News

School board to discuss reopening plan, budget cuts

Personnel layoffs under consideration to address deficit

An empty courtyard at Fletcher Middle School in Palo Alto on April 3. On May 26, the Palo Alto school board will review three scenarios for education during the 2020-21 academic year. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The Palo Alto school board will discuss on Tuesday a detailed plan for reopening schools this fall, including proposed bell schedules and intensified health and safety precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus if students and teachers return to campus.

The draft plan, the most in-depth one yet presented by the district about what schools could look like when they reopen, includes three scenarios: schools continue to operate completely virtually; move to a blended learning model; or return to full in-person instruction. District officials have said the second scenario is the most likely and what they're focusing their efforts on.

"There is growing reason to believe that opening schools virtually is a real possibility. As such, PAUSD efforts will shift soon to plans around virtual openings or virtual periods of time throughout the school year," a staff report states.

The district has a draft schedule in the event that 100% virtual learning continues for middle and high schoolers. It mimics a partial school day, with four virtual class periods a day four days a week. Wednesday would be a day for independent student work time, teacher office hours and staff meetings. There is no remote schedule yet for elementary schools.

If schools reopen with a mix of virtual and in-person participation, or a blended model, there would be a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Students would again receive traditional grades. The district has proposed splitting elementary school students into two groups that attend school in the morning or afternoon five days a week, with slots in between for cleaning.

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Middle and high schoolers would also tentatively be split into two groups that go to school in person on alternating days; the other two days a week they would be learning remotely from home.

For students who have difficulty learning online, the district plans to develop "alternative methods" for them in order to "mitigate learning deficits," the plan states.

If schools reopen with no restrictions, which the district has said is unlikely, it will be a "return to a new normal," the plan states, including focusing on "effective use of educational technology" and providing additional support for students as they return to school.

Reopened schools will have increased safety and cleaning measures, including taking students' and staff's temperatures daily, spacing desks out to allow for social distancing, ensuring good air ventilation and adjusting capacity limits for common spaces like multipurpose rooms and libraries, among other precautions. All students and staff will be required to wear masks throughout the day. Students purchasing lunch at schools will have to wear "appropriate" personal protective equipment (PPE); sanitize their hands when they enter and leave lunch spaces; and eat lunch at appropriately distanced tables. On school buses, there will be assigned seating to practice social distancing, windows will be kept open for ventilation and masked and gloved drivers will regularly disinfect all surfaces.

No visitors or volunteers, including parents, will be allowed on campuses.

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An open letter signed by 124 Palo Alto parents, which grew to about 200 by Tuesday evening, asks the district to accommodate different students' needs — including those who might themselves have or live with family members who have underlying health conditions — by offering livestreamed, recorded and in-person instruction this fall. They are asking that all students "be educated in accordance with pre-COVID19 state mandated instructional minutes, and that year long course curriculums be completed."

"We know the above is possible, and we request that PAUSD take steps to accomplish the above and commit to do so, starting in the fall of 2020. Student learning depends upon it," the parents wrote.

The school board also will discuss on Tuesday proposed budget cuts and layoffs to address a $3 million deficit, the result of closing schools for the last two months. Personnel cuts under consideration include eight full-time teachers, six full-time classified employees, five full-time special education aides and a teacher and support position at the Ronald McDonald House, which serves children in medical crisis who can't attend school, some of whom are immunocompromised.

The elimination of these positions at Ronald McDonald House would result in the school's closure, and patients and their siblings would be redirected to the hospital school at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Chief Executive Officer Laura Keegan Boudreau wrote in an email. Keegan Boudreau planned to ask the school board to postpone a decision on these positions until her staff can meet with district leadership to discuss them. By Tuesday afternoon, three hours before the board meeting was set to begin, Keegan Boudreau said the district had reconsidered the budget proposal and would instead meet with the Ronald McDonald House staff to renegotiate their memorandum of understanding.

The board also will consider waiving their two-meeting rule to approve a four-year lease agreement with the city of Palo Alto for Cubberley Community Center. City leaders had previously indicated they might pull out of the lease to mitigate the city's $40 million budget shortfall, which would have left the district scrambling to address an even greater deficit. Under the new agreement, the district would receive $3.3 million less from the city per year.

The proposed monthly rent is $208,333 for use of the theater, pavilion, Gym A, Gym B, rooms G5 and G8 and the fields; $13,790 for the Junior Museum and Zoo; and $5,650 for the S Building.

The virtual board meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be broadcast on Cable TV Channel 28 and midpenmedia.org. Those wishing to participate by Zoom can do so by going to pausd.zoom.us/j/97720853617 or dialing 669-900-6833 and using Meeting ID: 949 9734 6242. View the full agenda here.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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School board to discuss reopening plan, budget cuts

Personnel layoffs under consideration to address deficit

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, May 26, 2020, 9:39 am
Updated: Tue, May 26, 2020, 6:29 pm

The Palo Alto school board will discuss on Tuesday a detailed plan for reopening schools this fall, including proposed bell schedules and intensified health and safety precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus if students and teachers return to campus.

The draft plan, the most in-depth one yet presented by the district about what schools could look like when they reopen, includes three scenarios: schools continue to operate completely virtually; move to a blended learning model; or return to full in-person instruction. District officials have said the second scenario is the most likely and what they're focusing their efforts on.

"There is growing reason to believe that opening schools virtually is a real possibility. As such, PAUSD efforts will shift soon to plans around virtual openings or virtual periods of time throughout the school year," a staff report states.

The district has a draft schedule in the event that 100% virtual learning continues for middle and high schoolers. It mimics a partial school day, with four virtual class periods a day four days a week. Wednesday would be a day for independent student work time, teacher office hours and staff meetings. There is no remote schedule yet for elementary schools.

If schools reopen with a mix of virtual and in-person participation, or a blended model, there would be a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Students would again receive traditional grades. The district has proposed splitting elementary school students into two groups that attend school in the morning or afternoon five days a week, with slots in between for cleaning.

Middle and high schoolers would also tentatively be split into two groups that go to school in person on alternating days; the other two days a week they would be learning remotely from home.

For students who have difficulty learning online, the district plans to develop "alternative methods" for them in order to "mitigate learning deficits," the plan states.

If schools reopen with no restrictions, which the district has said is unlikely, it will be a "return to a new normal," the plan states, including focusing on "effective use of educational technology" and providing additional support for students as they return to school.

Reopened schools will have increased safety and cleaning measures, including taking students' and staff's temperatures daily, spacing desks out to allow for social distancing, ensuring good air ventilation and adjusting capacity limits for common spaces like multipurpose rooms and libraries, among other precautions. All students and staff will be required to wear masks throughout the day. Students purchasing lunch at schools will have to wear "appropriate" personal protective equipment (PPE); sanitize their hands when they enter and leave lunch spaces; and eat lunch at appropriately distanced tables. On school buses, there will be assigned seating to practice social distancing, windows will be kept open for ventilation and masked and gloved drivers will regularly disinfect all surfaces.

No visitors or volunteers, including parents, will be allowed on campuses.

An open letter signed by 124 Palo Alto parents, which grew to about 200 by Tuesday evening, asks the district to accommodate different students' needs — including those who might themselves have or live with family members who have underlying health conditions — by offering livestreamed, recorded and in-person instruction this fall. They are asking that all students "be educated in accordance with pre-COVID19 state mandated instructional minutes, and that year long course curriculums be completed."

"We know the above is possible, and we request that PAUSD take steps to accomplish the above and commit to do so, starting in the fall of 2020. Student learning depends upon it," the parents wrote.

The school board also will discuss on Tuesday proposed budget cuts and layoffs to address a $3 million deficit, the result of closing schools for the last two months. Personnel cuts under consideration include eight full-time teachers, six full-time classified employees, five full-time special education aides and a teacher and support position at the Ronald McDonald House, which serves children in medical crisis who can't attend school, some of whom are immunocompromised.

