• LGUSD Parcel Tax Announced

    Below is the second announcement sent yesterday by the LGUSD. A kind reader inserted the entire text into a comment - thank you. I am posting it here, and copying the related comments, for further discussion.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, February 6, 2013

    CONTACT: Dr. Diana Abbati, Superintendent – Los Gatos Union School District

    Los Gatos Union School District Board Votes Unanimously to Place
    No Tax Increase Renewal Measure on May 7, 2013 - Mail-in Ballot

    LOS GATOS— The Los Gatos Union School District (LGUSD) officials, parents and teachers gathered tonight to discuss the importance of renewing the local funding measure that helps support student achievement in local schools.

    Citing the need to maintain outstanding educational programs and retain highly-qualified teachers without increasing tax rates, the Los Gatos Union School District Board voted unanimously to seek a renewal of the District’s expiring parcel tax measure on the May 7, 2013 ballot.

    “Los Gatos schools are among the top in the state in terms of student test scores, thanks to our excellent academic programs and highly-qualified teachers. Renewing this stable, local source of funding will provide greater local control to continue top-quality education for our students without increasing tax rates. Every penny from this measure will benefit Los Gatos students and can’t be taken away by the State,” said Los Gatos Union School District Board of Trustee President, Tina Orsi-Hartigan.

    Several community leaders voiced support for the measure. Dan Snyder and Bob Chrisman, members of the Financial Advisory Parcel Tax Oversight Committee remarked that LGUSD has a history of fiscal responsibility and accountability and this renewal would be no different. All funds from this measure will be used to support student achievement and the committee will continue to monitor funds to ensure wise spending.

    Retiree Don Allari explained, “Families move into our neighborhoods because our schools are among the top in the State, making our community one of the most desirable places to live in the Bay Area. Renewing this local funding will protect our great schools and continue to keep our property values strong, which is good for everyone.”

    Fran Mastroianni, a 5th grade teacher at Blossom Hill Elementary School and co-president of the Los Gatos Education Teachers Association, remarked that classroom materials and strong academic programs in reading, writing, math and science help our teachers provide a strong education for the students of LGUSD —that’s why my fellow teachers and I are supporting this renewal and volunteering to help on the campaign.

    If approved by voters with a 67% vote, the renewal measure would maintain educational programs, retain qualified teachers, provide updated science resources, classroom technology, books and instructional materials, and support art and music programs. The measure includes fiscal accountability including citizen oversight to ensure funds are spent as promised. No funds could be used to pay for administrators’ salaries.

    Wendy Riggs, a Los Gatos parent remarked, “I’ve volunteered to lead the grassroots campaign because renewing this measure will help retain our excellent teachers and protect the quality of education parents like me expect from our schools. Since 1990 our community has voted to support our schools and protect our rigorous academic programs. As we all know, this vital source of funding for our schools is set to expire soon. I truly believe locally controlled funding that can’t be taken by the State is the only way we can keep our schools among the best.”

    All registered voters in the Los Gatos Union School District will receive the ballot by mail in early April. Ballots must be received by the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters by May 7, 2013 to be counted.
    Comments 73 Comments
    1. Pepper Potts's Avatar
      Pepper Potts -
      by Prop 30:

      Accountant just finished our taxes today. Wow Prop30 just took a bite out of our pocketbook. I thought this was going to help schools. Diana came to our BH home and school and mentioned the importance of Prop30 helping our schools. What exactly does Prop30 do for our district besides rake our paychecks along with the additional taxes from Uncle Sam?

