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Pleasanton school board passes $506 million facilities plan

Original post made on Jan 31, 2013

Members of the Pleasanton School Board want to make it clear that they have no intention of seeking funding for all the projects detailed in the Facilities Master Plan they approved Tuesday night on a unanimous vote.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 10:10 PM

Comments (39)

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 31, 2013 at 10:28 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

"First on the list are must-do items, what Bowser previously described as 'squeaky, leaky' problems. That list comes to nearly $14 million, and includes replacing roofs, windows and skylights at some schools, along with heating and air conditioning work, replacement of some floors and painting."

This is what the deferred maintenance fund should have covered.

"Second-tier items, those of the lowest cost and highest impact, include district-wide technology upgrades, "

This is what the technology (Sycamore) fund should have covered.

"Third on the list are projects listed as medium cost, short range. The price tag on those projects comes to more than $205 million, and includes $37 million for a new elementary school."

I'm pretty sure Neal (where the district already owns the land) shouldn't/wouldn't cost $37 million to build (even with a land swap). Web Link (Site is state estimates for building, which I'm sure are low.)



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Posted by $$$$$$$$$
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 31, 2013 at 10:33 am

I am just curious as to where they think this money will come from? Aren't we already payiing off 2 school bonds? Also, did they delete any of the items on the wish list or just approve the entire thing? Anyone who knows please respond


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Posted by Julie Testa
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jan 31, 2013 at 10:48 am


So much for freedom of speech and welcoming public input:
Pleasanton School District officially changed their board policy to restrict speakers from five to three minutes. At three minutes and one second a metaphoric trapdoor opens, effectively eliminating concerned residents like myself. At the 1/29/2013 board meeting two public speakers were given a total of six minutes to address a $500 million school facilities plan that will be used to support hundreds of millions of dollars in future bond taxes. Trustees and staff continue to have unlimited time to pontificate and self congratulate.

I used three minutes, condensing 20 years of advocacy, addressing my concern for PUSD's seriously overcrowded campuses. My message was that the community should not support a facilities plan, with a 500 million dollar price tag, that leaves our schools shamefully overcrowded by California Department Of Education standards.

I had other concerns to express, such as the waste of $250,000 paid to consultants for this Facilities Plan while Pleasanton's Eastside Plan is not yet developed, my confusion over the inflated cost of building an elementary school and discussions to build moveable wall classrooms that we spent millions of dollars to get rid of in the last facilities plan. I wanted to challenge PUSD's complicit acceptance of new growth students, who we cannot accommodate, with an expectation that existing residents will pay a bond to fund the added burden of new growth, as well as the low student yield projections. I would have questioned why Pleasanton should support a plan for 500 million dollars when so many millions have not been effectively spent in the past. There is so much more that was not said but at three minutes Board President Bowser cut me off, his finger on the trapdoor button. Perhaps the trapdoor is really an escape through the looking glass.


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Posted by Shawn
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2013 at 10:58 am

Trapdoor? Hook? Audience laughter? Turn off the volume? Whose to say? Whatever best keeps the loonies out of the spotlight is okay by me.


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Posted by Julie Testa
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jan 31, 2013 at 11:17 am

If you can't shut up dissenters you must discredit.... yawn.


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Posted by You've got to be kidding...
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jan 31, 2013 at 11:19 am

$506 million? Didn't the Pleasanton school construction just finish after Measure B was passed?

Don't we already have 2 performing arts centers in Pleasanton? And one planned for the Bernal Property? Why do we need a fourth?

$506 million is ridiculous. Does the superintendent intend to buy a fleet of 10 Lear Jets or build a golf course/country club or something?


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Posted by Shawn
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2013 at 11:26 am

More audience laughter.... 3 minutes vs. 6 minutes? Our fundamental 1st amendment rights are being trampled here. I was born with this nose. It is a nose for dirt. I'm bored and need something to make me feel important....


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 31, 2013 at 11:41 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Thanks for letting us read first hand the value you add to the discussion, Shawn.


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Posted by Shawn
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2013 at 11:58 am

Yeah, I figured some levity was needed as counter to a bunch of cluckers, so very full of themselves, squawking about infringement of first amendment rights and how being laughed at constitutes having a 'dissenter's' speech discredited. You girls would be better off, in my humble estimation, volunteering with the Red Cross, which is exactly where I'm headed for the remainder of the day. I'll leave you to fight the good fight against our fascist educators.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 31, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

If you think three minutes is sufficient, then just say so. I think three minutes are generally enough; but if there are only two speakers, and they request a minute or two more, I don't see the harm. I've seen speakers write in on the card they must turn in, and I've seen multiple people stand up and "give" their three minutes to one speaker. The issue would be the school board's to consider, not the educators.