The elimination of these positions at Ronald McDonald House would result in the school's closure, and patients and their siblings would be redirected to the hospital school at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Chief Executive Officer Laura Keegan Boudreau wrote in an email. Keegan Boudreau planned to ask the school board to postpone a decision on these positions until her staff can meet with district leadership to discuss them. By Tuesday afternoon, three hours before the board meeting was set to begin, Keegan Boudreau said the district had reconsidered the budget proposal and would instead meet with the Ronald McDonald House staff to renegotiate their memorandum of understanding.

The board also will consider waiving their two-meeting rule to approve a four-year lease agreement with the city of Palo Alto for Cubberley Community Center. City leaders had previously indicated they might pull out of the lease to mitigate the city's $40 million budget shortfall, which would have left the district scrambling to address an even greater deficit. Under the new agreement, the district would receive $3.3 million less from the city per year.

The proposed monthly rent is $208,333 for use of the theater, pavilion, Gym A, Gym B, rooms G5 and G8 and the fields; $13,790 for the Junior Museum and Zoo; and $5,650 for the S Building.

The virtual board meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be broadcast on Cable TV Channel 28 and midpenmedia.org. Those wishing to participate by Zoom can do so by going to pausd.zoom.us/j/97720853617 or dialing 669-900-6833 and using Meeting ID: 949 9734 6242. View the full agenda here.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

John
Old Palo Alto
on May 26, 2020 at 10:23 am
John, Old Palo Alto
on May 26, 2020 at 10:23 am
26 people like this

Cut the fat from the top not the teachers. From all of the run away ca. pensions and all the excess overtime for public safety. Problem solved. Teachers are already underpaid and overworked...


YP
Crescent Park
on May 26, 2020 at 10:26 am
YP, Crescent Park
on May 26, 2020 at 10:26 am
25 people like this

Parents should demand that PAUSD look for best known practices by school districts both in the US and in other developed countries. I get the sense anecdotally that many Asian and European countries are being more aggressive in getting (or planning) kids back in school realizing the long term educational and developmental damage done by keeping kids at home. Many European countries have already reopened schools to finish this school year. So prudent to ask why they did it, how they it and what tradeoffs they made.
The impact to keeping kids home will be greatest to the youngest, those with two working parents and those from underprivileged families. It would be a shame if we looked back a year from now and wondered why we didn't do this or that by striking a better balance between safety and the educational shortfalls of online teaching.


Budget Reality
Downtown North
on May 26, 2020 at 10:36 am
Budget Reality, Downtown North
on May 26, 2020 at 10:36 am
34 people like this

Reposting My Comment From a Related Article:

PAUSD has a quarter billion dollar budget and managed to overspend it. The board and the managers should all be fired.

That's a quarter billion for about 12,000 kids. We are over $21,000 per year per kid and somehow still over budget. Meanwhile, no one is raving about the PAUSD school experiences like they used to. To the contrary.

That's a pretty stark reality.

This is the same organization that tells parents they won't have science, art, or music without personal donations.


Samuel L.
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 26, 2020 at 11:07 am
Samuel L., Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 26, 2020 at 11:07 am
29 people like this

I'd suggest a 10%-20% paycut of all payroll. Could have a sliding scale. Take employee salary and subtract some base amount, for example $100K.
For the first $50K after that cut 15%, next $50K 25%, and 30% after that.
So, if someone is making $200K, you have $100K base without any cut and $100K to be cut. First 50K is cut 15%, next 50K is cut $25%. That's a total of $20K on a salary of $200K, or 10%. Those that make more than $150K have a larger amount cut. Those that make $100K and less don't lose anything. Not sure how much that would save and numbers could change. But, let's look at the Superintendent who makes approximately $300K (not including perks). He'd have the first $100K with no cuts, next 50K cut $15%, next 50K cut 25% and everything else (final 100K) cut 30%. Total reduction of $50K, or 16.7%.

This ensures that everyone still has a base and those that make under $200K are getting cut at a much lower rate as those that make over $200K. There aren't a lot of employees making over $200K, so maybe the numbers shift. But, at least it would mean that those making the most will be contributing the most.


Samuel L.
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 26, 2020 at 11:10 am
Samuel L., Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 26, 2020 at 11:10 am
24 people like this

@Budget reality - Don't forget sports. No sports unless parents pay and parents have no say as to how the money is spent.

If there's any online learning, the MOU for the teachers needs to spell out expectations. If the high school teachers perform anywhere near the level they were during this years shutdown, it would be a disgrace. I'm sure there were a few/several teachers that performed admirably, but from my students' experience and from talking with other families, Q4 was a waste. Teachers essentially checked out.


Concerned
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 26, 2020 at 11:36 am
Concerned, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 26, 2020 at 11:36 am
20 people like this

In all the froth of discussion there seems to be lost the fact that the schools are to serve the taxpayers. The schools have students as their clients. If the teachers and administrators can't or are not willing to pivot to provide quality online education then lets find ones that will. Is the school board aware of how many teachers and school used Khan academy for instruction? Where are our tax dollars spent? Everyone is being asked to pivot. Everyone. Serve the kids and the taxpayers or bye bye.


Paly Parent
Crescent Park
on May 26, 2020 at 12:44 pm
Paly Parent, Crescent Park
on May 26, 2020 at 12:44 pm
27 people like this

The COVID situation is clearly challenging for all constituencies, and I generally am reluctant to post criticism online anytime, but especially in the current environment. However, at least at the high school level, "remote learning" has been very disappointing. There was almost NO "synchronous" education at all -- some teachers recorded lectures, some pointed to 3rd-party video resources, some had occasional office hours or check-ins that were chaotic, poorly-attended, announced at the last minute or all of the above. Because Paly at least had no agreed-upon schedule, when there were some live Zoom classes, they literally often happened on the same day and time. Basically, the district punted on establishing a schedule -- like using the existing bell schedule as a structure, even if classes would meet just occasionally -- and as Zoom as a tool -- saying it wasn't designed for education, even though many many schools were able to use it successfully (these comments are a fair summary of what Dr. Austin has said on his livestreams, all of which I've listened to). Now looking at the proposed schedules, at BEST high school students would attend class in person 2x/week. Why is there a full day each week considered without students? Teachers were able to have office hours and staff meetings without a problem when they taught 5x/week. So by eliminating that "independent" day, students could go in person 5 times every two weeks, vs 4 times (easy to alternate the fifth day, as the current Paly schedule does for Mondays). That alone would be a 25% increase in real-time, in-person instruction. Furthermore, it should be possible to do live broadcasts of the classes so that kids who are sick or have other reasons to being at home can in fact still get the benefit of live teaching. Palo Alto is the home to so many capable, thoughtful, understanding and tech-savvy parents who would be willing to help design some of these approaches if asked. Let's not sink again to the level of "it's hard, we can't do it" like we did the past few months.


concerned parent
University South
on May 26, 2020 at 2:03 pm
concerned parent, University South
on May 26, 2020 at 2:03 pm
20 people like this

They schools should allow students who want to attend full time to do so.


Jay
Greene Middle School
on May 26, 2020 at 2:19 pm
Jay, Greene Middle School
on May 26, 2020 at 2:19 pm
4 people like this

@ Samuel L.,

Do you realize that the most a teacher can make in PAUSD (30 + years experience) is 135,311?
Web Link

LOL!


Downfall
Fairmeadow
on May 26, 2020 at 2:19 pm
Downfall, Fairmeadow
on May 26, 2020 at 2:19 pm
13 people like this

PAUSD could not even prevent a vaping epidemic on their campuses even though everyone knows where it is happening. How can they ever think they will be able to enforce all this:

"Reopened schools will have increased safety and cleaning measures, including taking students' and staff's temperatures daily, spacing desks out to allow for social distancing, ensuring good air ventilation and adjusting capacity limits for common spaces like multipurpose rooms and libraries, among other precautions. All students and staff will be required to wear masks throughout the day. Students purchasing lunch at schools will have to wear "appropriate" personal protective equipment (PPE); sanitize their hands when they enter and leave lunch spaces; and eat lunch at appropriately distanced tables. "


Send Kids Back to School
Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 3:10 pm
Send Kids Back to School, Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 3:10 pm
24 people like this

Until kids are back to school, in person full time, society and our kids' education will remain broken.

