News

Tonight: More discussion of Menlo Park school district parcel tax and budget cuts

Meeting is at 7 p.m. in Hillview Middle School Performing Arts Center

After spending about four and a half hours on Nov. 9 discussing how to resolve the Menlo Park City School District's budget woes, the district's governing board agreed it should put a parcel tax on the March ballot, but decided it needed another meeting to figure out the details.

That meeting is set for Thursday, Nov. 16, starting at 7 p.m. in the Hillview Middle School Performing Arts Center at 1100 Elder Ave. in Menlo Park.

The staff report for the meeting is the same report used at the board's Nov. 9 meeting, but the board will also hear a report from campaign media and strategy consultant Whitehurst/Mosher of San Francisco.

The board will continue its discussion of what budget cuts to make to reduce the amount of a parcel tax.

After two parcel tax measures failed in May, the district took a close look at its budget and projected that by the 2020-21 school year, expenses will outstrip revenues by $5.3 million.

The district has spent the past two and a half months looking at how to balance its budget, reviewing both ways to cut spending and increase revenue.

The public will have an opportunity to speak, but the board will not vote on the parcel tax until its planned Nov. 30 meeting, scheduled to start at 6 p.m. in the Hillview PAC. Dec. 9 is the deadline to submit measures for the March 7, 2017, ballot.

The district has also reserved Monday, Dec. 5 as a possible meeting date if all the parcel tax details are not worked out at the Nov. 30 meeting. If that meeting is held, the two new board members, David Ackerman and Caroline Lucas, will be sworn in at the start of the meeting.

The Dec. 5 meeting is also scheduled to start at 6 p.m. in the Hillview PAC.

If the Dec. 5 meeting is not held, the new board members will be sworn in at the board's regular December meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 13 at the Hillview PAC.

Comments

18 people like this
Posted by Jenson
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 16, 2016 at 6:20 pm

The school district has not learned from their disastrous run at a new parcel tax just months ago. The fact that they are back looking for more money from residents of Menlo Park so soon is showing both arrogance and lack of patience in letting the bad feelings subside. As the saying goes "give them an inch and they take a mile" the MPSD needs to show that they have fixed their spending habits and are a fiscally responsible group again before they get the support of residents. These meeting are a good first step but don't approve a new parcel tax measure until they show that the past issues of poor spending decisions, lack of transparency and disrespect toward residents are corrected. This needs to wait until 2018 at the earliest.


11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 16, 2016 at 6:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I have publicly supported putting a new parcel tax on a March ballot however I cautioned the Board that the voters will, in my opinion, only approve such a parcel tax IF:

- the Board has made a strong case for maintaining the current status,
- there has been full disclosure of all revenue and expenditure information,
- and the Board has put in place a strong program of fiscal discipline.

None of those conditions have yet been met.


12 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 17, 2016 at 6:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Kudos to MPCSD for a redesigned Home page that includes links to its OpenGov site and to its new FAQs:

Web Link

Web Link


A needed addition would be some narrative pieces that deal with the policy issue of how should a community decide its level of investment in quality education and how can the payoff from that investment be demonstrated.

And then the key issue is how to get the non-parent taxpayers to go to those pages and to become better informed.


25 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 17, 2016 at 8:29 pm

Jenson, I beg to differ. The school board has heeded the call of MP voters loud and clear. The pursuit of a parcel tax is being discussed because, without it, significant budget cuts will happen next year. Waiting until 2018, as you suggest, would necessitate millions in budget cuts this spring (2017) in order to approve a budget that would meet district and state fiscal standards. Not arrogance, not lack of patience. Just desperation when looking at a massive deficit.

Also, I'd like to know what "poor spending decisions" you see. Our board has eagerly sought input from residents (did you fill out the survey you received in the mail?) on how district dollars are spent. As for lack of transparency, I encourage you to visit the district FAQs (link below in Peter's comment) to have your questions answered. And please provide evidence of "disrespect torward residents." If you don't have concrete facts, please refrain from inflammatory rhetoric. We are, after all, talking about educating children.

As for your comments, Peter Carpenter, what are your thoughts on how to reach non-parent taxpayers? It is indeed a challenge, and I'm sure all ideas related to this are welcome.

Lastly, what makes you say, Peter Carpenter, say that there has not been full disclosure of all revenue and expenditure information? What would you like to see that is not available on Open.gov? What makes you say that the board has not put in place a strong program of fiscal discipline? Please substantiate your statements and explain what you'd like to see rather than just criticizing. Again, I'm sure requests/ideas would be welcome.


15 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 17, 2016 at 8:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"What makes you say that the board has not put in place a strong program of fiscal discipline? "

For example, giving across the board pay increases AFTER the two parcel taxes failed was a huge mistake and EVERY other cut now being contemplated could have been avoided by not giving those increases.

Getting the next parcel tax approved by the voters will, in my opinion, require everyone to agree to freeze salaries for at least a year and perhaps two years. The recent Palo Alto example of all of a parcel tax that was sold on the basis of programs being immediately spent on salaries instead is fresh in most taxpayers' minds.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 17, 2016 at 9:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As the District provides answers to my March question those answers lead to further questions.

For example the answer that "The District also has 65 staff students from out of the District area and 10 other students that have been allowed to attend the District for a variety of reasons." raises the question of why those 10 additional out of District students were admitted at a cost of $150,000?


29 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 17, 2016 at 9:12 pm

Peter, how do you expect a salary freeze would affect retention of quality teachers in a competitive hiring market?

And you misrepresent the PA parcel tax (Measure A). The PA measure passed with 77% renewal on a platform of programs and high quality education, not programs alone. From the measure itself, Measure A was written "to preserve excellence in academic programs, including science, engineering, math, reading, writing, arts, and music with local funding that cannot be taken by the state; reduce class sizes; attract and retain qualified teachers; and advance health, well-being, and equitable opportunities for every student." Attarwct and retain qualified teachers with a salary freeze? I think not


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 17, 2016 at 9:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter, how do you expect a salary freeze would affect retention of quality teachers in a competitive hiring market? "

Much less than would layoffs due to another failure of a parcel tax proposal.

Wake up - the District cannot afford its current life style and that is even before considering its HUUGE unfunded pension liability.


25 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 17, 2016 at 9:27 pm

Anyone who claims the board is not being transparent is clearly going on rumor vs. spending an hour looking into the facts. From video taping board meetings to providing exhaustive FAQs, to OpenGov, and more – the district heard loud and clear that people wanted more information. They have gone above and beyond to answer this call.

Please take the time to do your own research, and ask yourself what is more valuable than education. Are we a community that values education or not? Is a personal frustration about perceived or real past mistakes worth risking the community's children? We are talking about the hearts and minds of our youth and the future of our fortunate community.


21 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 17, 2016 at 9:31 pm

You're right Peter. The district cannot afford it current lifestyle. You imply in saying this that the lifestyle is extravagant, unnecessary. There is noting extravagant about exemplary education. The district cannot afford its lifestyle because of increasing enrollment, flat state funding, and, yes, the massive pension liability. And please refrain from telling me what to do. I'm plenty awake.


19 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 17, 2016 at 9:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Jane - The District has only very recently, in the last month to be exact, become much more transparent but the sins of the past are not easily forgiven. Most taxpayers only remember how totally resistant the District was to answering question before the last parcel tax vote. And my March questions were only answered yesterday. So don't pretend that everything is roses.

The Board has dug itself a big trust hole and getting out of the hole will not be easy.


15 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 17, 2016 at 9:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There is noting extravagant about exemplary education"

There is if you expect other people to pay for it and none of the beneficiaries of the current expenditures are willing to make any sacrifices but rather insist on more.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 17, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"ex·em·pla·ry
iɡˈzemplərē/
adjective
1.
serving as a desirable model; representing the best of its kind."

Sory folks but the non-parent taxpayers will not support the BEST of its kind education for the 20% of the taxpayers who have children in the schools and who contribute far less than do parents in the "comparable" communities.

Again, please wake up and stop trying to convince your fellow believers.

Bottom line is that you don't have the votes and you better start talking to the rest of the community.

I have tried to be constructive and polite but I am beginning to think that it is useless to try to convince the "insiders" that they no longer have the quiet acquiescence of the "outsiders".

Feel free to shoot the messenger but that will not change the facts.


27 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 17, 2016 at 10:25 pm

That may be your point of view. Mine is that exemplary education benefits our entire community and beyond and is well worth a few hundred dollars a year from us all. If that is the point on which we disagree, then so be it. I have confidence in our community that your point of view is in a significant monitory.

If this is indeed your position, then all of your critiques and criticism of our district are moot becaaue no response to them will ever change your mind. I'll be sure to point that out when responding to your comments in the future.

