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Parcel tax, enrollment and employee compensation on Menlo Park school board agenda

 
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The Menlo Park City School District board of trustees faces a full agenda during its meeting on Thursday, Jan. 9. The agenda includes considering a timeline for renewal of a parcel tax, guiding principles for non-teacher compensation, and a raise for the district superintendent.

Superintendent Erik Burmeister is expected to propose a timeline to gauge public support for a possible bond measure for the district and for renewing or replacing the Measure X parcel tax, which passed with an initial rate of $360 per parcel and will expire in 2024, according to a district staff report.

The board last year had preliminary discussions about putting another tax measure before voters to help address deficit spending that could be a result of last year's teacher salary hike.

"Measure X was a temporary solution, along with $2 million dollars in cuts made by the district, to address the district's structural financial deficit," according to the staff. "The passage of Measure X provided the district more time to devise a longer-term approach to fiscal health. As such, the district made clear during the Measure X campaign that the district's financial runway (the time before which the district would once again begin deficit spending) was only four years. Now approaching the four-year mark, (Menlo Park City School District) must take action regarding the many long-term options it has considered since passage of Measure X, including the replacement of Measure X."

The structural deficit is caused by the following factors, according to the staff report:

• 20 years of increased enrollment.

• A more than doubling of the burden (from 8.25% in 2014 to 18.40% on 2021) the state has placed on local school districts for mandatory state pension programs.

• Limited state funding for public education.

• Community desire that our schools remain strong.

According to a staff presentation prepared for an October meeting, with implementation of a 5% raise for district teachers during the 2019-20 school year, the district's required reserve funds will drop below the minimum amount stated in board policy – at least 15% of total annual spending – within two years unless voters approve a parcel tax to replace Measure X.

Compensation discussions

The school board will consider establishing principles of compensation for district employees other than teachers and some other certificated staff, following the establishment of a "teacher compensation philosophy" in 2019 that emphasizes giving teachers pay increases that are higher than what neighboring districts offer, according to a staff report. In November 2018, Jarrod Coombes, president of the district’s chapter of the California School Employees Association, told the board that support staff felt like an afterthought since the new policy includes only teachers.

The groups that will be included in a non-teacher compensation policy are: classified employees represented by CSEA; unrepresented certificated employees including psychologists, counselors, occupational therapists, site and district administration; Early Learning Center teachers; assistant teachers; and others.

In the fall, the district's teachers represented by the Menlo Park Education Association received a 5% raise after the school board approved the teacher compensation principles. The raise is higher than they have been given in recent years. The board last approved raises for all district employees on June 20, 2017, when it authorized a 2% pay increase for the 2017-18 school year and a 3% increase for 2018-19, according to the district website.

The school board will also consider a 5% raise for Burmeister. The raise would be retroactive to July 1, and would cover the 2019-20 school year.

Board members will also consider a three-year extension of his contract to June 30, 2023, with a "retention bonus" at the end of each of the three years. It would be 5% at the end of the 2020-21 school year; 7.5% at the end of the 2021-22 school year; and 10% at the end of the 2022-23 school year, according to the staff report.

Enrollment projections

During the Thursday meeting, the school board will review, and possibly vote on, a contract, not to exceed $13,800, with San Mateo-based Enrollment Projection Consultants to study district enrollment projections. Of that amount of money, $11,800 will be for completion of a basic enrollment forecast update and optional study additions.

Although enrollment in the district has slowed in recent years, it may grow in the next two to three years with new housing projects along El Camino Real opening according to the district website and district officials. This could impact capacity at Hillview Middle School, a former district administrator told The Almanac in the fall.

The district has worked with Enrollment Projection Consultants in the past for similar enrollment studies and has been satisfied with the results, the staff report says.

The contract would run from Jan. 10 to June 30.

The meeting takes place at 6 p.m. on Jan. 9 in the TERC Building, 181 Encinal Ave. in Atherton.

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Comments

10 people like this
Posted by Burisma Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 8, 2020 at 9:05 pm


Any good ideas on how we can lower our taxes?


23 people like this
Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 9, 2020 at 8:47 am

Hey Burisma Joe!

I suggest you establish a "taxpayer compensation philosophy"! You can then grant us taxpayers in Menlo Park a tax cut that is larger than comparative districts. See, look how easy that is (just use big smart words like philosophy). Clearly some of us (teachers in MP) are more equal than the others...

History here::::

1. They tried to scare us with enrollment growth in 2016 (measure A and C) both failed. (also no expiration date for these 2, and guess what,,,, enrollment declined!!!!)

