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New $34-million elementary school being considered in Pleasanton

Original post made on Nov 29, 2012

The Pleasanton school board will have to decide whether to build a new elementary school at an estimated cost of $34 million or spend an equal amount to expand other schools, according to a draft report presented Tuesday by a consultant group doing a district-wide facilities master plan.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, November 29, 2012, 7:41 AM

Comments (24)

Posted by remedial learner, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2012 at 8:36 am

"Bowser noted that the predicted influx of students isn't happening yet.
"We have time to plan," he said. "The growth is going to happen over time."

Yes, as soon as the promised low income housing is built, we'll need additional space to warehouse those anchor babies and welfare offspring, so let's plan now for that inevitability.


Posted by Julie Testa, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Nov 29, 2012 at 8:43 am

If Pleasanton taxpayer do not challenge this we are Chumps!
"You have to spend money to make money." That is what Board members said at their Oct 2011 meeting to justify spending $256,000 on consultants for this Facilities report. It was clear that it was the motivation to vote to spend over a quarter of a million from general fund dollars for a facilities plan. They are coming after the taxpayers for a Bond as well as a PT and they will use this plan to justify it.

I advocated more facilities for 15 years, ROCA proved that there was more than enough money at the time. PUSD squandered ALL of the facilities money leaving a 27M capital debt that they can not pay. The suggestion of a new elementary does not address the increased overcrowding at the high schools and middle schools. PUSD is willing to support growth that is bad for Pleasanton to justify another facilities bond to cover their unfunded debt.

The 2011 "School Fee Justification Report" states that PUSD was 113% over capacity accross the district, 1,847 currently unhoused students!. Gee I wish someone could have seen that coming.... we did! They know there will not be enough developer fees to cover the COPS and new growth so they need to come after the existing residents/taxpayers again. They will not tell the city that they can not accommodate more students because they need a funding source for the COPs debt.

Pleasanton residents must tell both the School Board and City Council that existing residents have paid for their impacts and new growth must pay for theirs or stop the building. Current residents should not be expected to pay for new growth through more bonds and parcel taxes.

There will be thousands of additional housing units on the Eastside of town (not yet approved) that will add to the burden of existing residents if current residents do not demand full mitigation.


Posted by Sirena, a resident of Val Vista
on Nov 29, 2012 at 9:09 am

Well said Julie!! I was amazed that they would want to house K thru 8 at Hart. The traffic is so congested after school. Even with staggered times it would be difficult. The amount of begging for money at Hart and Donlon is embarrasing, especially after the PUSD mishandling of funds.


Posted by The soap opera continues-, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2012 at 10:11 am

A $34 million elementary school paid for by existing taxpayers? They've got to be kidding, right? After the district screwed up the Neal deal and spent developer fee money on lawyers for lawsuit after lawsuit, it is asking for a taxpayer bailout from residents that already live here in order to build a new elementary school that it should have built 12 years ago?

New growth in the form of developer fees was supposed to pay for itself meaning new schools come from developer fees and State funds. Where is the money?

And a $34 million elementary school when the cost should only be about $13 million? Is it platinum plated or something? Or will it have $10,000 huge flat screens in every classroom like the Superintendent's newly purchased fancy electronic lair?

It is insanity that they would not build a new elementary school at the Neal site since the site is already paid for and housing will be at the Home Depot that was unapproved site and near the quarries.


Posted by jay, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2012 at 12:05 pm

It is $34 million to build the new school and that does not include land or permit costs. If the retain the Neal Elementary site, the district still owes quite a bit of fees to the city for infrastructure. However, the report says this site is not in the right location. That is bull but if you believe that, they need $34 to build a new school PLUS they have to pay for the land for a new site.