      What about LGEF and H&SC? Why are we buying iPads if we need money for books and supplies? Can we replace books with iPads or is that cost too great? I certainly would pay for a parcel tax for iPads in place of books, if this is more cost efficient. As far as STEM being iPads, that is a joke. Does the district understand what STEM is? An iPad is just a tool.
    1. Pepper Potts's Avatar
      Pepper Potts -
      by Unregistered User:

      The district took $1.2 million in cuts last year that directly affected children, saying "we all have to do more with less", but then, after the parents stepped up to fund programs they view as important AND provide reserves that were needlessly required by the district, the district office hired staff, gave others promotions, and secured their own administrator contracts. I call foul. We need to demand accountability on the part of those in control of the funds before we vote to renew the parcel tax!
    1. Pepper Potts's Avatar
      Pepper Potts -
      by Unregistered User:

      I agree with all the statements about the parcel tax. Prop 30 will do nothing for our district. The district's financial person just did a board update that shows the district is once again deficit spending. How can they hire admins for over priced administrators when they don't have a balanced budget?? I just went to the district office and saw that they even remodeled their waiting area. New carpet and chairs...why is our board and superintendent spending money on these things and not on our teachers???
    1. Pepper Potts's Avatar
      Pepper Potts -
      by Unregistered User:

      Did anybody notice the way that the District's press release was written? It sure looks like the board voted NOT to place a tax measure on the ballot. Very poorly written headline.


      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, February 6, 2013

      CONTACT: Dr. Diana Abbati, Superintendent – Los Gatos Union School District
      Los Gatos Union School District Board Votes Unanimously to Place

      No Tax Increase Renewal Measure on May 7, 2013 - Mail-in Ballot
    1. eHow's Avatar
      eHow -
      from eHow, topic "How to Correctly Use the Titles of Dr. and PhD With a Name:

      item #2
      Place the title of "Dr." before the name of a person who is a doctor of medicine or psychology, doctor of dentistry, or doctor of veterinary medicine. For example: Dr. George Ross. Always write the word "doctor" in its abbreviated form ("Dr.") when it goes before the person's name. Never write, for example, Doctor George Ross. Do not combine the title of "Dr." with any other title even if the person could appropriately be addressed by a different title. Never write, for example, "Dr. George Ross, PhD," even if the person is a medical doctor who has also earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree. Pick one title. Do not use the "Dr." title when referring to someone who is solely an academic doctor.

      Read more: How to Correctly Use the Titles Dr. & PhD With a Name | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_7916317_corr...#ixzz2KGYXrXMB
    1. No Different?'s Avatar
      No Different? -
      "...Dan Snyder and Bob Chrisman, members of the Financial Advisory Parcel Tax Oversight Committee remarked that LGUSD has a history of fiscal responsibility and accountability and this renewal would be no different..."

      NO DIFFERENT?

      In June of 2008, the voters of Los Gatos approved a Parcel Tax that also included "fiscal accountability including citizen oversight to ensure funds are spent as promised." The problem is that the oversight committee was not established until May 15, 2012!! (http://www.boardfiles.lgusd.k12.ca.u...C%20051512.pdf) In addition, the public reporting was not done in a timely manner, as mandated in the measure that the LGUSD Board of Trustees themselves voted to place on the ballot.

      This only came to light because one parent bravely stood up in front of the public at a board meeting to remind the board of its responsibility to our community.

      No different? I think it should be VERY DIFFERENT this time, don't you?!
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by eHow View Post
      from eHow, topic "How to Correctly Use the Titles of Dr. and PhD With a Name:

      item #2
      Place the title of "Dr." before the name of a person who is a doctor of medicine or psychology, doctor of dentistry, or doctor of veterinary medicine. For example: Dr. George Ross. Always write the word "doctor" in its abbreviated form ("Dr.") when it goes before the person's name. Never write, for example, Doctor George Ross. Do not combine the title of "Dr." with any other title even if the person could appropriately be addressed by a different title. Never write, for example, "Dr. George Ross, PhD," even if the person is a medical doctor who has also earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree. Pick one title. Do not use the "Dr." title when referring to someone who is solely an academic doctor.

