School board to consider STEAM preschool tonight

Appreciations weeks, parcel tax poll, assistant director also on agenda

The Pleasanton school board is scheduled to discuss and possibly approve district staff's proposal for a STEAM Preschool during tonight's board meeting.

The STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) Preschool will be located at the school district's Bernal site.

During Tuesday's discussion, staff will provide trustees with updates in relation to the STEAM preschool, which includes responses to any questions or feedback provided at the March 24 school board meeting.

Staff reports said the STEAM Preschool will not only provide a valuable and engaging introduction to education to preschoolers, but also serve as an outgoing funding source to the district.

Some of the benefits include overall academic achievement and school success, less grade repetition and special education, and increased high school graduation rates, according to staff.

Board trustees will discuss and possibly approve the STEAM Preschool during open session at 7 p.m. in the district's boardroom, 4665 Bernal Avenue.

In other business:

* Board trustees will discuss and possibly approve a "Teacher's Appreciation Week," "Day of the Teacher," and "Classified Employee Week" scheduled in May.

District staff is recommending board to designate May 4-8 as "Teacher's Appreciation Week" and May 5 as "Day of the Teacher."

According to staff reports, "Day of the Teacher" affords an excellent opportunity to give recognition to teachers, counselors, librarians, librarians, full-inclusion specialists, psychologists, speech and language pathologists, nurses and other certificated employees who make a difference in the lives of the students.

Staff has recommended board members to approve recognizing classified employees on May 18-22.

* The board will hear and report and discuss a possible poll for a general obligation bond or parcel tax.

* Amador Valley's and Foothill's We the People Comp Civics team will be recognized during the recognitions session of Tuesday's meeting.

* Prior to Tuesday's open session, the board will be having a board workshop, from 6-7 p.m., during which they will discuss and possibly approve the Fall 204 demographic report.

* During closed session, starting at 5 p.m., the board will appoint the assistant director of Clinical Services, Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA).

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1 person likes this
Posted by Charlie Brown
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 14, 2015 at 8:47 am

Did I see "Parcel Tax"?

14 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2015 at 9:23 am

@Charlie Brown,

Let's hope so. With a parcel tax maybe we can reduce K-3 and ninth grade class sizes further, to name just one thing that could be helped.

2 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 14, 2015 at 9:55 am

All I see is the city adding more cost to the education budget along with spending millions on the Bernal property because "we have a surplus." So I certainly don't see any need for a parcel tax if the city has a surplus (and doesn't see any priority for class size reductions).

8 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2015 at 10:42 am


Different budgets. City money can't be mixed with school money.

Also, my wife and I both volunteered in local classrooms when our kids were K-3. 20 in the classroom when children were first learning to read, write, and do math was way better than 30 in the class.

9 people like this
Posted by Julie
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 14, 2015 at 11:24 am

The STEAM preschool proposal doesn't make sense.

It's relying on $250K from the City's Lower Income Housing Fund, which appears to not have been given yet, and is designated for lower income families, however the district's report says they have maybe identified only five lower income children who qualify for the preschool?

This is also an interesting tidbit for the origination of the preschool: "Specifically, we set out to identify a reliable funding source for the debt service due on the infant/toddler center at
the Bernal campus."

I'm all for education, but all of this looks like a convoluted way for the District to get its hands on money from the City designed for lower income children but in reality will be used to pay off School District debt.

Am I reading this wrong?

13 people like this
Posted by Lynn
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 14, 2015 at 12:46 pm

What an idiotic idea. The PUSD wants a parcel tax to pay off its outrageous legal bills due to the Vranesh fiasco and pay off existing debts. Not only penny would ever reach the classrooms.

The crew of ineptitude refinanced the existing debt of Certificates of Participation in 2010 increasing it by $5 million in a plan that deferred principal payments by indicating that multiple housing developments from a demographer report would soon be built, so that the PUSD now owes around $25 million dollars.

The balloon payments on these loans (COPS) start this year of around $1.6 million a year for the next 15 or 20 years.

To pony up the $1.6 million per year needed for payments, I'd suggest instead:
-- fire the superintendent
-- fire the attorneys
-- fire Cazares, Douglas, Faraghan
-- get rid of about ten absolutely useless administrator positions at the central office

7 people like this
Posted by lll
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 14, 2015 at 6:35 pm

This makes absolutely no sense. Finances are tight so we add a brand new program? Besides the problems mentioned above, the district, like all school districts, are going to be hit hard when the CalSTRS retirement costs go up. We cannot even pay our total cost of the retirement benefits with the money we have, not to mention the free retiree medical we give to employees, with us not even putting the money aside for.

I would not even consider a parcel tax until the current superintendent and finance director are gone.

1 person likes this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 15, 2015 at 7:47 am

Stupid question but why can't Gingerbread Preschool convert to STEAM? Or at least offer the program along with their regular classes?

Gingerbread is run by the Pleasanton Community Services Department and has a wonderful reputation, as anyone knows whose child has gone through their program.

Why create something new if we already have a place for this?

4 people like this
Posted by Hallie
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 16, 2015 at 8:38 am

I don't know what they consider a "STEAM" curriculum to be, but preschoolers should be fingerpainting, jumping around on the playground, singing, read to, playing dress-up, stacking wooden blocks, and learning to share. These are the building blocks to academic learning, which they will have plenty of later when they are ready.

Like this comment
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 16, 2015 at 12:50 pm

@Hallie - ever wonder why the Intel science competition winners this year were all Asian, as they are most years? And look at the kids who come out of all the local after-school tutoring classes and music lesson programs vs the kids playing baseball at the Sports Park. These are the kids who grow up to be our Engineers, doctors, dentists, etc.
While one kid is working on his curve ball, the other is coding a new program.

I'm not saying toddlers shouldn't play with blocks, or that it's a waste of time. I think the world is changing and if we want to keep up we need to change our thinking or get left behind as other groups advance.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 16, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Ed --

I think that contests like the one held at Intel are fine for kids that show an interest in science. If they don't show an interest, should we force it? Many of those Asian families believe that participating in such a contest becomes a resume item, so they force their kids to participate in hopes of sending their child to an Ivy League University in the future.

I would support my kid's desire to participate, but would never force it. You only have so many years on this Earth, why would you spend it doing something you don't enjoy? Preschool kids school be provided with a taste of various subjects so they can develop their personality and their own likes and dislikes.

So enough with STEAM at $1300/month for preschoolers. Gingerbread (~$130/month) worked out great for my kids.

1 person likes this
Posted by Hallie
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 16, 2015 at 9:02 pm

Ed -- Which group of kids grow up to be well-rounded and happy? Maybe that's not important to everyone, but it's a good assumption to start with.

2 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2015 at 9:30 pm


I wouldn't be to quick to say that "our Engineers, doctors, dentists, etc" are unhappy. I would say that a lot of the "well-rounded" unemployed aren't.

2 people like this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 17, 2015 at 2:08 pm

My college age son played 8 years of Little League, 4 years of football, and spent countless hours at the sports park practicing and playing games. It was fun times and all but I can't help but wonder if he'd spent that time playing math games and fooling around with computers and coding/progamming where that would have led.
Look at Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg for examples of nerds who have acheived greatness in those areas. It's nearly impossible to become a professional athlete but anyone can become a tech whiz (or nerd) with a great future.
Granted not every child likes math or tech but increasingly it's becoming more and more important that they have good skills in these areas regardless.
As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.

Just my 2 cents

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