Woodside School District may put parcel tax on ballot

School plans to spend $1.2 million on improvements this summer.

After putting it on the back burner for three months, the Woodside Elementary School District's governing board is again contemplating putting a parcel tax measure on the November ballot.

The board has until June to decide the amount and term of any tax and whether to put a measure on the ballot. The district's current parcel tax of $281.52 a year expires in mid-2017.

Until the board votes to put a measure on the ballot, district money can be spent on things such as political consultants, pollsters and mailings. Once a measure has been approved by the board, no more district money can go to a campaign.

A timeline given to the board shows district-paid polling and mailers prior to any June action by the board. A consultant recommends a mailer updating the community on the school's recent building program, and an invitation to the new Sellman Pavilion auditorium's opening, scheduled for April 20, Superintendent Beth Polito said.

The superintendent said she has at least four volunteers to lead a campaign.

At a March 14 meeting, board members expressed uncertainty, as they had in December when they last discussed the issue, about hiring a pollster.

"I'm not sure if we need it," said board member Kevin Johnson. "How is this really going to inform the process?"

Board member Marc Tarpenning said polling could determine the level of parcel tax support, and "how hard do we have to push." He said polling could also tell what, if any, issues taxpayers have with the district.

The superintendent said she would ask Godbe Research for a slimmed down email-only poll at $15,000 or less. Godbe had proposed a hybrid phone/Internet poll for $20,000.

Summer projects

As the district's current construction project which included deferred maintenance such as roofs and drainage, plus a new preschool, design lab and auditorium comes to an end, the board heard a report at the March 14 meeting about $1.26 million in projects planned for the summer of 2016.

The projects include:

● $542,000 to replace and improve the school's artificial turf field (which was installed in 2007).

● $142,000 to resurface the school's hard court playing areas.

● $130,000 for "Safe Routes to School" on campus.

● $86,000 for security gates and fencing, and $82,000 for security lighting on campus.

● $66,000 for traffic bollards.

● $26,000 for lighting upgrades in existing buildings.

The board agreed to put off a project to spend $189,000 to replace the school's natural turf field with new grass, so another year could be spent trying to rehabilitate the existing field.

Funding for the summer construction will come from the money remaining from the $13.5 million bond measure approved by the voters in June, 2013.

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3 people like this
Posted by Woodsider
a resident of Woodside School
on Mar 30, 2016 at 9:55 am

I'm not sure how I would vote on another parcel tax for Woodside School, particularly on the heels of the recent bond measure (which I realize funds different things). However, I am sure that if the school district spends $15-20,000 on a poll/survey, I will vote No on the next parcel tax. That money could be better spent on education or facilities, not still more money toward consultants.

Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jun 9, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

According to data from CDE, Woodside spends $21,613 per ADA. Add to that the $1.5 million in property taxes collected by the county to service debt on Woodside's bonds, divided by an ADA of 429, and we get a total of $25,319/ADA. Aggregation of other expenditures not included in the data from CDE, such as:
1. State "on-behalf" funding of CalSTRS unfunded accrued liability(UAL),
2. Adminstrative costs of CDE, SBE, SMCOE, etc.,
will raise the cost per ADA even more.

Isn't that more than enough?

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

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