Pleasanton school board set to promote top administrator to deputy superintendent at $188,864 annual salary Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Dec 11, 2012 at 1:14 am
Pleasanton school board members tonight will consider a contract that will promote Luz Cazares, currently assistant superintendent of business services, to a new position of deputy superintendent, making her second in command of the school district and one of its highest paid administrators.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, December 10, 2012, 7:08 PM
Posted by Daniel Bradford, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Dec 11, 2012 at 1:14 am
As a former PUSD teacher, all I can say is: same as it ever was.
"Cazares also would also be eligible for "an additional bonus, based on her performance," according to a draft contract with the PUSD along with "all benefits provided to executive cabinet members.""
Nice if that was offered to classified employees and teachers.
"Under her current contract, those include a $600 per-month car allowance..."
Why not just buy Luz a car and have done with it? In effect, that's what the taxpayers are doing. Teachers and classified employees have to make their own car payments. If we have business-related mileage, we claim reimbursement from the district.
"After 10 years with the district, management employees are also eligible for a "Golden Handshake" retirement bonus of at least $25,500. Those bonuses are indexed to pay, so as pay goes up, the bonus does as well."
I see that we're all in this together, and it's good to see that upper management in PUSD is sharing the sacrifices of students, teachers, and classified. Oh wait, no they're not. But remember, we're "family" and "we're all in this TOGETHER."
Don't get me wrong: Luz Cazares is a truly able administrator. But these kind of sweetheart deals when schools are struggling with budget cuts is just plain wrong.
When John Casey left the district, I hoped that the new Superintendent, Ms. Ahmadi, would run things better. But this is the Casey Administration with a different label. Ms. Ahmadi went from listening to teachers and parents to pretending to listen to teachers and parents to not even bothering to pretend to listen to teachers and parents in the short space of six months. And the Board keeps rubber-stamping these outrageous perks.
p.s.--I don't want to read about how "unions" did this. Luz Cazares is not a unionized employee, she's a contracted employee. Get your facts straight.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 8:05 am Kathleen Ruegsegger is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
David, regarding the p.s. One person on the other post on this topic commented about unions. No one took the bait. This clearly is not about the unions.
Also, I'm not sure how much you've had to deal with Ms. Cazares or whether you know about some of the financial decisions and their impacts, but I personally do not see her as superintendent material or deputy superintendent.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 8:19 am Kathleen Ruegsegger is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Glenn, is this right:
"In addition the board will consider eliminating the five furlough days for management, confidential, certificated and classified employees. Restoring the full year to the schedule will cost $150,000."
Just seems it must cost more than $30,000 a day to pay the entire staff of the district.
Posted by Larry, a resident of Livermore, on Dec 11, 2012 at 8:39 am
And here I thought the school district was in trouble, guess not. Money all over the place. New position, wow is all I can say. And it's great the board has so much money. Wow! Just wonderful. Maybe they should give themselves each a new car.
Posted by lthyrone, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 9:03 am
But there's not enough money to provide teachers with the computers and other essential equipment to do their jobs, namely, to teach our children? An administrator gets a raise while we parents are donating money to the PTA to pay for modern laptops for the teachers.
I am ashamed of and disgusted by our school district.
Posted by prop 30, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 9:37 am
Boy....that sure didnt take long. District already spending like elected drunkards again following prop 30 passage. Time to vote Bowser out. He advocated and ran on fiscal responsibility and seems to have fallen flat. Boswer needs to go at the next election.
Posted by Who?, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 9:50 am
So this woman gets about $900 per day, works only 44 weeks per year less 18 sick days and 27 "non-duty" days, whatever those are, doesn't teach a class, doesn't do anything that directly benefits any student and has a better retirement than most congressmen or NFL players. If she doesn't want the job, I'll take it.
Posted by cost TBA?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 10:18 am
The staff report has the cost of this raise as TBA? Huh? They want to promote somebody but at the time they did the agenda they did not know the cost? Sounds like something fishy is going on at the district.
IT is hard to tell with the total cost will be based on the information they have released. Besides the increase in salary and deferred compensation (which is a sneaky way of saying more salary but it does not appear on the salary line of the budget), there are other costs that will go up including taxes, pensions, etc. IT is unclear whether the senior management has their health insurance paid for. I know the teachers do not but I thought classified staff is at least partially paid for and since this position is being held by somebody who is not certificated, not sure if she gets some or all health insurance payments. We know she would get it for free (i.e., the taxpayers are paying 100% of that bill) after she retires but not sure how this works during employment.
It is fiscally irresponsible to ask the board to approve an additional cost without spelling out the affect on the budget, and to not let the residents know has no transparency. Last I looked, the superintendent works for the Board of Trustees and the Board of Trustees work for the residents. At least that is what they teach in their civics classes.
