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A taxing situation
Original post made
on Feb 19, 2009
The time for the school district to deal with the budget crisis has come. The state budget was finalized Thursday morning, and now on Tuesday the board will identify reductions to popular programs as well as deciding whether or not to put a parcel tax on a June ballot.
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posted Thursday, February 19, 2009, 3:09 PM
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Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2009 at 12:25 pm
Unfortunately, I can't attend Tuesday night's school board meeting, because I'm attending a Kindergarten preparatory meeting scheduled for that same night. I will have two children entering PUSD this fall.
That said, I support passage of the parcel tax, but want to see the following enacted by the school board (and keep in mind I'm a parent that will have 2 children in the PUSD system starting this fall). I don't have all the answers, but I think these cost-saving ideas/suggestions are worth considering:
1. Public Information Officer position eliminated. This is a luxury for PUSD that can no longer be justified paying a full-time salary for. PUSD can certainly survive without a PIO.
2. Vice principal positions eliminated. Any and all support (i.e., assistant) and administrative positions should be eliminated. These are all luxuries that can no longer be afforded in lean times. Maximize funding for retaining as many as those possible on the front lines, the teachers.
2. Mr. Casey's contract, including his salary and perks (i.e., allowances, housing subsidy, etc.) to be renegotiated by the school board. His salary alone, at $227,000 annually, should be reduced by $75,000, with all other perks, aside from insurance and pension (presumably CalPERS) benefits, including his special housing subsidy, eliminated. If he and his family can't live on $152,000, then I recommend he find employment elsewhere. The Pleasanton City Manager, Nelson Fialho, makes approx. $155,000 annually, and I would argue that Mr. Fialho has as much, if not more, responsibility and workload as does Mr. Casey. $75,000 saved by PUSD from paying Mr. Casey I think would fund at least 1 full-time teacher position, or 2 part-time ones.
3. No more funding of political campaigns by the California Teachers Association. I believe they contributed approximately $1.8 million to fight passage of the recently passed Proposition 8 in last November's election. While I understand that teachers elect to contribute into the CTA's fund, the CTA should either discourage those contributions, or instead, redirect them back into the California school system, with each District getting a percentage of the money that otherwise would be spent on their unnecessary political lobbying.
4. Disallow children to attend a particular PUSD school that is not one in their assigned/pre-determined neighborhood. This, I think, will help ease the issue of the pending elimination of class size reductions. Everyone's children must attend the elementary, middle, or high school(s) that are designated for the neighborhood you reside in. No exceptions.
5. No one residing outside of the PUSD boundaries should be permitted to attend PUSD schools. You live in Dublin, Livermore, or elsewhere, your children must attend those schools.
6. Exempt senior citizens from the parcel tax. They've paid their fare share.
7. If Sunol residents or other residents/property owners (besides seniors) are exempted from paying the parcel tax, and their children typically would be attending/be assigned to a PUSD school, based on PUSD rules, then unfortunately, their children are now exempted/disallowed from attending any PUSD school, unless they agree to pay the exact same parcel tax, which would be a special fee billed to them representing the exact same amount of the parcel tax, in lieu of them paying the parcel tax through their property tax bill.
8. 100 percent of the parcel tax to be used for retaining as many teachers as possible. The funds raised from the parcel tax cannot be spent on any other purpose.
Again, I don't have all the answers, and I wish I could present these ideas in person, but by putting these out here in this forum for discussion, I hope that perhaps they'll at least be shared by others with the school board on Tuesday night for their serious consideration.