May 12 2020

SCHOOL BOARD CONSIDERATION IS ON MAY 13TH OF WHETHER TO PROCEED WITH CONSTRUCTION OF THE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER/NEW ALAN HARVEY THEATER OR WAIT.  FUNDING IS IN QUESTION.

 There has been some discussion of deferring for at least one year the second phase of the construction program — demolishing the 10s building and constructing a Performing Arts Center/New Alan Harvey Theater on the 10s site. The reasons for considering a delay include concerns over the sufficiency of contingency funds ($1.96 million), an interest in redesign to reduce overall cost, and, mostly recently, preserving the 10s building for increased social distancing.

Committee recommends moving ahead with the second phase and demolishing the 10s building.

A Measure H1 Facilities Program Update is linked here for your review.

READ the full staff report linked below:

PUSD 5132020

READ the agenda for the May 13 School Board meeting HERE.

Apr 20 2020

The Piedmont School District is once more faced with a shortage of  teachers and professionals in various categories.

Piedmont Unified School Board will consider on April 22, 2020 Emergency Declaration of Need.

School Board action will allow the District to apply for and the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to issue Emergency Crosscultural Language and Academic Development (CLAD), Bilingual Crosscultural Language and Academic Development (BCLAD), Resource Specialist, Teacher Librarian Services, Clinical Rehabilitative Services, or Limited Term Assignments for teachers. 

See the agenda, procedures to participate, and staff reports linked below:

https://agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=1241&MeetingID=77883&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False

Background – Declaration of Need

Declaration of Need for Fully Qualified Educators

Mar 13 2020

“Governor Gavin Newsom today issued an executive order ensuring California public school districts retain state funding even in the event of physical closure.”

MARCH 13, 2020: This afternoon, the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education unanimously passed the following motion: “PUSD Board of Education moves to close school facilities for non-essential functions, suspend in-classroom instruction, and dismiss all PUSD students beginning March 16 through March 27, 2020 in order to:

  • 1. Slow the spread of COVID-19 across the state and in our community, reduce the number of people infected, and protect those who are most vulnerable to severe illness.
  • 2. Plan and prepare for continuity of educational services during a pandemic that may last for an extended period of time. With the expectation that teachers continue to provide a continuity of education through distance learning, actively engage in communications with administration, colleagues, families, and students; and that staff necessary for essential district-wide services/operations continue with their responsibilities either at a school site/district office or virtually (if applicable).

” With this decision, beginning March 16, 2020 all school site facilities are closed to students and the general public. All extra-curricular activities, including athletics, instrumental, vocal, dance, and dramatic productions are also cancelled. Additionally, all school site facilities rentals by the public are cancelled.

During this time, district leaders will coordinate with county health officials, the Alameda County Public Health Department, and California Department of Education to determine if returning on March 30th is advisable.

Continuity of Education School site educators are developing plans to deliver a continuity of education for students district-wide. Distance learning will be utilized, so we expect students and families to monitor email, Infinite Campus, and Schoology regularly for homework/learning activities, important updates, and messages from teachers and the administration.

Our goal is to begin communicating distance learning opportunities in the afternoon on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. These communications, including expectations and specific learning opportunities will arrive directly from site educators and the administration.

READ FULL PRESS RELEASE BY CLICKING BELOW:

Press Release – SCHOOL FACILITY CLOSURE 03-16- TO 3-27-20

Randall Booker, School Superintendent

Jan 29 2020

As members of the East Bay Coalition for Public Education, we have joined forces with administrators, teachers, staff, school board members, parents, and students from school districts across the East Bay to advocate for adequate funding for all public schools in California. We ask each of you to add your voice in support of public education, in conjunction with neighboring districts, during Fund Education Now! Week February 3 through 7.

Facts: California has the 5th largest economy in the world, yet the state is ranked 40th in the nation for education spending. Districts are unable to provide teachers with a livable wage creating a teacher shortage across the state. The lack of adequate state school funding has helped perpetuate gross inequities in the quality of education for students. In districts like ours, the burden for funding has shifted to local residents leading to ongoing budget concerns and a need for local parcel taxes.

During the week, we will flood our state representatives with messages from all stakeholders in our communities, gather signatures for the Schools & Communities First initiative, and continue to raise awareness about this issue.

Monday, February 3rd: K-5 students & teachers will create testimonials about what they love about school through artwork, and postcards.