As Ricky said to Lucy, "You have some splaining to do."
Posted by Carlos, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 10:59 am
This country is looking more and more like a communist country. If you're a party member and have a government job, you will live well. Everyone else just has to struggle to survive. In time, there will be 2nd American revolution.
Posted by Angry, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm
Unqualified Ahmadi never should have been appointed Super and technically unqualified Cazares should not be appointed Deputy Super to further destroy our schools. How can any one be clueless? She has destroyed teachers' morale.
While teachers have hard earned certifications, what does not make sense is that they hire inexperienced unqualified individuals who lack the necessary certifications to fill the position, but they are hired based on who they know, and these individuals are overpaid and have no clue what they are doing.
Then these people come in uneducated with what needs to be done and then they try to push out the critical staff who has been there for years doing the same job.
Posted by PTA Mom, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Dec 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm
I agree with Karen - write each of the school board members - email, hard copy, and phone....spread the word to get all your friends to do it. Take the outrage from these pages and lets put it to good use - show up at the next board meeting and protest this waste. This is ridiculous. The parents of this district have stepped up and through fundraising and PTA's tried to soften the sacrifices in the classrooms that impact our children. The PUSD wanted to work with Pleasanton PTA council to get funding, and this is what happens - the administration takes the Prop 30 money and spends it on administration - OUR KIDS COME FIRST. What happened to more counselors, smaller class sizes, nurses, computers for the classrooms???? Those need to happen first (don't forget they "need" to spend money building a new school too!!) What about the existing students?
Posted by cost TBA?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm
The money that the community has donated to PPIE to restore certain items has freed up money in the district to pay for raises for administrators. So essentially, your donations are paying for the raises.
If you have donated to PPIE, you should be contacting the Board members and showing up at the board meeting tonight, Tuesday, Dec 11, 7PM, at the School Board Offices. The agenda item for this contract is 20.6 (they group things so it ends up with this number). If you do not write or say anything, you are telling the administration that it is ok to offset the money you have donated and give out as administrative raises.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm Kathleen Ruegsegger is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
It's worse than "cost TBA"; it's Budget TBA. In other words, they know the cost, they just haven't announced where in the budget it will come from. So it's money for the business/financial person who can't say state from what account the money will come from for her own raise.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm Kathleen Ruegsegger is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I don't know Cazares' personal educational background; she could have an MBA. Financial people do not always come up through the ranks of certificated teaching staff. That is another part of her contract that is of concern. It lists the courses Cazares would need to take to become a superintendent . . . and the district (we) will pay for them. And then she will try for a job in another district and leave. Also, I believe that she is considered on duty when she is away for this training.
Posted by WTF, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm
All these benefits and raises at the expense of our children. Last I checked our children are having their class time reduced due to budget cuts. Shame on all those who have a hand in abusing our tax dollars.
Posted by Jack, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm
Taxpayers should not be on the hook for this ill-timed promotion as well as paying for Cazares to attend a bunch of training sessions (academy after academy referred to in the article) and classes so that she may one day be actually qualified to hold the position they want to promote her to. That is ridiculous. She needs to go the school to obtain the certifications then apply for the Deputy Supt position along with everyone else.
Cazares put the entire country at risk with the ineptitude demonstrated in allowing the fake Tri-Valley University to operate on District property that was actually issuing over a thousand I-20s to anyone willing to pay $10,000-$20,000. That is why the Counterterrorism Unit of Homeland Security busted them. [Anyone of those issued I-20s could have ending up breaching consulate security in order to obtain F-1 visas or flying planes into buildings just like 9/11.] This was the most serious breach of national security since 9/11.
After the Federal raid, Cazares should have been disciplined for gross negligence. Instead she is being rewarded and promoted into a higher position --- almost as if the lease situation to defraud people was intentional? The soon to be class action civil lawsuit against PUSD to be filed by the 1,555 people will be a slam dunk for the judge. I'm sure they'll be awarded millions of dollars.
She has no teaching or education administration credential. Almost immediately after the lease was signed, some staff at PUSD with those credentials contacted Federal authorities to blow the District in. People with those credentials know the difference between diploma mills and real colleges.
Kathleen, I also do not think she has an Masters of Business Administration. If she did, she would know more about hands on accounting and financial management. She would also know that businesses that are higher education institutions require accreditation and state approval to operate.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm
Jack said: "Cazares put the entire country at risk with the ineptitude demonstrated in allowing the fake Tri-Valley University to operate on District property that was actually issuing over a thousand I-20s to anyone willing to pay $10,000-$20,000. ......Kathleen, I also do not think she has an Masters of Business Administration. If she did, she would know more about hands on accounting and financial management."
