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Parcel Tax 2

Original post made by parent, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Jan 7, 2011

I received a leaflet from the PUSD talking about a new local school funding measure saying that:

"After consequtive years of budget shortfalls, there is little to cut but teachers and classroom instructional programs that directly impact the classroom."

Clearly in this fiscal environment pay raises should be cut before cutting teachers and classroom programs - so has this been negotiated so we can successfully pass a parcel tax? If step and column had been cut two years ago I think we would have saved $1.6 or 1.8 million a year x 3 (since it's cumulative), so more than $4 million.

The leaflet says none of the new funding would go towards raises and benefit enhancements, but that's only going to be true if they are frozen because otherwise it's just moving financial pots. But the tax is for 4 years and that sounds like a very long freeze, especially if the budget situation is better before then.

I'd like a parcel tax to pass to support the kids and hope this is a realistic effort.

Comments (197)

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Posted by t_time
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2011 at 9:27 pm

I have not seen enough data from PUSD to convince me that it is time for a parcel tax, especially after this absurd comment from trustee Grant in the video referenced in this post:

Web Link

PUSD needs to shine blinding sunshine on their fiscal situation and show the bone to which they claim to have cut, show the shared sacrifices that all involved have contributed before this one will fly.

I'm not 100% against this (yet), but I'm skeptical of anyone who thinks they have enough data right now to say they ARE for it.

These are times where we must hold our elected officials to the highest levels of fiscal accountability. The days of "Just Trust Us" are over.

I look forward to a full public accounting of the situation outlined by PUSD along with clear communication of all the assumptions they have made in their forward projections. The citizens need to be full partners in this process or PUSD risks backlash out of frustration.

Additionally, the CA Budget Bombshell will hit on Monday, so again, I'm skeptical of anyone who claims to know the true landscape of this issue.

I'll be watching this one carefully....


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Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2011 at 10:28 pm

"show the shared sacrifices that all involved have contributed"

Can you be specific by what you mean by SHARED, who do you include in that? Who is the ALL that you mentioned?


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Posted by t_time
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Exactly the point! Until PUSD holds public forums where all the data and underlying assumptions are presented, we won't have enough information to know the true level of sacrifices and be able to make informed decisions.

Trustee Grant doesn't appear to understand Step & Column and it's financial impact and he's a school board member. If a board member is (potentially) this confused, how can average citizen expect to understand the complexities and sacrifices to make an informed decision.

Hence the need for public forum to establish a common set of working data from which to base decisions.

Glad to hear we are on the same wavelength in this regard "Really?".

Cheers,
t


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Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 8:12 am

I don't think you understood my question- which was about your words, no one else's. When you say shared sacrifice for all involved who are you including in that definition. This is something that was avoided before as well by posters such as DCOT. Shared means different things to those who post here. You demand on thing then when cuts are made community members turn around to say they were the wrong kind of cuts, or not enough. It's quite the set up.

I know what sacrifices have been made already and by who. It's your words that are not clear about WHO all involved include.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 9:31 am

In the immortal words of Pres. Reagan, "Here we go again". Same old arguments. I still haven't seen any cuts in the pay of the top administrators. There have been some cuts in administration costs but we are still very top heavy. In the private sector this is called the floating apex where the people doing the cutting cut everyone below while top of the pyramid is sacrosanct.That is where we have most of the waste. Need to eliminate some top administrative posts. Haven't analyzed their pension costs. That may be the next thing to tackle.

Kind of like cleaning the Aegean stables. Even Hercules will have a tough time.:) King Brown will be dumping all kinds of stuff on us to clean up. We are just starting. We need to hold the line on NO PARCEL TAX till everything is cleaned up.


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Posted by Taxpayer/parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm

PUSD will be wasting more money at another failed tax.

To PUSD, make cuts, freeze salaries and use, don't waste, what you have.


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Posted by Maybe YES
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 12:56 pm

The pamphlet says:

"All of the funds would go directly to our local schools and could not be used towards raises or benefit enhancements."

That is nice that PUSD is thinking about this. My concern is that the current money they do have will go to pay for raises, then that would create a "deficit" that would force them to cancel more programs, then they would say the parcel tax money is to fund those certain programs. However, if they had not used the money they do have now to pay for raises and benefits, the "deficit" would not be there, at least not in so severe a form that programs would need to be cancelled.

They played this game last year: they said they had to cancel the 7 period in HS because of the deficit, then they turned around and gave teacher raises! Yes, they would rather lay off teachers as a result of cancelling the 7 period, while giving those teachers who stayed a raise! How does that make sense? And how was that in the best interest of the students? They said there was no money, yet step and column was kept intact at the expense of the 7 period?

Here is a question for PUSD:

If we say YES to a parcel tax, will you guarantee that NO MONEY, whether it comes from the "parcel tax piggy bank" or the "current money we do have" will be used for raises and benefit enhancements (that includes step and column, admin allowances, among others).

And will you back that guarantee (if it's there) by releasing:

1) the budget we have today, 2010-11, stating where the money is going in detail (ie, x amount for raises/step and column, x amount for admin perks, x amount for pension COLA, etc)

2) the budget as it would be in 2011-12 (same detail as above) without the parcel tax and then with the parcel tax?

If we the community can see that NO MONEY, whether current funds or parcel tax funds, will be used for any kind of raise or benefit enhancement, we will be more welcoming of a parcel tax. I know I would vote YES and so would a lot of people I know.

But I need a guarantee that PUSD is not playing games. I need to know that PUSD is not taking money from program A to finance raises, then crying that they have to cancel program A due to the "state of the economy" unless the community approves a parcel tax. NO LIES PLEASE!

I also need to know what PUSD is going to do about the programs they canceled last year, while keeping step and column intact. Ie, are they planning to reinstate the 7 period? It was very unfair to cancel the 7 period and then see that PUSD spent more than the cost of keeping the 7 period in raises. They could have frozen step and column, and that money alone would have allowed them to keep the 7 period. Students first, right?


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Shared sacrifice . . . here's the view from my kitchen.

The teachers have sacrificed, the newer ones by losing their jobs, their income and so much more. Some very good ones who should be in the schools teaching. Losing a job is just awful, been there done that.

The existing teachers have sacrificed with unpaid furlough days and the tension that all this causes - the uncertainty of the future and the spotlight on benefits. They are dealing with larger class sizes and less support.

The kids are sacrificing - with their future. They are in school less due to the furlough days, class sizes have gone up and classes and periods and numerous other things have been cut that affect the classroom.

Parents are sacrificing, by seeing their kids education heading downhill for the reasons just mentioned and knowing the slide will continue. By seeing incomes drop due to the poor economy, but still contributing to CORE, various fundraising campaigns for the district and for their own schools. By helping at school and in classrooms to make things easier for all concerned. By paying for extra help for the kids to supplement what they are starting to miss out on in school. With their time campaigning for a parcel tax (which they got little thanks for since it didn't pass).

Older people are sacrificing - no increases in social security for the past two years - it's been frozen.

Which is why I hope that this time is different because I honestly think it will be hard to get a parcel tax passed if there's still step and column in this tough fiscal environment. And I would like a parcel tax to pass for the sake of the teachers, the kids, the parents and this town.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm

To 'Really?' -
You said "You demand on[e] thing then when cuts are made community members turn around to say they were the wrong kind of cuts, or not enough."
Exactly! Now you get it!
What was asked for was permanent reductions in the cost structure, not reductions in student education programs and services.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm

To 'parent' -
And let's not forget that every parent in Pleasanton is paying about $200 more in taxes per dependent to California as a result of the 2009 tax increases. That amounts to ~$4M a year.


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Posted by no more teacher raises
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm

For Maybe YES -- never, ever gonna happen that way.
The teachers have their step and column and they will never give it up. With that in place there are guaranteed raises for most teachers, often every year. Eliminate that permanently and base raises on actual contributions to the job and I would back a parcel tax in a heartbeat.
Leave step and column on the books and I will vote against every parcel tax no matter what. S & C does nothing but guarantee teacher raises, earned or not. First eliminate that and then get rid of tenure. Protecting the incompetent exists only in the world of teachers and it needs to go.


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Posted by Maybe YES
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 2:23 pm

"The teachers have sacrificed, the newer ones by losing their jobs, their income and so much more. Some very good ones who should be in the schools teaching. Losing a job is just awful, been there done that.
The existing teachers have sacrificed with unpaid furlough days and the tension that all this causes - the uncertainty of the future and the spotlight on benefits. They are dealing with larger class sizes and less support. "

The only truth here is that the newer teachers are losing their job. The rest is simply not true: teachers got raises (step and column), how is that sacrifice? Their income was lower because they worked less days, the furlough days hurt the kids just as much, and if it had been a true cut, there would not have been furlough days, just a paycut.

And those who stayed are dealing with bigger class sizes out of CHOICE. Yes, they chose to get a raise at the expense of their former, non-tenured co-workers, who were laid off. As a result of the layoffs, class sizes went up. Yes, it was a UNION CHOICE: they got their RAISE at the expense of younger teachers, students' programs.

Yes, the good teachers should be in school, teaching, but thanks to the union, it is the good ones, the newer ones who got laid off, and for what? Oh yeah, so those teachers who stayed could get a raise. Again, how is that a sacrifice on the part of the teachers who stayed on board?

Parent: we need PUSD to understand that teacher raises and admin benefits will not be tolerated in this economy. If they keep up the raises, they will have a hard time not just with the parcel tax but with fundraising and donations as well. There is so much to be cut without touching students' programs, without laying off more teachers. Let's start by freezing step and column, by undoing some of the raises given to the "Casey cabinet" prior to his leaving, do I need to go on or do you get the picture?


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm

We moved here for the schools years ago and have since been very happy. All the parents I talk to will support a parcel with step and column. I don't have a problem with it. I think we are getting great results. I certainly don't want any drastic changes, because we are getting such good results. I'm just not seeing any of the "incompetent" that the above poster is talking about.

To Dark Corners, you may not realize but we have an excellent school district here. No, they don't teach creationism in science classes, but they shouldn't. It is complete nonsense. Have you been following what some of the people said about measure G? Some people just wanted to keep cutting and cutting and didn't care at all about school quality. Can you imagine what would happen to our schools if someone like Ann Martin or Steve Brozosky got their way?


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm

So that everyone is dealing with the same facts, I put the salary data for 2010 in graphical form at

www.scientric.com

It is clear that teachers in Pleasanton have been marching up the step and column stairs for quite awhile, leaving their salary distribution highly skewed to high compensation. The classified salaries are more normally distributed.

I wonder how many of those masters degrees are specialties in teaching math and science?


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm

for convenience web link is

Web Link


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm

frank,

Knock off all the elitist words "highly skewed" and "normally distributed". Pleasanton is a common sense town, and we don't cotton to that kind of BS.


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Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Jan 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I agree with the Tea Partiers who dominate the P-Weekly's blahg forums: pursuing a parcel tax of any size is a waste of time and money. The noisy minority in Pleasanton will bully and bleat and ensure that no parcel tax is EVER approved here.

So why bother?

The excellent school system of Pleasanton is to be sacrificed on the altar of right-wing ideology. The teachers are unionized; unions are the work of the Devil; therefore anything associated with the unions must be destroyed.

Goodbye, schools.

Go ahead, please. Push PUSD closer and closer to state receivership. And then Pleasanton realtors will be having this conversation:

PROSPECTIVE BUYER: "This same house is $250,000 less in Dublin. Why should we be paying more just to live in Pleasanton?"

PLEASANTON REALTOR (beaming proudly): "We have one of the highest-rated school systems in California!"

PROSPECTIVE BUYER: "But didn't the State take over the schools six months ago?"

(long, awkward pause)

PLEASANTON REALTOR: "Did I show you the kitchen? Maple laminate on the cabinets!"

Rock on, Tea Partiers, rock on.


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Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm

I will not vote for any parcel tax if any step/column increases are contained in current union contracts. Economic times do not warrant this.

And this is coming from a parent who has donated significant money every single year my kids have been in school and donated the equivalent amount as requested the last time the parcel tax didn't pass.

Unions are completely out of touch with economic reality these days.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm

To 'Yet Another Teacher' -
Where in PUSD's First Interim Report (positive status) Web Link is there any indication that Pleasanton is heading anywhere close to state receivership in the next three years. This muti-year outlook report does NOT include any revenue from a parcel tax.
You must be a drama teacher. You're good at it. Or maybe an English teacher focusing on Fiction.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm

GX and DCOT,

Most parents I talk to would support a parcel with step and column. I don't have a problem with it. Maybe there is some better system out there for public schools, but PUSD has been doing very well with step and column. I do agree with the posters who say that there is about a zero chance that there will be a freeze in step and column. Are any other of the well run and top scoring districts in the Bay Area freezing step and column? Wouldn't the best school districts, like Palo Alto say, be rushing to freeze step and column, if they thought it would improve education? I'm just not seeing it. Do you have any examples of top schools in the Bay Area that have improved their districts by freezing step and column? Please give examples.


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Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I don't have any examples but I'm not basing my voting decision on this. I have friends in Cupertino and Palo Alto with kids in school. Both are very upset that any extra money (either via parcel taxes or fund raising) has gone to support the ever increasing salaries/benefits of teachers/administrators and have not gone to save programs and/or special education features. Both feel very let down by the communications, process and outcome.