And if we're throwing off the gloves, your puppet, Caroline Lucas, is making a mockery of herself in front of the school board. Her absence at the table with the other school board members (including the other new member, David Ackerman) and need for others to tell her what to say is apparent. Her inability to answer questions and explain her own questions and positions is shocking. You should stop commenting here and text her so she can know what to say next.


25 people like this
Posted by MPCSD/Atherton resident
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 17, 2016 at 11:10 pm

MPCSD/Atherton resident is a registered user.

@Peter

I find it very surprising that you're so confident that residents, including you, as quoted below from your posts on the proposed Atherton Civic Center article, would be willing to pass a parcel tax for an expensive town building because it's critical infrastructure, you want it to last, and to be proud of it, BUT, not pass a parcel tax, with a sunset clause, to meet the needs and functional programming for our town's children, who will BE the critical infrastructure of our country for more than 50 years and can make us quite proud.

Your words below:

"As an Atherton resident I would be stunned if one of the wealthiest communities in the nation would not be willing to pass a bond issue to pay for upgrading its own critical infrastructure. ... The design should be driven by the needs/functional programming and not by the depth of the donors' pockets.

Let's do this very long term project right - not on the cheap - and build something that will last for 50 years and that we will be proud of."

I personally would gladly pay both a parcel tax (to preserve police service levels) and bond payments. We are not an impoverished community."

The School Board and District have been working incredibly hard to be completely transparent, collect as much feedback from the community as possible, and continue to be fiscally responsible, while providing a quality education to our leaders of tomorrow. You've asked some good questions, and I hope you can now see that the District is not flushing money down platinum-plated toilets. As a matter of fact, two of the thriftiest people I've known through my fifty plus years of life are current board members. I really hope you don't try to trash this next proposed parcel tax, that according to all communications, will definitely have a sunset clause. What a bummer of a legacy that would be for you - the guy who destroyed the Menlo Park City School District.

How about thinking about it this way - If you don't advocate to decimate the quality programs of the school district, the home values in the area will remain high, the property tax base will increase, and there will therefore be more funding available to support a new Atherton Town Center ;-)


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 18, 2016 at 5:20 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Folks - I am only ONE vote. I was just trying, very hard, to give you insight into the thoughts of the non-parent community.

OK, you have succeeded in shooting the messenger, so now what?

Do you feel better?

I hope so because without the votes of the non-parent taxpayers any parcel tax will fail.

Good luck.


33 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 6:01 am

Peter, it's far from a matter of feeling better. Your vocal critique of our district last spring was warranted on many levels. The approach taken in asking for A and C last spring indeed felt like a complacent ask for continued funding without the data to back it up. The response to your critiques and questions was poor.

But all that has changed. The district has bent over backward to make the need for a parcel tax clear. They have worked to answer any and all questions, including yours (time that could have instead been spent on education). What we stand to lose is immense. The specifics of your opposition of A and C has made our community far more aware of the specifics of how our district runs and what is at stake. For that, I thank you.

But the inflammatory rhetoric and questioning of anything and everything as a means to imply incompetence in our district leadership is intolerable. Caroline Lucas stood up last night and questioned the district's list of proposed cuts, stating that the list was a disingenuous scare tactic, with the district threatening layoffs to get votes. She proffered that there are cuts the district could consider that wouldn't necessitate job cuts (and thus loss of programs and increased class sizes), but she could not offer any concrete ideas (well, she offered a few, but she was reminded that those have been considered, and the one specific idea she had, "the busses," certainly isn't going to solve a $5+ million dollar deficit). At the same time, she, you, and your cohort have argued that the district is not fiscally conservative enough.

There's a simpler answer here. Our district is incredibly fiscally conservative. 90% of the budget goes to staffing. With a $45 million dollar operating budget and facing a $5.3 million dollar deficit (about 12% percent of the total budget), there is no way to make cuts that don't involve staffing. It is Caroline's and your portrayal of our district that is disingenuous.

Because our district has more multi-unit dwellings, more renters, and/or less industry than our neighboring districts (the "and/or" depends on to whom you compare us), we get less property tax revenue per student. If you look through the district FAQs (you know the link, offered below again for other readers), MPCSD gets $9,400/student in property tax revenue. Our neighbors get, on average, $13,900/student in property tax revenue. We make that up through private giving (MPAEF) and, yes, parcel taxes. The foundation ask would have to increase 196% to cover the deficit (an additional $2945/student on top of the $1500/student already sought). Parcel taxes are and will always be (until a time that enrollment drops) a necessary element to how our schools are funded. There is no other answer to overcome a gap that large.

Peter, come to the schools. Visit our classrooms. See what our children are doing. Then tell our community it's not worth the few hundred more dollars a year (I'll wager that you spend more than $500/year at Starbucks or Peet's). I'll give you a tour of Oak Knoll personally. I'm sure Scott Hinshaw would be happy to do the same for you with Encinal and others at Laurel and Hillview. If and when you have questions, pose them, but please do so only if you are genuinely willing to hear the answers and support our schools when your questions are answered and your critiques are addressed. If you continue to pose questions and critiques that sound reasonable but are backed with inflammatory rhetoric, circular logic, and clear broad lack of support for our schools, I'll be here to call you on it every time.


17 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 6:03 am

District FAQs:

Web Link


24 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 8:15 am

There will always be a part of our community that will vote "no" no matter what. On the other hand, prior to A and C, our community had supported numerous parcel tax and bond measures related to education. I guess I just have more faith in our community than you do, Peter.

Of course there are community members who will need to be reached to help them understand the importance of a parcel tax. We as a district and as a community that values eduction will do our best to reach them and explain the need. Thanks for your well wishes, as sarcastic as they may be. And good to know that, when faced with the data you so vocally sought, you return to what you're best at... inflammatory rhetoric.


20 people like this
Posted by HelloHanalei
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 18, 2016 at 9:05 am

HelloHanalei is a registered user.

[Portion removed because it refers to a deleted post]

Karen, thank you for your posts! It's wonderful to see people bringing truth and facts to these comment threads.


27 people like this
Posted by Sarah B
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 9:07 am

Peter,

I understand your children went to MPCSD schools years ago. I hope they are now leading fulfilling, happy, successful lives. If they are, it is certainly due to your parenting. It is also undoubtedly due to the strong educational foundation they received in Menlo Park.

I hope further that you would be proud that the Menlo Park schools have continued to set the bar higher to strengthen education, despite a near 50% increase in enrollment in the last 10 years (despite receiving far from a 50% increase in funding). We still have far to go. Compare us to cities across the country in programming, spending per student, class size, etc. and we aren't close, despite being a wealthier city. I wish that you could look to a new day, and move on from past grievances. Especially today, our country needs to do this, and our community does even more.

I wish that you were now willing to pay it forward to the rest of your community – the parents at MPCSD schools who want the same for their children – the best education they can provide – and for non-parents who want to maintain the community's valuing of education and ever-increasing home values connected to school quality.

Our community needs you.


15 people like this
Posted by Sleeping Tiger
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 9:14 am

I for one appreciate Peter and others bringing these questions to the communities attention. The recent parcel tax debacle woke up the electorate to question what is going on in the district. It does seem that there is a sense of entitlement by some vocal parents and teachers that the taxpayers should be willing to pay what every is asked for by the district.

Now that the parcel tax has failed and the election put two "non-insiders" on the board, some teachers and parents are panicked and now on the attack. I for one hope that Caroline Lucas holds firm and balances a reasonable tax ask with budget reductions and does not buckle and join what was termed the "echo chamber" by the Alamance in one of their stories.

In the words of Admiral Yamamoto after the attack on Pearl Harbor; "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

I think the days of the blank check from the voters are over. Time to balance tax increases with sensible budget reductions.


22 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Bestor
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 9:54 am

Jennifer Bestor is a registered user.

The sleeping tiger has, indeed, been awoken. It's the large majority of the Menlo-Atherton community that strongly supports public education.

I haven't had a child in Menlo Schools for over four years, but I'm standing up. I was appalled at the falsehoods spewed by Alexander Keh, Jennifer Sun, Jack Hickey, Peter Carpenter, and Brian Blackford in the Voter Guide.

Then I was disgusted by the pretense on Town Square that some Great Victory had been won with the defeat of the two parcel taxes. In fact, 1200 MORE people voted for Measure A than against it -- 60% to 40%; and 400 MORE for C than against it -- 54%. Not enough to pass the taxes, but no groundswell of unrest either. (More likely, plain old complacency on the part of the school board, in assuming that everyone would understand they were doing their best, and on the part of the parcel tax committee, which assumed everyone would vote the way the community always had. Oops. Ain't gonna happen again!)