Pretty harsh words, Jack. Hope that you're not opening yourself up for a libel lawsuit. BTW, if so, don't count on internet anonymity to protect you. They have ways of determining IP addresses and all that, you know.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm Kathleen Ruegsegger is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
My understanding is she has a masters from Harvard. Don't know in what area; and the information was passed along, so it isn't verified. The TVU debacle, while an issue, would not measure up to all the concerns about debt the district has and how it was/is/will be handled.
Posted by cost TBA?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm
Kathleen, this is definitely a raise and anybody on the board who says otherwise should be removed. Even with car allowance gone (and that is debatable), the salary increase and employer-paid 457 plan of $4,000 per year is an increase in salary. Since the management salary schedule maxes the Assistant Superintendent salary at $179,989 they had to create a new position.
Also, there is no promotion path to Superintendent. The Superintendent hires everybody on the staff and is responsible for them and the board cannot fire them. The board then hires and fires the Superintendent. That is the only hiring decision that is at the complete pleasure of the board. She might become qualified to be a Superintendent, but like always, the board is going to do a large search for the best Superintendent, and that person is free to apply. I do not see Luz as Superintendent material anyway. She is so defensive when she is asked questions and just about everybody I have spoken with feels she is rude to them. I thought she was just rude with me but found it is common experience. The meetings I have been with where she ran them, it was obvious she did not want to be there and did not want to hear anybodies thoughts. She just has a frown on her face and ready to cut people down. Not your poster child for a community of character.
Posted by Angry, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 6:02 pm
I agree with cost TBA?. No wonder the recent District consultant said that the District administration needed to all attend mandatory Ethics training.
Maybe the reason that Cazares is so defensive is that Cazares seems to be right in the middle of facts twisted, omitted key facts and misrepresentions of information. Members of the recent Hacienda Task Force indicate that some current and ex City Council and Planning Commission members said her office produced a demographer deliverable that had housing subdivisions where there were in reality no housing subdivisions (some were in the middle of lakes). The fake subdivisions were used to elevate the incoming developer fee projection in order to obtain permission from the County for the Certificates of Participation refinancing to incur debt $5 million more expensive than the current loan.
A functioning and fair government depends on a free flow of information — from the government to the people as well as from the people to the government. That free flow of information needs to be truth, not lies.
Sam, you quoted Jack and said "Cazares put the entire country at risk with the ineptitude demonstrated in allowing the fake Tri-Valley University to operate on District property that was actually issuing over a thousand I-20s to anyone willing to pay $10,000-$20,000" was libelous.
Luz Cazares either failed to verify that Tri-Valley University was never certified by the State of California to operate, or she determined it was not certified and leased District property to them anyway.
Here is one of many press releases Dianne Feinstein has published regarding Tri-Valley University Web Link that includes the statement .... "The report found a “significant number” of schools certified to give out visas to international students are not even certified by the state in which they operate. Of 434 flight schools that provide student visas, an astounding 167—or 38 percent—are not accredited by the Federal Aviation Administration. This finding is especially worrisome since two of the 9/11 hijackers successfully applied for student visas to attend flight schools.....The GAO report was requested by the four senators after a high-profile case of a sham school in California surfaced in February 2011. Tri-Valley University had enrolled over 1,500 foreign students until a federal investigation exposed the school as a scam. Tri-Valley officials were caught giving F-1 visas to undercover agents, posing as foreign nationals, who explicitly professed no intention of attending classes. Students paid $5,400 per semester in tuition to the school to obtain those student visas until the school was shut down."
Are you suggesting that Luz Cazares sue Dianne Feinstein and several U.S. Senators for libel? I can't wait...Cazares v. Feinstein, et. al.
Posted by cost TBA?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 6:03 pm
I did find that Luz has a MPP In Financial Management. MPP= Masters in Public Policy, a two-year program. She graduated in 2002 and has been in her position at PUSD since 2008 (6 years out of college).
Her linked-in profile says, "As a steward of public funds and a future Superintendent..." So obviously her eyes on on the job of a Superintendent. She should be going to classes for what is needed for that (need a teaching credential?) at her expense and her time as that is her career goal and her current job is only a stepping stone for her. There is a very good chance that our local tax dollars would go into training her and she takes a job somewhere else. Like stated above, you do not get promoted to Superintendent. You apply for jobs in district that have an opening for that Job as it is the board of trustees of each district that make that hire.
Government Agency; 501-1000 employees; Education Management industry
2002 – 2004 (2 years)
Luz T. Cázares' Skills & Expertise
Luz T. Cázares' Education
Harvard University Kennedy School of Government
MPP, Financial Management
2000 – 2002
University of Chicago
BA, Public Policy Studies
According to the Harvard University website, the MPP degree is a Master's of Public Policy degree. The MPP degree is a multidisciplinary degree that contains a strong component of public financing and microeconomics.
