Menlo Park, Portola Valley school districts likely to seek parcel tax measures this spring


Voters may be asked to help shore up the budget at two local school districts. Both Portola Valley and the Menlo Park City school districts are likely to seek $168 annual parcel tax measures this spring.

Menlo Park is facing an estimated $2.2 million budget gap for the 2010-11 school year, and Portola Valley is estimated a shortfall of $500,000.

The Menlo Park school board is expected to take action at its Tuesday, Feb. 2, meeting that begins at 6 p.m. in the board room, 181 Encinal Ave. in Atherton. The parcel tax measure would have a seven-year duration, and include an exemption for senior citizens.

In Portola Valley, a special meeting is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, in Room 1001 at Corte Madera School, 4575 Alpine Road. The proposed parcel tax would run for four years and include an exemption for senior citizens.

Relatively flat property tax revenues and a series of state funding cuts are shaping up to create a bleak budget outlook for the upcoming school year. Portola Valley Superintendent Anne Campbell called the parcel tax "a short-term bridge to better times."

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 1, 2010 at 11:28 am

There has to be a better way to fund education and have accountability of this money. It seems as if we are being asked every year to pay for a bond measure or parcel tax. I'm all for seeing that our kids get a good education. But this band-aid approach doesn't work. Where's the bigger picture? Where's out of the box thinking? What about consolidating school districts? Do you know that there are 25 school districts in San Mateo County? Seems like a lot of redundancy in administration and management.

Let figure out a way to have the education system be held accountable with our money instead of just asking for more money every year.

Maybe the Almanac would like to suggest school district consolidations as an option, especially if we’re looking to trim government spending.

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Posted by Kathy
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 1, 2010 at 11:39 am

I agree with Bill. Taxing always solves the problems. I want my children to have a good education. We seem to give plenty of money to the school systems; why is it that they always need more? And why are there different school system? Wouldn’t it make sense since I live in Menlo Park that there would be 1 school system not 3, but I forgot this is bureaucratic government that we’re talking about.

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Posted by Jack
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Feb 1, 2010 at 2:55 pm

[Post removed; same poster using multiple names on same thread]

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Posted by squeezed
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 1, 2010 at 3:17 pm

There are actually four school districts that serve Menlo Park. Crazy, huh? Especially since one of them only has two schools. Because Las Lomitas has special grandfathered privileges (and thus, pays higher teacher salaries than do neighboring districts) they will never merge, at least not willingly, with Menlo Park. And of course Menlo Park wouldn't even consider merging with Ravenswood. And Sequoia? Let's not even go there.

Bottom line: lots of money goes to administration, bureaucracy, and toys. (TERC, anyone?) I say vote 'em down and make them try to run their shops in a businesslike way.

Like this comment
Posted by Good Idea!
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Feb 1, 2010 at 4:01 pm

TERC - Teachers Education Resource Center = Training Better Teachers = Better Taught Students = Better API Scores = Better Schools = Better Home Appreciation.

I understand that the administration bureaucracy is a hard thing to swallow in the state of California, but this is a much bigger issue than our little district of MPCSD. If the citizens want to take this stance, and not pay the additional $150+ annual parcel tax, going forward, you can be rest assured others will hear of this, and also discover that perhaps there is no longer a reason to want to move to Menlo Park, since our community wants to put it's foot down and not support the schools..............I wonder what THAT would do to the home prices?? THAT is the #1 reason, over and above any other reason, that people want to move to our town, which allows for the appreciation of our homes. I think those that are on this email thread may be a little too close minded on this issue.

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Posted by WillowsGal
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 1, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Our kids are the future. So, punishing THEM for dysfunction in Sacramento, districting history and population growth in our fair city is crazy! Forces beyond our control put us here and we're all here together. MPCSD has made phenomenal progess in the last 10-15 years---giving it back by opposing a parcel tax in times like these is a short-sighted decision. You can't say "I want good schools, BUT..." There are no "buts!" Not only that, there is no better-run school board anywhere. They manage policy, finances and the extraodinary challenges of enrollment growth and budget cuts with the utmost professionalism. They ARE accountable. If you want to live here, you should be too. We all should.

Like this comment
Posted by Parent of school aged children
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Mar 22, 2010 at 7:43 am

This is just another band-aid -- when is everyone going to admit that Prop 13 is the problem and get rid of it? Prop 13 is a yoke around the neck of every Californian -- no one wants to admit it, and there isn't a decent politician with enough guts to take it on.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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