2. They then hired a consulting firm and held meetings to craft ballot language (calling it now a "replacement tax" and some other mentions of "cuts", and then the scare tactics of presenting what will happen if the measure failed, this was measure X and passed in 2017. Right after, despite the impending doom of increasing pension costs from the state, the teachers were granted a 5% raise!!!

3. Today - here we go again, despite what must be continued decline in enrollment and probably record tax revenues... SOOOO when times are good (I would suggest best in history for tax revenues) MP schools are raising taxes and costs to live here, then when things change - then what,,, ask for taxes to replace "lost" revenues. So looks like they are going to take another shot at "enrollment growth" but hiring a firm to project growth again - at least this time there is actual change occurring which will bring a few more students from the new apartments coming within the next few years. The reality is that young families can no longer afford to move to MP, perhaps a few will rent. Would love to see the methodology their hired firm uses to project enrollment growth, I bet my finger in the wind is probably more accurate.

Cheers!


22 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 9, 2020 at 11:19 am

new guy,

I have to agree with you. Enrollment has been slowly declining for the past several years. At the same time Property Tax revenue for the cities that form Menlo Part School District have been sky rocketing. For Example in 2018-2019 menlo Park Property tax revenue grew 11.06% and in 2019-2020 it grew by an additional 10.5%. Atherton property tax revenue in 2018-2019 grew by 7.06% and in 2019-2020 it grew by an additional 6.62%. This is important because the Menlo Park School District gets the vast majority of it operating funds from Property Tax and not from the State. I would also point out that the School Districts asks parents to donate $1500 per student each year to help fund programs and other activities.

Enrollment declining. Revenue from Property tax is sky rocketing AND they want to have a new parcel tax on the ballot? What scare tactics will they try and use this time? One thing they have said is that "20 years of increased enrollment." I would like to see their numbers on this. Everything the Almanac has reported has indicated enrollment has declined over the past several years and will continue to decline in the future.

Story on Property Tax revenues
Web Link


13 people like this
Posted by MPer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 9, 2020 at 12:33 pm

how about we get rid of prop 13 and properly fund our schools


6 people like this
Posted by MPCSD Public Information Officer
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 9, 2020 at 1:18 pm

MPCSD welcomes the community's feedback. Please consider sharing your thoughts at any of our School Board meetings, including tonight's at 6:00 p.m. at 181 Encinal Ave., Atherton in the TERC Boardroom. (MPCSD School Board calendar: Web Link) No decisions have yet been made about future bonds or parcel taxes, however on January 9 the Board will begin discussing the opportunities for public input into the process.


10 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Jan 9, 2020 at 2:21 pm

"rid of prop 13 and properly fund our schools"

This comment is based on a huge myth foisted on Californians. Here's the truth...

Over the last 40+ years since Prop 13 took effect, property tax revenue in California has grown over 7% on average PER YEAR over those 40 years. That growth outpaces inflation and California's GDP growth.

Property tax revenue is California's cash cow, and assertions that government agencies are starved of tax revenue because of prop 13 is one of the biggest lies in California politics...and that's saying something!!!

Prop 13 does not short schools by even so much as a penny. Anyone asserting otherwise is either ignorant or a liar.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jan 9, 2020 at 2:39 pm

"Prop 13 does not short schools by even so much as a penny. Anyone asserting otherwise is either ignorant or a liar."

Wrong. Prop 13 undervalues both commercial and residential properties that have not been sold in the last 40 years or less.

As a consequence these properties pay far lees in property taxes than if they were assessed at their current fair market values.

"So what's the matter with prop 13? For one, it's easy to exploit. In a commercial real estate transaction, for instance, a building owned by an LLC can avoid reassessment by shifting proportional individual ownership while never technically changing hands. This freezes the tax rates in time, sometimes to pre-1976 levels. In his Revisionist History podcast series, Malcolm Gladwell discovered that, as a result, Los Angeles taxpayers subsidize the LA Country Club by $89.9 million dollars a year.

Another famous example is Disneyland, which pays five cents per square foot of land — eight times less than the average California homeowner. When longtime property owners pay far less than market value, the brunt of property taxation falls squarely on new homeowners and anyone who relocates to or within the state."

Web Link


19 people like this
Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 9, 2020 at 3:54 pm

If "only we could eliminate PROP 13" we could (again) tax old and poor people out of their homes!!! We could then "fund" everything we want. Just image if property taxes went up 5-10% per year, think of all the money we could transfer to the schools for..... I guess pensions and raises.