Purdue Univ President said it best in his Wash Post Op Ed today: "Forty-five thousand young people are telling us they want to be here this fall. To tell them, “Sorry, we are too incompetent or too fearful to figure out how to protect your elders, so you have to disrupt your education,” would be a gross disservice to them and a default of our responsibility."
. . . .
"(We’re not alone: Two-thirds of the more than 700 colleges surveyed by the Chronicle of Higher Education have now come to the same conclusion and will reopen with in-person instruction in the fall.)"
....
"Among covid-19 deaths, 99.9 percent have occurred outside the 15-to-24 age group; the survival rate in the 20-to-29 age bracket is 99.99 percent. Even assuming the United States eventually reaches 150,000 total fatalities, covid-19 as a risk to the young will rank way below accidents, cancer, heart disease and suicide. In fact, it won’t even make the top 10."

Web Link


A PAUSD parent
Charleston Meadows
on May 26, 2020 at 3:26 pm
A PAUSD parent, Charleston Meadows
on May 26, 2020 at 3:26 pm
7 people like this

There is no one email from teacher or the principle to contact the parents directly/privately regarding how they can help to make the learning more sustainable during shelter in place. There is no almost zero interaction between the teaching staff and the children. Also, PiE should conserve the fund because many unhappy parents will not make the donation next year as those supplementary programs are basically non-existant.


JR
Palo Verde
on May 26, 2020 at 3:48 pm
JR, Palo Verde
on May 26, 2020 at 3:48 pm
16 people like this

Part-time school is only reasonable if everyone involved takes a commensurate pay cut. If schools are only open two of five days then administrators and teachers should be paid 40% with the remaining 60% refunded to families so they can hire tutors for the other three days.

It's not acceptable to pay 100% for 40% school.


Savings?
Greene Middle School
on May 26, 2020 at 4:14 pm
Savings?, Greene Middle School
on May 26, 2020 at 4:14 pm
5 people like this

When there are budget constraints, PAUSD management often presents services for the most vulnerable to be cut by the Board.

This time it is children in medical crisis and special education teachers. For years we have been told there is a shortage of special education teachers and the emergency credentials were needed. Are these really the teachers needed the least? Or are these staffers in a weaker position because they not tenured? Or is management trying to blame special ed students as costing too much, because they are an easy target?

Did PAUSD save any money this year in:
-Salary to part time staff such as playground supervisors, aides, drivers who were not working while school was closed? Will they save any money next year?
-Not transporting students during closure either on PAUSD buses or car services?
-Services not provided during closure, such as Occupational Therapy, Educational Therapies, Behaviorists? Some staff may be full time and continue to be paid, but were there contractors?
-Utilities, maintenance or landscaping while schools and facilities were closed?
-Not providing live summer school, only available from a UC web site?
Will PAUSD save any money next year in these categories?


Messifan
Ventura
on May 26, 2020 at 4:21 pm
Messifan, Ventura
on May 26, 2020 at 4:21 pm
24 people like this

Only 77 positive cases in Palo Alto according to the county covid dashboard rising at about 1 CASE PER WEEK according to my scanning of the dashboard. I know the disease is serious, but it should matter that basically no one here has it. Insane not to go back 5 days a week.


YP
Crescent Park
on May 26, 2020 at 4:21 pm
YP, Crescent Park
on May 26, 2020 at 4:21 pm
16 people like this

thank you to @ Send kids back to school" suggesting the excellent Oped from the Purdue President.

Web Link

Juxtapose that to our CSU administration that threw in the towel weeks ago saying state schools only online. What have they been doing the last 2-3 months to earn their six figure salaries??

why is this germane to PAUSD, well I certainly hope the well paid administrators are working around the clock to find a way to maximize in school education and not "throwing in the towel"


HN
Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 4:41 pm
HN, Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 4:41 pm
19 people like this

@Jay - Also realize that teachers can retire relatively young (~ 60) and get essentially their full pay as a pension until they die. With full health benefits and taxpayer guaranteed. Few in the private sector have this benefit. So, effectively, they are making more than double their salary when this is taken into account. And, this is for 9 months/yr (spare me the “teachers work 12 h days, we all do).

My older relatives that were teachers in LA unified always said teacher pay wasn’t great, but the benefits were fantastic. These days teacher pay is great and so are the benefits.


Oliver Miao
Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 6:24 pm
Oliver Miao, Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 6:24 pm
Like this comment

The link from the article is an expired link. Here is the correct link:
Via Video Conference/Internet: Web Link is external)

Via Telephone: Dial 669-900-6833, enter Webinar ID 977 2085 3617, then press #. If asked for a participant ID or code, press #.

I look forward to seeing some of you in the meeting.

Oliver


Pearl Chow
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 26, 2020 at 6:28 pm
Pearl Chow, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 26, 2020 at 6:28 pm
14 people like this

@Jay,
The pay scale you linked does show $135k as the max salary at 30+ years. However, I looked at a listing of all PAUSD employee salaries here (this is all public domain information):
Web Link

I found 20 or so employees listed as "Teacher" who have base salaries above $135k. When you include "other pay" and benefits their total pay exceeds $200k.

In 2019, the highest "Teacher" salary was:
$177,903 Base Salary
$190,803 Total Pay (incl "Other Pay")
$ 39,081 Benefits
$ 229,884.10 Total Compensation

@HN also pointed out the early retirement, pensions and shorter work year which all further increase compensation compared to many who work in the private sector.

And more! Your pay increase is based solely on how many years you've been on the job. It doesn't matter if you're a superstar, average or mediocre teacher; everyone gets the same pay increase. It also doesn't matter if you teach PE, Calculus, English, Art or Chemistry. On that pay scale table, all that matters is # of years.



Paly Teacher
Palo Alto High School
on May 26, 2020 at 8:36 pm
Paly Teacher, Palo Alto High School
on May 26, 2020 at 8:36 pm
7 people like this

@Pearl Chow

First, the records you're looking at refer to calendar year 2018. Second, many of the "teachers" you're talking about, including the one who's details you pointed out, were administrators for at least part of 2018 which is why their pay is higher than a staff member who only teaches.


Independent
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 26, 2020 at 11:15 pm
Independent, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 26, 2020 at 11:15 pm
16 people like this

@Paly teacher - the average Pausd teacher pay is $116 k, for one person, which is commensurate w the median household pay for Santa Clara county. For a year, not for 9 months. And teachers have tenure, so they can't be fired, no matter if they don't teach, are not good at teaching, or break the law. Oh yes, even if they break the law, it can cost $250k and several years to be rid of them. Pausd are the highest paid in the state for a comparable public school. And they didn't teach our HS kids for spring quarter.


John Hicks
Crescent Park
on May 26, 2020 at 11:54 pm
John Hicks, Crescent Park
on May 26, 2020 at 11:54 pm
15 people like this

I feel just so sorry Palo Alto parents that your schools are closed during a Global Crisis. The schools in Palo Alto are so awful anyway what with some of the highest test scores every year in California. What difference does it make then if schools are closed if they are so bad and poorly run? Oh...no free day care. You are now stuck at home with your precious child all day long for the foreseeable future. You can now take a little responsibility for your precious children and get a little taste of what it feels like to be a teacher now also since you are SO critical of PAUSD teachers. Oh NO! PAUSD wasn’t able to instantly provide quality online education during a Global Pandemic! How dare they need some time to transition. It’s not “synchronous!” Now my 1st Grader won’t get into Stanford! NO, this isn’t Asia or Europe. It’s not safe. Also, NO, it’s not safe even if some “Purdue University Expert” says it is. He’s not an infectious disease specialist. Just an overzealous educator who has his robotic opinion that will put LIVES in danger. Also, NO, the teachers shouldn’t be put at risk because Covid doesn’t effect the youth as poorly as it does adults . Also, NO, no one is taking a pay cut. You take a pay cut from your crummy jobs first! Also, NO, teachers deserve their pensions. It’s a cushy job once you get tenure! Deal with it just like the poor teachers have to deal with parents like you. They earned their pensions for doing that alone! Also, NO, the schools aren’t here to serve you because you pay taxes. Big deal, you are a tax payer! Wow! Everyone pays taxes! Grow up! It’s a free public education. Also, NO, the schools and district don’t really need to give you a voice or a say in anything. No emails sent to you asking for your silly opinion. Nothing is up to you. You are just a mommy or a daddy that “thinks it’s easy being a teacher and that you could do better.” You didn’t have enough talent to become an educator keyboard warriors. Finally, YES!!! Please take your children to a private school and go complain over there. No one will miss you or your amazing tax money! Enjoy the rest of the school year and now the summer stuck at home all day long with your precious kids! You deserve it! I am sure it will be great for your mental health.


