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on Jul 23, 2014
Good luck Ms. Wright. We need some leadership, accountability, transparency, and most of all some common sense…
You've got my vote already...
Paige, you've got my vote as well! I know you will bring balance we so desperately need to our currently dysfunctional Board. Good luck!
Better get elect someone fluent in Chinese and Hindi.
Too bad there aren't more challengers running. I'd vote for them instead of the incumbents!! Anyone!!?
In order for Pleasanton to be a highly desirable school district, Ms. Ahmadi needs to go. She's ruined morale and chased out good administrators. She doesn't live in Pleasanton and acts like she has a vested interest in ruining Pleasanton schools.
Bowser and Laursen are shills for the union and rubberstamp anything Ahmadi tells them to. The only way to keep class sizes small is for PPIE to keep up their fundraising. And folks are reticent to contribute with such a dysfunctional board. So if Bowser wants class sizes to stay small, he will step down from the board and convince Laursen to do the same.
With the exception of Valerie Arkin, all incumbents on the school board need to be voted out.
Note for my file. Neither Bowser nor Laursen will be voted for on my ballot. For all the mess they've left, it's no wonder nobody wants the job of clean up.
Bowser and Laursen should be putting in their resignation papers and nothing more !
Jeff Bowser and Joan Laursen need to go.
They both lack any vision or backbone.
They are a yes vote for the unions and both vote to renew Ahmadi contract.
For the person saying they support Valerie Arkin you should also check her voting record. She votes with Bowser & Laursen on many key issues and is a support of Ahmadi.
Arkin also votes to kick the can down the road on many issues to delay making a decision a long with no vision.
Well said William.
We need one more qualified candidate to run, because the two incumbents running need to be ousted. Their performance has been miserable. We need to new people on the board that will oust the current Superintendent before she totally destroys the Pleasanton schools.
Unfortunately it sounds like all these candidates are more of the same.
What do you think the chances of election would be for a candidate that would buck the system? Somebody that's not in complete rubber-stamp alignment with the school board of the teacher organizations?
Next question, the more important question...if such a person got elected, what real impact do you think he or she would have or could have on the current environment?
Sorry, meant to say ... "school board AND the teacher organizations."
All of us who live in Pleasanton need to own this problem of poor elected Board Trustees/School board members. even their goals are weak and don't address the real problems of personnel issues and financial problems.
We ALL need encourage someone who is educated in finance and leadership - and they will have my vote. Are we such a weak community that no one will step up? If you don't help out, the problem is not going to get better.
Bower couldn't even carry Pleasanton in his bid for County Superintendent. And Laursen has contributed nothing to solving the PUSD financial problems or personal problems. .Many people I know say they both ARE a part of the problem.
BTW, good luck Paige!! I will support you. Thank you for stepping up to make a difference. Please find a partner to run with as well.
I appreciate how much time each board member has volunteered their time to serve, although I think it's time every board member is replaced with some fresh blood some new perspective and I do believe we need a new superintendent. I do hope we can get people who will not be pressured by the union but, who are working for the benefit of the children in Pleasanton schools
Tom from Castlewood is hilarious. It makes a statement about finding someone who can speak Chinese and Hindi, yet he can't write a correct sentence.
"Better get elect someone fluent in Chinese and Hindi."
Hee, hee from Castlewood is hilarious. He comments on the grammar of Tom from Castlewood, yet he too can't write a grammatically correct sentence.
"It makes a statement about finding someone who can speak Chinese and Hindi, yet he can't write a correct sentence."
[Removed because it is irrelevant]
Tom's comment is more hilarious and ironic, but nice try to divert attention away from that.
I, however, applaud Tom for drawing attention to the fact that diversity is increasing in Pleasanton and that inevitably will be reflected in our boards and councils. Why we'd expect or desire anything different is beyond me.
After the way the whole calendar thing went through, I will be happy to see anyone new on the board. Glad to hear their are others who are interested in these important positions.
Here's your chance to exercise quality control.
When evaluating the incumbents, look at their voting record and ask challenging questions.
In evaluating first-time candidates, ask challenging questions and accept nothing less than detailed, concrete answers.
There is an art to saying nothing and convincing voters that they are not "crooks"...as in "I'm not a crook!"
It's my impression that most voters ignore being lied to by elected officials as they seem to prefer washing their hands of the matter/dirty politics.
