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Jon Vranesh back again at last night's school board meeting

Original post made on Oct 15, 2014

Former Walnut Grove Elementary principal Jon Vranesh addressed the Pleasanton school board during the community comment session of last night's board meeting about his alleged charges and the district's lack of honesty and accountability.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 6:15 AM

Comments (93)

Posted by How Much?
a resident of Mohr Park
on Oct 15, 2014 at 7:00 am

How much money has the superintendent, the board, and APT decided to spend on this. The total has got to be close to $1,000,000 now. If the district had really had a legitimate personal issue managed in a professional manner this would not still be going on. Mr. Vranesh said there are new charges he hasn't even seen. Last time I check this is the United States and US law requires it's citizens be handed charges before any action go forth. PUSD apparently makes up it own rules then spouts character traits? I am blown away.

Posted by Easy Election Choice
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Oct 15, 2014 at 7:14 am

This fiasco makes the school board election simple. Out with the current board members. We need a change of personnel.

Posted by In agreement
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 15, 2014 at 7:24 am

It's obvious that the PUSD is playing politics and holding any action on JV until the election is over.

This whole situation has been bungled from the get go. It has ended up costing the district over 1.3 million in legal fees alone to the law firm that contributed to Bowser's flopped attempt at running for superintendent of Alameda county.

It's my prediction that JV will be awarded millions before this is over.

Come on PDSU admit you handled this situation poorly so we can correct the mistakes and move one.

Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 15, 2014 at 7:53 am

Yes, it is obvious that a cleaning of house is needed at PUSD. The current administration has put our school district in serious financial harms way.
There is some serious dirty politics going on in the school district. The children need a board and administration that is there for the children and a top quality education, not the lining of law firms pockets or the guarantee of cushy high paying jobs for the administration.

Posted by justwondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2014 at 8:12 am

The question for candidates Laursen & Bowser is why they think its ok to continue paying Vranesh approx $8500 per month to sit home and do nothing while they're gearing up for either asking voters to approve a bond or parcel tax. (And if they're waiting until after election, that's a horrible answer.) This is a waste of funds that should be used in the classroom with actual children. I was leaning towards voting for Laursen but unless someone can offer a legitimate explaination for this, I'll be voting for the 2 challengers.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 15, 2014 at 8:22 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.


Posted by Citizen2
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 15, 2014 at 8:34 am

JV slings mud at board just before election . Sounds like an agenda and just one side.

Posted by In agreement
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 15, 2014 at 8:53 am

Slings mud? Good grief. He was professional, authentic and told his story in the few minutes allowed. Heaven forbid the fine folks of Pleasanton have the facts before they vote.

Posted by Toby
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Oct 15, 2014 at 8:53 am

People wake up. Look at the contributions for Paige and Miller.

Arkin donated to both..that says she is buying a majority vote.

Paige takes money from many school clerks, does that mean she will be doing favors for the classified.

Developers/businesses does that mean they are now in his pocket.

you people are so mean spirited.. grow up

Bowser/Laursen has done a fabulous job

If you were being threatened in your job would you not want an advocate.

Posted by Clean up the mess
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2014 at 8:53 am

The definition of mud slinging is "the attempt to discredit one's competitor or opponent by malicious or scandalous attacks"

JV is telling a series of facts regarding action the district has taken against him.

Those facts suggest dishonestly or corrupt administrating.

The public has a right to know. Especially around election time.

The board and administration surely should have been more forthright with JV and the public.

The courtroom will sort out the JV mess.

The election can begin to sort out the board/cabinet mess

Posted by William Trll
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2014 at 9:00 am

When conservative white Christian males ran things-this type of nonsense didn't happen. Now we have women, minorities (including an Iranian-American superintendent), liberals and homosexuals in charge and we're surprised that morale is down and good administrators are leaving our once great school system. Vranesh is right-vote out the incumbents this election.

Posted by Miley
a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 15, 2014 at 9:04 am

If Jon Vranesh was guilty of any of the charges laid against him, then he would have been fired- simple. As an administrator he had no union to protect him- now he has APT- how ironic!
What is the head of HR doing? Threatening to fire him with no explanation or evidence- and putting it in writing? I would say rookie move but this guy is no rookie- he has been around the district for a very long time. Makes me wonder what other stunts he's pulled? Is he behind the Principal/Vice-Principal exodus?
Either way, Board and Cabinet must assume ultimate responsibility and it will reflect on them when he has his day in court- looking forward to see the not so triumphant return of Peggy Carpenter for that.
Can we book seating in advance- don't want to miss it!!!

Posted by Lessismore
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 15, 2014 at 9:14 am

TO: Toby
Did you just wake-up from a nap for the pass 2 years?

Bowser/Laursen have done a terrible job.

They are part of the problem and need to go.

Posted by In agreement
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 15, 2014 at 9:29 am

When Miller and Wright accept 1500 bucks from lawyers that are making 100's of thousands of dollars from the PUSD (as the lawyer is who contributed to Bowser is making) then I will take issue with their campaign contributions.

"If you were being threatened in your job would you not want an advocate." I must assume that you mean the lawyer was attempting to protect her contract with the PUSD when contributing to the Bowser Campaign?

At last night's meeting the CSEA (who currently does not have a contract in place with the PUSD) said they believe politics has no place in education so they weren't going to endorse anyone. They urge their members to get out and vote with their own conscience.

Hats off to the CSEA. Now would the PUSD please settle on a contract with these good folks who play an integral role in the education of our children.

Posted by Toby
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Oct 15, 2014 at 9:30 am

Lessismore, you should use your real name............

they have been serving the past 4 years... they have to make tough decisions that are not always popular, I don't see you running just complaining

the board knew JV was coming because Arkin and Hintzke wanted him to come and push their candidates on air...

you need to wake up from your nap

Posted by Is it just me?
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Oct 15, 2014 at 9:32 am

Or is the board voting to approve the "Week of the School Administrator" laughable given their track record with site administration the past few years. Is this supposed to make up for the dozens they've run off of late?

Posted by Spudly
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Oct 15, 2014 at 9:44 am

@ William, the Crusades are over about 900 years ago.

Posted by CB
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 15, 2014 at 9:58 am

Move to south Livermore folks.... Great schools. No drama.

Posted by Question
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 15, 2014 at 10:06 am

Have the school board incumbents been asked or explained to the public what their position is regarding the JV fiasco, what happened and what they would do in the future to prevent this? I think we deserve an explanation before we vote!