Independent
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 27, 2020 at 6:55 am
Independent, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 27, 2020 at 6:55 am
23 people like this

@John Hicks PAUSD Teachers were fully paid, while its HS teachers provided little instruction, for high level courses, which means the students had to teach themselves. That's not ok.


Maya
Downtown North
on May 27, 2020 at 7:06 am
Maya, Downtown North
on May 27, 2020 at 7:06 am
8 people like this

@HN “I’ll spare you.” Most teachers work year ‘round. Most teachers work another job in addition to their “12h” teaching day. Most teachers work on weekends. Most teachers in PAUSD can’t afford to live here, so most teachers have a significant commute. Most teachers put up with this and much to teach your children and make the world a better place. That’s most teachers.


Maya
Downtown North
on May 27, 2020 at 7:13 am
Maya, Downtown North
on May 27, 2020 at 7:13 am
7 people like this

@indeoendent Mountain View / Los Altos offers much better pay to teachers.Check out their pay scale.
. PAUSD teachers are NOT the highest paid in the state.
Teachers aren’t paid for time they don’t work. If they work 9 months they are paid for 9 months.


James
Nixon School
on May 27, 2020 at 7:25 am
James, Nixon School
on May 27, 2020 at 7:25 am
17 people like this

Other countries are way ahead of us in this area, reopening schools. Can we look to their models and see what is working and what isn't? I am a full-time single parent with a 7 year old, and I have been working in Palo Alto for 8 years. I have a job that can not be done remotely. Distance learning has been a struggle for my child. Why should her education have to suffer? And those of us who can't just stay home or pay someone to take care of our kids should still be able to make a living and know their children are getting the education they deserve.


both sides are correct
another community
on May 27, 2020 at 7:35 am
both sides are correct, another community
on May 27, 2020 at 7:35 am
13 people like this

It's true that there are many teachers working very hard, it's also true there are some teachers that are, providing very little meaningful instruction (out of lack training or motivation), forcing students to teach themselves or disengage.

Both are true, which is why there's both frustration and defense.


Independent
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 27, 2020 at 7:37 am
Independent, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 27, 2020 at 7:37 am
5 people like this

@Maya - PAUSD is a unified school district while MV/LA is a high school only district. Those are high school teachers w higher qualifications.
So PAUSD does pay the most for any comparable unified district (>5000 students) in the state. Yep. You can check Ed-data.org for confirmation. And the work year is 9 months or less. The median Household (of four) in Santa Clara county makes about the same as the average (one) PAUSD teacher @ $116k in salary, but gets nowhere near the benefits that a PAUSD teacher gets, including the districts' contribution to their generous pensions. So, PAUSD teachers make more than the median household does in Santa Clara county, and just for 9 months of work.


Independent
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 27, 2020 at 7:48 am
Independent, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 27, 2020 at 7:48 am
7 people like this

@ Maya - and regular workers don't have teacher tenure, which guarantees a teacher's job regardless of performance. That is worth a lot of money to a teacher, yet still a PAUSD (one) teacher working 9 months makes the same as the median household (unit of four - working a full year) in Santa Clara county, @ $116k . So teachers at PAUSD make more.


HN
Midtown
on May 27, 2020 at 10:05 am
HN, Midtown
on May 27, 2020 at 10:05 am
10 people like this

@Maya: None of my kids' teachers work 2 jobs during the school year. Sure, some work over the summer (Iike all adults do) but that just adds to their annual pay. A 2 teacher family could easily make $300k/yr and could afford to live in PA (we make around that and rent in PA). You keep forgetting to mention the huge pension teachers get when retiring at around 60 yr old. My kids' kindergarten teacher made $135k (for 9 mo/yr of work) before retiring a couple years ago and now makes that much every year until she dies. She lives in a very nice PA house 3 blocks from the school (we unknowingly went to her house on halloween), worth several million. Again, when including pension, teachers make effectively double their salary. And, let's face it, teaching in PA is not like teaching in south central LA.

I'd gladly give up my social security and 401k for a taxpayer guaranteed pension equal to > 90% of the average of my last 3 yrs salary.


people can have concern over pensions
another community
on May 27, 2020 at 10:19 am
people can have concern over pensions, another community
on May 27, 2020 at 10:19 am
6 people like this

Public pensions are paid by taxpayers (a portion is also paid by the employee), but most is paid for by the taxpayers, especially noticeable if the funds are short, and current services are scaled back to make pension payments.

Use of taxpayer funds is always appropriate discussion for a public forum.

Police and firefighters earn a pension for the toll on their bodies. Teachers earn their pension for the caliber of the work they do with the children.

Tension rises when some teachers don't do quality work, yet the costs on the taxpayer rises.


HN
Midtown
on May 27, 2020 at 10:32 am
HN, Midtown
on May 27, 2020 at 10:32 am
6 people like this

"Police and firefighters earn a pension for the toll on their bodies. Teachers earn their pension for the caliber of the work they do with the children."

I would imagine the toll on their bodies is 10x less than what your landscaper experiences. Most cops drive around all day in their cop car all day and it's not like we have high rise fires on a daily basis. I'm guessing there's maybe a handful of house fires in PA a year.

The caliber of work teachers do is expected of them, a high pension should not be a reward. It's not like teaching in PA is all that hard with an incredibly smart and highly motivated student body and family support system. Try teaching in S. Central LA.

Public pension need to end and be converted to a 401k-like retirement. My 401k can drop in half in a bad economy, a public pension will never decrease, thanks to us taxpayers.


Alvin
Professorville
on May 27, 2020 at 11:05 am
Alvin, Professorville
on May 27, 2020 at 11:05 am
8 people like this

KIds and staff who are not severely immuno-compromised have greater chance dying from choking from sandwich or getting hit by a car crossing Embarcadero than from the coronavirus. Staff who are very sick and afraid should have the option of taking disability, time off or retiring.

Masks are useless for the most part (unless faced with a dust storm, dirty bomb, or cutting grass) and actually unhealthy as you're breathing in your exhaled CO2 and contamination on the masks.
Heck, even Fauci himself is questioning use of masks. Distancing doesn't have facts supporting it and may only prolong the virus, leading to more infections and death. Not to mention the coldness and effect on a child's mental health.

Every parent should be appalled by these changes that have no basis in science or data. If you want to send your kids into this "new normal' environment of daily temperature checks and appropriately distanced tables, be my guest. Home-schooling/distance learning looking like a much better option for this parent of two PAUSD kids. Good bye public schools.


Teacher
Barron Park
on May 27, 2020 at 1:12 pm
Teacher, Barron Park
on May 27, 2020 at 1:12 pm
5 people like this

@Alvin
You were much more compassionate sitting on class. What happened?


Teacher
Barron Park
on May 27, 2020 at 1:13 pm
Teacher, Barron Park
on May 27, 2020 at 1:13 pm
Like this comment

*in*


scary
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 27, 2020 at 3:46 pm
scary, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 27, 2020 at 3:46 pm
8 people like this

i feel like my senior might get away but it feels like the scene in a movie where they jump out of the car right before the cliff. this has been like a bad scary movie that will end in a few days

for the teachers that decided to threaten kids with fail grades and then do no teaching...let’s hope for a sequel and some justice for causing children more grief on top of a scary senior year and scary scary college changes


Resident
Midtown
on May 27, 2020 at 4:14 pm
Resident, Midtown
on May 27, 2020 at 4:14 pm
9 people like this

To those of you who are begrudging teachers their compensation: I understand the frustration, given the mismatch between what is paid and what is being delivered at the moment (or indeed generally). But you do have things backwards. It is because we aren't paying teachers like doctors or lawyers that most of our brightest young minds would consider it a total failure to settle for a school teaching career. And right now we are seeing that nothing replaces highly competent teaching. At the high school level, for one, blended (or on-off live/online) teaching calls for the ability to lecture engagingly on a subject that one is really up to speed on, lead discussions that are not just social interactions for the sake of practicing social interaction but skillfully extend lecture content, develop research projects and essay topics with individual students and then give insightful feedback on drafts, design meaningful exams that test both the knowledge conveyed and the ability to apply it constructively. From my limited impression of this being solidly out of range of all but one of the teachers my son has, I'd say let's ask for fewer, more qualified and better-paid teachers, treat them with the respect that their demonstrated ability and central role in the lives of our children deserve, and divide their duties so that efficiencies are gained from, e.g., one teacher lecturing to a large cohort while others focus on small-group (live or online) reworking of material, as one Board member suggested in last night's meeting.