Sure new home buyers pay more, but at least they know what their taxes are going to be long term.

Even people who bought houses 10-15 years ago for example who purchased a house in West Menlo Park ( a 3bed 2 bath 50-70 year old ranch for 2.5 - 3,5 million and paid approx $30,000 a year to start now pay $37 to $40 per year. If reassessed these properties would be "fair market" valued at $6M and therefor pay $60+ thousand per year. These are probably young families who you suggest would be happy to pay $20K more per year now. Imagine the retired old person at this point, where do you think they would come up with $60K per year in property taxes just to continues to live in an old house. I guess we don't need old people in Menlo Park.




23 people like this
Posted by Old Atherton Guy
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 9, 2020 at 5:09 pm

Not expecting anyone to feel sorry for me, but I live in Atherton and would be forced to sell my home if it weren’t for Prop 13. I bought a modest ranch house 40 years ago. Sure I could sell and move elsewhere, but my family and lifelong friends are here. Even in Atherton, we are not all wealthy. Maybe on paper, but that doesn’t buy food, pay for property upkeep, or cover medical insurance.

I don’t know who Peter Carpenter is, but lumping private residences into the same category as Disneyland is foolish.

By the way, my property tax bill has gone up much more than provided for by prop 13. Las Lomitas School Dist, Sequoia High School District, open Space District etc. No senior exemptions.

Thank you Howard Jarvis for Prop 13.


9 people like this
Posted by Old Atherton Guy
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 9, 2020 at 5:24 pm

One more thought. You have to look at the total picture for people on fixed incomes. Consider that in our area:

1. We pay the highest State income tax, where even capital gains are taxed as regular income
2. Our sales tax is among the highest in the country
3. Our utility costs, especially electricity, are astronomical
4. Gasoline is the most expensive in the country except for Hawaii
5. Supplemental health insurance keeps going up.

Where does it stop? It should be clear why Prop 13 is so important to so many people’s livelihood.


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jan 9, 2020 at 6:04 pm

"I don’t know who Peter Carpenter is, but lumping private residences into the same category as Disneyland is foolish."

No confusion on my part - I am just reporting the facts - under Prop 13 both commercial and residential properties are treated in exactly the same way. No sale, no reassessment.

And I know personally the impact of Prop 13 having moved from a home in Atherton that we owned for 40 years and on which we therefore paid practically no property taxes to a townhome in Menlo Park where we are paying TEN times more in property taxes.


14 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Jan 9, 2020 at 6:11 pm

Peter Carpenter wrote:

"Wrong."

You're wrong. Try improving your reading comprehension.

The previous poster (MPer) strongly implied that prop 13 under-funds schools. There are 2 major flaws in MPer's statement:

1: Aggregate data proves this demonstrably false, when looking at property tax revenue since Prop 13 took effect. Property tax revenue has increased ~7% per year on average for over 40 years, outpacing inflation and California's GDP.

This data flies in the face of media and bureaucrat montras that prop 13 constraints aggregate tax revenue. Given that property tax revenue exceeds inflation growth and GDP growth, it clearly doesn't. Believing otherwise is willful ignorance.


2: Additionally, pedantically it's virtually impossible for prop 13 to underfund schools, since prop 13 has ZERO apportionment language in it. Prop 13 does NOT dictate where tax revenue flows: the legislature made apportionment decisions in AB8.

This point is crucial: THIS is why this state gets copious amounts of property tax revenue yet many school districts are underfunded: the tax revenue IS THERE, but it's reapportioned elsewhere (*cough* fire district *cough*).

The state legislature and governor are fully-empowered to improve school funding; they're not hamstrung by prop 13; on the contrary they LOVE prop 13: they rake in all the gains, then blame the apportionment problems (caused by AB8) on prop 13.


"Disneyland ... pays five cents per square foot of land"

Your pivoting. And while I'm open to 'split role' property assessments (with conditions), it's worth pointing out that Disneyland's lower costs (due to lower property assessments) results in higher income taxes that the state collects.

That said, are there entities that pay less property taxes than other entities? Absolutely. Has that constrained property tax revenue, causing schools to be underfunded? Given the overflowing property tax revenues, the data irrefutably states NO.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jan 9, 2020 at 6:18 pm

Train Fan stated "Prop 13 does not short schools by even so much as a penny. Anyone asserting otherwise is either ignorant or a liar."