There are so few honest elected officials that it can give one congestion and a serious ear ache trying to find one.
The American electorate does not take voting seriously.
A guess only one person thinks a change in the school board is necessary. The other 100 or so complainers would rather write trash about them than run for the open positions.
Why don't you run for an open position?
It is a little bit scary the number of people that post just how bad the current school board and school administration is, yet no one wants to run for the board? I just read a post that the entire school board needs to be replaced, yet we have one (new) person running for office. i personally think the schoold board has done a good job. i don't agree with all of their decisions, but i also didn't vote for all of them. But i live with the system. If I want them out, I vote them out. Hard to vote them out though if there is not one else to vote for. I guess the time for a change is not now.
Well, many of us know two incumbents who will NOT get votes from a large number of voters! Perhaps Ms. Wright will be more understanding, fair to all opinions, needs of PUSD and replacement needs of this district. How things have changed a lot during recent few years.....and not for the better.
Will every PTA president please consider running for school board? This is how we got great leadership like Cindy McGovern and Juanita Haugen. You obviously have leadership qualities, are smart, care about our schools and are well thought of by your peers. If you went to college and want to make a change, PLEASE run. It can't be that hard, considering most voters want a change in the school board. Put a small campaign of friends and supporters together - then make an appointment with the City Clerk Karen Diaz to learn more the legal paperwork. Time is running out.
You CAN make a difference.
I encourage other to run also. However, this is not handled through the City Clerk. It is handled through the County Registrar of Voters office (The school district is not part of the city administration). The county process is fairly simple and if you want you can take BART to the Lake Merrit station and only have to walk a couple of blocks.
If you are thinking about running, feel free to contact any previous school board members. You will find that they will give you some advise and direction if you want. I cannot imagine that the past board members would be happy with how the district is being run now and how all the previous hard work is being destroyed.
I hope we can get new members and take out the old except for one.
I hope that we can reverse some of the decisions that were made by the board and approved (?) by the union before it came before the public.
Please remove the Superintendent of the schools. Children don't seem to be the priority - it is what will please a few adults.
This district is so in need of candidates to run for the school board. We should all look around, who do we know, maybe we should approach a neighbor, a friend, a clergy, ask them to consider running for the school board?
I am going to approach neighbors ask them to run, they are long time teachers in the district 15 plus years.
How about the rest of you out there? Ask someone you know to run.
What are the credentials to be a candidate and to run for the school board?
I do not know. It seems that most anyone could run in this district and get elected because of all the discourse.
So many posters are unreasonable that nobody wants to run because others will only try to harm them and their families...ya think?
If you want to know why people aren't leaping at the chance to run for the board, look no further than this Town Square. Who would want to subject him or herself to the kind of slander and ad hominem attacks that seem to be the norm around here? Talk about a thankless job!
You are right on.
A dog is on the ballot for Mayor in a nearby city.
Paige Henry is smart and thoughtful. She has been very dedicated to PTA and makes an excellent candidate.
I never ran for office, but Paige is getting great support in the blogs.
Perhaps you don't have to take flack if you want to run for office. The problem is if you are an incumbent and you did little or nothing to improve the situation. Then you are evaluated based on your achievements or lack thereof.
Go Paige! You have our support. It's striking what's happening to all the good school principals - leaving/resigning. This is a reflection of the current Administration.
[removed because it was irrelevant]
Call me crazy, but I've decided to throw my hat into the ring and run for School Board in November. The way this calendar change came about really opened my eyes to the deficiencies I think we have in our current Board. At the very least, the community should have choices rather than another automatic 4 years from the incumbents. While I'm not an educator by profession (I'm an IT Manager), I think I possess many qualities that will help this Board, I know what it takes to get into and through colleges (two of our three have done this), and I certainly promise transparency, collaboration, and an open mind.
Not crazy at all Mark. It will be great to get fresh perspective from someone outside the realm of education
Thanks for stepping up and good luck!
Thank you Mark Miller.
That is really great news.
I appreciate your courage for standing up to be counted.
The following two people should run for School Board.
They would both bring vision and passion about the kids in Pleasaonton.
They would not be looking at the School Board as there next step to higher office.
If know Beth or Kelly tell them they should run.
Great to see you step-up
I hope the calendar is not the only issues that concerns you.
I personal support the change and we all could of attend a number of events that it was discussed at like many of us did. FYI Livermore has also made the change.
What the recent events
The list is long.
PAIGE WRIGHT & MARK MILLER... YOU GOT MY VOTE!!!!!!!!
Laverne, if you truly live in Castlewood you can not vote for anyone running for school board!
Lesismore, what do you mean by "FYI Livermore has also made the change?"
Glad to see people willing to take on this very important job.
Also, Hopeful, I am like you in hoping "I hope that we can reverse some of the decisions that were made by the board and approved (?) by the union before it came before the public." However, from what I understand about the calendar is that the teachers took a survey, but never really voted on a specific calendar. I could be wrong, but this is what I have heard.
Fingers crossed for more positivity to come to the district with new members!
Wouldn't it be interesting if we could get Jon Vranesh to run? I'd vote for him any day. He was both of my daughters' principal and/or vice principal and the best of any we've had over eighteen years. Mr. Vranesh is pro student and has high expectations. It would take someone like him being voted in to really shake things up. I hope he reads this and is thinking about it. I could see hundreds if not thousands being willing to campaign for him, myself and children included. And then he can help rid of us of the Ahmadi problem. A bit if poetic justice I'd like to see.
I'm on the fence on Arkin, but the rest of them are useless and need to go.
Can someone tell me where I can look at voting records?
While I'm opposed to the calendar change, as it negatively impacts our family, two things would actually cause me to support it: 1) if a majority of parents voted for it (note, this is different than a survey), and 2) if other surrounding districts also modified their calendars to be in alignment, or at least promised to follow our lead if it proved successful.
But the calendar change is not the only reason I'm choosing to run. I'm very concerned about the attrition of our administrators. Shouldn't Pleasanton be the greenest of pastures? I'm concerned about the lack of transparency in many decisions. And I'm concerned about the lack of interest in community/parent input (do you know the calendar committee contained exactly zero non-staff members?).
As I write this, I certainly don't have all the answers, but I know I will listen to parents (that's who the Board actually works for), I will advocate strongly for transparency, and I will leverage my skills in collaboration to make the best decisions for our District.
I believe Pleasanton schools strive for a standard of excellence, and I think our Board should as well.
I am very interested in hearing about the issues that concern all of you. Soon I will be publishing a Facebook site for you to provide that input. Stay tuned...
That all sounds good to me. Are you the Mark Miller who's been so active in the local Tea Party scene?
"I am very interested in hearing about the issues that concern all of you."
Large K-3 classes concerned a lot of parents.
YES, Jon Vranesh . . . GREAT idea! Jon, if you see this, RUN for PUSD Board position. YOU will have MY vote and, I am sure, many, Many, MANY others! 👍
Yes LP and Gran-Me, which just goes to show everyone that there's a good reason why School Boards and other educational bureaucracies become inured to half-witted community input. (And thank goodness for teacher tenure, which protects teachers from feeling intimidated by the such yahoos.)
I am grateful for those who run for office and try to make a positive difference/change in their community.
It takes a lot if commitment and time to be a good board member. It takes open-mindedness, a dedication to public service and willingness to listen to all (even those with opposing views). In trying to build consensus and aiming for fairness board members do not please everyone. Yet, those who reach out to all involved and try their best to connect with, listen to and respect others tend to be better off in elections. They gain community respect even when they make tough or unpopular decisions.
There is a lot of verbal abuse tossed their way, a lot of time to serve on a board and I am grateful for all those willing to seek, run and hold these and other public positions.
I hope we keep in mind our desire to keep this a community with & of good character. We might not always agree with public officials, yet, I hope we can treat them with respect for their attempt to make public policy and difficult decisions. I thank you for your service.
Assuming you have been attending the school board meetings, you should already have a good sense for the issues that concern us. Parents who are interested and invested in what the school board does can express their concerns by going to school board meetings and giving voice to them. As john says above, class sizes were a big concern of parents this year, as would be obvious to anyone who attended the board meetings at which that topic was being discussed.
Just out of curiosity, how many school board meetings did you attend?
Big issues is the district planning on a special election to add another school bond. How can they even consider this without knowing what is going to happen in the East Side (which is probably where the site would go and and increase of students would come from, if the city goes ahead with heavy development there. My guess is nothing will happen there anytime soon (at least decades).
We are already paying off two bonds plus the district did an illegal cash-out which added more debt to the taxpayers of Pleasanton. When the previous bonds were at the election, they gave out a list of the projects the money would go towards with an authorization of a maximum amount of bonds. Since the district was able to receive state bond money (also paid for by our taxes), the district went and spent money on projects that were not part of the projects listed in the initial bond statement. They felt the citizens voted to spend as much as authorized instead of spending what was required to build what was promised. After authorization, they stopped the citizen oversight committee. They argued that by law they did not have to do that so they decided to cancel the oversight. Goes to show you how they feel about the community.
So anybody running, I want to know where you stand on a bond measure without having the build-out of the city defined, while we are paying off existing bonds that were spent on unapproved items. How can we trust the district? With everything else going on at the district, I see little trust in the community. We should fix the structural issues (administration) first, build trust, and then, and only then, have the discussion on raising more money.
It is not necessary to float school bonds.
The developers can be forced to build the schools.
If the developers want to build here then they can build the schools
and all the related infrastructure.
The city planning, the city council, et el needs to make this happen.
Thanks for the excellent comments and suggestions. I will admit I'm less than savvy on some of the issues you've all raised, but I certainly pledge to become well-versed. To answer some posts:
@Joachim - I am not associated with the Tea Party in any way
@Involved parent - I have not been a regular attendee at Board Meetings, but I hope to be! And, I should have been! Admittedly, the calendar issue was what opened my eyes to this Board
@John - I am a supporter of smaller K-3 class sizes as well
@III - while I am not yet familiar with the issue you've raised, I can tell you my nature is toward pragmatism. I would not be in favor of raising more money without proven fiscal responsibility.
Keep the ideas coming!
Okay, Mark. You sound like someone we really need. Not up on the issues, but, hey, willing to try. Doesn't attend Board Meetings, but promises to do so once elected. I feel your strong moral, intellectual commitment, driven by the eye-popping calendar issue. Whoa!
I can tell you one thing. The guy who has used 12-15 different monikers on this site sure supports you. Hang tough, guy!
Please get the paper work filed that will make you a legal candidate
for the PUSD Board. Then The Weekly can report on your entry into
the election process.
For anyone thinking about running for the school board, it's easy enough to catch up with past meetings by spending some time watching the videos on demand (and really you only need to watch key topics). Those who are candidates should also expect to receive copies of all the board materials prior to future meetings at the same time as current board members. There also are weekly memos to the board members from the superintendent and other administrators that should be available to candidates (and any other member of the public). You might also want to request copies of the contracts with APT (teachers) and CSEA (classified staff). All good places to start. There are good resources at EdSource Web Link and CSBA Web Link Key topics on a state level are Common Core State Standards and the Smarter Balance Testing; the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF); Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP); and a vote to force districts to limit their reserves Web Link If a non-incumbent is to compete, broader knowledge is important.
[Removed because it was irrelevant]
Any candidates with half a brain would gather information and opinions from as many different sources as possible, including from this web site. Rarely, if ever, is vox populi merely vox of the well informed.
Internet trolls are alive and well in the PW blog and it gets old. Too bad is only the same few people under different names. We have good schools, a good district, and a wonderful community. People don't let a few haters fool you.
Page and Mark - You definitely have my support! It will be a wonderful to have fresh, intelligent, non-rubberstamping, strong, independent thinking people on the board. People who actually listen to their constituents when they come to speak before the board instead of staring at an iPad.
I will happily walk precincts and even contribute to get our district back on solid ground. Back to a place where our district cares about students, parents, administrators, and ALL employees, not just certificated.
Thanks for stepping up!
Mark, I too am enthusiastic about you running. I like the idea that you haven't shown involvement in the past, don't know the issues, have no experience, don't seem to know much about education, or Pleasanton for that matter, and actually haven't filed. Boy, I'll gladly knock on doors for you. Do you know where to file? Maybe we can send Kathleen to your house and she'll hold your hand while walking you around the neighborhoods? Good know-nothing fresh blood is exactly what this district needs.
Anyone can run for elective office. Credentials or no credentials.
If a tax paying citizen is not comfortable with the current board and wishes to run for a vacant seat on that board. More power to that tax paying citizen.
The PUSD Board works for the property tax paying citizens in Pleasanton.
The disinterested tablet monitoring board member has no interest in the tax paying citizen.
