleasanton person out here--with the exception of the others I know. I don't think these posts mean nothing--I appreciate those participating in the discussion."

There is nothing scientifically valid at all in looking at what's posted in these polls and deciding anything about the level of consensus for a parcel tax. Ask any competent statistician.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 8:30 pm

"It is ok to have waste in PUSD because Wayne Martin found waste in PAUSD. Everyone else does it to that's ok here too."

Earth to Stacey -- Kathleen won't condemn a passing parcel tax in Palo Alto, in a district that would not clean up its wasteful habits, but will condemn a parcel tax here for the same reason. That's the problem.


Posted by John Adams, a resident of another community
on Nov 29, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Let's get this discussion back to the subject of Obama. Can't you see that these liberals just want to tax you to death. Any parcel tax vote would be a way to say no to Obama. Raise your hand if you love Marxism! That is what you get with a parcel tax. Well I have the answer. Michele Bachmann. And while your at it check out Mark Levin. He will set you straight on taxes. Now we have cash for clunkers, and we are going to be up to our ears in spotted owls! Ever here of Ronald Reagan? I don't think so! I'm from the government and I'm here to help. Scariest words in the English language.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 29, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

We need a parcel tax in Pleasanton because Kathleen Ruegsegger works at PAUSD, they have a parcel tax, and Kathleen won't condemn it.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 29, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.
Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.
Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.
Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.
Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.
Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 29, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I voted for a representative with my values. A panel of experts told my representative that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:02 pm

a reader: You are just blathering now. This isn't a poll, just a conversation--no need for 100%; it only takes 66.6% to pass anyway.

Second request . . . post the facts on the wasteful habits.

Every time you say what I stand for I will be here to say you don't know Jack. You may speak for yourself, but most certainly not for me. There is no inconsistency in what I am saying.


Posted by einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:07 pm

einstein is a registered user.

At this point in time a parcel tax would just be a bandaid or a major waste of time and energy. The real issue that everyone dances around is out of control spending and to much taxing. Without resolution of these issues a parcel tax will just be like spitting in the ocean. At the very same time we are struggling with school funding we have a 3 point retirement system in this state which is bankrupting us. Additionally, in late March there are going to be huge layoffs in Fremont which will severely impact any possibility for passing this here in Pleasanton because many members of NUMMI reside in this community and who would vote to tax themselves further when they have no job? I guess we will continue to look for a superintendent even though we cannot afford one. We need to begin to live within our means.


Posted by einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:10 pm

einstein is a registered user.

By the way, if you want a solution to the problem lower taxes and control costs. Reader, I have been silent for some time now but have been reading your blogs and honestly it appears to me you are stuck in neutral and only have the parcel tax in mind as a possible solution but do not seem to see the big picture in this state.


Posted by long time resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:12 pm

To "a reader",
If you want to compare with the other districts you need to look at the total picture. Pleasanton receives much more from the State than other districts. The other districts have a parcel tax to compete with our higher income we already receive. According to Ed-Data, for the 07/08 year (last year published there), we received $620 more per student than San Ramon. That equated to $9 million more. San Ramon's parcel tax brings in $6.7 million. So we are still $2.3 million ahead of them although the effect is more than that since they have 1,100 more students than us. Where San Ramon beats our socks off is in donations. With donations you will find that if people like the way the district is performing and listening to the needs of the community, donations go up. If the community is not happy, donations go down. So there is a big incentive for the district to do a better job with donations.


Posted by curious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:18 pm

To Get the Facts--when class size reduction was implemented did the teachers take a pay cut since they now had fewer students which means less work? Did the teachers take on additional responsibilities outside the classroom?

My memory says the answer to these two questions is no--so if class size increases, I don't think its fair to complain about more work and no pay increase.


Posted by long time resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:25 pm

I agree with einstein that a parcel tax is only a band-aid. It never ceases to amaze me when our school board members say they want the parcel tax to give more stability. We have a $111 million per year budget. A parcel tax of $2.8 million brings you NO stability. Our funding from the state and other sources fluctuates by much more than $2.8 million per year. We also know the district would spend every cent of a parcel tax. You have no stability if you spend all your money unless you can guarantee that funding will never go down, or go up less than the amount of raises you are giving out.

If you think the parcel tax will solve our finance issues, you are incorrectly informed. If a parcel tax passes, you will have a higher tax but will have done nothing to solve the problem, and the district will be back to you in the next year or two saying they need more or they will have to cut your favorite programs (while they still give out raises I might add).


Posted by Get Educated, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:27 pm

I find it interesting that in Palo Alto "district contributions to employee benefits will go up this year (09), from an average of $12,125 per employee to $12,865, according to Scott Bowers, assistant superintendent for human resources. Gogarty said that increase is covered by a union concession from last year which allowed employees to opt out of district health coverage in return for $250 a month, thus saving money for the district."
Web Link

Since PUSD has not received "raises" as your example above states, my frozen status on S&C combined with increased benefit rates equals a cut in my salary for the past two years. Seems to me that is could be viewed as a savings to the district, like PAUSD since they are not having to add to our benefit increases.


Posted by Get Educated, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:32 pm


Not all parcel taxes around the state were instituted before the budget crunch. Web Link
November 2009- Acalanes, Dublin, Livermore (an extension), Martinez, Orinda (increased from $385-$509. May- San Ramon Unified.

Because of over 2 million in internal cuts to PUSD's budget in 2007-2008 school year, the Pleasanton tax payers have not asked for a parcel tax before last June. They have been cutting the "fat" since 2007 in order to keep the costs away from the community. Now this is stated as a negative reason for attempting to institute one in the future?
Web Link
Web Link
It seems contradictory to hear you state that surrounding districts passed parcel taxes before the budget crunch, yet their ballot language was clear? Their taxes were needed for what exactly if there was no budget crunch.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:39 pm

To Kathleen,

Now you're just being crazy. I already posted the link on another forum that you participated in. It clearly showed Wayne Martin's portrayal of PAUSD as poor stewards of public funds. Here is another one.


"Local resident Wayne Martin, who led a campaign against 2005's Measure A school parcel tax, has criticized the district as FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE (emphasis mine). The district handled Measure B especially badly, he said."

"The administration of the Measure B bonds in the early years of the building program was a disgrace. It was clear that no one at the PAUSD [Palo Alto Unified School District] had the slighted idea how to administer a program like that," he said.

Unqualified staff tried to direct a massive building program, he said. He heard "horror story after horror story" from teachers concerned with the slow, fumbling pace of construction, he said"

Sounds a bit like the solar panel thing that keeps coming up. Here's another:

Web Link

"I have come to the belief that the district is not a good steward of our money, based on its current spending practices. It does not seem to have a realistic strategic financial plan that looks at revenue and expenses for the next five to 10 years. Nor does it use any modern tools for projecting revenue from property tax. Since 2001, it seems to see special taxes (primarily on homeowners) as the only way to bail itself out of its spending problems. "

And you have failed to condemn the PAUSD's use of a parcel tax. I'm I wrong?


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:41 pm

And here's the link for the above quotes.

Web Link


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:44 pm

To "long time resident",

"If you think the parcel tax will solve our finance issues, you are incorrectly informed. If a parcel tax passes, you will have a higher tax but will have done nothing to solve the problem, "

Did you consult your crystal ball on that one? Now you can predict the future? Passing the parcel tax will solve the problem of saving the programs that voters want.


Posted by Get Educated, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:48 pm

"There isn't a consensus for a tax because it continues to be too loosely defined. It's my reasoning for some kind of poll. And any campaign that is working quietly behind the scenes now is already dangerously late for anything to happen in time for it to be a benefit to students in 2010-11."

A poll like the one in PAUSD costs money, as they have hired a consulting firm to handle this and help consult of how to clearly define the language of the parcel tax they are currently planning for. Web Link

How would this community react to hiring the consultant firm you recommended Tramutola firm? There is nothing "quiet" about the community members that are currently working on some solutions for funding in PUSD. It seems to me they are not rushing into things, speaking to school communities all over this town, gathering initial input, taking concerns to the school board and helping to organize a plan. To make judgements on the language of the tax and the lack of a poll seems very premature and only adds mistrust to the efforts that are in the works.

Support comes in many forms, printing part of the truth is not supportive nor does it help to solve the issue at hand.


Posted by einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:48 pm

einstein is a registered user.

Higher taxes will solve nothing other than to drive up the level of spending and do nothing to help educate our children better. It will only give raises in the public sector where few in the private sector are getting anything at all. I have taken a significant cut over the course of the last year.....upwards of 40% so for teachers not to get a raise saddens me little.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 29, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Fundraising will solve the problem of saving the programs that parents want.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 10:00 pm

To Get Educated,

"Except for scheduled seniority increases, teachers and staff in Palo Alto schools will get no pay raise this year under tentative agreements reached by labor unions and the school district."

I assume the "seniority increases" are what we call step and column, right? Plus, they have the "opt out".


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 10:03 pm

To Get Educated,

Way to go with those two posts. You really batted it out of the park! Keep exposing those half-truths or outright falsehoods.

A parcel tax won't solve all of our problems, but it will sure help.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Stacey,

Fund raising won't do it alone. It isn't enough to do fund raising in Palo Alto and San Ramon. The supplement that with parcel taxes.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 10:09 pm

To einstein,

"Higher taxes will solve nothing other than to drive up the level of spending and do nothing to help educate our children better"

So you are against all parcel taxes by that logic. You are against all those parcel taxes passed in Piedmont, Palo Alto, San Ramon, and others? Are you saddened by those?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 29, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

$2MM annually is the amount by which the budget grows due to increasing costs, among them step and column raises. $2MM in cuts annually is not due to someone looking to cut fat, but looking to pay for the increasing costs.