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Posted by Rita
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 8, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I am not sure who you pro tax people are speaking with but I have not spoken to one of my neighbors who would support any tax at this time and this comes from many who voted for it before the financial and economic meltdown. We have bigger issues than insuring teachers make more money while many of us do not. No I will vote no this time. Teachers are going to need to sacrifice and show their committment to their profession by their actions. If they and their union are not willing to do this they should seek employment elsewhere................there are plenty of people who would love thos jobs.


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Posted by no more teacher raises
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Concerned Parent, since you are so much in favor of a parcel tax I vote to let you pay mine, and the tax for everyone in my neighborhood, none of whom have any intention of voting for more money for teachers.
Other districts do not have to freeze S & C because no other teachers make the money that Pleasanton teachers make! Duh! They have been the highest paid for years and they still refuse to give back anything. An unpaid furlough day is NOT a pay cut -- it is just another day off. Without pay, as it should be. If they were willing to take a pay cut (for those who cannot figure that out, it means they would work the SAME number of days for LESS money), then we can talk about a parcel tax. Asking the overburdened taxpayers of this town to pay even more so that the already highly paid teachers can get further guaranteed raises is just stupid.


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Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 6:14 pm

DCOT, so funny that you would join in on that very topic, since you know exactly what I'm speaking of. You specifically are the one who cried for shared sacrifice- YOUR personal choices of sacrifice, then when teachers voted 73% to save the district $4.5 million it was not good enough, not real. I have never heard of that much money being fake. I also will never make the mistake of voting for that again.

My S&C has been frozen for years now (teachers only move down 12 times out of a 20 yr. career although many would have you believe it's every year) No COLA for years, increased health care costs (out of pocket, no portion paid for by the district), and last years pay reduction equals quite a reduction of salary for our family. To say we have not "felt" the economic crush is fallacious and only meant to steer the attention away from the real issues our schools face due to lack of funding from the state. This is not the case in the surrounding districts I will be interviewing with.

I am not supportive of a parcel tax at all. This community has no idea what has even been cut so far. We have worked incredibly hard to maintain the high standards that are expected and this is the response we receive? It will never be enough DCOT, that I know for sure, so let's do what you wish for- more cuts!


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 6:35 pm

OK, so the no-tax people haven't changed their views, the yes-tax people have divided - many still support it and are OK about step and column and some previous supporters have gone to the no camp for various reasons.

The no's and maybe no's are concerned about the logic of paying step and column increases when our budget can't afford them.

And I think the research done said that the tax was mostly likely to pass if there were not raises.

But did the survey recommend going ahead even if pay raises are still on the cards? Did they even ask people this question since it tends to dominate debates about this issue?

Anyhow, will call next week to see if step and column is going ahead, but given the response here I'm guessing this decision hasn't been made yet.

For those interested pro or con - there is a meeting on Jan 25th at 7pm to discuss this (according to the leaflet) and you can call or email on 925 426 4304 or LocalFunding@pleasanton.k12.ca.us to ask any questions.

By the way to whoever said that teachers chose or declined to choose various options, I believe they were never asked to vote on step and column so they have not been able to make this choice. Every time they have been asked to vote on something they have picked the right choice for the school, community and kids, not their income. I think the union management choose what options they can vote on - though I'm not sure about this. The teachers themselves need our support, they did not make this mess and many are trying to help.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm

To really? I have a question for you as you mention you are interviewing.

If you leave do you take your seniority with you if there are job cuts? I ask because there is a great teacher who is newish here but has tons of experience from her old school and I am hoping she is going to be OK if there are cuts.


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Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Jan 8, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Dark Corners and the other Tea Baggers don't "get it".

Pleasanton teachers saved PUSD from state receivership by voting for significant ($4.5 million) cuts in our salaries.

And what did we get in return for it? A kick in the butt and called names.

Ok, we won't make that mistake. I've no scientific polling but I know 15 teachers who say they voted for concessions last time and were shocked at the attitude of Pleasantonians who said it wasn't enough. Out of those 15, 13 said they definitely wouldn't vote to extend the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) that modifies our contract to have those five furlough days and the other 2 said they would "think about it".

Without the cooperation of the teachers, yes, PUSD is headed for state receivership--and each Pleasanton house will lose 20% of its value overnight.

You wanted it, you got it, baby. I don't own a house in Pleasanton (can't afford it on my fabulous teacher's salary) so I couldn't care less.


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Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Jan 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm

parent:

I know you didn't ask me, but here's your answer, anyway.

If a teacher loses his/her job through cuts, then he/she loses all seniority in another district but can still use those years to place in step-and-column. A teacher with 15 years experience can still use some or all of those years for S&C (depending on the district's own policies) but for the purposes of layoffs, starts at the rock bottom.

Sick days are also portable from district to district within the State of California.


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Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Good question parent- YAT answered it for me. I would like to add that this is one of the values of S&C and a reason to stay with a district, many districts only give you a small fraction of your years of experience on the salary schedule if you move districts. The idea is to stop high teacher turnover which affects schools and students negatively. The value of experience in teaching is highly overlooked on these forums. We will see that first hand as we enter a time when there is a severe shortage in teachers in this state.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 8, 2011 at 8:29 pm

To 'Yet Another Teacher' -
You got it right again. The teachers voted, along with the unpaid vacation days, to eliminate the high school seventh period day and raise student:teacher ratios at both the middle and high schools, all causing teacher positions to be eliminated, thereby protecting your own pay rates. And to boot, you voted to be evaluated less frequently, the exact opposite of what needs to happen to improve teacher quality. Its all here Web Link .


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 8:52 pm

To "no more teacher raise",

It appears to be about the same as Palo Alto; It starts a little higher but ends lower. Isn't that right?

Web Link

Web Link

But then isn't it true that Pleasanton teachers pay their own health benefits, but Palo Alto teachers don't? I may have this wrong, but that is what I recall.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm

"Without the cooperation of the teachers, yes, PUSD is headed for state receivership--and each Pleasanton house will lose 20% of its value overnight."

Here we have an admission from a teacher that they will be responsible for driving PUSD into state receivership. That's the whole point of contention in this thread, isn't it? PUSD is in financial trouble because of the teachers, according to this teacher poster, and only through their agreement can it be saved. Of course, they won't agree to any salary changes such as with "step and column", so it logically follows state receivership will be assured.

Furthermore, with housing prices already down 20%, teacher recalcitance will drive it down another 20%, which further drives down property tax collections, which in turn pay their salaries!!!


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 9:05 pm

To Rita,

"and this comes from many who voted for it before the financial and economic meltdown."

I wasn't aware there was a vote for "it" before the "financial and economic meltdown." Are you talking about Measure G? Wasn't that last year, during the worst of the financial meltdown?


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 8, 2011 at 9:13 pm

concerned parent:

The problem with the Palo Alto school district web site is it only shows the salary schedule, but more interesting is the actual budgeted salaries in each step and column. To PUSD's credit, their web site publishes this data, while the Palo Alto web site appears not to. Therefore, we don't know too much more about what Palo Alto teachers actually make. We only know a schedule.


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Posted by Johnny
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 8, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I hope the teachers do nothing and continue there selfish way because they i just people who did not want to go out and compete. It will be interesting see how greedy they are when they lose their pensions.just bloodsuckers and worthless.Rita is right and it will never pass in this environment and shouldnt .


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Posted by Rita
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 8, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Concerned Parent,

Last year when the vote took place was before over 5,000 workers at NUMMI lost their jobs, many of those folks live in Pleasanton. California's unemployment rate is at 12.8% and growing, California has a 700 billion underfunded pension plan, Pleasanton I guess owes somewhere around 290M, home foreclosures are at an all time high and in California expected to go higher as many are still living in their homes but have not been evicted yet. I hardly think that last year was the worst of it. I believe this next year to two years will be the most difficult for California. Wait til Jerry Brown rolls out his budget and put the onus on the counties and cities to pay their way................just wait because the worst is yet to come.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 8, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Johnny, I personally don't believe it is fair to accuse teachers of behaving in a "selfish way", but it is true that in this thread there are some with an inflated view of their role. But that is the case of any group.

The issue is how the union-templated contract that memorializes "step and column" increases across all California school districts drives annual salary costs up irrespective of the existence of underlying revenues that can support such increases. When each time the subject arises to pass new taxes earmarked to school districts (parcel taxes), the discussion inevitably shines light upon how the money that would flow in to "save programs" is actually just a shuffling of the chart of accounts which has the effect of paying for the contract-mandated salary increases.

The teachers themselves are pretty much victim to their own union, and have to go along with what their leaders decide.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm

To really? But what if a teacher chooses to move as you are choosing or moves because of a spouse's job like the teacher I know? Do they keep or lose seniority in their new district?


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Posted by no more teacher raises
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 9, 2011 at 6:16 am

YAT says - "Without the cooperation of the teachers, yes, PUSD is headed for state receivership--and each Pleasanton house will lose 20% of its value overnight."
As you gleefully rub your hands together, feeling that your threats to us will turn the tide for us to vote for your raises, think again. You might just be one of our best assets in this battle to bring teacher raises and tenure into line.
You might also stop with the assumptions about all of us. I am not a teabagger (not even close) and I also could not care less about the sale value of my home. I own it outright and never plan to sell it. And because I did not overpay for it at the height of the bubble it is still worth well over twice what I paid for it. Even with your desired 20% drop!
Keep up your vitriolic posts, you are becoming our best model for killing this parcel tax at the ballot box.


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Posted by Tennessee Jed
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jan 9, 2011 at 7:51 am

The first time I ever heard about step and column was in the early 70s when the friend of mine, who by the way was a teacher at that time, described what was at the time, considered a new thing. He explained that by doing extra college work he could be rewarded with pay raises. Additionally he could enhance that with sticking around every year. I thought to myself what a great scam! I was doing it all wrong, here I was going to school so that I could better myself and find a higher paying job and something more rewarding.

I entered engineering field. And it was clear that the only way I could possibly compete would be to stay current on the latest technologies, and to take courses in support of that. I was never given a raise based on my completion of the college classes, and I wouldn't have been given raises had I not performed well. So enshrining step [years of service], and column [advancing one's education] does not seem like a fair policy. And I would not support giving money to that idea either.

I say reward teachers who perform well and obtain excellent results. But not enshrine guaranteed raises based on how long someone sticks around or what they may have completed in college to move them into the next pay grade. It's all about performance and merit. So if a parcel tax is required then I say do away with stepping column and let's pay teachers who perform, what they rightly deserve.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2011 at 7:56 am

"You might just be one of our best assets in this battle to bring teacher raises and tenure into line."

I think there is about zero percent chance that there will be changes to either step and column or tenure policy if a parcel tax does not pass. Not everyone agrees with some of the extreme statements posted by both sides here. I think we need to be realistic about the outcomes of the results of a parcel tax being passed or defeated. The most probable result from not passing a parcel tax will be a reduction in some programs and possibly some more layoffs. Passing a small parcel tax will save some of those things, but cost homeowners higher taxes. I'm likely to vote for the parcel tax, but I'll have to wait and see what the details are.


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Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Jan 9, 2011 at 9:19 am

You misunderstand my position.

I am not trying to frighten you into passing a parcel tax.

I don't WANT you to pass a parcel tax.

I have come to the conclusion that the only thing certain tea-partyin' Pleasantonians understand is a big smack of cold, hard reality.

So go ahead and bankrupt your five-star school system. It's being slowly bled to death, anyway, as the campuses become dirtier and shabbier through lack of much-needed maintenance and repair, as the teachers become more burned-out and demoralized, as the quality of education for Pleasanton's kids starts to go down that slippery slope.

Even then, some of the far-right-wing ideologues--or should I say anarchists?--won't learn. Facts and evidence simply don't affect them.

And yes, PUSD is headed for receivership because there aren't any more teacher positions we can cut at the middle and secondary level and still be able to offer all of the students classes (or were you planning on putting the surplus students into a big holding pen?). Class sizes can be increased at the elementary level, but PUSD is faced with at least an $8 million deficit. $2 million or so can be achieved through layoffs; the idea of our union was that we would cover half of the $8 million through reductions in pay (furlough days) and the other half through a parcel tax, but since the community is unwilling to meet us halfway, our position has hardened.

So how will PUSD plug that remaining $6 million? Answer: It can't, and still remain within the leqal requirements of the State of California and the federal Department of Education.

How ironic that the anti-government tea-baggers (who are against all agencies of government except the one that bails out bankers with trillions of dollars) will actually bring about greater state control of Pleasanton schools through their actions.

I'm already resigned to this reality, as are most teachers with whom I've discussed this issue. Once again, I've no scientific polling data, but I was actually quite surprised at how bitter many teachers have become because of the vicious attacks against us by "certain elements" of the Pleasanton community. What hurts the most is not these attacks, of course, but rather that the majority of the community who claim to support us don't defend us against the slander against our character and our profession.

Now if you will pardon me, instead of spending the day with MY kids, I have to grade papers for YOUR kids for the next 10 hours. Another lovely Sunday in the life of one of us overpaid, underworked civil servants.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2011 at 9:59 am

"(who are against all agencies of government except the one that bails out bankers with trillions of dollars) "

That isn't true for me. Really the main thing that got me interested in the Tea Party was the whole crony capitalism bank bailout mess.


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Posted by Lawyer
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 9, 2011 at 10:38 am

YATs!!!