HN
Midtown
on May 27, 2020 at 9:47 pm
HN, Midtown
on May 27, 2020 at 9:47 pm
7 people like this

@Resident: Again, you keep forgetting teachers get a HUGE pension when they retire at age ~ 60 that is fully guaranteed by us taxpayers with full health benefits. This effectively means they are making DOUBLE their salary (for 9 mo/yr of work). What, in your mind, would be proper salary for them? $500k/yr + pension? When is enough enough?


Independent
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 28, 2020 at 10:52 am
Independent, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 28, 2020 at 10:52 am
9 people like this

@Resident - I don't think teachers should be paid the same as doctors or lawyers. Those folks are much more highly qualified. Right now our HS teachers have provided little to no instruction, won't complete course curriculums, for full pay and now the teachers'union is lobbying to do the same or less next fall/next year. How about some accountability in exchange for the rich pay, benefits and the teacher tenure? How about educating our kids? How about providing some instruction? For the average $116 k for 9 months?


Question for Board Watchers
another community
on May 28, 2020 at 10:57 am
Question for Board Watchers, another community
on May 28, 2020 at 10:57 am
4 people like this

What did the board advise on the district's recommendation on student masks?

In other parts of the state, districts are coming down either for or against student masks and it has been a dividing issue.


Alvin
Professorville
on May 28, 2020 at 11:58 am
Alvin, Professorville
on May 28, 2020 at 11:58 am
2 people like this

If anything good comes out of these lockdowns, more parents and their kids will turn to homeschooling full-time and abandon the obnoxious and entitled public school system, with most politicized and disgustingly overpaid staff - higher than almost any other white collar profession including doctors and lawyers based on hours worked.

Your average Palo Alto teacher makes more than typical computer scientist at Google or Facebook with similar years experience with tenure and pension, but you would never know that with constant belly-aching "we'er underpaid" "we're underpaid" by politicized union.


Resident
Evergreen Park
on May 28, 2020 at 12:01 pm
Resident, Evergreen Park
on May 28, 2020 at 12:01 pm
Like this comment

@Question - the district has said it will follow the guidelines of the County Dept of Public Health. If they say masks are required, they will be. If they say they are nice-to-have or not needed, they will be. How do people expect school districts to figure out whether teachers / students should wear masks? That's the domain of scientists and medical experts, not educators.


Resident
Midtown
on May 28, 2020 at 1:09 pm
Resident, Midtown
on May 28, 2020 at 1:09 pm
4 people like this

@Independent:
Again, you have it backwards. Teachers SHOULD be treated like doctors, who are essential workers day in day out, and the financial incentives need to be in place so that their profession attracts those most likely to excel at the task. That so many of our current teachers fall short because the incentive system is not set up properly and they are underqualified (most Ed schools have long adjusted to their applicants' lackluster calibre by not asking anything challenging from them during their training and instead turn them into social justice warriors, because that resonates with them where personal stretch goals would not) should rally us as a society to create better teachers, by making the job competitive and attractive. Yes, the pensions you are so exercised about seem over the top compared to American pension arrangements at large, but a 40-year-old with a family can't live off a future pension no matter how lavish it is. Change the pensions and retirement age, but don't change a teacher's family's ability to live in Palo Alto while they are young, and do reward high performance.
There've been heated discussions around here about books that portray American schools as substandard compared to those in certain European and Asian countries, with PAUSD for illustration. E.g. Web Link One common denominator in this: the stature of teachers in those other countries -- how hard it is to become one and then to get tenured, how well they are paid and respected, what authority they can be given to make their own decisions because those decisions will be smart and pedagogically astute. Enough said. The vicious circle will continue.


Come on!
Menlo Park
on May 28, 2020 at 1:48 pm
Come on!, Menlo Park
on May 28, 2020 at 1:48 pm
4 people like this

@Alvin, you sound like such a nice person! Go ahead and home-school your kids then; that is your prerogative. Unfortunately, not all parents have the circumstances to make that choice and most of them realize that public schools are one of societies most valuable resources.

Your assumptions are that teachers shouldn't make what engineers make. Why not? Are they less valuable to society? Or are you just anti-working class people and anti-union? It is good to think before you spout off about subjects that you don't know anything about.


2021
Gunn High School
on May 28, 2020 at 2:34 pm
2021, Gunn High School
on May 28, 2020 at 2:34 pm
8 people like this

An A/B schedule won't be safer than the regular 5 day schedule. But it will make learning so much worse for students and cut the school community in two.


Alvin
Professorville
on May 28, 2020 at 2:35 pm
Alvin, Professorville
on May 28, 2020 at 2:35 pm
7 people like this

@come on. My point went over your head, I think on purpose. I never said teachers shouldn't make as much as engineers - they do and more actually - but you would think teachers make less than McDonald's workers with their constant drumbeat of being "underpaid". Do you hear engineers organizing for higher wages, while working twice as many hours and with no job security as teachers?

Just look at how few public teachers are actually teaching during lock downs - and how slow public schools, which are government monopolies, were to react and adjust to distance learning, unlike their private school counterparts who have paying customers that can take their business elsewhere. Did City of Palo Alto need union approval for distance learning? Was it not in the thousand page union contract of rules and regulations?

Public schools are horrific, one-size fits-all, pay according to seniority not performance, and never fire bad teachers, government monopoly, day care factories. The so-called "good" public schools are considered "good" because of the quality of students and hard-working parents, in spite of the crummy public school system.


Independent
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 28, 2020 at 5:01 pm
Independent, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 28, 2020 at 5:01 pm
4 people like this

@Resident, no, I don't have it wrong. Doctors and lawyers are more highly qualified and thus command more pay --- and in the private sector. Go on the market to see what your education degree will command in the marketplace. That's your indicator. In the midst of the covid 19 epidemic, it hardly seems real that you're comparing educators, a number of whom didn't provide HS instruction, to physicians trying to save people's lives and facing the complexities of a new virus. What you're suggesting is ridiculous. Anyway, once again, PAUSD teachers make an average $152k with benefits included. That's pretty generous for their qualifications. Private school teachers make less --- feel free to check online, Castilleja, St. Francis, Sacred Heart, those teachers all make less than PAUSD, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they provided instruction to their students this spring.


Independent
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 28, 2020 at 5:11 pm
Independent, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 28, 2020 at 5:11 pm
4 people like this

Let's let the market decide if teachers should make as much as engineers.

And let's rate the HS teachers based on how much instruction they provided, and how much they helped students learn and gain mastery over their subject matter. Oh! But the teacher's union advocated for dropping the state assessment test this spring. And Oh! The teacher's union advocated to get the Governor to give a waiver on mandated instructional minutes this spring. So, who's behind the learning loss?


change our focus
another community
on May 28, 2020 at 6:06 pm
change our focus, another community
on May 28, 2020 at 6:06 pm
12 people like this

Lets focus less on teacher pay and more on the issue of some teachers not teaching while getting paid, which makes us worry if we have to partially or fully remote learn in the fall. Thank you to all those PAUSD teachers that did step up, and shame on those that did not. Each teacher knows which one they are.