How does Pat Kernan say he's not going to push a parcel tax on the community by hiring extra counselors for 2007/2008 without identifying funding for those salaries? Web Link

"In the end, the board agreed to authorize the district to hire new counselors up to the $602,126 maximum cost, but left it open where the funding would come from. Casey said the hiring of counselors will be contingent on the additional state funding and if the district receives any additional funds from increased enrollment."

I'm also wondering how $602,126 turned into over $900K in three years.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 29, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader,

The great thing about fundraising is that it could be started now and doesn't require voter approval! Nor does it pit teachers against taxpayers. Nor does it burden those between jobs.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2009 at 10:11 pm

To Kathleen,

"You may speak for yourself, but most certainly not for me."

Where have I ever spoken for you? You have failed to condemn the parcel tax in Palo Alto.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 29, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader,

To get a parcel tax going, the district has to spend money and isn't even guaranteed to pass. It just leads to dividing the community, pitting taxpayers against teachers. To get fundraising going, it just takes a group of concerned citizens.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 29, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Get educated and a reader--what is with you two? It's like you are violently arguing with me TO oppose a tax.

Cuts in 07-08 after three years of generous raises from 2005 and including 2007-08? Didn't ask for a tax or didn't have support for a tax? Keep the costs away from the community--do we not pay for K-12 education already and the bonds?

I am not against a parcel tax, here or elsewhere; I stated that when I opposed Measure G. It isn't news. I asked for accountability and responsibility and better language. Nothing unreasonable. As for Mr. Martin, it's just his commentary. I at least provided links, as did others, to district facts and information to support my statements.

Put your energy into making sure any future attempt will have this community's support. I've made suggestions; I'd be happy to lear about some positive ideas from both of you.



Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 29, 2009 at 10:20 pm

learn, not lear


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 29, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Here's the article! Web Link I was looking for this but forgot where it was. It gives more information about the Palo Alto deal than the PW's sister paper's article.

Palo Alto District contributions on benefits will increase, but employees also agreed to an increase in co-pays. Talk about presenting half the info...


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 29, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"It's not yet clear how much the changes to the contract will cost or save the district overall, since the district is in the midst of open enrollment for health insurance, Bowers said. But some of the cost-saving measures will total at least $650,000, Bowers said.

The proposed contract would increase the district's average benefits contribution for teachers and classified staff from $12,125 to $12,865 per employee on an annual basis.

It also would allow employees who retire before age 65 with 20 or more years in the district to opt out of the district's health-care coverage for the years before they qualify for Medicare, in exchange for $3,000 per year. The district has a similar program for current employees, Bowers said, and about 50 employees opted out last year.

"It certainly will be an advantage for us if people do opt out, if they can switch over to a spouse's or partner's plan," Bowers said.

The new contract also would eliminate a small life insurance program the district offered retirees, Bowers said."


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Nov 30, 2009 at 12:09 am

Per "a reader": "We need to remembner that all the other high quality school districts have parcel taxes in place. We compete with them"...

Compete with them for what? When did school districts start competing against one another???

Do we compete with them so someone can say: "Naner, Naner, Naaaaner!!! Our scores are better than yours"!!!

This is so confusing to us of simple mind...


Posted by Get Educated, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 12:58 am

The information in your last postings (and many other threads on PW) is contradictory to what you claim good districts have done to find solutions to the funding crisis. I was very specific in the three posts in response to what you said. I told you before if you continue to post misinformation, I will continue to point it out. I am sorry you feel that is violently attacking.

I have never said I disagree with your ideas. Many times I've asked you to speak more to this community about the need and benefit of hiring a consultant firm to find resolutions since you currently have experience in Palo Alto with this.

My energy? I am personally getting involved in this process. I have gone to the parent meetings at school over the past month, worked multiple fundraisers since this summer, attended the school board meeting to further this public process of finding solutions to future cuts. There is nothing quiet or hidden about this effort.




Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 30, 2009 at 6:36 am

GE: I didn't say attack. Dark Corners has asked for information about the group or meetings, could you respond to that? I already mentioned which school seems to be spearheading it and that there was a board meeting where people spoke to the effort. If they aren't quietly working behind the scenes, it seems not all interested parties are finding how to participate. I don't mistrust the groups efforts--I don't have first hand knowledge of what they are doing--just know the board has to vote by January to get it on a spring ballot. It's tight timing and that's what I addressed. No contradiction.

Hiring a consultant--don't know how the community will react. It's up to the community committee to pay for most of it. I have only seen what one district has done and they paid for initial advice and the survey. I would be one to argue for Tramutola or any local firm with a strong record for getting campaigns passed precisely because they do the necessary legwork to find the acceptable solution. It isn't always going to be what a board wants to hear--clearly taxes with no end date; huge initial taxes or much too big renewals; large COLAs all tend to fail.

Benefits in PAUSD are not on the salary schedule. Stacey has posted information about how that works. I personally have never taken benefits in PAUSD and until this year there was no benefit to not taking benefits. Still no contradiction.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 7:31 am

John Adams:

Did you see the CNN article about a democrat proposing a "war tax"? That is, a tax to pay for the costly war.

My question to you and other GOP fans: what is your suggestion? Continue to finance a war by getting the US into even more debt, like Bush did? Or end the war because we cannot afford it and we do not want to raise taxes?

I am curious about your take on this.

About the discussion about Palo Alto:

By the way, I too have friends in Palo Alto, and the waste is huge over there. Not only do they have an expensive parcel tax (more than we would have paid in Pleasanton had G passed), but they are also expected to give money to both the PTA (per student) and the ed foundation (all this is expected and parents just do it). So for someone to be an employee of Palo alto school district and oppose a parcel tax here in Pleasanton is to me a bit confusing. Palo Alto has a lot of waste, lots of benefits, just ask Kathleen about the package her boss gets


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 30, 2009 at 7:49 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Kathleen has control over how Palo Alto runs its school district. We must pass a parcel tax in Pleasanton, because Kathleen works there, doesn't oppose the tax, and we compete against Palo Alto who already has a parcel tax.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 30, 2009 at 7:56 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Jerry,

Some believe that the goal of education is to compete, to churn out well-trained experts. Others believe that the goal of education is to learn how to learn and that the former goal is merely a subset of the latter. American universities are known for the latter which is why many foreigners like to send their well-trained experts to attend school over here.


Posted by John Adams, a resident of another community
on Nov 30, 2009 at 8:24 am

The cost of the war is exagerated by the left.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 8:44 am

Well, under Bush we ran a deficit, I am sure you know the amount, and it was for a variety of reasons but one of them was the war.

The amount for the war is significant, my question again: how do we pay for it? or do we just withdraw?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:37 am

Stacey is a registered user.

PAUSD is a high quality district. PAUSD has a parcel tax. Therefore it follows that a parcel tax is the reason for PAUSD's quality. We need a parcel tax here. PAUSD has waste and they're a high quality district. Therefore we need waste in PUSD in order to be a high quality district.

Kathleen won't denounce the elephant in the other room so we will continue to ignore the elephant in our room. I blame Kathleen.


Posted by Tom, a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Nov 30, 2009 at 10:45 am

I think we should stop all funding of schools and throw the little ones out on the street. It's very exciting dodging the bullets of really stupid kids and young adults when we go to the market. Education is really overrated anyway. The world will be much more exciting when those really stupid kids have grown up and leading our country! Down with education!


Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 10:48 am

To Get Educated - if there's nothing hidden about your participation, why not use your real name? Or are you one of the people who denounced the anonymous posters during the Measure G campaign, so you don't want to admit you've become one of them?
I found Cholo's early comment intriguing, but am not sure if he believes that no matter how many children parents choose to have the community should be responsible for educating all of them, or if he's suggesting people should limit the size of their families.
I believe that in all the discussion about limited resources - food, oil, etc. the key element that continues to be ignored is the need for population control. We are in danger because our planet cannot continue to sustain an ever increasing population.
Zero population growth (i.e. no more than two kids per family) should be encouraged by the government not giving tax credits for families with more than two children and financially penalizing those who have more than two children?
As for the writer of the letter to the editor...while your volunteering in the schools is laudable, why not make an even greater impact and donate to PUSD what it costs to educate two of those children?
You may say that whatever number of children you have is your choice, but your choice puts an extra burden on the taxpayers, and on this planet.
If we want to leave behind a liveable planet for our children and grandchildren, the most important thing we can do is support Zero Population Growth.




Posted by Frank, a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 30, 2009 at 10:50 am

Wow, it's hard to know where to start- so much to say. First off, I think the competition reader is referring to may have to do partly with the quality of educators the district is able to employ. We actually do compete with other districts and the private sector for quality people. No, that doesn't mean give them anything they want, but you often get "what you pay for". That's true everywhere in the district including the superintendent, custodians, teachers, admin staff. We also compete to have the district that provides the best educational opportunities available. That's part of the reason that our property values are so high, and haven't dropped nearly as dramatically as our surrounding areas. If you own property here, you are benefiting from the quality of the school system here.
There may be more "fat" that can be trimmed from the system- I don't know. I have read data (I wish I had it in front of me for specifics) that suggests that our system is much more streamlined than most. And compared to similarly sized corporations, the district is very efficient. But I do know that there are people who would welcome any constructive suggestions to better the system. Just complaining here will not get your needs met.
I don't think anyone is suggesting a parcel tax yet, but it may be inevitable. The costs of operation just exceed the amount of money available. Trimming costs more will help, but not solve the problem. There just isn't a lot more that can be trimmed. I, along with many others donated to the schools last year (much more than if Measure G had passed). Over $400,000 was raised, which sounds like a lot, but wouldn't have kept in place most of the programs that were salvaged this year. The bulk of the money that saved the district this year came from the federal stimulus money, which exceeded $6,000,000. Unfortunately that was a one time thing. We won't have that to rely on next year.
No matter how many car allowances, etc. we cut, how will we be able to keep class sizes down, enough custodians on staff to keep classrooms and the rest of the school clean and functioning, specialists that keep kids from falling behind while allowing the rest of the class to flourish, counseling, library, computers, and so on?
We should remember that we would be paying a lot more in property taxes without Prop. 13. Unfortunately, what we're paying now just isn't enough to cover the costs. If it comes down to a parcel tax, I would support it. It benefits all of our children, yes, mine included. They literally are our future leaders, etc. whether Joe likes it or not.
I think that there is a facebook page with more info. I'm not a facebook member, so I don't know exactly how to find it, but I'm sure it's not too hard. I also heard that there are informational meetings at some of the schools. If you would like to know more/ or voice your opinions, these may be two options.
PS- the subject here is school funding, not the war, the left, etc.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 10:55 am

I went back and read a number of the threads posted during the Measure G campaign.
Kathleen was consistent in her statement that she was opposed to the Measure G parcel tax - for reasons specified in all those earlier posts - but not opposed to a fiscally responsible future parcel tax.


