News

Menlo Park: School parcel tax ballots start arriving this week

Mail-in election for Menlo Park City School's parcel tax measures

San Mateo County started mailing ballots and voter information this week to registered voters in the Menlo Park City School District, which has two parcel tax measures on the May 3 ballot. The county will continue mailing the ballots through April 18, the Elections Office says.

Registered voters are being sent mail-in ballots. For the votes to be counted, the ballots must be mailed and postmarked on or before May 3 and must be received by the Elections Office no later than Friday, May 6; or voters can hand deliver the ballots to the Registration & Elections Division's 24-hour ballot drop box at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo by 8 p.m. Election Day (May 3) or the Menlo Park City Hall at 701 Laurel St. by 5:30 p.m. Election Day.

Voters may also vote in person at the 40 Tower Road office any weekday through May 2 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or on Election Day, Tuesday, May 3, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Voters who have not received a ballot by April 18 should contact the Registration & Elections Division at (650) 312-5222 or by email: registrar@smcare.org.

At ShapeTheFuture.org, registered voters may track their ballots by clicking on the "Track My Ballot" link under the "Voters" section of the home page.

April 18 is the last day to register to vote in this election.

Comments

30 people like this
Posted by Crazy Money
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 5, 2016 at 12:23 pm

The Menlo Park School District is considered a good one by California standards and that is because we generously subsidize it with substantial property taxes. In addition, parent and community donations to the Education Foundation provide ample supplemental funds.. When will it ever be enough? Evidently never, by the audacity of floating two ballot initiatives. Passing these measures will not improve school performance. It will, however, send a message that money is cheap and plentiful and there for the asking. Voting NO will not threaten the well-being of our students, but it will threaten the ability of families on a budget to stay in Menlo Park.


5 people like this
Posted by K Blythe - Laurel Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 5, 2016 at 2:50 pm

@ Crazy Money - please note that one measure is to replace and existing parcel tax that is expiring. The other measure only comes into play if the enrollment increases above a certain number of students.

And you are probably right - passing these two measures will not improve school performance. However, NOT passing these measures is absolutely GUARANTEED to decrease school performance as teachers will have to be laid off and other sever cost-cutting measures will have to be taken.

We have excellent schools because we as a Community support them - regardless if someone has kids in the system or not. If we remove that support by not passing these measures we all lose. Test scores go down, options for enriching programs at school are reduced or eliminated, (and I'll say it) your property values will decrease.

If you are a senior, you can request an exemption from the parcel tax.

If you are a parent, hope to be a parent, or are a homeowner or hope to be, you should gladly support these property taxes. Rarely do we know exactly where our taxes go, or see an impact to our lives and families. However, in this case, you know exactly where the money is going and you see the results - Excellent schools that produce excellent, happy, well-rounded students.

Please join me in supporting the school parcel tax measures. Vote YES to maintain our excellent School District.


62 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 5, 2016 at 5:09 pm

"K Blythe - Laurel Parent" wrote:
"that one measure is to replace and existing parcel tax that is expiring."

The only reason that temporary 4th parcel tax was created was because property taxes (and MPCSD's cut) were crashing in 2008-2011, as was funding from the State because the state's budget shortfall was in 10s of billions.

The circumstances that created that 4th parcel tax no longer exist, and the parcel tax was meant to be temporary, by design. MPCSD is swimming in revenue from increasing property taxes.

The 4th parcel tax needs to expire, and the 5th parcel tax is unneeded.


"However, NOT passing these measures is absolutely
GUARANTEED to decrease school performance"

This is absolutely false.

MPCSD per-student revenue grow exceeds the growth in the student population. Any basic examination of MPCSD's budget will bear that out. Others have posted links to MPCSD finances many times, and it's irrefutable that MPCSD per-student revenues have been increasing faster than student growth, and projections show that trend continuing.

MPCSD does not need 5 permanent parcel taxes. Property taxes are more than enough.


"as teachers will have to be laid off"

This is totally untrue, the MPCSD budgets and financial projections make it clear that projected revenue per student will continue to climb. There is no reason for MPCSD to lay off any teachers.

This is a scare tactic used to coerce voters into approving 5 permanent parcel taxes for MPCSD, on top of the property tax revenue they receive (and Basic Aid revenue from the State, and donations).


"by not passing these measures we all lose. Test scores go down,"

This is a total fabrication.


"your property values will decrease."

This statement is egregiously wrong. [part removed. Please make your point without negative characterizations of other posters.]

Folks, this is the depths to which these people are trying to coerce you into voting for 5 permanent parcel taxes. Keep in mind that most school districts in California have *no* parcel taxes, and those that do usually have a temporary one.

Those very few that do have more than 1 parcel tax, none have more than 3, and none have more than 2 permanent parcel taxes.

MPCSD want 5 permanent parcel taxes, on top of the deluge of property tax revenue they're receiving.


"you should gladly support these property taxes"

These are not "property taxes" we're voting on, they're parcel taxes.

MPCSD wants 5 parcel taxes, when no other elementary school district in the state has more than 3. And most elementary school districts in the state have none.

MPCSD wants about $1000 (and higher) in parcel taxes per parcel when most other elementary school districts have NO parcel taxes, and those that do most get revenue in the $150-$500 range. MPCSD request is markedly higher than every other elementary school district in the state. It's completely unreasonable.


I usually prefer to quietly read the comments and articles on the parcel tax discussions, but I find the arguments from the pro-parcel tax posters unconvincing and full of unsubstantiated hyperbole. This community has been very generous to MPCSD, and I feel that generosity is being abused, and the community should send a message to MPCSD that the huge increase in property taxes and 3 permanent parcel taxes is more than enough for a well run and well-taught school district to thrive.

Our community should say "no" to 5 parcel taxes.

Vote NO on measures A and C.


22 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 5, 2016 at 5:25 pm

This has been reported on in previous articles -- each time with much debate. Rather than repeat the rhetoric -- the district is well funded and doesn't need more especially since one of the taxes doesn't have a sunset date.

Voting NO1


2 people like this
Posted by school supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 5, 2016 at 6:07 pm

Our schools are only well funded if we continue to support them as enrollment continues to grow. Without Measures A and C, average class sizes at Laurel, Encinal, Oak Knoll and Hillview will increase significantly, and many other cuts will be required as well. Get the facts at Web Link.


29 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 5, 2016 at 6:57 pm

> the district is well funded

Indeed. MPCSD and their sycophants try to spin it otherwise by cherrypicking their comps.

Comparing MPCSD with other elementary school districts of a similar size or larger, MPCSD is the HIGHEST FUNDED elementary school district in the state. And that's before they try to put 5 parcel taxes on the community. They cover up this fact by comparing themselves to Unified districts (which have higher cost high schools) and much smaller districts (which don't have the economies of scale that MPCSD *should* have).


> and doesn't need more especially since one of the taxes doesn't have a sunset date.

Small correction: all 5 would be permanent parcel taxes.

Vote NO on Measures A and C


27 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 5, 2016 at 7:03 pm

> only well funded if we continue to support them as enrollment continues to grow.

It has already been proven numerous times that property tax revenue per student has been GROWING. It doesn't need 5 parcel taxes.

> Without Measures A and C, average class sizes at Laurel, Encinal, Oak Knoll and Hillview will increase significantly, and many other cuts will be required as well.

Totally false. More scare tactics.

Vote NO on Measures A and C


2 people like this
Posted by K Blythe - Laurel Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 5, 2016 at 7:13 pm

I'm not a rocket scientis but I do know this:

If we remove funds from the District's budget, they are not replaced by the State as in a Revenue Limit district.

Also, MPCSD provides a quality product that costs a certain amount to provide.

Therefore, if we remove funds from the District that are not replaced, the product provided by the District will degrade in quality.

Toss out stats as you like, "feel" what you want, but if your personal income dropped, and was not replaced, then your standard of living would have to go down. It's pretty simple.

So, if you have kids and want the quality of their education to remain at the high level it is, vote YES.

If you have no kids and care about your community, vote YES.


20 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 5, 2016 at 7:33 pm

> but if your personal income dropped, and was not replaced, then your standard of living would have to go down.

Completely invalid analogy.

MPCSD "income" from property tax growth is far exceeding the loss of a parcel tax that was designed to be temporary. To use your analogy, property tax growth is "replacing" the temporary parcel tax.

K Blythe, you clearly have never tried looking at the MPCSD budget numbers, because the numbers show your arguments are completely invalid.


MPCSD doesn't need 5 parcel taxes.

Vote NO on Measures A and C.


31 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 5, 2016 at 7:42 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Let's not forget that MPCSD pissed away a SURPLUS and is now asking for two PERMANENT parcel taxes. Absolutely not. Given increasing property tax revenues and the fact the district spent surpluses, should we vote to support such mismanagement? NO!!!!

Vote NO on these two totally unnecessary parcel taxes. If you vote for them you are voting for the continued mismanagement of our school district.


35 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 5, 2016 at 8:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

A high quality education for all of our children is valued by and important to everyone in our community BUT there must be a limit to how much the taxpayers should be asked to pay for quality elementary school education just as there is for any other public function.

The School District’s property tax revenues are rising much MORE rapidly than is their student enrollment – and the District will also get substantial fees and additional property tax revenue from all new residential and commercial construction.

