Uploaded: Wed, Apr 7, 2010, 11:38 am
Voting starts for parcel tax election in Menlo Park, Portola Valley school districts
This week, ballots for parcel taxes in the Portola Valley and Menlo Park City school districts will be hitting mailboxes. Ballots may be returned any time before 8 p.m. on Election Day, May 4.
In the Portola Valley election, Measure D calls for a four-year, $168 annual parcel tax.
Measure C in the Menlo Park election calls for a seven-year, $178 annual parcel tax. Both require a two-thirds vote in order to pass.
Voters can return their ballots by mail any time during the voting period, but voted ballots must be received by the Elections Office by 8 p.m. on May 4. Return postage has been paid for by the school districts.
Voters in these school districts also have the option to drop off their voted ballots at their city hall -- 91 Ashfield Road in Atherton, 701 Laurel St. in Menlo Park, and 765 Portola Road in Portola Valley. Ballots can also be dropped off at the San Mateo County Elections Office at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo.
Voters can to go the San Mateo County Elections Web site ShapeTheFuture.org and click on the "Track and Confirm" button to confirm that the elections office received their voted mail ballot, according to Warren Slocum, the county's chief elections officer.
Posted by Publius
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 14, 2010 at 11:28 pm
I have a real problem with all the Measure C proponents with their "the sky is falling" attitude. As one that has seen Ranella's presentation at the schools, the cuts did not seem as drastic as Measure C proponents would have everyone believe. His worse case was $1.8 million I believe, and a more realistic cut of $1.2million. This is actually very small in comparison to what other districts in this area are facing - and these cuts have far more impact on students than those proposed by Ranella for MPCSD. The one piece that Ranella never seemed to mention however is why the district has not gone to the teacher union to re-negotiate the contract, even if for a short period (oh say seven years). As one the highest paying districts in the bay area, it seems like a little give back to the community would be a nice gesture to help retain as many teachers that were handed pink slips as well as show the public at large that they are helping to solve the fiscal problem as well. I did my own little work on teacher salaries in this area and here is what I found.
First, I took the liberty to look at the salary grades for the districts in the area, as this is public information. Below are the numbers from four districts. What I have done is to list the start salary (right out college with a BA) then I listed the max salary a teacher could make. To also be fair, I put in the 10 year salary for a teacher with a BA plus 45 educational units. These numbers however do not include all of the stipends given for masters, doctorates, or National Board Certification. These tend to be about $1,500 per degree/certification per year. Here are the numbers. Any one is welcome to go to these any district to view salary schedules.
$50,942 (Start BA)
$101,029 (22 year BA+90)
$78,399 (10 years BA+45)
$51,422 (Start BA)
$100,751 (25 years BA+90)
$78,689 (10 years BA+45)
$43,817 (Start BA)
$79,325 (23 years BA+75)
$60,741 (10 years BA+45)
$43,879 (Start BA)
$85,395 (23 years BA+90)
$66,328 (10 years BA+45)
Now that we have the data for the salaries, let look at the overall theme that "Reality Bites" tried to bring up, although with a little too much passion. Below I have calculated the hourly rate of pay for teachers in the four districts. Here are the assumptions made, I am sure there are some minor inaccuracies so please only comment on the assumptions if they are way off.
First, I believe the school year mandated by the state is 180 days, I added 10 days for to allow for teacher work days before and after the school year. Second, I used an 8 hour day to calculate the hourly rate. Again for argument sake, this is a standard work day, I know most people do not work a standard 8 hour day but this is the true whether you are a teacher or a white collar professional. Third, I used 2080 hours (56 weeks a year, less two weeks' vacation and another 2 weeks' paid holidays) and times that by the hourly rate to calculate what that salary would be for someone working in the year around job. Below is the break out.
$78,399 / 190 days = $412.63/day / 8hr = $51.58/hr
2080 *$51.58= $107,286
$78689 / 190 days = $414.15/day / 8 hours = $51.77/hr
2080 * $51.77 = $107,682
Ravenswood School District
$60,741 / 190 = $319.69 / 8 hours = $39.96
2080 * $39.96 = $83,117
Redwood City School District
$66,328 / 190 = $349.09 / 8 = $43.64
2080 * 43.64 = $90,764.63
So, here is what I see, the "haves" are paying very good salaries while the "have not's" are having trouble attracting the best and brightest as they cannot compete with the "haves". This does not even look at the benefits package at these districts. Conservatively, I figure they comprise about an additional 30% of the salary. Let be realistic, people are attracted to the best paying salaries.
Here is an idea I have not heard, why doesn't the school board negotiate with the teacher union to reduce the salary bands by 5% to 10% for certificated employees and 10% to 15% for administration. Again, using the 10 year number (I assume this is a good middle number, although I would venture to say that is low for the MPCSD) and that there are 100 teachers in the district, at 5%, that would be $3,920 per teacher saving for a $390,200 savings and at 10% that would be $784,000 savings. Add in the saving of 10% to 15% of administration salaries, you could get close to $1M. Teachers could then be part of the solution to help save the jobs of their fellow teachers. Even if the salaries were at par with Ravenswood or Redwood City, I hardly think we would see teachers leave for these districts as working conditions are not nearly as posh as in MPCSD.
So MPCSD board, why don't you first exhaust all these options. You can renegotiate the contract. Cities, counties, municipal agencies all across the country are asking for their unions to help offset budget issues before coming to the taxpayers again. Companies in the valley have for years used the practice of either eliminating pay raises or cutting salaries by X% as a way to contain costs and/or save jobs. Come knocking when we are talking about cuts that compare with those being proposed in Ravenswood, Redwood City and other like districts in the state.
VOTE NO ON C!