Couple of points for you to consider, first if you stayed off of these blogs more during the week you might be able to get your work done during you 6 hour day rather than the weekend and secondly, you seem very unhappy as a teacher as do as you say many other teachers. I have a suggestion for you and the others, please quit, I know of many young and enthusiastic teachers in watining who would bring energy and motivation to the job. It would be good for you and the others to try something new so that you can show your deep and soon to be valued great capabilities. I bet theere is not a great exodus of teachers from PUSD and the reason is that the teachers cannot find a job which pays close to what they are currenly making. I want everyone to remember one word, "default", states, counties, cities, et al cannot file for bankrupcy but to get out of debt they are legally able to default on notes, bonds, interest, debt payments which would trigger the same provisions of the rules of bankrupcy court.


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Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2011 at 10:55 am

To "parent" in another community-

Your friend, if they moved to this district, would bring between 5-7 years experience on the S&C scale. This "seniority" that they bring is different than the layoff seniority. Again, this is another motivator to keep the turnover rates low, and something I have to really consider when interviewing. After 20 yrs teaching, I will go to 5 years on the salary schedule. I will also face last in, first out if I move districts. Low turnover of teachers is a huge benefit to a school site, in more ways than I have time to describe here.


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Posted by Lawyer
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 9, 2011 at 11:40 am

Really?,

With all due respect, low turnover is good dependent upon your perspective. What I mean is that everything is constant and repeatable but without turnover you get no new blood, ideas, and breed complacency which is always an issue in the union environment. Many successful businesses apply the 10% rule, 10% of your turnover needs to be moved out each year through retirement, resignations, and terminations. Keeps the workforce working hard to achieve, educate, and improve their performance.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 9, 2011 at 11:48 am

To 'Yet Another Teacher' -
You said "PUSD is faced with at least an $8 million deficit".
Kindly explain. PUSD has said nothing about this. So who do we believe?


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2011 at 11:54 am

"Many successful businesses apply the 10% rule, 10% of your turnover needs to be moved out each year through retirement, resignations, and terminations."

And many successful businesses don't do that. I don't think that model would work well for a public school system. Trying that to get that sort of policy in place at PUSD as a condition for a supporting a parcel tax isn't going to go anywhere. I think parents in this district aren't desperate for drastic change -- Incremental improvements, sure, but not drastic change.


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Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm

In the business world it might be the model, but this further proves that schools are not businesses. When a new teacher enters a grade level, there is a steep learning curve- the standards for that grade level, learning the expected proficiency level of the age group, the amount of time it takes for an age group to complete tasks (homework level included) the interventions that work for a specific grade level. Add that to the programs and specifics of a school site, lack of materials that teachers accumulate for a grade levels and time for grade level teams to collaborate and assist a new team member when there is no time during a school day.

The piece that makes this different from business models- is the "client" as you would call it. A teacher can build a program based on the clients for that year, with the time to adjust, increase, or remediate the expectations and instruction, then at the end of the year, all the clients leave. The following year is starting over. This is what I love best about the job- it is always a new challenge. I am always forced to meet the new needs of my current group with methods that reach them personally. To assume I do it the same way for the last 20 years is not a reality of how teachers in a successful school district teach. The curriculum, products and structure may look the same to those outside of education, but the "client" is what it is all about, and they change, guiding the way I teach.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

YAT wrote: "I have come to the conclusion that the only thing certain tea-partyin' Pleasantonians understand is a big smack of cold, hard reality."

Funny. That seems to be the same conclusion the other side has also come to about government in general.


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Posted by T.R. Ollman
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jan 9, 2011 at 1:28 pm

"Funny. That seems to be the same conclusion the other side has also come to about government in general."

OOH! Guv'mint, you just got PWNED!!


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Really?: What I'm hearing is that you, who sound unhappy with Pleasanton and it's people and who would love to leave, realistically cannot without giving up seniority and pay under the current rules.

And the teacher I know, who likes it here and is contributing a ton and who has already sacrificed pay and seniority to be here will be the one fired under the current scheme if there are teacher losses.

I'm not seeing this as a great pitch for step and column continuing. It's not allowing you to leave and go somewhere you would be happier and it's not allowing the person who is happy here stay.


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Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I wouldn't say it's not letting me leave, Just as your friend left her seniority and pay structure to join PUSD for whatever reason she chose, I am free to leave for programs, teacher training, and other options that different communities are supportive of and value. I love my job. My school community is great- the parents, the kids, the staff are all great. This type of support is why I have gone above and beyond my job description for many years. This is different from the overall community support that I value as well. I'm not talking about money support (a parcel tax), I mean how this community views its teachers and schools.


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Posted by Sal
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm

For the most part I don't think anyone has a problem with the teacher in general with a few exceptions but rather a significant dislike of the union. If anyone realistically expects to approve a tax of any tupe and I am not convinced it can happen at all would be for the step and column raises to be completely taken off the table and the it can be discussed.


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Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Jan 9, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Thanks to one and all for strengthening the case with my fellow teachers for NOT voting to extend the significant concessions we've already made.

There's no point in continuing or extending our concessions. Why not? Because it'll never be enough. If you deduct the cost of our spiraling medical insurance from our reduced pay (reduced by five furlough days) and no COLA, PUSD teachers have taken a big cut. And I am teaching 35 more students this year than last due to increased class sizes--the equivalent of taking on one extra class a day.

Still not enough. Never enough.

So ok, we get it. We give up. No more concessions. And no parcel tax. What will happen then?

We'll see.

Nice to see Stacey contributing to the discussion, albeit briefly. Still trying to push PUSD towards a charter school so your husband's company can charge a fat consultant's fee to "restructure" the school district, Stacey? Must keep you busy.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I just listened to a gorgeous rendition of Johann Sebastian Bach's "A Musical Offering". Not everyone's cup of tea, but it was uplifting to here the way the master made all those separate voices cohere into one beautiful whole. I'm hoping we can dial down some of the vitriol on these blogs and find some common ground here.

YAT,

If you really are a teacher, it is probably a good idea at this point to put the blogging on hold for a while.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm

YAT, so what is your current salary and the number of years teaching in Pleasanton? I know of some teachers making over $90K which is not bad for working 180 days per year.


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Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Jan 9, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Someone asked why there was going to be an $8 million deficit for the 2011-2012 school year.

Look at the link that DCOT posted. It answers the question. For this school year, PUSD is due $3.6M in federal funds for this school year that it won't get during the 11-12 school year.

This year's budget also includes $4M in negotiated concessions (the furlough days from my union, the Association of Pleasanton Teachers).

Add those two figures together and you get $7.6M. Not sure why a district administrator quoted $8 million to us, but perhaps there's another $400K floating around somewhere of which I am unaware.

So with the federal funds going away, we have to make up a $7.6M-$8M budget gap. The APT may vote to extend the $4M in concessions but that still leaves a $3.6M-$4M hole. Can't cut $4M from the school district; there aren't enough jobs left.

The district needs a parcel tax but it isn't going to get one. With all the venom being spat at the teachers of Pleasanton USD, is it any wonder many of us are throwing up our hands and just say to hell with it? $4M just isn't enough to satisfy the tea partiers; we could cover the entire deficit out of our paychecks and it still wouldn't be enough.

It's never enough--so why give anything when nothing ever satisfies?

And that's why I say PUSD is pushing closer and closer to a state takeover. The tea partiers think that will open up PUSD to become a charter district that certain people will control for their own profit, but they're wrong. What they'll get is a second-rate or third-rate school district controlled by an administrator appointed by the State of California, the worst of all possible worlds.

And yes, it will happen. I'm not warning, I'm predicting, and I'm resigned to it.


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Posted by Rita
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 9, 2011 at 6:43 pm

YAT,

Glad to hear you are resigned to it and now please resign and stay off of this blog. I would not want you teaching my kids and not even sure you should be allowed to be around children. I think we are just experiencing what we have caused. We have voted for individuals who have chased all of the revenue out of this state and this is what we get. Nobody's fault other than our own. Can hardly want to hear what Jerry Brown has to say about the budget. I suspect it will kill any talk of a parcel tax and YAT will just be happy he or she has a job unless it gives it up for someone who really wants to work.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 9, 2011 at 8:35 pm

I would encourage all of the anti parcel tax contributors to actually take the time to show up on the 25th, ask their questions, and share your venom with the school board. JB's budget tomorrow will, I'm sure, extend further kindness to education (TP's-that's called sarcasm). With all of talk of over-paid teachers, my teacher friend is paying $1,900 per month for health care through PUSD...so on the $90K salary that is bandied about on this blog, take nearly $23K off the top (pre tax $) which leave you at $67K pre-tax. No wonder teachers can't afford to live in Pleasanton and I'm quite sure most of the contributors to this subject wouldn't, and I daresay, couldn't work for that kind of money. Mean, mean, mean-I've got mine and expect everyone else to work for free...


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 9, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Oh and Rita, 1.) YAT was taking the time to clarify why the $8M hole exists, so be nice and say thank-you for making me better informed (the $400K difference, for everyone's clarification, was from those highly paid PUSD classified/custodial employees taking unpaid furlough days -you know, those people who work behind the desks at the schools that parents bully and treat in a condescending manner who make $15 per hour -yeah, those people) and 2.) "We have voted for individuals who have chased all of the revenue out of this state and this is what we get" -learn something about the issue instead of repeating some right-wing campaign slogan...


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 9, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

YAT wrote: "Nice to see Stacey contributing to the discussion, albeit briefly. Still trying to push PUSD towards a charter school so your husband's company can charge a fat consultant's fee to "restructure" the school district, Stacey? Must keep you busy."

Is everything on schedule? My husband and I are eternally grateful to you for your great idea in this matter. Please, keep up the good work on your infiltration in APT. We could not have pulled this off without you. My husband was thinking recently that you and him should meet and amend your contract. He'd like to involve you in more of our company's projects, which, as you know, you will be extremely well compensated for. Please be sure to contact him soon. You know the number.

:P


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I just wanted to clarify as the original "parent" posting, that I wasn't the one to raise the $90k to YAT as that's not really the direction I'm going with this.

I'm not disputing current salaries, I'm questioning the sense of salary increases in this economy and am also concerned that this particular issue is one that will hurt the chances of a parcel tax passing.

I would vote for a parcel tax to help remove furlough days - that would help the children and teachers.

In terms of state takeovers, I think there are a lot of school districts that will be there way before Pleasanton.


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Posted by ????
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Joe,

Please educate us on where you think all of the revenue in this state went I would be curious to hear what your opinion is. Please educate on us on why we no longer get free college in this state. Educate us on where and why you think GM left the state, Fremont, Van Nuys, Southgate, Ford, Milpitas and Pico Rivera, FMC, Lockhead, Ford Aerospace, NUMMI, Pacific State Steel, Martin Marietta, General Dynamics....even our new governor has said that we have created an environment in this state that discourages business. Please enlighten us with you opinion on why this has happened and what corrections you would make to correct the situation. Remember now that only 40% of Californians pay income tax and that 80% of students at Cal State East Bay do not pay a dime......do tell.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2011 at 9:39 pm

"only 40% of Californians pay income tax"

Is this true?? Do you mean adults or adults and kids? I know in some of the cities that are now defaulting the taxpayers have mostly left so there is no one left to honor obligations. Wow, if it's this number though. I wonder what the average is in the US?

It is the problem about ending up being a high tax / high benefit areas, if it gets out of control, people can and do walk and what is left behind isn't pretty. Cost control is really important.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 9, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

frank wrote: "When each time the subject arises to pass new taxes earmarked to school districts (parcel taxes), the discussion inevitably shines light upon how the money that would flow in to "save programs" is actually just a shuffling of the chart of accounts which has the effect of paying for the contract-mandated salary increases."

Perhaps the district should just be honest about this up-front and state clearly that a parcel tax proposal is about paying for contract-mandated salary increases. There are many posters here expressing their opinion that they would vote for such a thing, even vote for additional COLA raises. Maybe the consultant advised them that no one would vote yes for such a parcel tax. Who knows?


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2011 at 9:48 pm

The consultant's report indicated that a parcel tax has a better chance of passing if it is marketed with no salary and benefit increases.

There are the definite yes's who don't mind and the no's that are no's regardless, but the critical middle undecided care about this. I think it needs to be handled honestly if increases are still on the cards.


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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 10, 2011 at 8:49 am

Parent,

The 40% figure comes from the governors office and was cited last year during the budget debate in Sacramento and is true. The number refers to adults only who work. The 80% figure who pay nothing at Cal State East Bay was from an article in the Oakland Tribune explaining why fees had to go up. Everyone should be paying their fair share or some share if they are going to use the services. In my view if someone lives in an apartment in Pleasanton (pays no property taxes) they should be assessed a fee to use the services. The days of gaming the system are over because we have no money no matter how you slice it.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 8:58 am

"Perhaps the district should just be honest about this up-front and state clearly that a parcel tax proposal is about paying for contract-mandated salary increases."

Because that would not be up-front or honest, it would just be repeating anti-parcel tax propaganda. To be up-front and honest wound say that the parcel tax is paying to avoid cuts. Those cuts could include scheduled salary increases, CSR, or any of the other programs that may be cut.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 9:06 am

Michael,

Please provide links if you can. Those numbers sound like they need qualification. There is someone else on these boards who keeps claiming that more than half of workers now work for the government. He/she never posts any links to back it up. When I look it up, the number is 20%. Have you heard this one too?

"The days of gaming the system are over because we have no money no matter how you slice it."

Renting an apartment is hardly "gaming the system". The landlord pays the taxes and passes the cost on to the renter.