Tuesday, February 4th: PMS students will create art and write letters to shine a light on the need for adequate state funding. High school students will post their support on social media. After school, we will be out front of Mulberry’s to share information about the Schools & Communities First ballot initiative.

Wednesday, February 5th: Parents and community members can post on social media and email our state representatives about why schools need more funding.

Thursday, February 6th: Wear Red for Ed!

COME TO THE RALLY at the Piedmont Community Center from 3:30 – 4:30 pm. Show your support for our teachers and staff, and California Public Schools. We will have music, snacks, speakers, a short video, and more!

Friday: We will wrap up the week by delivering our artwork and letters to Buffy Wicks, Nancy Skinner, Tony Thurmond, Governor Newsom, and any others at the state level who affect school funding.

Please join us in advocating for ALL students in California. Our future depends upon the quality of their education.

Regards, Randy Booker, Superintendent

Gabe Kessler, President, Association of Piedmont Teachers

Terra Salazar, President, California School Employees Association

Cory Smegal, School Board Vice President

Megan Pillsbury, School Board Member

Link to additional information > Fund Public Education Now Flyer (1)

Nov 7 2019

I am so thrilled to report that the Piedmont Community passed both Measures G and H.

Your continued commitment to a robust public education is incredible! I want to thank the countless parent, staff, and student volunteers for all of their support and civic engagement over the past few months. It was encouraging to be a part of a community-wide conversation about our schools and how we support teaching and learning.

I fully recognize and am grateful for the commitment that families have made in our school system. I will continue to work closely with the Board of Education, teachers, staff, families, and students to ensure that Piedmont’s schools not only continue to provide excellence in education, but that we also continue to grow and improve in how we educate students.

Please join me in also thanking and acknowledging the election staff from the City of Piedmont. Their efforts ensured a smooth election day!

On behalf of all of the teachers, support staff, and administrators, thank you for your support and engagement with our incredible district.

Sincerely,

Randall Booker, Superintendent of Piedmont Unified School District

Oct 28 2019

Dear Editor,

I’m writing to express my strong support for Measures G&H. As a realtor and a grandmother of children attending the Piedmont schools, I understand the importance of our Piedmont schools on many levels.

Every day, I work with families who want to buy homes in Piedmont because they know that our community offers a great education for their children. The strength of our schools directly affects the value of Piedmont homes.

I am proud to live in a community that values education, and I’m thrilled that my grandchildren attend the Piedmont schools. I know that they are receiving an outstanding education that includes small class sizes and access to art classes, libraries, current technology, and eventually AP classes and a range of electives. This breadth of programming exists because Piedmont has consistently passed school parcel taxes for over 30 years, helping to address the lack of state funding for education. In addition to preserving our educational program, we also need to support the teachers who work hard every day to teach our students. Measures G&H will allow us to preserve our educational programs and properly compensate Piedmont teachers.

All of the money raised by our school parcel taxes stays here in Piedmont. Even if you don’t have children who attend the Piedmont schools, Measures G&H are a wise investment because they help protect and improve our property values. The Piedmont schools have been the centerpiece of our community for decades. I encourage Piedmont residents to join me in voting Yes on Measures G&H in order to keep our schools strong.

Sincerely,

Anian Pettit Tunney, Piedmont Resident

Broker Associate , The Grubb Co.

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 15 2019

We are proud to be co-chairing the Yes on Measures G&H campaign. Since 1985, Piedmont has passed school support tax measures eight consecutive times. These school support taxes are one of the main reasons that Piedmont continues to have outstanding schools, ranking as among the best in California on student achievement.

There are several reasons why the Piedmont schools need to pass Measures G&H. Piedmont schools receive less state funding per student than neighboring districts because they have fewer students who are in special categories that get extra state funding. For example, Piedmont receives about $2,000 less per student than Oakland Unified School District and about $1,000 less per student than Berkeley Unified School District. In addition, Piedmont has only a few small businesses, and therefore can’t rely on revenues from businesses or donations from large companies. State funding for education is unreliable and has not grown fast enough to keep pace with rising costs, especially rising cost of living for teachers. Therefore, Measures G&H are critical for maintaining high quality schools in Piedmont.

We are fortunate to live in a community that values education and that has passed school parcel taxes consistently for over 30 years. All of the money raised by our community stays in Piedmont to support our students. This local funding helps keep class sizes small, and maintains a range of programs in math, science, technology, and the arts, as well as advanced placement classes, counseling and libraries. This range of programs prepares students for college and careers, and keeps them engaged.