That is factually incorrect - Prop 13 undervalues both commercial and residential properties that have not been sold in the last 40 years or less.

As a consequence these properties pay far lees in property taxes than if they were assessed at their current fair market values.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jan 9, 2020 at 6:46 pm

Why won't MPCSD just tell the truth why they need these parcel taxes? It's because of RISING PENSION COSTS. It's not "for the children." Try putting that on the ballot next time.


10 people like this
Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 9, 2020 at 6:48 pm

Got it Peter,

Let us get rid of anyone (old and poor people) who cannot afford huge increases in property taxes just because more people want to live here now!

How about you Peter, tell me how much additional taxes you pay above what is asked of you!!!

Again, you are suggesting getting rid of old or poor people.

What we need in MP is that only people who are going to be assessed additional property taxes (READ: OWNDERS!!!) are the only people allowed to vote on this!!!! RENTERS who think you are::: Shoving thin onto your landlords are into a new reality. Your rents are going up, every year!!!! more than you want!!! Get used to it if you keep voting for this stuff!!!


12 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Jan 9, 2020 at 6:48 pm

"these properties pay far lees (sic) in property taxes"

and yet property tax revenues have increased by ~7% per year on average every year for over 40 years, from ~5 billion to about ~74 billion (2018).

You are making assertions in a vacuum: you're assuming that if you remove prop 13, that it will have no-to-minimal change in tax impact on anyone or anything except companies like Disney and people that have owned their homes over 40 years. You have presented ZERO evidence that tax revenue will remain the same elsewhere and only increase the property taxes on the unicorns.


Going back to the previous discussion (before Peter's Pivot): if people want to increase school funding, then FIX AB8!! The legislature is fully empowered to change it, and people should demand they do so. The tax revenue's there.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jan 9, 2020 at 6:52 pm

" You have presented ZERO evidence that tax revenue will remain the same elsewhere and only increase the property taxes on the unicorns."

I made no such assertion.

Please stick to the facts and quit trying to obfuscate your obvious error that "Prop 13 does not short schools by even so much as a penny".


11 people like this
Posted by Joan
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 9, 2020 at 7:07 pm

I completely agree with Old Atherton Guy. Any substantial increase in property tax would be devastating to those of us on fixed incomes. As everything becomes more and more expensive we have less to work with. Our friends & families are here. Where would we go?


12 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Jan 9, 2020 at 7:47 pm

Pivot Pete wrote:

"obfuscate"

You should stick to words in which you know their actual meaning.


Again, here's what I originally responded to:

MPer: "how about we get rid of prop 13 and properly fund our schools"

In subsequent posts, I pointed out the ~7% average per year growth in property tax revenue, as well as AB8's apportionment problems showing that there is no shortage of property tax revenue. That is the opposite of obfuscation; I gave direct counterpoints to MPer's statement.

You, on the other hand, came in with your "Disneyland" pivot. Oh, the irony.


For those that are not familiar with Mr. Carpenter's background, it's worth pointing out that there's a possible reason he sidesteps discussions about Assembly Bill 8 (AB8): the MP Fire Protection District (he is a former member of the board) has likely benefited from AB8's apportionment rules, unlike many of the school districts in the state. And Pivot Pete just loves his fire district :)


1 person likes this
Posted by OlderMenlo Guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jan 9, 2020 at 7:49 pm

There are quite a few of us older residents who, like Atherton Guy, are not wealthy in terms of day to day living. Lots of equity in the home? Certainly, but it makes far more sense to die in the home and let it get marked up to fair market value (thereby eliminating a massive cap gain hit for the surviving spouse), than to move and send the Feds a huge check.

Equity in the house doesn't pay the utilities, and food, and sales tax, and medical.

Let's not think everyone who has some relief under Prop 13 is somehow gaming the system. It was designed, at its most basic level, to keep older homeowners from getting taxed out of their family homes.

As far as the district needing money ... correct on the pension.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jan 9, 2020 at 7:54 pm

Train Fan - You made a false statement - ""Prop 13 does not short schools by even so much as a penny. Anyone asserting otherwise is either ignorant or a liar."

Live with your misstatement or correct it - your choice.


Like this comment
Posted by Old Atherton Guy
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 9, 2020 at 8:10 pm

Peter C: You seem to know a lot. Yet you say you are now paying 10X the property tax. Why? You apparently moved within SM County. You could have retained your existing property tax base. Maybe you meant to say your property tax would have gone up 10X. Whatever the case it sounds like you moved by choice, so if you are paying 10x you must be good with that. Others of us have chosen not to move; we don’t want property tax increases to make us do so.