It is time to tell the district that we have paid for the existing schools from our impact fees with no burden to existing residents. We demand that the new development ALSO pays their way to build and new facilities that are needed because of their growth. You cannot change the rules in the middle of the game. I am not going to pay for the school impact fees for my impacts in needing a new school PLUS having to pay for the new development. Either do not allow the growth to occur or set up a Mello-Roos district for all new development so the new development can pay their fair share. Don't make me pay twice. Not only is traffic going to get worse, you want me to pay more taxes for that 'privilege'. Don't think so. The current policy makers are going to kill this city.


Posted by GovtWeDeserve, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Nov 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Here we go again, once again trying to fix previous irresponsibility, voter misrepresentation, and incompetence with more of the same.

Pleasanton citizens need to rise up and demand these external busy-body agencies get out of our town. ABAG, MTC, and Sacramento coupled with city councils and school boards who have no backbone or are complicite need to be called out and expelled!


Posted by Leo, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Nov 29, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Where did all the money go that was collected from Ruby Hill and the rest of the Vineyard Corridor developments?


Posted by The soap opera continues-, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2012 at 4:09 am

Good question, Leo. No one knows the answer of where the Ruby Hill and Vineyard Corridor development (numerous developments down Vineyard Avenue are part of this) money went. Maybe everyone should email the superintendent tomorrow at pahmadi@pleasantonusd.net and ask her for a detailed accounting of all impact fees collected from Ruby Hill residents and Vineyard Corridor developments, ask her where this money is held, and how much is the account or has it all been squandered and if so on what?

Pleasanton's developer impact fees are one of the highest in the State, if not the highest, so they should have plenty of money already.

The Contra Costa Times has an article on construction bond financing called CABs. Dozens of Bay Area districts have used a risky and costly form of financing for school construction improvements Web Link Districts may have to pay 10 to 20 times the amount borrowed. In one instance, Dublin Unified has principal debt of $36 million but the overall debt is $212 million and will take the residents of Dublin over 35 years to payoff. In another instance, another Dublin debt is $15 million by the overall debt is $41 million and will take 25 years to pay off.

Pleasanton Unified has used COPs to finance construction and recently added another $5 million on the bill by deferring principal payments. They also used cash out refinancing which is illegal to illegally take cash out for bond refundings. Pleasanton has almost $20 million it has to repay in principal for Measure A bonds alone and hasn't even begun to repay back the $69.9 principal from Measure B bonds. It owes over $100 million on previous bonds.

In the private sector corporation, this would never be tolerated. Usually the board of the private sector corporation would clean house and not allow debt to keep building and building and building so that the corporation becomes insolvent.

PUSD, however, keeps incurring more and more debt.


Posted by Jill, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Actually the debt that PUSD has incurred is reckless. They are spendingmore than they should by doing cash-out refinancing plus they did some refinancing that cut down the expenses a couple of years by doing interest-only payments for a couple of years, meaning we will be paying millions more in interest charges. Now they cannot afford to do any new project because of all of the interest they have to pay. Not to mention that the finance report for the refinancing of the COPs that was produced for the County to authorize the refinancing had bogus data in order to make it look like there was no problem with the refinance. That included future houses in the middle of lakes, etc. BTW, that refinancing was done by the current administration so they cannot blame the past.


Posted by The soap opera continues-, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm

It will be interesting to see how many Pleasanton administrators and school officials have been wined and dined by personnel from Stone & Youngberg at CSBA conferences and similar functions. Stone & Youngberg, a division of Stifel Nicolaus, are one of the engineers of Capital Appreciation Bonds along with Jones Hall. Benjamin Delinka of the Delinka Group is the Orange County based consultant associated with Capital Appreciation Bonds.

In fact, San Diego based news outlets uncovered the whole sordid wining and dining that occurred with Stone & Youngberg including here Web Link

Of course, someone local named Alicia M on the Dublin patch is all over the CAB issue Web Link

Thank goodness local residents are clued in to what Pleasanton will try to pull off with the voters with CABs to finance school construction. What a fine coincidence that the LA Times article just came out this week regarding this. What great timing!!


Posted by MainStreetDiva, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 30, 2012 at 9:07 pm

MainStreetDiva is a registered user.