Samuel L.
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 28, 2020 at 6:26 pm
Samuel L., Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 28, 2020 at 6:26 pm
12 people like this

@Resident,
If the teachers want to get paid as doctors and lawyers (engineers, etc...) then they'll need to give up 1)Tenure: Unemployment has skyrocketed over the past 2 months, yet no teachers have lost their job. Heck, find me a teacher that's been fired after being given tenure. 2) Pensions - Or at least to some degree or form and 3) Automatic raises. Good teachers get raises, not all teachers. and 4) Specialized teachers (AP Physics, Calc, etc...) get paid more than those with "lower" qualifications (PE, elementary school, etc...)

It was very eye-opening when the MOU the teachers' put in place for the lockdown specifically stated that they would not be evaluated on how they taught starting mid-March. How many other workers could get away with that? Teachers can get away with not doing anything over the past month because the system is broken. As long as there are guaranteed raises, tenure, and the pay is competitive, it's really hard for me to feel sorry for teachers.


John Hicks
Crescent Park
on May 28, 2020 at 9:32 pm
John Hicks, Crescent Park
on May 28, 2020 at 9:32 pm
1 person likes this

@ Samuel L-Yes Samuel that’s the system. Your tax dollars are hard @ work paying for teacher’s pensions. I’m sorry it bothers you so much. No one asked you to feel sorry for teachers just as the teachers don’t ask for the public to feel sorry for them when they have to deal with your kid all day and complaint oriented parents such as yourself. There is also administrative pressure and pressure for state testing. What if you disagree with report card grading or your child doesn’t do very well in state testing. Who has to deal with all of the complaining? The reason the teachers likely got out of being evaluated in Mid-March is because there was, you know, a once in a hundred years global crisis happening and they had to flip on a dime to Distance Learning all with judgmental parents such as yourself eavesdropping and breathlessly hanging on their every word and evaluating them in the background which you aren’t remotely qualified to do. I’m sure their teaching online isn’t their usual day to day classroom teaching so why should they receive performance evaluations based on having to flip a switch instantly to distance learning which is something they have likely never done before? They probably also wanted to protect themselves knowing that complaint oriented parents would be listening in on them and wanted to probably protect themselves in the MOU. Most teachers who are passionate, tried their best to carry on their lessons and serve their students. It might not always be perfect but very likely most made an effort in this unprecedented situation while also dealing mentally with the pandemic. Also, the same repetitive argument on this forum about teachers giving up pay, not getting pay raises, giving up tenure, and giving up their pensions isn’t going to happen. Please volunteer taking a pay cut at your job first. I am sure you will do that without any argument. You are right though. The job being relatively recession proof is another nice side benefit although their will probably end up being some teacher lay offs eventually here due to extreme budget cuts. All in all, even though you sound upset, teaching sounds like a pretty stable job with some excellent benefits. Maybe you would like to one day become an educator and enjoy the same perks? It seems you as if you can easily do a better job than the current teachers. Let’s try to have a little more compassion and humanity here as the pandemic rages on unfortunately.
@Independent-Although I agree with you that teachers don’t need to be paid as high as engineers and doctors, that does seem silly, you seem a little obsessed posting on this forum about the High School Teachers not doing enough. I don’t know what your situation is but you made your point multiple times here. I am not saying that your individual situation was great but I am sure the majority of teachers probably did their best. You are making it sound like every teacher in the district threw in the towel during distance learning and that can’t possibly be the case.
@Alvin-Why are you on here constantly bashing FREE public schools if you are home schooling your kid? Ok. Then your kid may fit home schooling or private school better. No problem. The majority of parents send their kids to public school don’t pay a dime but also don’t get obsessed about every detail about the school looking to criticize everything and enjoy their lives. No one knows your specific situation but there is no harm in private school or home schooling. Do that then. No big deal.


Alvin
Professorville
on May 29, 2020 at 3:40 am
Alvin, Professorville
on May 29, 2020 at 3:40 am
4 people like this

@john hicks. I never said I was home-schooling my PAUSD kids, but I probably will if the schools continue to turn into hopeless places with masks, forced distancing, daily temperature checks, and no visitors. It sounds more like prison to me, does it promote learning to you? Are you happy sending your kids in unhealthy and useless masks all day? The second your kid coughs or sneezes he/she is dragged out of class and sent home, is that what you want?

Why I am upset paying tens of thousands of dollars in property taxes when all city cares about is catering to union demands to neglect of school kids. And school kids have almost zero chance of dying from Covid. They are more likely to die walking, bicycling, or driving to school. They are more likely to die choking on their lunch food or from a slip and fall...or any number of daily risks we all take in life. Should we ban lunch because kids my choke to death? Should we ban bicycling and cars because people die from accidents or distracted drivers/bikers? Kids also get regular colds, which are corona viruses (did you know that?), and seasonal flu (which is more deadly to kids than Covid), should we lockdown forever because those infections can spread too? When does this madness end?

If nothing else, I'd like to know what studies and information the school district based its proposals to impose masks, daily temperature checks (after physical education? or is that banned too?) and distancing? Show me the evidence.


Alvin
Professorville
on May 29, 2020 at 3:57 am
Alvin, Professorville
on May 29, 2020 at 3:57 am
4 people like this

I didn't vote for Trump last time and felt he should have resigned. But thanks to mostly Democrat governors and politicians and support from left-wing pro-lockdown, cheerleading media destroying our economy and livelihoods, I may vote for Trump in November. And I'm sure the tenured, paycheck receiving school teachers supported lockdowns too.

To hell with all the working class employees now unemployed, facing hunger and evictions, and small business workers facing bankruptcy and to hell with our economy and way of life. To hell with millions of cancer patients, heart disease and stroke and diabetes patients who couldn't get their treatments or doctors visits because of the single-minded focus on Covid with doctors and nurses laid off or furloughed. Many of them died unnecessarily. To hell with the rapid spike in suicides, drug overdoses, child and spousal abuses from anxiety and stress of isolation and uncertain future, and to hell with recent college grads unable to find jobs, probably for years.

We locked down and cratered economy and lives, for what? Did distancing or lockdowns save any lives (check with lockdown NYC, Italy, Spain, and UK)? No evidence at all! None. It did the opposite. And now we face all likelihood of million or more extra deaths due to worst (man-made) economic collapse in history. Why?


Don't do this to our kids
Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 6:37 am
Don't do this to our kids, Downtown North
on May 29, 2020 at 6:37 am
6 people like this

Open the schools! [Portion removed.] I hope all the parents stand up against this cruelty!! You are destroying the future and mental health of our children. The virus is nothing compared to what you are doing.


Samuel L.
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 29, 2020 at 9:30 am
Samuel L., Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 29, 2020 at 9:30 am
6 people like this

@John Hicks - Exactly, they get all of those benefits, so spare me the sob story of how hard teachers have it. And, EVERYONE had to pivot their jobs to work from home. None of them have the luxury to say to their boss, "Oh, by the way I don't want my performance during this time to be part of my job performance when my review comes up."

Teachers have to deal with overbearing parents. BooHoo. Give it a rest. Part of the job. Most parents are not qualified to be a teacher, correct. Just as most teachers aren't qualified to be engineers or pilots or accountants. However, I bet most engineers, pilots and accountants could become pretty decent teachers as has been shown in the number of people taking a second career as a teacher. I don't hear many teachers becoming engineers for their second career.

I think most people, myself included, would rather take a pay cut if it meant that fewer people would lose their job. It's already happening in many places. Most employees of public companies have also lost money simply because their company's stock has dropped. Teachers don't have to worry about that, either. Again, spare me the sob story. Teachers know they're not going to make millions of dollars and that they'll have to deal with bratty, spoiled, out of control or even dangerous kids and their obnoxious, helicoptor parents. And they knew that when they decided to be a teacher. They also knew that the benefits were outstanding and the job security is second to none.

And, when things go south, just like everyone else in the world, teachers are expected to do their job despite the obstacles. That's not too much to ask.

Maybe I should become a teacher. You're right, I would be better at it than most. At least from what I've seen over the past couple months. I, for one, would not be afraid to record lectures/lessons and be available during the entire school day and would answer emails/phone calls (heaven forbid) promptly and would do what I could to help ALL of my students succeed to the best of their abilities. In exchange, I'd be guaranteed a job for as long as I wanted and then would get paid pretty much the same amount even after I retired. Yes, sign me up!