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Posted by Maybe YES - Not anymore
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 9:14 am

"To be up-front and honest wound say that the parcel tax is paying to avoid cuts. Those cuts could include scheduled salary increases, CSR, or any of the other programs that may be cut. "

Yes, be honest, because knowing that the parcel tax would pay for salary increases (at a time when not everyone is seeing raises in the private sector and many have lost jobs), will make sure that people vote NO on it.

Actually, I am no longer a "Maybe YES" but a firm NO because after reading all these posts, I realize that no matter what, the teachers will keep step and column intact and any money we donate or approve as tax will go to that effort, directly or indirectly. BTW, I voted yes on G but I am very happy it failed - after seeing such selfish behavior from the teachers (cancelling the 7th period and laying off young teachers so that the ones with tenure could get their raise).

YAT is a perfect example of the kind of teachers we do not need, YAT and that Foothill librarian.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 9:29 am

"after seeing such selfish behavior from the teachers (cancelling the 7th period and laying off young teachers"

This isn't fair - the teachers did not choose this - their union did not give them this choice and as I mentioned before, every vote the teachers have been allowed to make have been in favor of the community and not themselves.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 9:47 am

"To be up-front and honest wound say that the parcel tax is paying to avoid cuts. Those cuts could include scheduled salary increases, CSR, or any of the other programs that may be cut."

Concerned parent, I see what you mean, but I have to agree with maybe yes on this one. I'd be happy to pay a parcel tax for CSR or any kid facing programs, but not salary increases. That just seems so out of touch given a $28 billion and going up statewide deficit.

Though I've just been reading about Illinois and wow they're in a mess! They are trying to get enough votes to raise state income taxes and business taxes by 75% now just to get enough money to borrow more money to pay their unpaid bills and contribute to their pension fund that they skipped paying.


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Posted by Maybe YES - Not anymore
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 9:52 am

"This isn't fair - the teachers did not choose this - their union did not give them this choice and as I mentioned before, every vote the teachers have been allowed to make have been in favor of the community and not themselves."

Can you back that with facts? I find it hard to believe that the union can make this decision without the teachers' vote/consent. My understanding is that this was a teacher-led cut. They wanted to keep certain benefits for the teachers (such as step and column), and in order to do that, they had to cancel the 7 period, among other things. I understood, from watching board meetings, that it was a teachers' decision, and sure, it was the union which then negotiated this with the administration/board, but the teachers were certainly in agreement.

The teachers then came out and presented their "sacrifice" (furlough days) as paycuts (in truth they were unpaid vacation days), and with the money from those furlough days, the disctrict kept things that benefit the elementary schools (both students and teachers), such as science specialists, certain degree of csr, counselors... But the 7 period was gone, and never mentioned among the things the teachers' "sacrifice" would reinstate.

Please provide facts showing how the union (isn't there a PUSD teacher in it?) alone, without the consent of the teachers, single handedly decided to cancel the 7 period in order to keep things like step and column.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 9:59 am

Web Link

This is a link that talks about the Illinois situation. I know it's not totally related to this conversation, but it does help illustrate the reality some states are facing. They're out of money and can't afford to pay their bills or pension contributions.

Their cost to borrow is going up because people who buy bonds are worried about their ability to pay and considering that they might default. The state therefore, is considering raising taxes (75% on income, 50% on business), the wealthy have gotten or are getting out of town and they still don't seem to have any way to get a grip on spending. It looks like the tax effort is fizzling out though, so who knows where it is going next?


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:10 am

"Can you back that with facts? I find it hard to believe that the union can make this decision without the teachers' vote/consent. My understanding is that this was a teacher-led cut"

I'm sorry I can't. It is just my understanding based on conversations I've had.


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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:14 am

Parent,

here is the one link but I remembered incorrectly it was not 80% who don't pay but rather 50% who do not pay.......unbelievable!!!


Web Link


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Posted by Been watching this for some time
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:18 am

I agree that step and columns raises ARE raises. Until the district first comes out and admits this to the residents, we do not have a working relationship and giving more money is not going to help.

I heard the district was looking at a parcel tax that was less than $100 because of the survey results. Interesting as I don't think the $100 will even pay the step and column raises so we are no better off. Remember, step and column is additive. The cost is $1,500,000 the first year. Since this is a raise, those people receive that money the next year and then there is an additional $1,500,000 of step and column raises give out. So year two now costs $3,000,000. Then the next year it is $4,500,000, and the following year $6,000,000. If you add this up, the cost of step and column over four years is $1,500,000 + $3,000,000 + $4,500,000 + $6,000,000 or $15,000,000, for five years it is $22,500,000, but it does not end there. In 10 years this step-and-column raise, which board member Grant is says "is not a raise", will cost $82,500,000 The current system is completely unsustainable. Another way to look at this, with step and column costing $1,500,000 per year, if you say the average salary of a teacher is $75,000 (I am just making this number up for illustrative purposes as I don't know the true number), you have to fire 20 teachers per year to pay for step and column raises, or the state income has to increase by this amount every year to stay even.

Here is why we are in this situation:

When the economy was on fire, more tax revenue was collected. The schools received more money because of proposition 98 as a certain percentage of the revenue goes to the schools. When the schools received the additional money, it was mainly used on salary increases to employees through cost of living adjustments and step and column. The schools did not bank the funds when times were exceptionally well but instead spent all the money. Now that the economy is doing an correction, tax revenue is down. Although the percentage of tax revenue that goes to the schools is the same, the dollar amount is less. The only way to make the numbers work now is for the employees who received raises when times were good to decrease salaries when times are bad.

There are two methods that you can use here:
1) When times are good, you put a certain percentage away before giving out salary increases. This was when the economy contracts you have money to continue operations.
2) When times are good, you give it all out as salary increases. When the economy contracts, the salary increases need to be reversed in order to balance the books. This is the model the district and unions have chosen. If they do not like this, they need to switch to model 1. However, I do not think our unions will ever support this as their job is to get as much money for their members as possible and they previously gave the district a real hard time about increasing the reserve as they thought the employees were entitled to the increased revenue.


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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:19 am

Parent,

this one pertains to the entire US and I will find the one for California but makes no sense that all don't pay something.


Web Link


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:21 am

Joe, you state that teachers cannot afford to live in Pleasanton. Actually, the district did a survey a couple of years ago and found that 75% of the teachers lived in the Tri-Valley, a lot in Pleasanton, some were also around the bay (Walnut Creek, Orinda, etc.). There were only a couple percent who lived in San Joaquin County or Brentwood (i.e., to the east).


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:26 am

To Michael: So each kid or parent who is using savings or going into debt to pay for school is actually going into debt to pay for two people? Nice!


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:38 am

Michael,

Thanks for the link. But "paying no income taxes" is way different from "working for the government", and its also different from paying no taxes at all (as the article says, most still pay social security, medicare, and property taxes). Someone kept claiming that 50% worked for the government. I can't find anything to back that up.


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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:39 am

Parent,

In a sense yes that is what the article said. In addition, the increases are to pay for pensions for the teachers so your 50% is going to be even higher.


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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:53 am

Parent,

I do not know how many work for the state but suspect a lot.


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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:58 am

Parent,

This just came out from Jerry Brown and few minutes ago. Please note it says that non union government workers will get a 10% cut so that means that the unions will not give and that the proposed tax hikes require 2/3 budget approval. What do you bet that will not happen? So the Pleasanton schools is the least of our worries.

Web Link


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:13 am

From the brief headlines I've seen, he's said he's not touching K-12 education - good for him and good for our schools. It looks like he's working hard to reduce spending and to give us an honest budget. I would tend to vote to keep the current taxes just for this because I feel he is acting in good faith and protecting the kids.

But he needs to deal with union pay and pensions too. I haven't been a J. Brown fan previously but actually agree with this plan if the unions are also giving their fair share. I agree with you, it may be hard for all this to pass unless the unions contribute.


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Posted by Maybe YES - Not anymore
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:17 am

From the cnn article about Brown's budget:

"The governor's plan also calls for extending 2009 tax hikes for another five years. The levies include a quarter-point increase in personal income taxes, which expired at the end of last year, as well as a 1 percentage point jump in sales taxes and an increase in the vehicle licensing fee, which expire June 30.

Voters will have their say on the tax increases in a special election in June."

I will vote NO on tax increases because there is absolutely no mention of pension and union reform. That means the union workers get to go on as if times were good and money were plenty while everyone else feels the pain. NO taxes until unions and pensions are reformed.

PUSD: I will also vote NO on your parcel tax because everything I see points to unions (that includes the PUSD teachers' union) demanding to keep their raises at the expense of younger teachers, students and programs. What a selfish profession! Short work days, a work year that is less than 12 months, plenty of time off, and on top of that they demand raises during times of budget deficits? Go figure!

Hopefully everyone will vote NO on Brown's proposed tax in June, much like with Arnold's propositions which failed. Maybe then Brown will see that pension and union reform MUST be done before anyone agrees to more taxes.


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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:19 am

I agree with the comments above that it will be difficult for California to survive long term unless it gets business and jobs back in this state. Taxing people who and working more and giving it to those that aren't will not work unless you are trying to drive you tax base back out of the state.


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Posted by Maybe YES - Not anymore
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:24 am

"From the brief headlines I've seen, he's said he's not touching K-12 education - good for him and good for our schools. It looks like he's working hard to reduce spending and to give us an honest budget. I would tend to vote to keep the current taxes just for this because I feel he is acting in good faith and protecting the kids. "

But he is cutting from the universities, that sounds a lot like what happened in PUSD last year: cut from the HS (7 period) but leave elementary alone; now it is cut from higher education but leave k-12 alone - not acceptable to cut from education, period, not while we still have the unions demanding more and more. (just like it was not acceptable to cut any programs, high school or elementary, while step and column was left intact)

Yes, Brown tried to make it sound good, I like the fact that he is getting rid of some fat (incuding the Office of First lady which I did not know existed), but unless Brown reforms the unions and pensions, his efforts are just for show, and bandaid on a very big, bleeding cut.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:26 am

Maybe he's positioned it this way so that the cuts for the non-union workers wouldn't have to be so draconion if the union workers step up to the plate?

I hope so, because we're in last chance saloon time . . . if we have any time at all. The bondholders will probably also need to see union pay and pensions restructured if we want to prevent our rates from rising, so it's got to be part of the plan. He needs more time to do this, but no doubt he will have to do it before going to the voters. I'm happy to give him a bit of time, it's a big job.


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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

MAYBE yes not anymore,

I agree with you but I do not think he will take on the unions because they are the reason he got elected and I bet contributed bigtime to his election campaign. I also will vote no on any tax increase until someone takes on the unions and the pensions. Parent, if you were a bond holder would you extend additional credit to California? I certainly would not.


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Posted by Maybe YES - Not anymore
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:34 am

"Maybe he's positioned it this way so that the cuts for the non-union workers wouldn't have to be so draconion if the union workers step up to the plate? "

I hope you are right. It does not seem fair to make certain workers (non-union) have a 10 percent cut in pay while their union fellows get to keep their salary intact and perhaps even get a raise. (although I am happy about the cut in pay for government employees, I think it should be applied to all, union and non-union employees)

I truly hope you are right, because California can no longer afford to ignore the huge liabilities caused by the unions and unfunded pensions. Taxing should be done only after all fat has been trimmed and all potential cuts identified and implemented.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:40 am

Michael, I would not either right now. It's clear which way the rates are heading, so extending additional credit now would be foolish. Either way it goes you'll lose right now. Some are waiting for the rates to go up a lot and then take a gamble that we'll get bailed out. I wouldn't take that gamble either.

The only hope we have that I see is that somehow Jerry Brown can pull this off - no easy task. If I were to put odds on it, I would say he can't, but that's depressing, so I'm going to stay hopeful! And I like that he gets it about K-12 education - we can roll with the punches, but the kids deserve a future.


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Posted by Maybe YES - Not anymore
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:40 am

"I agree with you but I do not think he will take on the unions because they are the reason he got elected and I bet contributed bigtime to his election campaign. I also will vote no on any tax increase until someone takes on the unions and the pensions. "

But he is already the governor, he no longer needs the union support. He can choose to do the right thing: take on the unions, reform them and the pensions, even if that means being a one term governor. (after all, this really is his third term, and he has the chance to go down in history books as the guy who did what no other governor dared to: reform the unions and pensions)

Unions may be a part of the past soon. Enough is happening across the nation that unions will have to be reformed. Brown can choose to lead the way in this much needed reform, even if the unions hate him for it. He is the governor, for four years, and he can do a lot to reform and bring California back.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:42 am

"It does not seem fair to make certain workers (non-union) have a 10 percent cut in pay while their union fellows get to keep their salary intact and perhaps even get a raise. (although I am happy about the cut in pay for government employees, I think it should be applied to all, union and non-union employees)"

I totally agree with you.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:53 am

Stacey is a registered user.

He isn't just governor now, it is his last term. He doesn't have to court the unions for re-election. He is wholly accountable to the voters now.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Without changes to the union salaries and pension and medical benefits this budget is Dead on arrival. There is no way that the tax extensions will be approved. The biggest elephant in the room has been left untouched. I was hoping that Brown will have the cajones to tackle the pension issue. Every city including Pleasanton has to tackle this. Only the union members will be voting for these proposals. I hope that they are not a majority just like the non-tax payers have become a majority. Looks like there is no hope for California. Need to decide where to go: Texas,Florida,Washington,Costa Rica,Australia,New Zealand?