Thank you for volunteering. That is an important contribution.


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Posted by Xenon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm

This is clearly a First Amendment issue. What did the Founding Fathers have to say about this? Our collective lives hang in the balance. Three minutes or five?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 31, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Bigger issues than three or five minutes were raised.


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Posted by Curious
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Who pays for this? And if it's borrowing that the residents have to pay back and pay interest on, do we have a chance to vote on it? Do we vote on authorizing all of it or just certain stages?

How much will it cost us? Last I checked we are paying about $1000 a year for old bonds. Will these be wrapped up before we start paying for the new ones. Our family definitely cannot afford a huge increase in property taxes.


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Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 31, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I am only familiar with Foothill High, so I will only speak to that facility:

Years of deferred maintenance have left many buildings on Foothill's campus in poor shape. I worked there from 2003-2011, and every year when the winter rains came, out came the plastic trash cans in many classrooms (and the library!) to catch the water leaking from the roof. In at least one case, leaking water from the roof caused a massive mold infestation that required the evacuation of a teacher's classroom for the better part of a semester.

Foothill High is definitely overcrowded. Pleasanton needs a third high school, whether a Grade 9-only or a 9-12 is a subject reasonable people can debate. Foothill is so crowded that on many days during lunch, my aide and I had to turn students away from entering the library because we were at legal capacity (as determined by the fire marshal). Many students reported that they found it impossible to get through the long lines in the cafeteria during lunch (again, too many students for the facility). When I visited classrooms, I saw students crammed elbow to elbow in most of the rooms, hardly an ideal learning environment.

I would suggest the following system allowing speaking time at the Board minutes: the Board should permit five minutes on major issues (for example, something as consequential and momentous as the Facilities Master Plan) and three minutes for everything else.

Those who sneer at the Board limiting the ability of citizens to address it are clearly hostile to, and impatient with, the concept of democracy. I don't necessarily agree with those who want to address the Board, but how can I claim my right to address my elected representatives unless I also defend the right of others?


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Posted by You've got to be kidding...
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jan 31, 2013 at 7:26 pm

I was looking on the internet about PUSD's financial fiascos. Take a look at this PUSD powerpoint that was put together in 2003.

Web Link

It is proof that other than boondoggle lawsuits paid for by developer school impact fees, PUSD for TEN years has made absolutely no progress in building facilities (note the 3rd high school that never came to be referenced in the powerpoint as well as the elementary school that never came to be).

And now it wants a taxpayer bailout for TEN years of foolish spending?

So that it can "un-construct" what it constructed using Measure B bond money and return the District to 1970s era "classrooms without walls"?

Ben Tarver, former mayor, said that growth should pay for itself. Existing taxpayers should not pay for growth. Where did the developer fees go that were collected for the last TEN years?

How does an elementary school that during the high cost construction period a few years ago was estimated to cost $8 million - $13 million suddenly cost $37 million, 4 to 5 times its original cost? This is laughable.


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Posted by tired
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2013 at 8:17 pm

The board did not change the time from 5 minutes to 3 minutes to 'save time'. They did it because they did not want to hear from the public. Have you been to a school board meeting? Lucky if you get 4-5 people in the audience. Five minutes is not a problem. If you have 30 people wanting to speak then you might have an issue and want to look at things but with the lack of attendance at board meetings, three minutes is unreasonable.

The new bonds will be on the ballot before we pay off the previous bonds so they will want to tax us on both. Plus the district has the COPS (certificates of participation) loans which were supposed to be short-term but are used for long term financing without voter approval. Add to that the cash-out financing the district did to extract more money from the taxpayers without their permission. If you went to any of the meetings on the bonds and other long-term financing, the district could not tell you where the money went. They don't know. And now they want more money?

Previous comments are correct that we have been collecting a lot of money from new development but that money has not been going to what it was supposed to go towards; reducing the impact of the new students. 100% of the developer fees now go to the COP payments and nothing goes towards new facilities. Money is being spend unwisely, and the district wants the local taxpayers to bail them out. When they cannot tell you how the past money was spent, why would we trust them with more money.


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Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2013 at 8:27 pm

And yet despite the alleged lack of confidence in their elected Board, the voters of Pleasanton returned all of their incumbents to office.

The critics of the current Board should run, or encourage someone to run, in whom they have more confidence.

I think all the members of the Board are well-intentioned but repeatedly make the mistake of trusting first the Casey Administration and now the Ahmadi Administration. I quickly lost whatever confidence I had in Superintendent Ahmadi during her first year as PUSD Superintendent.

