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San Ramon Unified School Taxes Are Out of Control

Original post made by Taxed Out, Danville, on Sep 25, 2012

I just received my property tax bill from the County, and all of the following are the CURRENT taxes I pay for our local school district:

$144-SRVUSD CLTax09-C
$143.61- San Ramon Unif 98
$304.36- SRVUSD Bond 2002.

Thus, CURRENTLY, I pay $591.97 EACH YEAR just in property taxes for our local school district. This does NOT include the "voluntary" $700 I am "coerced" into paying EACH year for the "school fees" when I register my child for classes. This also does NOT include the approximately $600 I pay each year for my child to play one sport at the local school.

Thus, CURRENTLY, EACH YEAR, I am paying approximately $1,891 for our public school. This obviously does NOT include the huge amounts in federal and state taxes that I pay each year that allegedly go to "education".

Yet, I received a phone call from a "local teacher", asking me if she could count on my vote for yet ANOTHER TAX for the so-called public school my child attends. Apparently, putting expensive, fancy, solar panels on all the schools is not enough, they "desperately" need more of my money.

Enough is enough! I encourage everyone who feels similar to me to get informed and vote AGAINST anymore taxes for our school district. We obviously need a top to bottom audit, and have some new people actually look at our school district budget and see what is going on. I encourage everyone to demand that anyone running for our school district pledge a "no vote" on any more taxes, or do not vote for them.

Look around, there is a huge recession going on, and if you are lucky enough to be working, you certainly are not flush with extra money for yet more taxes.

I live in a small, three bedroom house, in a very average neighborhood, but yet my property taxes for our local school district are through the roof.

I would like to hear if any of the candidates for the school board actually have the guts to respond to this. I doubt I will hear from anyone. Some one needs to have the courage to stand up for us tax payers, and tell the school board, the gravy train is done!

Comments (81)

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Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Sep 25, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Dear Taxed Out -

What amount do you think would be fair for you to pay each year toward the education of your children? And who should pay the balance of the cost?

"Public education" doesn't mean "free" education.


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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Sep 26, 2012 at 4:56 pm

So in local tax/bonds and requested donations you average $210 per month and you are crabbing about it? Try private school if you really want something to b!t{# about.


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Posted by Douglas
a resident of Blackhawk
on Sep 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Dave and Derek

Apparently, you two are you forgetting that a large portion of your state income taxes go to education as well. These monies ARE IN ADDITION to that. And yes, we already pay too much for a public education that is not very good. After all, we are towards the bottom of the education scale as compared with the other 49 states in the Union. Throwing more money at the problem is not the solution. Teacher unions and pensions need to go, and teachers need to be subjected to the same type of review criteria that the professionals are. It just might mean we start getting teachers to do their job!!!!


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Posted by Dan Parnas
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 6:40 am

I am a parent of students at Charlotte Wood and SRVH. I am also an independent member of the parcel tax oversight committee that got involved to see exactly where our tax dollars are going. I've been involved as an independent community member the past 2+ years looking closely at SRVUSD spending. I highly recommend you get informed about what is typical for high performing public school districts. What you will learn is The SRVUSD is one of the highest performing school districts in the state. So, to lump them into "we are towards the bottom of the education scale..." is the type of misinformation you will find on Fox News. We are very lucky to live in a school district like the SRVUSD. Our kids are getting an excellent public education, which is a big reason why we live here and the relatively low amount of taxes we pay, when compared to other similarly performing districts like Orinda, Lafayette, Montclair, etc actually positively contributes to our property values and the quality of the neighborhoods we live in. Far beyond the amount of the property taxes we pay.

Get informed and what you will find is that instead of pulling out sound bites about teachers unions or pensions that generalize the arguments against the public schools, you will find how lucky we are to live in this school district and that our relatively low tax dollars are actually being used wisely to keep the schools performing at top levels despite historically low levels of funding from the state.

Oh yeah, and as to those solar panels, which actually are a wonderful lesson for our kids about how to be responsible for our environment, if you get informed, you'll also learn they are saving money for the school district, not costing money. Seriously folks???


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Posted by Alamo Neighbor
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 27, 2012 at 7:03 am

Both of my children attended Rancho Romero, Stone Valley and graduated from Monte Vista High School. I have always found SRVUSD to be fiscally responsible.

Paying $ 591.97 per year in taxes is minimal to the quality of education your children are receiving. The $ 700.00 in fees that your school requests, will benefit your specific school and student. My kids both played high school sports and we paid and supported the programs. If you consider the hours of practice, tournaments, costs of facilities and small stipend any coach receives, the cost to you for your student's benefit, is minimal.

The costs you are paying now are preparing you for when you start paying $ 30,000.00 a year for a student's college education in California !


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Posted by D
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 27, 2012 at 7:31 am

Wow, you're getting away cheaply.

My taxes on the same items are:


$144 -SRVUSD CLTax09-C

$274 - San Ramon Unif 98

$582 - SRVUSD Bond 2002

But that, as another poster pointed out, is only a tiny part of the education spending story.


Here's a CA gov web site that breaks down the budget:

Web Link


Here's their info on education spending:

"How much of the State Budget is required to be spent on Education? What is Proposition 98?

Proposition 98 is an initiative passed in November 1988 and amended in June of 1990 by Proposition 111. It provides a minimum funding guarantee for school districts, community college districts, and other state agencies that provide direct elementary and secondary instructional programs for kindergarten through grade 14 (K-14).

The State's share of the guarantee is based on General Fund tax proceeds and is not based on the General Fund in total or on the State Budget. Its cost-of-living, population, local property tax proceeds (the local share of the total guarantee) and various other formulas and tests result in the calculation of an amount that is required to be appropriated by the state for K-14. The amount varies from year-to-year and throughout the stages of a fiscal year's budget (from the initial Governor's Budget proposal to actual expenditures), as the various factors change.

Proposition 98's share of General Fund tax proceeds averages about 40 percent. As a percentage of new (additional) General Fund tax revenues, Proposition 98 gets approximately 60 percent. That is, for an increase in General Fund tax proceeds of $100 million, Proposition 98 would get about $60 million on the average.

See Chart E, Proposition 98, General Fund, K-14; Chart C-3 Proposition 98 Expenditures, General Fund; Also see the Governor's Budget Summary, Elementary and Secondary Education under our Budget Documents pages. Also see Glossary of Budget Terms and Department of Finance Glossary."

Within the state, our schools rank well. Compared to all other states, however, we're in the bottom half.


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Posted by JDGirl
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 7:37 am

This comment is not going to be popular at all, but ladies and gentlemen, I've been paying school taxes like the rest of you, and I have NO children. I'm old, retired, and living on a fixed income and I'm still paying taxes for the education of all of your children. I actually believe that it would be more fair if people with children would have to pay more taxes for the education of their children than those of us who opted out of the mommy and daddy roles. But the argument has always been that we all benefit from the education of the children so I've never complained before. I understand that this is not the issue in the above comments, but I wanted to remind all the parents that even old ladies with no kids are paying those school taxes for the benefit of all of their children and I could sure use a break myself.


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Posted by LC
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Sep 27, 2012 at 7:38 am

Both of my kids have gone through Monte Vista HS and have gotten a superb education. Did you know that high school tuition at Athenian this year is $31,950? I think the school fees and taxes we pay are an absolute bargain--plus, what would I rather spend my money on than my own children's education? And now that my kids have graduated, I feel that my taxes will be an investment in the future for our community, not to mention keeping my property value high. Have you seen how many new families are flocking into our SRVUSD? Ask the realtors what keeps property values up--it's the reputation of our schools!

And as Dan said above, the solar panels are SAVING the district money, and schools all over the state are realizing that and looking into solar now. But we were able to take advantage of rebates and
low costs and are reaping the benefits already!


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Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 7:46 am

Maxed Out and Douglas, you are spot on. Dan, I resent your comment about misinformation on Fox News. It is a fact that we, as Californians, are at the bottom of the education scale. How dare you say that we should 'get informed' because we don't agree with you. I am quite informed about the current situation, and the fact is that our per pupil funding is the real problem. The largest item in the State of CA budget is education, yet, Prop 30 is on the ballot and if Gov. Brown doesn't get that passed, he has threatened to cut funding to schools again.
So, in addition to the $591.97 currently taxed, add Prop 30, and the combined effect of expiring 'Bush Tax Cuts' and new taxes related to 'Obamacare', and then add all the 'per child donations' that schools have in place, and the participation fees for everything, and tell me how we should be so happy to vote for Measure D.
By the way, those solar panels, by the time the bond is paid for, those panels will be out of service. They last about 20 years and the bond is expected to be paid over 30 years.
And don't anyone dare tell me that "its for the schools" like I don't love my kids if I don't vote for it!!!


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Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 7:55 am

JDGirl,I feel for you. You should look into the exemptions available on the different taxes. I'm not sure how "old" you are, but the last Parcel Tax had a provision for "old people" so they didn't have to pay.
To a certain extent the taxes are keeping your property value higher, but that argument has lost its appeal to me, since my value is still down 20% from when I bought my house.


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Posted by Dan Parnas
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 8:06 am

Mom of 3, I apologize if you took something I said the wrong way. It is a fact that Fox news is more misinformation than facts. You don't have to agree with me, please just get the facts right. We're not talking about the California school system we're talking about the SRVUSD. SRVUSD is not at the bottom of any education scale, statewide or nationally. That is a fact. All you have to do is look at the school rankings, or the stats for graduation rates and how many of our kids go on to 4 year colleges. These are facts. We are blessed to live in a wonderful school district. We can complain all we want about the economic situation in California. It stinks and we have many problems to solve, but this discussion is about the taxes we pay for SRVUSD.

Sitting on the Parcel Tax Oversight committee as a community member, and not an employee, but someone with an accounting background, I have taken a deep dive into the SRVUSD's budget. We have had funding cut over $80 million in the past 4+ years by the state yet continue to perform at top levels in the state. That is a fact. How have we done it? With exceptional fiscal decisions by the SRVUSD and great contributions by the parents of this community and the great teachers that we have.