The core issue here is that state and local politicians are not willing to stand up to the teachers union. So they do nothing about the horrendous pension costs which eat up more of school budgets every year. It is inevitable that parcel taxes for schools here will persist forever, until we force our elected officials to act.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jan 9, 2020 at 8:15 pm

"You could have retained your existing property tax base."

I elected not to do that.


8 people like this
Posted by Other side of the tracks
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 10, 2020 at 12:03 am

Can you folks drop the prop 13 flame war and get back to the topic at hand? We can all stipulate that property tax revenue has outpaced inflation. We can all stipulate that for the last few years enrollment has been flat to down. The sole reason for the perceived need to levy another tax is to fund employee pensions. So let’s consider MPCSD pensions in comparison to the private sector to evaluate that “need.”

The average company 401k matching contribution in the private sector is 4.7% (1). Median income for San Mateo County apparently is $136.8k (seems high - last I checked only a few years back it had just broken $100k, but let’s assume it’s correct) (2). If you maxed out your 401k at $19k, your employee contribution rate is 13.9%.

Compare these values to MPCSD employee pension funding (3). MPCSD kicked in 16.28% for 2018-2019. The state contribution rate through July 2019 was another 10.328% (4). The employee contribution rate for the same period was 10.25%. So effectively our taxes are matching MPCSD employee contributions at a rate of (16.28+10.328)/10.25, or 2.6:1. Compare this to the above private sector matching rate of 4.7/13.9 = 0.34. MPCSD employees retirement funding puts them at >7.5X advantage over those of us in the private sector in terms of employer matching. The fundamental problem is that MPCSD employees are not shouldering their portion of the burden in funding their retirement income. The solution is for them to increase their employee contribution rate, not ask us to carry more of their burden when they already have a 7.5X advantage in terms of employer matching.

1) Web Link
2) Web Link
3) Web Link
4) Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by OlderMenloGuy
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jan 10, 2020 at 7:46 am

"The fundamental problem is that MPCSD employees are not shouldering their portion of the burden in funding their retirement income. The solution is for them to increase their employee contribution rate, not ask us to carry more of their burden"

Amen.

No why didn't the Superintendent point this out? It's basic math.

Aren't we supposed to crow about our math scores?

Or could it be that the MPCSD considers itself to be in a special class of humans ... ya know, teachers are our heros and all that stuff. Three months off in the Summer and grading papers is so taxing, so stressful, so ... overpaid.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jan 10, 2020 at 7:49 am

The problem with public pensions is not the amount contributed but the fact that these pensions have a defined/set benefit in contrast to most private sector pensions which are based on a defined contribution.

In California most public agencies participate in CalPERS and CalSTRS which takes the contributions fron employers and employers, invests the monies and then pays out future benefits. Unfortunately this system relies on earned income from the investments and if that earned income is not high enough then CalPERS/CalSTRS comes back to the public agency for more money!!!

Look at the line in most public agency budgets of "unfunded pension liabilities" - that is what is driving this system over the cliff.

"School districts are feeling a double whammy – a more than doubling of their mandatory payments to the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) for their professional staffs, plus increasing demands from CalPERS for their support staffs."

Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 10, 2020 at 10:10 am

What percentage of properties have not been sold in the last 40 years, especially residential? I think you will find that the majority of properties in Menlo Park/Atherton have changed hands in the last 40 years and those that have not are mostly occupied by older individuals that would not afford a huge property tax increase (The reason behind Prop 13 in the first place.)

Why would 40 years matter anyway. If you bought a house in 2005 you are still under Prop 13. You were assessed property tax at that price and the taxes are only allowed to go up a small amount each year (1% or there abouts). Prop 13 protects everyone not just people who have owned their houses for 40+ years. Also if you do work on a house (remodel/Addition) that work is assessed and your taxes go up based on the cost of the work).

All this said, Menlo Park Property Tax Revenue went up over 10% this year, that does not seem stagnant to me. The schools got a huge increase in funding while enrollment dropped.


Like this comment
Posted by PROP 13
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 10, 2020 at 12:34 pm

40 years OR LESS. Since prop 13 restricts increases in property tax, it get's out of alignment with inflation every year.

Proposals to adjust Prop 13 focus on removing commercial properties from the law, as they rarely change hands, and also can easily manipulate a sale to avoid reassessment.

PLEASE SUPPORT REMOVING COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES FROM PROP 13 !