So let me get this straight. Because of the low-income housing that Pleasanton is being forced to build, our forcasted school enrollment is now going *UP* instead of down.

Therefore, we need a new elementary school, but NOT by Ruby Hills (Neal) but closer to Hacienda.

Therefore...we are considering moving Village High and the administrative offices to the Neal site, and sell the property on the corner of Neal and First?

So Ruby Hills not only does NOT get its own school, as planned, but may end with Village High at the Neal site?

It this a script for a sitcom?


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 2, 2012 at 8:42 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Here is an editorial from today's Tri-Valley Times about Capital Appreciation Bonds (CABs). We should watch our district's plan for funding anything on its construction/modernization wish list. Web Link


Posted by Ideas ?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Let me digest this. We need to come up with money for school construction, money for public union retirement shortages, have money ready to pay off future bonds, yet NINBY's block building. They just want 'fun' stuff, but are clueless how to generate that much money, without developer fees. Do they have any winning ideas?


Posted by The soap opera continues-, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2012 at 8:51 pm

"We" don't need to come up with money for school construction. Because "We" already came up with money for new school construction --- so where did the developer impact fees for dozens of developments built in the last 10 years along Vineyard Avenue -- mostly large mansions, the entire Ruby Hill gated community, the entire Ironwood Ponderosa development, the Greenbriar and KB Homes / Carlton Oaks, Bridle Creek and New Cities developments, and last but not least the golf course mansions around Callippe Golf Course exactly go?

"We" already came up with facility maintenance money with Measure B bonds in 1997, 15 years ago, and Measure A, from the late 1980s. Ongoing contruction has been occurring for the last 23 years, for goodness sake.

And "they" (meaning the District) with $110 million left from Measure A and B from are asking for yet another bond measure? And they can't tell anyone where any impact fees went from the last 10 years of housing construction?

Ruby Hill and Vineyard Corridor land owners as well as the city will sue the District long before some sparkling new administrative headquarters appears on the Neal site. Building Neal was promised by the school district and the environmental documents for the approval of the Vineyard Corridor guaranteed the school would be built. It is zoned only for a public elementary school and there is no way that the city council would ever re-zone it for Village High or a snazzy administrative headquarters building. They know if they did, they would all be re-called.


Posted by Diana, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Dec 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm

There has been an agreement called the "Gift Agreement" which has allowed the district to syphon off capital dollars generated from development fees for years. That agreement created an incentive to not build schools.
The lack of facilities and overcrowded conditions are the legacy of most of PUSD's past trustees who blocked using the capital dollars to build schools. This community has given PUSD too much money for them to come to the community for more.


Posted by To ideas, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2012 at 7:39 pm

To "Ideas",

You apparently do not know how school financing works. For each home that is purchased, the district collects a fee to mitigate the impacts that home has on the school district (i.e., more kids means we need to build more schools/facilities). However, because of the state laws, we can no longer have the new homes pay their fair share to mitigate their impacts. The current residents are being asked to subsidize the new construction. So the city looses money for each home that is approved. Yes we charge developers but the amount we get from the new development does not cover the impact on the district. The only way your method works is if we build homes but do not allow them to have any kids in them.

As for the pension shortages, that is not paid for by development in the city at all. The new development pays for part of the facility but nothing for operations. The district receives a certain amount per student from the state for each kid in the school for operations. The state does not give enough money to give us a decent education or to pay the shortfall in pensions. That is at least what the district tells us by asking for parcel taxes all the time. As for the teacher pension crisis, the district has absolutely no control over this. It is the legislature. The legislature sets the rates that the employee and the district and the state pays for the pension. It is not calculated through an actuarial process, like non-teacher public employee pensions. The legislature does not want to put more money into pensions now. The would rather keep borrowing and let the future generations take care of it. Adding any new buildings in Pleasanton has absolutely nothing to do with pensions.