One of the reasons we need measure D is that we have managed to continue to perform well be deferring maintenance costs for the district and redirected that funding directly towards education. But, the district cannot defer maintenance forever. Older schools will fall apart, eventually putting children and faculty at risk. You can only kick the can down the road so far.

And the solar panels, again, you are misinformed. They are saving the district money, not costing the district money. Yes, they have a finite life and will be out of commission in 20-30 years, but during that time they will have saved the district millions, not cost anything. Please get informed and you will appreciate this great school district we live in. You don't have to agree with me, just get the facts straight for the sake of our community, we all benefit from being on the same page with our facts.


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Posted by Dan Parnas
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 8:17 am

Let's put this whole Solar panel distraction to rest. Just go to Web Link and you can follow the actual savings calculations by the district, combined with the projected future savings. What you will see is that in less than a year of operation, we have already saved over $2.1 million net of debt payments. At our current savings rate, there is a conservative estimate of saving $11.6 million over the life of the panels and the life of the debt payments on the bond. We are already trending savings at a much higher rate than was estimated. So let's applaud the district for making such responsible decisions, not vilify them. Don't take it from me, go to their website, read the reports and projects and get informed.


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Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 8:39 am

Dan, my point on the solar panels was that they will be likely need to be replaced before the current ones are paid for.
Dan, please cite your source for your assertion that its a fact that Fox News contains more misinformation than fact. Did you hear this on MSNBC?
As Douglas said, on a state by state comparison, CA is way down the list.


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Posted by Nancy
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 9:11 am

I am a no vote on any tax until the unfunded pension problem is addressed and transparent. I have two graduates from Monte Vista HS attending college. I want to ask parents in this area how much are you paying for tutoring per week and a college counselor? How much are you paying for SAT/ACT classes? The San Ramon tutoring center has so much business because of what is NOT being taught in the classroom. The students learn inside the classroom. What is being done to make sure students receive a quality education? It took five years to get a horrible math teacher at MV fired. He was only fired because he was new, otherwise he would be at MV forever. How many students per year fell behind with this teacher? How many parents were forced to get tutors? This is the issue we should be concerned about!


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Posted by Dan Parnas
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 9:27 am

Please view the facts on the solar panels. Web Link You will find the projections actually state they will be paid for while still operating an additional 3 years, with a 25 year warranty on the panels.

I don't watch any news programs because I believe they all have become biased and instead I choose to find the facts myself through review of sources and staying involved, such as my participation on the parcel tax oversight committee and volunteering in my kids schools to see for myself what is going on.

As to Fox News, there are many sources, including factcheck.org that will tell you, but here is a study that I found interesting and quite telling when the people that watch a news channel are less informed than those that watch no news at all. Web Link

If you simply apply your common sense internal meter, I think you'd realize within 5 minutes of watching Fox News that it is far from "news".

But let's keep the discussion on the SRVUSD because I think it is a healthy one. People need to understand better what is going on and I'm confident they will gain a greater appreciation for the great work they are doing. Do they make mistakes? Of course, but as an overall school system, as I've stated many times already, we're very lucky to live within this district in my humble opinion.

Further, if you'd like to see the results of the annual review that the parcel tax oversight committee, the past year's report can be found at Web Link . This is a group of 9 independent community members that volunteered to perform this function after the most recent parcel tax ballot. Personally, I volunteered, so that instead of complaining or supporting a tax measure, I could actually see exactly where our money was going and decide for myself.


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Posted by Douglas
a resident of Blackhawk
on Sep 27, 2012 at 9:59 am

Dan, did I ever state that my information came from Fox? No! Your Dan, did I ever state that my information came from Fox? No! Your assumption leads me to believe you are a liberal who thinks wealth distribution is a good idea. Now, back to the topic at handů I have done a lot of research on education IN THIS DISTRICT and have a student at Monte Vista who I basically seem to home school since so many of the teachers are incapable of doing their job. I am not sure what grades your SRVH student is getting, but have you left that student's education entirely up to the school, or have you somewhere along the road gotten a tutor or spent hours with him/her yourself because your child is not doing well? If the second answer applies, then SRVUSD is NOT doing their job! And although my student is at MV, don't think for a second I haven't heard about the goings on at SR from very good friends whose kids go there.

Also, I fault you for not doing your job on the oversight committee. It has been disgusting to read that more money is to be spent on Dougherty HS when Monte Vista, and to a lesser degree San Ramon, need major overhauls and money is being earmarked for things at a brand new HS. Fortunately, Monte Vista has a wonderful benefactor in the Duffield family and Workday and are getting a wonderful new library and technology center - no thanks to the parcel oversight committee! Fiscal responsibility is an oxymoron in SRVUSD. I am also going to make the assumption that you live in a much lesser expensive area of Danville and don't mind making the rest of us pay more because it won't affect you that much!


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Posted by Dan Parnas
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 10:14 am

Wow, personal attacks/assumptions about my beliefs certainly demonstrate your character. You won't pull me into that. When I hear Fox news talking points, I just call it out. If they came from elsewhere, I'm always happy to admit when I'm wrong.

My kids are both great students. I am thankful for that and certainly don't take credit for it. Have they had bad teachers over the years? Sure, but that has been far and away the exception, not the rule. My daughter had one bad teacher last year at Charlotte Wood and that teacher is no longer there this year. I have spent $0 on tutors to date on my kids. Perhaps that is luck that they are great students, I can't say. Certainly I work with them when they need me to, as last night I quizzed my son for a geography test for 30 minutes, give or take, if that answers your question, but most nights I don't have to help them either.

You fault me for not doing my job? My role on the oversight committee is not a job. I'm a volunteer and only report on what I see. If everyone volunteered more and complained less, we'd all be better off. It does crack me up/make me sad to have someone complain about a volunteer not doing their job. See the irony there? It sure feels like recreational complaining going on here without much regard for the facts. What I see volunteering on the oversight committee is a district that has had major funding cuts the last 4 years from the state, yet continuing to educate our kids at extremely high levels. That is what I see. Could we be doing better? Of course, we can always do better. But what I also see is that discretionary spending is virtually zero. The vast majority of the district's budget is for salaries and benefits.

We have big problems at the state level. That needs to be addressed, but I thought the point of this discussion was on whether our tax dollars were reasonable for what we are getting out of the SRVUSD.


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Posted by Ann
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 11:08 am

Dave, Derek, and Dan -

What don't you three understand about the fact that we shouldn't be HAVING to supplement our school district with additional taxes above and beyond what we are paying for in State and Federal tax?!? What are you missing and why are you happily pointing out that "our" district is stellar while you try to justify the rest of us having to spend stupidly, more than we should have to for this stellar education?

To pay additional costs is just a stupid and gutless way of not holding your state or federal government accountable! Is this how you raise your kids to understand the importance of priorities when spending their money? Please tell me that your kids aren't going into accounting of any sort in the near future at least in a government capacity...

In your response to "Mom of 3", you sound positively ignorant and insulting. Your immaturity is obvious when you assume and accuse a woman/man you don't know, with being politically illiterate - ASSUMING that she watches Fox News and only Fox News. Maybe your TV viewing is slim pickings. I won't assume your "go to" fact finding literature is Mother Jones or Rolling Stone, but it's awfully tempting. There are other print and electronic websites to view besides, MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, CNN, ABC, CBS, and especially NBC.

Why do you have such a difficult time accepting the fact that our state and federal government are NOT handling their revenue in intelligent ways??? Your head is either in the proverbial liberal sand, or you really are ignorant. Both shortcomings are a concern to the rest of us - especially "push" a nonsensical philosophy. The sad thing is that I think we all want the same ultimate goal. It's just that some are more selfish and greedy than others.

The federal government and Arne Duncan - the Secretary of Education (under our White House admin) just took in 69 BILLION DOLLARS this past year. WHERE is that money being spent?! NOT on the kids in classrooms across the US - every thinking parent knows this fact.

You all want to spin this philosophy you have, about funding the best darn school district money can by on the backs of current hard working tax paying citizens. Money won't fix most of the problems we have in our current educational environment. Why should we have to tax ourselves, our families, year after year with additional school bonds on our homes, JUST because we have a country of politicians (beginning with the CTA, NEA, Boards of Educations, etc. etc.) who are greedy and have conflicts of interest intertwined with their publicly paid political positions.

There are ways to have enough money from the state and local taxes to fund a truly great education for kids. We did it in this state through the 70's. The CTA was formed in the 70's too. Everything went downhill from that moment on in California. Die hard liberals will blame the old excuse Prop 13 - but now these same people are moving out of their homes an new owner are being assessed at the current tax rate - reaping lots of revenue.

Private Catholic schools educate very well with MORE than 20 kids in the classrooms and without the unions getting involved in their priorities. They all have the same goals - to get the kids competitively educated.

Home school parents seem to educate their children with much success. Many of the students are often high achieving - with less teaching hours and less funds spent than what a public school offers -

The philosophy of our politicians goes against everything many parents hold close to their hearts. Reason and responsibility. Why don't you three do some research and find out how our tax money is spent regarding public education...

How much money is mandated to go to: English Learners, Special needs students, busing for broken out groups of students, gay and lesbian special interests groups funding teacher training and the cost of additional curriculum material to educate all class levels in public school (beginning in kindergarten). Then there's the cost of supplemental classroom material requiring five days of classroom instruction teaching the importance of the life of Caesar Chavez - this Calif. state education requirement forced by special interest lobby groups (cost -$38,000,000.00 - during Delaine Easton's term as state secretary of education approx. 10 years ago). Then there's the need to re-educate teachers on a new and wonderful way to teach kids through "Whole Language" - only to set back these same students who were lacking in phonetically based education. Find out how often we pay publishers for new editions of text books because of the "social" issues etc. needing to be covered.

