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Pleasanton school board could name new Walnut Grove principal tonight

Original post made on May 13, 2014

The Pleasanton school board will meet in closed session starting at 5 p.m. tonight to consider approving the hiring of a new principal at Walnut Grove Elementary School.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 7:59 AM

Comments (45)

Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 13, 2014 at 8:59 am

Hmmm.... Does the dismissal of public employee have anything to do with the teacher complaints at Hart? Sounds to me like a lot of teachers and counselors are working really hard at protecting their right to do minimal work. Most disappointing.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 13, 2014 at 9:52 am

This whole thing has been so poorly handled by the district. I call for the resignation of the superintendent. We need better leadership. Better communication.


Posted by lll, a resident of Birdland
on May 13, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Pleasanton should also do what a lot of other districts do in that teachers do not stay at the same school forever. They are allowed to stay at a school for a max of 3-5 years and then they are transferred to another school in the district. Other districts have found that eliminates the 'cliques' that we are seeing here. Right now the teachers stay in a school forever and then they feel they own the school.


Posted by Board doesn't have to appoint, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on May 13, 2014 at 12:33 pm

The school Board can refuse to approve the hire of a new principal at WG. If I were on the Board, I wouldn't approve a new hire.

There are so many procedural things done wrong to not allow fair or due process to Mr. V.

But that is just me. And I am not on the Board.

This Board has shown such poor judgement up to this point, so I am sure they won't put on the brakes on replacing Mr. V.

Check that. Valerie Arkin will try, but she is a lone wolf.

Shame on the rest of you- Bowser, Larsen, Grant and Hintze.

Let's not forget that Superintendant Ahmadi is the most responsible for this whole mess. Let the Board know that her job performance grade is an F..It is her performance evaluation time now as well


Posted by William Tell, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 13, 2014 at 1:03 pm

It's what we get as a city for not acting diligently in electing a good school board (sans Arkin - the only one who has any courage to do the right thing). It's what we get for thinking teacher unions can do no wrong. Make no mistake, the Superintendent's terrorist act of trying to disrupt a school and waste resources to demonstrate her "power" will be repeated. And no one will want to pass a school bond because they see how wasteful the board/superintendent is with human capital.


Posted by JV departure was engineered, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on May 13, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Many are concerned that JVs departure was completely engineered in order to bring in a principal that is a crony of Ahmadi that previously worked in the Fremont Unified School District. Admadi's comments regarding 'student safety' Web Link ("Ahmadi's email said. "While I am not legally permitted to discuss any personnel issues, I can assure you that these changes are not related to the safety of any of our students."") have led many to believe that she will bring in a new principal that someone associated with a huge 'student safety' scandal.

Many believe the principal replacement will be someone associated with the outrageous child abuse / mandated reporter scandals that were in the press from either Antioch Unified or Brentwood Union Unified.


Posted by A.P, a resident of Birdland
on May 13, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Attend the school board meeting. We are voters and they need to know we are watching and they are accountable to us.


Posted by I miss Jon Vranesh!, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 13, 2014 at 5:42 pm

I miss you, Mr. Vranesh. And I'm a teacher.


Posted by JV departure was engineered, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on May 13, 2014 at 6:04 pm

These are some of the school employees associated with the [names removed] physical, verbal and mental child abuse scandals, creating a hostile environment for children and related lawsuits. The lawsuits alleged these school district employees were aware of serious allegations of physical abuse of students by the teacher. They also alleged that they violated California's mandatory reporting law by not reporting the abuse to law enforcement in a timely manner. In addition to the "failure to report," there was evidence that school district officials took measures to intentionally conceal the abuse from law enforcement.

Here is a press release from the attorneys for the children Web Link and where it was previously mentioned on the Town Square Forum in user posts Web Link :

Antioch Unified:[names removed]
Brentwood Union: [names removed]


Posted by lll, a resident of Birdland
on May 13, 2014 at 6:18 pm

This article says the vote for the replacement will occur in closed session. That would be a violation of the Brown Act. This would need to be an item in the standard agenda, allowing for the community to discuss, and then a final vote by the school board in open session.

The this be voted upon in a closed session, the vote would be null and void as they would have to undo the vote to mitigate the violation of a Brown Act. The hirings of everybody is not a closed session item; including the hiring of a new superintendent. If you go to the online agenda, they list those who are hired, layed off, terminated, reassigned, etc.. They can only take action at the meeting on those items.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 13, 2014 at 6:50 pm

"This article says the vote for the replacement will occur in closed session. That would be a violation of the Brown Act."