Independent
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 29, 2020 at 9:54 am
Independent, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 29, 2020 at 9:54 am
4 people like this

@John Hicks --[portion remove.] All we are asking for is instruction for our kids --- which is our due ---given we pay for it through our property taxes. And yes, @Samuel L is right --- other workers and employees had to make a pivot and work online from home, or in situations different due to Covid 19, and so must teachers. Their job is to educate our kids, and they didn't do it. Not in HS. Thanks to all the HS and other teachers who did provide recorded lectures and live lectures, and provided actual instruction. But unfortunately for HS, they were the very few. The rest of the HS teachers just gave assignments and expected kids to teach themselves. That isn't acceptable, and certainly not for high level classes. Teachers have tenure - can't be fired, which means no accountability if they aren't good teachers, or worse. And now, they weren't even teaching. And the community should know about it. The fall is coming.


Samuel L.
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 29, 2020 at 10:13 am
Samuel L., Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 29, 2020 at 10:13 am
2 people like this

And please understand that I appreciate and like many of the teachers that we have had over the years at PAUSD. However, I feel that the union does the teachers a disservice in the way they make their demands. Also, as with anything, there are several teachers that ruin the reputation of the ones that do a good job. I am thoroughly disappointed with a good number of the high school teachers at Paly. They just aren't even putting in the effort. It does not bode well for the quality of instruction moving forward. The union has asked for 3 days immediately before the start of the next school year to train on distance learning. Why not get trained now and practice over the summer? Does anyone think that they can cram it into 3 days and then have a smooth transition the next day? It makes no sense.


John Hicks
Crescent Park
on May 29, 2020 at 11:43 am
John Hicks, Crescent Park
on May 29, 2020 at 11:43 am
Like this comment

@ Independent-I’m not “parent bashing.” I don’t know what your individual situation was and you could have had a teacher that didn’t pivot well
or was even lazy. But again you found a way to post that “most” high school teachers didn’t do their job obsessively and repeatedly on the forum. Ok. You made your point. Assuming you have 1 or 2 children in High School, you are being exposed to the work of 1 or 2 teachers via distance learning. Where are you getting this stat that almost all High School Teachers aren’t doing their jobs? From talking with other highly critical parents? Are you secretly in an administrative position where you can access and observe all of the district HS teachers? Also, I am not sure what qualifications you have to judge teachers. This might be the greatest flaw with Distance Learning, besides of course nothing truly being able to replace in person instruction, that parents who “think they can judge or easily be teachers” are listening in on teaching and judging their work.
Samuel L-I wasn’t saying the downsides were “boo hoo” feel sorry for teachers. I’m just pointing out it’s a job and teachers get paid and get pensions. I am not sure why the forum begrudges everyone their money. It seems to be “I pay property taxes so I am entitled.” I am sure teachers aren’t posting on a Samuel L forum and demanding Samuel L to take a pay cut. Again, I don’t know what your specific situation was, but likely I can see teachers struggled to pivot to distance learning. I’m not saying that’s not frustrating, but I can see it being a case of doing the same thing for years in a classroom one way and then suddenly having to do it with technology and adjusting their instruction. Likely the unions moved to protect teachers at the end of the year because the situation was unprecedented but I don’t have all of the details of that. But again, you did say you can “do it better than most” as is the normal mentality of parents who complain. For the most part, complaint oriented parents think teaching is easy and anyone can do it and they can of course, do it better. But of course once the unprecedented shift happened, instantly parents were whining on the internet about how hard it was to sit with their kids for an hour or 2 a day to help them with their work and, gasp, have their kids with them
all day long.
@Alvin & Don’t do this to Kids
The schools are closed all around the country. It’s not just Palo Alto. You two are not infectious disease experts. The schools closed for a reason. Yes...let’s let the children back in so they can potentially infect staff members(or vice versa) and then take the virus home and Potentially infect their families because the children don’t seem to be dying at an alarming rate(thankfully). No mention from you both about asymptomatic carriers. That’s fair to the staff and parents. Makes a lot of sense. They SHUT THE WHOLE COUNTRY DOWN and we still had a 100K deaths(and counting) in 3 months. Not to mention most experts are predicting a 2nd Wave starting in the fall throughout the winter right when the kids are scheduled to go back to school. Already in other countries schools tried to reopen and had to close back down quickly due to Covid outbreaks and those countries seemingly had the virus more under control than we do. Get ready for the new normal Alvin and don’t do this to the kids...Face Masks, Temperature Checks, Social Distancing, continued Distance Learning, kids being sent home immediately if they show any symptoms, and likely intermittent school closings. Things have changed in an instant and everyone will need to adjust. We are dealing with a Novel Virus with no medical treatments available and unfortunately we are only in the beginning of the pandemic. Parents can all gather and bang on the school doors but they won’t be open if there are any health concerns. Finally, yes Alvin, the property taxes AGAIN. You pay property taxes like everyone else. It doesn’t mean you are a “customer of the school” when it’s free. It doesn’t mean your expectations of what a public school should be need to be met to satisfy Alvin or individualized to meet your specific needs. It is probably generally is a “one size fits all” set up and may not be able to meet the needs of all kids even during normal times. If you want an individualized set up, like you said, home school or go to private school.


Independent
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 29, 2020 at 11:45 am
Independent, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 29, 2020 at 11:45 am
2 people like this

@Samuel L: I like many of the teachers my children have had too. Seem like very nice people. But that doesn't change the fact that the HS teachers did not instruct our children. Or that the teacher's union sought to avoid their being evaluated on the delivery of remote learning. No wonder --- since only a few actually provided instruction! What do you call something when it's advertised that you'll get something you paid for, but you don't get it? That's called fraud. Our property taxes had to be paid on time and in full --- what about instruction for our kids?


Independent
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 29, 2020 at 11:48 am
Independent, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 29, 2020 at 11:48 am
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@John Hicks - sorry, but I've had many confirmations from parents about the HS instruction, which has been very few and far between. Little to no instruction at the HS level in PAUSD --- and the students need HS instruction, and to complete their courses, and btw we pay for it. So, like or lump it, those are the facts.


Independent
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 29, 2020 at 11:50 am
Independent, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 29, 2020 at 11:50 am
2 people like this

@John Hicks: Public school isn't free. We property tax owners and tax payers pay for it. How about we get some value --- some HS instruction? That's not too much to ask for --- we already paid for it.


John Hicks
Crescent Park
on May 29, 2020 at 12:26 pm
John Hicks, Crescent Park
on May 29, 2020 at 12:26 pm
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@ Independent-You repeated again that the HS teachers didn’t do a good job again. Congrats. Again, I actually agree with you that if your specific HS teacher didn’t do their job that is terrible. Report this individual to administration if you feel that’s the appropriate course of action and move on. Obsessing about it and “confirming with other parents” and posting constantly here and seemingly building your life around it isn’t going to accomplish anything.
I am saying the flaw of your argument is that “because you pay property taxes you are entitled to something...anything.” It also seemingly “gives you the right” to bash teachers and criticize and complain. Maybe in this specific case your complaints are justified and I am sorry for your individual situation. But you are not a “customer.” That’s just seems to be where the sense of entitlement comes from. You own a house ok. Wow. If you don’t want to pay property taxes go rent instead. Also, childless people pay property taxes that go to the school. Do they complain that their tax money is going to the school when they don’t have a supposed “customer” at the school? Look at all of the sort of either diverse or even weird opinions of parents posting here. Is each and every public school supposed to run to appease everyone’s diverse opinions and thoughts. Of course not. I would assume parents would be welcome to make suggestions but the schools aren’t run by the parents. Please skip paying your property taxes next year and find out the repercussions of it. Schools will go on and you will be penalized.


Alvin
Professorville
on May 29, 2020 at 3:24 pm
Alvin, Professorville
on May 29, 2020 at 3:24 pm
2 people like this

@john hicks. There is no evidence spikes of new Covid cases are occurring after re-opening unless you are making the most fundamental error of equating more testing with more spreading. Of course if you test more people you will get more "positive" tests. We can go around testing everybody for type II diabetes and discover thousands of new cases never diagnosed before, but that doesn't change the overall estimate of 15% of population in the US with type II, not by much at least.