The current FOUR School District Parcel Taxes are one the highest in the entire State for any elementary school district. In fact, only one in ten elementary school districts in California has even a SINGLE parcel tax.


For example, 27% of my property taxes already go to MPCSD and with these new parcel taxes MPCSD would get 33% of my property taxes.

Only 8% of my property taxes are necessary to support the Fire District and only 8% to support the High School District and only 19% to support the Town of Atherton.

Are our elementary schools that much more important and need to be that much more expensive than are our fire services, our high school or our local government?

The proposed new Parcel Taxes are not just for 4 years, or for 8 years but FOREVER.

The current Board approved budget ASSUMES voter approval of Measure A!

In my opinion it is unwise for an elected body to assume the outcome of an election in advance.

And even assuming the passage of Measure A that budget still has a growing deficit.

The School District’s current dilemma is the result of the Board’s decision to create a “richer” educational experience which requires more funding than the District currently receives – as is evidenced by the existing and growing budget deficit.

The taxpayers are now being asked to fund an accomplished fact rather than, as what is done in the normal course of events, approving and funding a proposed change in the quality of a public service before the fact.

And the School Board just assumes that the taxpayers will always fill the gap with ever increasing parcel taxes.

The current Oversight Committee that was established to oversee the previously approved bond expenditures and which would apparently be utilized to oversee these parcel tax expenditures only has 3 of its required 7 members.

Why has the School Board decided to utilize an expensive Special Election in May rather than using the cheaper and better turnout of the long scheduled June General Election?

What is the School Board afraid of - that more people would actually vote on these Measures?

And how can voters who have already received exemptions or who intend to apply for exemptions from the School District’s parcel taxes justify voting on these new parcel taxes?

The supporters of these two Measures are actually telling people how to get exemptions from these parcel taxes while at the same time they are urging those same people to vote for these parcel taxes.

If the voters decide not to approve these overreaching and forever Measures then there is adequate time for the School District to propose one single parcel tax that consolidates ALL of the existing and proposed parcel taxes into a more reasonable consolidated parcel tax and to have that consolidated parcel tax be one that is subject to periodic voter review and approval.

The first responsibility of elected officials should be to the taxpayers – not to their customers/students or to their employees.



31 people like this
Posted by no new taxes
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 5, 2016 at 9:25 pm

Exactly right Peter,

"Why has the School Board decided to utilize an expensive Special Election in May rather than using the cheaper and better turnout of the long scheduled June General Election?

What is the School Board afraid of - that more people would actually vote on these Measures? "

The supporters of these new taxes have put together a costly vote that very few people know about, and that is not an accident, For those still paying or who recently paid your current installment of property taxes. Take a look at your detailed tax bill. The piece meal small school taxes add up.

If you want to send your kids to an Ivy league elementary school, Go to Menlo. My kids went to the old relics at Oak Knoll and Hillview 25 years ago and both are smart, level headed, college grads. Doing just fine, If you want a salad bar and free smoothies as I said you can pay your own way at Menlo.


14 people like this
Posted by Eddie Marks
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 6, 2016 at 9:49 am

If you look at the MP Districts budget projections provided by Mr Sheikholeslami element stands out: escalating pension obligations for teaching and non-teaching personnel. The budget expects these to escalate at over 3% per year and over 16% over 5 years. What is the District doing about these fixed benefit pensions? The district board members understand this well and are guaranteeing they will have money to pay out these pension obligations. It's much easier to stick taxpayers with the bill than to battle the teachers union.


16 people like this
Posted by Taxed out
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 6, 2016 at 10:11 am

MPCSD's level of spending is unsustainable by current revenue stream despite rising property tax revenue. Look at their budget deficit projections. They've gotten used to spending and don't want to give it up. They know they will have to come back to the voters for MORE parcel taxes in a few years, since even these two measures will not cover their penchant for spending. The board knows this but they don't care. They know some of them will be out office by then, and it's for the next board to deal with.

They view the taxpayers as endless money tree they can tap with impunity. Only you can stop this behavior by voting NO on A and C.


12 people like this
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 6, 2016 at 1:29 pm

@K Blythe - Laurel Parent: Fear and scare tactics are not a substitute for a well-reasoned arguments and facts. Nothing has changed my mind. I'm still voting NO on both measures.


4 people like this
Posted by Pinnochio
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 6, 2016 at 1:35 pm

My wishes:
1) I wish that more of the income and capital gains taxes I pay to the State were used to fund our local public schools.
2) I wish that the State reformed the State Teacher Pension System in a way that didn't end up taking even more money away from our public schools.
3) I wish we had some control over how our local property taxes are allocated between schools, health, fire, mosquito abatement, county, etc to ensure that existing property taxes are allocated to their highest and best use.
4) I wish that student enrollment would go down so that we could cut taxes and still maintain small class sizes and high quality programs in our schools.

I really believe in holding out for perfection, so until somebody (not me, of course, as I'm too busy to do anything but complain) gets all those things are fixed, I want our local public schools to take a big cut in per student funding, despite the fact that they have have no control over any of the things I wish were changed. The fact that our schools will have many fewer teachers and class sizes will balloon to over 30 is well worth it to me to continue my quest for perfection!

Please join me in cutting off my nose to spite my face by voting against maintaining the existing level of funding in our schools. You might feel a little bad when your property values decline because Menlo Park no longer has great public schools, but it will be so worth it!!


11 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 6, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Pinocchio:

just more scare tactics. Property taxes are rising at a rate far higher than student enrollment. And no one is talking about cutting the budget. We're talking about not continually signing a blank check so the board can continue to financially mismanage our district.

Send a message to the board. Vote NO on A and C.


13 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 6, 2016 at 2:24 pm

Vote no to the bottomless checkbook.

If you're 65 or over make sure to turn in your exemption before June 1. The district makes you do it every year in hopes that you will forget and get stuck paying the school taxes. They only send one non-descript notice.


2 people like this
Posted by Incredibly amused
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 6, 2016 at 2:56 pm

@ Menlo Voter - you are obviously not a graduate of the MPCSD otherwise you'd understand that not voting for the parcel tax is in fact cutting the budget. Less money coming into the District = cutting the budget.

And please don't give me "property taxes are going up to cover it". Again, you are stopping funds from going to the District now, and while property taxes do go up, it will be awhile till they offset the immediate loss of funds.

So, class size up, quality down, along with the value of living in MP.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 6, 2016 at 3:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Less money coming into the District = cutting the budget."

BUT the budget ASSUMES that the voters will pass Measure A, i.e. it assumes money that has yet to be approved by the voters.

"you are stopping funds from going to the District now, and while property taxes do go up, it will be awhile till they offset the immediate loss of funds."

Measure a would replace an existing parcel tax that does not expire until 2017 so there is no "immediate loss of funds".


2 people like this
Posted by school supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 6, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Our schools' opponents are using this forum to spread false and misleading information. Property taxes have NOT been sufficient over the past 10 years to overcome increasing enrollment and funding hits from the State without our parcel taxes. Even with our parcel taxes, our schools funding actually DECLINED by $465 per student over the past 10 years. Without Measures A and C, our schools cannot maintain existing small class sizes, high quality teachers and comprehensive program.

If the opponents of our schools want to argue that raising class sizes and cutting teacher comp is their preferred way to run our schools, then that's what they should be arguing. But to say that our schools can maintain existing high quality programs as they are with less money per student than we have today is living in a fantasy world.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 6, 2016 at 4:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"our schools funding actually DECLINED by $465 per student over the past 10 years."

Please post MPCSD's total revenues in 2005 and in 2015 and MPCSD's total enrollment in 2005 and in 2015.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 6, 2016 at 4:56 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

incredibly amused:

if you are a product of MPCSD then your tortured logic and lack of factual information doesn't speak well of the district.


4 people like this
Posted by school supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 6, 2016 at 5:44 pm

Here is an excerpt from information filed by the supporters of our schools with county elections about Measure A:

"The author of the arguments against our schools is using incorrect information.

For example, the District’s 2005-06 revenue was $23,834,434, not $19,885,846. Using actual revenue data adjusted for inflation, our funding has not increased — it has actually declined by $465 per student since 2005.

Similar mistakes in the opposition argument are used to assert that our schools are spending more than they should. However, the following 2014 cost per student comparison of nearby comparable districts clearly demonstrates that Menlo Park City Elementary School District delivers its outstanding program at a reasonable cost:

Woodside $19,458
Portola Valley $18,154
Palo Alto $14,955
Hillsborough $14,448
Las Lomitas $14,270
Menlo Park $13,006

Our most recent student scores are at comparable levels to all the above districts and rank us among the highest achieving districts in California. The fact that this outstanding performance is achieved with less total funding per student is strong evidence of the careful management of our schools.

We are also the first California district to have “AAA” ratings from both Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service."

full text at: Web Link

Here is another excerpt from the defense of the attacks on Measure C:

"Once again, the individual opposing our schools is using incorrect information. The argument against Measure C uses incorrect revenue figures for 2005, and then uses that faulty data to incorrectly assert that our schools’ revenue has grown faster than its student enrollment.

Let's look at the facts:

Since 2005, 805 more students have enrolled at our schools. That represents an increase of 38%: enough new students to fill a school the size of Hillview. And 213 more students are expected to enroll in the next 5 years.