One really must read the Brown Act to know that is has many exceptions. On page 33 of the main body of the Brown Act, is says this: "A. Personnel exception. The purpose of he personnel exception is to avoid undue publicity and embarrassment for public employees and to allow full and candid discussion of such employees by the body in question."

So, they are not in violation of this tonight.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 13, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Did anyone catch the name of the new principal at WG on the televised portion? I missed it.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 13, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

GtF, They can discuss in closed session. They must take action in open session.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 13, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Kathleen, not true. I didn't want to quote the whole passage, because it won't allow me to cut and paste, but here is more:
"Accordingly, the Act provides for closed sessions regarding the appointment, employment, evaluation of performance, discipline or dismissal of a public employee."

So Kathleen and Ill, please read up on the Brown Act. Here's a link for your convenience.

Web Link


Posted by ll, a resident of Birdland
on May 13, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Kathleen is right.

"Get the facts", with your interpretation of "avoid undue publicity and embarrassment" everything can be done in closed session as the superintendent should be embarrassed on everything that is going on.

Hiring somebody should not be embarrassing. Closed session is reserved for disciplinary personnel items. The board has to approve all hires in public session. This is a requirement of school districts (unlike cities). You will notice that on just about every board packet is an item to approve hires, layoffs, change in assignments, job shares, etc.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 13, 2014 at 10:35 pm

I'm not sure how much clearer this could be. This is not my interpretation, this is the wording of the Brown Act. Please use the link and look it up, page 33.

"…provides for closed sessions regarding the appointment…" How can this be misinterpreted? This was an appointment made in closed session, and I'm quite sure that the district legal advisor okayed this move and was in the room. I once spoke in closed session about something, and the district lawyer was present.

This is not my "interpretation". This is how it was done, by the Brown Act rules. There's no smoke, and no fire.


Posted by JV departure was engineered, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on May 13, 2014 at 11:06 pm

I'm sure a grand jury can figure out the law. Not sure whether the school board and their attorneys ever will. It may take a little time in jail or before a grand jury and judge for them to come to their senses.

A principal cannot be removed in a closed session.
Web Link

Jon Vranesh was illegally removed from his position in an illegal closed session.

In similar situations, the presiding judge in the grand jury investigation said "The removal allegedly occurred during a Feb. 20 closed session meeting, but the board later said it was an error resulting from miscommunication."
....
"The grand jury report, released in late May, gave school board members 90 days to respond to the presiding judge of the County Superior Court."


Posted by JV departure was engineered, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on May 13, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Anyone can file a complaint to the:
Civil Grand Jury- Web Link

Criminal Grand Jury-Web Link Grand Jury Advisor

Federal Office of Civil Rights- Web Link

A partial set of findings from the San Luis Obispo Grand Jury concerning the superintendent's and board's illegal removal of two principals in closed session were:

"DAMAGE
The handling of the attempted reassignment/termination of two principals in the LMUSD caused great harm to the community, including the following:
1. Damage to the reputations of the principals due to rumors about the causes of the abrupt personnel actions.
2. Damage to the reputation of the Superintendent as rumors and conflicting information circulated regarding the reason she took action against the principals. The Superintendent subsequently resigned her position with LMUSD and accepted a position in Gilroy.
3. Potential loss of other administrators and teachers in the LMUSD because of fear, lowered morale, and mistrust caused by the actions against their colleagues and supervisors.
4. Confusion and stress among parents, followed by anger when Board members refused to discuss what had transpired on February 20, notwithstanding permission from principals involved.
5. Confusion and fear among students who heard many of the rumors.
6. Time taken away from educational and administrative matters and general disruption of educational processes."


Posted by Ms. Civility, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 14, 2014 at 2:08 am

Reviewing the comments on this board, do we want to give Kathleen, William Tell, Engineered more say in this matter? Do we want to disregard what the Brown Act clearly specifies? That is, do we want all appointments, job evaluations, dismissals, and disciplinary decisions made publicly in front of inflamed yokels who are unable to read a simple sentence without going off half-cocked? Every matter would thereby be reduced to trials by fire -- that is, trials held before a seething group of pitchfork wielding righties. What an embarrassment to the community these noxious creeps are.

I am thankful that we have an administrative buffer between personnel and this yokel segment of the community. I am especially thankful that the teachers' union provides an umbrella of protection against this (thankfully small) mob of deceitful righties. Can you imagine teachers' performance reviews, beyond the province of union protection, being conducted at public sessions? That's what these bullying yokels want.