We should abolish the Federal Education office in Washington - or at the very least, require the government to off set the costs of setting up charter schools all through out low performing areas such as Washington DC (where our current president destroyed that option for needy students), and maybe in other places such as Chicago where the public teachers should be ashamed at grabbing for a 30% salary increase - when offered a reasonable 16% during these economic times. They had no problem locking out these 400,000 needy children from their schools for two weeks while the parents scrambled to figure out how to work and care for their children. They couldn't Strike in the summer? Heaven forbid, these teachers don't want to be scrutinized or payed on merit standards but laziness is fine and dandy. Greed is the theme for the day with the teacher unions, and it's pathetic how entitled they feel.

News Note: Fox News at the very least, asks the most basic questions news reporters and political pundits SHOULD be asking of all our politicians. Why do you think it's number one in the news ratings for television? FOX News was born out of the need for balanced journalism. Obviously there was a need for it in our society or it wouldn't be the top rated TV station in the field.

On a different note: After two weeks of denying and obfuscating the facts of the Libya terrorist attack on our Embassy - Obama is still blaming the idiotic "movie" that instigated the preordained terrorist attack. He and Hillary Clinton (Sec. of State) should be so ashamed of themselves mentioning the movie at the funeral of our ambassador in front of the four families who met the caskets - pressing the false issue that it was the fault of the movie for these four patriot's deaths. The families are not supported in the least by this White HOuse administration. This poor Ambassador was not protected by additional security even though he was concerned about Sept.11 attacks on his offices.

Unfortunately in my opinion, the main stream media and our current president and his administration have one huge thing in common - lack of character. Doing what's right when people are not watching. What do we do when they don't do what's right when we are?!

What is WORSE: The main stream media will NOT bring up the subject or question Hillary Clinton or Obama on why he even as recently as yesterday while speaking in front of the world at the UN meeting - the "reporters" will NOT ask one single question or demand one single response on the fact that we've all been lied to the past two weeks.

Thank goodness for FOX TV if they are the only ones who will discuss current issues and news honestly with their guests - who are by the way conservative and liberal.


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Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 11:33 am

California state and local government employees are the highest paid in all 50 states. (US Census Bureau)and SRVSD employees and teachers are some of the highest too. California taxpayers are responsible for $62.1 Billion for the unfunded liability for government retirees health benefits. (State Controller John Chiang). California taxpayers are responsible for $497.9 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for government employees. About $24,000 per household. California has the highest gas tax (tied with NY) in the nation of 67.7 cents/gallon. California has the highest state sales tax in the US (Prop #30 wants to raise sales tax again.) So $600+ a year in school bonds for the district is a drop in the bucket when compared to other taxes.


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Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm


I would like to go back to what Taxed Out said, which is the point of this thread:
"Enough is enough! I encourage everyone who feels similar to me to get informed and vote AGAINST anymore taxes for our school district. We obviously need a top to bottom audit, and have some new people actually look at our school district budget and see what is going on. I encourage everyone to demand that anyone running for our school district pledge a "no vote" on any more taxes, or do not vote for them."
This is where I wholeheartedly agree with Taxed Out! The amount that (s)he arrived at was $1,891, and that was for ONE student who did ONE sport. The cost to participate in sports in not voluntary, it must be paid, and then there is the additional Booster Club donation that is requested.
At the School Board meetings prior to their decision to put Measure D on the ballot, the discussion did not include the liklihood of passage, but it was pointed out that the list of items that School District would like to have totals more than $400 MILLION, so this $260 Million bond is supposed to seem way more reasonable. It still costs every homeowner, and yes, if your assessed value is higher, then you pay more. It doesn't have to do with the value of your home, you could have an expensive home that was purchased 20 years ago, and since the assessed value is likely still low, then the taxes are low.
I have already pointed out all the various tax increases that most people will experience starting Jan. 1 2013.
Dan, no one is personally attacking you or making assumptions about your beliefs. You brought up Fox News and then you said you don't watch news programs.
You say that if everyone volunteered more and complained less then we'd all be better off. How so? I volunteer, you volunteer. How would more volunteers solve any of our fiscal woes?
You want facts? CA fell to 35th in the nation in per pupil spending (Sac Bee 6/21/12). CA ranks 30th in comprehensive overview of educational achievement levels (www.alec.org).
A bond measure to fund a wish list to the tune of $260,000,000 that will take 30 years to pay back is not the answer. This is not about the parcel tax, though I do think that it takes a lot of nerve for the district to ask taxpayers to pass Measure D, when the same ballot has Prop. 30, and we already pay the taxes that Taxed Out referred to.


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Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Ann, well said. Louise, did you really just say that we may as well pay the Measure D tax, because we are already paying so much tax it doesn't matter? I must have misunderstood.


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Posted by Sue
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I'm a consultant. Numerous studies have been performed around the country, looking at best-in-class schools/districts. Revenue/student is not related to the level of academic achievement by students. That's obvious at SRVSD, since this area is still categorized as an "agricultural" area, per the factor used for state funding per pupil, & is one of the top achieving districts in the state. No one has changed the funding factor. Until that happens, I'm a NO vote on any additional school parcel taxes. The teachers unions, etc., are another issue, as are solar panels that will have exceeded their life expectancy before the bond is repaid. By the way, a percentage of property taxes also goes to the schools, in addition to the parcel taxes. If you look at the total number of homes in this valley, multiplied by the amount of parcel taxes alone - there's plenty of money for education here in the valley. Just my humble opinion.


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Posted by Dwight Winn
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm

I am a candidate for the school board election on Nov. 6th. I understand your concerns about taxes. As a person on a fixed income and without students in school, I have to think about the impact of a new bond measure and tax initiative.

Based on state revenue picture, past obligations, student growth and our aging facilities we are faced with some difficult decisions. Consider and compare the options.

The current bond measure may not increase your tax rate. It could extend your obligation and considering the student growth, is this the best long term solution?

We are looking at difficult decisions to meet current needs. Today the student population has continued to grow. If this trend continues, actions that may include portable space additional teachers, preparation for that portable classroom may cost more compared to your tax obligation.
Those costs and any associated costs would be paid out of existing budgeted programs. Basically this would inhibit our ability to implement programs.
I understand your position, and would be open to positive suggestions that would enable us to meet our goal to support the goals of our students while empowering our teachers.

Also, your premise may include some misconceptions. As far as I know, the solar systems that were installed are projected to reduce the energy consumption. This is good because savings in energy allows us to use our savings in other areas.

In addition, our investment in our property has a correlation to the property values. Since this represents a major investment for many of us, we must continue to protect our investments by the decisions that we make regarding our schools.


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Posted by asian
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Fund public education but also spend time with your children, instill a serious work ethic, read, explore the world, be curious, teach them to take pride in math & sciences ... lastly work damn hard.


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Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Dan,
I second everything you have said and thank you for trying to get the facts out to everyone.


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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm

@ Ann (Coulter perhaps?) & Mom of three-

I was merely trying to point out the relative value and low cost of my own child's education, and that of Mr. Taxed Out, without regard to all of the other factors you have brought into the discussion. You have made assumptions not in evidence - that I must be a mouth-foaming supporter of Teacher's Unions, and that I believe unfunded pension obligations are a wonderful idea.
As to any "unfair" assumptions Dan or I may make, Faux Noise talking points are not hard to identify, even if they have been filtered through other mouths or media outlets. Regurgitated or not, they are still misinformation. Faux early on unhitched itself from the most basic standards of journalism, and Murdoch's so called news channel is a joke not just in our own country, but around the world. I'm not going to do your research for you Ann or Mom of 3; the number of factual errors committed daily by Fixed Noise is a matter of public record, but if you are terrified of the truth please feel free to avert your eyes.

Ann writes "Fox News at the very least, asks the most basic questions news reporters and political pundits SHOULD be asking of all our politicians. FOX News was born out of the need for balanced journalism. Obviously there was a need for it in our society or it wouldn't be the top rated TV station in the field."

The "need" for it is fed by the ignorant masses, and as to "asking basic questions", perhaps you can let me know when the day comes that Shun Sannity will shut his fake Irish yap long enough for anyone he doesn't agree with to answer. So far it has never happened. He and the other a$$ yodelers on Faux need to take a lesson from the late Mike Wallace, or far better yet, from the real journalists like Martin Smith at Frontline who actually know how to interview people - friend, foe, or otherwise.

As to Mother of 3, from a dad of one, I repeat what I said and reiterate what JDGirl asked - why should I pay for those with larger families? You have three kids, I pay $12K/year in property taxes, and 3/4 of my school funding goes to you rather than my own child? STOP B!+<#ing already!


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Posted by Taxed Out
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Mr. Winn: Thank you for having the courage to respond to my post. That alone shows you are accessible and open to communication, and I certainly consider that a valuable trait in a school board member. I also am familiar with your background, and know that you have an outstanding reputation in the community by people I respect.

That being said, I am troubled that already you seem to be taking the position that yet another parcel tax or bond is the right thing to do. I absolutely disagree with anymore taxes for this public school district. My beef is not with the teachers, who in general I think are very good and most are very dedicated. My beef is with the school board treating us tax payers like we have endless source of income for their flavor of month expenses, and then treating us like we do not care about our children if we question them on it. I have an unlisted phone number, how did this "local teacher" get my name and number to try to coerce me to vote for another tax?

I am also troubled by the school board always trying to get these taxes passed by claiming there will be an "independent" group of experts who wil be on the oversight committee to keep an honest and objective approach to things. Then we hear from people like Mr. Dan Parnas, whose immediately posted in a political and non-objective manner, claiming out of the blue that "Fox News is not accurate, it is a fact", and how dare we question him or the district. He clearly is not objective if he felt the need to bring politics into this local school board issue by mentioning Fox News, and also has no critical thinking analysis if he does not even know the difference between "a fact" and "an opinion". He does not like Fox News, that is an opinion, certainly not a fact. Who appointed him to this oversight committee, was is the school district, who was looking for a yes man to authorize an advocate.