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm

To: "To ideas"

Nice to see someone understands the incredible amount of debt our school districts are bestowing upon taxpayers. And, of course, school district parcel taxes and bond measures are in addition to the unsustainable pensions of our educators and administrators, that control our school board members and there desire to use tax dollars to further promote parcel taxes & school bonds.

Behind the curtain of "it's all about the kids" are the unions that financially benefit from higher taxes that provide no educational benefit for the additional dollars they consume - while claiming the contrary. Prop 30 money, while promised to expand educational programs (along with prop 39 funding) will do no such thing.

Jerry Brown has lied to the public regarding the disposition of prop 30 revenue. That is the truth! The Prop 30 money will go toward propping up a failed pension system that has been abused by both CaLSTRS and the Teachers Union.

Comments from "The Soap Opera Continues (above)" are right on target. The amount of debt deferral, ignorance, and pay-day loans being used to manage the PUSD budget are beyond scary. The Building Trade UNIONS are driving this leveraged debt scheme in order to justify funding for projects that are unjustifiable and unnecessary. They are using our "children's education" to promote their own agenda of soaking taxpayers while ridiculing anyone that challenges their claim of more money buys smarter students - by categorizing their opponents as self-centered individuals that do not value education.

The truth IS the Unions are the self centered group that IS using the School Board (they've paid for the influence) & PTA to promote their agenda, including blocking any form educational reform, because educational excellence isn't the teachers union top priority. It isn't even second… or third on the list. The sooner people understand that the Teachers unions in California do NOT share the values of parents or children the better off our children will be.

The School Board is also rewarding the building trades for their votes in support of proposition 30 that add billions in taxpayer revenue to schools (supposedly). In return, the CTA is promoting any school bond measure and every parcel tax. That is just how it works.


Posted by You pick it, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Corrupt and unaccountable politicians, bought off by the unions, push into our face unsustainable plans that we can't afford, especially with the coming tsunami of teacher pensions. Only the unions make off like bandits, and we're left paying off parcel taxes, school bonds, and face union thuggery and skullduggery that only a corrupt politician like Jerry Brown can possibly be comfortable with. More liabilities are destined to swamp us while the fat cat unions line their pockets with your money and my money. Corrupt building trades unions, corrupt teacher unions, corrupt politicians. They all want to drown us in unsustainable debt just so that they can have absolute power. Pay no attention to the other names I've used on this thread to make this important point, which bears repeating again, and again, and again, and again. Even if I have to start up and carry on conversations with myself. This all demands to be read/heard, again and again and again and again.


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Posted by You pick it

"Corrupt and unaccountable politicians, bought off by the unions, push into our face unsustainable plans that we can't afford, especially with the coming tsunami of teacher pensions. Only the unions make off like bandits, and we're left paying off parcel taxes, school bonds, and face union thuggery and skullduggery that only a corrupt politician like Jerry Brown can possibly be comfortable with. More liabilities are destined to swamp us while the fat cat unions line their pockets with your money and my money. Corrupt building trades unions, corrupt teacher unions, corrupt politicians. They all want to drown us in unsustainable debt just so that they can have absolute power. Pay no attention to the other names I've used on this thread to make this important point, which bears repeating again, and again, and again, and again. Even if I have to start up and carry on conversations with myself. This all demands to be read/heard, again and again and again and again"

You finally get it!

more reading:

"The union assault — covert and overt — on direct democracy" Web Link

"Our View: Prop. 30's pension boost" It took less than two weeks to confirm what we suspected: Much of the money from the Proposition 30 tax increases approved by voters is not going to go to schools, as advertised, but to teachers' pensions.