Posted by Glad to be gone
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2014 at 10:07 am

PUSD used to be a reputable district. It saddens me to watch so many good administrators leave or get pushed out by the shenanigans of the Supt & Board. Thank heavens there's still some good employees willing to stay. The BS and politics that's going on is disgraceful.

Posted by Guy is Lucky
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Oct 15, 2014 at 10:24 am

What does it say that this whole HR fiasco has taking place under a Assistant Superintendent who had been around a long time? So what are the HR messes we don't know about under his leadership? If this is how he does business? Shouldn't things be running smoother? He has years of experience and this is the best he can do? In my company he would be fired. Be thankful Mr. Farigan you are not in the public sector.

Posted by ItsNotJustYou
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Oct 15, 2014 at 10:32 am

I can't believe no one is mentioning the bizarre nature of the "Week of the School Administrator" discussion? Recap: "We really need to recognize the great work our administrators do with a special week (Oct 13-17) for them.... in fact, the recognition week has already started and we've already done great things as part of that week". Huh? You've already started deploying District resources (money and staff) on this special recognition week? I thought the trustees were asked to vote on it tonight (October 14). So let me get this straight... the administration implemented a special recognition week for administrators on Monday Oct 13, then came to the board on Tuesday Oct 14 to get approval? Not to mention the time and $ spent in the weeks prior planning... and no trustee voices their objection or says "don't do this again - this should have been approved prior to implementation".

My issue is not with recognizing the administration staff, I'm sure many of them deserve praise and recognition. My issue is that the Board of Trustees for PUSD are a rubber stamp crew that does what the Administration tells them to do. Bowser/Grant/Laursen are a block vote that is steered by the administration. The John Vranesh situation smells very fishy. When a "defendant" is screaming for a public review of the case details it's a sign of cover-up. His public comment was sincere, fact-based, and disturbing. The situation brings to mind "The Emperor's New Clothes", where Mr. Vranesh is voicing the unthinkable truth. Thank you, Mr. Vranesh.

I encourage all voters to watch the videos online of past board meetings. Let your own research convince you of the best ballot decision. In our "Community of Character" the core values are being ignored by the leaders we have placed in elected positions, and the Administrators who are supposed to work for those trustees. Common Core was a perfect example. Parents, children and teachers are crying in unison, yet Odie Douglas stood at the prior board meeting singing the song of success and high-fiving the "coaches" and teachers for a job well done. The emperor has no clothes, and "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain". At last night's meeting, trustees voiced the high level of parent unrest and concern over Common Core. Amazingly the only board action was "better communication" where parents will be educated better on why they are wrong! Oh my... The emperor has no clothes. We need a board member who will say "I move that we establish a team of parents, students, teachers, and coaches who will recommend changes to our Common Core practices. Clearly what we (PUSD) has done during this roll-out has failed. We must correct course to make Common Core a success!". We need a change.

Posted by Hintske & Arkin Need to Go
a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 15, 2014 at 11:01 am

It's a shame that Arkin and Hintzke are manipulating the public for election DRAMA. Arkin's vote to keep JV was politically motivated to set up the drama we have now. Hintzke putting the calendar on the agenda and flipping her vote = MORE DRAMA for the election. It would have been easy for Bowser and Laursen to vote to postpone the calendar but they didn't and stuck to their commitment regardless of the political consequences.

You do realize that Hintzke voted to get rid of JV and for the Calendar.

Who are the political manipulators = HINTZE & ARKIN

Posted by Marie
a resident of Castlewood
on Oct 15, 2014 at 11:01 am

I attended the meeting last night and I have not confirmed that I will never vote for anyone who is currently on this school board. I can't believe that Mr Bowser would take funds from these donors, really not very smart!
I learned a lot listening to Mr Vranish, I find it hard to believe that the school board has not brought any charges against him and he is sitting at home collecting 95K per year? What person in PUSD thought this was a good idea?? Either bring charges or give him his job back! Since PUSD seems to have so much money that they can pay a teacher to sit home I will NEVER vote for a bond again!

Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2014 at 11:20 am

A law suit in the making! Hopefully the settlement will come out of the pockets of the superintendent, the board, and APT!! Personally liable!

Posted by In agreement
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 15, 2014 at 11:22 am

"When a "defendant" is screaming for a public review of the case details it's a sign of cover-up. "

Truer words never spoken. I want to shout AMEN!

Posted by Miley
a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 15, 2014 at 11:39 am

This is not election drama. This situation has been going on for over a year. Forget the election and focus on the real issue here. Start with removing the incompetent head of HR who clearly needs to take responsibility for this mess. Then cascade to Peggy Carpenter and so it goes.
After that write an apology and giant cardboard check to Jon Vranesh. Them and only then will we be able to "move on"

Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 15, 2014 at 11:48 am

@ itsnotjustyou
Great post that illustrates the heart of the issue: Our present board approved on a Tuesday a recognition week that started on a Monday???
We deserve better than this!
Someday we are going to need more money, and does anybody think we'll vote to tax ourselves only to turn it over to this crew?
I for one am tired of the "FIRE!!! Aim… Ready..." mentality of our School District.
As of yet I don't believe this comedy of errors has reached the classrooms, but it has to be getting close...

Posted by Eyes Wide Shut
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Oct 15, 2014 at 12:22 pm

In the debates last week, Bowser opened up stating that his job as trustee is to manage the superintendent. He was very clear in pointing out that he doesn't manage teachers, principals etc. He is to oversee the decisions made my Ahmadi. Period. While I disagree with his explanation of his job description, it might be time to hold him accountable for what he believes he should be doing.

Ahmadi has chosen to turn what might have been nothing or possibly could have been a slap on the wrist for Vranesh into a million dollar fiasco. We have wasted more than $350,000 dollars in administrator salaries (paying for people to fill in from retirement, paying for J.V. to not work etc.). We paid $500,000 in teacher settlements based on hearsay, along with picking up the tab for psychology bills for one of those teachers who felt that her ousting J.V. then was met with staff retaliation from her school site (in spite of the fact that her statements to investigators were erratic and confusing). We are paying over $1,000,000 in legal fees (to the same lawyer who supports Bowser). In addition, we paid the man that calls himself an investigator. At the end of the day, no charges were made. It has been a year (almost to the day) since this fiasco began.

