Viewpoint - March 31, 2010

Letter: Senior citizen supports Measure C

I am writing as a senior citizen, a 40-year Menlo Park homeowner, a parent of two children who received excellent educations in the Menlo Park public schools, and a retired teacher from Menlo-Atherton High School.

All of these hats lead me to support Measure C, to provide funds that will help to maintain the quality of education that so benefited my children. Having a well-educated populace is in my best interest and a benefit to everyone.

Even though I no longer have children attending our schools, I care about the children who are there now. When my children were in school, others paid property taxes to support their education and I was very grateful. The way I say "thank you" is to continue to pay my fair share.

My fair share is less than 50 cents per day! Even though my property taxes are high, it's not as if I can't manage 50 cents a day! It's a bargain, and if I couldn't manage it, I could take advantage of the senior citizen exemption. I won't, but no one would judge a senior who needed that relief.

All those folks who are concerned about losing local control of schools or complaining about government takeover of our rights should be out pounding the streets in favor of Measure C. This is local control at its best.

One of the beautiful things about this country is that we band together to support each other. When we established a public school system for everyone, our country flourished.

Margo McAuliffe, East Creek Drive, Menlo Park


Posted by AMartin, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 6, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Wonderful observation from Ms. McAuliffe

Here is the article in the San Francsico Chronicle on the tie between home prices and good schools. It's titled:

Good Grades translate into higher home prices

Web Link

Even for Menlo Park residents who do not have kids in school, your property value is greatly tied to the quality of Menlo Park School district, so please vote Yes on Measure C.

Web Link

Thank You!

Posted by Not Popular, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 7, 2010 at 1:55 pm

I agree with Margo --- it is a wonderful thing we have a strong public school system to which we all contribute. However, the contribution has to take into account everyone's ability to pay and whether adequate school services are being provided.

It's not popular to say anything negative about school funding. The fact is that there are many thousand school kid parents that have a vested interest in promoting and being vocal about any and all additional public funding for public schools.

At the risk of not being popular, let me state---there is *already* enough support for Menlo Park schools by the community. School parents and board trustees should not be turning to the non-school public looking for extra support. It's the easy way out and why should the non-school public be impacted? Why shouldn't parents be expected to pay something in the range of $1825 / kid for their school program? It is only 10% of what is being contributed by the public, it would cover all shortfalls in the proposed school budget and I bet it would make much better budget watchdogs of the school parents. If the school services aren't worth that much to parents, then they *should* be cut. Oh---and guess what---if you divide by 365, it is only $5.00/day!! Amazing how you can make any number smaller by dividing by a big number, isn't it?

The property value argument bandied about by the measure C supporter is vastly overinflated. On one hand, the parcel tax is a trivial amount to pay, on the other it is going to be the overwhelming driving force on your home value. Please--we're not idiots! Menlo Park taxpayers are already paying a $565 parcel tax for school operations plus are funding huge bond measures. Measure C failing will not all of a sudden drive down home values. The impact to school services is going to be negligible if C fails.

We need to stop turning to the public tax bucket every time we can't balance a budget.

Vote Responsible Spending
Vote NO on Measure C

Posted by What Fair Share?, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 7, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Dear Margo:

According to Zillow your 2009 property taxes are only 1/3 what they would be if your home were assessed at today's market values. As a result, I dispute your statement that you pay your "fair share". Of course, this fairness problem is germane to all Menlo Park residents thanks to Prop 13 and not your fault. However, given you're benefiting significantly from this Prop, I would still not agree that you're paying your fair share---at least if you compare the school-directed dollars paid by your neighbours who have bought equivalent homes more recently.

Furthermore, the proposed parcel tax is a flat tax. This is generally deemed "unfair" as the burden is not distributed according to wealth or income. That is, someone on the poverty line is paying as much as your dot-com millionaire. The tax could have been made proportional to lot area, but since these generally have a tougher time passing the school board opted for the flat tax. I guess the most important thing to them is that this measure passes.

Be fair to Menlo Park taxpayers. Stop asking for more money.

Vote No on Measure C

Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 8, 2010 at 9:21 am

What Fair Share -
You wrote: " . . the school board opted for the flat tax. I guess the most important thing to them is that this measure passes."
Imagine that! Of course they proposed a parcel tax they thought could pass. They'd be idiots to introduce one that they didn't think could pass.
Bottom line: The recession has significantly reduced school funding. The administration has done a good job of cutting back non-essential functions. Without the parcel tax, good teachers will loose their jobs, class sizes will increase significantly, and the quality of the education will decline. 50 cents per day from each parcel owner will avoid these reductions. If you're retired on a fixed income, the you can have the tax waived. As a bonus, our properties will continue to sell for a premium.
This is a no-brainer - support our schools, support our kids, support ourselves.
Vote YES on Measure C.

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