      Read more: How to Correctly Use the Titles Dr. & PhD With a Name | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_7916317_corr...#ixzz2KGYXrXMB
      This is hilarious! So, the person leading the education of our children who has a PhD doesn't know how she is supposed to be referred to in written form? I can barely sit in my chair I'm laughing so hard. I can only guess that her arrogance is so great that she needs to be call "Dr." I bet she also refers to herself in the third person. Have some power issues Diana?
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      I thought she had an Ed.D. - Doctor of Education? Isn't that what she just finished?
    1. T. K.'s Avatar
      T. K. -
      Who cares how she addresses herself, stop being petty, most reading this blog would not even know in this community. My concern, when did the school district decide this? Have they raised the proper (well not the district, an independent group) amount to cover election? This is the first I've heard of this tax campaign and the election is this May? As a veteran of parcel tax campaigns I know that an independent group needs to raise money to cover election, usually done months ahead. Being the first I've heard, aside from receiving the typical polling call last Nov-Dec. Are we shooting ourself in the foot by not being organized? Makes me wonder if they the content of the parcel tax has been fully vetted.

      My experience helping with the parcel tax due to expire, the large dollar amount was to include reducing class size among other important items. The reduction in class resonated well with parents and Los Gatos residents because it allowed children to learn in smaller learning environments. It was easy to campaign on this. Now they are renewing at the same rate, no mentioning of smaller size class rooms but maintaining. What are they maintaining? Not smaller class sizes, have you seen the growth in our population!!! The high school parcel tax is only $49 to maintain and it does not include administrative cost and they provide an excellent education with higher paid credential teachers and many electives. My son is registered for an engineering class next fall!! Plus they are adding a project based technology program 100 incoming freshman. In a district that does not have so many credentialed teachers and a higher pay scale why is so much more money?

      I am not against parcel tax but I certainly want to make sure money is used properly and our children are getting what they deserve. If not reduce class sizes, then give more meat to the parcel tax or lower it. How do you go from wanting to double it and now satisfied with existing parcel tax. This tells me they might be able to run a lower parcel tax than that.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      The parcel tax will not be used to lower class size. They have been very vague about what it will be spent on because the board wants the freedom to decide hence the "soft" language in their mailers, etc. I would support the tax if the district gives us specifics on what the money will do.

      There is very little transparency in what the elementary district does with our tax money. Since the last tax didn't have any oversight until 6 months ago, I wonder if we are being duped.
    1. Joe Madden's Avatar
      Joe Madden -
      Hey folks, if you haven't been paying attention, class sizes have been increasing steadily over the past 3 years. I support the parcel tax, and I wish it was 5 times larger so that we could do some real good.

      By the way, I also read this press release and I have no problem with the content. I was shocked to see how poorly the headline was written: "Los Gatos Union School District Board Votes Unanimously to Place
      No Tax Increase Renewal Measure on May 7, 2013 - Mail-in Ballot". At first, I thought that this indicated a vote AGAINST the parcel tax.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Additional funds can only do good things for our children if they are used properly. Salary increases, new hires and promotions for administrative staff, wasteful bureaucratic processes, and unnecessary expenditures are rampant in LGUSD and a blatent slap in the face to every taxpayer in this town, regardless of which specific account number is used on the books.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Additional funds will not change the attitudes of our administrators and teachers. This district is not focused on the children, and until they are, no amount of money will change what is going on.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Hey don't give up people! Here's how you do it: Instead of giving the money to the District, give it to LGEF and H&SC so that the parents can control how the money is spent.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
      Hey don't give up people! Here's how you do it: Instead of giving the money to the District, give it to LGEF and H&SC so that the parents can control how the money is spent.
      Haven't you noticed?!!! The district controls LGEF, they issue the grants of what they want to fund and LGEF approves them not to be the bad guys who cut the programs. H&SC is now forced to buy iPads for 2nd graders, 3rd graders next year and something resembling TILDA in the future. There are strings attached to every dollar you give, self centering or silo behaviors of funds will not give your child a better education. LG has a history of blindly giving money away to schools, the polling consultants will agree. Other surrounding districts know this and look on with envy. There will be no difference now. Excellence will continue if you vote yes.
    1. T.K.'s Avatar
      T.K. -
      Quote Originally Posted by Joe Madden View Post
      Hey folks, if you haven't been paying attention, class sizes have been increasing steadily over the past 3 years. I support the parcel tax, and I wish it was 5 times larger so that we could do some real good.