Overall, Piedmont teachers are paid less than teachers in many surrounding schools districts. The average Piedmont teacher has a lower salary than the average teacher in San Ramon, Emeryville, Albany, Union City, and Dublin. Piedmont has lost 22 teachers in the last two years, simply due to cost of living issues. The purpose of Measure H is to address this issue by providing compensation strategies to help recruit and retain high quality teachers.

Together, Measures G&H will provide nearly 30% of our district’s budget and will help maintain the excellence of our Piedmont schools. The strength of our schools helps to protect property values for everyone in Piedmont, not just the residents whose kids attend the schools. For more information about Measures G&H, please visit yesongandh.org.

Hilary Cooper

Doug Ireland

Christine Wente von Metzsch

Editors Note: PCA does not support or oppose ballot measures.  Opinions expressed are those of the authors. 

Oct 14 2019

Click the link below to read an opinion in support of Measures G and H submitted by Piedmont resident Hari Titan.

>Vote_YES_on_Measures_G_and_H

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.  PCA does not support or oppose ballot measures.
Oct 8 2019

Piedmont voters are called to a special election exclusively for Piedmont Schools on November 5, 2019.  Some confusion has arisen as to the amount of the Measure G and H taxes and the relationship between various current and proposed tax measures.

Measure G, essentially a continuation tax, preempts existing school parcel tax, Measure A, which is scheduled to expire in 2021.  Every property owner in Piedmont will pay a base rate of $2,763 per parcel per year if Measure G is approved. 

Measure H is a new additional school parcel tax increasing the school parcel taxes property owners will pay.  If Measure H, if approved by voters, will require property owners to pay an additional tax of  $0.25 per square foot of habitable space on their parcel.

Example:

$2,763 = Base amount for approval of Measure G.

If Measure G and H are approved, a homeowner with 2,000 square footage of habitable space will pay $2,763 base tax plus 2,000 multiplied by 25 cents  equaling $500 for a total of $3,263, rather than the current yearly base rate of $2,763 per parcel.

   MEASURE G IS ESSENTIALLY A RENEWAL OF THE CURRENT SCHOOL PARCEL TAX 

The Piedmont Board of Education is asking Piedmont voters to support (“Measure G”) on November 5, 2019 the renewal of its existing parcel tax to maintain current programs starting at the $2,763 rate with a potential 2% annual increase. In a separate measure (“Measure H”) voters are asked for an additional amount ($0.25 per square foot of habitable square footage / building improvements – on a parcel.)  

Measure G is a continuation tax without a tax base increase. Measure G, if approved, will have an 8-year “duration” of the tax. The tax can be increased by 2% per year.  Approving Measure G will provide $10.6 million in revenues to the Piedmont Unified School District. 

MEASURE H IS A NEW ADDITIONAL TAX BASED ON THE HABITABLE SQUARE FOOTAGE OF BUILDING IMPROVEMENTS ON A PARCEL.

The second ballot measure (Measure H) is new and an additional tax to be applied to all Piedmont parcels. Measure H would be set at a flat rate of $0.25 per square foot of building improvements, square footage of a home  (Improvements are existing improvements of the habitable square footage space of all buildings and homes on a parcel).  Measure H would  have an 8-year duration. Passage of Measure H would result in an additional $2.6 million to the Piedmont schools. All homeowners and business will pay for this  additional tax if approved.   Homes with more square footage of habitable space will pay more than smaller homes and buildings.

If both G and H Measures pass, rates will vary tremendously per parcel on the additional tax with the largest square footage homeowners paying up to $6,568 per year.

Both Measures G and H would raise $13.3 million.

Registered Piedmont voters have received a Voter Information Guide in the mail that details the election.  The election is a stand alone special election exclusively related to the Piedmont Unified School District.  The current parcel tax does not expire until June 2021.  The two proposals, if approved, will take effect in 2020.

Residents have been canvassed by volunteer supporters to determine individuals voting preferences – yes or no.   Individuals stating they are in support of the ballot measures can expect reminders to vote in the November 5, 2019 Election. Those who have voiced opposition or no preference to the ballot measures should not expect to receive a reminder to vote on the November 5 ballot measures.