Our schools receive less property tax revenue per student than comparable nearby districts: $1,501 to $6,037 less in 2014. After combining property and parcel tax revenues, we still have less per student than these districts.

Revenue per student adjusted for inflation has actually declined over the last decade.

To address this, our community has acted, taking local control of our schools and demonstrating at the ballot box its long-standing commitment to quality schools.

Measure C will only authorize new taxes if enrollment actually increases. If enrollment does not increase, no new taxes are authorized."

full text: Web Link




4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 6, 2016 at 5:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Using actual revenue data adjusted for inflation, our funding has not increased"

What other public entity expects to have its revenue stream protected from inflation? And this is AFTER the built in CPI increase in both the existing and proposed parcel taxes. The property owners have already paid their fair share.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 6, 2016 at 5:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Again "Please post MPCSD's total revenues in 2005 and in 2015 and MPCSD's total enrollment in 2005 and in 2015."


9 people like this
Posted by Taxed out
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 6, 2016 at 6:56 pm

Since the pro tax people seem to have trouble with facts, let's take a look.

2005-06 revenue was $23,834,434 (according to pro tax argument)
2015-16 revenue $42,726,549
Web Link

79% increase in revenue

2005-6 enrollment 2133
2015-16 enrollment 2940
Web Link
38% increase in enrollment

When you can't argue the facts, resort to scare tactics and emotion. Sums it up perfectly.


17 people like this
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 6, 2016 at 7:15 pm

@school supporter: Please don't describe those who choose to vote against these tax measures as "our schools' opponents". I've lived in Menlo Park for 15 years and have voted for every measure supporting our schools up to this point. But I also don't plan to vote for something that is completely irrational and for which the district has not justified the need.


2 people like this
Posted by school supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 6, 2016 at 7:20 pm

Historical revenue data must be adjusted for both the size of enrollment and also CPI in order to have an apples to apples comparison of real revenue over a 10 year period of time.


6 people like this
Posted by no more
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 6, 2016 at 7:28 pm

Pinnochio, Supporter, Amused,

Suggest you take a tour of the schools you now want me to pay for. Take a walk through Oak Knoll and Hillview campuses.

The campuses remind me of the Truman show, You overspent on grounds, and facilities and now you want me to pay for it. You blew it.

In which case you are poorly managed and don't ask me to pay for your extravagance.

You brought it on yourself, If you're right you'll have larger class sizes but at least they'll be learning in luxury.


6 people like this
Posted by school supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 6, 2016 at 7:57 pm

No More: Thanks for being honest about what you really think! It's refreshing to hear someone tell the truth instead of asserting with incorrect data and faulty analysis (as Peter Carpenter is doing) that our schools can maintain the existing excellence with less money than they have today.

Let the real debate begin. Do others agree with you that our schools too good for this community? If you think that the schools in Las Lomitas, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Woodside and Hillsborough are also too good for our community, which school Districts would you like to see Menlo Park emulate? How big would you like our class sizes to be? How much less would you like to pay our teachers? Which programs would you like to eliminate -- music, art, counseling, library, school nurse?


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 6, 2016 at 8:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"incorrect data and faulty analysis (as Peter Carpenter is doing) "

Please point out my incorrect data.

Please point out my faulty analysis.


Thank you.


3 people like this
Posted by Another school supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 6, 2016 at 8:26 pm

"How big would you like our class sizes to be? How much less would you like to pay our teachers? Which programs would you like to eliminate -- music, art, counseling, library, school nurse?"

@School Supporter - careful, you are asking actual real questions that will have to be answered if the new measures are not passed. These decisions will be real and not figments of anyone's imagination like the arguments of the "No Tax" folks.

@No Tax supporters - answer me one question: where will the new funds come from to keep the level of service currently provided to our students if the new measures are not passed?


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 6, 2016 at 9:20 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"answer me one question: where will the new funds come from to keep the level of service currently provided to our students if the new measures are not passed?"

From the increased property tax income that is WELL IN EXCESS OF STUDENT POPULATION INCREASES. What part of that don't you understand?


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 6, 2016 at 9:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"where will the new funds come from .

From the significantly increased property taxes from existing residential properties AND from the more than $1 million that will come to the school district from development fees from all new residential construction and then from the annual property taxes from all new construction like Greenheart and Stanford.

And where exactly will all the new students come from except from new residential construction that will pay these development fees and these new property taxes?


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 6, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I welcome and we would all benefit from an honest, open and fact based debate.

"incorrect data and faulty analysis (as Peter Carpenter is doing) "

Please point out my incorrect data.

Please point out my faulty analysis.


Thank you.


1 person likes this
Posted by Another school supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 6, 2016 at 9:46 pm

@Menlo Voter - sorry, you are still not clear on how this happens. If we don't approve the new parcel tax, the District will, in one swoop, loose a ton of money once the existing tax expires. Property taxes WILL NOT JUMP UP at the same time to compensate. So, the District will loose funding.

Yes, property taxes go up, but slowly over time, or when properties are sold. This will not offset the loss of funds in the short term.

@ Peter - humm, I'll bet many of the new students are renters (no change in property tax) or new Kinders who have lived in the District for awhile and who are now school age and are not generating new, higher, property taxes from a recent sale.


3 people like this
Posted by school supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 6, 2016 at 9:47 pm

Menlo Voter: Look at the the chart on the Support Menlo Park Schools website that breaks down our schools' funding sources: Web Link

As you can see, property taxes are less than 60% of our schools' revenues. So the property tax growth you keep pointing to applies to less than 60% of our schools' revenue. Other revenues such as State funding have not increased at all. Accounting for enrollment growth and inflation, real funding in constant dollars to our schools has actually decreased by $465 per student over the past 10 years even after including our parcel taxes.

Our teachers and staff are working very hard to deliver a high quality education to the children. They are getting great results, and our schools are among the top in the State. They are doing this with less funding per student than nearby top performing school districts with comparable programs and comparable results. If you don't value what is being accomplished and want our schools to offer lesser programs to the children of this community, please at least be honest like @no more and just say so.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 6, 2016 at 9:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I'll bet many of the new students are renters (no change in property tax) or new Kinders who have lived in the District for awhile and who are now school age and are not generating new, higher, property taxes from a recent sale."

Do you have any facts to support your "bet" or is this just "Trust me"?


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 6, 2016 at 10:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Let me be clear:

1 - I believe that the members of the School Board are doing what they think is right and acting in good faith,

2 - Our School Board has dramatically increased the quality and performance of the MPCSD,

3 - However the expenditure of taxpayer funds cannot be permanently delegated to elected School Board members without periodic review and approval by the taxpayers,

4 - Education is a critical element of our community but education cannot make an unlimited claim on our limited public resources,

5 - Measures A and C are a gross overreach by the School Board - these measures increase the number of parcel taxes and they make those parcel taxes permanent,

6 - If Measures A and C are defeated then there is still plenty on time for the School Board to place a new parcel tax measure on the November 2016 General Election ballot which consolidates ALL of the existing parcel taxes and which requires taxpayer review and approval on a periodic basis.


21 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 6, 2016 at 10:41 pm

"School supporter" threw out so many baseless statements, there are too many to address.

SO, for anyone who is unsure which parties are telling the truth, here is a link to the MPCSD budget:


Web Link


From it and other MPCSD budgets, are the MPCSD revenue numbers:

REVENUE:
09-10: 26,436,612
10-11: 26,944,621 (+$ 508,009 from previous year)
11-12: 26,975,199 (+$ 30,578)
12-13: 30,539,889 (+$3,564,690)
13-14: 33,412,232 (+$2,872,343)
14-15: 39,842,308 (+$6,430,076)
15-16: 40,753,057 (+$ 910,749)


Here is the student population increases:
(source: Web Link )

STUDENT POPULATION:
09-10: 2532
10-11: 2629 (+97 from previous year)
11-12: 2719 (+90)
12-13: 2799 (+80)
13-14: 2903 (+104)
14-15: 2904 (+1)
15-16: 2941 (+37)


Additional revenue is far outpacing additional students. The numbers are clear and indisputable.


For 2016-2017, MPCSD's budget makes it clear projected increases in revenues will far outstripe projected increases in student population:

* MPCSD's budget projects a 5% increase in property tax revenue, which using 3rd grade math is a projected additional $1,274,130 for 2016-17. (that is JUST property taxes, and does not factor in any other additional revenue)

* From MPCSD's budget: "Enrollment is projected to increase about 60 students next year."

$1,274,130 / 60 students = $21,235.5 per new student, vs the 13+k for existing students.

MPCSD has plenty of money for new students.

THAT IS FROM MPCSD'S BUDGET. All you have to do is click on the link and do 3rd-grade math.

You pro-5-parcel-tax sycophants are arguing against MPCSD's own numbers.


Gawd!


3 people like this
Posted by Another school supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 7, 2016 at 12:12 am

@ Peter

You said "And where exactly will all the new students come from except from new residential construction that will pay these development fees and these new property taxes?"

Do you have any facts to support this claim, or is it just a "Trust me"?

I don't know where all the new students come from, but I do know that my neighbors, both renter, will be sending their newly school-age Kinders to MPCSD. And the property taxes their landlord pay only went up the legal max amount.


1 person likes this
Posted by Another school supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 7, 2016 at 12:21 am

@Train Fan

If you are going to analyze the budgets, please do it completely and not just using the bottom line.

Parse out the property taxes from each year and see what the numbers do. Then figure out how you can replace the property taxes and still have enough to make the budget.


19 people like this
Posted by Apple
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 7, 2016 at 1:42 am

If the school board planned their budgets assuming that these parcel taxes would pass, then it was presumptuous and fiscally imprudent. They should have waited for approval before planning to spend the money. But I suppose after the community approved four parcel taxes and two bond measures in 16 years, they expected the community would roll over for two more, which will double the current permanent parcel taxes in a few years.

Back in 2010, the school board said the temporary parcel tax increase was needed because the economy was poor and property taxes declined. It's 2016. The local economy is doing very well. Property taxes are way up. All those lowered assessments are higher or back to their pre-recession levels. Yet, we now need to make that temporary tax permanent?!?! I don't follow that logic.

We need to raise taxes when times are bad. We need to raise taxes when times are good. It's double speak. While that reasoning got those taxes passed in 2010, community trust in the school district erodes as they use the exact opposite argument to make the taxes permanent.

Maybe it's time the community pushed back and said we need to rethink our spending policy. If we don't do it now, the school board will just continue their current behavior of budgeting with more parcel tax increases every few years before the voters provide their say.


@school supporter
On the ballot, the anti-tax arguments cite where their data comes from: CA Department of Education (Ed-Data) and MPCSD's website.

On the other hand, it's not clear where the pro-tax arguments get their data from. For example, their argument says "District's 2005-06 revenue was $23,834,434, not $19,885,846." Ed-Data lists $19,885,846 as the 2005-06 year revenue. Where does the $23,834,434 figure come from? There is no citation from where the $465 per student funding decline comes from either.

If these are official numbers, they should be available from a district or other governmental website.


19 people like this
Posted by We're ALL School Supporters
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 7, 2016 at 12:47 pm

K. Blythe, School Supporter and Another School Supporter: News Flash. We ALL support our schools. Pretty much every person in Menlo Park and Atherton, and certainly most people who have posted here. We do so with our tax dollars and our beliefs. But even though you'd never guess it by looking at what's going on around you, there is such a thing as having too much. And the MPCSD proves that.

MPCSD pays its Superintendent one of the highest salaries on the Peninsula that is not in ratio to student population, school count or test scores.

MPCSD sees fit to spend big money on outside consultants for all sorts of reasons. Legal advice, diversity issues, employee recruitment and grievance protection, etc. Not the least of it is spent on advertising and public relations efforts to pass their parcel taxes and raise money for their education foundation. They subscribe to the "expensive is best" approach to everything they do.

SmartBoards don't equal good education. iPads don't equal good education. New buildings don't equal good education. All the bells and whistles look impressive from the outside and make parents feel warm and fuzzy, but they should be investing in continuing education for teachers and not for the trappings that scream "wealth".

Every time they go out to raise money -- and believe me, this goes wayyyy back for decades although it's gotten worse recently -- they do so with the prediction of a coming disaster. "The sky is REALLY falling this time!" "Class sizes will rise to 35 students!" Heard it all before and it's still all BS. No matter what crunched up, massaged numbers they show you in their slide show. Sure, they may have to buy less expensive desks or not rent tour buses with seat-back TV screens for field trips, but I don't consider that the end of the world and neither should you.

The school district needs to act fiscally and professionally responsible and stop running to the Taxpayer's ATM to solve all their perceived problems. VOTE NO on this latest money grab.


3 people like this
Posted by school supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 7, 2016 at 2:55 pm

Dear @Apple: Do you really believe that our school officials are lying about our schools' historic revenues? This is a matter of public record. The figures are audited. The numbers are not up for debate.

Dear @we're all school supporters: If our schools were actually spending money on all kinds of frivolous things as you are suggesting, then it would be impossible for them to also offer class sizes, breadth of program, and teacher compensation on par with Las Lomitas, Palo Alto, Hillsborough, Woodside and Portola Valley, while spending less per student than all of those districts.

2014 Spending Per Student:
● Woodside $19,458
● Portola Valley $18,154
● Palo Alto $14,955
● Hillsborough $14,448
● Las Lomitas $14,270
● Menlo Park $13,006

But there seems to be no amount of data that will satisfy you. You've made up your mind, and you are sticking to your fallacious arguments no matter what the actual data shows.

The fact is, our schools are doing a great job, delivering a high quality program and getting excellent results for the children of this community. A high quality,comprehensive education cannot be delivered without adequate funding. Our schools are not asking to lower class sizes or implement new programs. All our schools are asking is to continue being funded adequately to maintain existing class sizes and programs in light of continued enrollment growth and a lack of State funding. That sounds pretty reasonable to me.


15 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 7, 2016 at 3:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The fact is, our schools are doing a great job, delivering a high quality program and getting excellent results for the children of this community. "

I agree.

" A high quality,comprehensive education cannot be delivered without adequate funding."

The problem is that the school district relies on taxpayer approved parcel taxes to accomplish this result and it assumes IN ADVANCE that the taxpayers will just keep providing that support. The Board approved budget states "The second subsequent year, 2017/18, INCLUDES RENEWAL of the 2010 Measure C parcel
tax at its current level plus CPI increases." And the 2010 Measure C parcel was was touted as a temporary measure due to the economic downturn.

Taking the taxpayers' approval for granted is a big mistake.

And both Measure A and C would be PERMANENT parcel taxes.

We elect Presidents, Governors and local officials for fixed terms and almost every other parcel tax in California is for a fixed, usually 4 year, term.

For example, Atherton could not operate its police function, surely as important or even more important than education, without its parcel tax and yet that tax goes to the voters every four years.

If Measures A and or C fail it will not because of the opposition but because the Board has overreached with a multiplicity of parcel taxes and simultaneously wants to make those parcel taxes permanent.


14 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 7, 2016 at 4:04 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

" Do you really believe that our school officials are lying about our schools' historic revenues? "

Lying is a strong word. Massaging the numbers? You bet.


1 person likes this
Posted by school supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 7, 2016 at 5:38 pm

@Peter: Exactly how is it that our schools are taking anything for granted? By asking the community to approve the additional funding necessary to maintain existing programs and services in light of higher enrollment and inadequate State funding? What else are they supposed to do? That does not sound so presumptuous to me -- it's sounds very responsible. And your misrepresentations about the tax being permanent is even more disingenuous. I suspect that you know quite well that a parcel tax election only establishes the maximum possible tax rate, and that it is the school board, which is elected by the voters to 4-year terms, to represent the public's interest and set the annual tax rates. You are misleading with your assertion that there will be a permanent tax with no checks and balances by the voters.

@Menlo Voter: Massaging the numbers is the same as lying about the numbers, and it's illegal. Are you really asserting that the professional staff in our schools are breaking the law and providing false information to the public? This forum should not be a place where wild and damaging accusations like this are made without any sort of proof whatsoever.


23 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 7, 2016 at 5:51 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Exactly how is it that our schools are taking anything for granted?"

As I noted the Board APPROVED budget states "The second subsequent year, 2017/18, INCLUDES RENEWAL of the 2010 Measure C parcel tax at its current level plus CPI increases." And that budget was approved even BEFORE the new parcel tax measure was placed before the voters - that is certainly taking voter approval for granted.
*****************
" You are misleading with your assertion that there will be a permanent tax with no checks and balances by the voters."

Here is exactly what the Tax Information Statement for BOTH Measures A and C by the MPCSD Superintendent in the Voter Guide states:

"The authorization of the Board of Education to levy the tax pursuant to the Excellence in Education Act DOES NOT EXPIRE and imposition of the tax levy is subject to annual action BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION."

Once this Act is passed it never comes back to the voters!!


3 people like this
Posted by Right-winger who supports this tax
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 7, 2016 at 5:58 pm

@ We're ALL School Supporters -

"SmartBoards don't equal good education. iPads don't equal good education. New buildings don't equal good education. All the bells and whistles look impressive from the outside and make parents feel warm and fuzzy, but they should be investing in continuing education for teachers and not for the trappings that scream "wealth"."

So, I'm guessing you think slates and inkwells would be fine?

I have sat in my child's classroom and have witnessed the professionalism and competence of our teachers. The tools we give them to do their job and to have our kids know the most up-to-date tech is just part of the package. As a right-leaning political thinker, I go against many when I say I am sad we don't pay our teachers nearly enough. If we doubled their salaries that may be about right. But, since we as a society choose to not do this, the next best thing is to support the District so they can give the teachers the best there is to make teaching OUR kids as productive and up-to-date as possible.

Does your kid play sports? Do you want them to have the best gear they can afford? It's kind of like the same thing. We have to have our teachers the tools to do their job - and the most modern tools.

And this includes continuing ed. Again, I've sat through welcome back nights this past year and have been very impressed with the techniques and pilot programs our techers are able to run.

Also, I've been on field trips this year with my kids class - we were in standard school busses - not a coach with tv screens. I have yet to see that personally.

