Pension reform legislation signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown cracked down on so-called double dipping—retired public employees going back to work while receiving their pension. The flap ignored the reality that the employees who returned had both earned their pensions and were contributing their time and talent as an employee.
When it’s really backfired is situations with administrators. Typically, school districts would call back a retired principal to fill in for a principal who left or became ill. That’s still possible on short-term situations, but not for longer term replacements because the annual limit on earnings is $45k. That number is hit quickly with full-time principals earning $150k.
Community college administrators have similar limits so that’s why it was necessary to name a third interim chancellor while the district launches a new search for a leader. By staying with an in-house person, business services vice-chancellor Ronald Gerhard, the board buys plenty of time for the search. They’ve done the same thing by extending Las Positas interim President Roanna V. Bennie’s contract through the 2019-2020 school year or until a new president is named.
Pleasanton school trustees certainly value Superintendent David Haglund. The contract they awarded him last June builds in 4 percent annual raises to his base salary. Last month, the trustees approved 2.5 percent increases for management employees, matching the raises given to the teachers. The superintendent received that bump so he’s earning 6.5 percent more than he was a year ago.
That’s quite a healthy increase given the looming financial challenges for the district with pension costs continuing to soar as the state teachers pension board strives to close the gap between its investments and its future liabilities.
One of the more interesting trends in the Pleasanton district is the growth of the number of Asian students as a percentage of the enrollment. Five years ago in the 2013-14 school year, district students were 49.5 percent white and 31.8 Asian. In the last school year, the district population was 41 percent Asian and 40.5 percent white. This year, the Asian population has increased to 43.8 percent, while the percentage of white students has fallen to 37.4 percent. The number of Hispanic students has remained consistent at about 10 percent.
The changes likely reflect the number of well-educated young families whose parents likely work in the Silicon Valley and choose to live in Pleasanton to raise their children. That’s reflected in the Tri-Valley Rising Report issued in 2018. The number of residents with a bachelor’s degree reached 60 percent of the population, up from 54 percent in 2012. The number with a graduate degree rose from 21 percent to 26 percent. Notably, among foreign-born residents, graduate degrees were held by 32 percent.