Based on his own statement, this is Bowsers fault. If he, by his own declaration, is to manage the superintendent, then he has done a terrible job. This is our money, Pleasanton. The current trustees (with a possible exception of one) seem to think that this is not an issue. While I wish we could turn a blind eye, I think today is the day for change. We can't replace them all, but we can start with two. Miller and Wright are a fresh set of eyes. They are green- but green, in my opinion, is better than blind and excessively wasteful. With all of the real needs facing our district, I think we can come up with better ways to spend that money.

In addition, Bowser was asked why he didn't vote to remove Ahmadi. His answer was that according to her contract, if she had a satisfactory evaluation rating than her contract was extended and doing anything different would be a waste of taxpayer money. I would ask you to consider how she got a satisfactory rating. Isn't the review directly from the trustees? How could they possibly give her a satisfactory rating after last year? If your job is to manage her, how is it that at meeting after meeting she publicly embarrasses you by revealing that she has already made decisions behind your back (administrator appreciation day being the most recent, the calendar options being 2 verses the 5 that were voted on etc.) and you still give her a satisfactory rating?

Posted by Clean up the mess
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2014 at 12:48 pm

So we've wasted 4x Ahmadis $250K salary and then some. Seems like more of a taxpayer waste to me.

And don't only blame Bowser without including Laursen as an individual who has been complicit in the Vranish debacle. She is flying low under the radar of late and deserves equal blame

Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2014 at 1:04 pm

I have lived in Pleasanton for over 30 years. This is the worst this is the worst superintendent. The PUSD Board and Superintendent need to all be let go. Out with the old and in with the new. Wasting money with this Vranesh fiasco is a crime. The problem is they are trying to fire an innocent man and now are costing our school district millions and I am sure we are not yet done bleeding money. Yet mean while they cut services to our children especially those in need of special education services.

Posted by Choloslovechild
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 15, 2014 at 1:29 pm

And you so wonder why the Miller/Wright signs appear to outnumber the Bowser/Lauraen signs 2 to 1

Posted by Chamber of commerce member
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 15, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Anyone who has lived in Pleasanton for over 20 years knows that the union has simply recycled previous tactics used in the past to discredit and remove Jon Vranesh. These were used at Walnut Grove and in all the newspapers years ago.

I remember the "b****" smear campaign against a male Walnut Grove employee after the teachers union leader working for another candidate accused the Chamber of Commerce of cheating and providing the Chamber-endorsed city council candidate who was employed at Walnut Grove questions in advance of a debate.

I believe Vranesh as do most of the Chamber members.

Posted by Lessismore
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm

TO: Toby

Toby, maybe you should use your real name............

You are correct they have been serving the past 4 years and need to go.

And let's discuss what they have done.
They hired the current superintendent and continue support her
We have had and exit of talent in PUSD
They are supported by the Teachers union at a time that teacher morale is at a low. (They are not supported my the teachers)

Should I go on?
What have they done for our kids?

Wake up

Posted by Bobby
a resident of Beratlis Place
on Oct 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm

It's the teachers and the union. What can the district do when lies are perpetrated? They have too much power. The district has little power in this situation. They haven't fired Vranish because he did nothing wrong but when teachers are vicious liars how can they put him back in the classroom and risk further liability. He's a victim but so is the district and at the end of the day so are all our kids. This is a horrible distraction that is not necessary. Blaming the board and administration does not help. The people leaving PUSD are doing so for very legitimate reasons. A lot of retirements and better opportunities. It's not all doom and gloom. A few bad people are doing some very bad things and we are all paying for it.

Posted by Clean up the mess
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2014 at 3:18 pm

I would like to see the proof that all those principals left for "very good reasons". No one will evers know. If you were one of them you're not going to admit you left because you were forced out. It would look bad to your next employer.

Seems like if you put up any resistance because you've done nothing wrong, and you , therefore, refuse to be bullied out ,the Cabinet and School Board MAKE YOUR LIFE A LIVING HELL.

Just like what is happening to JV.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 15, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

In whose interests is Bowser "MANAGING" the superintendent?

Bowser works for the voters that put him in office, the COMMUNITY.

Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2014 at 8:46 pm

"What can the district do when lies are perpetrated? They have too much power. The district has little power in this situation. They haven't fired Vranish because he did nothing wrong but when teachers are vicious liars how can they put him back in the classroom and risk further liability."

"Blaming the board and administration does not help."

Then who exactly should we hold accountable? And as for the district having no power in this, of course they did! For starters, have a proper investigation and don't pay out $500k to the accusers.

Posted by Caroline W.
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Oct 15, 2014 at 9:23 pm

I thought it was odd and calculated that John Vranesh was the final community member speaker last night. It seemed like Hinske knew that Vranesh was going to speak and call out the board. Why was his card pulled last?

I also remember reading a Town Square post from a few weeks ago that was titled "How can we support Mr. Vranish?" Web Link Now it appears that he and his supporters have been planning this event for awhile and are using Town Square Forum to promote their cause.It was because of that post that I watched the meeting last night.

Last time I saw Vranesh speak, he spoke after a cute group of first graders thanked the board for class size reduction. The board meeting went from a positive appreciation to HR politics surrounding the Vranesh drama.

This time he spoke, the meeting went from a positive speech from the teacher of the year, to an obvious, political move orchestrated by those who would like to replace our current board.

Posted by Love Pleasanton Schools
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2014 at 10:02 pm

I would rather the board spend their limited time discussing kids and policies and less time listening to personal complaints. Have we lost our focus in between the slew of complaints about administration? The speakers involved seem to enjoy the limelight. They have become regulars at board meetings.

Web Link
"Local students have access to a high-quality education. Secondary school children performed well above the state average in math, language arts, and science last year."

Web Link
5 elementary schools submitted signature practices last year and 5 elementary schools won the honor of California Distinguished School

Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Caroline W - Maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong, but who cares either way. I don't care whether Hintze knew he was going to speak and chose to pull his card last. Did you actually listen to what JV said? The District's handling of this issue has been appalling and the community should be aware of that. That's the issue here, not whether he spoke first, second or last!

Posted by justwondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2014 at 10:27 pm

We should all be questioning why the district continues to pay him yet doesn't have him doing anything. Get it resolved one way or the other!! Its terrible to put a decision off until after the election to try and protect Laursen & Bowser. All that does is cost the district more money and yet they are going to be asking for either a bond or parcel tax in the near future.

Posted by toby
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Oct 15, 2014 at 10:49 pm

why do you assume it is Laursen and Bowser? has it ever crossed your mind that it is Arkin and Hintzke stalling untill after the election.