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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Interesting comments one and all. If Brown does not take on the unions we are finished as a state and he is a one term governor maybe. If he does take on the unions he is a one term governor without their support in the next election. There is a third alternative and the one I am hoping for. He takes on the unions, is successful and California survives although in a different condition and he will be reelected by a landslide. Let's see if he is a real leader and willing to take one for the team.


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Posted by Been watching this for some time
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm

At least with this budget it appears the parcel tax is not needed as K12 education was not hit. Hope the school board puts their parcel tax discussions in the back burner as we now have bigger issues to take care of.

What the district has to do now is solve the problem of their salary expenses going up every year automatically with step and column. That reform has to occur now. Without a change there, even with no deduction in pay from the state, the district will have to fire teachers to pay the salary increases for the others.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I am open to a temporary parcel tax as I do value education - obviously I am not happy about it.
I am not however ready to support a parcel tax without a short term and long term plan that leads to a fiscally responsible and sustainable solution that is scalable with the economy (bad and good). I will take personal offense (voiced through a "no" vote) to any salary increases (whether we call them COLA, S&C, or raises) during any parcel tax. I don't feel I need to reiterate my reasons for this as they are scattered throughout many of the posts above - I didn't see unfunded pensions in my brief scan, so I'll throw that in their as well).
What I do hope to add to the discussion is that the continued name calling (tea baggers, teacher bashers, "don't care about education", greedy teachers, etc) isn't going to bring us any closer to a resolution.
I think we can all agree, teachers, administrators, taxpayers, parents, students, etc. are all going to have to walk away from this situation unhappy. No one side is going to take it all, and in order for us to come to a resolution (no point in stating a "fair" resolution as it will not seem fair to any one party) we must really be willing as a community to put everything on the table - nothing is "off limits".
Administrators, teachers, educators please understand that the current compensation structure is no longer viable and additional concessions are required.
taxpayers, please be prepared to open the checkbook as well.


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Posted by former teacher
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 2:59 pm

All I can say is: Don't kick the teachers until you have walked in their steps for a year. Teaching is like no other profession - constant pressure from administration, parents, to say nothing of the varied bunch of students to gear lessons to each day, low pay, constant outside classes (which cost by the unit) just to keep up with the ever changing standards and methods of teaching the curriculum, constant testing and record keeping. Teachers are "in the trenches" - don't blame them. If you don't believe me, try teaching for a while. You'll change your tune! I was there for 25 years and although I loved the teaching part, I hated the politics of it! I also never made close to what my friends in other professions made! I had years of step raises and years of no pay raise, but the step raises were miniscule! I taught because I loved it, certainly not for the money! I moved across the scale of pay after each 15 units I took. Each move cost me a lot of money! I barely recouped it in the raise. I have over 100 units of teaching classes past my BA! Lots of time and money.

Blame the board and administration for the shortfalls but pay the teachers what they are worth! They are the heart of the education of your children!


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Former teacher - thank you for adding your voice in the way that you do, you make a good case and it sounds like you were a wonderful teacher who made big commitments to your profession.

I don't personally think that pay raises are appropriate right now, but understand the points you make and would hope that you see that many people are not trying to "kick the teachers" (although I admit some are).

Many are just saying increases are not going to be acceptable until it is structured in a way that makes more sense and until we actually have the money to do this without destroying what we've got. Many of us have concerns that newer teachers who make less are going to be sacrificed + programs for the kids in order to pay for raises.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 3:41 pm

And actually this brings us full circle, because the leaflet sent out says that:

"After consequtive years of budget shortfalls, there is little to cut but teachers and classroom instructional programs that directly impact the classroom."

But the elephant in this room is step and column needs to be re-negotiated before cutting teachers and classroom instructional programs. Otherwise any money raised is ultimately going into the step and column pot with a tiny bit left over this year and nothing left next year, in fact a further shortfall.


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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 10, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Pleasanton is just a small example of what is happening to the rest of California. The question for California and I guess for Pleasanton is are you willing to work harder, take cuts, and take a tax increase so that union teachers and state workers can continue to receive raises and nice pensions. When put in this perspective during these economic times I think the answer is a forgone conclusion.


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Posted by Maybe YES - Not anymore
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm

parent:

The teachers DID vote to cancel the 7 period:
-----------------
"The eight furlough days resulted in a nearly $1.9-million savings to the district. Other portions of the agreement include increasing staffing ratios at the middle and high schools, from 26:1 to 27:1 and 27:1 to 28:1, respectively, at a savings of $864,000; the suspension of the seven-period day at high school ($448,000); suspension of voluntary staff development hours ($380,000); and suspension of the teacher support and training advisory committee ($15,000).

In a statement from APT president Trevor Knaggs, he said an "overwhelming majority" of the members were in favor of the agreement.""

Web Link

Suspension of the 7 period was, in fact, part of the concessions, the so called "teacher sacrifice" (ask a high school student or parent and they will tell you they do not appreciate the "sacrifice")

Step and column was what? About 1.6 million or something? Well, that was kept intact while the 7 period (cost of a little less than 500K) was cut.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Micheal,

I'm just curious. Why are you concerned about what happens with a Pleasanton Parcel tax? How would it affect you in Livermore?


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Posted by unclehomerr..
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 10, 2011 at 6:39 pm


First.. I have no children in the Pleasanton schools. I'm a tax payer and tax protester. I agree with those who say the economy has to recover and we have to learn to live within our means, before we can afford any growth or new expenditures. That's kinda like.. live within your means.. akin to my wife asking for more money with no explanation as to how she spent what she had.

Personally, I haven't had a raise, or cola in 10years. I've learned to manage with what I have. Why can't the schools??

If 7th period was cut, the teachers workday was cut 15%. Did they take a 15% paycut?? My money says.. NO!

unclehomerr..


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Posted by About the k-12 funding under Brown
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 7:49 pm

"the $49.3 billion in K-12 funding -- $400 million less than the current fiscal year -- depends on voters passing a package of tax measures in June." "The governor's budget includes no cost-of-living raises"

Full story:

Web Link

It looks like the funding for k-12 depends on voters saying yes to tax measures in June. I am personally voting NO because the budget released by Brown has not dealt with pensions and unions. I doubt that PUSD will be able to pass a parcel tax at the same time that Brown is trying to pass taxes as well. Note how the governor's budget for k-12 does not include COLA, is that why school districts are already planning for parcel taxes regardless?


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Posted by About the k-12 funding under Brown
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 7:55 pm

A very interesting comment about Brown's budget for k-12:

"Districts also might have to find other savings, because while revenues will decline slightly, operating costs will rise thanks to step increased built into the teachers' salary schedule, "

Full story:

Web Link

Everyone knows that even though revenue is down, the stap and column raise will continue to be there. And they expect the taxpayers to foolishly hand the school districts more money for teachers' raises?


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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 10, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Concerned Parent,

I guess I view this thing as being much bigger than Pleasanton or Livermore. I think what happens in the next 6-12 months will tell the future for not only Pleasanton and Livermore but all of California. One of the biggest problems in this state are the unions and the government workers pensions. My view is that unless Jerry Brown or whomever resolves these two issues everything else will not work. We already tax the hell out of anybody who can rub two quarters together to give it to those who don't and unless this inequity is resolved those with money will continue to vote with their feet as will business. We have a major spending problem and we will have a revenue problem until such time as we can show we can control our long term spending and commitments. With an economy which is on its a.... and an unemployment rate of about 13% plus those not even looking anymore I cannot see anyone in their right might voting for a tax increase to give to those who already get to much............my opinion for what it is worth.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 8:21 pm

By the way, reading more about the state workers pay cuts. It appears that the 10% cut is going against union workers whose unions have not agreed a contract, which I think means those who have not re-negotiated salaries and pensions. Some unions already have renegotiated and I think these are the ones wno are not included. So this is good right? The 10% is going against those who haven't already had a pay cut and compromised on benefits. So isn't he starting to take on the unions? Can anyone more in the know clarify?

"Cuts pay by 10 percent for the six state employee bargaining groups that are operating without a contract, saving $308 million"

Read more: Web Link


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:20 pm

"If 7th period was cut, the teachers workday was cut 15%"

unclehomerr - please come back when you have at least athe slightest idea of what you are talking about


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Posted by Hmmmm
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Parent, what I've read is that Jerry Brown is proposing a 10% pay decrease for non-union government employees. What KRON 4 is reporting is that the governor is cutting state employee compensation by 10%. I'm guessing Brown is only talking about cutting non-union state employee pay by 10%. That would leave the bulk of the problem untouched. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:23 pm

"Suspension of the 7 period was, in fact, part of the concessions, the so called "teacher sacrifice" (ask a high school student or parent and they will tell you they do not appreciate the "sacrifice")"

I'm sorry that a teacher sacrafice affected others - that is unacceptable. Teachers need to be punished and it should not hurt anyone else.

Although its hard to layoff teachers and not affect students - however that seems to be a difficult concept for a lot of posters here at PW


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:29 pm

First off, the parcel tax the district is requesting is not going to solve very many problems. The district will have to choose what to fund and its not going to make very many people happy. I think the parcel tax funds would be used wisely, but I'm not sure I feel it is wise to pursue such a limited parcel tax. No matter what your opinion, our schools offer far more than many schools across the nation. The biggest question, is should we continue to offer all these opportunities to students or should they be getting these opportunities outside of public education. We offer all kinds of AP classes. The students and parent get the benefit of college credit so the students don't have to pay as much for college. Where does this kind of opportunity fall? If we don't offer them, our schools are considered less than others, but it does cost money. I would love for our school to be able to offer everything everyone wants, but it is reality time.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Former Teacher,
I do not doubt teaching is a difficult job and it feels good to say that teachers deserve more as they are educating the future leaders of tomorrow. However, we must not let this overshadow the fundamental reality that there is only a certain amount of money to work with and we must work within those financial constraints.

Your post suggests that the level of difficulty dictates compensation. Even within the teaching community compensation is not based on how difficult or how hard a teacher works - if it was the inner city teachers would be paid more as they naturally face increased hardships compared to an environment like Pleasanton where education is viewed as very important and reinforced in the home.

Additionally, you mention "low pay", when viewed at the state level, this may hold true (and possibly more so when you're comparing your salary 25yrs ago to today's equivalent). However, it is more relevant to the discussion to look at Pleasanton salaries (as a part of total compensation). With the average Pleasanton teacher's salary nearing $84k, and a fully paid pension I don't think "low" pay is an accurate description.

You also go on to state that many of your friends made more in the private sector. I might also point on that with their increased salary came an increase in risk (job stability).


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Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 12:34 am

Do understand that I may be at $84,000, but be sure to subtract the health benefits that are not covered in the salary, at $1,400 a month, bringing me to $64,000 and also be sure to subtract the monthly contribution to my retirement, and other deductions for- vision, dental. This not including the reduction in pay due to the concessions made this year.

If you are going to outline my salary and pass opinions on it's "inflated value", at least be honest about the numbers we are talking about.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 7:35 am

You're not alone. Many people have to subtract family health and pension contributions (our family gets 16% of what we contribute, so if we contribute $100, the employer gives $16)from their salary except for certain public sector workers. Many people have had salary decreases or salary freezes in recent years.


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Posted by To Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 7:45 am

"Do understand that I may be at $84,000, but be sure to subtract the health benefits that are not covered in the salary, at $1,400 a month, bringing me to $64,000 and also be sure to subtract the monthly contribution to my retirement, and other deductions for- vision, dental. This not including the reduction in pay due to the concessions made this year. "

Everyone, even private sector workers, pay for health care on a monthly basis. How much each person pays varies depending on which company you work for.

What is different between the teaching jobs and others is that the 84K is not for a full year: the school year is about 180 days, that means less than a 12 month work year, with summers off and plety of time off in the form of holidays, spring break, thanksgiving break.

84K for the amount of days worked seems like a fairly good salary to me. That, plus teachers retire with a pension that they do not contribute fully to. I know because my neighbor has been a retired teacher for more than 20 years, and trust me, the amount he put in was long gone, yet he still collects a generous pension.

And don't forget that it was the teachers who chose to pay for healthcare. Why? Because a majority of PUSD teachers are married and use their spouse health benefits, and therefore the 84K for them is 84K, nothing to substract for health benefits.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 8:37 am

"and trust me, the amount he put in was long gone, yet he still collects a generous pension."

By the way, and a little off the subject, that is exactly the way social security and medicare work, but no one wants to talk about it.


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Posted by To concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 9:17 am

"By the way, and a little off the subject, that is exactly the way social security and medicare work, but no one wants to talk about it."

The talk of social security has been all over the place, do you not read the news?

Social security will be out of funds in less than a decade, and everyone in the private sector knows that. I am personally not counting on social security for retirement. I am saving and investing instead. (unlike public employees, who do not get it and continue to demand their pension even though there are no funds for it!)

Pensions on the other hand... no politician has proposed an idea, good or bad to deal with them. At least with social security: people know funds will not be there soon, there have been talks of privatizing it, etc.

Social security needs reform, yes, but more pressing is the pensions. You never see a social security recipient retire with 90 percent of his/her income. Yet we have people retiring with six figure pensions. And these pensions are paid for by the private sector taxpayers. In fact, now that we are short of money and cannot afford the unfunded pension liabilities, what is being proposed? Taxes!

Public workers do not pay into social security, private sector workers subsidize public pensions through their taxes.