 Explanations and the rationale for supporting the school parcel tax proposals can be found in the Voter Information Guide.  No argument was filed against the measures in the Voter Information Guide. 

Voters have been asking:

1.The Voter Information Guide is unclear about whether or not PERMANENT “Vote by Mail” voters need to re-apply for their mail ballot.

Answer:  It is our understanding that those previously receiving their ballot in the mail will continue to receive their ballot without reapplying. If for any reason, a voter does not timely receive their ballot in the mail, the voter can vote in person at their polling location listed on the back of the Voter Information Guide or any polling location.

“Vote by mail allows voters to cast a ballot without going to a polling place. If a registered voter has applied to vote by mail, the Registrar’s office mails a ballot to the registered address of the voter beginning 29 days before an election. The voter votes the ballot and returns it to the election office by mail. The voter can also return it in person to the office or to any polling place on Election Day to be counted. Any voter can apply to vote by mail permanently in every election.”  Alameda County Registrar of Voters

2. Are the school parcel taxes deductible on Federal income taxes?

Answer: Deduction of state and local taxes are each year limited to a maximum deduction of $10,000 per single or married couple on Federal income tax returns. Many Piedmonters will likely not be able to deduct the school parcel tax in additional to their state income taxes.

3. What happens if the school parcel tax measures are not approved by Piedmont voters?

Answer: To be approved, each ballot measure requires approval by 2/3 rds or 66 2/3rds of the voters voting on the measures.  If voters approve Measure G, but not Measure H at the November 5 Election, the School Board will likely accept that voters did not want additional funding beyond the base amount of Measure G. However, if both measures are rejected by voters, it is assumed that the School Board will return with a different measure to achieve voter support prior to the 2021 expiration of the current school parcel tax, Measure A.

4. Is there an exemption for senior homeowners ?

Answer: No.  The School Board was informed that many other school districts have an exemption or tax reduction for senior homeowner taxpayers; however, in calculating the result of reducing or eliminating the tax for seniors and given the significant number of seniors residing in Piedmont, a determination was made that insufficient funds would be derived from the tax  to produce adequate funds to support School District needs. Additionally, the School Board noted that property values related to excellent schools benefited all Piedmont property owners whether seniors or not.

5. What percentage of the school population does not reside in Piedmont?

Answer: The number varies but all city and school employees are allowed to send their children to the Piedmont schools.  Additionally, the Piedmont Millennium High School has a significant number of students residing outside of Piedmont.  A recent need for more students to maintain the budgeted amount derived from the California state contribution of approximately $8,500 resulted in an invitation to residents’ grandchildren and others from outside of Piedmont to fill specific slots in certain grades.  About 18 additional non-resident students were added to the student population for the 2019-2020 school year.

6.  Does the School District need Measure H to balance their budget?

Answer:  Measure H provides funding beyond the basic budgetary needs of the District. Measure H was proposed as a way to increase funding for school teachers and other purposes identified by the School Board.

7.  Where can I return my “vote by mail” ballot?

Answer: An Alameda County Ballot Box where voters can drop their no postage ballot will be at the corner of Highland and Highland Way, next to the mailboxes, near Wells Fargo Bank in central Piedmont. Voters can also mail their ballot as stated on their envelope.  When mailed, the envelope requires no postal stamps.  Voters can also turn in their ballot to officials at their regular voting location noted on the back of their Voter Information Guide or any polling location.

8. D0 City of Piedmont municipal parcel taxes go to the schools?

Answer:  No.  The School District and the City of Piedmont have separate revenues, separate budgets, and separate governance.  Piedmont property owners pay separately for the schools and the city The funds are not commingled.  Property owners can see the distinct taxation for the schools and the city on their recent Alameda County property tax statement.

Editors Note:  PCA does not support or oppose any ballot measures. 

Updated 10/14/2019

Sep 17 2019

City / School Liaison Committee

Tuesday, September 17, 4 pm

City Hall Conference Room, 120 Vista Avenue

The meeting is open to the public.  It will not be recorded or broadcast. 

 Agenda

1. Update on H1 (School Bond Construction)
2. Update on Juvenile Officer 
3. Discussion of PUSD Ballot Measures on the November 2019 Ballot
4. Discussion Regarding Traffic Calming and Pedestrian Safety
Read the agenda  here:
Committee members:

CITY COUNCIL AND STAFF MEMBERS:

SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD AND STAFF MEMBERS: