School anxiety high as cuts loom

Class size increases are being considered along with eliminating some high school counselors and other staff reductions in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District as it faces a $30 million budget deficit over the next two years.

"We're trying to be as transparent as possible," said district spokesman Terry Koehne. "But this is a difficult time. It inherently creates a lot of anxiety in the schools and with the staff."

Superintendent Steve Enoch presented a list of possible reductions at the school board meeting Tuesday that included losing administrative and support staff as well as two middle school assistant principals for a savings of $1.5 million.

Eliminating eight full-time counseling positions in the high schools, increasing grades kindergarten through third to 28 students plus having larger classes in middle school, ninth grade and for ROP classes could save another $6.4 million.

"The recommendation is to reduce counseling services by 30 percent," said Enoch's report. "This would require noticing all counselors as any modification to the case load must renegotiate with SRVEA (San Ramon Valley Education Association)."

Reducing custodial support and eliminating crossing guards would result in another $455,000 savings.

Enoch also looked at shifting categorical funds to the general fund as follows:

Reducing summer school by 50 percent ($194,000)

Maintenance "sweep" - previously restricted money from major maintenance projects that the state now allows to be used to fill the budget gap ($2.4 million)

Instructional materials fund ($700,000)

Reduction of Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment ($259,810)

These hard decisions will be made at the March 9 meeting, after negotiations are held that day between the district and the SRVEA.

"The district is hoping to receive employee concessions," said Koehne. "That is happening around the entire state. Districts are in the same situation - the more the burden is shared, the more we can preserve jobs."

Other districts have instituted furlough days, which are days off without pay. This reduces annual earnings for employees but would be structured so a full service year would still be credited toward retirement, according to the district Web site. Each furlough day for all employees saves the district approximately $750,000.

The School Board must make these decisions about teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses and administrators no later than March 15, when layout notices are mandated by the state to go out.

The district will also negotiate with the non-teacher units, CSEA (Civil Service Employees Association) and SEIU (Service Employees International Union), but they are not subject to the March 15 deadline, said Koehne.

The School Board meeting on March 9 will take place at 7 p.m. at the Education Center, 699 Old Orchard Drive in Danville.


Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Feb 27, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Don't you dare eliminate crossing guards! Are you nuts?! Now we see how much the unions care about our kids. They say infantile class sizes are important for their future (not). Well you know what's most important for their future? LIVING! NOT GETTING RUN OVER!!! You eliminate crossing guards to keep uselessly numerous unionists and I swear you will have a parent riot. That will be the time for pitchforks and torches

That being said, thank you for considering CSR on your list for balancing the budget

Posted by Aaron, a resident of Alamo
on Feb 27, 2010 at 7:17 pm


[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] Do you think you're funny? You're not. Crossing guards? THAT's where you draw the line? [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Parents are FAR more concerned by their students' quality of education. When we raise the student to teacher ratio, learning problems are missed, shy kids are ignored, one on one interaction is reduced, and teachers are stretched too thin to properly review students' work and give feedback. A lack of counselors handicap our kids' ability to find productive careers and entry into leading universities that match their skills and goals. These cuts affect REAL people - our children and our greater economic goals as a society - not just some unionized employees that you've demonized [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language].

Posted by Hal Bailey, a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Dear Dolores,

I will contact Terry at SRVUSD and provide volunteer crossing guards or provide private payment for the current crossing guards. That is a simple remedy that does not deal with the exceptional issues of loss of capable staff in our schools.

There is not enough community money to heal all issues.


Posted by American, a resident of Danville
on Feb 27, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Aaron: I think you would be suprised to learn that most parents tend to agree with Gunslinger on many of the issues involving the budget problems and required cuts. Crossing guards should actually be the very last employees cut. We are talking life and death situations, not good faith arguments about whether 25 or 35 kids in a room is too much for a teacher to be effective. Over the years, I am appalled at how many near accidents I have seen near the schools, often from moms in SUV's talking on the cell phone, and if the crossing guards prevent one accident a year they are worth it! Moreover, if we get rid of crossing guards and an accident occurs, the district will get sued and our insurance rates will go up. Getting rid of crossing guard is penny wise and pound foolish. Standing up to the teachers union and gettng rid of run away pensions that we can no longer afford, and requiring more than 2 years to have tenure via union protection, makes a lot more sense, than getting rid of crossing guards. We also need to make sure that the administrators support the teachers in removing students from the classroom who are discipline problems, which would make it easier to increase the class sizes and save the district money. Why do you think so many great teachers agree to make so much less money and not have a pension, to teach at the private, particularly Catholic schools, in the area? Because they teach in a true learning environment, and do not have to spend all their time with the few problematic students who hijack the class.

Posted by willy T, a resident of Danville
on Feb 28, 2010 at 8:49 am

Good job American you nailed it all counts.

Posted by Carl, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 8:01 am

Let's see: We're looking at major cuts in education and child safety but we're still going to spend $15 million on "solar".

Terry's Folly wins again!

Posted by questioins..., a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 1, 2010 at 8:17 am

Good point, Carl. I wonder what other "useless" and "expensive" projects the school district is planning that are "unnecessary..." Before making any cuts to teachers, counselors, librarians, support staff, crossing guards, etc., the district should let the community know how our tax dollars are being spent.

Posted by Bella S., a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 8:40 am

The real problem is with the teachers union. They are unwilling to give on anything and are so territorial it's a joke. Sitting on our school's booster club board this year has been such an education in the ridiculous amount of waste that goes on. It's embarrassing to continually beg our parents for more money when it's spent so poorly. If we could free ourselves from these ridiculous constraints, the sky would be the limit.

Posted by PTA Mom, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 8:46 am

The greater issue really is the Governor and the Legislature in Sacramento that has cut $17 Billion from education in the last 2 years. We need to let our legislators know that this is simply unacceptable! Education can't bear anymore cuts. However, having said that I do think that our Superintendent is out of touch with this community. His emphasis on technology and not on people is concerning. There are 5 Assistant Superintendent's in his office and all making large salaries.
There is room to cut and it shouldn't be at the expense of our children's education and well being. The notion of eliminating or even reducing counselors is appalling! Please get involved and be part of the solution not the problem.

Thank you!

Posted by Ralph Hoffmann, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Mar 1, 2010 at 9:03 am

Hal and Aaron understand the current economic condition. Crossing guards, and many other jobs can be done by volunteers. In round numbers, 6% of the World possess 59% of the wealth, and all come from the USA. Eighty percent live in poverty, 70% are illiterate, 50% are malnourished, but only 1% has a university degree. If you went to worship this weekend without fear, you're luckier than 3 billion people. End of Sermon.

Posted by patriotic mom, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 9:05 am

Why is it that with all of these meetings, the 5 Assistant Superintendents are never mentioned? I'm sorry ... but it's time to look at the "top" and figure out how they can double-up on job responsibiities.
You are also "right on" about the lack of priority that is placed on our future with these huge cuts in education.
Thank you!

Posted by Danville mom, a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Mar 1, 2010 at 9:14 am

Did you know that in Singapore the government picks the top 2 % of College graduates and offers them very prestigious teaching positions in the public schools AND pays them very generously? That is because they value the teaching profession and they know the future of their country is dependent on the education of the children.

Get with America, figure out that we should value and respect our teachers more than our entertainers and athletes!

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 9:34 am

The governor demands fiscal responsibility from the teachers unions who yes were part of the economic collapse. The sheister banks were just the straw that broke the camels back. Illegal immigration and the bloated public education system account for 60% of the states budget. Half of that goes to classroom size reduction, the singlemost wasteful concept ever conceived.

Posted by Board Meeting Attendee, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 9:46 am

The elimiation of crossing guards was not a union idea. That idea was presented to the board by the superintendent. Each Board member agreed that it was "criminal" and "homicidal" to eliminate crossing guards and that they would not vote for that in the budget.

Posted by questions, a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 1, 2010 at 10:11 am

PTA Mom....I think you are right. I think I heard that they gave themselves a raise, but no one else got one. Hmmmmmm.

Posted by Board Meeting Attendee, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 11:15 am

Also expressed by the Board

1. Compared to other school districts, SRVUSD operates on a skeleton administrative crew. They can't really save a significant amount of money by eliminating more Admin.
2. Enoch (and I assume the other Superintendents) will not and are not scheduled to receive a raise during this time. It is not written in their contracts.
3. Payroll is approximately 85% of the budget. The only place they can make significant savings is in the reduction of payroll (aka program cuts, increasing class sizes, and reducing para's and counselors.

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 11:31 am

I would like to express my deep gratitude that the board stood up for our childrens lives, protecting them from being run over, as I saw once happen to a kid when I was ten at vista grande. Thank you board members. The communitys not looking for a fight with you. We just want you to fight for us, and there you did. So thank you. And thank you for looking to the proper issues to align the budget, such as csr

Posted by Reader, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Mar 1, 2010 at 2:26 pm

The following is a list of quotes from the forum above that are either false, misconstrued, or a self-serving opinion.

"I think you would be suprised to learn that most parents tend to agree with Gunslinger on many of the issues involving the budget problems and required cuts."

-That is why 72% of the community voted for Measure C last year, right? I don't think so.

"Why do you think so many great teachers agree to make so much less money and not have a pension, to teach at the private, particularly Catholic schools, in the area? Because they teach in a true learning environment, and do not have to spend all their time with the few problematic students who hijack the class."

-A true learning environment is established by a teacher, not a school or a district. Sorry.

"We're looking at major cuts in education and child safety but we're still going to spend $15 million on "solar"."

-Actually the Solar Project will cost 25 million plus interest. But it is a loan from the Federal Government and would not come out of the general fund. It has to go towards facility improvement.

"There is room to cut and it shouldn't be at the expense of our children's education and well being."

-I am sorry to tell you but any cut to education in this district is going to impact students. We have one of the smallest budgets in the state compared to other districts our size. We are at that point already.

"Illegal immigration and the bloated public education system account for 60% of the states budget. Half of that goes to classroom size reduction, the singlemost wasteful concept ever conceived."

-Actually education alone accounts for 60% percent of the state budget. The actual state spending on illegal immigration is unfounded and unable to be accurately analyzed without biased input because of their natural existence in the social and economic fabric of Californian society.

Oh and I would refer to the current Teen Wire Article about a student's perspective on class size.

Web Link

Posted by Another Board Meeting Attendee, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm

People, let's face reality. California is nearly bankrupt. To demand more funding is a pipe dream.

Nonetheless, SRVUSD has one of, if not the, lowest administrator expense ratios in the state. Maybe some of you think a district of 26,000+ students can be run with no management at the top, but it's just not possible. The fact is, by the way, that there is one superintendent and there are THREE assistant superintendents. No raises either.

As for solar, the district would pay for it with a very low interest loan, not out of the budget. As many of you probably know most solar projects pay for themselves through PG&E rebates and "sale" of energy produced back to PG&E. I don't know why that wouldn't be the case with SRVUSD.

If any of you attended the last board meeting, you would have learned that technology spending in the district is almost entirely funded by parent donations. Parents seem to value technology. Actually, so does the rest of the world.

As "Board Meeting Attendee" said, 85% of the budget is people cost. The district has been spending its discretionary reserves to cover the cuts in state funding, and those will soon be gone. Unless cuts are made; i.e., people laid off, the district will be out of money. Of course, maybe labor will agree to take some pay cuts to save jobs and programs like counselors, libraries and crossing guards.

I know some believe government and public education are a waste. Most believe the opposite. I believe SRVUSD has managed its finances well, but if you can't control your revenue (school districts are all funded at the whim of the legislature), all you can do is cut expenses when state funding declines.

Maybe we should spend more energy looking at reforming the running of the state, for example the ludicrous requirement for a 2/3 majority to pass a budget, and hold our legislators accountable. The current system breeds irresponsibility and inaction in Sacramento.

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 4:40 pm

A reader, don't lie. 70% of the community did not vote for measure C. Choose your words without being a liar. What was the turnout for that election? Oh that's right, poor. Why? Because of your surreptitious special elections where mainly unionists knew about the vote and thus they voted it into being. Liar

A true learning environment is established by good parents who raise good kids and not a bunch of punks. Usurper

But thank you for showing that the bloated education system is even more of burden than I protrayed. I was faulting on the cautious side. So education and illegal immigration account for more like 75% of the states budget. It's probably more, but like you said there's no stats on that, just like there's no stats on anything that controverta the liberal agenda

Oh yeah, refer us to the one kid you unionists are allowing to write a blog here. Having a boy do your dirty work. Why don't the majority of kids who couldn't care less about class sizes have a blog. Imbalance much?

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 4:42 pm

I agree that the attack on adminstrative costs is a ruse to take our eyes off the real ball- CSR

Posted by Reader, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Mar 1, 2010 at 6:10 pm

1. If you don't vote don't complain

2. Parents are rarely if ever in a classroom contributing to a learning environment.

3. I don't know this student who wrote the blog and I am not affiliated with the union. But I am pretty sure he is not the only person in this community who feels this way about CSR.

Why don't you ask Danville Express to allow students to report on the advantages/disadvantages of class size reduction programs?

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Hey reader, pay attention. I specifically said that the teachers unions purposefully mobilize special elections attempting to thwart the will of the voters. They're hoping most of the community won't know about it. Thats why they never put a parcel tax on a normal ballot in November. They are purposefully trying to keep voters out of the booth. Get it?! We're not talking about the voters being lazy. We're talking about purposeful corruption, purposeful denial of voters rights through maintaining as much secrecy about the vote as possible. Get it?!

You're flippant comment hopefully only serves to awaken this community

Posted by Betty, a resident of Blackhawk
on Mar 1, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I actually think there are only three assistant superintendents. (There were four, but now I believe there are only three.) Compare that to other districts the size of SRV.

The real issue is whether the employees (unions) will join management in taking salary cuts in order to save jobs and smaller class sizes.

Posted by Reader, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Mar 1, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Right, passing a parcel tax in November would have been logical given that the school year already would have been well underway.

And if I remember correctly, the Danville Express ran several articles on Measure C as did the Contra Costa Times, it wasn't a secret. If I remember correctly, it was a mail-in ballot that was distributed to every community member within the SRVUSD. People didn't even have to go to the polls, all they had to do was mail it in. And if I remember correctly, the Measure C campaign was formed by the PTA, School Board, and SRVEA, not just the union.

So much for your allegation of corruption. Every voter received the ballot. Hence, if you don't vote, don't complain.

Pay Attention yourself and again, get your facts straight!

But now why are we debating the past. Please continue with your "flippant" analysis of school budgets and class size reductions.

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Then why are the turnouts always drastically lower than a normal election? Do people not care about schools? Do they not care about being taxed? Right. It's beause people have busy lives and it often takes a couple months before they even hear about a new measure or prop, and another few months before they make their minds up about it. That's why in normal elections the debate cycle starts at the beginning of the year, giving almost a year of hearing and thinking about it before they vote. And people know that they might be having to vote for something in November, so even if they haven't heard about what's on the ballot they know to start doing their research. They don't expect that at the beginning of the year. The facts are that these special elections are consistently done in a rush with little time for debate, little time for the information to spread, regardless of some articles done by some papers, because normally there's thousands of articles on a measure in a normal election. We're on to this game. The jig is up. You'll see that in the next special elections

Posted by Dan, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 7:52 pm

To the parent who commented that teachers in Singapore are valued. Yes, they are and they work the entire calendar year, 6 days a week, for their pay. Here, the average salary of a teacher is $87,000 for working 1 day more than half a year of full time (8 hour) days. So if our teachers want to give up their very generous summer and holiday breaks and a year of full time days, including Saturdays, they'd be earning $174,000. Still think they're underpaid? On top of that, why should they retire with 90% of their high 3 salary for life? Honestly, SRVUSD teachers and all CALPERS employees have one of the best deals in the country. Your sympathy is misguided.

Posted by Reader, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Mar 1, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Gunslinger, you are stretching now. I can read the little boy coming out in you. No one said democracy was easy.

Now back to the topic please.

Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Reader: you are correct - the Measure C ballot was a simple check off and mail in ballot.

Dan - where do you get your figures for the average teacher salary? Are they across the board, or specific to public education? That number feels high to me.

Posted by American, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Reader: Let me give you an example of how even the best intention teacher can not create a true learning experience by herself if the district and/or adminsitration does not remove problematic students. When my child was in elementary school, there was a problematic student who had been kicked out of several other schools in the district, and put in our school. The student did not have parents involved, and lived with a grand parent. The student was constantly hitting, kicking, terrorizing the class, and the principal and administration refused to suspend and expel the student, despite repeated requests by the teacher. All of the students in that class, and the teacher, suffered, and did not have a true learning experience. Due to the serious budget problems, we have no choice but to increase class size, but we can continue to have top schools if the district supports the teachers in removing problematic students who hijack the learning experience. Teachers in our district, similar to teachers in private schools, will agree to less money and less benefits, if the administration supports the teachers so they do not have to waste so much time with disclipline problems. It is a win-win situation, and in this economy, any type of win is a good thing. We do not need any more parcel taxes.

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 1, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Reader, no one said democracy was easy? What does that even mean? I didn't know it was part of democracy to thwart the will of the voters. Boy, that's news to me. You flippant little I can't say it on this blog. The community knows what's up. We need a civil rights act for taxpayers

To both you and Dianne, if there were no chicanery going on, then why is the turnout consistently so much lower than in normal elections? Riddle me that. I guess people just don't care to vote on issues concerning schools or bearing a greater tax burden.


Posted by Concerned parent, a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Mar 1, 2010 at 9:17 pm

With depression and suicides among teens on the rise, how can they even think about cutting counselors?

Posted by another reader, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Mar 1, 2010 at 10:00 pm

someone seriously needs to take his meds....

Posted by Master, a resident of another community
on Mar 1, 2010 at 11:35 pm

"Posted by Ralph Hoffmann, a resident of the Walnut Creek neighborhood, 14 hours ago
Hal and Aaron understand the current economic condition. Crossing guards, and many other jobs can be done by volunteers. In round numbers, 6% of the World possess 59% of the wealth, and all come from the USA. Eighty percent live in poverty, 70% are illiterate, 50% are malnourished, but only 1% has a university degree. If you went to worship this weekend without fear, you're luckier than 3 billion people. End of Sermon."

Are you a priest or reverend?

Your comments are uneducated and show your ignorance. Since when do you think the US has all the money and owns the world. If the US has so much money why don't they pay China back?

Your statistics are not reliable and have no proof how can you think them to be of any one to listen to?

Illiterate, have you check how many illiterate people they have in this county, state, not to mention country? Poverty, what is your interpretation? If the US has so much money why don't you go and take your citizens of the street, food, and education? Only 1% of the rest of the world has a college degree? Do you know that they multi produce master degrees in Science and Engineering? How about Israel? They are so tiny but yet 7 out of 10 citizens are a doctor. They have high developmental inventions and revolutionary medicine. If you hate the rest of the world so much, if you ever get cancer don't take Zofran, guess who invented it? How about Saudi Arabia, without their oil the US cannot move? You even need to export vegetables because this ground is hard and bitter with hate. How about the French and the Germans? People there go to college.

Did you even go to college? Ralph, I do not believe that is your name, why do you incorporate religion into your writing. Do you know that public schools are non-sectarian, and are not supposed to endorse religion. Your religious crap is not needed here. Do you think that JC will come and send 100 million from the sky, and then the beast from Revelations Chapter 13 is eating it?

Perhaps will all the sleeping of the US in lack of integration and global participation the dragon in China will come and eat you.

Regarding the students of SRVUSD, a good student will learn in any environment. Don't forget the Dougherty Valley High School has 85% Asian Power, and minds and brains that will go somewhere.

Also, if you reside in Walnut Creek, how does the situation here directly affect you, adversely or for the better?

Anyways the students here do not want to learn, they do Algebra I in like 5 pieces, while the Asians and any other race go to Statistics, and can already do semi-conductor.

Posted by Here we go again..., a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 2, 2010 at 7:52 am

Per Board Member Attendee:

"2. Enoch (and I assume the other Superintendents) WILL NOT AND ARE NOT SCHEDULED TO RECEIVE A RAISE DURING THIS TIME. It is not written in their contracts."

That is present and future tense. They accepted raises when it was already known that the district was having financial difficulties. So I guess it's ok now to lay off staff and cut programs...

And what about future projects? I heard that the district would like for every student to have a computer. Are these to be paid for with district funds? Or grants? How? It seems that Superintendent Enoch is a huge fan of "technology." And technology is expensive. Right now, it is more important to keep people working!

Posted by Reader, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Mar 2, 2010 at 8:53 am

Based on the most current salary schedule available from the district website is $64,162 per full time credentialed teacher.

This is taking the average of the lowest salary offered ($44,376) and the highest salary offered ($83,949).

Not quite sure what "...for working 1 day more than half a year of full time (8 hour) days." means but a full time credentialed teacher is required to work 185 days a year, but this doesn't include the unlogged hours of teachers who work at nights, weekends, coach, lead clubs and organizations, tutor, and work summers.

I would imagine if teachers were paid hourly, the wages would be double or more.

Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Mar 2, 2010 at 9:31 am

GS - the debate around Measure C was quite visible and I can't imagine that anyone was unable to make their vote given the simplicity of a mail in ballot. I sure didn't see any attempt to deceive anyone on either side of the issue (other than on these message boards).

Master (Elliott? Is that you?) - so, all Caucasian school children don't want to learn/don't have the capacity to learn. Is that your position? That's a pretty racist and bleak proposition. Where did you get your ethnic breakdown for DVHS? I think you are a bit off in terms of the Asian student population - this is the breakdown according to what I have, provided by the school:

Ethnic Makeup:
 48% Asian
 29% Caucasian
 7% Filipino
 7% African American
 7% Hispanic
 <1% Native American
 <1% Pacific Islander

Your misinterpretations of other comments are interesting but they are your own opinion and you can be as racist, hateful and misinformed as you wish - but when you quote statistics you might want to check your figures.

Posted by American, a resident of Danville
on Mar 2, 2010 at 10:04 am

I attended both public, and private schools. My child attends public school. I have a lot of friends whose children attend private schools. Based on my personal observations, and talking with others who have knowldege, this seems clear about the teachers:
(1) The best public school teachers are just as good, and probably better, than the best private school teachers;
(2) The worst public school teachers are substantially worse than the worst private school teachers. The bad private school teachers are removed, as they do not have a union to prevent the administration from removing them. The bad public school teachers remain forever, as after two years they have tenure and are unremovable.
(3) The best teachers, whether private or public, can succeed with large class room numbers. The worst teachers, whether private or public, fail even with limited, small class room sizes.
(4) With limited budget resources, the best and only option for our public district is to stand up to the union, remove the protections from the union that keeps bad teachers around, and increase class size, with good teachers. However, the district needs to support the good teachers by removing problematic, discliplinary students from the class, who hijack the learning experience.