So, maybe we should make public employees subsidize social security, the way private sector workers subsidize pensions, that would be fair.
Either that, or let each sector deal with its own problems: social security will continue to be an issue for private sector employees, but let's have pensions be the exclusive problem of public employees: if there is no money in Calpers, you don't get your monthly pension, don't bother us the private sector taxpayers and don't demand that we pay for your pension, don't ask us to make up for your unions' mistakes: they invested, the money is down and they can't afford anything


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 9:35 am

I should say that current retirees or those approaching retirement don't want to talk about it. Medicare is a worse problem. State and local pensions are more pressing.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 9:47 am

Huge problem, agreed. Peole are living longer and retirement ages should have been extended on public and private side a long time ago. The retirement dates for both private and public should be the same to receive benefits. They've left it too late on both sides though. Tough for us, tough for our kids.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 10:45 am

Agree with Concerned Parent: why are we making education spending to be the issue when really the elephant in the room is medicare and social security.

Cutting teacher salaries and educational programs has a far greater impact on the future of this country.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 11:08 am

"Cutting teacher salaries"

I don't think one person on this thread has suggested this. What is being suggested is not paying salary increases in this economic environment. instead we'd like to use parcel tax money to keep teacher jobs and keep programs.

Medicare and social security are also huge issues, but not ones that are going to answer the question about whether to vote for a parcel tax that may ultimately be used to pay for step and column.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 11, 2011 at 11:53 am

Really -

Your union, your coworkers, voted for the change to healthcare in exchange for an increase in salary (and resulting pension payout). While it may be a reality that you must pay your own healthcare costs, it is not the norm. As such, I do not discussing future changes with your profile as the baseline is a proper starting point - though I do realize you obviously are concerned with your specific situation.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Voting for a parcel tax with step and column still in place is a vote for pay increases and higher pensions at the expense of the newer teachers and children's programs. The latter would have to be cut or class sizes increased, so that funds could be allocated pay for the increases in a bad economy.

Voting for a parcel tax with step and column frozen would be a vote for keeping teachers jobs and saving important programs.

There's plenty of time for increases in a good economy and I believe we did that at that time.


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Posted by Sandy Piderit
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jan 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Someone above asked "Note how the governor's budget for k-12 does not include COLA, is that why school districts are already planning for parcel taxes regardless?"

Teachers and staff have not received cost of living increases for several years, and none are included in the budget estimates for the next two years that Luz Cazares presented on December 14.

Two reasons why next year's budget is forecast to be different than last year are that the district will no longer receive federal stimulus funds ($3.6 million of which are covering costs in the current fiscal year) and the agreement with APT and CSEA about furlough days from last year was specified as one time only (approx. $4 million that is not being paid in salaries this year.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Sandy, won't they also possibly have to budget for the potential failure of the June Jerry Brown tax vote?



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Posted by To concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm

A few things to consider about social security vs. pensions:

Social security just raised the age for full retirement, to 70. I know that because I recently received my social security statement. A few things I noticed on my statement:

1) My retirement benefit would be about 15% of my current income. Compare that to 90% for pension recipients.

2) I am only in my 40s and I have already put hundreds of thousands of dollars into social security, I will not see a penny when I retire (I am only in my 40s so by the time I am 70 I am pretty sure social security will be gone or broke or something). The amount of money I would get per month would be pennies compared to what I already put in. Compare that to what public employees put in and what they take out. Even if social security payments stopped now and I stopped paying into social security, that would not enhance the piggybank of the unfunded pension liabilities, so reforming social security (which is needed) would not help the pension situation.

3) Pension recipients retire as early as their mid 50s. My neighbor is in that category, and his pension is quite generous, and the guy looks like he will live many more years.

4) city after city is going bankrupt because of the unfunded pension liabilities

5) private sector employees like myself pay into social security and also indirectly finance the pensions through our taxes. Public employees do not contribute, directly or indirectly, to social security.


Someone above said the big elephant in the room is social security. I disagree: it is the pensions and the unions. Again, public employees get financed by the private sector but not the other way around.

This financial mess is directly tied to the unfunded pension liabilities. We are having to cut services in order to finance pensions.

As for the parcel tax: I will vote no because it is unreasonable to ask us, the taxpayers, to agree to more taxes just to finance teacher raises.

Teachers already decided that their step and column was more important than the students and programs. We saw that last year with the suspension of the 7 period and the increase in class size. They are deciding the same this year, and I will not sit here and give money for their nonsense.

PUSD has the right to reject the teachers' contract, maybe that is what we need. We can no longer afford to continue to give raises when the money shrinks year after year.


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Posted by Curious Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I was just curious to know if The District can provide the community with the percentage of teachers who received a step increase in 09/10, or a count such as: X amount of teachers received a step increase out of X amount of teachers in 09/10. I'm not looking for column increases, just step increases.

Sandy, do you know this inforamation?


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Curious parent, if Sandy doesn't have the info, maybe try to call or email on 925 426 4304 or LocalFunding@pleasanton.k12.ca.us to ask any questions.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 11, 2011 at 3:54 pm

concerned parent:

Re-read your social security statement again and explain how your retirement age was raised to 70 when this conflicts with the government website information at:

Web Link


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 11, 2011 at 4:08 pm

"I am only in my 40s and I have already put hundreds of thousands of dollars into social security"

Here is some interesting math regarding concerned parent's claim. The last 20 years (1991 to 2010)was taken as a base period. For the claim to be true, concerned parent would need to be a self-employed individual with income greater than $53.4K in 1991 and steadily rising to greater than $106.8K on 2009 and 2010. In this case concerned parent will have indeed paid $240K in FICA taxes. If instead, concerned parent was an employee, then he will have paid only 1/2 of this or $120K into FICA (the employer pays the other 1/2). If earnings were not at these limits, then proportionally less would have been paid.

So the claim will be true only for a self-employed individual earning at the FICA wage limit over the last 20 years.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Whew - so we only have to work 7, 12 or 17 years longer than a public sector worker for a retirement fund that we pay into but that will be bankrupt when we retire. Well that's OK then . . .

And so the poster is self employed, what's your point?


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm

To the school board: When you meet tonight, can you please consider what you have read here. It will be hard to get a parcel tax through with step and column still in place. You may already be doing this (or have done this) but if not, please consider freezing it so we can pass a parcel tax which we need to save jobs and services. We have time if you act now. Thank you.


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Posted by Sandy Piderit
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jan 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm

parent -- Yes, the board will need to have a contingency plan in place if the governor's proposed extensions of current tax rates are not approved in June. It's hard to predict how the additional cuts would be distributed across the state budget.

curious parent -- I don't know what the breakdown of step vs. column increases was last year. I do remember that 17% of teachers are at the highest possible salary -- so those folks, with more than 20 years of experience and 75 credits of continuing education, will not see raises unless a COLA is offered in some future year. I do remember seeing a spreadsheet with numbers of people in each cell of the salary schedule, so I'll dig around on my hard drive and see if I can pull that up.

I am hesitant about the idea of removing rewards for continuing education from the salary structure (the "columns"). It might be useful for the district to conduct a review of which particular kinds of continuing education courses have the biggest positive impact for teaching quality.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm

"I am hesitant about the idea of removing rewards for continuing education from the salary structure (the "columns"). It might be useful for the district to conduct a review of which particular kinds of continuing education courses have the biggest positive impact for teaching quality."

I'm not against this idea, freezing steps but not columns as long as the continuing education is the real deal. I would prefer that everyone took a one year break until we're more financially secure as I don't think that many companies are paying for training right now, but this isn't a deal breaker for me. What do others think?


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Posted by Sandy Piderit
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jan 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I found the spreadsheet on the district website that documents that 17% of teachers are in the highest salary bracket. It also shows that 70% of teachers are in the highest-paying column already.

Here's the link:
Web Link

Similar scattergrams for classified and management employees are also available on the district website.


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 8:48 pm

More than one hundered and twenty three full time equivelent teaching jobs at PUSD paid 98K last year! OUCH!


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 8:57 pm

It would be interesting to see the scattergram for 2010-2011 so we can compare it and see where the $1,500,000 in step and column raises actually went this year. Interesting that 17% of the teachers are in the highest salary bracket and 70% in the highest column and the step-and-column raises are $1,500,000.

If the district does decide on a $100/parcel tax (I heard they were looking at that number as the survey conducted showed people did not want to pay more than that), it will only pay for a bit more than one year of step and column raises. So yes people, the district is considering a parcel tax to pay for raises. It will not save programs or teachers past the first year.

The ironic this is if the district does set policies in place today to fix the structural problems the public would probably be more willing to pay a parcel tax for a higher amount. Without addressing the structural problems, the upside in the parcel tax is small and it will probably fail again as the district has not learned since the last parcel tax election. People do not want to pay an additional tax that will be used to pay for raises. The taxpayers are not receiving raises so why are the public employees entitled to raises?


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Yes Beth. Not bad for 180 days of work per year.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2011 at 9:38 pm

"The taxpayers are not receiving raises so why are the public employees entitled to raises?"

Well some of the tax payers are not receiving raises. I got a smallish 6.5% raise this year, but my department produced excellent results last quarter.


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Posted by DON'T FORGET!!!
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 11, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Please, please, please do not forget that teachers in this district have to pay for health care. I have to pay $1,500 a month for health care for my family of 5. So my check goes from $4,000 to $2,500 a month. Please consider I have a Masters, I've been teaching for 15 years, and 95% of my CST test scores were Proficient or Advanced last year.


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 12:01 am

My friend in San Ramon told me they went through this same scenario a few years ago. They passed a parcel tax to save programs and keep class sizes. That lasted one year. Then the programs were cut and class sizes increased. Meanwhile the raises never stopped and the tax continues. There is no such thing as a temporary tax or a permenent bandaid.


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Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 1:57 am

Pleasanton Parent says
"Additionally, you mention "low pay", when viewed at the state level, this may hold true (and possibly more so when you're comparing your salary 25yrs ago to today's equivalent). However, it is more relevant to the discussion to look at Pleasanton salaries (as a part of total compensation). With the average Pleasanton teacher's salary nearing $84k, and a fully paid pension I don't think "low" pay is an accurate description."



Forgot to subtract medical costs- $1,400 per month
deducations for pension, vision, dental, concessions to total: aver. teacher makes $64,000

You can add as many additional facts surrounding the personal stories of PUSD employees as you want to spin, I'm only speaking to the numbers you posted. You wouldn't want to mislead the community with the wrong numbers.

Also, stating the fact that many pay for their own health benefits is not a complaint, it is a fact that some in the community don't realize.


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Posted by Talk to your union
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 7:52 am

Really? and Don't forget:

Someone already pointed out that it was your fellow co-workers, led by their union, who voted to have a higher salary and pay for health care costs. So don't blame the community, if you don't like it, talk to those co-workers (the majority) who are enjoying healthcare through their spouse or other source (not paying for it themselves with their 84K salary) and have it changed.

Get less salary but healthcare paid for if that is what you want, so talk to your fellow teachers and union leaders about changing this, because it was those fellow teachers and union leaders who wanted it this way: higher salary but pay for healthcare, so in the end your pension is higher.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 8:14 am

What happened to this parcel tax being for kids programs and "all funds would go directly to the classroom to fund student instructional programs, not raises or benefit enhancements".

No one is talking about the kids!

My Mom and my spouse's Mom were both teachers and are watching this whole thing unfold in disbelief. They took their jobs so they could be with us in the afternoons and over the summers. They made less than half of the average here and worked hard, but mostly loved it (except for the politics and sometimes parents). They graded their own papers and did "extra help" all the time after school. And when you see here a) class sizes in elementary go up and teachers fired and then the next year 7th period gone, class sizes up again - but in both cases with step and column marching its merry way along you have to know that something has gone wrong with our priorities.

Children are the priority here - we're talking about our schools. And threatening our property values and kids futures for the sake of a pay raise in the worst recession we've seen is not right.

But who is going to champion our kids? They didn't vet the board members. They're too little to vote.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 8:29 am

"So don't blame the community, if you don't like it, talk to those co-workers (the majority) who are enjoying healthcare through their spouse or other source "

Do you have a reference or link on that? Is it true that the majority are getting health care through a spouse or other source?


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Posted by artlover
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 12, 2011 at 9:22 am

The mailing piece itself:

I was VERY disappointed to receive this heavy stock brochure on UNRECYCLED paper begging us for more money.
I wonder how much this mailing cost? Why was this expenditure allowed? In an age where we are trying to save on money and resources, PUSD gets a D-.


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Posted by Curious Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 12, 2011 at 9:39 am

Thanks for the info, Sandy.

One of the above posters mentioned that nobody will be happy in the end, and perhaps that's true, but there may be a happy medium for those who ademently oppose parcel taxes and those who are for it.

Restore the furlough days and keep column increases (Higher education is deserving of an increase). Go for a $100 parcel for the next 3 years and freeze step for the life of the parcel tax. It's not going to satisfy everyone, but it's a shared sacrifice that may just get some needed money into The District.


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Posted by Talk to your union
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 9:57 am

"Do you have a reference or link on that? Is it true that the majority are getting health care through a spouse or other source?"

No I do not. I talked to a board member a while back.

Teachers in Pleasanton know the numbers, so ask the president of the APT for numbers and percentages. It is true. And it is also true that the teachers can, at any time, vote to modify their contract, and choose to go back to getting healthcare subsidized in exchange for less salary. Of course, they do not do it because right now they have a good excuse to justify their above average income, even though they know very well that most do not pay for healthcare. Again, ask the APT president for numbers, good luck trying to get them because this is probably one of the best kept secrets here in Pleasanton.

