Oct 3 2021

Two million six hundred sixty three thousand and seven hundred twenty nine dollars are Piedmont’s share of the COVID American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds

On Monday, October 4, 2021, the Piedmont City Council will consider how to spend the $2,663,729 in windfall funds arising from  the Federal government to assist with costs.  Read the AGENDA here.

The priority list developed by the Piedmont staff is listed below.

Approve the attached resolution allocating the City’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds as follows:

A. Devote lost revenue funds to address urgent facilities projects, prioritized as follows:

1. Dispatch Center Relocation\Remodel

2. Initiation of Master Planning Process for the future of Police Department, Fire Department and City Hall

3. One or a combination of the following:

  • City Hall Basement:
  • Digitization of Residential Property Files and Remodel Office Space ·
  • Fire Department Living Quarters Renovation
  • Recreation Department Building Renovation

B. Devote the remaining more restricted funds as follows:

1. Cover the City’s direct COVID-19 related expenses incurred after March 3, 2021

2. Provide premium pay to certain Recreation Department childcare personnel who were exposed on a daily basis to critical health risks while interacting with the public due to the nature of their jobs

3. Provide COVID-19 specific support to the Piedmont Unified School District by providing $100,000 toward funding a temporary full-time school nurse to assist PUSD in its COVID-19 response. Such resource would be available to support the City’s Recreation Department COVID-19 response needs as well.

Read the full October 4, 2021 staff report below:

COVID FUNDS 102021

https://piedmont.ca.gov/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=18049031

Comment links to Piedmont City Councilmembers:

Mayor Teddy King

tking@piedmont.ca.gov
(510) 420-3048

Vice Mayor Tim Rood

trood@piedmont.ca.gov
(510) 239-7663

Councilmember Jen Cavenaugh

jcavenaugh@piedmont.ca.gov
(415) 215-6933

Councilmember Betsy Smegal Andersen

bandersen@piedmont.ca.gov
(510) 420-3048

Councilmember Conna McCarthy

cmccarthy@piedmont.ca.gov
(510) 420-3048

Sep 22 2021

SCHOOLS, RECREATION, BUILDING RENOVATIONS, CITY MASTER PLAN, PUBLIC SAFETY AND MORE –

On Thursday, September 23. 2021 at 4:00 p.m.. the Piedmont Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee will meet via Zoom to consider a recommendation to the Piedmont City Council on how to spend $2,663,729, Piedmont’s COVID funds. 

To participate and view the meeting see the Agenda link below.

Of the $2,663,729 allocated to the City, $2,382,545 is tied to lost revenue and can be used in category 3 which, as noted in the full staff report linked below, may be used for any governmental services, including infrastructure projects. The remaining $281,183 must be used in accordance with the provisions of the other four categories.

STAFF RECOMMENDATION:

By motion, recommend that the City Council allocate the City’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds as proposed by staff:

A. Devote lost revenue funds to address urgent facilities projects, prioritized as follows:

1. Dispatch Center Relocation\Remodel

2. Initiation of Master Planning Process for the Future of Police, Fire and City Hall

3. City Hall Basement: Digitization of Residential Property Files and Remodel Office Space

3. Fire Department Living Quarters Renovation 3. Recreation Department Building Renovation

B. Devote the remaining more restricted funds as follows:

1. Cover the City’s direct COVID related expenses incurred after March 3, 2021

2. Provide premium pay to Recreation Department personnel who were exposed on a daily basis to critical health risks while interacting with the public due to the nature of their jobs

3. Provide COVID-19 specific support to the Piedmont Unified School District by providing funding toward a temporary full-time school nurse to assist PUSD in its COVID-19 response. Such resource would be available to support the City’s Recreation Department COVID response needs as well.

AGENDA >2021-09-23 Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee Agenda

READ  FULL STAFF REPORT >2021-09-23 ARPA Funding Direction – BAFPC

Sep 16 2021

Piedmont Unified School District Board Meeting Summary – September 14,  2021

Enrollment in schools throughout California has been on the decline, including in Piedmont. 