But as I'm not a Pleasanton resident--never could and never will be able to afford to live there--there is nothing I can do. Challenging some of the incumbent Board members is a task for Pleasanton residents who are unhappy with their stewardship of the district.

Honestly, despite the grumbles here and there, I think a large majority of Pleasantonians are satisfied with the way their district is won, and the critics know that they are in the minority. I readily acknowledge my own views are in the minority, and always have been.
Being in the majority doesn't make you right, but in a democracy, it does make you in charge.


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Posted by You've got to be kidding...
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jan 31, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Mr. Bradford, perhaps you should talk to the residents and see how frustrated it is with the school district.

I have not seen any Cash Flow Statements like the previous Finance superintendent produced. From 2001 to 2013, previous cash flow statements that reflected a 12 year calendar lifecycle indicated over $69 million was projected to be collected in school impact fees. From 2010 to 2013 along, $11 million was supposed to be collected.

Those school impact fee revenue numbers are -

2001 $6.8 million
2002 $7.2 million
2003 $7.7 million
2004 $8.1 million
2005 $6.9 million
2006 $7.3 million
2007 $6.1 million
2008 $4.8 million
2009 $3.4 million
2010
-2013 $11.2 million

Where is the $69 million in school impact fees that were projected to be coming to the District from 2001 through 2013?

Has the new superintendent of Finance ever produced a revised cash flow statement? If so, where is it?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 31, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Daniel, No one re-elected the current board. There were no challengers. People have been encouraged; one person did run previously. Running against incumbents is (a) difficult and (b) could unseat someone you prefer to keep in office.

If well-intentioned, it appears only two member have learned to dig deeper through those two different administrations.

I would say that once you get beyond the classroom and the local school, the district office seems very far away to parents and the extended community.


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Posted by Xenon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2013 at 9:27 pm

I was going to run, but incumbents are never voted out even when the public is disenchanted with their performance. It's something almost magical: incumbents always win. Also, the district office has often seemed too far away to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm intensely dissatisfied, but golly, from here to the district office is a leap I'm unable to make.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 31, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Xenon, Talk to the person who ran once and chose not to do so a second time. It costs money; there are no refunds if you lose. Talk to parents about the DO. Talk to your neighbor.


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Posted by Xenon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Oh, and I forgot to mention, being from Pleasanton, I didn't have the money to run. And since incumbents always, and I mean always win, I'd just be tossing my money down into the well. And NO REFUNDS!!! I've talked to parents and neighbors, and most of them don't even know where the DO is. I mean, there's a huge crevasse that needs to be traversed, and I don't think anyone is up to it - even when, as KR and the other hens stress, the public is fed up to the max. It's pitiful. Everyone is up in arms about the incompetants running amok, but it takes too much money and no refunds and besides, the stupid public, fed up as they are, just keep voting the corrupt ones back in. It's a travesty all the way around. It makes me want to puke.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 31, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I don't know that everyone is up in arms; how would they know? I certainly don't think they are stupid. About all the puking you do, you might want to get a flu shot.


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Posted by Shawn
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Tell a fool they are foolish in 60 different ways, they're unlikely to grasp your meaning. That's what makes them a fool.


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Posted by LOL
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2013 at 9:50 am

Half a BBBBBBillion???? Are you kidding me? That works out to about $55,000 for every family in Pleasanton. Glad I'm moving out of town in a few years. Paying for that and all the illegals that will me moving in will be up to someone else (thankfully).


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Posted by jay
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2013 at 10:15 am

People did not run at the last election because the only two good trustees that question staff were running and people did not want to displace them. The next election will bring some people out to run since both of the trustees up for re-election at that election are part of the problem of the district of just accepting the administration.

I have heard that the district wants to put a new bond measure before the voters in the 2014 election. That will be real interesting as that will be the time of a challenge of the existing board members who support whatever the administration wants, including giving raises to the administration that was just done. Hope we can unseat at least one of the incumbents (two preferred) so we can get a board majority that listens to the community and does not do whatever the administration asks for, and hope the bond measure goes down big time to send a message.