What's amusing is to see the tenor of Town Square change, as the rest of us realize the danger of echo chambers, sign in, and sound off against calumny.


18 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 11:02 am

Sleeping Tiger, I also appreciate people bringing questions to the community's attention. However, your statement misrepresents the facts.

"It does seem that there is a sense of entitlement by some vocal parents and teachers that the taxpayers should be willing to pay what every is asked for by the district." - Please substantiate your statement with facts. What makes you say that the district's position is that taxpayers should be "willing to pay what every [sic] is asked for by the district"? The district has made the need for additional funds plain and clear. If you have not read the FAQs or the list of proposed cuts should another parcel tax fail to pass, then I encourage you to do so and get informed.

"Now that the parcel tax has failed and the election put two "non-insiders" on the board" - How exactly is David Ackerman a non-insider? He was the principal of Oak Knoll school previously. Caroline Lucas seems nothing more than a puppet at the hands of Peter Carpenter. She made it clear at the board meeting last night (for which she was offered at seat at the table with the other board members and declined) that she is poorly versed on the facts of what our district faces and unable to articulate her positions without input from others (Alex Keh was giving her an awful lot of help, and I can only assume she was texting or emailing with Peter, who was not present, throughout the meeting). Worse, your rhetoric of "insiders" and "non-insiders" is designed only to drive people apart.

"I think the days of the blank check from the voters are over. Time to balance tax increases with sensible budget reductions." - Have you read anything about the $900K in cuts already made? The ongoing district discussion at the series of special board meetings has been incredibly detailed and has laid out exactly what is at stake and what will have to be cut if a parcel tax is not passed (with cuts varying with level of tax).

It's easy to sit back and spew inflammatory rhetoric that is not based in fact. If you have facts to back up your statements, share them. If you have questions to which you genuinely want an answer, speak them. If you have thoughts on what aspects of the district budget could be cut, share them (did you fill out the survey you received in the mail?). If it is personally challenging for you to pay an additional tax on your county tax bill, seek relief through the county. If your only agenda is to propagate an unsubstantiated perception of the district as making poor use of tax payer's dollars, doing so reveals you either (a) to be ill-informed and/or (b) to be unsupportive of quality education. As with Peter, I'll be here to call you on it every time.


31 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Nov 18, 2016 at 11:31 am

"I have confidence in our community that your point of view is in a significant monitory"

LOL!

MPCSD LOST the election in parcel tax measure #4. That is a fact.

MPCSD LOST the election in parcel tax measure #5. That is a fact.

MPAEF preferred candidate Scott Saywell lost in the election. That is a fact.

MPAEF preferred candidate Alka Gupta lost in the election. That is a fact.

If you think the dissenters of excessive taxation are a significant minority, then you haven't been paying attention.


17 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 11:47 am

Distorted facts, Train Fan.

"MPCSD LOST the election in parcel tax measure #4. That is a fact. MPCSD LOST the election in parcel tax measure #5. That is a fact."

As Jennifer Bestor so kindly reminded everyone, "1200 MORE people voted for Measure A than against it -- 60% to 40%; and 400 MORE for C than against it -- 54%. Not enough to pass the taxes, but no groundswell of unrest either."

"MPAEF preferred candidate Scott Saywell lost in the election. That is a fact. MPAEF preferred candidate Alka Gupta lost in the election. That is a fact."

Actually, MPCSD, MPAEF, and our teachers broadly gave support for David Ackerman, Alka Gupta, and Scott Saywell, if you were paying attention. Between the three of them, they garnered 12,118 votes to Caroline Lucas' 4,010. That's 67% for the district supporters and 33% against. Scott and Alka lost because votes were split among candidates with similar platforms.

"If you think the dissenters of excessive taxation are a significant minority, then you haven't been paying attention." - well, I think the results of the election I mentioned above make this point moot.

And again, I'll call out the inflamatory rhetoric - "Excessive taxation." It's only excessive if it's not needed. Like Sleeping Tiger, if you have questions to which you genuinely want an answer, speak them. If you have thoughts on what aspects of the district budget could be cut, share them (did you fill out the survey you received in the mail?). If it is personally challenging for you to pay an additional tax on your county tax bill, seek relief through the county. If your only agenda is to propagate an unsubstantiated perception of the district as making poor use of tax payer's dollars, doing so reveals you either (a) to be ill-informed and/or (b) to be unsupportive of quality education. Once again, I'll be here to call you on it every time.


16 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Nov 18, 2016 at 12:06 pm

uu"I'll be here to call you on it every time."

Oh please, no you won't. You people always disappear into the woodwork the moment unbiased data is posted that destroys your narrative.

Also...

1: Where were you last April and May? Hello? I was of the few people actually posting data regarding the merits of 5 parcel taxes. Not a peep from you. Try earning a little credibility first before making grand declarations.

2: I think your comments on one of the candidates for the School Board have been deplorable and very catty,[portion removed; stick with the issues and don't be disrespectful of other posters] Some of the members of MPAEF have been terrible role models.

3: I've purchased a domain in anticipation for another parcel tax vote. If MPCSD requests anything close to the $500 that you and the MPAEF pro-4 parcel tax sycophants want, I will use that site to post financial data that disputes the merits of that level of excessive taxation.

If they ask for a renewal of the current 4th parcel tax, and use it to address CalSTRS funding, it will likely pass...I'll vote for it, too.


18 people like this
Posted by Sleeping Tiger
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 12:12 pm

1) $900k is not a good faith effort by the district on reasonable reductions - when you come up with $2 million, I will consider this real commitment. I think Scott Hinshaw's well articulated comments to the board a couple of meetings back as to potential reductions is sound and prudent. Maybe the board to review his suggestions.

2) Regarding Dave being an insider. He may have been the principle at Oak Knoll but he was not the Board's endorsement (minus Joan who stayed out of making an endorsement). They endorsed two insiders who would have agree with whatever Terry proposed. Ironic that the two candidates that spent the least and did the smallest amount of campaigning won the two seats....

3) I also find it odd based on this string that the Board would offer to have the two apparent winners sit on the board even though the vote has not been certified and the candidates have not been sworn into office. Also, who made the decision and why was it not on a previous board meeting agenda to make such an offer? To me it is like Obama asking Trump to join his cabinet meetings so he can provide his input. This is the current Board's issue to address until the date Maria and Jeff step off and David and Caroline are sworn in.

4) Yes I did fill out both the online and the mailed survey and provided A LOT of feedback in the open comment fields. I personally thought both surveys were poorly drafted from the standpoint of being unbiased and also not requiring a rank order choice when asking what do you value in the educational offering of the district.

5) Why is the MPAE Foundation not asking for a higher donation. From what I have read, a) the ask is the lowest of the other "comparable" districts. b) it has been at this level for years. If the existing parcel taxes increase each year with some correlation to CIP, why shouldn't the Foundation make the same increased asked each year. I always read how many of the programs and services are made possible by the Foundation grant. However, if the grant is pretty much flat year after year, and costs keep going up, that would lead one to believe that the increased costs are being placed on the tax payers plate.

Finally Karen, I don't appreciate you painting comments by those you oppose as inflammatory or misleading. Many of these are more questions for the taxpayers to consider or ponder. I for one have never seen Peter or most of the others who don't agree with you post inflammatory comments. The Almanac has done a pretty good job of pulling inappropriate or down right false comments from the blogs.


6 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 18, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

" I was appalled at the falsehoods spewed by Alexander Keh, Jennifer Sun, Jack Hickey, Peter Carpenter, and Brian Blackford in the Voter Guide. "

And just exactly were those "falsehoods?"


15 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Bestor
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 1:37 pm

Jennifer Bestor is a registered user.

Hey, Karen, did you see that "you people always disappear into the woodwork" phrase? From a pseudonym? Wow. That's the kettle calling the Revereware black.

And ST (yup, another pseudonym) informs us that the right level of MPCSD budget cuts is $2M. Based on ... oh, yeah, well, ST's polished analysis of ... well, whatever. (If the Board had made $2M in cuts, the right number would have been $5M ... you know the drill.)

And I love the idea that Train Fan is going to publish data that will "destroy" MPCSD's narrative. As I've gone through the available information -- information that was available, online, in Board packets -- all I've found is data that supports their description of why the money was needed.

Then, as I've dug through assessment rolls and county controller allocations, all I've found is data that explains:
(a) that MPCSD isn't a rich enclave paying high property taxes, but rather
(b) a middle-class district comprised of both homes and many apartments
(c) struggling with the unpublished, highly distortionary, effects of Prop 13 and Prop 58.

And looking beyond MPCSD's borders, to the entire state of California (with its abysmal performance on national educational tests), and on to states like Massachusetts that do perform well, one begins to understand how much money, spent well, is required to effectively educate tomorrow's workers.