Posted by einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Nov 30, 2009 at 11:26 am

einstein is a registered user.

Reader,

We already pay taxes for schools. In addition, we pay another local bond tax for schools so my feeling is that an additional parcel tax is just another waste of time until such time as this state in general looks to reduce costs. We have a completely unsustainable business model in this state and little Pleasanton is just beginning to feel the effects of poor management at the state and now national level. I have said it before and again the only way out of these bankrupting government workers union contracts is either through renegotiation (the unions would never do it) or filing for bankrupcy to get out of them. We already have the highest taxes so to add more makes zero sense.


Posted by John Adams, a resident of another community
on Nov 30, 2009 at 11:45 am

Resident --

We can cut "education" and "schools" which are unneeded costs but we can't cut defense or we have to give up our freedom and way of life. Do you understand now.


Posted by An actual resident not a union rep, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 11:47 am

I assume that everyone at this point realizes that "A Reader" is a hired shill. Just curious – are you on salary or are you compensated for each time you type the words "parcel tax"?

If you have been reading along over the past few weeks there has been an obvious and orchestrated attempt to get the subject of a parcel tax back on the front burner. When the barker starts repeating himself loudly, put your hands over your wallet folks.

OK, you can commence with the vehement, but shallow denials now.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 30, 2009 at 11:54 am

To Mom,

"Kathleen was consistent in her statement that she was opposed to the Measure G parcel tax"

We're not talking about Measure G here. Were talking about some potential future parcel tax.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 12:02 pm

To " An actual resident – not a union rep",

"I assume that everyone at this point realizes that "A Reader" is a hired shill. Just curious – are you on salary or are you compensated for each time you type the words "parcel tax"?"

Well, I'm actually working for the advertisers at Pleasanton Weekly. I post both pro and con parcel tax under many aliases. Everyone knows that parcel tax forums get high click through, and the more controversy I stir up, the more I get paid.

The above is sarcasm.

It is easy to make an accusation that cannot be disproved.

Are you a "hired shill"?


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 12:07 pm

To einstein,

"We already have the highest taxes so to add more makes zero sense."

But we don't have the highest property rates, and in fact, we have nearly the lowest. I can provide links, but the information is easy to find. A disproportionate amount of school funding comes from local property taxes. Communities like Pleasanton that don't see much new construction need parcel taxes to make up for less money from property taxes because of the limits in Prop 13. Those limits are lower than average rate of inflation, so longer term residents effectively pay less and less each year, once adjusted for inflation.


Posted by einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Nov 30, 2009 at 1:35 pm

einstein is a registered user.

Reader,

Please now you are embarrassing yourself by throwing anything and everything up as flak. Prop 13? come on it was put in place over 30 years ago and part of the reason it was put in place was because of skyrocketing property taxes which were putting many homeowners at risk. If you want to really watch the bottom fall out of the housing market just put something like high property taxes back in play. We seemed to be able to get along just fine until the last few years and why is that? Well as I have previously written we have chased about every major manufacturer out of the state, Ford, GM, Chrysler, FMC, Lockheed, Pacific State Steel, General Dynamics, Ford Aerospace, Martin Marietta, and with them have gone our tax revenue. I went to what was called Cal State Hayward and paid $68 dollars per semester or quarter (cannot remember which it was) and took my 12-16 units and it was this cheap because with the tax revenue afforded by major manufacturing companies it made state education basically free. No companies are moving into the state and why would they? We have the most stringent environmental regulations in the nation, highest energy costs, highest worker compensation charges, easy to litigate state possible. Many reading this say well we do not want those big bad businesses in this state..........well fair enough but do not complain about lack of revenue for things such as schools and roads etc. We cannot have it both ways although we try. Research the exodus of personal wealth leaving the state and you will be amazed at what is quietly happening behind the scenes. Another good read for the reader is "Mexifornia".


Posted by PT Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Stacey, you cannot rely on fundraisers to fill the budget gap, because they have to be done every year (or more often) and the amount they raise is uncertain. You cannot run a public entity like a corporation--in schools children do not get "laid off" during lean times.

Education is a public service that should be community supported, not reliant on fundraisers and "pay-per-use". Everyone in this community benefits from the excellent schools here in Pleasanton--from the high housing values we homeowners enjoy to the low crime rates that arise from a community that values education and has high-quality schools.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 30, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

All other high quality districts in the Bay Area are much better at fundraising than Pleasanton. If we want to compete with them we have to get better at fundraising. Private corporations do not use fundraisers to support their business so doing fundraising is certainly not running like a corporation. Thirty percent of the Orinda district's budget is based on fundraising. I think they would disagree if someone said fundraising cannot be relied upon. It works pretty good for them. It is only 64 cents a day. That's cheaper than your daily latte!


Posted by Dave, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 2:14 pm

PT Parent,

We already do pay taxes for schools plus a bond so we have done our part. No more taxes!!!!


Posted by Tom, a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Nov 30, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Right Dave!

We pay too much in taxes already. Shut the schools down completely. That will fix the state budget and shut the tea baggers up about paying to much in taxes. Of course everyone will have to home-school their kids, requiring one of the household wage earners to quit their jobs. Oh my! Then we'd have a wholesale meltdown of our property values as everyone goes into foreclosure. Then most people would have to move away. And then Pleasanton will be truly a nothing town.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 4:40 pm

John Adams: I can't believe you are suggesting that we pay for the war by cutting schools!

Back to parcel tax and Palo Alto:

Just look at the many admin positions they have:
Web Link

Is there waste?

The point is, other school districts (the good, desirable ones) have parcel taxes, Palo Alto is one of them.

We need a parcel tax here in Pleasanton too. And for those who say they don't have kids: well, I do not have parents on social security or medicare, but my taxes still go to those programs. I will not benefit from social security because by the time I am old enough to benefit from it, there will NOT be any money. So here I am, paying for a program I will never use while saving for my own retirement because I cannot rely on social security and I am not part of the union so no pension.

So all of us pay for programs/services we do not use, that is what it means to live in a country where everyone pays their share and also gets to enjoy the benefits that taxpayer money provide. Schools are just a part of life, and they are funded by taxpayer money, just like roads, police, social security, medicare, unemployment benefits, the list goes on and on. In fact, it is the children of a while back, who went for the most part to public schools, the ones who are now adults paying taxes and yes, financing the older generation through social security and medicare.

Before someone talks about privatizing all schools: ok, are you ready to go private on everything? Pay for your personal body guard (no more public funded police officers), stop social security now and let everyone live on whatever funds they have regardless of age, get rid of medicare (oh wait, isn't that something the GOP is now using to attack the healthcare plan? the fact that medicare might suffer?); while we are at it, let's end the war too, and every man for himself. See how ridiculous it would be to privatize everything?

Everyone needs to pay their fair share. Students right now need support, just like older people have been enjoying the support of the younger generations.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Tom,

You seem well versed on homosexual sex terms like "tea bagging" but surely you can do better than that and offer an intelligent solution or no?


Posted by Dave, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Reader,

What I believe you are missing is that many of the people above feel like they are paying more than their fair share and see it being sent on nothing other than more waste. The base amount is paid for through our already high taxes and anymore seems not necessary.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 5:38 pm

To einstein,

I'm not saying we should scrap Prop 13. I'm saying it has unintended consequences. When Pleasanton was getting money from growth and development, that compensated for the lower tax people who remained in their houses and saw small increases (lower than inflation) due to Prop 13. Now that we have much slower development and growth, we no longer have that to compensate. A parcel tax is part of the solution to restore the funding we need to support the programs that Pleasanton residents value in their schools.

This isn't about chasing companies out of California with taxes and lawsuits. This is about local property taxes to support local schools. It is a local issue.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 30, 2009 at 5:56 pm

I love how a few of those in favor of a parcel tax fail to address the spending issues pointed out by those opposed to one, and instead focus on attacking Kathleen as justification.

Kathleen, thank you for your continued work on this issue, I think you understand both sides of the issue and are making the right statements and asking the right questions instead of blindly standing for a parcel tax or against one.


Posted by To Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Nov 30, 2009 at 7:18 pm

I believe you are blindly siding with Kathleen. She has made many mistatements, presented half truths, and downright lied about details in the past, yet some people take her word as gospel only because she used to work for PUSD.

Note that the key words here are "used to work for PUSD". What people are merely pointing out here is that she is hypocritical: because she lives in Pleasanton she has taken a stand against a parcel tax because it would directly affect her; however, since she works for PAUSD, which has a parcel tax, she has benefitted directly from the parcel tax there by maintaining her job and benefits. You don't hear her complaining about the waste in that district. See the point?