For the 2021-2022 School year under the current policies 41 approved Interdistrict transfer students enrolled in TK -5th grade and 12 approved Interdistrict transfer students enrolled in 6th -11th grade as of 8/37/21. Interdistrict transfers are students enrolled in Piedmont schools who originate from another school district.

In order to mitigate the loss of what could be considerable funding for our
schools, District staff recommended that the Interdistrict transfer policy be revised:

  1. Permit the option of accepting the Interdistrict transfers of students at all grade
    levels.
  2.  Allow for more flexibility in accepting the Interdistrict transfers of families whose grandparents reside in Piedmont.
  3.  Reflect language that adheres to recent changes in the Education Code.

Highlights of the Current Interdistrict Transfer Policy :

  1. The Superintendent or designee may approve interdistrict transfer requests when
    capacity within the District exists. Students whose requests are denied solely
    because of lack of capacity within the District will be placed on a waiting list, and
    their application will be considered if space becomes available.

The decision to admit out-of-District students is discretionary, when capacity
exists; applications may be approved based on the following priorities:
1. Parents Constructing or Remodeling a Home
2. High School Juniors and Seniors Who Have Moved Out of the District
3. Children of Piedmont Unified School District Employees
4. Children of the City of Piedmont Government Employees
5. Children of the Piedmont Educational Foundation Director
6. Children Residing on Calvert Court
7. Residences on Approved Piedmont Split Parcel Properties
8. GrandParent – Grandchild of an Individual(s) Who Lives Within the
Boundaries of PUSD

9.Approved Split Parcels with Oakland and Adjoining Minor Piedmont Parcel

10. Other Applicants

Outdoor Masking:

Superintendent Booker reviewed the District’s requirements regarding outdoor masking. At its last meeting, the Health & Safety Steering Committee was asked if there was an ‘off-ramp’ where the District could consider rolling back or eliminating the outdoor requirement. Discussion centered around that being outdoors is not a cure for COVID – aerosol transmission is still possible. Suggestion was made to wait until Alameda County falls to below five cases per 100,000 residents (currently at 13.5) before considering any changes to requirements.

Vaccinations:

The Committee will be asked if the rules should be different for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated students at its next meeting on September 29th.

As of September 13th, 83% of families had responded that 74% of eligible students  were fully vaccinated.

Revised Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 5141.31 – Immunizations

– Revised policy would add the COVID vaccination to the existing list of
vaccinations required for enrollment in PUSD. All age-eligible students would be required to show proof of vaccination or submit a medical exemption and be tested weekly. Questions to be answered before Board approval would be: what dates should be chosen as deadlines to show proof of vaccinations, how much time should students be given to become vaccinated once becoming age-eligible, and should the mandate be for students 12 and older, or 16 and older to fall under FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine? Board will discuss and take possible action at its September 22nd meeting.

Next Regular School Board Meeting – Wednesday, September 22nd, 7 pm

May 16 2021

24/7: A Closer Look at security cameras on campus

Mar 23 2021

PIEDMONT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD MEETING – March 24, 2021

 Update for on campus instruction – Spring and Fall

  • Negotiations continue for Spring on campus instruction.  
  • Fall 2021 – The Board of Education and the Piedmont Unified School District is planning for providing full-time, on-campus instruction for the 2021-2022 school year.  Read the staff report in the link below.

>VII_B_BackgroundOnCampusInstructionSpring2021AndFall2021_0

  • $10,000,000 in School Bonds: The bonds were awarded to the bidder providing the lowest true interest cost (TIC), which represents the interest to be repaid by taxpayers. The bids also include a premium to cover the costs of the sale so that the net amount received by the District is $10 million. Of the seven bids received, Fidelity Capital Markets had the lowest TIC at 2.1268%. The costs of issuance total $146,440, not including the compensation to the underwriters. Costs include fees paid to the bond counsel, financial advisor, rating agency and other miscellaneous costs related to the bond sale. These costs, as well as any underwriting costs or commissions are included in the TIC because they are paid from premium generated when the underwriters sell the bonds to investors. The competitive sale ensures that the bonds were sold at the lowest possible cost.