13 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Bestor
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 1:42 pm

Jennifer Bestor is a registered user.

Menlo Voter,

I got very frustrated with having to answer these questions over and over again to the same people, so I've captured many of my answers in a blog. This was covered starting with the very first post, which you'll find in the archive at the start of the blog.

Web Link


16 people like this
Posted by Scott Hinshaw
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 18, 2016 at 2:38 pm

First, I just want to thank Karen for her thoughts and bravely posting under her own name on this forum which most people are very reluctant to do. I respect everyone that does that. I wish the Almanac would require everyone to post under their own name and maybe someday we’ll get there.

As some background, Karen is a very smart and successful person in her own right and a very dedicated, passionate, and unselfish volunteer to our community and schools. I got to know Karen about five years ago through volunteering for MPAEF and she has done more than just about anyone to fundraise, raise awareness and the spirit of our school community during that time than just about anyone I know. She’s very smart, very hard working and I respect her a ton, so thank you Karen.

In regards to the comments I made to the Board a couple weeks ago, and I can only speak for myself, they have looked at and addressed every single point I made and I know they have looked at and addressed hundreds and hundreds of others other people have made. If you were at the Board meeting last night, you couldn’t help but feel they and the administration have exhausted looking at every possible angle of this situation. I think it’s helpful to remember they have been looking at this for well over 18 months, back to when I was on the Board, and I am 110% confident in their transparency, thoughtfulness, direction and leadership they and the administration will provide. I think we all learned some lessons from A & C and I feel confident those are being addressed.

I want to stress that in my comments I also mentioned how all segments of our community, including community members without kids in the schools, would have to come together to help solve this problem and I know we all will. The only two things I asked of the community were – time and consideration. By “time,” I mean people taking the time to provide input and taking the time to understand the true facts of the situation and developing your own opinion based on the facts not just the hearsay of others. By “consideration,” I mean examining this reality through a fresh lens. Not the lens of when we were in school, or ten years ago, or A & C, but a fresh lens with current data for supporting our schools in the present and for generations to come. Our community has accumulated a staggering amount of wealth in property values over the last 10, 20 years (with property taxes limited by Prop 13) and if we want that to continue and be a community we are proud of, we have to have financially stable and strong schools. The only way that happens here in Menlo Park is through community financial support.

In the spirit of community, I’d like to point out that Peter Carpenter was one of the first people to reach out to me after the defeat of A & C to have lunch. We’ve had lunch since and I am sure will have lunch again soon. [Portion removed] Peter and his family have a fascinating history of civic service I really enjoy hearing about. Peter and I and others may have different opinions, and may use the Town Square forum much differently, but its nothing a good face to face or lunch can’t work through.

Our schools need more funding. I am sure a very well thought out measure from our current and future leaders will come through with all considerations received and I 110% support it.


15 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 2:50 pm

Sleeping Tiger, some of your language is the textbook definition of inflamatory rhetoric (talking about district parents' sense of "entitlement," proffering that the district seeks a "blank check from voters", characterizing citizens as "insiders" and "non-insiders"). Taking a page from Peter Carpenter's "how to" book...

in·flam·ma·to·ry
adjective
1.
relating to or causing inflammation of a part of the body.
2.
(especially of speech or writing) arousing or intended to arouse angry or violent feelings.

rhet·o·ric
noun
1. the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.
2. language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.

But let's move past that, because, I as much as you want to discuss facts here. Where do you come up with a $2 million dollar number?

As for the MPAEF ask, as I covered above, the foundation ask would have to increase 196% to cover the deficit (an additional $2945/student on top of the $1500/student already sought). An increase in the foundation ask is under consideration. It's an easy number for some families to provide, but not easy for many in our district.

Parcel taxes are and will always be (until a time that enrollment drops) a necessary element to how our schools are funded. There is no other answer to overcome a gap as large as is created by our relatively low property tax revenue stream ($9.4K/student from property tax revenue vs $13.0K/student on average for our peer districts).





9 people like this
Posted by Peter F Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 18, 2016 at 3:04 pm

As long as Karen, Jennifer, HH and Scott continue to attack and demean those with whom they disagree the community will never come together.

Hopefully the current students don't skip the classes on civics and civility.


13 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 3:33 pm

Peter, if you choose to point fingers, please do so equally. As the adage goes, when you point a finger at another, there are three pointing back at you.

I agree that we need to come together to solve this. I've stated that many times. I asked you late last night for your thoughts on how to reach non-parent taxpayers? You didn't respond to that particular question. I would still like to hear if you have ideas.

Also I want to correct myself. I did math in haste and incorrectly stated that, based on my calculations (deficit/students), the MPAEF ask would have to increase by $2945 to cover the deficit. I incorrectly used the number of district families (1800) instead of students (3000). Based on this simple math, the MPAEF ask would have to increase by $1766/student (+117%). I'll note that no one pointed this out to me.


19 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Nov 18, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Actually, I found Mr. Hinshaw's post quite inclusive and thoughtful (I won't quibble on his comments regarding anonymous posters, except to point out that thoughtful comments can stand on their own, regardless who states them. The message is what matters; the messenger, much less so.)

And I'll also point out that while we sometimes disagree, I give Jennifer Bestor kudos for making her case and backing it up with statistics worth factoring into the debate on the merits of future parcel taxes.


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 18, 2016 at 4:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I have the privilege of being a Lead/Moderator for Nextdoor and we have now reached almost 80 postings on a potentially very controversial subject without a SINGLE personal attack:

"Are any parents upset about Menlo-Atherton High School Walk Out?"

I wonder why poster on this Forum do not show the same civility and sense of true community that the Nextdoor posters have used?

And it is clearly just not anonymity because some of the most uncivil postings on this Forum have come from people using their own names.


5 people like this
Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 4:33 pm

I am personally saddened by the vitriolic and condescending comments and personal attacks re: the school parcel tax that continue to populate the Town Square and appear only to be getting worse. In particular I view as offensive the tactic of claiming one knows another person's motivations, knowledge and positions so they can then discredit them. So, I have decided to not engage directly in these unproductive online exchanges.

That said, I hope the School District continues to improve its communications to ALL residents so a "passable" parcel tax measure is put on a ballot in 2017. To that end, it simply needs to provide clear and correct answers to all the "difficult" questions that have been raised and aggressively educate our community. Perhaps, the top 10 Q&A could be published and promoted by The Almanac. That would be a wonderful example of great community service.

PS: Where can I view the recent answers to the questions Mr. Carpenter submitted to the District?

I would also like to understand is reaction to each one if he has prepared a response.


26 people like this
Posted by Peter F Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 18, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Dana - I will email you the answers that I received from Maurice.

Sadly this Forum is no longer "a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. "

Any concerned citizen coming to this Forum and asking questions will be immediately attacked by Jennifer, Karen and HH and the loser will be the school district which needs the understanding and support of those concerned citizens.


22 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Nov 18, 2016 at 5:59 pm


I thought I'd point this out:


* Board position 4: I voted for Ackerman (he won)

* Board position 5: I voted for Lucas (she won)

* Measure C: I voted NO (it lost)

* Measure A: I voted NO (it lost)

* I supported MPCSD opposition to the mandarin immersion charter (it was defeated...at least so far)

* I supported MPCSD opposition to moving the boundary on O'Connor street (it was defeated...at least so far)

* I voted for Measure W (Upper Laurel GO Bond: it won)



I point these out to make 2 points:

1: I usually support school-related community issues and taxation; I've voted for taxation in other districts I've lived in as well. Assuming I'm anti-school would be false.

2: I am not alone. My positions have been the prevailing point-of-view in the community.


MPCSD and the MPAEF have a big problem if they view people like me as a small minority. I truly hope the district heeds my words when I warn them that if they ask for a number significantly higher than the current parcel tax, they will likely end up with another defeated measure.

I'm actually trying to help you. A smaller 4th parcel tax with a sunset that only addresses the CalSTRS funding (the only argument that's supported by the numbers) will pass. The 515 you people are pining for and are trying to convince the district to go for will crash and burn at the ballot box.

And it will be your fault.


11 people like this
Posted by Menlo Man
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 18, 2016 at 6:17 pm

Train Fan , you obviously weren't at the Board meeting last night, or any in the past few weeks. No MPCSD Board member or administrator is advocating or pushing a $515 parcel anymore. The Board-hired political consultant advised a parcel ask that was a straight renewal or a slight increase of Measure C ($207).

Please rest easy tonight with the assurance that you won't see a $515 parcel tax on your ballot in March , it will be a much smaller ask.


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 18, 2016 at 8:46 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Jennifer:

I believe Train Fan poked numerous holes in your "facts."