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 2, 2010 at 11:23 am

Absolutely American!

Dianne- then why is there always such low turnout at special elections? Do we just not care about votes about our schools or paying more taxes? I think not. Obfuscate all you want, these special elections are designed to thwart the will of the voters. People get so much damn junk mail that the elections already over half the time before they even come across their ballots

Posted by Parent, a resident of Danville
on Mar 2, 2010 at 12:01 pm

There's a low turnout because most people really can't be bothered. You'd have to live in a cave not to see the signs all over town, the parents holding signs in front of schools, the mailers. There's no conspiracy here. Move on.

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Parent, I was saying why are turnouts so low compared to normal elections. So people care about issues in November but not at the beginning of the year? I think not. The community knows they're not lazy or apathetic. You calling them that will only ensure your surreptitious special elections never work again the way you wish.

You speak of a couple months of debate and signs. In normal elections there's almost a year. But seriously, keep dissing on the community. You're doing me a service

Posted by Parent, a resident of Danville
on Mar 2, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Most people can't be bothered *with the special elections* that are school-related. You and I both know there are many people who don't read up on local political matters...they'll go out for the more comprehensive elections in November.

Posted by Reader, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Mar 2, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Its clear that Gunslinger can't get past the fact the Measure C was legitimately passed by the SRVUSD community. I am really out of responses for you, Rick. Sometimes you just have to accept that some people (in this case MANY people) do not agree with you. If that is too hard to handle, I suggest a therapist.

Nevertheless, I appreciate American's perspective on teaching environments and I appreciate him sharing his story. Unfortunately, your story is one out of 25,000 students' stories who pass through this district. I assure you, this encounter is not frequent and your analysis does not represent the whole.

If my rent check got lost in the mail last month and I had to pay a late fee, do I blame the entire postal service and demand Uncle Sam to pay my penalities? I would hope not.

This school community is on the brink of some serious transitions both budgetary and personnel. Instead of blaming and demonizing "liberals," "unionists," and "illegal immigrants," I suggest we come together as a community and figure out the best way to provide an education to the children of SRVUSD.

Posted by Peacemaker, a resident of Danville
on Mar 2, 2010 at 1:43 pm

You know, reading this post is interesting. I guess I can be encouraged by the fact that we live in a country where all individuals can express their opinions.

This is what I know; I know that we all, hopefully, have one thing in common regarding the students of the San Ramon Valley School District, or even private school students and it is this: we love children, we hope to make a difference in their lives, and we believe in education.

If you were at the past few School Board meetings, you would know that everyone involved is trying to work together; the Superintendent and School Board members, the teachers, the parents, and yes, the students were in attendance as well and vocalizing what they want. We're all trying to make the best of a difficult situation. Everyone knows family or friends who have lost jobs, homes, businesses and more. All groups are trying to work together to find a workable solution for a reduced budget. Much of what has been discussed on this forum were just ideas or suggestions. You can argue the implementation but the reality is that the budget is less than it has been and it will likely be less next year too. Together, we're all trying to find a solution that's best for kids (the problem is this; How do you choose? Who do you choose? What do you choose? The Arts? Sports? Science or math? Class size? ).

Moving forward, name-calling, rumors and mis-informed quotes are not constructive. Be a part of the solution, attend meetings, talk and write the School Board, Superintendent and the Union about your concerns...but as you do so, remember this; we have more in common than we have in disagreement (that we hope to make a difference in students' lives, we believe in education and we love children).

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 2, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Parent, you kind of made my point, though for the wrong reasons. You made my point that there is a difference in turnout for special elections, which is why the unions always want them. I would firmly disagree though with your reason, that parents don't care about their schools and the community doesn't care about more taxes. Please, how dumb do you think the readers of this blog are?

Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Mar 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Peacemaker - thank you for working to get this back on track. Yes, of course we are all concerned with the best education for our students though we differ in what we believe will be most meaningful toward that end.

GS/Rick - you are trying very hard to demonize Parent but you are the only one taking the bait. Reader is right - best to move on.

Posted by Master, a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2010 at 4:52 pm


Do you know that Filipinos are Asians?

Perhaps you never have been to Dougherty Valley High School. I personally counted all the students on campus, so if you care to join me we can count all of them and see whose percentage is correct.

How can you accuse me of being a racist?

Ralph Hofmann if that is his real name is the real racist who believes that all immigrants and minorities are uneducated and illiterate. When he does not even know how illiterate some whites are. And yes, the white children in majority do not want to learn, and are doing nothing but posting on myspace to get "hit up." Have pornography, and buy illegal drugs. They also offer adult services on craigslist.

You should ask the Japanese student from SRVHS or MVHS from the TeenWire who is the 14 yr. old Juvenile probationer.

If I recall, you are the woman who loves to give Holiday Greetings, correct? Do you know that schools are non-sectarian? Religion is not allowed in schools. How can you also believe that I am Elliott, what makes you believe that I am Elliott. Do you have some problems in your head with Elliott, or are playing Elliott in your head? Also, do you play Rick or Gunslinger in your head? Leave Gunslinger alone, mind your own business he is concerned about the community.

You should think before you place you racist agenda on the web.

You are Anti-Israel, Anti-Saudi Arabia, and Anti-China, the dragon who has money to borrow the US money.

Gunslinger, care to comment? Gunslinger makes sense and has a point, along with Aaron.


Posted by Daniel Morizono, a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Mar 2, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Daniel Morizono is a registered user.

The Japanese student from SRVHS from the Teen Wire is not the 14 yr. old Juvenile probationer.