Read more: Web Link


Posted by You pick it , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm

... and these issues are so important that I'm sure readers will forgive that I talk to myself the way I do. I really have nothing else to say, and no one else to talk to. So, permit me:

"Corrupt and unaccountable politicians, bought off by the unions, push into our face unsustainable plans that we can't afford, especially with the coming tsunami of teacher pensions. Only the unions make off like bandits, and we're left paying off parcel taxes, school bonds, and face union thuggery and skullduggery that only a corrupt politician like Jerry Brown can possibly be comfortable with. More liabilities are destined to swamp us while the fat cat unions line their pockets with your money and my money. Corrupt building trades unions, corrupt teacher unions, corrupt politicians. They all want to drown us in unsustainable debt just so that they can have absolute power. Pay no attention to the other names I've used on this thread to make this important point, which bears repeating again, and again, and again, and again. Even if I have to start up and carry on conversations with myself. This all demands to be read/heard, again and again and again and again"

If you like what I've been saying - same ideology - under several different names since the beginning of this thread, just post and I'll link you up to blogs that say exactly the same thing, again and again and again. The way I see it, it's better to deal with inane redundancy than the tsunamic torrent that is the Brown/Obama apocalypse that already is sweeping over us.



Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I agree with your premise.

School districts are soon to get hammered because they've been looking the other way while poor decisions have been made because the School Board Majority & PTA are controlled/influenced by the unions. It is only a matter of time before the accounting gimmicks don't work any longer, and the PUSD knows it - which is why they continue to push for bonds & parcel taxes which can help camouflage the severity of the problem.


Posted by You pick it, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Whew! No matter how many names I adopt in order to get my point across again and again and again, it all boils down to this: I truly am such a boor.


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Nice to see some people understand the incredible amount of debt our school districts are bestowing upon taxpayers. And, of course, school district parcel taxes and bond measures are in addition to the unsustainable pensions of our educators and administrators, that control our school board members and there desire to use tax dollars to further promote parcel taxes & school bonds.

Behind the curtain of "it's all about the kids" are the unions that financially benefit from higher taxes that provide no educational benefit for the additional dollars they consume - while claiming the contrary. Prop 30 money, while promised to expand educational programs (along with prop 39 funding) will do no such thing.

Jerry Brown has lied to the public regarding the disposition of prop 30 revenue. That is the truth! The Prop 30 money will go toward propping up a failed pension system that has been abused by both CaLSTRS and the Teachers Union, although they won't volunteer the fact that they've paid 25% less toward their own pensions than they claimed while also extracting another $400 per month in what they call pension longevity bonuses - even as they claim longevity bonus pay as part of their working contract. While some people will claim they deserve the extra money that isn't the issue.

The issue is that the money to pay all these extra hidden bonuses and promised pension benefits just doesn't exist. Unfortunately, that hasn't stopped the teacher's retirement system, CalSTRS, or the Teachers union, from demanding even more. They want the Governor and CA legislature to guarantee their unsustainable shenanigans at taxpayer expense. While the additional 3.5 billion they're asking for hasn't been available the passage of prop 30, to help fund education while keeping dollars in the class room, has provided tax dollars that will NOT increase school programs or reduce class size but will go directly toward pensions.

For all the Jerry Brown talk about saving schools, and "it's all about the children", it is really all about the CTA - teachers union that helped get him elected. The money from prop 30 - not actually guaranteed to go toward education except in the first year, will only go toward pensions. That is money that makes its way into the class room in hidden-name only.

And that, all the lies in the name of children, disgusts me.


Posted by Take your pick, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2012 at 12:50 am

I'm right, and that's the truth! Everyone else who doesn't agree with me is lying. I learned this by reading rightwing blogs and then unreflectively repeating their carefully selected numbers that I'm not bright enough to see through. Here, if you're too lazy to read my lengthy and oh so repetitive posts (nearly a dozen found above, all saying exactly the same thing, as originality isn't one of my strong suits) just remember the following:

Unions = BAD
Teachers = JUST AS BAD (they earn pensions don't you know)
Politicians = BAD except the ones that don't take bribes from the unions
Any Tax = BAD
Key words: unfunded liability; unsustainable practices; taxes; accuntabiity; tsunami; Greece; tsunami; Greece; tsunami
Repeat after me: Writing what amounts to the same post day after day, month after month, year after year, makes Arnold a very dull boy.


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