Are you saying we spend too much on our children's education? Compared to the private school options around, the MPCSD is a bargain, and I hope others can see that it's truly investing in all our future to give our kids the best we can.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 7, 2016 at 6:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is an example of the windfall that MPCSD receives from Atherton taxpayers:

Out of 2941 students in MPCSD schools only 124 come from Atherton (Laurel School- 16 students from Atherton and Encinal School- 108 students from Atherton) or just over 4% of the total MPCSD student population.

Based on total assessed property values I estimate that Atherton taxpayers contribute more than 30% of MPCSD's property taxes.


19 people like this
Posted by Apple
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 7, 2016 at 6:32 pm

@school supporter

I'm merely asking where do these numbers come from. If the numbers the pro-tax side presents are the official audited numbers, then they must appear somewhere on the MPCSD website or CA Dept of Education website.

If I go to the CA Dept of Ed website and look for the MPCSD 2005-06 revenue, I find this link:
Web Link

In the first table, the total revenue is $19,885,846 as the anti-tax argument has presented. I don't see the $23,834,434 revenue number that the pro-tax argument claims, which is why I asked the question where the number came from.

To address your second point about district to district comparison, you are not comparing apples to apples. Palo Alto is a unified district, which includes high schools. Per high school student spending is always significantly more than per elementary/middle school student spending. Palo Alto's per student spending mixes all the spending and students together to produce a single number, which is why Palo Alto skews higher.

The other districts you use are much smaller than Menlo Park's. Small districts do not benefit from economies of scale. Small district spending per student will always be higher for the same quality of education. In fact, there's a rural district in CA somewhere that spends $100K per student because it has so few students, but still needs a minimum level of administrators to run the district.

A true apples to apples comparison would include using nearby mid-sized districts with similar API scores. In fact, that's what the anti-tax folks did in one of their arguments:
Web Link

Now, I agree that the district is doing a great job education our children. My main problem is the constant cycle of parcel tax increases and bonds with no sense there won't be more just around the corner. At some point, you're asking the community for too much too often. Have we reached that point? We'll find out in May.

From all the comments on the board, both yes and no, it's clear pretty much everyone supports MP schools. The main difference of opinion is the what is the appropriate level of funding.


14 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 7, 2016 at 8:35 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"@Menlo Voter: Massaging the numbers is the same as lying about the numbers, and it's illegal. Are you really asserting that the professional staff in our schools are breaking the law and providing false information to the public? "

Yep, pretty much. I suggest you send an FOIA request to the superintendent for the REAL numbers and look at those. They aren't the same as those published by the folks in favor of Measures A and C. As others have already posted, the budget assumes the passage of the measures. How presumptive. "We've been able to convince voters to pass bonds and parcel taxes at will in the past, why not now?" seems to be the board's mentality.

I'm not buying it and neither are many others.

I MIGHT have been if the board hadn't pissed away a 25 million dollar surplus, but they did, so forget it. I'm voting NO on A and C.


2 people like this
Posted by amiable
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 7, 2016 at 8:48 pm

Dear Apple,

I'm sure there are a number of technical things that a lay person must first understand about using a large data bank such as ed-data correctly. If I didn't understand why some on-line numbers I was looking at didn't seem to match what the District is publicly saying, I would start by calling the MPCSD business office to make sure that I was using the data sources correctly. I would certainly make sure to check my facts and analyses before I started making public assertions. It is my understanding that the author of the arguments against the measures never bothered to check their figures with either district staff or anyone in the San Mateo County office of Education. I'm sorry, but I just find this to be incredibly irresponsible. We are talking about the lives of our community's children here. This isn't a game.

Palo Alto, Las Lomitas, Hillsborough, Portola Valley and Woodside are the right comparable districts as far as I'm concerned. Those are the school districts where most people who can afford to live here would choose to live if they weren't living here for a reason. While MPCSD certainly has top test scores, our teachers (and parents and students) would tell you that there are lot more things that are equally important which are not measured by just test scores. Do we really want a bare bones program where kids don't have music and art in their school lives? Do we want large class sizes where children have difficulty accessing a strong relationship with their teachers? The reason that our school district (like Palo Alto, Las Lomitas, etc.) is so highly sought after as a place to live is because our schools provide a comprehensive education that is more than simply high test scores.


2 people like this
Posted by amiable
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 7, 2016 at 9:02 pm

Wow. Just read Menlo Voter's post after my last post. Menlo Voter is really going all in on trashing the integrity of the people that work in our schools, saying they are providing false information to the public. I really find this to be unconscionable, and I am surprised that the Almanac is allowing this kind of completely unfounded character assassination in this forum. Moreover, Menlo Voter uses crude language while making false assertions. It's unfortunate that Menlo Voter have obviously not done any homework, otherwise s/he would understand the difference between accumulating a planned reserve before enrollment increased and then spending down that reserve per the plan after the increase has occurred. This is not what I would call "pxxxing away" a surplus. This is what I call being highly responsible.


8 people like this
Posted by Taxed out
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 7, 2016 at 11:30 pm

According to Ed-data:

"The California Department of Education (CDE) collects, analyzes, and publishes fiscal, demographic, and student performance data from schools, districts, and county offices of education. That's where most of the data on Ed-Data come from. The Ed-Data Partnership does not modify the data received from the CDE."

MPCSD supplied the data to CDE, which is provided to the public on ed-data. Now they're they're blaming the parcel tax opponents for using the wrong source?
So what they're saying is they provided the wrong data to CDE and and now in order to use ed-data you must double check all figures for accuracy with MPCSD?

Unbelievable.


2 people like this
Posted by Pragmatist
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 8, 2016 at 1:03 am

@Taxed Out, Our schools have supplied CDE with accurate data. Ed-data has the accurate data. It is not the fault of our schools that it takes a bit of knowledge to correctly use these sources. The fact is that our schools' real revenue has decreased by $465 per student over the past 10 years. Our schools cannot continue to maintain existing high quality programs without A and C. Growth in general property taxes is insufficient to offset increasing enrollment and inadequate State funding. Even with Measures A and C, our schools will still have less funding per student than Las Lomitas, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Woodside and Hillsborough schools. What our schools are asking seems very reasonable.


11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 8, 2016 at 7:05 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Our schools have supplied CDE with accurate data. Ed-data has the accurate data"

"it's not clear where the pro-tax arguments get their data from. For example, their argument says "District's 2005-06 revenue was $23,834,434, not $19,885,846." Ed-Data lists $19,885,846 as the 2005-06 year revenue. Where does the $23,834,434 figure come from? There is no citation from where the $465 per student funding decline comes from either."

Can a proponent please clarify the discrepancy between the Ed-Data number of $19,885,846 for the 2005-06 year revenue and their number of $23,834,434 and also show how the -$465 was calculated?


15 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 8, 2016 at 7:19 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

amiable:

I suggest you read the posts after yours to understand why I question the district's numbers. I have also looked at the actual numbers of the districts budget and they don't line up with the districts claims as has been noted above.

I also question their integrity given that they chose to have a special election for these measures (expensive) instead of waiting a month and doing it during the general election. Being the cynic that I am I can only guess that is because they want the lowest voter participation possible ensuring that those who are really interested in passing the measures are the few that vote.

Then I also have to wonder when the budget oversight committee which is supposed to consist of seven people only has three. And even though that is less than a quorum they are still holding meetings.

Those are just a few of the items that have me questioning the integrity of our board. Given those things I'm surprised you don't.


17 people like this
Posted by Taxed out
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 8, 2016 at 8:37 am

pro-tax people (and the district) also use ed-data as a source. They also like to throw out numbers with no published source or proof we should accept as true "because they said so". Somehow, they are the only ones qualified to look at data, and any opponent who dares to question their numbers is either "mistaken", "incorrect", or using "faulty analysis."
Obviously, they are incapable of defending the facts and are now resorting to smearing the opponents.


23 people like this
Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 8, 2016 at 8:39 am

I truly enjoy that I live in a community that feels so strongly about our schools. I have enjoyed reading the comments from "both sides". I will however be voting no on these 2 additional permanent taxes.

1. I live here and see that practically every residential street in town has new houses being built. These are all larger houses that sell for far more than the original. This equals additional property taxes. I understand that the schools do not get every dollar of the gain (yet) but a portion of it goes to the schools. The tax supporters here simply do not seem like they want to acknowledge this.

2. The district spent money with EMC research to run focus groups/survey in order to see if they should ask for more money. The results stated that MP residents value their schools. I think that result is something the district should not have used tax dollars to accomplish.

3. There are already alternative ways to support schools. The foundation accepts your money. If you feel that you are not taxed enough, please donate. Do not make MP an even more expensive place for the rest of us.


14 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 8, 2016 at 8:40 am

> Can a proponent please clarify the discrepancy between the Ed-Data number...and their number

I can answer that. The pro-5-parcel-tax proponents in this exchange have lied. It's easy to make up numbers when you don't provide any references as proof.

Here's the link to the actual MPCSD budget numbers: Web Link

And here's the link to the actual historical revenue numbers: Web Link

The numbers do not support the pro-5-parcel-tax proponents version of MPCSD historical revenue.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 8, 2016 at 9:04 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I welcome and we would all benefit from an honest, open and fact based debate.

"incorrect data and faulty analysis (as Peter Carpenter is doing) "

Please point out my incorrect data.

Please point out my faulty analysis.


Thank you


2 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 8, 2016 at 9:10 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Bob said:
"This has been reported on in previous articles -- each time with much debate. Rather than repeat the rhetoric -- the district is well funded and doesn't need more especially since one of the taxes doesn't have a sunset date."

In 2010, MENLO PARK CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT Parcel Tax MEASURE C was passed by less than 28% of the registered voters! (5,877 out of 20,996 registered voters) The rhetoric continues to be refined as it elicits responses from those who admire the "emperor's clothes".

Don't underestimate the resources which proponents have. Spread the rhetoric to other venues. Discuss it with friends and neighbors.

Peter Carpenter said:
"And how can voters who have already received exemptions or who intend to apply for exemptions from the School District's parcel taxes justify voting on these new parcel taxes?
They are justified to vote NO!


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 8, 2016 at 9:55 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

To clarify - I asked this question:

"Peter Carpenter said:
"And how can voters who have already received exemptions or who intend to apply for exemptions from the School District's parcel taxes justify voting on these new parcel taxes?"

Jack Hickey then responded:
"They are justified to vote NO!"

In my opinion anyone who has already received an exemption or who intends to apply for an exemption from MPCSD parcel taxes should simply refrain from voting on the two new proposed parcel taxes because they are no longer a party at interest in the matter.


4 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 8, 2016 at 10:19 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Pragmatist said:
"The fact is that our schools' real revenue has decreased by $465 per student over the past 10 years."
Even if you were correct, (which, IMHO, is highly unlikely) is it unreasonable to assume that your elected school board and their highly paid administrators might not have effected some efficiencies over that 10 year period? $465 is less than a 4% improvement in efficiency. Have you noticed how the price of computers have dropped while performance has increased. Surely the district must have benefited from that product of a competitive marketplace.



19 people like this
Posted by District parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 8, 2016 at 10:37 am

The district is holding a special election because they know their arguments -- and the numbers -- do not stand up to scrutiny. If they added the taxes to the June ballot, a lot of voters would educate themselves on the measures and vote against them.

There's something ironic here about a school board preferring uneducated voters. How stupid do they need us to be?

If you have friends who teach in the district or have made friends with your kids' teachers, they will tell you, off the record, that they are appalled by Ghysels' spending habits and empire building. They are not concerned about losing their jobs because they know that's just a tactic.

Time to put on the brakes.


6 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 8, 2016 at 10:39 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Peter Carpenter said:
"In my opinion anyone who has already received an exemption or who intends to apply for an exemption from MPCSD parcel taxes should simply refrain from voting on the two new proposed parcel taxes because they are no longer a party at interest in the matter."

That is precisely why I oppose the inclusion of Senior exemptions in Parcel Tax measures. The school districts know that each NO vote requires 2 YES votes to offset it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a resident of the MPCSD. I am a Senior who has taken exemptions on the San Mateo Community College District and Redwood City Elementary School District parcel taxes. My house is situated on two separate parcels. With considerable effort, I was able to get both Districts to apply my exempt the tax on both taxable lots. I advise those with a similar situation in MPCSD to pursue a similar remedy.

And, I urge Seniors to reject the efforts of the district to "buy" their votes.


Like this comment
Posted by 18
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 8, 2016 at 1:29 pm

Voted yes, for our community.


11 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 8, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Jack Hickey wrote:
> Pragmatist said:
> "The fact is that our schools' real revenue
> has decreased by $465 per student over the
> past 10 years."
> Even if you were correct, (which, IMHO, is highly unlikely)

It's more than unlikely, it's incorrect. It's yet another false statement by "school supporter" and the other pro-5-parcel-tax proponents.

Revenues for MPCSD have exceeded inflation AND student population growth over the last 10 years.

For the sake of argument, I'll use the (unproven) 2005 revenue number of $23,834,434 that "school supporter" has claimed is accurate (even though it entirely contradicts all independent records). I'll also use "school supporter"s 805 increase in student population.

(I entirely reject "school supporter"'s revenue number that entirely contradicts California public records. But even using his/her numbers, "school supporter"s statement is still false. See below)


Here's the proof:

2005 MPCSD revenue, per "school supporter": $23,834,434
2005 student population, per "school supporter": 2136 (2,941-805)
23,834,434 / 2136 = 11158.443 per student

Inflation adjusted numbers to 2015, using the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculator: (source link: Web Link )

2005 revenue, inflation adjusted to 2015 $: $28,925,576
28,925,576 / 2136 = 13541.936 per student

The current MPCSD student population is 2941 (Web Link )

13541.936 * 2941 = $39,826,833.776

So $39,826,833.78 is the revenue MPCSD would need to match student growth and inflation.

What is MPCSD revenue for 2015/16?: $40,753,057

(source, the MPCSD budget: Web Link )


So, MPCSD revenue for 2015 exceeds the student population AND inflation by almost 1 million: +$926223.22

That is using "school supporter"s 2005 revenue number of 23,834,434. Using the independently verified number of 19,885,846, MPCSD revenue increases are FAR outpacing inflation and student growth.


MPCSD revenues far, far outpace student growth and inflation. It's not even close. What "school supporter" posted is proven false, using his/her own numbers.


Vote NO on measures A and C


8 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 8, 2016 at 2:47 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

How many voters were aware of the "State matching grant funds" included in the 2013 Bond measure? That comes from taxpayers. Is it accounted for in revenue per student?

TEXT of Measure W:
"By approval of this proposition by at least 55% of the registered voters voting on the proposition, the Menlo Park City School District (the "District") shall be authorized to issue and sell bonds of up to $23,000,000 in aggregate principal amount to provide financing for the specific school facilities projects listed in the Bond Project List below, and in order to qualify to receive State matching grant funds, subject to all of the accountability safeguards specified below."


12 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 8, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

In the interest of a better informed electorate here are the video pro and con arguments on Measure A and Measure C:

Web Link

Published on Apr 8, 2016
Shari Conrad presents her arguments in favor of Menlo Park Measure A.
Peter Carpenter presents his arguments against Menlo Park Measures A & C.
Scott Hinshaw presents his arguments in favor of Menlo Park Measure C.
Peter Carpenter repeats his arguments against Menlo Park Measures A & C.

Presented by the Midpen Media Center, based in Palo Alto, California


10 people like this
Posted by Apple
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 8, 2016 at 3:13 pm

@amiable

You bring up a good idea. You seem to know the district staff well. Can you request they publish this budget with the $23.8M revenue figure plus last year's budget using the same accounting techniques? I don't know what forms to fill out to get this info. You can then publish them on the MPAEF website if MPCSD won't publish it on theirs.

If this $23.8M budget used one set of accounting techniques, we need to compare it to the recent year's budget compiled with the same accounting procedures. It would be misleading to compare the $23.8M budget to the latest budget on Ed-Data, like we've done recently. Apples to apples.

Publishing this budget would be great for the public discourse. It would allow proponents and opponents to work with one set of facts.


10 people like this
Posted by Taxed out
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 8, 2016 at 4:02 pm

@Train fan
MPCSD's second interim budget report shows updated 2015/16 revenue to be $42,726,529. That's $1,973,472 MORE than the initial 2015/16 budget shows.
Web Link

“MPCSD revenue for 2015 exceeds the student population AND inflation by almost 1 million: +$926223.22”

Making updates to your excellent calculations, this figure is now $2,899,695.22.

I suspect no matter how much extra revenue they take in, it will never be sufficient.


13 people like this
Posted by Libby
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 8, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Please read your voter information guide carefully to make your own decision.
Having been a 32 year resident of MP, and parent in the MP District, I was satisfied with the education my child received.
However, I object to these ongoing special elections.
What do they cost to run?
Do Menlo Park residents know why these are done as 'special elections'?
I also feel "taxed out' compared to what we pay for other services in Menlo Park.
I appreciate that the current election is for direct teachers and programs, but I believe the district is able to provide this money with funds they are receiving already from our taxes.
I do object to the history of repeated special election where we were taxed to pay for various school site improvments on the outdated buildings at Oak Knoll and Hillview in our neighborhood.
Some years ago, I called a school board member, and asked why the district wouldn't put together a long range plan to rebuild the campuses for the next 50 years.
I was told by this School Board member that the community would never agree to such a great cost, and that these elections allowed a more assured approval for incremental site improvement.
Several years later they did rebuild.
What about the taxes from those elections in the 1990s, as well as earlier and later?
Are we still paying on demolished buildings?
Let's be accountable. Please do the math on the cost to buy a house today in Menlo Park, and the cost of the property taxes, and and the revenue the school district receives.
Look at how much more income the MPSD receives because of the rapid escalation in housing prices, along with the guaranteed yearly percentage increase in our property taxes, and ask yourself if approval of this measure is necessary.
For transparency, I believe School District Elections should take place with regular elections



23 people like this
Posted by Chuck
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 8, 2016 at 6:23 pm

Voted NO on A and C

1) School quality is a top concern for our children, for desirability, and therefore for property values. Yes, 100%.
2) Voters respond favorably to tax and bond measures concerning local schools when the proposals are reasonable and necessary.
3) Case in point, in 2010 voters passed temporary parcel taxes to support the system during the economic downturn
4) In this election, there is a concerning lack of agreement on the facts. Specifically, the right numbers to compare.
5) Proponents have not made their case that these measures are necessary BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT
6) I would gladly support these measures if they were necessary and temporary. But they are also not temporary.
7) Why would I willingly disenfranchise myself? Why would I vote to remove checks and balances?
8) If additional taxes are necessary in the future, we can always vote on a new temporary parcel tax in a regular election
9) A vote NO today is not a permanent defunding of the system. A vote YES is permanent. You better be sure!
10) Finally, the fact that these measures are stated to support only teachers and not administrators is pure subterfuge. The rest of the budget can be finagled and manipulated to support whatever bloat and agendas the board wants. Without accountability, it makes no difference whether these parcel taxes are used for the noblest of purposes

Thanks for listening.


7 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 8, 2016 at 10:00 pm

> In the interest of a better informed
> electorate here are the video pro and
> con arguments on Measure A and Measure C:

Web Link

Thank you for representing our community, Mr. Carpenter.

To be clear, Shari Conrad's statement that tax revenues have not kept pace with student growth and inflation...

is COMPLETELY FALSE. Completely. Proven irrefutably false. Just see my previous post.

(Part removed.)

(before the editor considers editing my post, just do the math. What other word can be used but *lie*?)


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 8, 2016 at 10:31 pm

I have had the privilege of discussing these issues with some of the proponents and I can assure you that they firmly believe what they are saying and there is no attempt to lie or deceive. Unfortunately their perception of the facts is different than mine.

A well informed electorate is vital to a well functioning democracy and therefore I urge the proponents to participate in this forum so that we can all better understand the facts.

There is no need to question the integrity of those who do not share my/our opinions.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 9, 2016 at 7:52 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Peter:

when you met with them did they explain why a special election was needed instead of putting these measures on during the general election?


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2016 at 8:01 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"when you met with them did they explain why a special election was needed instead of putting these measures on during the general election?"

Yes. They claimed that they needed the approval of these measures before the June General Election in order get the new funds into the 2016/17 property tax cycle.

My response is that they could have easily used the last County wide election or, given that the current parcel tax being replaced by Measure A does not expires until next year, that the June 7th General election or even this year's November election would work.

Unfortunately I am not the person to best and most properly represent their views so I continue to urge the proponents to engage on these questions in this forum.


9 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 9, 2016 at 10:42 am

Train Fan is a registered user.

> Unfortunately their perception of the facts is different than mine.


"perception of the facts"? Peter, this is about their perception OF MATH.


There's a huge difference between making statements of personal belief versus statements of fact.

Someone stating that schools should have more funding is stating a personal belief that is every bit as valid as an opposing view.

The same CANNOT be said for statements of fact. Someone stating inflation and student population growth has outpaced tax revenue is making a statement of fact that is independent of personal belief; that statement is defined by objective metrics, not opinion.

Shari Conrad's statement that inflation and student population growth has outpaced tax revenue is proven FALSE by applying basic math to the numbers provided by the MPCSD budget and 5-parcel-tax proponents.

In order for Shari Conrad to not be lying, she would have to chose to be ignorant of the MPCSD budget, ignorant of the inflation rate and ignorant of the student population, while simultaneously (and in contradiction) implying that she actually knows these numbers! And even if she were intentionally ignorant of the math, pretending to know the math is just as much of a lie.

Regardless, when someone says inflation and student growth has outpaced tax revenue, they should be able to BACK it UP.

They cannot back it up, because it is NOT TRUE.


MPCSD revenue has far outpaced inflation and student population growth. By MILLIONS. And the pro-5-parcel tax narrative on this matter is proven wrong, by MATH.


Vote NO on Measures A and C


PS: Mr. Carpenter: I respect your interest in keeping the conversation civil; I feel the same. However, unlike you I am unwilling to let intentional deception go unchallenged. And the only way the statement in question isn’t deception and/or a lie is if none of the pro-5-parcel tax proponents knows 3rd-grade math. Does that sound plausible to you, Mr. Carpenter?


5 people like this
Posted by Barbara Wood
Almanac staff writer
on Apr 9, 2016 at 10:57 am

Barbara Wood is a registered user.

The Almanac (with the assistance of a PhD in computer science) has examined the district's numbers regarding the inflation adjusted revenue per student of education in the district. We believe their numbers are correct.

Their numbers use EdData's student number of 2133 students in 2005-06 (link: Web Link)

Dividing that year's revenue of $23,834,434 (which is a correct number because in 2005 the district was using an accepted accounting system which did not show the parcel tax as part of its general fund revenue, this number includes the parcel tax as do their current numbers) by 2133 equals $1174 per student revenue. That number adjusted by the change annual Bay Area CPI from April to April of each year (3.2 percent in 2006-07, 3.3 07-08; 2.9 08-09; .8 09-10; 1.7 10-11; 2.8 11-12; 2.1 12-13; 2.4 13-14 and 2.8 14-15) brings the adjusted revenue per student to $13,789 for 2005-06. The 2014-15 revenue per student is $13,324 which is $465 less than the 2005 number.


6 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 9, 2016 at 12:04 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

> Dividing that year's revenue of $23,834,434

This was the number used in the previous calculation.

> by 2133

So, the student population increase of "805" that was provided by pro-5-parcel tax proponent "school supporter" (which how 2136 was derived) was wrong. Thank you for the correction.

> $1174 per student

You're missing a "1". But otherwise we agree on this number.

> annual Bay Area CPI from April to April of each year (3.2 percent in 2006-07, 3.3 07-08; 2.9 08-09; .8 09-10; 1.7 10-11; 2.8 11-12; 2.1 12-13; 2.4 13-14 and 2.8 14-15)

Source please. And please don't say, "look it up", or "bls.gov". I've been very transparent on my references; I expect the same treatment (which has been nowhere near the case).


10 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 9, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

> the assistance of a PhD in computer science

I think the following needs to be said...

The math involved here does not require any math skills beyond the grasp of a competent 3rd to 4th grade math instruction. It's basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

While I realize your intentions are good, I feel almanac news is unwittingly implying that the math involved here is complicated, and that only an academic can accurately parse the data. This is emphatically not the case. The key is accurate and transparent data, which has been sorely lacking from the pro-5-parcel-tax proponents.

Anyone with a 3rd/4th grade education can do this math, and I would encourage anyone who is unclear and interested in determining the truth to not take the word of the Almanacnews, "school supporter", Shari Conrad, or even myself.


Train Fan
(who has a fancy degree, too; one more relevant to the discussion. But I'd rather the data do my talking)


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 9, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Thank you Barbara for doing what the proponents should have done - clarifying the revenue numbers.

Now can the proponents please show us the same calculations for expenses per student in 2005 vs 2015 broken down by actual classroom expenses, admin expenses and extracurricular expenses.


17 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 9, 2016 at 1:55 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

> Dividing that year's revenue of $23,834,434

While both sides used this number for the sake of argument, the source for this number needs to be clarified as well.


8 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 9, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"Now can the proponents please show us the same calculations for expenses per student in 2005 vs 2015 broken down by actual classroom expenses, admin expenses and extracurricular expenses."

"can" they or "will" they? None of the board members are stupid. The math is bone simple as train fan has repeatedly shown. I think they certainly can. I don't think they will.


7 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 10, 2016 at 9:16 am

Train Fan is a registered user.

> annual Bay Area CPI from April to April of each year (3.2 percent in 2006-07, 3.3 07-08; 2.9 08-09; .8 09-10; 1.7 10-11; 2.8 11-12; 2.1 12-13; 2.4 13-14 and 2.8 14-15)

These numbers are wrong.

Or more pointedly, the "Phd in Computer Science" is applying CPIs to the wrong years.


5 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 10, 2016 at 10:49 am

Train Fan is a registered user.

Remember, April only occurs once a year, and April occurs in the school year that starts in the previous year.

So the CPI numbers used for the calculations made by the Phd are mis-adjusted by 1 full year.


Like this comment
Posted by Barbara Wood
Almanac staff writer
on Apr 10, 2016 at 11:41 am

Barbara Wood is a registered user.

We checked the district's calculations. The district used April to April when it annually calculates CPI because it uses the figures to put together its budget. So these calculations are correct for the point in time at which they were made. Calculations made at a different point in time (say June 30 when a fiscal year ends) might be very, very slightly different, but that does not make these figures incorrect.


9 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 10, 2016 at 1:57 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

I see the AlmanacNews post has changed. I wish I had an edit button :)


This is what was posted regarding CPI numbers April->April:

> annual Bay Area CPI from April to April of each year (3.2 percent in 2006-07, 3.3 07-08; 2.9 08-09; .8 09-10; 1.7 10-11; 2.8 11-12; 2.1 12-13; 2.4 13-14 and 2.8 14-15)

For the San Francisco Bay Area CPI...That. Is. Wrong.


These are the correct Bay Area CPI numbers, April->April:
April 2016 : (not yet published based on the reference below)
April 2015 : 2.4% (14-15 school year)
April 2014 : 2.8% (13-14 school year)
April 2013 : 2.4% (12-13 school year)
April 2012 : 2.1% (11-12 school year)
April 2011 : 2.8% (10-11 school year)
April 2010 : 1.7% (09-10 school year)
April 2009 : 0.8% (08-09 school year)
April 2008 : 2.9% (07-08 school year)
April 2007 : 3.3% (06-07 school year)

(source: Web Link )

All you have to do is say "Train Fan is right, the wrong CPI numbers were used", and I stop harping on it.