You cite discredited number of 100K fatalities from Covid. Leaving aside that underlying cause of death in overwhelming majority of these deaths was not Covid (guy falling off ladder, car accidents, hospice care - all Covid???), you would shut down most of year, right? Flu season always includes new strains. Colds always involve new coronaviruses. They can spread to parents and grandparents, right? So we should shut down forever if we follow your logic, right?

Getting back to phony 100K death count of Covid - since hospitals and clinics have every financial incentive to find Covid (you know we stopped testing for flu almost two months ago). How is it possible that with 4.25% of world population we have almost 30% of all Covid deaths??? Do you really believe that, be honest? If we throw out US and look only at worldwide counts, the number of Covid deaths is below average flu season. In US, 2018 flu season had estimated 80,000 deaths from flu. We should have shut everything down back then?

News alert. People in their 70s, 80s, 90s and 100s die. We constantly face life and death decisions. If you believe all of what you're saying, then you should never leave the house. Never get into a car, never take a flight, never ride your bicycle, never step on a ladder or take a bath, or, g-d forbid, go swimming.

Second wave? Sure, if we isolate and distance ourselves, avoid achieving herd immunity, then there is real possibility of a second wave, third wave...which means more deaths. You don't want to face virus head on - like we've always done in the past - then expect a second wave.


John Hicks
Crescent Park
on May 29, 2020 at 4:42 pm
John Hicks, Crescent Park
on May 29, 2020 at 4:42 pm
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The Great Infectious Disease Specialist “Dr. Alvin Fauci” is back on another post stating his misleading statistics and percentages. Are you “that guy” who believes this all a hoax? Are you saying there hasn’t been a 100K deaths already even though most experts think there are 1000s more unrecorded COVID deaths above what’s already been reported? What are you saying? Of course you always conveniently leave out that the ENTIRE COUNTRY HAD TO SHUT DOWN to avoid the scenarios that took place in Italy and New York. Yes. Increased testing leads to more confirmed cases but it also illustrates that the virus is probably more widespread than everyone thinks it is in our area. Of course you also should know we are just now allowing more movement and those spikes may take another 5-14 days to show themselves. Please stop comparing this to the flu. This is a Novel Virus with an exponential growth rate with no known medical treatment. It’s not the flu. Do you think there won’t be MORE deaths in the next 100 days? Do you think it’s going to magically stop without some sort of medical intervention? We reached 100k deaths in about 3 months. What if the pandemic goes another way and somehow gets worse? You have no idea. Also, how old do you think the teachers are? I would estimate maybe 40% of teachers are above age 55? Maybe more? So those teachers would be at higher risk based on your age stats that try to minimize the risk of the virus.
To your point about inherent risk in everything you do. Ok, I tell you what. You go and be the hero and go first. Go and test out your “this virus isn’t that big of a deal” thought process by hanging out in a germ infested classroom full of 30 kids with no temperature checks, no social distancing, no masks and see how that works out for you.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2020 at 5:38 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2020 at 5:38 pm
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Posted by Alvin, a resident of Professorville

>> There is no evidence spikes of new Covid cases are occurring after re-opening

Please cite your source. Today in the US, there are roughly 20,000 new cases per day averaged over the last 7 days. The highest in the world, although Brazil is about to go higher.

Source: Web Link

>> You cite discredited number of 100K fatalities from Covid.

There are 101,616 confirmed deaths as of today (see above link) in the US, but, you are correct that the actual number of deaths is quite a bit higher. It is difficult to say for sure how much, because, in the US, everything is done statewise, and states are using different criteria.

For example, in NYC, there are 16,737 confirmed deaths as of today using NYC criteria, 13,684 using State criteria, but, the probably number is about 4,700 deaths higher than the official NYC count - more than 21,000, which is more than 7000 deaths higher than the official count. If every state undercounted as much, the US death total could be 150,000, but, you can't estimate that way, because, states started out using different criteria, and, much has been learned in the last 3 months.

For example, many people who were initially reported as heart attacks or strokes turned out to be COVID-19. There is some good news -- NYC only had 7 reported deaths for 5/27 (last reported day), down from a peak of 590/day in early April. NYC data here: Web Link

>> News alert. People in their 70s, 80s, 90s and 100s die.

True. According to this preliminary study, people who die of COVID-19 are expiring much, much earlier than they were expected to (*statistically* expected to). Web Link

Please cite your sources that disagree with the ones above.




John Hicks
Crescent Park
on May 29, 2020 at 6:49 pm
John Hicks, Crescent Park
on May 29, 2020 at 6:49 pm
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@Anon-Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Alvin Fauci doesn’t cite any sources. He just posts misleading, made up stats that look like professional calculations but that just are conveniently manipulated to suit him to try to prove his point that “the virus isn’t that bad, there is inherent danger in everything, and let’s get back to normal.” Then he takes any real, widely reported stat such as 100k deaths and says it’s overblown. We have had over 100k deaths EVEN THOUGH EVERYTHING WAS SHUT DOWN, while also being informed to wear masks, practice social distancing and even then, the deaths are probably being widely underreported. If we didn’t shut down we likely would have had New York scenarios in multiple parts of our country. But he thinks it’s no worse than a flu season. Other states that are opening up are reporting spikes in cases and are fearing an almost immediate 2nd Wave of infection. He seems to be going with the “old people die anyway” thing or “this is all a hoax” and doesn’t seem to care if school staff becomes ill because the children aren’t seemingly as badly effected by COVID. He expects everyone to bravely face this virus! As you mentioned over 20,000+ new cases a day. Just today it was reported 25k new cases nationally and over 1200 deaths nationally. How will this stop or slow down without a medical intervention or another shut down? But he wants school(a congregate setting) open for business with no social distancing, no face masks, and no temperature checks and expects school employees(maybe also students) to some how be ok with that. I can’t tell if he’s being serious or not with his posts at this point, or if it’s just a case that he’s just having a hard time adjusting to a new normal. Another poster “don’t do this to our kids” also said this is cruel to the kids and wanted parents to rally and stand up to this supposed cruelty. Wow. Keeping the schools closed at least until the fall even if it’s possibly just erring on the side of caution so people don’t get sick or die in basically the 2nd inning of a Pandemic is very cruel. I would like for them both to bravely volunteer their talents first to pilot a classroom setting with Covid now in play with 30 students day in and day out with no precautions taken such as temperature checks, social distancing, and face masks to see how that works out for them since the virus “is no big deal.” Please let everyone know when or if the coast is clear.


JCoop
Midtown
on Jun 4, 2020 at 9:58 am
JCoop, Midtown
on Jun 4, 2020 at 9:58 am
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To clarify

Most public school teachers work beg of August to beg June. That's 10 months, not 9. They don't get June, July and August off.

Most teachers spend hundreds of $ out of pocket for their classroom. I used to teach in a district in San Jose where we got 1/3 $ per student PA gets and when it comes to supplies and donations, I would get maybe 8 out of 25 families to donate.

I spent ALOT of $ every year for my students. I took some time off to have my kids and plan on going back to teaching. I will not be rolling in $ when I retire.


Fact Checker
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:18 pm
Fact Checker, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:18 pm
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Have you all looked at the parent survey results. Roughly 50% are dissatisfied and 50% satisfied. See links below.

Web Link

Web Link

Does anyone know if the rumors about steep declines in enrollment are true? That would be another sign of folks not being satisfied.

And, does anyone know how much teacher pensions in PAUSD are underfunded?


Check the Checker
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 5:35 pm
Check the Checker, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 5:35 pm
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@Fact Checker - for the overall satisfaction question, it looks like 67% Sat vs. 33% Unsat, with 10% Very Unsat vs. 23% Very Sat. That isn't close to 50/50. You may have to change your handle!

I'm not sure what the satisfaction levels are at regular times, but given the circumstances, I'm surprised it is as high as it is.

Rumors about steep enrollment declines? Are you the one who is starting them?? Gosh, maybe election season is coming up again!


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