Posted by Master, a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2010 at 5:14 pm

I did not say that you are the criminal.

You should not place that there is a 14 yr. old with probation it is a violation of the California Penal Code. Furthermore you do not have evidence or a police report to prove that this 14 yr. old is on probation. Why don't you get it? What college is going to take someone lacking critical thinking and moral standards? Slander and Libel should be executed in a court against. Where is your evidence?

Do you know how to read?


You are confirming thew probation:

"Every incoming freshman is placed into a section of English 9. At San Ramon Valley High School and Monte Vista High School there are no Advanced, Honors, or Advanced Placement English classes available for freshmen. The academically driven student who listens to his or her teacher is placed in the same classroom as the 14-year old juvenile probationer."

Posted by Ken, a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 2, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Dear Daniel Morizono,

Since you go to SRVHS; I want some investigation on the knives and gun brought to school by a junior in December. Who is he, and why he was not arrested or expulsed? Did you get coverage for this story? I got the story from an insider of the school. Is he on probation?

Thanks in advance.


Posted by Sarah DeJesus, a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Mar 2, 2010 at 5:51 pm

An unfortunate aspect of the online forum is the lack of manners of many people who post. I cannot imagine you would speak this way to one another if you were to meet in person to discuss these matters.

I am particularly disturbed by the way adults are speaking to the young man who has put himself on the line here by posting and writing an article using his real name. You can disagree with him and still be respectful and civil.

This forum could be a place to share and discuss ideas in a constructive manner if a less contentious tone could be achieved. How about it?

Sarah DeJesus

Posted by Disappointed Teacher, a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Dear Gunslinger,
You clearly have not been in or around any classroom in our district lately or you are completely ignorant! As it seems you have quite a bit of spare time on your hands to complain, I would love to invite you to come spend ONE day teaching my students. Let me give you a brief picture of what your day may be like. Be sure that upon your arrival you have planned and prepared standards based appropriate lessons that include extensions for those students in your class that need a challenge provided, as well as re-teach activities that the group of struggling students will need in order to grasp the concept today. Please note that theses groups will be different in every subject you are teaching today. During Writer's Workshop be sure they are writing five page stories with incredible writing craft like adult authors with character development, descriptive language, and detailed plots. You need to be sure that they are all reading at standard and you are filling in the holes for those that did not attend kindergarten or may not have all their sounds mastered yet before they got to you. You will then need to take them and ensure you have given them adequate structured P.E time during the day because the district has cut elementary P.E instruction. Don't forget that you need to take them into the computer lab so that they can work on the computers that are so old they are beginning to crash one by one, and teach students to create documents, find information on the web, and be technologically literate. Unfortunately, there is not anyone that can support you in this endeavor but it is mandated by the district that you be implementing technology even when all students are sharing one computer because your campus does not have the necessary technology they are mandated to be using. Above and beyond the delivery of quality differentiated instruction today you will also need to ensure that each child is feeling safe both physically and emotionally, you will referee their disagreements and help them resolve disputes because most of the children don't have these skills yet. They need greater development of social problem solving skills due to the fact they don't have the necessary time in Kindergarten to develop social skills as academics, increasing standards, and technology training are being pounded into them earlier these days. There are no counselors, or supports for you to lean on because the district has already taken those away. Be hopeful that no one gets hurt unless you have the benefit of it being Friday because you will be responsible for tending to their first aide care as there is no nurse on campus until Friday. Don't forget that you also have playground supervision twice today, and you will need to spend any additional recess and lunch time grading the papers and assessments from the day, responding to parent emails, reading district emails, and updating the classroom website all because your prep time has been eliminated. At some point you will try to squeeze in eating and possibly a restroom break-but good luck. At the end of the day be sure that your special helpers empty the trash from your room because custodial services have been cut and there will be no cleaning of your room at night. Rush off to your staff meeting where you will be informed of new cuts and more added duties to your workload. Before you leave be sure you prepare for the next day's curriculum and activities and prepare for your 7:30am meeting with parents and administration to discuss interventions for a struggling student. Please be prepared to stay until at least 6pm before you finally pack up more manuals, papers that need reviewed and graded, and items that need to be prepped and assembled for the week's activities and commute 2 hours home where you see your own son for 1 hour prior to him going to bed. Finally after he is asleep pull your school bag out and continue working all to do it over again tomorrow. Oh, and did I mention those 28 students you are responsible for are six years old? I'm not sure the last time you were responsible for ensuring that 28 six year olds were all engaged and working on task for 7 hours, however, I would love for you to come share with me your expertise in this area as apparently I am a "uselessly numerous unionist" and the job that I do day in, day out, on the weekends, and throughout the summer to ensure the students in your community are well educated is not important to you! I understand that you feel I have "vacations" and "summers off" perhaps you would like to attend and pay for the numerous classes, seminars, and trainings my colleagues and I take over the summer to stay up on the newest teaching methods, or the extra suitcase that I pack of "school work" that goes on my family vacations. Or how about attending the numerous grade level meetings we have over the summer refining our program and implementing new curriculum and ideas only to be told 3 days before the school year begins you will be teaching a different grade at a different school because the district has decided to collapse your class. Yes, I only get paid for 186 work days a year but I guarantee you I am working well beyond the 8 hours/day for 186 days I am being paid for. I have been a teaching in this district for 7 years and I'm certainly not making the $87,000 a year that Dan claims teachers here are making! In actuality we are making pennies when you divide our salary by the amount of hours we devote to the children in this community. Can I manage 28 students? Absolutely! Can I handle the "hijackers" in the crowd? Absolutely! Will the quality of students' education decrease as a result of class size increase? Absolutely! Student behavior is not the issue here. It is the differentiation that is made possible by class size reduction. It is the one-on-one attention in the early years to challenge students, or support struggling students. When you increase class size you loose the ability to meet students' individual needs as thoroughly as you can at 20:1. I meet with all of my students each week. I check in, hold reading conferences, writing conferences, etc. I know where they are struggling and where they are finding success. With greater class sizes that won't be the case. It will mean monthly meetings. Now how can my day to day instruction be as meaningful and on target if I can only check in with students each month because I have too many to see? Your comments make me sick -knowing that my colleagues and I are here in the trenches working as hard as we can because we love the students and want them to be successful academically, emotionally, and socially, and to think that you think so little of us as people and of the work we do just completely blows me away. We love our students, our schools, and our job. I knew that going into the teaching profession would not be an easy road, it would not be for the money (however, I too have a morgage that needs paid and bills that need attention. I can't work for free.) It was not for "summers off" (because anyone that knows a teacher...knows that is not the truth), but I thought at least I would be respected as a professional. I was not aware of how unappreciated teachers in this district truly are nor can I tell you how deeply your comments and opinions sadden me!