The elementary school teacher for my child is married and gets healthcare through her spouse, so her income is all hers, nothing spent on healthcare. There are many teachers in this category, and it is my understanding that the majority is in this category, that is why this agreement was made in the first place.

In PUSD, it seems like the young, better teachers have to accept bad decisions that benefit the tenured ones: such as paying for healthcare in exchange for more salary (the younger ones may or may not be married), keeping step and column in exchange for laying off younger non-tenured teachers (and thus getting rid of programs such as 7 period and CSR)


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Posted by Sandy Piderit
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jan 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Talk to your union wrote "it is also true that the teachers can, at any time, vote to modify their contract, and choose to go back to getting healthcare subsidized in exchange for less salary."

The union cannot make that kind of a decision on its own. District management and the board would also have to consent to that kind of a change. Given the way that health care costs have increased in recent years, that would be expensive for the district.

Regarding the scattergram of where employees are in the step-and-column progression, I just wanted to point out that the distribution was probably different before the two years of layoffs. Since those laid off have fewer years of experience, those who remain after layoffs are more likely to be at the bottom of each column.

The other way for the district to affect total salary costs, other than adjusting the pay in the salary schedule or laying off teachers, is to affect the balance of less experienced vs. more experienced teachers. When more experienced teachers take jobs elsewhere or retire, then less experienced teachers who earn less salary replace them.


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Posted by Talk to your union
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 3:57 pm

"The union cannot make that kind of a decision on its own. District management and the board would also have to consent to that kind of a change. Given the way that health care costs have increased in recent years, that would be expensive for the district."

Yes, all parties would have to agree, but let's not forget that it was the teachers who wanted this. Like you said, more than one party had to agree, and the teachers had to agree to the deal.

As for the cost: I don't know if you are correct. Without the numbers, I cannot say for sure, but it seems to me that the high salaries combined with a higher pension may be more costly to the district, than if they were subsidizing healthcare.

Teachers keep saying they pay for healthcare and that justifies their higher than average income. What they don't say is that many have healthcare from a spouse, and that the teachers agreed to the the deal (higher salaries, pay for your healthcare).

We would need to explore both scenarios: current salaries left alone but keep the teachers paying for their own healthcare or lower salaries and offer subsidized healthcare. Then see which would cost less for the district. I have a feeling that the union would go for the higher salaries regardless.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 8:48 pm

OK, just re-read the Parcel Tax survey. Basically, in their survey, support for a parcel tax for schools was about 62% with a 5% margin of error. It peaks at 67% if the price is right and it is positioned absolutely correctly.

And here is the kicker - the point that scored the highest in the "Influence of Supporting Arguements" section was "all funds to protect student programs; not salaries and benefits. Followed by no money from it going for administrators salaries or benefits.

The report also said that a key point was to clearly communicate that the measure would not increase salaries and benefits for adminstrators, teachers and staff.

So there is really little hope of this passing if step and column (or at least step) is not frozen along with administrators increases - the consultants we hired at great expense said so.

I'm concerned that the end of the story will be publicised as "Pleasanton doesn't support parcel tax to keep teachers and programs" (I just saw a recent headline like that for Las Lomitas)when saving teachers and programs is actually exactly what we do want to do and we want it done right.

Is this just a big exercise in spending money, then it fails, the increases go on and it's all going to be our fault?


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 9:30 pm

I hope that through continued communication and outreach the PUSD convinces more of the community to support a parcel tax with step and column preserved. I think that would be the best outcome for the entire community. Like I said above, all the very best school districts, the ones that are higher rated than PUSD (like Palo Alto) have not put in place freezes in step and column. Putting them in place here sends the message that PUSD doesn't take care of its teachers. I would be much more interested in freezing raises for administrators and eliminating perks than in freezing step and column.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 9:41 pm

To concerned (and I know how you feel, I think I even used that name last year!):

If the survey we've paid for and the things you've read here are true, then wouldn't you rather have a parcel tax that has a hope of passing rather than none at all? This survey was done for a reason and the tax is totally borderline even if all the stars are aligned.

If it will not pass with step and column (which I honestly do not think it will), shouldn't we try to pass it without at least step so we can save jobs and programs?

If we insist on it going ahead pretending step and column (and the opposition to it) doesn't exist, we're just digging our heads in the sand, dooming the effort and upsetting everyone along the way. It will mean no parcel tax, yes step and column and maybe even no furlough days as everyone will dig their heels in. Better to have this conversation now rather than later. And it's important to listen to what people say. The consultants gave us the information - we need to work within it.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 10:08 pm

"hope that through continued communication and outreach the PUSD convinces more of the community to support a parcel tax with step and column preserved"

Also, you do realise that S&C is about all that would be preservd? S&C = $1.6 million, parcel tax = $2 million, cost of consultant, vote etc., I'm sure is well over 100k. So there won't be anything left for saving teachers or programs. And the following year the S&C increases from this year and next will wipe out the whole parcel tax and some.


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Posted by unclehomerr..
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 12, 2011 at 10:29 pm


Maybe they could charge for parking at the high schools, and ticket the double parkers at the middle and elementary schools. Big Bucks there!

unclehomerr..
No more taxes!


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Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Jan 13, 2011 at 1:47 am

Really?:

Please stop trying to reason with these people. It's no use.

The parcel tax is not going to pass. We can freeze step-and-column for all eternity, take a 10% across the board cut, etc...it still won't be enough. It's never enough.

No matter what facts we present, the citizens of this community ignore them. They see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear. This is not, as the saying goes, a facts-based discussion but rather one an ideological one: unions are bad, the teachers are in a union, therefore the teachers are (fill in the blank).

A teacher at one of our elementary schools sent out a very informative document via email proving that, in fact, Pleasanton teachers are earning 14% less now than we did in 2000, adjusted for cost of living (with medical costs a huge factor). And no, "most" teachers in PUSD now do not receive medical insurance through a spouse. That was a deal negotiated a long time ago, when we had a lot of union members whose teaching income was the household's "second income". 2 out of 3 PUSD teachers do NOT have medical insurance through their spouses (or domestic partners, as the case may be).

Palto Alto's citizens, who have the same per capita income as Pleasantonians, passed Measure A, a $589 parcel tax, last April. Palto Alto teachers were never asked to give up step-and-column.

And here in Pleasanton, its wealthy citizens gnash their teeth and rend their garments at the thought of actually being required to pay an additional 27 cents a day (the cost of an annual $98 parcel tax).

Oh, the horror.

Relax. The debate was over a long time ago, if there was a debate at all. There will be no parcel tax regardless of what Pleasanton teachers do or don't do, and a lot of us have become aware of that fact: It's Never Enough. Ok, we get it. No parcel taxes so long as Pleasanton teachers have a union, gotcha.


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Posted by YAT
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2011 at 8:47 am

Many people have seen their incomes drop much more than yours (to 0 in fact if they've been laid off).

This parcel tax is supposed to be about programs for the children and not once have I heard you talk about this.

27 cents a day could save lives in Cambodia too.


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Posted by To YAT
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2011 at 10:06 am

"No matter what facts we present, the citizens of this community ignore them."

You mean no matter what facts we present, the teachers in PUSD and their union ignore them? Ignore the recession, the budget deficit, the fact that step and column is not sustainable, the fact that it was the teachers who agreed to higher salaries in exchange for paying for healthcare, the fact that this coming year if a parcel tax were approved, it would all go to pay for raises?

Seems to me that teachers are hearing what they want to hear, and ignoring what they want to ignore. It is hard for people to ignore the fact that we have deficits and we are in a recession and we cannot afford raises, but it seems so easy for teachers to ignore this reality.


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Posted by Carlos
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2011 at 10:24 am

What is the "quit rate" for PUSD teachers? In other words, what percentage of PUSD teachers quit their jobs every year to find employment elsewhere? I'm guessing not many. When the quit rate approaches a point where we have trouble replacing the teachers, we'll know it's time to give them a raise.


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Posted by tonyg
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 13, 2011 at 10:51 am

Yat, is not a teacher, he is a librarian.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2011 at 11:32 am

parent,

"Also, you do realise that S&C is about all that would be preservd?"

Sure, I realize that. That's why I'm holding out hope that we pass a higher parcel tax than what is being discussed, like Palo Alto did. People's minds can be changed, and I hope PUSD spends some money on educating the voters on the importance of maintaining excellence in our school system. We have seen a drastic reduction in revenue due to the recession. Other great school districts have responded to the challenge, and I think we can too.

One thing I haven't heard anyone talk about is scaling the step and column amounts so that the increases are closer to 1% for steps instead of around 2% to 2.5%. That would save a lot of money too and maybe could be done temporarily. I don't know.

Carlos,

I know that in one my son's schools that two teaching positions were filled this year. I don't think we want to give the best teachers more incentive to go teach in San Ramon, Orinda, Palo Alto, or any of the other good school districts. I don't think we want to get in to a race to the bottom with this.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2011 at 11:45 am

"That's why I'm holding out hope that we pass a higher parcel tax than what is being discussed, like Palo Alto did. People's minds can be changed, and I hope PUSD spends some money on educating the voters on the importance of maintaining excellence in our school system"

OK, well I guess everything has been said and if this works out the way you want it to it will be great for all involved. Don't forget you'll be using the resources that could keep a teacher or two trying though, so make sure it works. Good luck.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 13, 2011 at 11:56 am

Stacey is a registered user.

YAT should get the union together and open a union-run charter school. Then they can pay themselves whatever they want and can be accountable for almost none of it (still have to teach to CA standards, of course). ;)


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Posted by To YAT
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2011 at 12:35 pm

YAT:

Are you the Foothill librarian? You sound like him, and a post above says you are not a teacher but a librarian. If you are indeed that foothill librarian who was quite loud a while back (even insulted Joan Laursen), please quit calling yourself a teacher.

If you are not the librarian, please ignore my post.


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Posted by Hope yet?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Wow! A lively impassioned forum, and it has not yet been shut down.

Maybe there's hope yet for PW ?


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 16, 2011 at 6:49 am

According to PUSD Web Link (pg. 9), they will have a $2.7M surplus this year. They project a $3.2 deficit next year, but that does not account for the last $1M in additional federal stimulus money that is coming, nor $700,000 in CORE/PPIE/PSEE donations, nor $2.25M in potential savings from 5 furlough days next year. Once that is put back in next years budget, PUSD will have another projected surplus for next year (11-12).

With $11M expected in the fund balance, PUSD is well positioned for the worst case scenarios being talked about.

A parcel tax is not needed.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 9:38 am

" nor $700,000 in CORE/PPIE/PSEE donations"

Where is that coming from? I haven't seen that documented anywhere. Is that future donations? If so, how can you possibly tell that people will donate that much?


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2011 at 9:40 am

To "Start Afresh",

If those numbers are right, I would be inclined to support a parcel tax in order to restore other programs, like CSR for k-3.


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Luz reports (see same document) $700,000 in combined donations for last year. I am assuming that PPIE and PSEE will continue to support the schools. Is that not a good assumption? Is PPIE backing out of another campaign for this year?
But even if they don't, 5 furlough days and the still-to-be-received $1M in federal dollars will povide a balanced PUSD budget for next year.
Which brings up a question. If Luz is not showing the $700,000 as anticipated revenue next year, is she also not showing the staff expense? If she is, then she is overstating the deficit by $700K because PUSD should not be counting on that expense (or income) every year.


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Posted by PEVC
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2011 at 9:03 am

Concerned Parent - Isn't PUSD still at 25:1 CSR this year? I thought they went to 25:1 because the state is providing financial relief that makes it advantageouos for PUSD to be at 25:1. So when you mean 'restore', do you mean to go back to something less than 25:1?


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Posted by to PEVC
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2011 at 9:16 am

Yes, it used to be 20-1 for K-3 up until I think 2 or 3 years ago. They allowed class sizes to go up in the last couple of years due to the recession.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2011 at 9:50 pm

To PEVC,

I meant to go back to something like 20 to 1, like my older kid had. The change was two years ago.


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 18, 2011 at 11:56 am

And let's not forget, if PUSD decides not to have a parcel tax election, it would save an additional $300,000. If this cost was already projected in the numbers above, then the budget surplus will be even greater.


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm

It's exciting to watch a local citizens coalition form to peel open the wrapper around the city's unfunded liabilities. Expect them to move onto the unfunded retirement and retiree medical liabilities of public education (Web Link), (Web Link), (Web Link).

With a potential parcel tax election in May, and the increase in state taxes election in June, it looks like we're living in exciting times.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2011 at 1:42 pm

To "Start Afresh",

To me, the $300,000 would be well spent. I think that as a community, we can afford to support moving class sizes back to 20 in k-3, as well as restore cut programs. Education is just one of those things that many of us think is fundamentally important to a community and to society. I'm still waiting to see the details of what they propose. I'm hoping I can support it.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2011 at 4:59 pm

concerned parent:

You do realize that even if the parcel tax passed, no programs would be restored, right? At 98 per parcel, there is no way there would be enough funds to do much.

CSR (25:1) in k-3 is about 1.3 million!

No, if a parcel tax were to pass (I am voting no), it would only go to pay for step and column or somthing like that.

The problem with raises is that every year the district must figure out where the money is going to come from, and then they target a program, cut it and use that money for raises/step and column; they then cry to the community about giving money to save the program that was cut.