I would say for the job that Luz has now, she has appropriate qualifications and background. However, Luz does not have the appropriate education for someone aspiring to be the Deputy Superintendent; that is, Luz doesn't have any formal training in curriculum development, etc., which are crucial areas for a superintendent. Luz has also never been a classroom teacher, and I feel that superintendents should have, at one time or another in their careers, have actually *been* in a classroom.
Being second-in-command of educational policy in a school district is not an area for on-the-job training, especially not at the lofty salary that the Board proposes to grant Luz Cazares. I would also like to remind people that the Superintendent does not have a doctorate-level degree in education, which is normally a prerequisite for being a superintendent. I'm rather surprised that PUSD doesn't have higher standards for its administrators; at the salaries PUSD is paying, and given the excellent reputation of the district, it ought to have its pick of the litter.
Posted by Daniel Bradford, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Dec 11, 2012 at 6:22 pm
To be honest...if I lived in Pleasanton...I wouldn't vote for a parcel tax with this Board and this administration in office. The Ahmadi administration is just as self-centered and selfish as the Casey administration, and they've made it clear their primary interest is fattening their own bank accounts and to hell with the taxpayers, the teachers, and the kids.
I could forgive them the first two but the last one? "Kids come first in PUSD". Yeah, right.
Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 7:29 pm
I won't vote for a parcel tax. It has been clear for long while that kids do not come first. For example, why aren't all teachers required to use zangle? That might seem like a little thing but it helps kids stay on track.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm Kathleen Ruegsegger is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
There was rumor that Chris Grant would step down. He did not, meaning any new campaign was running against incumbents. There are boards that have unwritten rules about term limits. It should be considered by this board so that new voices have a chance to run and participate.
Posted by cost TBA?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 9:03 pm
The reason nobody ran this last election is most people want board members who do their work and if somebody ran last time, they would have been running potentially against Jamie or Valerie. They are the only two doing their work. Too much of a risk to run against Chris and unseat Jamie or Valerie. I expect the next election should have two people running against Joan and Jeff.
Kathleen, I think it would be advantageous to have Luz go to San Ramon. I can't imagine this salary increase is going to stop her anyway. Just gives her more bargaining power when trying to get a higher salary at San Ramon. Frankly I think Pleasanton can do better. Would be a breath of fresh air to have somebody back in that position that feels the public has the right to know the information. Luz feels the public is the enemy. Not a good perspective for somebody who wants to be a Superintendent.
The union leaders are probably supporting the change because they feel she has three votes for the increase and if they say anything against it, they will be battling Luz in all future discussions. She is real good at holding grudges.
Posted by Angry, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 9:23 pm
If the APT president is saying San Ramon wants Cazares, is this the city of San Ramon (the one that handed over to Herb Moniz an annual salary of more than $350K a year before he retired), the Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD), or San Ramon Valley Unified School District?
Whichever it is, I'm certain the APT and CSEA would be happy to see her go to San Ramon. Is very demoralizing to see administrators like this.
Posted by Mad as HECK, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 10:09 pm
I'm not ordinarily a tattle-tale, but this is outrageous, and I'm telling on them. Once he learns it's more than Moonbeam himself even makes, and, it is stated, less than 10% of what your average CEO makes, well that's just way over the limit. I'd go on if I wasn't so demoralized. Whew! What a night!
Posted by Mad as HECK, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 7:18 am
It has been stated that the 3 who voted against the 2 are yes-men. Rumor has it they didn't want to rock the boat. Rock the boat? Rock the boat, baby! Rumor has it the boat will soon be swamped because of a tsunami. And that's the truth!
Posted by cost TBA?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 1:44 pm
Business as usual....
The 3 board members have never voted against any 'recommendation' from the administration.
The unions say they support the increase because they know there are three votes anyway and they want to make it look like they really did support Luz so when they go for their increases they can say "we supported you, now you support us." They were smart to not tick off the person who manipulates the districts numbers. If they spoke against the raise, the numbers would be manipulated in the future so that there is no money for their requests.
Posted by Mad as Heck, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 1:49 pm
"The 3 board members have never voted against any 'recommendation' from the administration."
Yes, I heard that one somewhere too. Whoever had the proof said they forgot it in the car, but it's true, trust me. Still, it was a very close vote 3-2 or 2-3? It ruined my day yesterday and I'm still in cold sweats at the thought of this Ivy League tootsie thinking she should make more money than I do.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm Kathleen Ruegsegger is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Mad as Heck, Easily fixed. Just pull up all the minutes and read the votes. Be kind enough to run a tally sheet and post it for us.
I have no problem with ivy leaguers making money; lots of it even--if there's money for it. I also think a lot of teachers and classified people made big sacrifices and this recognition could have waited.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm Kathleen Ruegsegger is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
By the way, the superintendent said there was no change in what the now deputy superintendent is making. Except it turns out the car allowance, all of it, was rolled into the new salary. Then there's that $4,000 being paid into a 403b--still compensation. I am also waiting for a response from the district regarding the $2,500+ discrepancy between the 2011-12 contract and the new blue sheet version presented last night.