I would feel much better if the school board removed people that are political advocates from the oversight ocmmittee, and actually hired independent, objective, fact checkers and C.P.A. who do not have a dog in this fight.

Bottom line is that the recession has hit us tax payers in Danville, just like everywhere else, and everybody, including the school district, needs to cut back and tighten their belts, and this is not the time to ask us for more money and more taxes and more bonds. Until the school board starts making cuts, like us tax payers have, I will never support any more taxes, period.

Again, this is not an attack on the teachers, but rather a challenge to the school district to start realizing that us taxpayers have had enough taxes, and with the economy, can not afford anymore.


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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Okay, if you insist, here's one showing Fixed News being correct a mere 7% of the time on one subject dear to their oil-financed hearts: Web Link
I know it's a lot to read and take in, but that's the nature of the world for those of us not feeding on sound bites.


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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm

........or this concise little summary of Foxified News zombie's misinformed status-
Web Link


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Posted by Taxed Out
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Fox News has absolutely nothing to do with this local school board issue. I do not watch Fox news, period. But when so called independent people on school board oversite committee suddenly throw them into this local issue, it shows they are not independent people with CPA background which we need for objective review, but are liberal political advocates guarding the hen house. Does Mr. Parnas rant and rave about Fox News have anything to do with auditing of local school board finances that he is allegedly doing on behalf of us tax paying voters, or does his attack on Fox news show he is simply reading from liberal party play book.


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Posted by Enoughisenough
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I agree that there seems to be no end to the confiscation of monies for the school district. Any time anyone dares to question this, they are met with a roar from those who feel that we should continue to throw money blindly at this issue.

Rather than just think there's a bottomless pit, perhaps there should be complete transparency, and not the type that has a political axe to grind or cause to support. If I felt that the school district truly needed money to provide the highest level schooling, I would be more inclined to support it. But, school districts are for teaching, and if you look at the "fat" in the SRVUSD budget, you see a ton of money being spent on administration.

By the way, just because it costs $15K/year at De La Salle or $30K/year at Athenian is not a valid argument...that's like saying we should gladly pay $5/gallon for gas because Europeans pay $9/gallon. That's just stupid.

I plan to vote against this latest plan, and every other tax until there is truth that is clear to the naked eye.


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Posted by Enoughisenough
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm

To Dwight Winn:

The school enrollment is not increasing. It has decreased in the established parts of the district. The only place there is building is out in Dougherty Valley and along SRV Boulevard (years away). The towns typically extort a new school out the builders, so that shouldn't cause an increase, as the new property taxes will pay the increased operational costs.

The local schools have been getting rid of the portables, as all of the new buildings we all paid dearly for have been built.

If you want to be a good School board member, get informed.


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Posted by Douglas
a resident of Blackhawk
on Sep 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm

To all that are for the parcel tax, have you actually looked over what "improvements" the money is going to? See link below:
Web Link
First off, what is the level of the "new permanent school" that is slated for Dougherty Valley? There are enough elementary schools with declining enrollment that can take those level students without wasting $24 million dollars of taxpayer's money. And after all the recent upgrades at San Ramon High, do they really need a new 3 story building and courtyard at the school this minute at another $22 million? There are many of these types of waste of money projects slated in the district, projects that can wait and aren't so urgent that we need to be taxed more. Anyone who thinks this "oversight" committee has done their job, volunteer or not, think again...


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Posted by Enoughisenough
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 27, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Finally, can we stop with the "property values" baloney? Yes, the value of our properties is in part related to the school district. But stop using it as an ironclad argument of why we should have more money confiscated by the SRVUSD. It's like if we don't approve these measures that the values of our homes will plunge. Not true. They would only go down if in comparison to other areas our schools were substandard.

It's like many of you just read from the "tax them till there's no more to get" playbook.


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Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Douglas, minor correction, but worth mentioning, Measure D is not a parcel tax, its a bond issue. The difference is that a parcel tax can pay for salaries, while this bond measure is for facilities and maintenance only. It would impact salaries in that if the district didn't have to spend money on maintenance they could spend it on other things, including salaries. I'm so glad you posted the link to the "wish list" for Measure D. The $24M for a new Dougherty Valley school sticks out like a sore thumb since, as others have mentioned, that cost is usually negotiated with the developers. I am not sure, but during one of the school board meetings, I think I heard someone say that there had been some kind of miscalculation, or other error, which is resulting in the district building a school that would have been built by a developer under different circumstances. That would be worth looking into since its the most expensive item on the list.
Enoughisenough, I agree that the property values argument has been overplayed.


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Posted by Ann
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Derek - I don't think I'm whining and at least I have facts to support my thoughts. No need to get hysterical. And yes, they are my own personal thoughts. Nothing wrong with Ann Coulter in my opinion. I admire her courage and her independent thinking process - constantly defending herself and her beliefs daily, swimming amongst the 98% liberal journalists in our country.

The subject being discussed originally in this comment section began with taxes and the reasons that Taxed Out is voting "no" on the $260,000,000.00 SRVUSD Bond on this November's ballot. Sorry, but we can't discuss the broad subject of the cost of education in California without mentioning subjects such as the CTA, NEA, pension costs, retirement costs, curriculum decisions, etc.

These costs are the reason that we are asked year after year to support school bonds. They spend 100% of the educational funds up in Sacramento in ways that we ALL do not agree with at times, and this funding topic is all related.

This is why parents are asked to pay the ed funds at their schools, the tech funds, art programs, sports programs, Academic Booster donations, science classroom donations, etc. etc. etc. We pick and choose each year where and how we're going support all the public schools our kids attend in this district. I've volunteered for years in all the classes until high school and this is an eye opener for parents regarding school finances and decisions our schools and district makes.

Local school districts in the past have been offered matching funds for district projects the district funded. We also have two tax initiatives being placed on the same ballot this November; both claiming to financially support our districts in California.

ALL because of the special interest groups, lobbyists, and unions who have broken this state financially. It's sickening.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Danville
on Sep 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm

After accepting a flyer with Mr. Winn's website information at our child's back-to-school night, I decided to look this website to see what might set Mr. Winn apart from the other SRVUSD board members. Sorry Mr. Winn, but I didn't read anything that set you apart from our current board members. You expressed your support on the upcoming tax initiatives on November's ballot and the $260,000,000.00 Bond.

Please correct me if I'm not seeing or hearing something unique that explains how you separate yourself from the rest of the pack. What are your specific thoughts on curriculum through the grade levels? How do you feel about the inequity of "pet" projects that have been funded throughout the years in this district; over and around some schools that needed assistance far before some of the ones receiving the money for projects? How are you staying current on the issues that are apparent in the district if you don't have kids in the schools anymore? Just a few of the questions I would like answered if possible.

Thanks.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 28, 2012 at 7:13 am

Thank you to Dan Parnas for volunteering and really learning about the district's financial situation--so many people who post here seem to complain and grouse without taking the time to get the facts straight, and certainly without taking the time and effort to actually help out.

Yes, there are bad teachers and yes, it takes too long to get rid of them, and yes, many of use tutors to get around this--but then, my friends with kids at private and Catholic schools have the same problem and spend money on the same tutors on top of the huge tuitions they are paying. And friends at Miramonte and Acalanes and Piedmont pay much, much more in taxes and bonds and are asked to contribute much more in fees. I am grateful to have my kids in the SRVUSD.


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Posted by JT
a resident of Danville
on Sep 28, 2012 at 7:51 am

We need more people that raised their kids here to move out of this area. Keep complaining about the taxes you pay with no kids in school. There are many more states that have no taxes like this. Go there.
By holding on to your house, you slow the transition to newer neighborhoods and keep the taxes down.

Also, the mortgage deduction more than covers the cost of your extra parcel tax, so maybe we should get rid of the mortgage deducting white color welfare republican zombies that think they are not also feeding off the troll.

For all of those parents that are complaining as well, you pay the same amount in school taxes as and example some of the irresponsible Mormons and devout Catholics that are running around with huge families. Time to hit huge families with a major surcharge.

Get involved and fix the disparities.


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Posted by Tax & Business Man
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 28, 2012 at 9:02 am

Let me start by saying that I'm a native Californian, living here 50 years plus. My children attended SRVSD and are now in college in California as well. Lived in the San Ramon Valley for over 20 years.

Some of the points made are quite ridiculous actually, or simply want to ignore the facts.

California residents are the highest taxed in the country - fact. Just a couple of examples not called a "tax". A $45 dollar parking ticket in Walnut Creek will cost you an additional $100 "penalty" (not a tax of course) if paid one day late. Some homeowners in a large subdivision in Castro Valley are being billed by State Board of Equalization a $155 "fee" for potential fire danger. Trust me, this subdivision doesn't sit in the middle or even adjacent to a State Park. A Photo Ticket in San Francisco is currently running about $500 bucks! Oh, and the Fish & Game Department - perpetually underfunded by State monies, with license fees diverted to the General Funds (what a joke), had magically 'found' some $59MM. The incompetence and over spending is mind bogling.

High income and low income earners are leaving the state for other states, in record numbers - fact. Talk to your tax person, because they are inundated right now with people wanting to change their "primary residence". If the Ballot Measures go through, the taxation is going to get even worse - fact.

Pensions in California for state/union employees are very high, compared to national averages, compared to private enterprise, compared to just about any standards you apply - fact. And a note to the people that disagree. Many of the high pension earners (reference San Jose retired Fire Chief making $400k a year in pension monies) have left or plan to leave the state to save on California Income taxes. Go figure.

Recently, Comcast announced it is moving 1000 jobs out of California. (See Danville Express of yesterday). In the notice to employees, Comast made direct mention of the 'cost of doing business is too high in California, vs. other states'. Jobs are leaving California for all of the above reasons - fact.

So what the people that disagree want to say is "Hey look, the pensions are fine. The schools are running at the highest levels. The weather is great, so who cares about the heavy taxes. We need MORE teachers and fireman and police, otherwise your kids are in jeopardy and your safety compromised" But that is missing the problem entirely. The issues here are 'Indicators' of problems. 'Factors' in the problem. No, they are not the entire problem (in and of themselves) nor the entire solution.

California has become a state for (a) the very rich, (b) the very poor, (c) illegal aliens and (d) unionized and state government employees. And I note that the word "illegal" doesn't mean anything anymore I suppose. It is a real shame what is happening to our community and our state. We need radical change in thinking, in our politicians, and the 'entitlement mentality' that too many people in California have.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Sep 28, 2012 at 9:58 am

It is amazing how much misinformation appears on this thread - but, with a few rational voices cutting through, fortunately.

First point, and maybe the most important: it is estimated that the proposed $260M bond measure will not increase our taxes at all. How is this possible, you ask? The school district has re-financed existing bonds to much lower interest rates and extended the payment terms, such that the cost savings on them will cover the cost of the proposed bond measure.

Douglas - Who knows why your son doesn't get better grades in school. Maybe he isn't as bright as other kids or maybe doesn't apply himself enough. Someone has to get the C's and D's. Not everyone gets A's. But to blame the teachers when he falls short of the mark, seems like the easy way out.

And why does Fox News appeal to a lot of people? Probably for the same reason the the old Hearst newspaper empire used to be so popular: because they dumb everything down and substitute sensationalism for rigorous journalism.


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Posted by Jim Berry
a resident of Danville
on Sep 28, 2012 at 10:32 am

"If you think the cost of education is excessive, consider the cost of ignorance."

I am the father of two sons who both received an excellent education from SRVUSD. Although I no longer have any children in the school system, I fully support it, and try to always remember that taxes are the dues we pay for living in a civilized society.

By the way, since when is it legitimate to include the cost of sports as an educational cost? Neither of my sons participated in high school sports; I regard that expense as purely optional.

Just saying . . .


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Posted by Barbara B.
a resident of Danville
on Sep 28, 2012 at 10:39 am

Yes, we have taxes, but as a grandmother of 5, I really see the value. My two Children graduated from San Ramon Valley High, and my grandson graduated from Monte Vista. All of them did well in college, and my grandson who is a sophomore at a prestigious college majoring in Chemical engineering and minoring in math has made the dean's list every semester. For the person who complained about the math department at MV, my grandson completed two years of calculus at MV and is now tutoring students at his college.
Since our school district is so valued, it keeps our property values up. In some of the parcel taxes there is a provision for older property owners to opt out of the taxes.


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Posted by Ann
a resident of Danville
on Sep 28, 2012 at 11:02 am

Hey Dave - Haven't we already been over this subject? Your choice of misinformation: Mother Jones (ex: referring the FOX News supporters etc. to your Mother Jones link in another comment page). The last time you tried to share material to support your own very liberal political and social views, you sent us all to that righteous and biased publication Mother Jones. PLEASE...

AFter living in this state for over 50 years, I have first hand knowledge of the massive changes that have occurred in this state. Of course states grow and change, but the "progressive changes" that have occurred in our state politically, are destroying this state and our public education system. Google education in our state! Google the enormous amount of literature that's written regarding our education system in California. Please...

Why do you mindlessly accuse anyone who may watch FOX News programs as being dumbed down? Why do you assume that this is the one and only way that some of us form our opinions? You don't even know any of us personally, yet you seem to think that we're all unable to form our own opinions without the help of a TV News channel. You are far more shortsighted than many who can actually debate the reasons they have opinions; tax or anti-tax, school bonds, etc.. I wonder if you even have any children in this school district?

With all your opinions you share in the comment/blog sections of these sites etc. you rarely have facts or examples to prop up your sad liberal commentary. Why don't you have more personal experiences you can share or examples of how you come to your "reasoning" regarding your viewpoints? As of now, they are empty, baseless comments with little intelligence shared.

I watch MSNBC often because I like to try to understand how the far left can reason their political views, and where it might be coming from- the ones I can't relate to... I have respect for Rachel Maddow, but I rarely agree with her political views. She works hard at her job and I respect that about her. She seems to come to her job prepared and she's an original thinker.


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Posted by Jill
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 28, 2012 at 11:18 am

Anyone know what happened to the CA Lottery money that was supposed to fund education?


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Posted by MO
a resident of Danville
on Sep 28, 2012 at 11:49 am

As a concerned tax-payer, I actually called everyone on the School Board. Only 2 people bothered to call me back??!!!
I wonder how much we will be asked to pay next year?!


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Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Danville
on Sep 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Derek, Dan, Dave clearly came here to spread their anti-FoxNews message. Aren't we talking about taxes? If we continue to say yes, they will continue to ask for more, more, more.
SRVUSD CLTax09-C
San Ramon Unif 98
SRVUSD Bond 2002
Add Prop 30 from Jerry Brown.
Add Measure D from SRVUSD.
Not to mention increased taxes set to take effect 1/1/2013.


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Posted by Tax & Business Man
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Thanks Mom of 3

At least you are reading the Props and Ballot Measures coming. Well done.

Too many people are ignorant to what new taxes, oh ya and "fees", "permits", "penalties", etc. are coming....

The magic fiscal wand of governor Jerry Brown says we need a bullet train. Hmm. Southwest on the hour every hour, right? Call me crazy.


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Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Danville
on Sep 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Tax & Business, my favorite thing about the bullet train is that the first stop is Coalinga. HA!


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Posted by Douglas
a resident of Blackhawk
on Sep 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Dave - do you even have in kids in the district? Also, as my son is a straight A student, I have every right to come down on the teachers when he and my daughter (who is a middle-school student) come home and tell me many of their teachers gave no lecture, were busy at their computers (probably playing Farmville), and basically had them do their homework all period. I have heard this from other parents and students as well, so maybe you should get informed about what really goes on during the school day. And you think we should come up with more money for that? Really?!!!

Also, Monte Vista just this year decided to take "teaching" time away for their riduculous new "advisory" period every other Tuesday. We shouldn't be take time away, we should be added it or at least making the teachers do the job they are being paid for!


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Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Sep 28, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Lake Wobegon is really the internet -- all the women are strong (and oh-so-well-informed) the men are good-looking, and Allll the children are above average.

Couple things for Dan P: first -- many, many thanks for putting your actual time and effort into this community in a constructive manner (rinse, repeat).

Second, in case you were suckered onto this Forum and got ambushed, there are certain hardy perpetuals who comment here, whose educations just didn't 'take.' You will see their neo-jerk responses on nearly every thread, as they label, and spew, and whine. Please know that the fringe-ers may be loud and unhappy -- and that they are blessedly few anywhere but here.


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Posted by Ann
a resident of Danville
on Sep 28, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Douglas - It's interesting you asked Dave if he even has kids in this school district. I'm also wondering about that.

One more interesting memory of bias and how it runs through our schools: Our child, as a seventh grader, came home from school (Iron Horse). We were asked by our child if their teacher was "right?" and also asked if that sounded "right?" Their class was told by the teacher that they should not watch FOX News, but that it was OK to watch MNBC and CNN. This was mentioned in the same day that the teacher said to the class that "Reagan was the reason we have all the homeless people."

Such nice memories................

Lovely way to teach easily influenced children. I did meet with the principal and I asked if she thought this was an appropriate way to teach "critical thinking" regarding politics - as MSNBC is as ones-sided as FOX News. She was in far over her head and I mentioned that this teacher was taking advantage of our kids - indoctrinating our kids basically. I suggested that the teacher have the class watch three channels who cover politics and discuss how they portrayed their views differently. At least teach our kids to think critically.


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Posted by scrump
a resident of Danville
on Sep 28, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Taxes or bonds to improve the schools= (in most cases) better schools.
Better schools=people with children want to move here and pay high dollars for a home here (Like me, from Oakland).
High dollars for homes here=higher tax revenues to help fund the good schools = good students, a good community = A good community = good schools=people want to move here...oops, lookie how that works! It's amazing!
If you want lower taxes move to Antioch or Martinez. Yes, lower taxes = bad schools = great place for retired people to live but not to raise your children.
By the way, California is bankrupt because prop 13 made it so; we all love it, especially those of you who have been in your home for years, but it's been a huge drain on our tax base. So, lower taxes can bankrupt the community, and not vice versa in the case of higher income wage earners like Danville.


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Posted by scrump
a resident of Danville
on Sep 28, 2012 at 9:26 pm

...and Dan Parnas, thanks for your passion and your volunteering. This is a man that won volunteer of the year at our local elementary school if I remember correctly last year or the year before. He's a man who is not a knee jerk responder but who is informed. Your opinion may be different than his, but he'll speak with integrity and passion. Too bad these days dialogue has to be dead in politics.
...and "tax and business man"...who says
"California has become a state for (a) the very rich, (b) the very poor, (c) illegal aliens and (d) unionized and state government employees."
Do you recognize your hypocrisy here? "the very poor" and then something about "unionized and state govt employees"...which are probably the ONLY middle class jobs left. You'll demonize those who may earn a decent wage (who happen to be union) yet wonder why all the others are leaving; because there are very few decent paying middle class jobs anymore. Our service economy and loss of manufacturing because of tax incentives to move business OFFSHORE is a great part of the problem. Oh, but it's a tax break and therefore must be good. Hypocrisy at its finest.
And this guy, "Taxed Out"... "I am also going to make the assumption that you live in a much lesser expensive area of Danville and don't mind making the rest of us pay more because it won't affect you that much!" If I were to stereotype I'd have to say, spoken like a true Blackhawk elitist, "I got mine".


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Posted by scrump
a resident of Danville
on Sep 28, 2012 at 9:41 pm

...and this comment by "Ann"..."News Note: Fox News at the very least, asks the most basic questions news reporters and political pundits SHOULD be asking of all our politicians. Why do you think it's number one in the news ratings for television? FOX News was born out of the need for balanced journalism. Obviously there was a need for it in our society or it wouldn't be the top rated TV station in the field".