For the sake of the children, let our teachers teach, our administrators administer. They are trained professionals. They know how to read a sentence. Inflamed members of the community -- the small minority of vigilantes in our midst -- cannot be trusted. They have an agenda, and they will engage in any form of deception they can in order to advance that agenda.

If there is egregious mismanagement in one instance or another, that's what orderly courts of law are meant to resolve, where cases are heard in front of a judge, not some cabal of righties who have an axe to grind against an administrator because they don't like the sounds of his or her last name.

I think the shameful way this issue has been appropriated by the right wing wacko element -- yes, Kathleen, Engineer, William Tell -- should serve as a lesson to us all. Let's continue to have protections set up for those who teach and administer to our children. Keep the right-wing zealots out of our classrooms.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 14, 2014 at 4:46 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

54957.1. (a) The legislative body of any local agency shall publicly report any action taken in closed session and the vote or abstention on that action of every member present, as follows: (5) Action taken to appoint, employ, dismiss, accept the resignation of, or otherwise affect the employment status of a public employee in closed session pursuant to Section 54957 shall be reported at the public meeting during which the closed session is held. Any report required by this paragraph shall identify the title of the position. The general requirement of this paragraph notwithstanding, the report of a dismissal or of the nonrenewal of an employment contract shall be deferred until the first public meeting following the exhaustion of administrative remedies, if any.

GtF--I'm not sure why you would even think it is okay for these actions to not be reported to the public.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 14, 2014 at 4:50 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

To, uh, Ms. Civility . . . my only interest is that the law, the entire law, is followed.


Posted by Ms. Civility, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 14, 2014 at 6:42 am

Nice try to save face! "I didn't mean to swing at the ball, there was simply a fly that needed swatting." Wow, too much.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 14, 2014 at 9:07 am

Kathleen, look what I wrote. It's about the VOTING, the voting CAN take place in closed session! You are showing that it must be REPORTED in public. So, it can be voted on in private, but must be reported in public. I never spoke of the reporting, just the voting.


Posted by transparency?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 14, 2014 at 10:11 am

Just the fact that the district is handing those appointments in a closed session, whether legal or not, shows contempt for the public. I know the district feels the public is an annoyance but they are supposed to work for us, not the other way around. Recently the superintendent said she wanted to work real hard to increase transparency at the district and then she pulls this stunt. Her actions show she did not really want transparency.


Posted by New Principal Named, a resident of Avila
on May 14, 2014 at 11:45 am

Jake - here you go: Web Link


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 14, 2014 at 12:05 pm

"Just the fact that the district is handing those appointments in a closed session, whether legal or not, shows contempt for the public."

Contempt? Don't you think that is a little strong of a word? These are not held in private because "the district feels the public is an annoyance", but to protect the privacy of those involved. If, for example, Joe Shmo applies, but is denied because someone on the board has some negative things to say about him, then these negative things are not out in the public. It frees the board (and the cabinet) to speak their mind. This is how it is done in the private sector as well, there are not all company meetings to go over a new hire. Meetings and interviews are held in private with HR personnel.


Posted by Get a Clue, a resident of Hart Middle School
on May 14, 2014 at 1:51 pm

@get the facts, let me guess you are a teacher


Posted by Get a Clue, a resident of Hart Middle School
on May 14, 2014 at 1:51 pm

@get the facts, let me guess you are a teacher


Posted by Here's Jonny, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on May 15, 2014 at 7:23 am

@ Get a clue, DING DING DING! I think you may be right.Yes some parents can be a pain in the ****, but the majority have legit points or concerns. There should be honest open dialog with parents to possibly better something rather than the dogma that the teachers or district holds to. Bottom line is the teachers union must go, and there needs to be a house cleaning at the district office. With all that has happened why would anyone want to be an administrator under this current leadership of the PUSD hierarchy? Perhaps Parvin had no one to fill the position? Best of luck to the new principal. I hope the teachers don't drive the bus over you.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 15, 2014 at 7:55 am

To "Get a Clue": Yes I am. I've stated that numerous times in posts over the years.

To "Here's Jonny": If the "union must go", and there needs to be a "house cleaning at the district office", then please feel free to run for school board this Fall instead of spouting anonymously on this blog.


Posted by All, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on May 15, 2014 at 8:45 am

All you need to do in this state is to get 51% of the parents to sign the petition to be one a charter school and then you can form your own board, hire your own principal, and teachers.