What credentials did Jimmy Carter or Barrack Obama have to get elected President of the United States?
Paige and Mark have stepped up, I hope they continue, to get on the ballot so we can have an election.
Michael Austin asks: "What credentials did Jimmy Carter or Barrack Obama have to get elected President of the United States?"
He apparently truly doesn't know. But he thinks he knows enough about a know-nothing who goshgollygeewhiz thinks to himself, "By golly, I think I'll run ... after I stop by the dry cleaners, pick up some milk and, um, lessee, what was that I was saying?"
Kathleen and Michael, what a pair. Ideologues, willing to promote the basest of values as long as they undercut scientific knowledge and liberal education.
Freddy the Discourser has no courage by way of his anonymous postings.
He has had his postings deleted from this site previously.
Freddy the Discourser is afraid to standup and be counted, traits of a true Troll.
Freddy the Discourser is a true Troll in that he attacks where there is no argument, dismisses facts of the argument, invents other nonsensical argument, then creeps back into the woodwork as Trolls do, ready to resurface out of the woodwork to spill his venom.
I'm going to wait to support the new candidates. Someone possibly being associated with the Tea Party is a huge concern to a public school system.
IWWTS, I believe the potential candidate said he is not part of the tea party in a post above, but there is time to get to know both people if they file.
FtD, what scientific topic--but start it on a different thread. Most of us are products of liberal educations. Many also go on to learn most issues cannot be solved with simple left or right thinking.
Mark Miller - all this sounds good. Could you tell me how much time you would have for this position?
Do you have a full time job now and how many hours does it take? This job needs someone that can devote a lot of time and get ideas from other districts or at least have the same schedules.
Pulled filing papers today, submitting them Monday.
The time commitment for a board member is not all that large. Many people in the past have done a good job while holding down a "real job". This is true if you have a good administration. If this is consuming all the time of a board member then that is a clear indication that changes are needed in the administration. I can imagine this taking time for a new board to layout the requirements of the administrators that are there but if things do not change quickly, time to replace the superintendent who is really the only personnel that the board can fire and hire. Much of the problems we are seeing of the administrators are the fault of the board majority who allow the administration to do what they want without oversight. We have two good board members who ask questions but the majority of the board (3 members) control everything. We must replace the two board members who are running again at this election. If those two are re-elected then the community is saying that they approve of the job the current members are doing. It is important that we elect two new board members who will ask questions, challenge staff, not rubber-stamp all decisions, not accept the current job of the administrators and be ready to replace them. We used to have a prize school district and now it is the number one conversation of the community because of the ineptness.
I just saw that you pulled papers out today.
Could you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org? Thank you!
@ Mark Miller,
Kudos to you for stepping up. It does all boil down to leadership, so with new leadership on the board you can hold the district's leadership accountable - that would be the entire cabinet, Ahmadi, Ceaserez, Farraghan, and Douglas.
I am a Foothill High Teacher and I am sickened by the disgrace that has been brought to my district. When I first joined many years ago, I was told I was lucky to even get an interview, little lone be hired. And, it was true. Pleasanton was known as a "destination district" where is was hard to get in, and no one wanted out. Look at what a few years have done. It is tragic. Not only have good people left, but what I don't hear talked about in these blogs are the people they have been replaced by. All Ahmadi cronies in one way or another. All of them.
Mark, please take your time to not just go to meetings with the head honchos and hear them sign and shake their heads and talk about what their "counsel" tells them and the employees they have to put up with.
Get out and talk to us. Talk to the teachers, the Site Administrators, the Secretaries, the School Psychologists, the Janitors, the Aides. All those people know the real deal. zXySk
"little lone be hired" -- ah, yes, a Foothill teacher, I'm sure. If so, we're all beyond any help from the Board.
More likely? Kristin is the same dumb guy who has used about 15 names so far on this thread.
LP and Gram-Me both support Jon Vranesh for the school board? Wait a second -- wasn't Vranesh just removed as Principal of Walnut Grove Elementary after he was accused of inappropriate conduct by more than 5 separate teachers...and an investigator found the charge to be corroborated? Sheesh, what a great idea! Maybe we can also get Leland Yee to join Vranesh and have 2 foxes guarding the hen-house. With suggestions like these, no wonder the district has problems.
Can't wait for Election Day !!!
Good luck to you both!!!
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