She is not a citizen's advocate by any means. She is a self-absorbed taxpayer, just like many people, who has an opinion. I suggest you stop listening blindly to her and even the others here, and seek the facts for yourself. Attend the board meetings. Join the citizen's group. Anything but fawn over Kathleen.


Posted by einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Nov 30, 2009 at 7:19 pm

einstein is a registered user.

Reader,

There is a significant connection between a healthy robust economy and revenue for things such as education. To tax more in a time of economic downturn is a recipe for disaster. If the teachers were to agree to either pay cuts or freezes, elimination of things such as car allowances, cell phones, etc. If waste were eliminated that was not directly connected to classroom education and there was not enough money to provide quality education I believe the masses would be behind this initiative. As it currently stands it appears to be just another tax and spend liberal program which at the end of the day will not help a thing.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 30, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Posted by To Pleasanton Parent, a resident of the Apperson Ridge neighborhood, 1 minutes ago

"I believe you are blindly siding with Kathleen. She has made many mistatements, presented half truths, and downright lied about details in the past, yet some people take her word as gospel only because she used to work for PUSD.

Note that the key words here are "used to work for PUSD". What people are merely pointing out here is that she is hypocritical: because she lives in Pleasanton she has taken a stand against a parcel tax because it would directly affect her; however, since she works for PAUSD, which has a parcel tax, she has benefitted directly from the parcel tax there by maintaining her job and benefits. You don't hear her complaining about the waste in that district. See the point?

She is not a citizen's advocate by any means. She is a self-absorbed taxpayer, just like many people, who has an opinion. I suggest you stop listening blindly to her and even the others here, and seek the facts for yourself. Attend the board meetings. Join the citizen's group. Anything but fawn over Kathleen."

I do not blindly agree with Kathleen, I do agree with her approach however - open to a tax as a last resort once all other options have been thoroughly vetted. I do not appreciate those in favor of the tax stating time and time again that it is the ONLY option and that those not in favor of a tax are opposed to quality education.

To call her a hypocrite without knowing all the details is foolish. I don't necessarily agree with all the decisions (or politics) of my employer.

I did my own research during the measure G campaign. My number one issue then (and still today) is the fact that measure G did not make equitable concessions. To ask the community for additional funds and plan on continuing to pay out S&C increases is irresponsible and morally reprehensible in my opinion.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Forgot to mention: Palo Alto's parcel tax pays for higher salaries:

"On June 7, 2005, voters approved a Measure A Parcel Tax assessment of $493 per parcel for six years. Parcel Tax funds allow Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) to pay higher salaries and to maintain current programs and targeted class size reduction. The tax expires after six years. The tax is assessed against each parcel of taxable land in the District. A parcel is defined as any unit of land in the District that now receives a separate tax bill from the Santa Clara County Assessor's Office."
Web Link

OK, that was it for Palo Alto. I simply wanted to point out that Palo Alto is a good district that does not have the best fiscal policies or spending habits. This is the way it is in pretty much every school district.

For people who work in other districts and enjoy the benefits of parcel taxes (like higher salaries) to oppose the same parcel taxes in their home town is, imo, a bit hypocritical.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 8:21 pm

To einstein,

" elimination of things such as car allowances, cell phones, etc. If waste were eliminated that was not directly connected to classroom education "

It is easy to just say eliminate waste, but even if we cut all those things we won't come close to making up the difference needed to pay for programs that have been or will be cut. There is just too much money to make up.

Cutting teacher's pay would cause problems of its own. The top quality school districts such as Palo Alto and San Ramon have not cut teacher's pay. That would put our district at a disadvantage. We need to hire and retain the best teachers that we can. I don't think Pleasanton residents want to get in to a race to the bottom with the lower quality school districts by cutting teacher's pay.

Once again, this would be a targeted, local tax that goes directly to our school district. It isn't some kind of federal income tax increase that economists talk about when they say things like "recipe for disaster". This has nothing to do with that. This is exactly the kind of tax that is needed in this downturn. We need to get a parcel tax on the ballot that meets the community's needs and enables our schools to continue to provide the high quality education they have in the past and provide even higher quality in the future.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 8:29 pm

To Pleasanton Parent,

Sadly, I'm forced to agree Resident and the others that Kathleen is going to have to do a better job at distinguishing PUSD from other districts in the spending and waste department if she wants to convince anyone of what she believes.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 8:33 pm

"To call her a hypocrite without knowing all the details is foolish. I don't necessarily agree with all the decisions (or politics) of my employer."

She is the administrative assistant to the superintendent. We are not talking about a low level employee.
Web Link

Pleasanton parent: I am sure that if you were some CEOs personal assistant, and the company was caught in some fiscally questionable habits, you would not be seen as an innocent bystander, especially if at the same time you privately enjoyed the benefits of your position, you publicly criticized another company for similar habits.


Posted by einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Nov 30, 2009 at 8:37 pm

einstein is a registered user.

Reader,

I am trying to get you to see the bigger picture but it is not happening for some reason. Parroting over and over "we need to get a parcel tax on the ballot" is not working, not nearly enough people will vote for it to work or even come close this time. Many of my neighbors who voted for G now view any initiative as just a way to take money from their paychecks and give it to teachers in a way of a pay raise at the very same time that they have been hurt financially by this depression or recession. Maybe a depression in California and a growing recession nationally. It is hard to gain sympathy for this issue until such time as you ring out all of the fat or at least expose it for what it is. How many administrators per teacher in the district?, leased vehicles? expense allowances?, how many of Pat Kiernan's daughters work at the district (2)?, how many hours per year are worked by a teacher?, how many retired superintendents are we paying for? why do we need one? why can't we share with San Ramon? Hard questions and suggestions but if you want to sell something you cannot just throw out "we need a parcel tax here in Pleasanton" and expect it to develop some level of passion. Just suggestions.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 8:49 pm

To einstein,

"It is hard to gain sympathy for this issue "

I'm not asking people for sympathy. I'm appealing to there interest in preserving the community. We all benefit in many ways from maintaining high quality schools, even those of us who don't have children or grand children.

" am trying to get you to see the bigger picture "

Frankly, I don't think things like Obama, Cap and Trade, and wars have much anything to do with a parcel tax in Pleasanton. It is a very local issue. It is not a Democrat or Republican thing, and it is not a liberal or conservative thing.

Also, I'm all for cutting "fat", but I'm not for cutting bone and marrow. Like I said before, I don't think residents of Pleasanton want to be in a race to the bottom with the communities that don't support their schools.


Posted by einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Nov 30, 2009 at 8:55 pm

einstein is a registered user.

Reader,

I do not know about obama, Cap and Trade and such but I can tell you that people are hurting and few in my neighborhood feel that anyone is racing to the bottom. I believe that people in this community go out of their way to support their schools and community but this reeks of teacher greed and that is what many people are saying. I do not believe expecting teachers to work 8 hours a day, 20 or so working days a month, 12 months a year is beyond expectations no more than elimination of district staff to support line is cutting to the bone and marrow.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:08 pm

To einstein,

"reeks of teacher greed"

I haven't heard anyone say something like that anywhere but these forums. Where is it written that teaching is charity work? If we want a good school district, we need to be willing to pay for it. You don't see San Ramon or Palo Alto eliminating step and column raises. But you do see them passing parcel taxes. Do those communities "reek" of teacher greed? My experience with both Palo Alto and San Ramon is that, in general, those teachers are very conscientious and skilled. We don't want to create an incentive for the best teachers leave the district. We are better served to do what we can and to hire the best teachers we can, and give them reason to stay.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Oakland Unified has a parcel tax and API of 676.
Ravenswood Elementary has a parcel tax and API of 637.
The residents in those communities know how to support their schools. The higher the amount spent per pupil, the lower the API score. We need a parcel tax in Pleasanton so we can race to the bottom.


Posted by einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:16 pm

einstein is a registered user.

Reader,

I believe that Stacey has illustrated that parcel taxes do not equate to high test scores. Question for you? How many Pleasanton teachers were terminated for poor performance last year? Additionally, how many teachers resigned from the district and cited their reasons for leaving as being pay and benefits?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

We need to pass a parcel tax in Pleasanton because Kathleen is a hypocrite.


Posted by einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:18 pm

einstein is a registered user.

Another thing to consider if you believe our teachers perform so highly here in town. Why is it that Asians score about 100 points higher than whites who score 100 points higher than hispanics? I believe it has nothing to do with teachers but rather involvement and the engagement of the parents with their children.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The CEO's cat is surely implicated in insider trading. We need a parcel tax to feed cats.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Kathleen is a liar. Many posters have proved this by specifically stating a lie Kathleen said and then provided contradictory evidence. I'm being completely serious. Go read the other threads. For example, it isn't true that teachers got unsustainable raises. There have been no teacher raises since 2007. We need a parcel tax in Pleasanton so that Kathleen can stop being a hypocrite.


Posted by einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:40 pm

einstein is a registered user.

Stacey,

I do not believe a person on this thread or any other seriously believes Kathleen to be either a liar nor a hypocrite. Some do not agree with her position but definately not either above.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:40 pm

To einstein,

"Additionally, how many teachers resigned from the district and cited their reasons for leaving as being pay and benefits?"

We may never know which ones left for exactly those reasons. And we may not know in the future which young teachers chose a different district.

It is really a simple principle. If we create incentives for teachers to chose a different district, some percentage of them will. I don't think that is what this community wants.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:44 pm

To einstein,

"believe that Stacey has illustrated that parcel taxes do not equate to high test scores. "

I don't think she has demonstrated anything. Two data points are statistically insignificant. She has made a lot of silly statements.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:46 pm

I agree that people should not be saying that Kathleen is a liar.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

If we don't pass a parcel tax, hell and damnation be upon us! It is really that simple.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:48 pm

"it isn't true that teachers got unsustainable raises. "

It is wrong to call that a lie. It is just an opinion.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Einstein,

Reader doesn't do any homework despite claiming to listen to well-trained experts. There's a chart in the Getting Down to Facts project summary that graphs API scores and amount spent per pupil across different districts. Reader has to do better than repeat a statement to try to make it true.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 30, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader,

I don't expect you to know unsustainable if it came up behind you and took a bite out of your behind. You are not a well-trained expert in the subject.