WITH THIS REASONING it would make Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears the "best" because they are the most "popular". Confusing popular with accurate, reasonable, or any other real metric other than numbers is a false premise...but posing opinion as fact is very special.


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Posted by MO
a resident of Danville
on Sep 29, 2012 at 1:09 am

We are being asked to pay $260,000,000 so our kids can go to nice
looking schools where they are being taught "Why Suzy Has 2 Mommies" or
Johnny Has 2 Daddies", Planned Parenthood soft porn sex education, the virtues of wealth redistribution, extreme environmentalism, tolerance for every religion except Christianity, what news media is acceptable,why school lunch police are necessary...there hardly seems room in the curriculum for basic 3 "R" education. Really??!! The educational "system" has massively over-stepped its bounds...and shouldn't get anymore taxpayer money to teach our kids what they don't need to know...and not teach them what they do need to know.


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Posted by Silence Dogood
a resident of Danville
on Sep 29, 2012 at 1:17 am

Please disregard my post if your family lineage within this valley extends back to the days of ranching and mining or even Mexican government land grants - in the later, certainly well prior to statehood. If you are one of those few, I believe that you are truly indigenous to the area and do not need to be questioned by a relative newcomer (i.e. on that scale).

To those of us that came to this valley either in the backseat of our father's Oldsmobile, then left to go to school, maybe to serve our country or simply to explore the world but came back, WHY?

Perhaps one was on a corporate relo as this was a mandate from an Exec-VP in another timezone to gain experience as a mid-level executive in the Silicon Valley marketplace prior to a Asia-Pac assignment and yet this valley was chosen for a home, again WHY?

Finally, if your work is in the City, on the Peninsula, in the South Bay - perhaps even off of the prodigiously capitalistic Sand Hill Road and yet one still chose this valley for their home, WHY? I believe that reasonable people would consider Atherton or perhaps the Portola Valley rational equivalents to live in compared to Blackhawk or Alamo.

Surely, a shorter commute, a more vibrant metropolitan or cultural experience vice a generally predictable suburban lifestyle would have presented itself when it came time to choose a community. As one who cannot draw their own family lineage to this valley going back to the days of ranching and mining nor Mexican government land grants, I'm incredibly curious as to WHY you chose to live and perhaps even raise children here.


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Posted by Rita
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 29, 2012 at 2:09 am

Hooray for Mom of 3 etc--the uncalled for bashing of Fox news and name calling about Sean Hannity cemented our vote AGAINST the school tax hike. It is obvious this is another liberal leftie idea to grab more money. a liberal is someone who wants to help others by reaching into other people's pockets..enough.


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Posted by Libbie
a resident of Danville
on Sep 29, 2012 at 5:35 am

Mo is echoing our families thoughts. Plus my husband spends an hour most evenings going over the algebra 2 work our sophomore is struggling with. Never has been a strong math student and needs this extra help before each test. We refuse to pay the $50 an hour for a tutor that I know many families are paying to get their child proficient in a subject after school hours. They need to spend less time on the mentality of "everyone's a winner-equal-politically correct crap" and more time teaching in the classroom so they can succeed. We will teach our children our traditions and religious beliefs at home and would rather not spend that time re-teaching math.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Sep 29, 2012 at 5:40 am

To JT,
Seriously? You are condemning people for having large families based on their religious beliefs? Now that's intelligent


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Posted by Dan Parnas
a resident of Danville
on Sep 29, 2012 at 8:20 am

I said before I'm always happy to admit when I'm wrong and in this case I'm going to apologize for starting the Fox News thread. Sadly, it has distracted this discussion from the primary point, so my bad and I apologize for that. Also as I said before, I think this is an important discussion and I'm glad that we are debating it here.

Let me reiterate something.

The Parcel Tax Committe is a group of community volunteers. We are not paid, we volunteer our time, so to complain about who appointed us and to have us removed is awfully ironic. Do you make the same complaints about who is working at the food bank or the homeless shelter too? Don't you think it makes sense to have some people on the committee that have an accounting background? The term independent for the members doesn't mean that we don't have political leanings, everyone has that. It just means that since we are volunteers and community members, we are not beholden to the district and are free to speak our mind. When we were selected for the committee, there was no disclosure of what our political leanings were, simply that we were willing to volunteer our time and what qualifications did we have to be on an oversight committee for public funding. In my case, I'd imagine that qualification was my accounting background and that I have helped negotiate multi-million contracts in the past, so I understand what being efficient and trying to achieve cost savings is all about. By the way, if you go to the SRVUSD website, I believe they are looking for new volunteers to add to the committee, as some of the posts have expired, so if you are truly concerned, as I was, I encourage you to volunteer and add your voice to the team. I welcome questions about our work and I previously posted links to the reports we have produced. I encourage you to read those reports and ask me questions. Challenge our assertions and let's talk about it. Heck, I'm even willing to come to a community meeting to present those results and talk about them. We've attended meetings before, such as rotary, to do that exact thing. I've provided my full name here, you know how to find me, or contact the SRVUSD office and make the request. And guess what? I won't get paid for volunteering that time either.

My persepctive has changed so much from being a part of the oversight committee and getting a close look at the SRVUSD spending and budget. I think everyone would benefit from having that understanding, instead of just the "no more taxes" argument. It makes me crazy to hear someone complain about something like the district's solar array. How do you complain about something that will save the district over $11 million over the life of the project, while also providing cleaner energy and setting a positive example for our kids? The only way you could possibly complain about that is misinformation. There couldn't possibly be a better example of "win win". Nobody loses in the solar project. If you don't understand that, go to the website I provided and study it. Ask more questions, ask me questions, ask the district questions and I guarantee you'll like what you find. So I want people to learn the facts, that is a passion I have.


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Posted by Richard S.
a resident of Danville
on Sep 29, 2012 at 11:35 am

Dear Libbie,

By your comment, if your sophomore is in Algebra II and 'challenged', it is likely that you and your husband are pushing the same train of thought that many of us have done so, as well. It is simply that my child or yours, regardless of natural ability and/or inclination, will take whatever is required of the various top-shelf universities for admittance. Be it may that this young person is better suited for a liberal arts or a marketing career (no offense intended to those in this profession), they will take Algebra II this year and Pre-Calc/Trig next-year even though they struggled like crazy last-year in Geometry. This is the path we chose for them because we know that if we don't, another more motivated parent will push their child to take our place in line. Truly brutal when you think about it.

I've been privileged to raise my children through three regions of the country (Southwest, Northeast and the West). While the approach to public education varied amongst all three, an intriguing dialogue amongst the parents was always the same. "Something is clearly not right at school as I'm doing so much homework help" or "I'm paying like crazy for math tutors" and so forth. Then I would ask how much time their father or mother spent with them in the '60s and '70s, perhaps early '80s, on their Algebra II homework. Typically zero. That wasn't something in the playbook for most Dads in that era and Mom was never given the opportunity to take Algebra II in her day.

The reason, I think? It's because our parents only expected us to get out of the house at 18 and make something of ourselves that they could brag about over pinochle games with friends. Recall that graduation from High School was a huge event in our lives for our parents and grandparents. It meant that they succeeded. With certain exceptions, everything else one's child accomplished was simply gravy.

For those that raise children today? The emerging metric for judging successful parenting it not a HS graduation (our parents metric), not a BA or BS degree (our metric) but now a MA/MS/MBA/MEng or even a JD/MD/Ph.D. from a US News and World Report highly rated institution. One hundred years ago, a university degree afforded you the title of Professor. Fifty years from now, who knows what will be expected academically of a young person in their 20s. When you think about it, what you could accomplish with hardwork and common sense without the burden of prominent academic credentials in the '70s and '80s as compared to today is mind-blowing.

I believe, if you take a moment and thoughtfully consider it, you'll completely rationalize why you or your husband are spending that hour each night to tutor your child through a subject that they were likely not put on this Earth to excel at. You may hate it but this is what it takes to funnel every kid, yours and mine included, through the same parental, end-game, success metric.

Don't like it? Consider joining a pinochle group and reminisce about the old days.


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Posted by askidoo
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 29, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Yes I have graduates from SRVUSd. Two went out of state for college where their professors could not believe their lack of history and English skills (they were advanced students in those subjects). I came to believe that many parents here judged their children's education based on 'their district' being above the rest of the California fray' overlooking CA rating versus other states; and they were left wondering at senior year why their children did not have higher SAT scores, AP scores, ACT scores and did not get into higher level schools. Their self oriented thinking that my child's teacher is good, my child's school is good, etc was not based in facts.
Frankly, at Stone Valley there were two good teachers, at Monte Vista maybe 6 - they were the ones who taught in class versus hours of homework at night done by the student alone. Those few teachers benefitted the student with teaching and hands-on by doing it in class versus leaving it up to the student to do with a parent or, for many, trying on their own.

Over time scores have consistently fallen, teacher salaries have increased, taxes have increased for the last 30 years and it has not made an upward difference to the student but has made an upward difference for the teacher's personal salary.

Over time all the arguments like all the comments above yield the same plea for more money without improvement for the students. Vote no on any tax increases - it is the proverbial black hole.


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Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2012 at 8:50 am

I just got my property tax assessment, and I want to point out that no one has been able to explain why I should vote for Measure D now, when I am still being assessed $577.19 for the 2002 Bond. (In addition to $144 parcel tax and $272.33 for SRV Unif 98). My total for those 3 is $994).


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Posted by Sally
a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I have friends who are teachers and/or parents throughout the district. After talking with them I have concluded that there are schools in the district which are leaving Danville schools behind in their dust. It seems that innovative teachers and principals are migrating to the Dougherty Valley or other schools where teaching is exciting and current, while Danviille schools are resting on their past glory, which is truly in the past.

Not sure about the bond. Some projects seem necessary, but others are questionable. I also wish we had a board that was not so close to the union. As long as they depend on the union to get elected, they will never really deal with the quality of teaching in the Danville area.