However, what I think you will see for the next two years is propaganda from the district on the need of the new facilities; essentially using taxpayer money to fund an election.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 1, 2013 at 11:27 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Uh, Shawn:

"Although most Californians (56% all adults, 66% public school parents) say local public schools do not get enough funding, they have generally positive views of their own schools. Half of adults (51%) give their schools a grade of B or higher . . . " followed by "Just one in four Californians (23%) know that both student test scores and spending per pupil are
below average compared to other states." Web Link

"There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know." Jonathan Swift/Thomas Chalkley


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 1, 2013 at 11:32 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

One more on perceptions: Web Link


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Posted by Shawn
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2013 at 11:54 am

As per usual, links and quotes but no apparent thought process to show their relevance in light of prior or current positions. Point? A busybody at work. To what end? If you're ever able to combine a link with a clearly stated position or argument, you'll have something. Until then, it's just a bored retiree, ill-educated, addicted to the net, without any coherent sense of reality.

The quotes/links you post are redolent of a ditzy office secretary finding paperwork on the floor and pinning it to a corkboard in hopes that someone might know what is its significance.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I made a comment about parents and the community and their perceptions about their local schools. You used insults (rather than anything contributory) to express displeasure with that idea. I posted data to support my point, but you don't like that either and again resort to insults. Many parents and community members, not surprisingly, can tell you a lot about their neighborhood school. They often know some things, good or bad, about other local schools, and often very little of what is going on at the District Office or school board level until and if they need to interact with the central office. The links just substantiate what I learned in talking to many, many parents and community members while I was, according to you, pinning things to a cork board.

All the "bored," "ill-educated," "addicted," "ditzy," comments must be meant to inflate your own ego. Hope that's working for you.


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Posted by Shawn
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Your links offer nothing to confirm or disconfirm your assertions. You are either confused - which would be consistent with how you've posted links in the past - or you're being disingenuous. I don't think you know how to read or interpret data, as your inferences are often widely, ridiculously off the mark; but you do have a working ideology, and you do quite a bit of circulating within the gossip mill - both of these I'll readily admit. Calling your hand-waving-look-at-mme antics ditzy is about the most accurate word I can think of. Are you not ill-educated? I think not. Your conspicuous hand-waving on these posts suggests you're operating with high levels of boredom and internet addiction. Saying these things does nothing for my ego. I have confidence in their accuracy.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 1, 2013 at 3:12 pm

As it relates to the balance on the school board -Pleasanton, and all of the critics of the 'gang of 3' on the board -it was widely known that CG was thinking of not-running again. If, instead of being content with anonymous second guessing and character assassination on any and all PW school related blogs, someone would have stepped up to the plate, he quite possibly wouldn't have run and the composition/approach of the board would now be different. You get the democracy you elect.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Do tell, what gossip mill?

Three of the conclusions from Gallup:
"--Providing encouraging news for public schools, more than three-quarters of parents (77%) give their own child's school an "A" or a "B," up from 71% in 1985."
"--Among all respondents, regardless of whether they are parents of a school-aged child who attends a public school, most consider schools in their local communities to be average or above"
"--Americans have graded America's public education system a C or below for the 25 years PDK/Gallup has been asking about it. Furthermore, Gallup trends show Americans' views of public education souring since 1985. Twenty-five years ago, 58% of respondents gave public education a grade of C or lower, compared with 79% now."

My Kids' Schools, A or B
Our local schools, average or above
Public Education in general, C or lower

You can download the 19 page report from the link I provided above.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Joe, There was someone who pulled papers and never filed them. It's hard to know whether it was related to Grant indicating he would file following the announcement that HIntzke and Arkin had filed. I don't know the person who did not file.


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Posted by Shawn
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm

There was someone ... but I don't know who because I simply heard it in the gossip mill.

As for the Gallup poll, really, so what? Pin it to the corkboard and leave it at that. Does it have any relevance to the discussion? Nope.

See above remarks about the fool.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 1, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Here is the story from the PW about the person who chose not to run. Web Link

It's more than so what and on topic--I am hoping the community will watch as the board continues to discuss where it goes with the facilities plan, Neal's site, the Sycamore Fund, the Deferred Maintenance Fund, any future move toward a bond, and the district office site.


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Posted by jay
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2013 at 5:48 pm

I knew of someone who was going to run but decided not to when Grant pulled papers. This person did not want to jeopardize the positions of Jamie and Valerie.

Also, if Grant did not file, the period to file gets extended for a week. I know people would have stepped up.

My guess is the administration convinced Grant to run again because they wanted to keep their majority of administration supporters. No different then when Casey convinced Kernan to run again, even though he no longer had his primary residence in Pleasanton.


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Posted by Truth
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 1, 2013 at 7:38 pm

And Pleasanton has no money to pay our heroes...firefighters and cops...shame on you city counsel!


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Posted by You've got to be kidding...
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Feb 1, 2013 at 8:04 pm

(Post makes no sense and has been removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff.)


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