2011-12 contract was $181,664, plus $1,300 stipend for the masters, and $7,200 car allowance = $190,164
First posted contract was for $188,864 plus the $1,300 stipend = $190,164
Blue sheet presented last night: $191,375 plus the stipend = $192,675
Posted by cost TBA?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm
I did find that Luz was making $173,229 as her 2008 contract states (included masters stipend). Add $7,200 for car allowance (and I bet she travels outside the district office 4 times a year). Total $180,429 in 2008. And then she was up to $190,164 in 2011. Now she is getting another $4,000 for a 403b contribution. No wonder there is no money for the classroom with administrators getting raises like this.
If they cannot get their act together with the right numbers on an agenda, they should continue the item to subsequent meetings. The district's 'blue sheeting' is unacceptable. Either the administration is not prepared when they put the agenda and reports out, or they do not know the information. Either case, they should wait to hold the hearing until they have the final information. It is nearly impossible to follow anything in the district because they blue sheet everything so nobody can track what they are doing or look at a 'published' agenda and get any clue of the items that are being voted on.
Posted by Mad as HECK, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 4:32 pm
Wow, the vigilantism on this post is even tastier than the ones on the different Kenton-is-Satan posts.
I'm too busy to go through all the minutes. I believe Kathleen, who is always accurate. (See her phoney baloney support for 'He's a good kid' Kenton, which transmongrified into "Hey, let's string up Luz instead!")
I am humbled in my own inadequacies of hate and my pathetic inability to condemn the unholy among us as others are so much better at it than I. I nominate therefore Kathleen Ruegsnegger to meet and lead us on Main St. at 9 pm this evening, with torches and pitchforks in hand, as we blockade downtown (nothing's going on then, anyway) and demand to see Luz's transcripts from both Harvard and U of Chicago - both cursed bastions of liberal educational elitism that have no respect for the common Pleasanton millionaire's tax burden.
Perhaps someone else, liberalism-is-a-disease maybe?, can bring an effigy scarecrow of Luz, and we can paint the scarlet letters PSC, Public Servant Crook, on it before burning it to ashes. By the way, inasmuch as enquiring minds need to know these things, what's with Luz' first and last names? Is there a place for this in our community? Patriots of Pleasanton let us Unite!!!
Posted by Daniel Bradford, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Dec 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm
Let me telling you about the APT leadership (Associaton of Pleasanton Teachers): they are very much "in bed" with whatever administration is in power. The apathy of a majority of the teachers in challenging the leadership is to blame for that. When "the union" expresses "support" for Luz Cazares, that is the union leadership, who are angling for jobs in administration. One of the former union leaders became a principal, for example. This is a big change from the past, when the union leaders were elected from the ranks of classroom teachers and returned to those ranks after their terms were over.
The current APT leadership takes the viewpoint of the administration because they see themselves as administrators. One of the APT officers explained to me that his job was to "mediate" between teachers and administrators. I said "No, your job is to ADVOCATE for us." One word can really change the meaning of a sentence, can't it?
So let's recap:
The Pleasanton teachers are disgruntled, but too apathetic to replace their leaders with true advocates for classroom teaching.
The Pleasanton parents and taxpayers are disgruntled, but too apathetic to appear at a Board meeting and protest the sweetening of Luz Cazares' already-sweet contract, and her promotion to a position for which she has no formal qualifications or training.
As Pogo once said in the now-defunct comic strip: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 5:35 pm Kathleen Ruegsegger is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Mad (truly), I think you are just allergic to research. Why produce facts when you can claim to be so busy mocking others all day long. This is about the position and the cost, not the person in the position.
Pitchforks and torches and burning effigies, as I recall, were the calling cards of a previous union leadership in Pleasanton. I didn’t question Luz’s education. Clearly you have a silly putty core the way you stretch and twist to make your non-contributory comments. And now switching to the ethnicity of someone’s name; what a sh—disturber you try to be.
Daniel, plenty protested with calls and emails. Didn't make a bit of difference; wouldn't have mattered if we were there in person. I imagine teachers feel pretty defeated too, but that's speculation (clarification is for Mad).
"Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy." --Aristotle
Posted by Mad as HECK, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 5:56 pm
Well, I've heard it all now. It's not the person, its the position. And those who are awarding with millionaires' tax money and condemning on account of the position's qualifications are directing no consideration toward the person. So does that mean you're declining the leadership of tonight's 9 pm rally on Main St? What would Aristotle say about your unwillingness to engage in concerted political action? Wouldn't he say you're forfeiting an opportunity for immortality? Think Phyllis Shaftley. Think Sarah Palin. Time to back up your words with actions.