I doubt that people, in these times of deficits, and with all the talk of unreasonable pensions across the state, will agree to a parcel tax.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2011 at 5:07 pm

"They allowed class sizes to go up in the last couple of years due to the recession."

It was not all due to the recession. If the teachers had agreed to freeze step and column last year for instance, that would have been about 1.6 million in savings.

Imagine what that could have done for CSR. If it is about 1.3 million to keep CSR in k-3 at 25:1, an additional 1.6 million would have definitely helped class sizes be smaller.

But the teachers chose to let their younger, untenured co-workers receive pink slips so that those who stayed could get their raise.

Read about the problems all over the state and country: those old timers are really a problem, with their negotiated but unsustainable raises, benefits, pensions. They are getting their negotiated, unreasonable perks at the expense of services, layoffs of newer workers, etc (yes, the teachers are part of that mess,with their mandated yearly raise/step and column)


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Posted by long time parent
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 18, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I had two kids go through the school system in Pleasanton. The first did not have classroom size reduction grades 1-3 and the other did. I cannot say that my kid with the classroom size reduction did any better in school than my other one who did not have this. One of the reasons is the amount of volunteers in our community. We have something in Pleasanton that many other cities do not have and that is involved parents who volunteer at the schools.

If you are in Tracy or San Jose you will have a harder time without classroom size reduction because you have no help and you have a higher percentage of parents who are not active in their kids education. In Pleasanton we are blessed to have the parent who not only volunteer in the classes but also take an interest in their kids education. That is why our district is successful.

The cost of CSR is quite high and a parcel tax of $98 will not pay for that. As stated above, a parcel tax of this size will only pay for step and column raises for teachers. I will vote no for a $98 parcel tax with what I have heard so far. If the district freezes the step and column raises for a period of time (i.e., no raises for anybody and any salary increase is a raise), I would probably pay a parcel tax of $500. With $98 and the current plan at the district, it is just a governmental agency looking for more money, and not really a agency trying to solve a real problem.

I think people are pretty fed up with government now. This includes federal, state, schools, and city. The unions control the state at least. Until we take control back, I do not want to spend more money on government. Hopefully at some point teachers and other government employees will speak up against their own unions but I realize that is a risky move on their part because the unions still control thing. It is a shame as we do have some great teachers, and some great city employees. We just have a system in place that will start to bring them all down because the unions feel they are entitled to the taxpayer money and a reduction in anything is considered a "taking of property". When times were good, the government employees did very well. Now it is time to reciprocate some of it. You can't have it both ways.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2011 at 11:03 pm

"You do realize that even if the parcel tax passed, no programs would be restored, right? At 98 per parcel, there is no way there would be enough funds to do much."

Again, that is why I'm hoping that the district takes steps to encourage voters to support a bigger parcel tax than that. I hope we pass a large enough parcel tax to support both CSR and step and column raises. I think it would be the best outcome for the community.

"Until we take control back, I do not want to spend more money on government. "

I don't think you'll get that result by not supporting a parcel tax. The much more likely outcome is that you'll see a continued slow slide in the quality of education in Pleasanton. The best districts will continue to pull away from us.

"I doubt that people, in these times of deficits, and with all the talk of unreasonable pensions across the state, will agree to a parcel tax."

But not supporting a parcel tax will in no way do anything about pensions. It won't have any effect on that at all.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 19, 2011 at 3:38 am

Resident stated that "no programs would be restored" because a $98 parcel tax would not yield enough money to be meaningful.

I disagree. A parcel tax of $98 is estimated to raise $2 million per year, or $8 million over 4 years. We cannot entirely undo the cuts made over the last 2 years, but $8 million could definitely bring back the programs with the highest impact on student learning.

The board may choose to negotiate a salary agreement with the unions in addition to placing a parcel tax on the ballot. In that case, the parcel tax would contribute to program restoration, rather than teacher salaries.

Even if there is no freeze on step (I think column should stay in place to reward teachers who pursue continuing education), $2 million is greater than $1.6 million. There are plenty of programs that were cut last year or the year before that could be supported. Once the measure passes, the board's responsibility will be to target parcel tax funds for restricted purposes.


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Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 8:06 am

Resident, were you at the meeting where we voted on our concessions? You must have been, since you know so much about what we voted for and what we didn't.

FYI, there was no option to vote for a freeze of step and column. Many teachers asked about it, as there were many of us who would have preferred it to the furlough days. It was the district that didn't want it on the table, not the union. The way it was explained was that a freeze would have to be paid back, leading to greater costs down the line, or it would require a permanent change to the salary schedule, which the district was unwilling to do.

We can argue the merits of it in another forum, but my guess is the DO doesn't want to be on the front lines of alternative compensation for teachers. They also don't want to appear like MDUSD, which is having trouble recruiting and retaining teachers.

So Resident, do me a favor, and quit telling me what I chose to do. Believe what's written here by those who are speculating but stating it as fact, or talk to some people who were actually there.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 9:04 am

"Again, that is why I'm hoping that the district takes steps to encourage voters to support a bigger parcel tax than that. I hope we pass a large enough parcel tax to support both CSR and step and column raises. I think it would be the best outcome for the community."

Are you kidding? Who in their right mind would vote yes on a parcel tax that is guaranteed to go, directly or indirectly, to raises? I will vote no on such a tax.

Now, if the district were to freeze step and column, and in writing guarantee that no money, whether from current funds or future funds or parcel tax funds will be used for raises/step and column/perks, I would vote yes on a bigger tax.

Why would you think people would give money to finance step and column? People are not about to support raises. The last parcel tax failed (measure G) by a very small percentage, imagine now with all the talk of needed reform, unreasonable benefits for union members, the state of the economy: it will fail if you insist on having raises be part of the items that are to be financed


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 9:10 am

"Resident, were you at the meeting where we voted on our concessions? "

No, but I saw the outcome. HS 7 period for instance, was part of your concessions, or should we say you chose that to be the students' concessions?

I find it hard to believe that the union would agree to freeze step and column. Show me the facts because from what I have read about other districts who actually tried it (google it), it failed because the unions did not agree to it (not because of the administration).

Again, show me the paperwork where the union proposed to freeze step and column.

btw, there was much talk about it, and anytime I read anything, a teacher would write on this forum that no, step and column suspension was out of the question. Just ask the Foothill librarian about it.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 9:13 am

"A parcel tax of $98 is estimated to raise $2 million per year, or $8 million over 4 years. We cannot entirely undo the cuts made over the last 2 years, but $8 million could definitely bring back the programs with the highest impact on student learning."

And how much does step and column cost per year? Last year it was about 1.6 million, so if you are only raising 2 million per year.....hmmm, it does not look like there would be money for anything else.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 10:32 am

"$2 million is greater than $1.6 million. "

1.6 million was the cost of step and column last year, I do not know if it will be the same, or more, this year, but I suspect it is higher.

If indeed it is 1.6 million this year, and the 2 million per year parcel tax were to pass, that only leaves 400K... that does not restore much that will make biggest impact on students: CSR is a lot more than that, 7 period is about 440K (so we would be short even if we restored the cheapest of the two programs).

And again: good luck trying to pass a parcel tax where about 80% of the funds would go to raises/step and column!

No one in their right mind will vote to tax themselves to give raises. 1.6 million out of 2 million is about 80%. Why would I vote to tax myself so that 80% of the money I give goes to someone else's raises and the students see no benefit?


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 11:27 am

"Are you kidding? Who in their right mind would vote yes on a parcel tax that is guaranteed to go, directly or indirectly, to raises? I will vote no on such a tax."

The good people of Palo Alto did just that, and theirs is a better school district than ours, and with stronger support from their community. Some of the other top Bay Area districts did as well. For me, quality of education should be a top concern. If you scroll up, I suggested that maybe we change the scale of step increases to be closer to 1% than 2%. That would save a lot of money this year and even more in later years. I don't know if the union would even look at that, but it is worth consideration.

" imagine now with all the talk of needed reform, unreasonable benefits for union members, the state of the economy"

The economy is clearly in better shape now than it was when Measure G was on the ballet. We were in a recession at the time and the value of pretty much all assets had collapsed. My IRAs and 401ks are up about 35% since then. How about yours? I'm not saying it is all wonderful now (unemployment is still high), but it is definitely better.

" it will fail if you insist on having raises be part of the items that are to be financed"

Why did you use the word "you" in this sentence? Did you mean to imply that anyone who would be for a parcel tax with step and column must be working for the unions? If so, why? I'm not associated with the union in any way. I'm a concerned parent with kids in the schools. Yes, we moved to Pleasanton for the schools, and so far were pretty happy with them.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm

"The good people of Palo Alto did just that, and theirs is a better school district than ours, and with stronger support from their community. Some of the other top Bay Area districts did as well. For me, quality of education should be a top concern. If you scroll up, I suggested that maybe we change the scale of step increases to be closer to 1% than 2%. That would save a lot of money this year and even more in later years. I don't know if the union would even look at that, but it is worth consideration."

The people of Palo Alto foolishly threw money at the problem. I have a friend over there, and it seems that Palo Alto's parcel tax was not enough. Their ed foundation had to raise more than 2 million, and they still saw some cuts to programs, some HS periods, etc. This is even though they passed a 500 parcel tax. Where does it stop? It seems like the more money people give, the less likely it is that the districts will put an end to the annual, ongoing problem: raises when the money the district gets is less.

As for other top Bay area districts: think about what happened in Cupertino. The community approved a parcel tax, and a year later, the district announced the cancellation of CSR (it was all over the news), so the community raised a little over 3 million dollars (that is on top of the already in place parcel tax). The cuts this year are on their way again. Let's wait and see if they can continue to get more and more money from the community. Do I want to have that in PUSD? No, I would never agree to pay for a parcel tax that will go for raises and then contribute more money so the programs whose funds were used for raises can be kept intact.

"The economy is clearly in better shape now than it was when Measure G was on the ballet. We were in a recession at the time and the value of pretty much all assets had collapsed. My IRAs and 401ks are up about 35% since then. How about yours? I'm not saying it is all wonderful now (unemployment is still high), but it is definitely better."

It may be slightly better, but we are still in a recession. Have you seen the percent unemployment and the rate of foreclosures? Not to mention the houses are down in value (and that is regardless of good schools).

Many people may be unemployed or are not seeing raises. Even those who did not suffer through this recession will think twice about spending money on raises.

The recession had one good thing: it made all of us realize that going on as usual was not a good idea. It brought to the attention of every taxpayer the fact that we are getting screwed by the public sector. We all saw our 401Ks go down in value, but did that affect the pensions? No, the taxpayers had to somehow deal with their own 401Ks being down and continue to finance the public sector, who went on as if nothing had happened, thus increasing the pension liabilities and forcing some cities into bankruptcy, and many school districts had to cancel valuable programs just to keep their tenured, union employees happy with raises.

"Why did you use the word "you" in this sentence?"

Because you said it is okay with you to have a parcel tax to pay for step and column. If the district listens to people like you, they might do just that, just to learn that their measure failed. Back when G was on the ballot (I was a supporter of it), the district did not listen to the concerns of those against, and look at the outcome.

I changed my mind about G after I saw that teachers kept their step and column at the expense of our kids. I am thankful to all those people who made G fail.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 7:33 pm

"If the district listens to people like you, they might do just that, just to learn that their measure failed."

Or it may pass. I can only say again that I think there is zero chance that we will see a freeze in step and column. Not passing a parcel tax won't change that. It will also do nothing to change the policy from pensions to 401k like programs for teachers. It will only lead to still more cuts to programs. By the way, I agree that pension reform is something that we need to pursue in state and local governments.

I don't know who you are talking to in Palo Alto, but the ones I know there are very happy with the school district and even talk about salary increases for teachers as one of the reasons they support a parcel tax.

"It seems like the more money people give, the less likely it is that the districts will put an end to the annual, ongoing problem: raises when the money the district gets is less."

I don't think it changes the likelihood at all. I haven't heard of a single district of any merit freezing salaries of teachers. I just don't see it happening. You also seem to be implying that the district will not eventually get more money as the economy recovers. Isn't that being overly pessimistic?


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 19, 2011 at 7:51 pm

To 'concerned parent' - Do you think there is a possibility PUSD would consider an across the board pay reduction instead of a freeze in step and column?


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm

"Do you think there is a possibility PUSD would consider an across the board pay reduction ..."

It is possible, but I would guess not. It is an interesting question.


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Many school districts instituted pay reductions and freezes of longevity raises (in addition to using furlough days) to control costs. Elk Grove, Sacramento City, Lodi, Clovis, Poway, Capistrano and La Habra all had some form of these expense controls. As school districts begin their 2011-12 budget planning, there are proposals (e.g. 6%) from several districts to institute across the board pay reductions.
PUSD should consider these options at their upcoming 1/25 and 2/1 board meetings.


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Don't forget to attend/watch the upcoming school board meeting next Tuesday 1/25 at 7 pm. The agenda includes an update on the survey to determine the feasibility of a parcel tax, and the first discussion on the 2011-12 budget.


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm

The report on the January parcel tax survey that will be discussed at the 1/25 school board meeting is here Web Link on page 76. As expected, when the amount of the parcel tax is cut in half (from $197 to $98), support rose from 62% to 69%. With a 5% margin of error, that is still underwhelming. What do you think?
PUSD has a surplus this year, has over $11 million in fund balances projected at the end of this year, and has many options to control costs that are away from the classroom Web Link .
It will be interesting to understand the rationale for a new tax.


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