Posted by justwondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2014 at 11:57 pm

Well, if its Arkin and Hinzke, they represent only 2 votes which is not a majority. Given that Chris Grant has endorsed Laursen and Bowser, its reasonable to assume that the three of them control the agenda, etc.

Posted by Miley
a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 16, 2014 at 6:17 am

Again people, this is not a situation created for political gain. It has been over a year since jon Vranesh was removed from his position. Maybe the director of hr is behind it-he created this mess with his bff Peggy carpenter? I don't know who stands to gain from this during the election but I can guarantee you it's not jon Vranesh!

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 6:57 am

"I don't know who stands to gain from this during the election but I can guarantee you it's not jon Vranesh!"

Well don't feel too bad for him. He was removed from a position and has been receiving a paycheck for over a year. Most people when they loose their position do not received a paycheck at all. Can't be all THAT bad. Most people go out and get another job.

Posted by Here's Jonny
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Oct 16, 2014 at 7:13 am

Elections are important. Local, state and national leaders are chosen to serve.
But political leadership alone cannot turn a community or nation toward a better future.
Only better people create flourishing homes, cities and countries.
As we ponder our vote, we must consider the state of our souls.
Will we choose reverence for the Almighty over narcissism?
Will parents make the well-being of their children more important than their "happiness"?
Will we choose pathways of courage, integrity, love and service instead of compromise, power games, and fueling our appetites?
Tocqueville was right: America - and any other nation - is only great when it is good.
We can choose to foster a flourishing economy and society for our children with the requisite sacrifices.
Please vote. Even more, please choose well for the glory of God and good of others.

Posted by Milwy
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Oct 16, 2014 at 7:38 am

I certainly won't feel bad for him when the giant check arrives!!

Posted by Clean up the mess
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 7:43 am

It is completely ignorant to think that an administrator whose reputation has been irretrievably stained , can simply go out and get another job.

The board and cabinets actions have put JV in an impossible situation.

Posted by Mary
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 16, 2014 at 8:05 am

I think JV has already been offered a check to go away, but I think having his name and his reputation restored is more important to him than money. This has taken its toll on him and his family. Those of you who say just get another job, what district would hire him for any job with this hanging over his head??

Posted by Concerned Mom
a resident of Sycamore Place
on Oct 16, 2014 at 10:07 pm

@itsnotjustyou: you are dead on. rubber stamps they are. my vote will be for wright and miller, who have both promised to speak for Pleasanton parents.
@chamber of commerce member: i'm a chamber member, too, and i am very unhappy that the chamber came out in support of joan laursen. she won't get my vote and the chamber may lose my membership. their endorsement process was similar to the one used by the current board. no process whatsoever.
and @michael austin: it is painfully clear that jeff bowser does not understand that he was elected by and for the voters of Pleasanton. he does not work for us. he works for his wife and the rest of the union that is corrupt and not interested in what is best for our kids. he works for a superintendent afraid of that same union.
frankly, i'm sick of this whole situation. i want some new blood, new board members who care about our kids.

Posted by VOTED!
a resident of Country Fair
on Oct 17, 2014 at 7:44 am

My vote was cast and mailed for an improvement- new representatives for the school board trustees.

Join me in voting for Miller and Wright.

Posted by Brian
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm

This whole mess with JV was handled so poorly it's unbelievable and the school board knows it. That's why they have not fired him. They know the investigation was one sided and failed to prove anything. At least one employee publicly refuted, at a board meeting, that she had made the statement(s) the person accusing JV said she made. This leads me to believe the investigation didn't attempt to establish the trustworthiness of anything that was said. Anyway, it appears to me that instead of standing by their administrator, the school board and Ahmadi threw him to the dogs based on a shoddy investigation.

I'm not saying that JV shares no blame. He appears to have been a someone hot headed administrator and perhaps needed to take a more measured approach to dealing with issues. For example, I believe he was fighting quite strongly to get the janitor to clean the bathrooms better and I think he wanted better locks put on the gates. He apparently went to the school board directly with these issues and put them "on notice". That probably did not ingratiate him with the school board or Ahmadi. However, the issues he was fighting for was not for his own personal gain, but for the safety and benefit of the children.

I don't know what JV did to piss off the employee that accused him of "creating a hostile work environment". I'm sure the person accusing him is stretching the truth, probably in an attempt to get some retribution. Anyway, I think the whole mess could have been handled by simply telling JV to cool it and perhaps reassigning the complaining employee to a different school (maybe in a better position to keep him/her happy) where he/she would hopefully get along better with the Principle.

Even if JV did do what he was accused of, at least PUSD would not get a reputation of being a school district that throws their administrators to the dogs at the slightest hint of wrongdoing. The worst case would be that Walnut Grove Elementary would perhaps get a reputation of having a hot headed principle.

Posted by William Tell
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2014 at 3:48 pm

I wonder who is paying Ahmadi to deliberately destroy Pleasanton schools? ISIS(L), CAIR, realtors from surrounding towns?

Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 10:37 pm

It's absolutely shocking the amount of support for the extremely rehearsed and dramatic rant of JV at the board meeting- the dramatic pauses, the looks, and you all have fallen for it. In all my years in business, never have I seen an employee speak to the head of HR as JV did and expect to get his job back. And yet still this community backs this kind of behavior. Let's imagine this was a teacher in this position, you mean to tell me the same support would be there?

Let's talk conflict of interest- it is no coincidence that Arkin is emailing propaganda to her neighbors, Hintzke is spreading rumors to everyone who will listen and both back the completely unqualified candidates- they are in search of a majority vote.

Interesting that HIntzke, who also has a relative employed by PUSD, voted for the calendar and JV's removal seems to miss the criticism on these posts- how convenient. I guess when youre backing candidates who lack any knowledge of school policies and programs, you are only left with mud slinging and fear mongering. And in a year with 9 distinguished schools, and Pleasanton's #4 ranking based highly on it's schools- and yet, you'd have us all believing our schools are failing. Oh your motivations are clear, crazy, but very clear.

Posted by It's time for a change
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 19, 2014 at 12:20 am

No corporation in America would allow this situation to fester for over a year. In a functional corporate environment, Vranesh would have been, coached, warned, disciplined and terminated and removed from the building. I have NEVER read anything that suggests any of this was done. Where was the district when their principal was struggling? Where is the evidence that the district provided coaching, counsel and constructive feedback? Where is the documentation that he was warned of a possible termination? And now the district can't even fire the man much less remove him from the payroll. How inept is that?