Posted by Qwerty, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 10:01 pm



I'm going to continue volunteering within the school system rather than support a parcel tax. Furthermore, if people spent as much time working together as they did complaining then perhaps they and their children would be better off. It is time for people to work together for the common good and not wait for the government to fix everything. I also agree with comments that others have made regarding the fact that PUSD needs to show fiscal responsibility before they even mention parcel tax in any shape or form.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2009 at 10:26 pm

To Qwerty,

"I'm going to continue volunteering within the school system rather than support a parcel tax."

Ah, but you can do both. That is what many of us are doing, and that is what is happening in all the other high quality school districts in the Bay Area. People are doing both.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 30, 2009 at 10:33 pm

Making this about Palo Alto isn't going to win Pleasanton votes. The voters of that community are well informed and know how their tax dollars are being spent; the last vote was for a renewal, after all.

Using me for a punching bag isn't going to win votes either. Let's put this back on track--I have been trying to provide information. The deadline for a spring election, that would be in effect for the 2010-11 school year, is January. My preference, personal, is to include a poll of the community and experts to assist the committee. There are people looking for solutions for Pleasanton students, albeit with different viewpoints on where and how to address them. Being inclusive is likely to bring a better chance at success.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 6:45 am

"The voters of that community are well informed and know how their tax dollars are being spent; the last vote was for a renewal, after all."

Speaking to my friend who lives in Palo Alto and voted and has kids in the schools, I know they are not informed, and they voted for it simply because they don't even want to find out what would happen if they challenged the status quo.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 6:49 am

"The voters of that community are well informed and know how their tax dollars are being spent; the last vote was for a renewal, after all."

Speaking to my friend who lives in Palo Alto and voted and has kids in the schools, I know they are not informed, and they voted for it simply because they don't even want to find out what would happen if they challenged the status quo.

I agree that we should move on and start talking about Pleasanton.


Posted by Mary, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 7:02 am

Reader,

According to the district office. One teacher was terminated for cause, repeated substance abuse and zero teachers left the district citing money or benefits as the reason.


Posted by no more teacher raises, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 1, 2009 at 8:24 am

Kathleen, you are truly the voice of reason. And Stacy -- just shut up for once! Your know-it-all attitude is hard enough to deal with on nearly every thread on this forum. You are making accusatory statements and personal attackes toward Kathleen that simply make you look uneducated and vindictive.
The sad thing is that Stacy has some good points for opposing the tax, but they are lost in the rhetoric of attack that she has directed toward Kathleen. I am a longtime opponent of ANY new taxes, this one in particular, because the teachers will not give up their S&C raises. Stacy is running the risk of turning people to the other side with her personal attacks. Just knock it off.


Posted by To No More Teacher Raises, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 8:37 am

To No More Teacher Raises....
Stacey isn't attacking Kathleen....her tongue in cheek comments are meant to point out the absurdity of the posts that are attacking Kathleen.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 8:40 am

I am pretty sure that Stacy has resorted to sarcasm as the pro-tax/union debate team just keep throwing minutia against the wall to see what sticks. So far, none of it has, no matter how constant or annoying the drone has become.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 1, 2009 at 8:40 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Many believed that Andy Kaufman staged his death as his ultimate joke.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 8:42 am

To Mary,

"According to the district office. One teacher was terminated for cause, repeated substance abuse and zero teachers left the district citing money or benefits as the reason. "

What period of time are you talking about? What data are you looking at? Up until this year, Pleasanton hasn't needed a parcel tax and was paying a benefits packages competitive with top school districts and maintaining CSR and other programs. We are talking about the future here. If we start cutting now, we are giving good teachers an incentive to leave, and we are giving prospective new hires a reason to look elsewhere.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 8:43 am

No ... that was Hunter Thompson.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 8:46 am

There are only two ways a tenured teacher leaves Pleasanton. Let's get real here Roboreader.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 8:50 am

"Stacey isn't attacking Kathleen....her tongue in cheek comments "

I don't know, it sounds to me like she was agreeing with the critics of the PAUSD parcel tax that PAUSD failed to clean up their fiscal mess, but passed a parcel tax. I thought what she was saying was that we shouldn't do the same thing here. Something like two wrongs don't make a right. I thought Kathleen was saying PAUSD had no mess to clean up in the first place, and that the critics were wrong.

Please correct me if I have any of this wrong. It is just my read.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 8:53 am

"There are only two ways a tenured teacher leaves Pleasanton"

You sound pretty certain. How can you predict the future so well? What makes you so certain that a top teacher won't decide to head to San Ramon, Palo Alto, or Piedmont, if we cut his pay, cut CSR, and cut other programs? Do you have a crystal ball or something?


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 8:58 am

No crystal ball, just a brain.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 1, 2009 at 9:06 am

....don't even get me started on teacher tenure.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 9:27 am

To Pleasanton Parent,

If you have issues with the way tenure works, that is way beyond the scope of anything that we could accomplish as a provision of a parcel tax.


Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 10:10 am

Kathleen,

We are all waiting with baited breath for your tax proposal!

Lets face it you had a problem with the super so you did what ever you could to make the last proposal fail! We really are not a bunch of stupid constituents with no clue about politics.




Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 10:12 am

Humor us Stacey ;)


Posted by MJ, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 1, 2009 at 10:32 am

Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Parcel Tax Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Can't LIVE without it Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah world as we know it is going to end Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah everyone else has one Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah our members, er, I mean your community is depending on you Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah


Posted by Speak the truth, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 10:50 am

To the person who posted as "Me"...you accuse Kathleen on having a problem with the superintendent. Sounds like you have a personal axe to grind with Kathleen.
You are using a new name, but you're the same tiresome person who's posted anonymous negative comments about Kathleen before.
Geez, get a life!


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 1, 2009 at 11:39 am

Reader, yes I agree. And that is another issue I have with a parcel tax, it doesn't fix the problem, it only feeds into it by band-aiding the symptoms but does nothing to treat the cause. And I believe "tenure" contributes to the cause.

Instead of just throwing more money at the problem a real solution needs to be developed. This long term, equitable, fiscally responsible, and sustainable solution needs to start with the focus on our children's education and build out from that. That means redefining and reprioritizing what it is exactly we want our schools to provide, how we want to compensate those for their contributions, and how to extend rewards and corrective actions to those that exceed or do not perform to expectations. In short, we need an overhaul.

And yes, I do realize what I'm asking is not going to come overnight, or even in a school year or two. However, so long as we keep bandaiding the problem there is no incentive to really fix it. And yes, while this overhaul is underway we do need a short term strategy to get us through, but this short term strategy should be a step towards achieving the long term one.



Posted by Agree with Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 11:54 am

So nice to hear a voice of reason on this thread.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 12:14 pm

To Pleasanton Parent,

"This long term, equitable, fiscally responsible, and sustainable solution needs to start with the focus on our children's education and build out from that."

I agree that that should be the focus of education reform at the state and federal level.

"And yes, I do realize what I'm asking is not going to come overnight, or even in a school year or two."

To me, that is the problem. We are already seeing cuts in programs in programs in this district that are worse than others due to short term budget constraints and lack of a parcel tax. There is also a structural problem in school funding due to a large portion of school funding coming from local property taxes. When building and new development slows down in a town like Pleasanton, tax revenues can't keep up as a result of Prop. 13. A parcel tax can serve as a remedy for that as well.

I think we can work on long term reform at the state level and passing a parcel tax here in our little town won't do anything to slow that down. All of the other high quality school districts have already passed parcel taxes. One small local school district not passing a parcel tax won't change that one way or the other.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 1, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Thank you reader, for showing just how little these opponents of a parcel tax really understand about things. Keep up the good work.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 1, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Me, I wouldn't propose anything without the data. I have thoughts, ideas, opinionsbut they serve no purpose at this stage. I'm happy to let those who are talking to the board work their plan.

The issue was the issues . . . Period. But you know that.

I will preface this with the fact that I do not oppose parcel taxes. Sam, being dismissive of others' opinions will not help anyone's cause. The opposition understands. Some could become allies; others will not compromise their personal convictions. Either way, public discourse does not need to emphasize "dis."


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 1:12 pm

To Sam,

Thank you for the kind words (to me at least) but I have to agree with Kathleen that we need to hear all sides of an issue and not be dismissive.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 1, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Reader,
I think we agree with the "end result" however I think we disagree with how to get there. While it would be wonderful to see the Federal and State Governments head this activity my personal opinion is they are too slow, too costly, and too politically constrained.

Instead of waiting for "someone else to do it" I favor a bottoms up approach. And I think this would work well in Pleasanton because we recognize the importance of and hold such high expectations of our public education. Because of this, I think as a community we are well suited to craft this vision for our public education and execute to it. Let's craft the school system we want and that is right for our community, not wait for one that is going to be a compromised model based on a state average.

I have no problem paying more for our schools, but for every additional dollar I am asked to pay is going to increase my expectation on what that dollar should return.


Posted by Rocky, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 1, 2009 at 3:15 pm

I want everything on the table including workshare program for all district office employees. This would immediately free up 20% more payroll money to be used for SCHOOL purposes. Each Friday non teaching employees would be required to take the day off with no pay. The state has a program whereby they would make up the loss of wages up to 70% on that Friday without any cost to the district. Many companies do it and now some southern california cities have been using it. A parcel tax will not pass and I will vote against it this next time if put on the ballot unlike last time.


Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm

To the individual who posted:

Posted by Speak the truth, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, 4 hours ago

To the person who posted as "Me"...you accuse Kathleen on having a problem with the superintendent. Sounds like you have a personal axe to grind with Kathleen.


You are using a new name, but you're the same tiresome person who's posted anonymous negative comments about Kathleen before.


Geez, get a life!

"You have me confused with someone else. It was pretty clear early on in the parcel tax debate that KR was an antogonist ot the super."
I did point that out in two post with "Me" as the moniker, why would I change my annonymous name anyway?

It is easy to pretend to take a imaginary high road! Lets face it with a loud voice in the community all we have heard from KR is along the lines of "I support a parcel tax, but not this one" yet we see her offer no alternative. Kathleen, these things always begin with ideas, opinions, hypothesis, which are vetted and revetted against the facts. The point is it is a lot of work, easy to throw stones at no matter who is the author, but a lot more difficult to create.




Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Are Stacey and Douglas Kendall the same persons?


Posted by Question, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 1, 2009 at 4:45 pm

"Instead of just throwing more money at the problem a real solution needs to be developed. This long term, equitable, fiscally responsible, and sustainable solution needs to start with the focus on our children's education and build out from that."

Pleasanton Parent- I am curious as to what exactly you see the "problem" is and how teacher tenure contributes to the problem. Do you realize who are the tenured teachers at your child's school, do you see the difference? (Yes, tenured teachers were let go last year during the layoffs-from your school in fact) Do you know what the evaluation requirements are for every staff member at the school? Ask the Principal, she can explain the enormous process it entails. I think you would actually agree with what is required for all school employees through this process.

Are speaking of merit pay? Based on test scores? You said that you want to focus on your children's education and build from that, yet if teachers are paid based on their test scores you are asking for a whole new kind of education that will have lasting effects on the students and the work force we are preparing them for.

I'm not disagreeing with the fact that we need reforms, I am just seeing that some people see that as meaning something that won't necessarily benefit their child's education.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Me, Taking the high road isn't imaginary, although it is a lot of work to write and edit oneself to stay on that narrow path I assure you. Oldest child of a large family, loud was required; and I said "I support a parcel tax, but not this one, BECAUSE of the following (fill in here everything I said back then)." No alternative? Fiduciary responsibility comes to mind—I said that a lot too.

Here's what I think I can offer and mostly this is all yet again:

Do a poll of at least a representative group of the community—without that step it will be hard to know what people are willing to pay for and how much they are willing to pay. The most recent survey I saw gave a range of dollars, added COLAs, and a variety of years, and the opinions were clear as to what was acceptable to that community.

Hire a local consultant with a solid track record (yes, I have a favorite, but only because I've seen the work). This is worth every dime and could save blowing $300,000 on a pipe dream (I should probably edit that, for example).

If there is to be an exemption for seniors or anyone else (and here I'll go out on a limb and say that while I understand the political logic of getting a large group of yes votes this way—I wouldn't do it), the estimated loss has to be added to the amount everyone else pays OR it will end up coming from the general fund (which will just add to the current difficulties—this can be quite a bit of money, by the way).

Personal opinion, make this one for short duration—two to three years—although it has to be balanced by the cost of the election and the probable renewal attempt (perhaps a future major election where the cost won't be so high to the district to participate. I say short so it can be said there are no raises for the life of the tax for any PUSD employee. I would hesitate to freeze step and column as well, but acknowledge it is also a burden to the general fund (and a bigger problem looking for a solution). I also say short so some trust can be built with the community (not just parents) and to give the new superintendent a chance to get in and get settled and understand the district well enough to make a pitch for the renewal with some confidence (again assuming it will be renewed).

I like clean language. Rather than "to maintain small class sizes and enhancement programs" say "to reinstate up to XX teachers for K-3 CSR and X teachers for the Barton Reading Program." Yeah, enrollment could grow and maybe the district will need a couple more teachers—they'll have to figure it out on the growth funding they get. Those are just examples, of course, because maybe we want more counselors or assistant principals or put your favorite thing here (see the first bullet).

Require an oversight committee with strong credentials (parents, seniors, business, at large) and then be darn sure they are not a token group like the BAC (at last report anyway).

There's a fast start; have at it!

Rocky, Sending all non-teachers home on Fridays would be everybody else--the entire district office (arguable), support staff and administrators at the schools, custodians . . . My guess is even teachers wouldn't care for that; what happens in an emergency? Say a pipe bursts . . .


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 1, 2009 at 6:03 pm

I see several contributing problems (too many to detail out in one post), but lets address tenure. Tenure originated back in the 1800s primarily to protect university professors from being dismissed due to unconventional ideas, teaching techniques, or personal conflicts with controlling members of the board (i.e. private donors). And at the university level where students elect their own course makeup I somewhat understand the need as professors dictate the course curriculum. Obviously tenure has evolved over time, but at the university level there is (or at least was) some contributing requirement in order to receive and maintain it - research funding, publications, etc.
From what I can gather, tenure was adopted at the state level for public school teachers as a means to prevent dismissal for race, sex, and other working condition related reasons. Essentially, all these things today are covered by other basic worker rights and equal employment acts. Additionally, grade school teachers have much less input over what is taught in the classroom, they still have flexibility in the manner it is taught, but not in what is expected to be taught.
While it is not thoroughly detailed out above, my first issue with tenure at the grade school level is that it is no longer required to achieve the results it was originally put in place to do.
The second issue I have with tenure is one that has been debated time and time again. Tenure makes getting rid of poor teachers difficult and it only incents a person to work hard to achieve tenure, and requires a less than minimum effort to keep it.
Because of the difficulties of dismissing a tenured teacher, teachers that are not tenured are easy targets once cuts need to be made. This results in two problems. Tenured teachers carry higher salaries than non-tenured teachers (which in itself is not a problem), but when cuts are made that disproportionately target non-tenured teachers the average salary continues to rise. So in the instance where a non-tenured "better" teacher is let go and a tenured "lesser" teacher is kept, not only is the carrying cost now higher, but productivity has been lowered. When it comes to dismissal no one should be less susceptible to cuts because of they are tenured. Instead, the active contributions paired with historic and projected future ones should be the guiding evaluating factors. I think this brings us to your second question, how do you reward good teachers?
I agree we do not want teachers solely focused on test scores. Though I do believe test scores should be included in the evaluation portfolio. How to measure the effectiveness of a teacher is difficult, but I think it can be done in a similar manner to the private sector through a combination of subjective and objective evaluation including appropriately weighted inputs from other teachers, students, parents, coworkers, test scores, and some other measure of incremental improvement from the beginning of the year to the end.



Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 7, 2009 at 11:25 am

Kathleen, I appreciate the thought that went into your repsonse - touche' & appologies for any mis-characterization.

I disagree that fiduciary reposnsibility was an issue in the original bill as, it is an inherit repsonsibility for public servants and politicians alike.

As to clarifiying the language - sure that would be nice, but what is the intended impact. The reality was PUSD wanted to keep the status quo during the economic downturn. THe monies really are comingled one way or another.

I do agree that a proposed tax needs to be limited to the crisis period. The reasons you listed are in line with my views as well.
Certainly we cannot expect educators to take an indefinite hit on thier salaries. The step and column is a necessary mechanism to protect the public trust. It provides an objective means for salary determination.

If the residences of Pleasanton decide a perpetual tax is needed once we are out of the crisis, that should be a discussion for different era.

While many may think that the economy will turn, government trails both up turns and down turns by two -three years. The storm for public entities will continue.

While in general tightening of government belts produces good results, school disrticts really have never been very fat organizations, and mistake result in undereducated citizens not potholes.

Happy Holiday!











Posted by David, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 7, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Can someone please post the PUSD budgets for the last 20 years?

It should be a matter of public record, and I think it would be interesting to see how per pupil expenditures tracked inflation over the years. I have not done the research, but I will bet that, like most government agencies, the district grew massively during the boom years (disproportionate to any increase in enrollment) and is now crying foul when asked to contract to align with current tax revenue.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 7, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Me wrote: "The step and column is a necessary mechanism to protect the public trust. It provides an objective means for salary determination."

Objective, huh? Is the work load the same across all grade levels and subjects? Is a 20 year teacher better than a 5 year teacher? Are the extra educational units the same? Isn't it more difficult to get extra accreditation for certain subjects and not others?


Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 7, 2009 at 3:01 pm

The step and column definitely is necessary to protect the public trust for several reasons:
1) The duties of the positions filled are homgeneous.
2) The step and column prevents graft, by preventing managing employees from over compensating thier spoils while harming those which are not to thier liking
3) Prevents discrimination lawsuits in this highly litigeous state
4) provides incentive for experienced educators to teach our children




Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 7, 2009 at 3:03 pm

On average a 20 year old teacher is substantially better than a 5 year teacher. Sophomore teachers may disagree, but thier perspective wil change over time. (like the next 15 years)


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 7, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Provides incentive?! Now you're just making a joke.

What incentive is there when you're frozen at the top of the salary schedule?

If the incentive is so wonderful, why do we (society) have a shortage of qualified teachers? Oh, but the duties are the same! Tell that to teachers at high-risk schools? And your graft and lawsuit arguments are highly dependent upon whatever it is you have in mind as an alternative compensation model.

I don't get it how you can claim on the other thread that you're not deluded by "one size fits all" thinking and then on this thread you advocate for a "one size fits all" compensation model. But hey, I'm just a young Republican (HAHAHAHAHA *barf*).


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 7, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

BTW, is the workload the same across all grade levels? Are the extra educational units the same? Isn't it more difficult to get extra accreditation for certain subjects and not others?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 7, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

For other readers, it might be helpful to understand the history of teacher compensation in this country.