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Posted by Ann
a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2012 at 12:17 pm

"Mom of 3" -

Sorry to irritate the "tax and spend" liberals who love OVER spending everyone else's money - even when many of your fellow community members are struggling in this economic state:(

Your simple and direct comment: "...no one has been able to explain why I should vote for Measure D now..."

- My simple and direct comment: No one can or will explain the answer to your question with detailed facts because much of the amount the district wants to spend is unnecessary at this time in our economy. Many of these projects fall into the "WANT" category - not the "NEED" category. They are hedging and betting that they will absolutely need the projects funded on their wish list from the district in the years to come.

The supporters and the SRVUSD board members can point to their project "wish list" as to why we should vote for the $260,000,000.00 bond - but as one of the board members mentioned, they didn't want to get too specific with financial details because, "...we don't want to be locked in."

The newly proposed school bond (if passed this November) will add even more financial taxation to families (above and beyond what we all pay yearly in our local, state and federal taxes). Two tax measures from the state of California are on the ballot this November (PROP 30 and PROP 38), if passed!!!

The district will be FLUSH with funds if they all pass, and we will have been additionally taxed by our school district for 25 more years! Not to forget that their are state "matching funds" for the California school districts when they are paying for school projects. Let's not forget the actual excess funding we have now that the solar panels are saving such huge amounts towards our PG&E bills at the district:) Remember these funds were "given" to us by the Obama administration in his "Re-Invesment Act" (which of course we ALL paid already through federal taxes originally.

Today, in the editorial page today in the San Ramon Valley Times, the news staff explains some of the negative ways PROP 38 will effect our state.

Remember: The district began with the figure for this upcoming Bond at 400 MILLION DOLLARS! They thought that "might be too much to ask during this economy" (mentioned at the Aug. 7th board meeting by the board) Can you imagine what they would or could have funded with 400 MILLION DOLLARS??!! Now it's "JUST" $260,000,000.00!!

The SRVUSD school projects from the last Bond were finally finished in the last 5-7 years -years after the Bond was passed. The schools in the district are updated, newly built and now Dougherty High School needs 8 new classrooms built??

The unfortunate fact about the district discussing un expected new student population?...Projected Enrollment has steadily and sharply risen for the past 10-12 years!! OUR administrators and facilities management have known about this for years. Not a surprise to the district at all. I heard this fact from a district employee and administrator10 years ago. When Dougherty was originally being "built out" 20 years ago, they knew at that time they estimated the build out at 15,000 homes.

After all the updating to Monte Vista High, it now needs additional classrooms? Where are their additional students coming from in an area where there is little (if any) newly built housing?

On the face of it- Spending more money is always the answer for people too lazy, frightened, intimidated, or ignorant to understand the fact that we are avoiding the problem that has affected our schools for the past 20-30 years!! OUR STATE SPENDS MORE MONEY THAN THEY TAKE IN. And...they spend it stupidly and recklessly. My family would like to demand that they be held accountable for reckless and special-interest spending. We are not pawns of a school district and neither are our children.

Maybe this San Ramon area ought to rely on how fabulous the area is without relying 100% on the success of the school district. Would all the homeowners stop caring for their homes and yards just because we voted NO on a tax/bond at this time? Would the parents stop encouraging their children to study hard and achieve the success they want for their children?

All of our school board members support and encourage this pathetic philosophy that "what else can we do but keep more new taxes at least in our own community?" To me that's shameful because we need to help the children in the entire state - not just the privileged communities that can help themselves.

OUR politicians have allowed the unions to dictate high pension costs to "break" our system at the state level. They've allowed and encouraged the CTA and NEA to spend less time in classrooms and more on "teaching" about social issues in school, and the politicians spend on policies and issues close to their twisted political special interests. Politicians really, truly don't care about how the entire state can help ALL the children fairly. The CTA union has nothing to do with supporting teachers by teaching how to challenge our kids, but they know how to support tenured deadweight and ill fitting teachers and support staff at the schools until those people can finally retire.

As parents and tax payers, I'm sick of being blamed in essence for the breakdown of the educational system in California. We are punished continuously by additional taxes and bonds by local and state officials - and of course the state. Why should we have to keep paying and paying and literally PAYING for the mind-set of and stupidity of the government?

Why do the continual SRVUSD board members year after year, prefer to punish the parents and homeowners in this district for the mistakes and excess that our state politicians continue up in Sacramento? Why can't they collectively join all other school boards in the state and simply refuse and boycott the direction our CTA has helped steer our state?

Maybe the answer is simple...for every politician and board member in the state; there is an ego problem that can't be helped.


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Posted by GG
a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2012 at 7:55 pm

The bottom line is this : You can't get blood out of a turnip. Many people are at the bottom of their wallets with having extra cash they can pay even if it's for a good cause. Schools have beg and cajoled every time a ballot measure comes along, and for the better part have won at the ballot box. But now that times are financially challenging for many the "it's for the good of the kids" may not carry as much weight, especially when the financial security of the family is suddenly put first. The only question then left is: how many people within that district are having to say no for the fact their financial situation just can't allow the extra money to leave their home?


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Posted by Grandma
a resident of Danville
on Oct 1, 2012 at 6:50 am

Schools are successful if the families are involved. Rich families, poor families, immigrant families, families who have lived here for generations. I am a retired teacher who was always complaining about the incredible waste of money for things we really did not need. I was told that the money was there,use it. Its not about improvements to the buildings. The most impressive classroom I have ever seen was in a low income area of Vallejo. The class moved to a new room every year, so permanent decorations were not on the walls. Supplies were kept stacked in boxes. The teacher, who had a speech impediment, read her 5th grade students Hiawatha. They listened, heard, discussed, dissected. It was a joy. In a run down building, dark, dingy classroom in a nearly bankrupt city children sparkled.
Funding models should be changed. Money used should be for things really needed. Get involved with your schools. Education is marketed like cars and politicians. Be sure you really know what you are seeing.Spend time in the classrooms. Listen to talk, gossip, complaints, etc. Its not about YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION. Its about waste.


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Posted by Alamo Neighbor
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 1, 2012 at 7:09 am

If Obama is re-elected as President, citizens will be horrified with all the new taxes that will be implemented to support Obamacare !


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Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Oct 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Good comments by "scrump."

Ann certainly does like to rant. However, it would be more interesting if she didn't misrepresent what I said. I did not say that the people who watch Fox News were dumbed down, only that the content of Fox News is dumbed down.

And, yes, I've got 3 children in the school system -- all of whom are "A" students, and who, with a couple of exceptions, have had outstanding teachers throughout their years in school. I have spent many hours volunteering at the schools, including in the classrooms, as have many other parents. We believe in the value of our children's education. So, I have a pretty good perspective on the quality of the education in this school district.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Oct 1, 2012 at 1:06 pm

And for anyone who is interested in the facts behind Measure D -- rather than the rampant speculation and generalization that is all to common on this thread, hre are a few (along with links to the sources):

For a list of the District's prioritization list of projects on which the $260M would be spent:

Web Link

For Measure D info.:

Web Link

For FAQs about measure D:

Web Link
FAQs

And for those who missed my earlier point about Measure D not rasing taxes beyond the currently projected 2013 tax rates, here is the District's explanation:

Q: How much will Measure D cost?

A: Measure D will upgrade our local San Ramon Valley schools by extending but not increasing our voter-approved tax rates beyond what we were already scheduled to pay starting next year in 2013-14.

Q: How can Measure D update our local schools without increasing tax rates beyond what we were already scheduled to pay in 2013-2014?

A: Each year, SRVUSD reviews current interest rates and other factors to ensure the district is achieving the best deal for taxpayers. As part of the routine review earlier this year, the District's financial analysis determined that refinancing certain outstanding bonds to lock in historically low interest rates would save local taxpayers millions of dollars over the life of the bonds. In addition to looking for ways to reduce the cost of existing bonds to taxpayers, the District's analysis also allowed us to develop Measure D, a locally-controlled school facilities bond measure, without exceeding the tax rate local property owners were projected to pay.

This became the plan for Measure D, which if approved by 55% of local voters on November 6, 2012, will provide the funding needed for the next phase of updates and improvements to our local schools By leveraging low interest rates and our stable tax base, Measure D is structured so that, when combined with the cost of our existing bond measures, would be no more than the rate we were already projected to pay in 2013. In other words, local schools receive millions in locally-controlled funding and our taxes stay at the same amount they were projected to be.

This August, the District received more good news when the Contra Costa County Assessor's office released the latest information related to local assessed values. Due to greater growth in the local property tax base, the tax rate that will be assessed for our local bond measures will be about $5 per $100,000 of assessed value lower than had been estimated.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Oct 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm

And to answer Ann's puzzlement about how new facilities, including additional classrooms might be needed at Dougherty High School:

The school district added about 800 new students this year. Not all of these are additions in Dougherty Valley. Many are just a result of the eventual turn-over of housing from older homeowners in other areas of the District whose children are grown, to younger homeowners with children. The District has added, according to the Superintendent, about 800-1,000 new students a year for the past 4 years. New houses do continue to be built; new taxpayers (paying taxes for the schools) are added.

BTW, it hardly seems like many of the various structural improvements listed by the District are frivolous or unneeded. I actually like the idea of a working fire alarm/safety system in the high school.


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Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Danville
on Oct 1, 2012 at 4:18 pm

No offense, Dave, but the facts have been presented previously in this thread, and you have just added a cut and paste of the FAQ on the SRVUSD website, which, obviously, wants to present their case so that people, like you, will vote yes. In classic political form, you have repeated their claim that Measure D will upgrade our local San Ramon Valley schools by extending but not increasing our voter-approved tax rates beyond what we were already scheduled to pay starting next year in 2013-14. The fact is that while a refinance of the 2002 bond saves taxpayers $17M, the new bond is adding $260M to the balance. So, while the payments may be stable, they are extended out for approximately 30 years (that's the number that was discussed at the school board meeting). For the purposes of discussion, let's say we are talking about your mortgage. If you only owed $17,000, how would you feel about paying $260,000 more, as long as your payments stayed the same?