      By the way, I also read this press release and I have no problem with the content. I was shocked to see how poorly the headline was written: "Los Gatos Union School District Board Votes Unanimously to Place
      No Tax Increase Renewal Measure on May 7, 2013 - Mail-in Ballot". At first, I thought that this indicated a vote AGAINST the parcel tax.
      Yes, Joe I have noticed class sizes have increased but it is true that was one of the priorities of the last campaign. My point is what can they do with the same parcel tax but deliver what they are doing now and that is no where to close to excellence. I agree 5 times larger could make a difference if someone from the district knew who to deliver that excellent education. Right now we are just getting larger and getting by. I am disappointed that none of the trustees could present a better educational plan worthy of the 5 times you mentioned. I think currently the district is running in circles chasing their tail, trying their best to play catch up.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by Pepper Potts View Post
      by Prop 30:

      Accountant just finished our taxes today. Wow Prop30 just took a bite out of our pocketbook. ...
      this is a great post and i agree with Pepper Potts in sentiment. but...will i vote "yes" or "no" on the parcel tax? i will probably vote yes, even with some misgivings. our school board will never be disproportionately more effective than any other government bureaucracy...i accept that. i want quality schools more than i want to punish waste...so for now, i will continue forking over the $$
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
      ...will i vote "yes" or "no" on the parcel tax? i will probably vote yes, even with some misgivings. our school board will never be disproportionately more effective than any other government bureaucracy...i accept that. i want quality schools more than i want to punish waste...so for now, i will continue forking over the $$
      Don't you see that this acceptance, albeit well-meaning, makes you part of the problem? This complicit thinking is exactly what the adults who get paid are counting on. Your faulty premise is that the parcel tax will provide you with quality schools. I don't blame you for thinking that, because that's what the hired campaign consultants tell you. It's what they know will get you to vote in favor. However, there are many voices out there telling you that this is not necessarily the case. If the money goes to replace funding lost to wasteful spending (needless consultants, overpaid administrative employees, district office amenities, etc), our kids are no better off. It's just a shuffle game. It's not about punishing waste, it's about demanding accountability.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
      .... will probably vote yes, even with some misgivings. our school board will never be disproportionately more effective than any other government bureaucracy...i accept that. i want quality schools more than i want to punish waste...so for now, i will continue forking over the $$
      You are expressing the prevailing attitude in our town regarding parcel tax. The assessment is relatively small and no one wants to hurt the kids, so most people will vote in favor. When you know it takes 5 homeowners' parcel taxes to fund the $1500 more in spending per child at Lexington, combined with summer push through of HMC billings in arrears (much of which was not substantiated), plus the promotions that also took place over the summer, plus the retroactive benefit increases for employees right after school let out ... all of which occurred on the heels of cutting programs for kids, it certainly complicates the decision for some of us. Complicating things further is that the current parcel tax doesn't expire until June 2014 and the fuzzy language of what the proposed renewal is funding. I am really scratching my head about whether to support this parcel tax or not. Do I want to hurt the kids? Absolutely not. Do I want changes in the way the district operates? You betcha! Part of me thinks that it would be a huge wake up call if the PT didn't pass this go round. It wouldn't hurt the kids because the current tax would still be in place. It would give the district a year to prove to the community that they are invested in making changes, showcase what we are doing right and what they could improve with additional money, and get their act together about what exactly needs to be funded with PT dollars.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      An ehow article on forms of address is not the final word on the subject. In my experience, I always addressed my university professors as "Dr." both verbally and in writing.

      Here's Emily Post on the subject:

      Doctor

      Socially as well as professionally, medical doctors, dentists, and other professionals are addressed by, and introduced with, their titles. People who have earned a Ph.D. or any other academic, nonmedical doctoral degree have the choice of whether to use "Dr." both professionally and socially. If, when meeting people with doctorates, you're unsure how to address them, "Dr." is always correct. If they'd rather the title be dropped, they will let you know.
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