Web Link

"Public demands for high standards and accountability, demands for employee involvement to facilitate improved organizational performance, and an increasingly diverse student population require teachers to develop and maintain high levels of professional instructional skills, as well as management and leadership roles within schools. Despite its advantages (fairness, equity, and ease of administration), the single salary schedule does not focus on results and does not provide incentives for long term career development of employees, linked to the knowledge and skills needed for today's schools."


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 7, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The public trust is little served by a system that doesn't contribute to the fundamental goal of educating children by protecting ineffective teachers and paying them too.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 7, 2009 at 6:46 pm

So please read the link below and tell me again how Mission San Jose High School destroys Pleasanton High Schools scores with no parcel tax and teachers salaries far less than Pleasanton's teachers.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 7, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Forgot the link
Web Link


Posted by Sam, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 7, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Bob,

That's only one school. Compare an average for the two unified school districts. Ouch! Not so pretty for Fremont. It is obvious that unique circumstances and demographics lead the high API scores for Mission San Jose High School.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 8, 2009 at 8:47 am

Good morning Me, Yes, fiduciary responsibility goes to all those making the decisions—that would be the board, cabinet, union leadership at least. Ill-advised decisions were made about compensation. Assumptions were made, I believe, about the ability of the district to afford the future costs.

The money isn't comingled—parcel tax dollars have to be accounted for separately. What does happen, however, is hydraulics . . . pressure is relieved on the general fund. There has to be a way to make sure that the relief "find" isn't spent in a way that commits the district beyond its future income. At a minimum, its money that should be put back into the sagging reserves.

If a parcel tax is passed, I don't think it will be just for the crisis years. It is more likely than not that a renewal will be sought. That's fine, but the reasons and the needs may have shifted and, as you note, is a discussion for another day.

Hmmm, protect the public trust with step and column. I'd say it protects the employees, not the public. Like I said, I don't see this as today's battle, but if this form of compensation isn't changed, I don't think you will see John Q Taxpayer continue to pony up for automatic raises, plus COLAs, that aren't tied to goals and the reality of the economy and the long term financial ability to pay and a way for dead wood to be removed (with reasonable due process—not tenure). It isn't that there shouldn't be raises, but there really is no such thing as objective salary determination. Someone has to decide.

We agree it's ugly out there, but I find it amusing that as the banks pay back TARP funds, our legislators are already figuring out how to spend it. Is that how your household works? Hey, we can either pay down debt or go buy that boat! Okay, I'm oversimplifying, but I'm tired of the justification for overseers of our money that amounts to: "Aren't they cute; they just can't help themselves!"

Schools run lean some years, fat others, and some choices have not been ideal or cheap, things like new math or open classrooms or the third rail of class size reduction. I don't think there are easy answers.

I've often wondered what you would get if, rather than the current approach toward federalization, schools were run and funded by the community. There are a lot of gears in that idea—how do you help poorer communities; who sets the expectations; etc. I just can't see how the state can be locked down to spending nearly half its budget on schools. There are some silent giants eating a fair share of that money too, county (regionalize them) and state (downsize it) departments of education come to mind.

How do we get past "well, that's how we've always done it"?


Posted by Einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Dec 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Einstein is a registered user.

Kathleen,

I for one if you have read my posts do not believe the economic situation in California is going to be short lived. I believe we are not even at the bottom of the economic curve and have yet to see one proposed solution to the economic woes in this state.

I truly believe that if our schools are to survive the city of Pleasanton in the absence of unions will have to make private the school system. I do not believe for a minute that the taxpayers in these economic times are going to pass any more taxes on themselves.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2009 at 6:21 pm

To Kathleen,

"We agree it's ugly out there, but I find it amusing that as the banks pay back TARP funds"

And if you look a little closer, they aren't really paying it back. What's happening is that the Federal Reserve (as opposed to the Department of The Treasury which did the $700 Billion TARP) is buying mortgage backed securities and derivatives from the bailed out companies for way more than what the securities are actually worth. The FED has already committed over 2 trillion. For example:

Web Link

That allows them to magically "pay back" the loans from TARP.

Also, the bailed out companies were using AIG as a slush fund so that they could unload their junk and look look good themselves.

Web Link

Back to the subject of schools --

"Like I said, I don't see this as today's battle"

I agree completely.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2009 at 6:33 pm

"I for one if you have read my posts do not believe the economic situation in California is going to be short lived."

Where have I heard that before. In the late seventies, and then again in the early nineties, people were saying exactly the same thing, but California bounced back in both cases. Time will tell.

"and have yet to see one proposed solution to the economic woes in this state."

Have you looked at some of these?

Web Link

Web Link

There is also the fact of the business cycle. In a few years people could be saying the good times will never end -- I've heard that one a lot too.

" ... will have to make private the school system."

That question was decided more than 100 years ago and would take a constitutional amendment to change. If you really want to see a ballot proposal fail, propose closing all the public schools.

"I do not believe for a minute that the taxpayers in these economic times are going to pass any more taxes on themselves."

But that is exactly what voters in our neighboring communities have done, and with good result.


Posted by Einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Dec 8, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Einstein is a registered user.

Reader,

It is obviously to all that you want a parcel tax at all costs as long as you do not have to pay more than your share and that even those without jobs, on welfare, infirmed, aged, etc all have to pay regardless of their capability to pay.

California in the 70's was robust with industry and not like today. No GM, Ford, Chrysler, FMC, Lockheed, General Dynamics, Pacific State Steel , Fleming Foods, etc. We are bankrupt and it is dire.

We are running out of revenue and quickly with absolutely zero in the way of cost reduction by our elected officials.

We have no money and cannot even borrow more because our credit rating is junk. In March 5,000 more people with lose their jobs which work at NUMMI. Many of which live in Pleasanton. 50,000 statewide. So now tell me do you still think "we need a parcel tax in Pleasanton right now!???" If your answer is yes, then I suspect most on this blog will just disregard you going forward because you forward no new ideas.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2009 at 10:14 pm

To Einstein,

" without jobs, on welfare, infirmed, aged, etc all have to pay regardless of their capability to pay."

No, parcel taxes typically have exemptions for seniors. As to the others, there is no unemployment exemption allowable for parcel taxes in the law.

"California in the 70's was robust with industry and not like today. No GM, Ford, Chrysler, FMC, Lockheed, General Dynamics, Pacific State Steel , Fleming Foods, etc. We are bankrupt and it is dire. "

Steel, autos, defense? That is so thirty years ago. Think Google, Apple, Intel, Cisco, Oracle. Think knowledge work, not assembly lines. Those are the companies that will move us forward, as will many others that have yet to be started. That is why we need good schools. We need workers for today's jobs and tomorrow's jobs, not yesterday's.

It is easy to get caught up in doom and gloom talk. Maybe you're a younger person and haven't been through many business cycles before. I remember all the gloomy talk in the early nineties about how silicon valley companies wouldn't be able to compete with Japanese companies, and with all the defense cuts in the aerospace industry, California was finished. But the nineties turned out to be one of the best ever for California and the Bay Area.

You sound like a thinking, intelligent person. Please keep an open mind to the idea of a parcel tax. It is certainly not a panacea, but it can provide vital funding for needed services for our schools. Please consider it.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 8, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

And what exactly are today's jobs? People didn't live on credit back then like they did during the 90s and this decade. Those "best ever" years were entirely artificial and unsustainable. The US economy has been driven mostly by consumer spending of debt.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 9, 2009 at 8:50 am

Einstein, First, privatization would have to include taking all Pleasanton students without exception. That isn't going to cost less and probably will be much more expensive.

For one thing, I don't think we would then qualify for many of the subsidies (read: from all the other taxpayers in California and the US depending on the programs). Those programs include: CSR, special education, instructional materials, free and reduced lunches, construction programs, etc. And you aren't going to cover the cost by paying employees less (well, maybe you could bring in staff willing to work for less--they will either be not the best and brightest or will be young people who will move one once they have some experience).

Ramrodding change, like what is being attempted in DC, is contentious at best. However, change could start here with the will power to make it happen and then Pleasanton could lead for the state. But that will take the cooperation of employees willing to step out from behind their respective leaderships. If we paraphrase Lake Woebegone--"where all the residents are above average"--I don't see why we haven't already started.


Posted by Einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Dec 9, 2009 at 8:55 am

Einstein is a registered user.

Reader,

There is no automatic exemption for seniors at least measure "G" did not have one. My in-laws who are in their 80's found the form asking for an exemption and if you did not fill out the form you had to pay. My wife had to make a copy for them off of the net (they do not have a computer) and they duly had it filled out ready to submit in the event it had passed. How many seniors do you believe would not have known they had to fill out a form for the exemption?.....many. Handicapped, unemployed, on disability you have to pay and their is no exemption if you have anything.

Secondly,

""California in the 70's was robust with industry and not like today. No GM, Ford, Chrysler, FMC, Lockheed, General Dynamics, Pacific State Steel , Fleming Foods, etc. We are bankrupt and it is dire. "




Steel, autos, defense? That is so thirty years ago. Think Google, Apple, Intel, Cisco, Oracle. Think knowledge work, not assembly lines. Those are the companies that will move us forward, as will many others that have yet to be started. That is why we need good schools. We need workers for today's jobs and tomorrow's jobs, not yesterday's."

Those Assembly companies as you call them drive employment for most of the nation and will continue to do so until everything has been forced out of California and then the US. Go to the websites of Google, Apple, Intel, Cisco, and Oracle and see what employment opportunities they have currently and in the future. I have and the answer is not much and they have minimal plans to expand employment in this state.

Companies like GM, Chrysler, Ford, etc hire thousands and thousands of designers, engineers, programmers, accountants, sales and marketing, graphic designers etc and did you know that automotive companies are the worlds second largest consumers of IC's?