13 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 8:53 pm

Train Fan, now we're talking. If you haven't been following the conversations in the board meetings, you'll be glad to hear there seems to be very little talk of an evergreen parcel tax initiative. I and many others think that was a mistake.

As for what parcel tax amount you'd support and what you wouldn't, I'd like to understand your position better. If you're not anti-school, can you explain why (given the district's recent presentations on the cuts we face) you would not support more than a renewal of the $207 tax? Stating that you'd only support a tax that addresses the CalSTRS funding seems anti-school to me, as the numbers I see call for far more than a $207 renewal to keep our schools functioning without staff cuts and significant degradation of district programs. You stated that this is "the only argument that's supported by the numbers." Can you please provide more support for your position? I pose this not as a challenge but as genuinely trying to understand your point of view.

I perceive an olive branch in your tone, and that I appreciate. I'm eager to try to understand where you are coming from. Perhaps through dialogue such as this, we can bridge the gap between those of us who see a clear need for well more than $207 and those of us who do not.


17 people like this
Posted by Richard Vaughan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Nov 19, 2016 at 10:51 am

Hi All,

In the end, let's not forget that we are always discussing education and the growth of our children into competent, caring, responsible adults.

Jut to let you know, if it's not raining, the Hillview Jazz Band will be performing at the MP Farmer's Market tomorrow (11/20) from 9:30-12ish. The Hillview Chorus will also be holding its Fall Concert on Tuesday, Nov. 29 @ 7PM and performing at Filoli the following day (Nov. 30) @ 1PM. Come out and support these wonderful young musicians. New faces and friends are always appreciated!


19 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Nov 19, 2016 at 1:17 pm

(due to time constraints, I'll have to give a relatively abbreviated version of my response to Karen Dearing)


"Stating that you'd only support a tax that addresses the CalSTRS funding seems anti-school to me"

So in order for you to believe this sole position can be "anti-school", you have to believe that supporting the following taxes doesn't matter in your assessment of someone's support for school funding:

source 1: property taxes
source 2: prop 13 supported increases in property taxes
source 3: prop 13 supported reassessments in property taxes (sales, remodels)
source 4: parcel tax #1
source 5: CPI increases in parcel tax #1
source 6: parcel tax #2
source 7: CPI increases in parcel tax #2
source 8: parcel tax #3
source 9: CPI increases in parcel tax #3
source 10: "emergency" temporary parcel tax #4
source 11: CPI increases in parcel tax #4
source 12: MPAEF funding (which I have contributed in the past, though given what I've seen I am wavering moving forward)
source 13: state and federal

I support these taxes both with my pocketbook and as a matter of principle and based on the district's submitted budgets.

The fact that people like you and others in the MPAEF have this litmus test where all tax proposals must be supported otherwise you are "anti school" is very troubling.


"can you explain why you would not support more than a renewal of the $207 tax?"

In a nutshell (incomplete but these are some of the major points):

1: This community already funds small class sizes, and that already factors in the community's children attending the district's schools and the growth from the community.

2: I fully support offering full time employees the perk of having their children attend MPCSD; however I do not support the expectation that the community pay for that perk any more than we already do. As has been discussed in other threads, a significant contributor to the student growth has been employees children attending the district. I welcome their attendance, but the consequences of their attendance will be addressed by the staff, not the taxpayers.

3: The short-term projections on property tax revenue increases are likely low. For example, if the 2017-2018 budget projection for property tax revenue is increased by 1%, that will increase revenues by about $250-300k. I'll point out that even the district concedes that their methods for revenue projection have room for improvement (note that I am NOT disputing using 3% as the growth percentage outside 3 years. But the shorter-term projections are intentionally artificially low).

4: The district's attendance projections have been consistently overestimated over the last few years in particular. We agree attendance will likely go higher, however the numbers suggest that revenue growth will continue to outpace both inflation and student population increases. These "big" projected budget deficits effectively disappear if you project population growth based on the ACTUAL growth (exhibit a: projected population increase for this year=85 ... actual=55).


You are taking the district's FAQ as gospel when in fact it has huge assumptions in it that don't stand up to scrutiny.

Web Link





10 people like this
Posted by Shores
a resident of Laurel School
on Nov 19, 2016 at 2:11 pm

I've never posted here before, but after attending the marathon Board meetings of the past few weeks, I feel a need to say something.
I would like to start off by saying what Peter Carpenter started last year was a wake up call to the community to pay more attention to the School Board. I think he has been successful. I also think it is great to have a wake-up call and to get more people involved in their local governing bodies. It is because of Peter that the Board has changed and improved it's communication with the community. That is a positive outcome. However, I feel now that the wake-up call he issued has become a negative call to arms.
First, on the issue of transparency, I have no idea what else the Board could do to be transparent. They have sought community input in a variety of ways trying to reach as many people as possible, video taping Board meetings, having all financials available on their website, posting a FAQ link to answer community questions, etc. Caroline Lucas stated the other night that she ran a campaign based on greater transparency and fiscal responsibility. If she feels the Board has not addressed the transparency issue to her satisfaction, I'd love to know her definition of transparency and what else she feels they need to do.
Also, in terms of "fiscal responsibility," if I'm correct, the Board is looking at making 1.4 million dollars in cuts and exploring, with those cuts, how far a straight $207 renewal will carry the district as well as a few other amounts above $207, but all below $350, I believe.
What saddens me about all of this, is that even if the Board went with an amount such as $350, that there are people who would campaign against that amount. That is LESS than ONE DOLLAR a day to provide the children of Menlo Park with a high-quality well-rounded education that includes art, music, library, PE, the sciences, etc. Isn't one dollar or even $1.50 a day worth it to have a great school district that helps to keep our property values high and provides our future leaders the quality education they deserve?


13 people like this
Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2016 at 3:04 pm

" However, I feel now that the wake-up call he issued has become a negative call to arms."

What is "negative" about Carpenter's stated position:

"I have publicly supported putting a new parcel tax on a March ballot however I cautioned the Board that the voters will, in my opinion, only approve such a parcel tax IF:

- the Board has made a strong case for maintaining the current status,
- there has been full disclosure of all revenue and expenditure information,
- and the Board has put in place a strong program of fiscal discipline."


10 people like this
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 19, 2016 at 3:38 pm

I don't think coming back to the voters in March is a good idea. The District needs to give it a rest for a year.


13 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 19, 2016 at 5:54 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"That is LESS than ONE DOLLAR a day to provide the children of Menlo Park with a high-quality well-rounded education that includes art, music, library, PE, the sciences, etc. Isn't one dollar or even $1.50 a day worth it to have a great school district that helps to keep our property values high and provides our future leaders the quality education they deserve?"

If it's so important to you and other parents and it's such a "small" amount of money, why don't you and other parents of the district pay it? This just highlights what some of us have been complaining about. you want a gold or platinum education for your children, but you want the rest of us to pay for it.


4 people like this
Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2016 at 6:05 pm

"That is LESS than ONE DOLLAR a day...."

The 3 permanent parcel taxes already total $850 - that is $2.33 per day.

Add the current expiring $207 parcel tax and the total is $1057 - that is $2.90 per day.

Or add a $515 parcel tax and the total is $1365 - that is $3.74 per day.


6 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 19, 2016 at 7:37 pm

MENLO VOTER

You said "If it's so important to you and other parents and it's such a "small" amount of money, why don't you and other parents of the district pay it? This just highlights what some of us have been complaining about. you want a gold or platinum education for your children, but you want the rest of us to pay for it."

MPAEF would have to more than double the per-student ask to cover the deficit we face (see above). The closest comp to MPCSD for median household income as best as I can tell is PAUSD, which asks for $1000/student. More than doubling the foundation ask for MPCSD families is untenable. We are not Woodside or Portola Valley in median income by a long shot. But isn't it awesome that are schools are just as good or better and we spend 35% less per student than they do?

*Your argument of "you want a gold or platinum education for your children, but you want the rest of us to pay for it" has a corollary. It goes like this... "You, Menlo Voter, want your property value to continue to skyrocket because you are in the MPCSD district limits and you want the 15% of families who actually use the schools to pay for it." You can call our schools gold plated, platinum plated, silver plated, awesome, great, exemplary, whatever. Great schools benefit our kids, our community, and, yes, your property value. And you get to reap the benefits in your home value. You have only to look a 1/2 mile north to the Atherton homes in the Redwood City School District to see the difference.

FACT CHECKER

*$3.74 per day. That is indeed the correct number for existing parcel taxes plus a new $515 tax. Thanks for saving me the time of doing the math. Probably less than most people's morning Starbucks or Peet's indulgence. Just saying.

TRAIN FAN

You've made your point re anti-school. And I appreciate you laying out the basis for your point of view. Projections are inherently inaccurate. I'll be taking some time to digest what you have offered here. Have you have brought your different interpretation of the data to the district's attention? Because I've not heard any level of conversation based on the numbers that you are stating. The clear path toward pink slips if another parcel tax isn't passed in March says to me that the district is either unaware of your data/analysis or disagrees with you. If you're so sure of this, I don't understand why you aren't presenting these data/analysis at the Board meetings. And I sure would like to know your name. You clearly looked me up, so I know you know how to reach me. Perhaps there's space for discourse. That said, I didn't appreciate the jab at my profession/credentials or your sexist language - "catty"? Please. You also seem to confuse MPAEF, MPCSD, and the parent community. Just to be clear, I am a parent and not on the MPAEF board or professionally affiliated with MPCSD.

MIKE KEENLY

Thank you for using your real name. I wish there was more time. But if you've been following the conversation in the Board meetings, pink slips will have to be issued in March unless a parcel tax effort in March goes through. While pink slips don't necessarily mean losing staff, the market for quality teachers is very strong right now. If I were a teacher and I got a pink slip, I wouldn't roll the dice with MPCSD. I'd go find another job and get a nice signing bonus in the process.



2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 19, 2016 at 7:52 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"MPAEF would have to more than double the per-student ask to cover the deficit we face "

AND? You want Gold or Platinum education why don't YOU pay for it? They can do that or send their children to private schools. Guess what? It's not the responsibility of the 80% of voters to pay for the "exemplary" education that the 20% desire. I'm willing to pay for a good education. Beyond that, you all can come up with the money.


7 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 19, 2016 at 8:02 pm

Well thank goodness MENLO VOTER is just that, one voter. You don't seem to have much to add to this conversation beyond revealing that you're very happy to reap the benefits of our, yes, exemplary schools in your property value but don't value what an exemplary education can bring to our children, our community, and beyond. Good to know.


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Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 19, 2016 at 8:09 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Karen:

seriously? That's your response? I'm reaping the "benefits" of the "exemplary" education provided by our schools? Property values in this town have one hell of a lot more to do with other factors than our schools. You really don't get it do you? Keep drinking that district koolaid.


7 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 19, 2016 at 8:28 pm

I'm very happy to let my response stand. If you have data to refute me, please share them. My quick scan of Atherton homes in MPCSD around 6000 sq. ft. on .9-1.0 acres revealed values in the $12M - $17M range. On the RWCD side? $7M - $13M. All in Atherton. So not sure what other "factors" you're referring to.


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Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 19, 2016 at 8:32 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

" So not sure what other "factors" you're referring to."

uh, Facebook and their employees that want to live here? That's one.


6 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 19, 2016 at 8:45 pm

And why exactly do you think they want to live here instead of in the Ravenswood SD part of MP so close to work? Because of our exemplary schools! What exactly is it that you think makes demand for homes in MPCSD so much greater than in surrounding districts? Oh, I know! The schools!


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Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 19, 2016 at 9:03 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"And why exactly do you think they want to live here instead of in the Ravenswood SD part of MP so close to work? "

uh, because this is a better part of town? Nothing to do with schools, just, um, crime rates and a few other things? Please don't pretend it's about the schools. Would YOU live in Belle Haven even if it was part of MPCSD?


5 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 19, 2016 at 9:15 pm

MENLO VOTER is putting the cart before the horse. But I'm clearly not going to do any convincing here. I'll just be sure to point out the faulty logic when it comes up again.


8 people like this
Posted by Jenson
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 19, 2016 at 9:31 pm

Dearing

The disrespect i felt toward the board from the last parcel tax push was that they did not have a sunset date in it. This was a tax with no end and can't support that kind of thinking. I no longer have kids in the MP schools but supported parcel tax initiatives through the last one. I don't want to pay into it anymore i did it for close to 25 years while my kids went through Laurel and M-A. Whether you agree its a valid argument or not does not matter thats how I feel. My support has been lost because I feet the school district was trying to take advantage of those who don't keep up with the politics of the MPSD and push an unfair proposal past voters. The past voting totals speak for themselves and support my feelings. There are many in this forum who have brought up all the other problems the board has created and it looks like you are trying to respond to them all. Good Luck with that. Mending fences takes time and the Board is rushing it by putting a new measure on the ballot so soon. Again arrogance and lack of good judgement come to mind.
Any new parcel tax is doomed to fail. Clearly no lesson was learned from the last time.


7 people like this
Posted by Shores
a resident of Laurel School
on Nov 19, 2016 at 9:33 pm

Menlo Voter,
First of all, I believe the Board is not going to ask for $515 so it will not cost the tax payers of MP the extravagant amount of $3.74 a day.
"Why don't you and other parents of the district pay for it?"
Isn't part of the responsibility of being a community member in America helping to pay for public education? I know everybody already contributes money that goes to public education, but unfortunately, here in California, the funding is not adequate for the education we want to provide to the children of Menlo Park. I have lived in this district for almost 30 years. My children went through the Menlo Park schools. I no longer have children in the district, but having had the generosity of community support when my children were in the school district, I feel it is my responsibility as a community member to support the children, teachers, and families who are going through the school district now.


7 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 19, 2016 at 10:26 pm

JENSEN

I really appreciate your post. It's helpful to have some genuine input from a voter like you. The balance between taking time to mend fences and acting to do what is needed to preserve our schools is a tough one. As I said in my response to Mike above, I wish there was more time. If you've been following the conversation in the Board meetings recently, with the funding and enrollment projections as they are (Train Fan says he/she has different data/analysis that I'd be eager to understand, but for now, I have to go on the district's data) pink slips will have to be issued in March unless a parcel tax effort in March goes through. While pink slips don't necessarily mean losing staff, the market for quality teachers is very strong right now. If I were a teacher and I got a pink slip, I wouldn't roll the dice with MPCSD. I'd go find another job and get a nice signing bonus in the process. So there is a real urgency at play. That said, if there's a parcel tax on the ballot in March and it fails, the district is back to square one.

I'm learning a lot about the various reasons why some voters opposed A and C in this forum. You and others like you who are past district supporters who feel taken advantage of and disrespected by the district leadership (if I'm understanding you correctly) are an important set of voters to connect with. I'm just one parent who has decided it's time to do what I can to help. If you'd ever be willing to meet in person, I'd welcome that. I don't expect to change your mind. I'd just hope to understand your "side" better so I can help start to mend the fences, as you said. My professional contact info is pretty easy to find online.


8 people like this
Posted by Aaron
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 19, 2016 at 10:36 pm

On the issue of the value of MPCSD on local property values (I did not write this, just thought it hits the nail on the head here. And for the record, as a renter with kids in the MPCSD, I would buy in Belle Haven if it was part of MPCSD):

Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 20, 2016 at 8:48 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"MENLO VOTER is putting the cart before the horse. But I'm clearly not going to do any convincing here."

Pot, kettle, black.


6 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Bestor
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 20, 2016 at 9:25 am

Jennifer Bestor is a registered user.

"Fact Checker?!" OMG, check your facts.

Take the existing $850 parcel tax, add the "... current expiring $207 parcel tax and the total is $1057 ..." ?!! Well, um, no.

Add the current expiring tax to what was paid last year and you get ... uh, the $850 you started with. (Plus inflation adjustment, to be 100% accurate.)

I do hope that those of us who actually live here realize that our payment included the expiring $200. (Karen Dearing?!!)


5 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Bestor
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 20, 2016 at 10:39 am

Jennifer Bestor is a registered user.

It is noteworthy that Nextdoor is a forum in which people's real names are used -- and their locations. Perhaps that explains the civility, Dana?

When a pseudonymous poster like "Sleeping Tiger" makes a false claim in this thread -- then gets to skip merrily to the next under a different name -- then there is no accountability or even traceability to his statements. Frankly, a bit of memorable savaging is in order -- lest the casual reader get the idea that what he said was true.

And here, I do take issue with all the pseudonymous posters who equate truthiness with honesty.

(Sleeping Tiger states, somewhere above, that the district "... was termed an "echo chamber" by the Almanac." The phrase was used by the Almanac in a general, conditional statement about boards, "But if all board member emerge from a similar field of experience, the end result CAN be a governing board of like-minded thinkers IN DANGER OF discussing key issues facing the district in an echo chamber." Emphasis added for clarity. Clever how ST twisted the Almanac editor's words, wasn't it?)


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 20, 2016 at 10:50 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It is noteworthy that Nextdoor is a forum in which people's real names are used -- and their locations. Perhaps that explains the civility, Dana? "

As posted above:
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 18, 2016 at 4:11 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
I have the privilege of being a Lead/Moderator for Nextdoor and we have now reached almost 80 postings on a potentially very controversial subject without a SINGLE personal attack:

"Are any parents upset about Menlo-Atherton High School Walk Out?"