Posted by Reader, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Mar 2, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I believe that wraps up any questions about the responsibilities and hours that a teacher devotes to his/her students day in and day out, summer after summer, vacation after vacation.

Bless you Disappointed Teacher. An excellent account! I just hope people take the time to read it.

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 2, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Disappointed teacher, if I wrote a long diatribe about what I have to do in a day it would be indeed longer than your spiel. I'm not going to whine about that though. Needless to say I have a job which is equally time consuming as yours, I take care of my kids, and I'm daring to try to make a difference in my community on these forums, which you then try to demean like an adolescent. Dude, I could easily do your job. Yeah I'm saying it. I'm not impressed with your hyperbolized moans.

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 2, 2010 at 6:46 pm

And I want Kens questions answered- NOW

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 2, 2010 at 6:50 pm

And my last demand was not aimed at Daniel but the adults who run the school.

Posted by Yaro, a resident of Blackhawk
on Mar 2, 2010 at 7:03 pm

I want answers to Ken's questions.

Posted by Konnor Cambell, a resident of Alamo
on Mar 2, 2010 at 7:14 pm


Andrew Gardner knows who did it. Do you know that Andrew Gardner is currently the Interim Principal with a salary increase and retroactive pay?

Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Mar 2, 2010 at 8:31 pm


Nope - Jasmine gave the holiday greetings. Again, try to keep up.

Regardless of how you slice it, your version of the breakdown on the ethnicity of the kids at Dougherty Valley don't add up - however it all makes sense as you appear to be under the delusion that you got yourself onto the campus and counted/sorted the students by ethnicity one by one. Your post (as usual) makes no sense at all and is offensive. Your statement:

"the white children in majority do not want to learn, and are doing nothing but posting on myspace to get "hit up." Have pornography, and buy illegal drugs. They also offer adult services on craigslist"

is particularly inflammatory.

Posted by Scott, a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Gunslinger: I seriously doubt you could "easily" do the job of the Disappointed Teacher for one day let alone a full year. I don't know what type of time consuming job you have, nor do I care. I'm sure you make more money than a teacher does and it is obvious you don't want your hard earned money to be spent on your children's education.Hopefully you can take the time to teach you children to be the best readers in their elementary school as your parents did for you because as class sizes increase and budgets decrease they are not going to have that opportunity at school.If you were really the concerned parent who takes "care of my kids" that you want everyone to believe you are, you would be glad to have such dedicated teachers who are willing to sacrifice so much of their personal time and energy in these tough times for the benefit and education of kids like yours, instead of bashing and criticizing them every chance you get. Neither the teachers or their union created this problem yet every year they are expected to do more with less. People like you should direct your antagonistic remarks and attitude toward those who have really caused these problems and not the dedicated professionals who go above and beyond on a daily basis.Why don't you step up and act on your words, lets see how "easily" you could do the job of the Disappointed Teacher. I would definitely take time out of my busy schedule to be there!

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 2, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Blah blah blah. If you're going to spew nonsense platitudes, telling me I don't care about my kids education, and other BS insults that are indicative of a person who has shut their mind to any opinion other than that which you want to hear, than I'm shutting my mind to you. Needless to say, I think everything you wrote was nonsense

Posted by Scott, a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2010 at 10:48 pm

gunslinger: I never said you don't care about your kids education.I hope you care alot about their education.Maybe you should study up on your reading comprehension. You are the one who has shut your mind to all opinions that don't agree with your own.How adolescent is that! You seem to think that your opinion is the only one.If that is true, when are you going to step up and put your words to action and do the job of a dedicated teacher.After all, it is such an easy job, right? I can see how a person who is as self absorbed as you, would see anyone else's opinion as nonsense.If you're not willing to back up your words with actions you should try keeping your opinions to yourself.

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 3, 2010 at 12:29 am

Okay Scott, I don't bash teachers. I have analyzed a problem with the education system and I'm looking to fix it. So people like you want to broadly label me a basher. Similar platitudes are growing tiresome for me. You want to broadly label me. I will label you write back. And don't assume I think all teachers are worthy of my praise, so that you make me look cruel for not giving it. And stop saying I'm doing nothing to fix the problem. I'm doing a lot by arguing here with people like you for the whole community to see. If you want to have an open ear to me without judging me broadly, then I will give the same to you. And vice versa for if you wish to insult me, which is what all you pro unionists do first, then get mad when it's cast back

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 3, 2010 at 7:02 am

And I want Kens question answered. Is it true that a kid brought a gun to SRVHS and was not expelled?

Posted by a reader, a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2010 at 7:24 am

17/66 posts here are from you. How many are from teachers? Might be because teachers are busy all day doing their jobs. We got your message. Increase class sizes and don't waste time on unmotivated students. Got it. You've been heard.

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 3, 2010 at 7:35 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Posted by a reader, a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2010 at 7:44 am

Excuse me, but are you threatening me?