Here is the info as reported in July, as an added bonus you get a reminder about how we are still paying for the 2002 Bond to update our schools:
The San Ramon Valley Unified School District recently refinanced several outstanding general obligation bonds, a move projected to save property owners more than $17 million in taxes.

The bonds, totaling $167.9 million, were originally authorized when voters passed the district's Measure A Facilities Bond in 2002. The bond was used to repair and upgrade aging facilities throughout the district.

The District was able to take advantage of a historically low interest rate environment. The interest rates on the outstanding bonds from the 2002 authorization ranged from 3.55 percent to 4.77 percent. The interest rates for the new bonds issued on June 19th range from 0.52 percent to 3.14 percent, a difference that will save property owners $17,002,379.

The refinancing of the bonds was authorized by the Board of Education at its May 22 meeting. "Ten years ago, the community generously voted to support its schools by passing Measure A," said Superintendent Steven Enoch. "Taking advantage of the low interest rates and the district's favorable bond rating allowed us to generate considerable savings for property owners ."

Prior to the bond sale, the District's bonds were rated by Standard & Poor's and Moody's, which provide credit ratings and research covering debt instruments and securities worldwide. Moody's assigned the District the rating of "Aa1" with a "stable" outlook. The rating of "Aa1" is the highest rating ever assigned to a California school district.

Standard & Poor's assigned the rating of "AA" with a "stable" outlook, and referenced the "high desirability of the district's educational services, and good financial performance demonstrated by the district's strong reserve levels."

In addition to the lower interest rates, the District also chose to restructure future debt payments of Measure A bonds to provide taxpayers with a more stable tax payment each year.


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Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Oct 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm

A couple of misc. comments:

- As several have pointed out, the specific bond and parcel tax items that show up on your property tax bill are only the "special adders". A large portion of the base (1% of assessed valuation) property tax is for education. Unfortunately, the way this is done in CA, that money goes into the state, and then is doled back out by the state, using a formula of dubious fairness. (And of course, not all of what goes in, comes back out....)

- The allocation formula used by the state is very arguably unfair to SRVUSD, being based on outmoded district demographics, etc. But the state legislature blocks all attempts to reform/update the allocation formula. Why? Because for every "losing out district" like SRVUSD, there is a "benefitting district", and they have the political power to ensure that the "redistribution" continues....

- Where we used to live in Illinois, the portion of base property tax that went to the school district (which was at least 2/3 of the base property tax rate) went directly to our local district, without the state skimming any off the top, so to speak. So we didn't need all of these special bond measures, temporary parcel taxes, etc. etc. Even though that Illinois district was one of the fastest growing districts in the state (constructing 1-3 new elementary schools every year, a new middle school every 2-3 years, and having just built a new state-of-the-art HS, there were no special bond measures needed. Thhe builders of new subdivisions paid impact fees, and were also required to deed over the land, to support the construction of the new schools. Actually, this is also done in our district, so I don't buy the argument that it is new home construction that forces the need for the new bond measure.

- BTW, per-pupil spending in that Illinois district was lower than per-pupil spending in SRVUSD, by a non-trivial margin, and yet the facilities were nicer, and at the time we moved, the quality of education was noticeably better (in the old Illinois district) at the elementary and middle-school level, and only "caught up" at the HS level due to the availability of AP and honors sections. I understand that costs are higher in CA than in Illinois. But my point is that high performance doesn't necessarily require more money. It DOES require high-performance management of the district.

My kids are both adults, and both were very well-served by their SRVUSD education. I definitely want to make sure that the quality of education in SRVUSD schools is maintained and improved. But that doesn't automatically imply supporting this latest bond measure.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Oct 2, 2012 at 12:52 am

Yes, actually, I don't mind paying the same rate for a longer period of time, if in return we get much-needed renovations and upgrades to our school facilities. Has anyone seen the dilapidated buildings at Stone Valley Middle School? A school that was originally built as an elementary school many years ago, but now serving as a middle school.

I don't believe that taxpayers should "rubber-stamp" every item on the District's wish list. But, I am also confident that there are many taxpayers who would allow the aging school facilities fall down around the students before they would lift a finger or pay a nickel to repair them.


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Posted by Ann
a resident of Danville
on Oct 2, 2012 at 10:51 am

-"Mother of 3" - Excellent comments. I had also recognized the standard website information in Dave's comments. Of course the district website presents information in the way that supports their decision of requesting this November bond. Looking over the wish list of projects doesn't make this bond grab any more convincing. I've looked at it since Aug. when they handed it out at the SRVUSD board meeting.

The talking points of supporting the bond will be reiterated through upcoming phone calls from volunteers who by-the-way, will read private information off of voting lists which identify voters in the homes as registered republicans or democrats.

On a different note:

How does the district justify using citizens private information in regard to politics?

I worked as a volunteer making cold calls for the district for the first bond that I actually supported years ago, and I felt uncomfortable enough to ask one of the managing volunteers how they could use this information for political purposes? I also asked them how they acquired the info and she was not 100% convinced it was ethical either. But...it didn't matter because the cause was justified in their eyes "for the children"...

At that time I thought it crossed the line of ethics; calling families in the district who I was familiar with and seeing how they had registered as voters. I still feel the district crosses the line with these lists they acquire for political motivations! The families don't even know that their private information is shared with all these volunteers.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Oct 2, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Although voter information from the registered voter rolls is not available to the general public, it is lawfully available to any committee that is for or against a ballot measure -- with the exception of the voter's social security number, driver's license number, and signature. So,it's perfectly legal for the School District (or for a group that opposes Measure D) to access that voter information, to advocate for or against the measure.


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Posted by Mother of 3
a resident of Danville
on Oct 3, 2012 at 9:34 am

Ann, excellent point, but Dave is right, the voter registration lists are made available to political campaigns. I don't like it either, so when I do any volunteering, I won't make phone calls.
The district and the campaign are separate, and there are rules to keep them separate, which is why no campaigning takes place on school grounds.


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Posted by Amused
a resident of Danville
on Oct 15, 2012 at 10:14 am

Wow. Just found this thread, and had a great time reading all the hyperbole. Pretty clear that the anti-bond measure folks drowning out the conversation in the thread are fervent anti-taxers, anti-public school, anti-democrat, anti-liberal, anti-government, and anti-anything-that-might-take-a-penny-from-me-to-pay-for-the-society-I-benefit-and-make-my-wealth-from, and they're gonna shout at the top of their lungs about it.

Some dead give-away clues: "What's wrong with Ann Coulter - I like her." (No comment needed.)

Or "tax-and-spend democrats." I love anti-facts like this. In the past 60 years, it is the repub administrations that have spent the most and run up the biggest spending deficits, without exception. (Sean H won't "ask that question", will he?)

Or "SRVUSD scores have fallen continuously." Really? That's just an outright lie, since the opposite is factually true. SRVUSD is now the eighth highest performing district in the state, and the highest performing of any large unified district. (But, please, don't mind the facts, keep ranting about teachers who spend all day indoctrinating students about why suzie has two mommies. Ugh.)

Or "The fat in the budget is administration." Another anti-fact. The district has one of the lowest administration/student cost ratios in the state. (But don't mind that either -- keep ranting about district greed.)

Or "The facilities needs targeted for Measure D are unnecessary." Really? Based on what independent analysis? That's just a rotten fruit lobbed from the fields of ignorance. Some here have actually dug into the budget and expenditures.

Funny thing is, if any of you died-in-the-wool conservatives ran a private company this way, you'd run it into the ground and/or be run off the board on a rail by your shareholders.

Ah! But that's the real unstated agenda, isn't it? To kill public education, so you can take public tax dollars (right - you don't feed off the public trough!) and divert it to private and charter schools where, at public expense, you can indoctrinate kids with the "having two mommies is a moral sin" agenda.

Why not be honest about your agenda? You are anti-tax of any sort, anti-government, and anti-public school.

What the myopic single-mindedness of your approach fails to grasp is the impact this would have on "your" community. But when Danville, Alamo and San Ramon end up looking like Antioch or Martinez, along with your property values, you'll just shift ground and blame the "liberals" and "democrats" some other way.

I am reminded of the scene in Blazing Saddles, when the sherriff points a gun at his head and warns others to "Stand back, or I'll shoot the [ahem... sherriff]"

I urge all rational readers of all political persuasions (republican, democrat, independent) to do some independent thinking and analysis, and don't allow yourself to be told what to think and say (and vote) by obvious extremists bent on destruction of the public school system for their own radical idealogical purposes.

Get the facts. Vote the facts.


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Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Oct 15, 2012 at 11:08 am

@ amused: "I agree with your ideas, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter."

Written in jest, but you DO give me hope, after reading all the offal that comprises much of this thread...


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Posted by Indep
a resident of Danville
on Oct 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Measure D is going to be a fact of life if we want to improve the school facilities in our district so we can keep up the quality of education. If one reads the news (fact, not fiction) API test scores just went up AGAIN this year. We are the #1 school district with more than 9000 in the STATE! Like Greg Marvel said at the SRVUSD "Meet the Candidates" forum last Monday, "that's not good enough!" We need to be #1 in the state. That forum was an excellent educational experience for the audience so that we could become informed with what's really happening in our schools. What I did learn, the ONLY candidates that are worthy of the post for SRVUSD are Greg Marvel and Mark Jewett. WHY? Greg is an incumbent that has presided over the success of our schools for the last 12 years. Mark Jewett is the new blood that the district needs because he has a Masters in Finance from Stanford and has worked on the oversight committees. Who better to confirm that the money is being spent properly...and oh yeah, Mark has two young children in the district so I think he's got no agenda other than his (read our) children's education in mind and the solvency of the district, and appropriate use of our money.


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