>VII_A_BackgroundResultsOfSaleSeries2021C

_0VII_A_PresentationPostSaleSummary_0

  • InterDistrict Transfers – Updated 

VIII_A_UpdatedBPAR5117InterDistrictTransferAttendance

  • Theater and STEAM Building Updates

VIII_B_BackgroundSTEAMTheaterGMP_0

  • Agenda and more links > HERE

Mar 9 2021

– Student transfers from other School Districts into the Piedmont School District are proposed on a priority basis.   Children of persons working 10 hours or more per week in Piedmont need no longer work for the City or School District and grandchildren of Piedmont residents will continue to be prioritized.

Expanded qualifications for enrollment in Piedmont Schools will be considered on March 10.

Three separate initiatives were discussed during a February 24th School Board meeting in order to help achieve the Board’s goal:

1. PUSD Athletic Coaches: Paid contracted athletic coaches [children] may be eligible for admittance to Piedmont schools based on verification of employment. Does not pertain to volunteer coaches. When a District Coach ceases employment with the District, he/she shall withdraw his/her child from the District no later than the end of the current semester or at the discretion of the Superintendent.

2. Persons Employed Within the City of Piedmont: Limits Children of Persons physically employed at least 10 hours a week within the City of Piedmont limits may be eligible for admittance to Piedmont schools. Proof of employment via a letter on employer’s stationary verifying schedule (hours and days) and location of employment and a copy of a current pay stub must accompany the application. When the person ceases employment within the City of Piedmont limits, he/she shall withdraw his/her child from the District no later than the end of the current semester or at the discretion of the Superintendent.

3. Children of the City of Piedmont Government Employees The District may admit children of City of Piedmont government employees employed at least 10 hours a week. A City government employee is defined as an employee who is on a regularly scheduled City of Piedmont government employee payroll on which appropriate deductions occur. It does not include consultants or contractors for the City of Piedmont.

Read the proposed priorities for admittance in the links below:

IX_B_BackgroundBPAR5117_0

IX_B_UpdatedBPAR5117InterDistrictTransferAttendance_0

To participate in this Agenda item on March 10, 2021, at the 7 pm, Piedmont Unified School District meeting, click the Agenda below:

https://agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=1241&MeetingID=82620&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False

Oct 29 2020

The Mercury News Editorial –

Editorial: Reject Piedmont property tax hike for pool repairs

The Mercury News editorial is copied below:

“Piedmont residents tax themselves to ensure that they have the best schools and premier city government. The average homeowner pays $4,400 in extra taxes for schools and another $635 for city services.

But those taxes also drive up the cost of housing in the exclusive city surrounded by Oakland and further ensure that those with average means will not be able to crack the city’s residential market.

Voters in Tuesday’s election will face two tax hikes. Measure TT, which we have previously recommended voters reject, would increase the city’s tax on property sales to state record-high levels. Now we look at Measure UU, a $19.5 million bond proposal to pay for replacing three old community pools with two new ones. Voters should reject that, too.

Based on the city estimates provided to voters, Measure UU would add an average $263 annually to the tax bill for a home assessed at the city average of slightly over $1 million.

It a bit of a tricky calculation for voters because city officials in the ballot wording obfuscated the projected average tax rate as 2.6 cents per $100 of assessed value rather than an easier-to-understand $26 per $100,000.

It turns out that the city overstated that rate, especially for the latter part of the 30-year tax. The firmer number is that city taxpayers would collectively pay about $1.3 million annually to retire the bonds needed to finance the construction.

To put that number in perspective, the city spends more than that – nearly $1.7 million to be precise – just to cover the interest payments on public employee pension debt. Put another way, most of the pool bond payments could be covered by Measure TT, which is expected to add about $948,462 annually to the city’s transfer tax revenues.

Individually and collectively, the two measures raise a question of, how much is too much? Rather than throwing multiple tax measures at voters, city leaders need to prioritize and look for savings elsewhere.”