(Sorry to be picking on the news staff, I don't want to do that, but since the District is not forthcoming on numbers, I'm left with no alternative. You guys have been doing a great job...well, except for getting the CPI numbers wrong :) )


24 people like this
Posted by Homeowner
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 10, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Homeowner is a registered user.

I do not think MPCSD is trying to lie to voters. However, there is room for manipulation in their numbers. This is due to the lack of transparency regarding sources of numbers used and calculations.

1)The figure of $23,834,434 remains unsubstantiated. MPCSD changed their parcel tax accounting method around 2003-4. No other district uses this method. They decided to change the accounting method back in 2014-15. Proponents could have explained the cause for this discrepancy. Instead they tried to blame the opponents for using the “wrong data”, and for not knowing that MPCSD made accounting changes in their revenue figures for that specific period. Not to mention the condescension implying that ed-data figures are "too complex" for the mere lay person to understand.

2)www.ed-data.k12.ca.us shows 2005-6 revenue of $19,885,846. If you assume that the interfund transfer contains parcel tax revenue ($3,905,604), that is still less than the “23,834,434” proponents are using.

3)Ed-data shows 2014-15 revenue of $39,842,308, and enrollment of 2904. This makes per student revenue for 2014-15 $13719.8, and not the figure of $13,324 that the proponents use.

4)Proponents argue they are merely trying to “maintain existing quality.” Ed data shows per ADA spending of $13006 in 2013-14, increased to $14006 in 2014-15. In the 2.1.16 board meeting presentation they claim “$12,765 is the actual per pupil expenditure after ~ $1 million was transferred to non District Trust Fund(CalPERS)”. Bay area CPI was 2.79% from 2013-14. Web Link
Per ADA expenditure increased 9.72%, far great than inflation. Per MPCSD, revenue is not keeping up with inflation or student enrollment increases. However, they are raising per student expenditure at a rate far exceeding inflation. Is it a surprise they are depleting all their surplus funds, with ever increasing deficits?

5)I think it is ridiculous we are arguing over inflation. Census data from 2000-2010 shows Menlo Park median household income went from $84609 to $107860. Using bay area CPI April 2000-April 2010, median income adjusted for inflation from 2000 is $107807, barely keeping up with inflation. In the neighboring communities of Portola valley ($158217->167,227) and Woodside (171,226->186,359), and Atherton (200,000+->223,611), median household incomes have NOT kept up with inflation. Web Link
Why does the school expect to have their revenue protected from inflation when the taxpayers don't have the same guarantees? A responsible fiscal policy mandates that expenditures should match existing revenue sources, an idea that seems to elude the district as they try to match spending of other even richer districts without consideration of what the existing tax revenue can support. Especially since many families are already struggling just to stay in the area.


10 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 10, 2016 at 2:55 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

"Homeowner" hit the nail on the head on all points. I couldn't have said it better myself. Can we all please like his/her post 1000 times? :)

> MPCSD changed their parcel tax accounting method around 2003-4...They decided to change the accounting method back in 2014-15

Ah, thanks for the info. Well then there's actually a pretty easy solution: make the comps apples-to-apples by comparing years that use the same accounting method. 2000-2001 applies the current accounting methods, according to homeowner. Let's see what that looks like.

Working on it...


> Why does the school expect to have their revenue protected from inflation when the taxpayers don't have the same guarantees?

EXACTLY!


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 11, 2016 at 10:27 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Suggested reading for those looking for the facts.
Web Link

Excerpt:
The table below compares four different methods of calculating statewide per-pupil spending. Below the table are descriptions of available school district-specific measures.

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
National Education Association (NEA)
Department of Finance K-12 Proposition 98
Department of Finance K-12 Total

Debt service reporting for the four methods:
Principal excluded. Interest excluded from current expenditures.
Principal excluded. Interest excluded from current expenditures.
Debt service on bonds excluded.
Included. Appropriations from state bond funds excluded; all others included.

My conclusion: Debt service for local bonds and state matching funds from state bond measures is not accounted for in calculations.

I previously asked "How many voters were aware of the "State matching grant funds" included in the 2013 Bond measure? That comes from taxpayers. Is it accounted for in revenue per student?"

We now know that debt service for local bonds, and state bonds used for these "matching funds" are NOT included in revenue per student calculations.

I expect proponents to correct me if I am wrong.


10 people like this
Posted by Brown Eyed Girl
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 11, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Brown Eyed Girl is a registered user.

Employee benefits are the reason for Menlo Park Parcel Taxes (Measure A and Measure C) not enrollment growth.

According to the District Budget, employee benefits are projected to increase by 41.21% between budget year 2015/2016 and 2018/2019 but salaries are projected to increase by only 9.76% over the same time frame.

Pension Expense was $2.8 million in FY 2015 and employer pension contributions are escalating. Retiree healthcare benefits will consume $596,000 per year.

Unfunded pension and retiree healthcare benefits are estimated to be over $38 million but that is grossly understated and the true obligation is closer to $80 million if realistic discount rates are used.

Don't kid yourself. Pensions are sucking every dollar out of our operating budgets and are bankrupting us all.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 11, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Can the proponents PLEASE show us the percent increase calculations for expenses per student in 2005 vs 2015 broken down by actual classroom expenses, admin expenses and extracurricular expenses.


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 11, 2016 at 3:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

From today's Post:

"But the Menlo Park school board wants to eliminate this small measure of accountability by making Measures A and C permanent.

As a matter of principle, voters should reject both measures"

By Dave Price, Editor, the Daily Post


2 people like this
Posted by mkeenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 11, 2016 at 3:53 pm

mkeenly is a registered user.

In line with Peter's last comment: Has the Almanac had an opinion piece on these measures yet? If not, when?


2 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 11, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Please vote on Measures A and C. And, it's OK to vote NO, even if you plan on taking the Senior exemption.(which never should have been provided by the Legislature) Remember, in 2010, MENLO PARK CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT Parcel Tax MEASURE C was passed by less than 28% of the registered voters! (5,877 out of 20,996 registered voters)

Measure W, a $23 million school facilities bond measure was passed by only 4,222 YES votes out of a total of 16,726 register voters. That's only 25%. If the law required a simple majority of registered voters to pass these measures, the district might get their ducks in a row to justify that support. Let's change the law before the Legislature drops the level required for parcel tax passage to 55%! See: www.hjta.org


15 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 11, 2016 at 4:50 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

> Let's change the law before the Legislature drops the level required for parcel tax passage to 55%! See: www.hjta.org

OMG, that is horrific news.


By the way, in a previous post I mentioned I'd use an earlier budget year than 2005, for determining if MPCSD revenue is lower now relative to inflation and student growth. Since MPCSD apparently changed their accounting practices from around 2003 to 2014 (give or take a year. It's unclear since MPCSD is intentionally opaque on the numbers), the best way to get an accurate assessment is to compare apples-to-apples by comparing years that use the same accounting methods.

My first run at the numbers is that from 2000-2001-to-present, revenue for MPCSD has outpaced student growth AND inflation by...


+$1,347.61 per student.


Like all of my other posts, I'll provide sources for the numbers, as well as the math (which MPCSD and its syncophants NEVER do). I welcome verification and correction of the numbers (which MPCSD and its syncophants NEVER provide).

Note that I always provide the math in such a way that all you need to do to confirm the numbers is to just copy->paste them into the google URL (yes, you can use google as a calculator) or your favorite calculator app.

Again, something that MPCSD and its syncophants NEVER do.

Oh, and I actually use the *correct* CPI numbers for April of each year :)


7 people like this
Posted by Brown Eyed Girl
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 11, 2016 at 5:54 pm

Brown Eyed Girl is a registered user.

The existing Measure C parcel tax was passed in 2010. Why are the proponents using 2005 as their baseline? Because it makes their enrollment numbers look better.

Enrollment growth is only 8% higher today than it was in 2011.

All analysis should start with the same baseline 2011/2012.

During that time frame, revenue has grown 63% and enrollment has grown 8%.

Employee benefits: pension and retiree health care expenses are the true reason expenses are soaring.


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 11, 2016 at 7:07 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"Employee benefits: pension and retiree health care expenses are the true reason expenses are soaring. "

Because the board didn't have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the teachers' union?


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 11, 2016 at 7:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I am increasingly concerned that the Board and the proponents are purposely avoiding public discussion of these parcel tax measures in an attempt to minimize voter awareness.

Why else are there so few comments or responses by the proponents?

The ONLY new information on the proponents web site is this statement:

"Ballots will be mailed beginning Monday, April 4th. Vote YES and return your ballot right away!"

Yep, vote right away before the facts become clear!

Or is there some other reason that they want people to vote "right away"?



Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 12, 2016 at 9:38 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Committee to Support Menlo Park Schools, Yes on Measures A & C campaign filings
Web Link
Total reported contributions as of 4/11 $13,674
Jody Buckley $5,000
Terry Thygesen $1,000
Alison Leupold $500
Geoff Ralston $1,000 (Founder, Imagine K12)
Jeffrey Weiner $2,500 (occupation unknown)
Mark Baker $250 (Allen Baker Co.)


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

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