And why oh why hasn't your surrogate voice, Stacy, come forward in this time of great community need to pin the letters of shame on this 'position' who is named and fills it? Please, Kathleen, we all implore you to step forward and lead in this time of trial and fire! Tonite, 9 pm, by there with torch in hand!
Posted by Mad as HECK, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm
Oh, and Kathleen, thanks so much for the courage you've shown in criticizing all those on this post who have taken the name of Luz in vain. You know, all your comrades in words who have referenced her lack of qualifications, credentials, and experience. And it's only a coincidence that a PERSON should be in the position, with those qualifications, and that name. Right. Well, we all know better. And in your queenly heart, so must you. Oh, as Aristotle often mentioned, it's easy to pass off rhetoric as truth when the rhetor is telling the audience what it desires to hear.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 6:09 pm Kathleen Ruegsegger is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Not sure how you do not understand that after so many cuts, bumping up any position at the DO is a mistake. Why would it matter who the person is? I took action; I'm still in a dialogue. The outcome will not change.
I can only guess that Stacey is busy with the holidays or other things of greater importance.
Can I borrow your torch? You seem to know so much about the process; perhaps prior experience? Be there; I'll meet you; honest.
Posted by Mad as HECK, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 6:23 pm
Yes, we understand that you've been wounded deeply in the past. And painul scars still remain. But healing can come only through redemption, which means the time to act is now! Look how you spent all of last evening, giving us all a blow by blow account of the atrocity that amounts to a 4,000 raise. Place your faith into real acion, not just words. That hatred bottled up within you will only find its true release in self-satisfied witnessing of Luz, in her official position not her personally, burning in effigy. Cleanse yourself, and do it for all of us!
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 6:51 pm Kathleen Ruegsegger is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
No wounds or scars, Mad. Any raise for an administrator is unwarranted particulary before the rest of staff. $4,000 for the 403b; reinstatement of the entire car allowance added to salary, increased pension obligations, and a potential increased cost if an 18-month buyout is ever exercised. And a $2,500 discrepancy. I'll ask the DO to send you the bill. It will cut into your torching budget though.
Posted by Mad as HECK, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 7:15 pm
Wow. Imagine that! Now that's something to really get exorcized over! But I'm still mulling over an avowed Libertarian quoting the great conformist philosopher, Aristotle. Apparently no time to reconcile the contradiction, nor apparently to read Aristotle, for there are 4000 dollar raises and 2500 dollar discrepancies to lose sleep over. But heads will roll, that's for sure, if not literally then at least on these sites. Good tidings, for there are the apathetic vigilant zealots in our midst, Libertarians on this occasion, conformists on the other -- contradiction there? Who cares as long as we can get to sleep with visions of heads rolling to our heart's content? Priceless, truly.
Posted by cost TBA?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm
Kathleen is right, would not matter how many people would attend that meeting. I heard the board received quite a bit of email against this item. I contacted all of the board members. The administration has three board members who will always support them no matter what. The inmates are running the asylum. The public does not matter, they are just an annoyance.
We can only hope that Luz takes the job at San Ramon.
Posted by local, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 7:55 pm
The community complains about car allowances so what does the administration do? They eliminate the car allowance and increase the salary by the car allowance amount, and then tell the public there is no raise. They must really feel our community is stupid. It is a shame that this is the organization that is responsible for educating our youth. They will continue to cheat, lie and steal to benefit themselves.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 8:15 pm Kathleen Ruegsegger is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Again, Luz can stay or go; it has not been the issue for me. My concern from the start of this information has been the impact to staff and the budget and the message it sends to the community. So twist away on your crusade of madness, I'm just going to copy and paste this response every time.
Posted by Astounded, a member of the Walnut Grove Elementary School community, on Dec 12, 2012 at 8:20 pm
Wow, you guys are really pretty crazy! Do you read your own posts?! How do YOU know what her experience really is? I actually do know what an MPA is, and it is the PERFECT qualification for the job, particularly given her other experience. Not that that is the issue, I agree that the position is pathetic and that now is the wrong time, but no matter what I may think of the politics, Luz is a smart woman who knows her s***. The problem is the system, and THAT is what we need to have or nickers in a twist about.
Hysteria and name-calling are useless. If we want to make a difference, let's contact the board members, go to meetings and be educated, but you must admit, some of these folks are nuts. Scary nuts...
Posted by Mad as HECK, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 8:21 pm
Yes, we certainly believe you, Kathleen. Because you are as good as your word, always.
Now, what about this matter being reported by Marvin over on the Community is at War page? He's quoted you as saying you'll be at the 9 pm assembly. It's a little nippy out there, but I imagine the pyre Ptown's vigilant ones are constructing as we speak will send a real Christmas warmth through the crowd.