I wonder why poster on this Forum do not show the same civility and sense of true community that the Nextdoor posters have used?

And it is clearly just not anonymity because some of the most uncivil postings on this Forum have come from people using their own names.






8 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 21, 2016 at 11:46 am

Karen Dearing is a registered user.

I’m pleased to see this forum re-opened. Participating in this (yes, sometimes heated) discussion has been incredibly valuable. As I digest what has been said, my take-away is that there seem to be three points of opposition to Measures A and C and the possibility of another parcel tax measure:

1. Real questions about the data and analysis driving the district’s decision-making (basic predictions of revenue growth, enrollment growth)
2. Concerns with the process of the district/board – concerns about lack of transparency, fiscal discipline, insularity/echo chamber, etc. – and thus an understandable tendency to feel dubious of anything put forth by the district/board
3. And unequivocal positions against additional taxation

Peter Carpenter, Train Fan, Sleeping Tiger, others, do you agree? Are there other layers that I am missing? As Peter indicated previously, connecting with and understanding the concerns of non-parent (and parent!) taxpayers is a real issue. In my mind, part of why the measures last spring failed is that there was no meaningful conversation between the two “sides” (and, I’d argue, a poor response on the part of the campaign and district to the challenges and criticisms). I’d like to help change that. Again, I’m just one parent who is passionate about education, but change has to start somewhere. And Peter, I asked you twice previously if you had thoughts on how to connect with non-parent voters. I’d still be eager to hear any thoughts you have on this front.

Unrelated to the above… Several posters have voiced displeasure with the lack of civility in posts here. Please be balanced in this criticism. As I read the thread, it seems to me that there are just as many derogatory statements being directed at parents and other community members who are supportive of a parcel tax effort (e.g., Peter Carpenter saying to “wake up;” Train Fan’s “LOL”s, derogatory statements about my profession/credentials [thank you moderator for removing these], calling parcel tax supporters “sycophants”) as the other way around. Yes, let’s all be more civil. I know I will be more mindful of the language I use. But please don’t try to say that the attacks are one-sided (i.e., Peter F Carpenter’s post stating, “As long as Karen, Jennifer, HH and Scott continue to attack and demean those with whom they disagree the community will never come together;” still not sure if this is actually Peter Carpenter or not, as another poster indicated).


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 21, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I did make this posting:

"As long as Karen, Jennifer, HH and Scott continue to attack and demean those with whom they disagree the community will never come together;”


5 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Bestor
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 21, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Jennifer Bestor is a registered user.

Fan, I hope you got a chance to read my blog post about the existing parcel taxes, “What’s The Deal About MPCSD Parcel Taxes?”

If so, you saw that your claim that, “This community already funds small class sizes” … is true ONLY for the 2,019 of children who were here in 2003, when the last permanent parcel tax was passed. This year, the number is 3,000. That represents a growth of 49% — none of which will be funded by the community after the end of this school year.

Of course, a number of faculty children was included in those numbers! OK, let’s adjust for both (taking 23 from the 2003 enrollment number, 64 from the 2016 number) and we’re down to just … 47% growth. Who are not already funded for small class sizes.

And why can you be so certain that, “the shorter-term projections are INTENTIONALLY ARTIFICIALLY low?” (How amusing that you feel the intentions of the five school board members and district staff may be impugned with impunity … yet any challenge to your unsubstantiated claims is an “attack.”)

Intentionally conservative, perhaps. And why shouldn’t they be? As someone who’s watched MPCSD property taxes closely since 2006, just three factors give me pause:
- Growth in MPCSD property taxes since 2010 has reflected not just higher value property sales, but also dramatic recovery in assessed values that had been temporarily cut (Proposition 8 ‘Decline in Value’) in 2009-10 — only a tiny proportion of local homes are still covered by those Prop 8 re-marks, so there will be none of that uplift going forward;
- Gov. Brown, among others, continues to warn that a recession is overdue — given the disproportionate amount of MPCSD property tax paid by recent buyers (60% by the 40% of properties that have changed hands in the last 10 years), our district is very vulnerable to any downturn;
- Commercial property development in MPCSD has been stagnant (viz the El Camino corridor) and, indeed, any Stanford use of local property for hospital purposes could cause a decline (viz the Stanford lease of SRI property).

The parcel tax that passed in 2008, just before the recession hit, cushioned MPCSD’s loss of property tax as a result of the drop in the real-estate market. So it seems particularly odd to me that the district is expected to budget income aggressively, yet spend conservatively.

What budget deficits effectively disappear if you project population growth based on the actual growth? The challenge is $5.8 million over three years, the under-forecast was 30 students … so … $5.8 divided by three divided by 30 = $64,000 per kid?

The MPCSD school board tried to give voters not one but two distinct choices in May: (1) maintain just the existing parcel tax funding; and, (2) headcount-proof that funding. It did the latter particularly wonkily, but in the spirit of asking the community the question of who should bear the cost of increased enrollment — property tax owners or pupils?

These are good questions and it got them almost right — viz the 60% and 54% yes votes. Was a deeper and better explanation needed? Probably yes. Was no sunset appropriate? Probably not.

Their role is to assess the needs of the schools and ask the community to help address them. I salute each of them — and particularly the two who are retiring, Jeff Child and Maria Hilton — for their dedication to understanding and working on these issues when no one was watching … and when a small group of you was screaming imprecations.


6 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Bestor
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 21, 2016 at 3:35 pm

Jennifer Bestor is a registered user.

Peter Carpenter, for years here on Town Square you and a small group of like-minded posters attacked and demeaned the school board and district staff -- then shouted down anyone who disagreed. Most of us gave up in disgust and went away.

It was a very clever strategy. It ensured that, among other things, the Almanac moderators eventually only heard your point of view. Again and again.

But now some of us have girded our loins to stand up to you. Some of us have shown that, indeed, the school board has been publishing useful and comprehensive information from which your questions could have been answered, by yourself. Some of us have upended your oft-echoed claims of incompetence against a hard-working, unpaid, dedicated group of elected citizen officials.

And suddenly you claim you're being attacked?! Because you don't get to dictate the story line here any more? Sorry, Peter.

I do wonder if this sudden demand for respect stems from concern that we'll treat your handpicked school board member with the same contempt that you've treated the existing board members. That we'll send her 18 unresearched, pointed, accusatory questions about her policy positions. Maybe salted with four agenda items?

We get that this sudden statesmanship is because you want to change the rules of engagement. You -- more than any one else on Town Square -- made this bed of nails ... and now you find it uncomfortable? Think a little about what you've spent years sowing.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 21, 2016 at 4:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As long as Jennifer continues to attack those with whom she disagrees the community will never come together and the school district will be the loser.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 21, 2016 at 4:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

At the time of the May election there were 15,774 registered voters in the school district.

3555 voted Yes on Measure A which was 23 % of the registered voters.

3181 voted Yes on Measure C which was 20% of the registered voters.


7 people like this
Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 21, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Karen Dearing is a registered user.

Yes, Peter. And 1945 voted against A (12%) while 2199 voted against C (14%). Your point?


5 people like this
Posted by Glass Houses
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 22, 2016 at 7:48 am

Glass Houses is a registered user.

I think he is trying to make a correlation between low voter turnout and poor election choices. If that is the case, here is another:

Menlo Park Fire District Board Election November 2013

Registered Voters within Fire District Boundries - 40,019

Votes for Peter Carpenter - 4,904 or 12%

And now we have a fire district board fighting with our own towns of Menlo Park and Atherton! That would be equivalent to our school district fighting with our own towns. Not sure where the idea of community is in that. Ironically, many of the arguments Peter is making FOR the fire district are exactly the same ones he is making AGAINST the school district. The towns of Atherton and Menlo Park are simply asking for transparency in financial reporting. Our Representative to Congress, Anna Eshoo, even wrote a letter supporting this undertaking. Web Link

Peter's response?

Mr. Carpenter said the whole issue is also a waste of fire district time. "I would hate to know how many hours the chief, and legal counsel, and other people, have spent on the mischief that's been created by the town manager and a couple of council members," he said.

And how many hours of "mischief" has he demanded, created, and criticized the school district board, superintendent and leaders for transparency and communication when the district board he represents does not even do that?

And he wants to criticize or isolate parents only representing 15% of the community population asking for community-wide participation in supporting our schools? Well, this number only measures parents currently in our schools, not the probable additional 35%+ of families who have already graduated through our schools or the other 10-15% still to come.