Posted by American, a resident of Danville
on Mar 3, 2010 at 8:49 am

Disappointed Teacher: Teaching is clearly not an easy job, and you have done a good job of breaking down all of your responsibilities. We appreciate all you do, and the importance of educating our children. But that is not the issue in front of us. The issue is the worst recession since the depression, budget restraints, and making tough decisions. That is the world we all live in. I am sure that everyone who follows this blog could write in how their job responsibilities have grown the last few years, while their income has actually gone down. Every job, whether law enforcement, engineer, teacher, or CPA, is being asked to do more, with less. That being said, class sizes are going to have to increase in our district. We can not afford to pay you anymore money, and in fact, your pension and/or benefits will have to be reduced. The district needs to support you by removing problematic, discliplinary students from your class, so that you can do your job. Hopefully, in 5-10 years, the economy will improve, and you will be rewarded for doing a good job in a tough situation. All of us are in the same boat, and treading water. More parcel taxes will sink the boat, and we will all drown.

Posted by Aggravated High Schooler, a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Mar 3, 2010 at 9:34 am

Dear Disappointed Teacher,

While I understand your frustration about some of the comments posted by others I'm inclined to disagree with some of your arguments about the trials of a first grade teacher. I admit I am not a teacher but i have been a student for many years now. For you to say that you have to make your students write five page stories with incredible writing craft, descriptive language, and detailed plot in the first grade is ridiculous. I'm an Advanced English student at my high school and am yet to have been assigned a five page paper in my life! And then for you to say that these were first graders!!!! Now I went to a private school for a few years, and maybe I could understand your ambition for them if you taught at one, but in any case first graders should be drawing pictures! you say you have students who haven't gone to kindergarten, well if I were you I would focus on giving them the mental stimulation brought by coloring! not expecting them to be able to write a well thought out essay. While sat here an listened to my father read your post to me, I was coloring! For my Advanced English class no less! So don't complain about how hard it is to teach six year old at all stages of development when you're trying to get them to be able to write stories that surpass the first grade level. You have set yourself up for hard work and disappointment. I'm not telling you to stop teaching them writing skills, but what you have said is just ridiculous.

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 3, 2010 at 9:46 am

No I'm not threatening you reader. I'm sorry it came across that way. I meant I know what you represent and I will tear down all the things you stand for. I have better things to do than to personally threaten a guy on a blog

Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Mar 3, 2010 at 10:29 am

Go high schooler! You have more sense than most teachers

American, eloquent as usual. Thank you for taking a stand for the community. Seriously, you should consider running for office. You would win

Posted by Reader, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Mar 3, 2010 at 11:49 am

This discussion has clearly come to a close when people start referring someone to run for office and they don't even know their name or what they do. Ridiculous!

And for the record, I am not "A Reader" from another community who directed his/her quote to Gunslinger/Rick/Kai.

Its been a pleasure discussing these issues with you.

Posted by American, a resident of Danville
on Mar 3, 2010 at 11:54 am

Gunslinger: Thank you, and thank you for expressing your first amendment rights. Despite what others say, I do believe that your opinions often reflect the majority of the citizens of Danville. While they may not be politically correct in today's p.c. world, they are honest, and reflect a desire to improve our community, which I appreciate. Our community has some really difficult budget decisions to make in the upcoming weeks, and it is important that our leaders and/or adminstration know that the teachers union does not speak for the majority of the parents, who want our leaders to make those difficult decisions, without bankrupting our district with promises we can not afford to make. When budgets are tight, special interest groups, such as the teachers union, often get nasty and flex their power and play hard ball. Let us hope that our leaders have the courage and moral fortitude to do what is best for our community, for the parents, for the students, and do not give in to the demands of the special interest groups. I have faith in our country, and I am proud to be an "American"!

Posted by samiam, a resident of Danville
on Mar 4, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Actually, I support the schools and extra funding. I have to say that if I am honest, I know that the parcel tax was purposely placed in a special election to help insure passage. That is a well known tactic used by the consultants that were hired by the PTA to market and pass the tax.

Other districts do that also. It is a known way of getting a tax passed. That does not mean that the parcel tax was not a good idea. However, it DOES mean that it is incorrect to assume that 70% of the voters support the proposition that the schools need and deserve additional monies more then other projects. It is important to realize this as it is way too easy to simply report the ideas that you believe without questioning whether they are universally held.

As far as school budgets, we know that we will have to make some cuts, we don't have a lot of extra money. What needs to be done is to do some intelligent cuts. Does the school office really need three staff members as office support? Keep the cousulors, fire the secretaries. Much of what they do could be automated or ran by volunteers. It is not a special skill to run the copy machine, distribute mail or answer the phone.

Look at the current classes and see if some are not truely useful. My children can name at least three classes which were basically useless, I am sure there are others.

I want the schools to succeed, that is why I paid way too much to move here. I also agree that the community makes for a good or bad school much more then the teachers. I have been in schools with much lower rankings and I can name specific teachers at those schools who were outstanding.

Posted by Master, a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2010 at 7:57 pm


I think that there should be metal detectors at the high schools so that no one can smuggle anything into the schools that includes the employees. They should also have a civilian officer instead of a resource officer, as our neighborhood is not that rough, we will keep some class in our society.

I am suggesting, Gunslinger, that you call GE Security systems and ask for a donation directly to the schools, without middle men or politicians who will run away with the money to have this security devices invented by GE, like the ones used at the airport so our children stay safe.

All teachers should have drug screenings. And the board should be audited and their bank accounts should also be audited by IRS to see if they are the ones stealing money from education of SRVUSD. Also to seek if the administrators of the school district are the ones corrupt. The board members from here are the only ones who get paid, no where else in the US do board members get paid, it is a volunteer job.

If you have any more suggestions, please share it with the forum.

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