Town Square

Post a New Topic

Menlo Park City School District voters may be asked to approve $23 million bond measure

Original post made on Jun 10, 2013

School board members on Tuesday (June 11) will consider a staff recommendation to ask residents of the Menlo Park City School District to pass a $23 million bond measure in November to pay for construction of a new school at the former O'Connor school site in Menlo Park.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 10, 2013, 11:56 AM

Comments (14)

Posted by whatever, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 10, 2013 at 12:17 pm

What's the real cost of the $23 million bond. How many years to pay it off? What kind of bond? If it's a Capital Appreciation Bond, like the other recent bonds still outstanding for the district, then it will be 40 plus years and at least a $100 million cost to us.

This would bring our debt service for just three of the district's bonds up to $250,000,000 (one-quarter of a BILLION dollars).

It's all in the details.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" debt service for just three of the district's bonds up to $250,000,000"

WOW! How many tax payers in the district? What is the per taxpayer debt responsibility?

Posted by MP parent, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 10, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Interesting. It seems to be that the overwhelming majority of parents and staff wanted O'Connor to be a K-5 school. Where is this "staff recommendation" coming from? Is it another Ghysels/School Board sham where they go around and "listen" to everyone only to do whatever they had wanted in the first place?

Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm

It would be nice if at least one year would go by without one of the school districts asking for more money. While education is an essential service, there ought to be a better way to fund the systems.

One-quarter of a BILLION dollars -- really?!

Posted by whatever, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 10, 2013 at 8:21 pm

From the LA Times Nov 29, 2012
Risky bonds tie schools to huge debt

The article
Web Link

The chart - see page 3
Web Link

Posted by whatever, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 10, 2013 at 8:34 pm

CABs are secured by an unlimited ad valorem tax pledge levied against all taxable property. The CABs shift the debt burden to future taxpayers.

The current school board and administration don't care because they'll be long gone and dead when the proverbial "s..t" hits the fan.

Posted by whatever, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 10, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Has anyone tallied up the cost of renovations to Hillview, from 1995 to 2010, which have been torn down for the "new" campus? Not just the construction costs but the bond amounts and their debt service. I'm sure it's a shocking figure of waste and mismanagement (and broken promises to the neighbors and taxpayers).

Posted by TOO MUCH MONEY, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 11, 2013 at 6:01 am

Menlo park already has $38million in principal owed on school bonds, with $150m long term obligation over 32-35 YEARS.

The state is considering rules to limit use of these long-term bonds because anything over 20 years is irresponsible and risky.

Another $23m bond measure would result in additional $90-100m owed by current and future property owners. TOO MUCH.

The cost to each of Menlo Parks 12,000 households would be up to $20,800 EACH. The current obligation of the existing bonds is around $12,000 each household.

Posted by interesting, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 11, 2013 at 10:29 am

If you have kids in this community, you can see the logic in the investment. If you are rich and old, then you don't.

This is the story of the region here. Young and up and coming families vs. old, prop 13 cronies who say no to everything.

And then they try to do math with their 1962 HP calculators -- but when they have flawed data to start, who cares.

Posted by Old MP, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm

@ interesting - your comments are specious at best.

Everyone knows that senior citizens are allowed to opt-out of parcel taxes; it's California state law. So a senior citizen can vote yes for the parcel tax, but can opt-out of paying the parcel tax.

And if you'd like to work on your credibility for the next time, note that HP didn't make its first scientific calculator until 1968. First business calculator in 1972.

Posted by MP parent x 4, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jun 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Well, I do have kids in the public schools. I also have an MBA, but you don't need a graduate degree in business to see the fiscal dangers inherent in this tax. I am disappointed in our board and appreciate whatever and TOO MUCH for their clarification of actual costs.

I am really sad to see some of the nasty ageism expressed here. This community is a great place to live, and our schools are tops thanks to the parents who stepped up after Prop 13 to make sure our kids' education didn't suffer. They worked hard and raised money and did triple cartwheels on behalf of the schools. Someone moves into this area, becomes a beneficiary of all that effort, and dares to disparage those who are far more experienced and have walked the talk? Exactly who made you omniscient and entitled?

Posted by Old MP, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Nice post MP parent x 4.

Most of the older MP residents were actually in school when Prop 13 was voted in by their parents and grandparents.

So if anything, those "older" MP residents have walked the walk by growing up and then purchasing their homes under the current P13 scheme. They stepped up and paid their "much higher" property taxes when it was their time to buy their family homes.

Posted by common sense, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 12, 2013 at 8:23 am

With today's low interest rates, if there will be a need to expand infrastructure, this is a good time to finance it. The obligation would be much less than if it were incurred at times with higher rates. That said, I'm not happy that in the 20+ years we've lived here, the school district has brought forward several bond measures but then tore down what was built at Hillview because it was inadequate and was designed in a way that wasn't flexible enough to accommodate growth. As much as I support schools and haven't sought the senior waiver, I find it hard to support poor planning like that.

I also find it quite disturbing that the city seems to be promoting high amounts of new commercial development, which triggers the need for more housing, which triggers the need for more school space as well as the need for more sports fields and other expensive infrastructure (think about water). This cannot continue as a never-ending cycle, but there is no planning being done that strives to achieve a balance of these. Our decisionmakers are absolutely irresponsible to the extreme by not embarking on this very important common sense step. It won't be easy, but it's not all that complicated, doesn't have to take forever, and it is quite essential.

Posted by Another Concerned Citizen, a resident of Encinal School
on Jun 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Some clarification -- Seniors may apply for an exemption from a parcel tax. However, there are no exemptions for bonds - all property owners are subject to payment for bonds.

If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

The dress code
By Jessica T | 21 comments | 1,860 views

September food and drink goings on
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 1,225 views

. . . People will never forget how you made them feel.
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,223 views

College Freshmen: Avoiding the Pitfalls
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,058 views

Council election, and then some.
By Stuart Soffer | 5 comments | 458 views