Oh, that's right, that can't fire him because they missed all the other steps. And then there's the matter that there just might NOT be any grounds to fire him with. What a mess. I am certain that the Superintendent and Board would LOVE for this situation to vanish into thin air. That's the best they can hope for, because they clearly don't have the skills to resolve it.

We need a changing of the guard and a fresh start. The sooner the better. In a perfect world the Superintendent would do the responsible thing and step down. The Board members who's terms are coming to an end, would make a graceful exit, and the voters would have a seasoned, qualified ballot to vote from.

But that is not how it is. What we have instead is a Superintendent no one wants, an election with incumbents who won't go away and a ballot with relatively "green" candidates.

No matter how you look at it, a vote for Bowser and Laursen is a vote for the status quo. Does anyone really want that? The ONLY way to begin the process of change and healing is to vote for the new kids on the block. Electing Wright and Miller will bring a fresh perspective to the School Board and to the community at large.

Once in office, I challenge the community to give them your support. In my humble opinion it is the ONLY way to start emerging from this mess.

Posted by curious
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 19, 2014 at 7:53 am

I don't think anyone could disagree that the current school board is dysfunctional. I'm not sure why it is so I'm not going to blame any of the 5 board members. I don't see any of the 5 of them making an attempt to work towards a functional board which does NOT mean they all agree. All I hear and read are negative comments directed at others. I also don't see any leadership from the supt in trying to help the board be functional. So at this point as a resident, the only option I see is to change the makeup of the board to try and get it functioning again. We need to get all the energy back into educating our children.

Posted by Here's Jonny
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Oct 19, 2014 at 10:55 am

The time is now to vote for change in the School board. John you should get back to your class room. The points JV made were factual, and just because you thought it was "so "rehearsed doesn't take away the points that he made. Soon enough you'll see that the chickens are nervously roosting soon to be made into chicken nuggets due to their own bad decision making. Stay tuned, you might actually learn something, that is if there's any room left in your know it all brain

Posted by Gladys
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 19, 2014 at 11:39 am

Time for the District to unload Bill Faraghan....Director of HR...incompetent and unable to fulfill his job duties.
Had the original employee complaint about JV been handled according to District policies and procedures we wouldn't still be dealing with it this many months after the original complaint.

A thorough investigation would have established the facts of the case and what could be substantiated and what was not substantiated.

There would not have been big pay-offs to accusers and continuing costs going to this still unresolved issue!

Posted by jj
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 19, 2014 at 7:28 pm

can someone post the link to the school board meeting jv spoke at?

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Oct 19, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

To View “chapterized”, on-demand School Board Meetings from August 2013 to present, click this link > Web Link

Posted by helenayers
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Oct 20, 2014 at 10:34 am

helenayers is a registered user.

Thanks, Kathleen, for that link.
Now can someone tell me two other things:
1.) When is Superintendent Ahmadi's contract over?
2.) How could we go about accelerating that ending? In other words, what is procedure to remove an incompetent superintendent.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Oct 20, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

In general, superintendent contracts are for three or four years (every year there is a satisfactory evaluation, another year is added making it a perpetual three or four year contract, depending on what was originally agreed).

So (1) Ahmadi's contract could be through 2017 or 2018.
And (2) you can evaluate them out, stop renewing (still meaning 2017 or 2018), or buy out the contract (there can be a limit of twelve to eighteen months).

Best way to know is to ask for the employment agreement. I could not find it online. It is a public records act request, and because it already exists, you should be able to walk in and get a copy, or worst case email HR and request a Word or pdf version.

Posted by Gertrude
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Oct 20, 2014 at 7:51 pm

What you have here is a poker game. Vranesh has a very good hand. Faraghan is bluffing. Time is on Vranesh's side. When we see the cards, Vranesh will win big.
The only problem is they are playing with our money. Back down Faragan! You've got nothing on this dude. Apologize and hopefully ease the financial hit on PUSD.

The Parcel Tax is dead....don't bother us with that nonsense after this debacle.

Posted by curious
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Take all the money paid to attorneys and use it to fund technology. Just say no to a bond.

Posted by Reality Check
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:45 am

Let me get this straight. Since being sidelined due to his own claimed misconduct, JV has been milking the public schools for almost $100K/year for sitting at home and admittedly doing nothing. He had to endure this hardship because six separate teachers went on record and collectively reported that JV (while an elementary school principal):

(1) called teachers [removed]
(2) called female teachers the "c-word"
(3) dropped 'f-bombs' when referring to teachers
(4) said he wanted to "bludgeon" teachers, and
(5) created an atmosphere where teachers were afraid of him,

And now that the District has decided to assign him a teaching position, how does JV react? With humility? With gratitude? With dignity? Or with remorse that the District was required to pay six-figure settlements due to his charged conduct? NO on all counts.

Instead, JV lambastes the District for his near $100,000 do-nothing post.

Time for a reality check. JV should be thankful for even having a job, especially given the claims against him. Also, some quick public relations advice for JV: Complaining about a near $100K sit-at-home-and-do-nothing job may not endear you to the pool of jurors that will ultimately decide the fate of your lawsuit against the District.

Is anyone else tired of this circus?

Posted by Justice
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 23, 2014 at 10:33 am

@ Reality check, yes, I'm tired of the circus of teachers who think they can control the school and when an administrator holds them accountable for their jobs, they decide they don't like it and make up false accusations to get him out of their. I'm tired of the fact that two teachers received money to collaborate these lies. I'm tired of the fact the they teachers union controls this district and we have an administration who has absolutely no back bone and fails too support their principals. Funny, but them same six teachers that claimed the JV said and did all of this to them are all best of friends. Yet the many other staff at WG said that they had never heard JV use this type of language or display the behavior that they claimed he did. I am glad that JV is filing a suit against the district. This situation was handled completely inappropriately. They investigator was one sided and their have already been two people, Mary Snell and Linda Pipe, who have proven that their are lies in the report. Time for a reality check, JV should receive compensation and the district should pay.

Posted by normal parent
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 23, 2014 at 11:09 am

John Vranesh is a menace to our community. He said himself he sits at home board, now he is making up lawsuits and wasting everyone’s time and money. Any normal person can tell this guy is a detriment. If anyone thinks electing 2 new board members who have zero experience and are nothing but negative is going to help our schools your as obtuse as the former principal. Move on people so our children can continue to learn and our community can thrive. Because that will not happen with this horrible person working in our schools system or 2 new board members who have no idea what they are doing.

Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2014 at 11:20 am

Anyone who accuses someone of having "Asperger" then shuns them, segregates them in the community, then makes up lies about them is bound to end up in multiple lawsuits.

Now the idiots at PUSD now face is a discrimination lawsuit likely to end up in Federal court based on discrimination by perceived disability.

He asks for extra security after the Adam Lanza shooting by having the gates repaired, then the Distict themselves accuses Vranesh of having "Asperger," the same disability as Adam Lanza.

And I guess these 2 teachers who got the $245,000 settlement and made all these accusations, again the 2 teachers, all did it for the money. They are a menace to all in society.

How many parents of students with disabilities in PUSD will now join the lawsuit or file a class action lawsuit indicating their child too was segregated from their peers? I'll bet a lot.

Posted by Reality Check
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Justice -- You refer to "false accusations" and "lies" by the teachers, but were you with JV evert time he reportedly called women the "c-word" and "b-tches?" I suspect not. This is why we have investigations, and the investigator here found that the teachers' claims were corroborated.

Was the investigator perfect? Maybe not. Is the District perfect. Doubtful. But does this mean that 7 separate people (i.e., six teachers plus the investigator) all conspired together and fabricated the same/similar stories as lies, just because they did not want to do the same teaching jobs that they had been performing for many years? (Extremely doubtful).

If you truly believe in conspiracy theories, then so be it. In that case, I may have a bridge to sell you.

Posted by Read the lawsuit
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Reality Check - you clearly haven't read the lawsuit because your 'facts' are incorrect. There were not 7 separate complaints by teachers. Come back when you've read all 165 pages!

Posted by choloslovechild
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 23, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Reality Check--Clearly you were there so perhaps you can enlighten us what exactly happened. Please, the more details the better. We would all love to hear exactly how the deal went down.

While you're at it...because you obviously read the entire lawsuit...can you give some examples of JV's total fabrication of the truth? Any page will do. You have a lot to choose from. Clearly since you think JV has perjured himself, you can point to specifics in the lawsuit. If you need to refresh your memory, a convenient link has been provided above.

Here is a better idea. Let this play out in court where it belongs. I'm sure these fine, upstanding teachers would never risk committing perjury.

You see, what is said to an "investigator" and what is said in a court of law are two different things with an entirely different set of consequences. But you already know that, didn't you?

Posted by A parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2014 at 1:20 pm

So reality check - fair is fair. Let's get an independent investigator to check out JV's claims against his bosses. And see if anyone else heard them use bad language and act in the manner he discusses in his claim. I guess the investigator will need to speak to all the other principals. Oh wait, most of the have left in the last year. Well we can track them down.

Let's ask if they felt supported by their bosses in the district office as they tried to implement new initiatives, keep a school clean and safe and require that people paid to do a job di it. And if there is merit in his claim they can go in the "naughty corner" too.

Posted by Justice
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 23, 2014 at 2:08 pm

@reality check, where you there? or was it your spouse or best friend that was there? Do I believe this is a conspiracy theory (A conspiracy theory is an explanatory proposition that accuses two or more persons, a group, or an organization of having caused or covered up, through secret planning and deliberate action, an illegal or harmful event or situation.) Umm, HECK YES I DO! Good Luck in Court!

Posted by Reality Check
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Read the Investigator's Report and all of the interviews that were part of the Report and compare those to JV's lawsuit. I did. (Justice -- despite your (newest) conspiracy theory, I am not a spouse or related to anyone involved; I am just interested). There are stark differences between the two stories.

I believe the teachers. To me, it appears that JV acted inappropriately by making statements that would not be appropriate in a locker room, and certainly not in an elementary school among women teachers and children. He lost his principal-ship but he did not lose his career. I think that JV should drop his lawsuit, count his blessings and move-on . Perhaps then everyone can focus upon what is most important: educating our kids.

Posted by Clean up the mess
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Looking at the bigger picture, NO employee of the PUSD deserves to be treated as this case alleges!

Vote Wright and Miller

Posted by Finally
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 23, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Of course there are stark differences between the investigation and JV's lawsuit. The district was cowing to both unions and the investigator was paid handsomely by the district to produce the answers they wanted. JV is telling the truth. Mary Snell and Linda Pipe told the truth and produced hard evidence proving it. They went to the Board multiple times to make sure a light was shone on the subject. Could Reality Check, Normal Parent be the recipients of $245,00? JV was not the toxic element at WG, the teachers were and still are. ALL of the long-time WG office WOMEN have been bullied out by OTHER WOMEN (teachers) and either resigned or took positions at other school sites. I am sickened at the thought that these bullies taught my children. I'm a former parent at WG and have actually heard Cronin and M----r, use foul language including the F-bomb in the "K-hole" (teachers work room adjoining two classrooms.) Of course they had no idea I overheard them. They accused JV of the same behavior, a man who had exemplary reviews and respect from his peers. If he's sitting at home still collecting a paycheck, then good for him. The District doesn't know what else to do because they're backed into a corner. Mistakes were made and illegal actions took place left, right and center and they know it. Cronin and the other staff member (not M----r, but -Surprise! - the school counselor (not psychologist) are the recipients of that settlement. Maybe they'll have to give it back or sit in jail when it comes out that they were awarded that money based on their fraudulent claims. It's all in FOIA documents and now in JV's lawsuit. I wish JV all the best when he has his day in court.

Posted by Agreed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2014 at 5:50 pm

I agree with Reality Check! What's worse is lumping this whole Vranesh nightmare into a complete reflection of the Pleasanton Unified School District. Negative blanket statements and blogs regarding administrators, district employees, and teachers is ridiculous. Flowing the story and having an opinion absolutely is what all responsible voters are doing. But ranting about situations that you were not a part if is just plain irresponsible. There are thousands of PUSD employees who do a fabulous job everyday. Too bad they have to read this in the local newspaper every week. Wright and Miller have no idea about the required job of serving on a school board. They also do not support teachers. It would be a shame if our town elected board members who admittedly do not want to communicate or work with the teachers. That doesn't make sense. And for those of you who like to bad mouth all teachers for whatever happened at Walnut Grove, you should consider the consequences of publicly berating about our district. The talented people will leave and it will be hard to attract new talent. Tonight is a PTA sponsored forum for the candidates. It is the 2nd one. Go see for yourself who might serve best on the school board to continue to promote positivity in our schools.

Posted by anotherparent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Agreed - "It would be a shame if our town elected board members who admittedly do not want to communicate or work with the teachers."