For comparison's sake, what percentage of our population uses or needs our fire services? According to the Fire District in the City of Menlo Park’s 2015 Public Use Study - Web Link the MPFD responded to approximately 7,247 incident calls for the 115,662 people they serve that also includes Atherton, East Palo Alto, Redwood City and mutual aid to Fremont. If we assume on average about 3 residents are involved per call, that would mean about 18% of our citizens across all these districts, not just ours, have used these services yet we all pay taxes for them every year. Of note, the city asked if the MPFD could be transparent about how many of those incident calls were in Menlo Park and the Fire District did not or could not provide that information. Transparent? No wonder the towns of Atherton and Menlo Park are looking into this with support from Congresswoman Eshoo.

And get this, in 2015 the MPFD put a measure on the ballot asking approval to raise its tax appropriations limit from $40,000,000 a year to $50,000,000 a year. It wasn’t an increased tax, they were just asking for a bigger piece of the pie. And their argument – “If this measure fails to pass, the District's ability to maintain its current level of care and service will be significantly reduced while property taxes will remain the same and the difference will go to other taxing entities.” Wait a minute…I thought Peter was making the argument that property taxes have gone UP so those should be enough to cover educational services? And I thought he was making the argument that the community should not be responsible for covering services for only a small percentage of the population (i.e. 15% or so of parents being current registered voters) while in actuality it is probably closer to 60-70% of our community that either have, do, or will use these services?

For those that say this is off topic, comparing use of local government service providers and either their lack of (MFFD) or full (MPCSD) transparency of how taxpayer dollars are used I think is pertinent. I think it is also pertinent when one of their elected board members, Peter Carpenter, has always been and remains a staunch critic of MPCSD (for lack of transparency and communication that the MPFD is now accused of) and a recent ballot signer and campaigner opposing ballot measures for school funding.

Oh by the way, did I mention he gave $2,600.00 to Caroline Lucas for her campaign?

Web Link

All pertinent.



7 people like this
Posted by Richard Hine
editor of The Almanac
on Nov 22, 2016 at 8:41 am

Richard Hine is a registered user.

Please get this discussion back on the topic of the parcel tax and not make it about Peter Carpenter.


15 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 22, 2016 at 9:47 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Number of parcel taxes by MPFPD = ZERO

Percentage of voters who approved raising the MPFPD Gann Expenditure limit = 79%

Percentage of residents for whom MPFPD provides 24/7 fire protection = 100%

Percentage of Fire District residents who have needed/chosen to buy private fire protection = ZERO


5 people like this
Posted by HelloHanalei
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 22, 2016 at 12:26 pm

HelloHanalei is a registered user.

I've been staying away from Town Square because it's just too toxic, but I want to say 2 things:

1) I have never attacked or demeaned anyone. I have vigorously defended MPCSD and the School Board, but if anyone around here has been guilty of establishing a tone of aggression, sarcasm, and vitriol, it's been the well-established coterie that I won't call out by name.

2) Peter, I defended you when Peter F. Carpenter posted a particularly nasty comment, saying that it didn't sound like you. But if you claim credit for the above comment, which was posted under the name Peter F. Carpenter, then I rescind my defense and ask why you appear to be posting here under 2 names.

Karen and Jennifer, thank you for all that you're doing.


4 people like this
Posted by Glass Houses
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 22, 2016 at 1:45 pm

Glass Houses is a registered user.

Thank you Richard.

I agree this discussion should remain around school budget cuts, local government entity revenues and spending, and the potential for a new school parcel tax and not about Peter Carpenter personally. Other than citing his own election as an example to his counter on low voter turnout, I do not feel my comments were about anything ill towards Peter Carpenter as a person, but a difference of opinions on some of his policies and comments as a public official and his public comments and opposition to the school district's approach to our last parcel tax vote.

I think anyone's public comments, especially those from an elected public official and ballot signer in opposition to the last parcel tax, are a part of the parcel tax discussion and worthy of that discussion. I think if a public official is going to have an opinion on any public measure, certainly any measure tied to tax revenues and spending, its worthy of discussion how that public official has applied or not applied that same type of reasoning to the public office they lead.

If we want an example of the type of personal, ill-will, off topic discussions we do not want to have, we only need to look at our recent Presidential election. I do not think my comments were made in the same vein. I look forward to discussing the problems our school district faces further.



3 people like this
Posted by Glass Houses
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 22, 2016 at 2:32 pm

Glass Houses is a registered user.

Back to it –

Number of Menlo Park kids denied from our schools = ZERO

Percentage of kids that receive a great education = 100%

Number of kids in special education = 234

Number of low income kids eligible for free or reduced lunch = 176

Number of kids with English as a second language = 223

Number of different primary languages they speak = 23
(Including Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Mandarin, Hebrew, Russian, Tongan, Romanian, Hindi, Turkish, Greek, Arabic, Cantonese, Dutch, Farsi, Armenian, Italian, Samoan, Korean, Portugese, and Vietnamese)

Number of school expulsions or suspensions = ZERO
Average statewide with districts of similar size = 4.4%

All from 2015 CA Dept of Education website here - Web Link


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Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 22, 2016 at 6:08 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"Number of school expulsions or suspensions = ZERO"

In a community of wealthy people. Shocking! Who would have expected that? Doesn't have a damn thing to do with the schools.


24 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Nov 22, 2016 at 6:46 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

Jennifer Bestor wrote:
“I hope you got a chance to read my blog post about the existing parcel taxes...If so, you saw that your claim that, “This community already funds small class sizes” ... is true ONLY for the 2,019 of children who were here in 2003”


You are not properly factoring in property tax revenues, property tax revenue growth and CPI growth on the existing parcel taxes 1, 2 and 3.

In order for you to be correct, the effect on funding per-student should have remained flat or dropped or not kept pace with inflation as the student population grew beyond 2019 students (i.e., more student growth than revenue growth lowers the average per-student revenue, adjusted for inflation. This should be math we are able to agree on). Let’s see if that’s the case.

2000-2001 MPCSD total revenue: $17,157,655 (source: Web Link)

2000-2001 MPCSD student enrollment: 1957

2000-2001 revenue/student: 17157655/1957= $8,767.325

Here are the April-to-April Bay Area CPIs during the timeframe:
2.1 2.2 0.5 2.1 3.2 3.3 2.9 0.8 1.7 2.8 2.1 2.4 2.8 2.4 2.7(15-16)
(source: Web Link)

Applying the above CPIs YoY, baseline revenue/student is $12,265.768. $12,265.768 represents the revenue/student in 2015-2016 dollars if MPCSD had had zero student enrollment growth.

So...what is the current 2015-2016 revenue/student? If it’s lower than $12,265.768, Jennifer is right and revenues (which include the parcel taxes we are discussing) have not kept up with the student population growth, which would make a strong case for another parcel tax (or making parcel tax #4 bigger). Drum roll please...



2015-2016 MPCSD total revenue: 44,584,653 (source: Web Link )

2015-2016 MPCSD student enrollment: 2941

2015-2016 revenue/student: 44584653/2941 = $15,159.692


Conclusion: current funding per student exceeds both inflation and student enrollment growth.


Result: Jennifer’s statement (following) is not accurate: “This year, the number is 3,000. That represents a growth of 49% — none of which will be funded by the community after the end of this school year.”

I welcome your rebuttal.


17 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Nov 22, 2016 at 7:10 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

Jennifer Bestor wrote:
‘And why can you be so certain that, “the shorter-term projections are INTENTIONALLY ARTIFICIALLY low?”’

(Your emphasis, not mine.)

Well… I can be certain because the MPCSD budget SAYS as much.

From the 2016-17 adopted budget:
“This model for projecting property tax growth is currently being reviewed. A
projection model more reflective of a 10-year growth period that captures economic fluctuations is being considered. “

(source: Web Link )

Still not convinced? How about this? :
“San Mateo County’s 2016-17 Property Assessment Roll…increases by 7.6%”
“The top 5 cities in percentage growth are:
* Menlo Park (+12.5%)
* Redwood City (+9.86%)”

(source: Web Link )


“you feel the intentions of the five school board members and district staff may be impugned with impunity”

Excuse you. When did I do that, exactly? Disagreeing and debating is NOT the same thing as questioning someone’s intentions.


‘any challenge to your unsubstantiated claims is an “attack.”’

This. Right there. And the statement before that as well. It’s statements like these where you and 4-parcel-tax proponents start going off the bend. Do you want to know why these conversations start to turn more combative? These are pretty good examples right there.

I said no such thing. I defy you to find a quote from me that supports the quote you’re attributing to me. Good luck.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 22, 2016 at 7:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It’s statements like these where you and 4-parcel-tax proponents start going off the bend. Do you want to know why these conversations start to turn more combative? These are pretty good examples right there."

Amen.


Please respect the TOS:
"Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion."


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

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