Posted by Nomad, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 8:23 pm
Luz is just playing the system to extract the greatest compensation. What is wrong with that?
If only the teachers were freed from the Ed Code and Union contract shackles and do the same. The best teachers would be paid more than their current row & column stipend. And the bad teachers? Well.....a free market would not be kind to them.
Posted by Mad as HECK, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 8:30 pm
Ah, NOMAD only just now gets around to checking in, with this name, at any rate. Of course he's an expert on bad teachers, because haven't you heard?, he's a home schooler who shows his students (all ages are welcome) Birth of a Nation. So, we could either let him or other intelligent ones in the community do the deciding on what teachers deserve to go, what ones deserve to stay. Political litmus test required, of course. See you at 9 tonite No-mad. Nice selection of a name, by the way. Reminds me of mooseturd and annaS. Both of which having your distinctive personal, self-loathing touch.
Posted by Angry, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 8:38 pm
Astounded says that Cazares has an MPA. Cazares does not have a Masters of Public Administration. She claims to have an MPP, a Masters of Public Policy in Financial Management on her LinkedIn profile someone posted above. Though her linkedin profile says she has an MPP in Financial Management, the school (Kennedy) she claims to have an MPP in Financial Management does not even offer an MPP in Financial Management.
The concentrations that it offers in the MPP program at that school are listed here Web Link are Business and Government Policy (BGP), Democracy, Politics and Institutions (DPI), International and Global Affairs (IGA), International Trade and Finance (ITF), Political and Economic Development (PED), Social and Urban Policy (SUP). If anyone can find anything that says this school offers an MPP in Financial Management, please post the link.
She was a 2001 Summer Fellow here Web Link that lists she was a summer fellow for the City of Boston's budget office for a summer.
She also attended a 2 day course called Taking Account of Accountability: Assessing Politics and Policy Web Link
Posted by Mad as HECK, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 8:49 pm
@"The concentrations that it [Kennedy] offers in the MPP program at that school...." You mean in the Masters of Public Policy program, Angry?
Have you attempted yet to sort through the trash in her refuse cans, Angry? Looks like you need to place yourself at the Vigilante Assembly tonight where you can burn Ms. Cazeres in effigy. Go ahead. Let it out! Let all that hatred out!
Posted by Angry, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 9:01 pm
An MPA and MPP are two different things. The Kennedy School website does not have an MPP Financial Management concentration.
Cazares claims to have an MPP in Financial Management which I presume is a concentration in Financial Management, but looking at the Kennedy school website, it offers no such concentration called "Financial Management."
According to Web Link, she was a summer intern in 2001 and according to this worked on collecting Medicaid reimbursements.
Why does Cazares' LinkedIn profile say MPP, Financial Management when Financial Management is not one of the concentrations listed for the MPP degree at that school?
Do Board Members even get the resumes of staff so that they can verify the information listed on them?
Posted by Daniel Bradford, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Dec 12, 2012 at 9:11 pm
Luz Cazares has been promoted to Deputy Superintendent, and aspires to be a Superintendent.
Yet Luz Cazares does not hold a teaching certificate, has never held one, and has never spent one single day of her professional career as a teacher. Luz also does not hold any degrees that speak of professional qualifications nor training in curriculum development, educational psychology, etc.
Experience and training in the field of education are crucial for a Superintendent. The fact that the Board seems to think Luz is fit to be Deputy Superintendent speaks of their own ignorance of the background and experience a Superintendent actually needs. But then again, this is the Board that approved Ms. Ahmadi, who does not have doctorate-level training in the field of education, which is considered a normal prerequisite for the job of Superintendent of Schools.
Let's put it this way: Luz has just been promoted to the position of three-star general and wants to be a four-star general. Yet she has never been a lieutenant. Luz has no field experience.
That's aside and apart from the issue of raising an administrator's salary at a time when the students, teachers, and classified staff of Pleasanton USD are still suffering from deep cuts made over the past five years. It's a slap in the face to the students, teachers, staff, and taxpayers of Pleasanton and shows the disrespect and arrogance that Ms. Ahmadi, Ms. Cazares, and these three members of the Board have displayed so many times over the past few years.
Once again: these three Board members should be easy pickings come election time. But the apathy of the community is such that I'm guessing they'll run unopposed and continue gold-plating the wallets of the administrators while crying poverty when the principals ask for funds to hire teacher, custodians, office staff and paraprofessional aides who actually *work* with students.
Every administration has its priorities, Ms. Ahmadi and the Board have made theirs clear: children don't come first in Pleasanton, they come last.
Posted by Bryan, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 10:03 pm
It is always a challenge to make someone’s compensation package public as it will raise many questions with the biggest one often being, “Why are we paying this person so much?” I have been an executive in Human Resources for mid size global public companies and understand compensation structures quite well. I have dealt with assessing people’s pay for all levels of positions in many countries.