Where you got that from, I don't know! Totally false. Maybe you mean that they won't be directed by the employee unions in their decisions but instead will actually represent all of the community.

Posted by intresting
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 23, 2014 at 6:07 pm

The school counselor, really? That lady with the crossed eyes? Someone told me she does a private therapy business, is this how she planned on funding it? Not to be judgmental, but I would have expected more from a counselor.

Posted by anotherparent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Reality check - "He lost his principal-ship but he did not lose his career. I think that JV should drop his lawsuit, count his blessings and move-on"

How did he not lose his career? He didn't even get to start his new job as a teacher before he was put on admin leave again. The District has left him in limbo for a year with no way to move on. Why on earth should he drop his lawsuit? He has always maintained his innocence and has never been given the chance to defend himself. I would suggest you read the recent post from love my kids on the other thread.

Posted by Voter
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Oct 23, 2014 at 6:32 pm

I agree with Finally and Lovemykids (on a different post). I've been around the Grove for many years as a parent and volunteer in many capacities . . . seen and heard the same things. So thank you Finally and Lovemykids for your articulate and thoughtful responses. I still love Walnut Grove; there are many, many kind and wonderful people. I also have witnessed Paige Wright's dedication to schools. She definitely has my vote.

Posted by karma
a resident of Avignon
on Oct 23, 2014 at 7:01 pm

I feel kind of sorry for (removed because it could not be verified). They may have made off with half a million dollars that ultimately belongs to the children they serve, but they are not the winners here. JV has filed his suit and they will be called to testify and will have to spend money on their defense. The reputation they've earned will never leave them either and one day when this mess has blown over they may find themselves evaluated out of their jobs and unhireable anywhere else. I doubt they meant to cause as much trouble as they did, they were ultimately used and manipulated by ATP and the Cabinet, but caused it they did and karma is well, you know the rest....

Posted by WG Parent
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 23, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Laursen and Grant BOTH had children in Walnut Grove, teachers at the site are also part of the parent community, lots of gossip going on daily, total negativity on the campus. Teachers at the school are also parents of the school, so they also control the PTA. Teachers should not be allowed to have their own kids attend schools where they work unless they actually LIVE in the attendance area. Otherwise, this is a conflict of interest. A lot of self-serving nepotism going on. Why hasn't the district addressed those issues?

Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:20 pm

In response to WG Parent - It is common practice to allow children of teachers the option to attend the school where their parent teaches. This doesn't just occur in PUSD or at only Walnut Grove. It occurs in the surrounding school districts and other schools within our district. The teachers that have children at the school are a very small percentage of the total parent population. If they have control of the PTA, there isn't much Parent involvement or any at all in the PTA.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Anyone know why the other thread about lawsuit has been closed for comments other than by registered users?

Posted by KARA
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 24, 2014 at 10:47 am

The reality check here is that the district administrators attitudes and responses are not isolated to this incident at Walnut Grove. Many parents and teachers have experienced the lack of responsiveness and support of these same district administrators these past couple of years and have seen first hand the lack of respect for being in compliance or team work or communication. It's hard to believe if you haven't experienced it. They are either getting very poor legal advice or ignoring it or both. The claims in the filing seem very possible to many in the community because of first hand experiences not related directly to Walnut Grove and as others have commented related to WG they have experiences that support claims in the filing as well. Its hard to be skeptical when you see exactly how this could have played out in the current environment. Others have experienced the same attitudes from these district administrators themselves. We do support our teachers. I've seen some of our teachers not get responses from the district administrators as well. They do not deserve to be caught in the middle and they are doing a great job of educating our children in spite of obstacles. We want better for our teachers and our kids. We want a positive environment. The cost of this to our district and our children is really sad. Board members need to sit up and pay attention when there are continued complaints and turn over in the district. We can't excuse everything away to retirements and better opportunities in neighboring districts when there are red flags.

Posted by Clean up the mess
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:35 am

Please read Ennis Pipe's editorial (Linda Pipe's husband ) posted today about the SEVEN page document she got from PUSD attorneys about how there is no "merit to her complaint " regarding the investigator falsely including her in his report.

That' the kind of corruption were facing folks.

Get Bowser and Laursen out of there!

Vote Miller and Wright!

Posted by CarPark
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:42 am

CarPark is a registered user.

To the Weekly. "Reality Check" posted on another article and you closed those comments to anyone but registered commentators. So he just came over here and re posted the same comment that is full of lies. Seems pointless to have, in effect, shut down the old thread?

Let's get the story straight. If you think the truth is on your side why do you have to LIE and embellish?

2 people said they heard him call SOMEONE ELSE foul names.
1 person said they heard him say he wanted to "bludgeon someone on the top of their head with a 2 x 4" Let's get real. Who talks like that
I never saw one complaint of the f word in all of the FIOA documents.

The elementary school teachers also claimed he had no friends as a child. He wouldn't let them speak until the end of a meeting. They claimed he was Hitler. They ridiculed his height. Made comments about his size. When you look at the rest of the ridiculous claims and allegations they made you see how mean spirited they are, and how they accused him of doing things that they themselves are guilty of.

District hired an "investigator" one never once asked the women if THEY used foul language or spoke badly of anyone else. Strange isn't it? Seems to me if you are reporting someone used foul language at work it and you didn't like it you had better not have done the same things yourself.

They can hide behind the protection of innocent "elementary teacher" but their own words revealed their true character.

Posted by CarPark
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:44 am

CarPark is a registered user.

I agree with "Clean up this Mess" go read Mr Pipe's article. It clearly shows that JV was not the only employee of the PUSD that was targeted by these very view "elementary school teachers".

Web Link

Posted by CarPark
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:58 am

CarPark is a registered user.

This is what is wrong with this community. To say "It would be a shame if our town elected board members who admittedly do not want to communicate or work with the teachers." is just trying to spread false rumors. First of all Miller went to the meeting with the teachers and surprise surprise he was not endorsed I guess it was a waste of his time. Wright did not go to the meeting but has said time and time again her goal is to attract and keep the best teachers and staff we can find. She wants to give teachers all the support they need to do their jobs. It's on video! Check it out It will be impossible to attract and keep the best teachers if you don't communicate and work with them.

Why is it if someone doesn't go to one meeting they suddenly become THE ENEMY? Her husband spoke at one school board meeting and said nothing bad about teachers yet she was BANNED from her work at WG? Is this communist China? Show the slight bit of disagreement and you are supposed to disappear? It's a shame!