Think about how much revenue the state has lost over the years due to no growth of commercial property taxes. They used to comprise the majority of revenue before the law, and now their proportion has dwindled rapidly over the years.


Like this comment
Posted by Reality
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 10, 2020 at 12:49 pm

Ballot for revisions to Commerical property tax part of Prop 13, while exempting small businesses, is linked here:

Web Link)

The state is losing around $7B annually in tax revenue due to corporations not paying their fair share.


54 people like this
Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 11, 2020 at 9:02 am

So to sum up:

1. enrollment down
2. taxes collection way up (way above inflation)
3. prop 13 bad - somehow the state "loses" extracting money because of it, even though state collections are highest ever.
4. need to figure out a way to convince taxpayers the sky will fall if MP schools cannot get more money through property taxes. (((right now my money is on "enrollment projected to skyrocket!!!! due to all the fabulous housing being built in MP))) I can read the headline now...









2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jan 11, 2020 at 9:38 am

The Prop 13 issue is a distraction in this discussion.

There is great certainty regarding what the School District will receive in property taxes under the current laws and those laws will not change in the foreseeable future.


Like this comment
Posted by No more taxes
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 11, 2020 at 3:39 pm

Property values and their taxes have risen substantially over the last 5 years. Infact almost 40%. How irresponsible of the School District not to manage their expenditures. Parcel taxes need to end. Atherton finally killed theirs and the School District should get the message.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jan 11, 2020 at 3:43 pm

"Parcel taxes need to end. Atherton finally killed theirs "

The CITIZENS of Atherton killed the Atherton Parcel Tax - the Council would have kept it forever.


4 people like this
Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 12, 2020 at 10:12 am

I wish MP voters would say no to all new taxes, but the reality is that the voting for property taxes is inherently unfair:

1. renters get to vote on it.
2. those 65 and above can vote for it, then apply for exemption from it (interesting huh).
3. MP seems to only want to place a fixed cost that applies to all properties which is regressive. (how "fair" is it that a home with 2-3 or more times the parcel size pays the same amount, or assessed value to fair higher pays the same amount. I thought we left coasters were against regressive taxes?


1-a: How about we craft a vote to tax renters and have property owners get to vote for it!
2-a: How about we prohibit though currently taking exemptions from voting on tax measures that have an exemption.
3-a: How about MP start asking for progressive taxes next time (based on parcel size or assessed value).


Like this comment
Posted by Agree Prop 13
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 13, 2020 at 1:20 pm

At least get rid of Prop 13 on commercial buildings.


10 people like this
Posted by Joan
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 13, 2020 at 2:13 pm

"At least get rid of Prop 13 on commercial buildings."

I disagree. It will make things much more expensive for us. Rents on retail stores will skyrocket and they are astronomical now. The owners of the buildings will pass the increased cost to the merchant. Many will go out of business.

My feeling is that any invasion of Prop. 13 will just be the first step. They will be back time and time again for another bite until Prop. 13 is completely gone.


Like this comment
Posted by King
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 13, 2020 at 3:47 pm

Awww, I feel bad for your “paper wealth.” I’ll bet you have a paid for home and are sitting on maybe $6 million. I know plenty of seniors who have cashed out and live very wealthy in other parts of the country. There’s no entitlement for people who planned badly. Don’t drag our property values down because you didn’t plan.


6 people like this
Posted by Joan
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 13, 2020 at 5:48 pm

You are wrong on every point, King. I don't think this is the place for personal attacks.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jan 13, 2020 at 6:07 pm

The next big threat to MPCSD's budget is when the Atherton Town Council starts trying to get the School District to give the Town the difference between what Atherton residents pay in taxes to the School District vs the actual cost of the small number of Atherton students enrolled in the District.

Just talk to the Fire District about the Atherton Town Council's "fiscal equity" scam.


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jan 27, 2020 at 10:29 pm

The State should stop giving wealthy school districts, like MPCSD, their Gann Limit credits so they can spend the revenue they collect which exceeds their limit. If this were done, taxes would be reduced to pay back the excess collected. Have you ever noticed how every parcel tax has a Gann Limit increase in the measure? MPFD passed a measure simply to increase their Gann limit so the could spend the excess revenue they enjoy.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jan 27, 2020 at 11:49 pm

"MPFD passed a measure simply to increase their Gann limit so the could spend the excess revenue they enjoy"

This Gann limit increase wasn't passed by MPFPD but rather it was an overwhelming vote of the citizens, 79%, that passed this measure.


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