Posted by All, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on May 15, 2014 at 8:48 am

It's called a "conversion charter"


Posted by Get a clue, a resident of Hart Middle School
on May 15, 2014 at 9:46 am

@ Get the Facts- To "Get a Clue": Yes I am. I've stated that numerous times in posts over the years.-Really?
Seems to me like you spend to much time posting anonymously on blogs rather then devoted to the classroom. Oh sorry, maybe these posts where done while you and fellow cohorts are sipping cocktails while bashing your former principal


Posted by Lessismore , a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 15, 2014 at 11:12 am

To Get the facts:
You told me I should run for school board yesterday and I was a coward for blind posting, when I commented my concerns about this hire. My comment was about the board being a joke for allowing Parvin Ahmadi to hire someone who worked for her in the best who will likely say yes to her.

But you know why I do not use my name. I have kids is PUSD and I'm afraid of reprisals by teachers. Yes teachers!

It would appear that as long as you agree with Parvin, Teachers, and the Teachers Union you are correct.

If you disagree you are an evil person.

Thomas Jefferson — 'When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.'


Posted by Jillian Woodword, a resident of Birdland
on May 15, 2014 at 11:25 am

To lessismore ... or moreisless ... orI'mconfused,

As the Thomas Jefferson quote continues - "When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty, and when nasty locals say they're afraid of teachers there is a lot of deception and delusional thought."


Posted by Lessismore , a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 15, 2014 at 11:34 am

Jillian Woodword
Thanks for making my point

To question the teachers, and the teachers union I must be evil.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on May 15, 2014 at 11:35 am

I don't understand the big FUSS!

I won't attempt to understand all these displays of tempers.

Needless to say I AM NOT AMUSED.

i rest my case...


Posted by Get a clue, a resident of Hart Middle School
on May 15, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Cholo, you don't get it because you live in Livermore not Pleasanton!


Posted by Registered Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 15, 2014 at 12:18 pm

This is never going to be resolved to everybody's satisfaction, since fundamentally it is a personnel issue, and those by definition are private. As they should be.

If this moves to a trial, then perhaps more of the facts will come to light.

In the meantime, pick the side you want to support -- teachers, the principal, the school board, the union -- develop your argument, disparage the arguments that don't support your particular belief or your view of the facts, and carry on.


Posted by lll, a resident of Birdland
on May 15, 2014 at 1:54 pm

It is a private matter as long as tax dollars are not used. If tax money is being used then it is the business of the people and the people have the right to know about this and comment. If you do not like that then I suggest you do not work for us (i.e., work for the government).


Posted by Kirsten, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 15, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Lessismore or Get a Clue... Why are you posting under so many different names on here? I did suspect that most of this was coming from 1 or 2 people, but thank you for confirming this! Why in the world do you still have children in PUSD schools? You obviously have so much animosity towards schools and teachers, so while your kids are at school with the monstrous teachers you post anonymously under pseudo names and then don't run for the board? Please for the sake of your children, move to a different district, homeschool, or do private schools. I cannot imagine how you can send your children to a place of such hatred and bitterness for you. It isn't healthy.


Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 15, 2014 at 9:27 pm

To "Lessismore":

"You told me I should run for school board yesterday and I was a coward for blind posting". Check what I wrote please. I did not say you were a coward. Since I post anonymously, I would be calling myself that too. Only one person on this thread has posted under their own name, and I commend her for it.

"If you disagree you are an evil person." "To question the teachers, and the teachers union I must be evil." Wow. What have we done that causes you to hate us teachers so much? Dang, I work my tail off for your kids.


Posted by Here's Jonny , a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on May 16, 2014 at 7:32 am

To Get the facts

I'm sure you do work hard. I don't think that's the issue. As far as me running to be on the board , I know well enough that there's people better suited to hold that position. However I do have a degree in common sense. Here's a question for you, if the union was to go away, would you stay as a teacher and encourage your colleagues to do the same? And if not why


Posted by Here's Jonny. , a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on May 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm

To get the facts
Well?

(Crickets chirping sound)


Posted by Get the Facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 17, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

HJ: First off, ease up on the crickets. I do have other things in my life besides blogging, and in fact your two posts came just before and just after school. I'm at work with the kids at that time!

As for your question, it's kind of a weird question. I believe I would be a teacher with or without a union. I believe most of my coworkers would still be teachers too. But we would have lower pay, worse working conditions, etc. The union has helped in many ways, I'm glad I have it. Unions are not perfect, I will be the first to say, but overall I think it is better to have them than to not.


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