I realize that I am taking a different point of view than many here and will likely stir up a debate with my response but am hopeful that some of what I say will help others understand what goes into a compensation decision. And, I firmly believe that debate makes for better outcomes in the future.
Pay decisions play at the heart of our capitalistic society in that it is a basic Supply & Demand issue. Think back to your economic class in high school or college. “Worth” is in the eye of the seller and the buyer or in this case, the employer and the employee. When setting a compensation package, the manager (or Human Resources) needs to evaluate 1) Salary Range for Position; 2) Business Need; 3) Budget; 4) Internal Equity; 5) Individual’s Performance; 6) Individual’s Qualifications; and, 7) Geography. Does 188K with car allowance seem high? Well, if you are comparing it against a teacher’s salary or a secretary’s salary or even the clerk working at the local store across from the school, it does. But, you need to compare it against similar jobs, in similar size schools, in similar geographies, with similar responsibilities. This person is responsible for a budget in excess of 100 million dollars with over 1,000 employees. Managing a budget that large, keeping a 1,000 employees moving in the same direction, and focusing on the 60,000+ residents of Pleasanton is no easy task. In order to attract a candidate to that position, just may require this type of compensation structure.
I don’t know Luz Cazares and her capabilities and I voted in a School Board to make sure they hire a Superintendent who can make those decisions. After years of evaluating salaries, understanding what people make, it doesn’t seem to me that 188K plus benefits is out of line for a person responsible for being a senior executive for a 100 million dollar ‘business.’
Posted by Angry, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm
Cazares' new salary means she is one of the most overpaid bureaucrats in the State of California will make more than most of Obama's Cabinet working for the Obama administration. Here are their salaries of Obama's cabinet-Web Link and they each manage multi-billion dollar budgets.
Cazares making $200,000 per year exceeds the salary of the Governor of California, who with Ana Matosantos, manages the State budget for California. Cazares makes more than Jerry Brown or Ana Matosantos.
Cazares has no qualifications to be Deputy Superintendent as Daniel Bradford has so eloquently pointed out. Where I disagree with Daniel is that I do believe that the three that voted for this will definitely be voted out, two in two years, and one four years from now if they are not recalled prior to the end of their terms.
This is not a privately held or publicly traded corporation where a sales force has to bring in revenue. Revenue is not earned by making or selling a product.
Taxpayer dollars are given to the school district that are then allocated by the bureaucrats.
Posted by Angry, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012 at 11:12 pm
Jeff Bowser, Chris Grant and Joan Laursen are the ones that approved the outrageous salary of around $200,000 (but who knows because it said TBA) exceeding the salary of most department level heads of Obama's cabinet.
Didn't realize that a Deputy Superintendent for a small city-sized school district commanded a salary far exceeding that of the Secretary of State (Clinton).
As far as the wannabe Superintendent, Daniel Bradford states, she doesn't have the background to even become a Superintendent.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Dec 13, 2012 at 7:51 am Kathleen Ruegsegger is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Bryan, I appreciate your thoughtful response. A couple of comments, the deputy superintendent is not guiding 1,000 employees, the majority of whom are teachers. This deputy superintendent position is the operations side of the organization. Depending on the district, this title can go to a different member of the executive cabinet, such as instruction. So, comparing deputy superintendents salaries does not always mean comparable job duties.
The second comment is to ask whether this position was the most important "save" following years of no raises and many cuts, including jobs and direct impacts to students, throughout the organization. I think that answer is no. Better to have said, "I cannot give you this change in title and contract at this time, but I will when we have 1) definitive information about Prop 30 and the funds in hand and 2) have addressed the needs of students, teachers, and staff.
If the now deputy superintendent's goal is to become a superintendent, offering to reimburse for successful completion of classes toward that goal could have been accomplished without a change in title and without long-term financial commitments by rolling over car allowances to salary*, adding 403b contributions, and future salary bumps through the "me too" clause.
*To reiterate, the full amount of the car allowance was added to the salary. One of the give backs from management reduced that car allowance.
Posted by Concerned parent, a member of the Walnut Grove Elementary School community, on Dec 13, 2012 at 8:33 am
My issue isn't with the pay, benefits, or person. My issue is with the top-heavy nature of school districts in general, and specifically Pleasanton. With the two main goals of the district to educate children and to perform within budget, it seems that ALL positions should be evaluated & prioritized based on those criteria. Especially in these tight economic times, are ALL of these "executive" positions the best possible use of our resources?
I am looking at this with the perspective of a former teacher (though not in Pleasanton). And, like most parents, I believe our children deserve better than the decrease in instructional hours and increase in class sizes that PUSD has been "forced" to implement over the last few years.
No doubt we (as a community) will continue to debate such issues for the foreseeable future...