Until such time as this state reflects on its policies related to business and taxes I will be hard pressed to support any tax which I deem to be a bandaid rather than a solution to the problem.


Posted by Einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Dec 9, 2009 at 8:55 am

Einstein is a registered user.

Stacey,

By the way, I agree with what you said and I do not believe that the solution to being in debt and having no money is to spend more.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2009 at 9:57 am

To Einstein,

"Go to the websites of Google, Apple, Intel, Cisco, and Oracle and see what employment opportunities they have currently and in the future."

You might want to check again, they all have plans for expansion in California, just as the venture capital firms along Sand Hill Road continue to fund the next generation of entrepreneurs to build the next Google or Apple.

"Those Assembly companies as you call them drive employment for most of the nation "

The Bay Area isn't most of the nation. On top of that, the nation as a whole produces far more jobs in the services than it does in manufacturing.

"Companies like GM, Chrysler ..."

Those companies should have been allowed to die. They were grossly mismanaged. That had nothing to do with government. Toyota and Honda are fine.

"Until such time as this state reflects on its policies related to business and taxes I will be hard pressed to support any tax which I deem to be a bandaid rather than a solution to the problem."

A parcel tax is a solution to the problem of the global financial crisis and the unintended consequences of Prop 13 on districts where growth and expansion have slowed because they are built out.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 9, 2009 at 10:02 am

Stacey is a registered user.

"A parcel tax is a solution to the problem of the global financial crisis and the unintended consequences of Prop 13 on districts where growth and expansion have slowed because they are built out."

A parcel tax will cure your psoriasis! It will walk your dog, prevent foreclosure, solve Dubai World's debt crisis, and even water the lawn!


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2009 at 10:02 am

To Stacey,

"Those "best ever" years were entirely artificial and unsustainable. "

I totally disagree. We created a completely new set of related technologies in the nineties that created whole new industries and far greater efficiencies in existing industries. That was true wealth creation.

What was artificial and unsustainable was what happened in this decade. That was driven by Wall Street corruption failed regulation.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2009 at 10:04 am

To Stacey,

Obviously I didn't mean a parcel tax would solve the global financial crisis. I meant it would help shield our schools from the effects of the crisis. Don't you agree?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 9, 2009 at 10:06 am

Stacey is a registered user.

An artificially low prime Fed interest rate allowing easy access to credit and stiffing investors looking for higher rates... That was in the 90s too. Remember the "dot com bubble"? It's an artificially created high just like the housing bubble. The market swings wildly in the other direction to correct artificial bubbles.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 9, 2009 at 10:11 am

Stacey is a registered user.

The Austrian school theory goes that when you control the interest rate instead of allowing it to be set by a free market, you end up exacerbating both the highs and the lows. Then we have bubbles that the more knowledgeable take advantage of while poor suckers spend their new-found debt and then suffer the most during the lows. Voila, wealth re-distribution. Wealth creation is goods and services. We're headed towards less of both. Manufacturing _and_ services are leaving. When's the last time you spoke to an American customer service representative?


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2009 at 11:49 am

To Stacey,

"Remember the "dot com bubble"? It's an artificially created high just like the housing bubble."

The "dot com bubble" wasn't ANYTHING like the housing bubble. There were real new technologies created and new systems built that actually created wealth. The millions of miles of fiber optics combined with new high speed computers and networking systems created whole new industries (Ebay, Amazon, Google ....). They also provided new efficiencies to existing industries. Work could be done more efficiently from a distance. New business intelligence tools could be applied to supply chain management and customer relationship management. The list goes on and on. That was wealth creation. Denying that is plain silly. Sure the stock market got ahead of itself and many companies got started that should never have seen the light of day, but many others have succeeded beyond any one's wildest imaginings.

By contrast, the "housing boom" was one big nothing. There was no new wealth created. There were no new technologies or efficiencies. It was just a big transferal of wealth from the middle class to well connected Wall Street crooks. It was phony. It was fake. It was a swindle.


Posted by Einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Dec 9, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Einstein is a registered user.

Reader,

I am simply trying to point out that in my estmation a parcel tax is a very short term fix (maybe) to a very large and possibly longlasting problem. Additionally, again in my opinion and from talking to people around town, trying to pass something such as a parcel tax during the current economic times might just prove to be a waste of another $300,000. The time just does not seem right and to me had the previous measure G been better crafted to have the money spent on the kids rather than teachers raises it might have passed.

In California we cannot depend on companies like Google and such to employ the vast population of California as they do not really make anything of substance which can employ large numbers of people to create a tax base or revenue and growth.

Our politicans simply do not get it yet but will next November. As an example I heard earlier today that Obama used $8,500,000 worth of stimulus money to pay back Hillary Clinton for her campaign debt. How does that make you feel about how our taxpayers money is being spent. By the way, Bill Clinton has made over $100,000,000 in the last few years giving speeches. I feel had when confronted with things such as this.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2009 at 6:33 pm

To Einstein,

"The time just does not seem right and to me had the previous measure G been better crafted ..."

Well, maybe that is exactly what the planners are doing.

"As an example I heard earlier today that Obama used $8,500,000 worth of stimulus money to pay back Hillary Clinton for her campaign debt. "

But none of that has anything to do with passing a parcel tax in Pleasanton. It would be a targeted, local tax, and we could see immediate results.


Posted by Einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Dec 9, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Einstein is a registered user.

Reader,

It has everything to do with passing a parcel tax. Personally I believe a parcel tax is exactly the wrong way to go but more on that in the future.

Everything has to do with making a profit and unless we can come up with a way of reducing waste and cost we will never have a sustainable model. We need tax revenue and I do not mean from individuals we need it by encouraging business into our state and more important into our city. If I were Mayor Moonbeam I will be calling Lew Wolfe everyday trying to get the A's to come to Pleasanton. The revenue is sustainable and can be counted on to support our schools long term if negotiated properly. We absolutely need revenue or we will go the way of the dinosaur. We can do this and prosper if done correctly. By the way, I am CEO of one of the companies you have mentioned above.


Posted by no time for you, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Dec 10, 2009 at 1:57 am

I vote for the parcel tax and would again!
But we lost. You know why. The same people I hear complaining about our schools are the same ones who didn't vote. When I stopped by our voting location, directly after dropping off my kids for school I was one of only a few who stopped and voted that morning. 100s for cars just drove by.

The 80 20 rule 20% of the parents in Pleasanton do 80% of the work for our kids. For the people reading this that think I'm to busy to get involved. I run a business & coach along with other actives. I have no time for you!


Posted by Einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Dec 10, 2009 at 6:22 am

Einstein is a registered user.

Reader,

by the way, I meant to tell you that although I read somewhere here that you said we cannot do it but I was recently in the Seattle/Bellingham Washington area and they are having the same school issues as us. The state up there provides through taxpayer funding a set fee for education anything above that is now being covered by voted mandated user based fees.


Posted by Pedro, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 10, 2009 at 7:03 am

I bet this money would come in handy here in Pleasanton with our schools but most of us voted for giving our school money to illegals.




Dear Mr. President:

I'm planning to move my family and extended family into Mexico for my health, and I would like to ask you to assist me.

We're planning to simply walk across the border from the U.S. into Mexico, and we'll need your help to make a few arrangements.

We plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws.

I'm sure they handle those things the same way you do here. So, would you mind telling your buddy, President Calderon, that
I'm on my way over?

Please let him know that I will be expecting the following:

1. Free medical care for my entire family.

2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.

3. Please print all Mexican government forms in English.

4. I want my grandkids to be taught Spanish by English-speaking (bi-lingual) teachers.

5. Tell their schools they need to include classes on American culture and history.

6. I want my grandkids to see the American flag on one of the flag poles at their school.

7. Please plan to feed my grandkids at school for both breakfast and lunch.

8. I will need a local Mexican driver's license so I can get easy access to government services.

9. I do plan to get a car and drive in Mexico, but, I don't plan to purchase car insurance, and I probably won't make any special effort to learn local traffic laws.

10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from their president to leave me alone, please be sure that every patrol car has at least one English-speaking officer.

11. I plan to fly the U.S. flag from my house top, put U S. flag decals on my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any complaints or negative comments from the locals.

12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, or have any labor or tax laws enforced on any business I may start.

13. Please have the president tell all the Mexican people to be extremely nice and never say critical things about me or my family, or about the strain we might place on their economy.

14. I want to receive free food stamps.

15. Naturally, I'll expect free rent subsidies.

16. I'll need Income tax credits so although I don't pay Mexican Taxes, I'll receive money from the government.

17. Please arrange it so that the Mexican Gov't pays $ 4,500 to help me buy a new car.

18. Oh yes, I almost forgot, please enroll me free into the Mexican Social Security program so that I'll get a monthly income in retirement.

I know this is an easy request because you already do all these things for all his people who walk over to the U.S. from Mexico. I am sure that
President Calderon won't mind returning the favor if you ask him nicely.

Thank you so much for your kind help. You're the man!!!


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 10, 2009 at 8:55 am

" By the way, I am CEO of one of the companies you have mentioned above."

IGNORE = TRUE


Posted by Mary, a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 10, 2009 at 10:24 am

Reader,

I have been reading Einstein for long time and I believe true. Very knowledgeable


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 12, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Einstein
"By the way, I am CEO of one of the companies you have mentioned above."

How is it going John?

Need a Pilot Operations guy?

Lets do lunch, you pick, I'll pay.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 20, 2009 at 7:14 am

From PUSD's website home page (Web Link):

A meeting and a community forum regarding the District budget and an alternative funding source will be held on Tuesday, January 5, 6:30 p.m., in the library at Amador Valley High School, 1155 Santa Rita Road.


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