Oct 28 2020
I am supporting Veronica Anderson Thigpen for Piedmont School Board. I first met Veronica at Piedmont’s MLK Day Celebration in 2019, which she helped organize. Since then, I’ve gotten to know her even better through her work as Co-Chair of the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee.
.
In all my interactions with Veronica, I’ve been impressed both by her passion for social justice and equity and by her thoughtfulness, practical instincts and willingness to listen.
With her deep understanding of education policy, honed through her work as a journalist and an educational adviser, she has the expertise needed to help the School Board make the best decisions for our kids.
.
As an African American woman who has been committed throughout her career to fighting for social justice and inclusion, she would also bring a fresh perspective to the PUSD board on a wide range of critical issues. And as a collaborative, can-do leader, she would help PUSD translate good principles into productive, concrete actions.
We’re living in a time of unprecedented challenges but also unprecedented opportunity – opportunity to build a society that is more just, equitable and sustainable. Veronica is someone who can help us meet that challenge by taking the amazing foundation we’ve built in Piedmont and expanding its reach to make our city a more welcoming and inclusive place.
.
If you share that aspiration for Piedmont’s future, I hope you’ll join me in supporting Veronica for School Board!  
.
Sachin Adarkar, Piedmont Resident
Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 25 2020
I’m writing to encourage Piedmonters to elect Hari Titan to the Piedmont School Board.

Hari is a BIG supporter of Piedmont schools.  He has extensive experience in finances and a desire for the Piedmont schools to be the best they can be. Hari found many ways for our tax dollars to go further by paying for school bonds as we go, just like a fixed-rate mortgage.  By not deferring property taxes, Piedmont taxpayers saved $26 million.

Hari also fought for the cost-effectiveness of new construction for the high school theater and STEAM building, allowing for more seats, better acoustics, handicap access, net-zero energy use, and earthquake safety.

Hari has also fought for listening to our local epidemiologists and transparent school closure and reopening criteria. Hari will make sure we get back to educational excellence safely and as soon as possible.

Please join me in voting for Dr. Titan for the school board this year.

Patty White, Former Piedmont Mayor

~~~~~~~~~~~

 – Titan:  7 years of valuable aid to schools –  

Our home values are linked to Piedmont’s  historical reputation for excellent schools.   That reputation is starting to falter as evidenced by the unexpected loss of 81 students from our school district this year.  Once lost, it will take years to recover our reputation.

Titan is the School Board candidate who will add thoughtful management and responsible oversight to the School Board.  Since 2013 he’s contributed over 500 hours of time which produced well-conceived recommendations that saved our schools and taxpayers MILLIONS of dollars.

Our current school board is disproportionately influenced by the unions and our country-club society.  Board decisions are too often unanimous with little public deliberation and are often dismissive of thoughtful public input.  Titan will return  transparent governance to the school board.

My decision to vote for Titan is based on the content of his character and intellect.  His experience as a businessman, mathematician, scientist, and STEM college professor brings valuable diversity and professional acumen to the board.

Membership on the school board should not be a popularity contest.  Titan is the responsible candidate we need.

Dai Meagher, retired CPA, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
Oct 7 2020

No Consumer Ever Got a “Prop. 13 Discount”

Since Prop. 13 was passed in 1978, the taxable value of California business property has increased no more than 2% per year regardless of its market value, unless there is a change in ownership.  Owners of such properties have used various legal mechanisms to avoid a change in ownership.  These owners, whether operating a business or renting property to others, pay far less property tax than competing businesses that acquired property more recently.

Prices and rents, however, are set by markets.  Consumers and renters don’t get a “Prop. 13 discount” that reflects the property owner’s low property tax; the property owner just pockets those savings while the rest of us pay not only the market price, but also more in all kinds of taxes to make up for the lost business property tax revenue.

Prop. 15, on the November ballot, will fix this situation by allowing the taxable value of business properties worth more than $3 million to gradually rise to market value.  Opponents claim that Prop. 15 will cause prices and rents to rise as property owners try to pass along the increased property tax.  That’s extremely unlikely—if those property owners could charge more, they already would be.

Please vote in favor of Prop. 15 to require all businesses to pay their fair share and fund our schools.

Richard W. Raushenbush, Former School Board Member