I strongly disagree how the teachers handled themselves in those interviews. I think it was disgraceful how they indulged in personal and petty attacks. I believe all their mean spirited comments cast huge doubt on all the other allegations they made. I will say it again, what they said about Jon Vranesh is alleged, what they said, is in their own words in the investigators reports it was recorded.

All that being said, I am a champion of the teachers. I support them with cash, volunteer hours and whatever else I can to help them do the job in the classroom. However I am not going to blindly accept everything they say or do when it doesn't pass the smell test.

Posted by Love my Kids
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 25, 2014 at 7:47 am

Love my Kids is a registered user.

I am reposting my comments from another thread. I stand by my observations and assessment of the situation. Walnut Grove was NOT a functioning, healthy environment while my children attended this school.

People need to think, before they blindly assume that a PACK of unhappy teachers can submit a claim and that makes it the truth.

Teachers are NOT saints. They are people. They have different talents, motivations, and value systems. I am convinced that the UNION imposes far too much power and influence over this group of employees. Teachers, universally, seem conditioned to think they are the hardest working, lowest paid, most under appreciated, people on the planet and that this somehow makes them immune from criticism. Give me a break people.

Do they work hard? YES. But guess what? So does every other working stiff in America. Trust me, my husband has worked over 70 hours this week. I bet many, many of you have done the same.

Are they getting rich? Probably not. But they are WELL PAID in Pleasanton. Much better paid than many, many other professions. And don't forget about all the benefits. How many of you have a retirement plan waiting to be claimed? How many of you are off work a sum total of 3+ months a year? And don't forget, being a teacher is a CHOICE. The teachers of America are college educated. They aren't dumb. If getting rich was the motivation, they needed to pick a different profession. Simple as that.

Are they appreciated? YES!!!! If I had a dollar for all the cards, letters, flowers, baskets, gifts and money that I have given to my kids' teachers over the years I could go to Hawaii. There is no other occupation more appreciated. I had a career, and I don't remember being showered with love on a routine basis. The teachers at Walnut Grove are appreciated on a set and rigid schedule. There are breakfasts, luncheons, gifts, appreciation weeks, holidays, end of year gift cards, and on and on. I saw it with my own two eyes and paid for it from my very own wallet.

There are many, many talented teachers at Walnut Grove but there are also some really crummy ones too. I know, my children have had both. I witnessed teachers make magic in the classroom. I have also seen teachers single out children for punishment, exhibit erratic behavior, and (are you ready for this???) swear and say unkind things about their colleagues and principal. Yep, it's true.

So, with all that said, here is my assessment and observations of our family's time at Walnut Grove. It bears repeating - at least I like to think so :)


To understand Walnut Grove, you first need to understand that, up until very recently, it was UNLIKE any other school in the District. It was essentially two schools, two agendas, one principal. The Discovery Program, while probably well intentioned in its infancy, grew into an organizational beast with very complicated social and organizational implications. By the time my children arrived, the Discovery program was selective, elitist, and down right discriminatory. Only children with strong family units (to support the program) and no behavior issues were placed in Discovery. Children with learning differences were soundly discouraged to apply. Upon reflection, I can't think of a single ESL child in the Discovery Program.

The 4th Graders in the Regular Program took a day excursion to Columbia to pan for gold, the 4th Graders in the Discovery Program spent two nights in Coloma immersing themselves in the Pioneer life. If you were in the Regular Program your year ended with a slice of pizza and movie. If you were in the Discovery Program the teachers/parents planned an all day BBQ extravaganza. You get the idea. The inequities were huge.

There was a definite sense of we/them and it generated bad feelings and a pack mentality. The packs moved in unison. This was true for the teachers, the families and the children. This dynamic was the backdrop for the ensuing events.

I'm sure that Dr. Young (JV's predecessor) saw the writing on the wall and that's why he got out of there as soon as he could. Jon Vranesh was placed at Walnut Grove as a young principal in this powder keg of a situation. And then the "fun" began.

Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE!) was unhappy when JV took radical measures to secure the school. You should have heard the uproar. But then Sandy Hook happened and suddenly we had parents/teachers monitoring every nook and cranny.

Our school rooms were filthy. I mean seriously filthy. At one point I volunteered to stay after school to clean the desks and vacuum. That idea was squashed before I could finish the offer. "No can do! THAT would be a violation of the Union contract." BUT there was NO janitor doing the job. And forget about after school activities. Bathrooms were locked, children sat on the filthy floors and spills were allowed to congeal. It was a big problem that Jon Vranesh tried to correct. Read the complaint - you'll see how well that worked out for him.

And then there was the year with no Resource teacher. Don't get me started on that one. JV did well by our family, but that year was a WASTE for every single resource child at Walnut Grove. The compliance issues alone, should be a law suit worth big bucks. JV got all the blame but had absolutely no authority to fix it. Although he tried and tried. I saw it with my own two eyes.

And don't forget about the new "Pledging" system for field trips (imposed by the District), causing all our teachers to become fundraisers and holding our field trips hostage until we all chipped in enough money to cover those who didn't pay. Sounds a little like extortion to me.

And lastly we come back to the demise of the Discovery Program. What a political hot potato. It needed to go and the District made Jon Vranesh the scape goat.

So, you ask if I believe Jon Vranesh OR six elementary teachers moving in a pack (and egged on by the Union)? I believe Jon Vranesh. His only mistake was trying to right, too many wrongs, too fast.

Did Jon say a swear word in frustration? Perhaps. Did he voice his frustration in a weak moment to the wrong person? Perhaps. Is this enough to END A CAREER? Absolutely NOT!

His complaint smacks of the truth. This isn't going away anytime soon. I guarantee it.

And for those of you who think JV should "Do the right thing and drop it for the kids sake" are you kidding me? PUSD is not only a public school system, it is an EMPLOYER. PUSD must be held accountable to the same laws that our own employers work with. They can't destroy a career and get away with it. Next time it could be you.

Posted by watchdogs
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Feb 19, 2015 at 8:20 pm

watchdogs is a registered user.

Ok, lets start here,NOBODY really knows for sure what happened, or what he said. Maybe all the teachers were and snoty to him like the people at the office, (excluding JV) they are bad, they are just unorganized, very snotty, my student who went there said JV was a good principal. Well if we had teh facts then you can get a gown and gavel but until then, STOP JUDGING HIM. For all you know it could be the opposite maybe his was doing the right thing. Also the teachers and office staff are usually snotty, and very judgmental.

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