News

Sheryl Sandberg donates $10K to Menlo Park school district parcel tax measure campaign

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, gives the keynote address during the Golden Acorn awards ceremony hosted at the Stanford Park Hotel on Sept. 20, 2016. She recently donated $10,000 to the Menlo Park City School District's parcel tax measure effort. Photo by Michelle Le

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg gave $10,000 last month to support the Menlo Park City School District (MPCSD)'s parcel tax measure campaign effort; her donation constituted about a quarter of the total contributions the campaign received for the period starting May 19 and ending June 30. The proposed tax will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Sandberg, who lives in Menlo Park, made the donation to the "Committee to Support Menlo Park Schools, Yes on Parcel Tax Measure" on June 21. The committee raised $40,275 from May to June to support the $598-per-parcel measure, which would provide $4.6 million annually for 12 years. Statements show a total of 65 donations made.

Jacob Mizrahi, a partner at investment firm Oval Partners in Palo Alto, gave the second highest donation: $5,000.

Notable donors associated with the district included: MPCSD board President Sherwin Chen, $3,500; Trustee Stacey Jones, $250; Trustee David Ackerman, $200; Terry Thygesen, former trustee, $2,500; Trustee Francesca Segrè, $250. (Trustee Scott Saywell was the only board member who didn't contribute to the committee during the latest campaign finance reporting period.) San Mateo County Community College District Trustee John Pimentel contributed $250. Menlo Park City Councilwoman Jennifer Wolosin gave $200.

During the reporting period, the campaign spent nearly $6,800. The bulk of the expenses were to pay Whitehurst/Mosher Campaign Strategy and Media, a political consulting firm hired by the district to advise on the parcel tax, that charged $5,000 for its campaign consulting fees.

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This isn't the first time Sandberg has supported the district's parcel tax measures. In 2016, she donated $10,000 to the campaign for the district's unsuccessful attempt to pass two other parcel tax measures.

The proposed tax, which requires two-thirds voter approval to pass and has not yet been named by the elections office, would replace the district's Measure X, which passed in 2017 with an initial annual rate of $360 per parcel for $2.83 million annually. The measure expires in July 2022.

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Sheryl Sandberg donates $10K to Menlo Park school district parcel tax measure campaign

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Mon, Aug 2, 2021, 11:02 am

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg gave $10,000 last month to support the Menlo Park City School District (MPCSD)'s parcel tax measure campaign effort; her donation constituted about a quarter of the total contributions the campaign received for the period starting May 19 and ending June 30. The proposed tax will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Sandberg, who lives in Menlo Park, made the donation to the "Committee to Support Menlo Park Schools, Yes on Parcel Tax Measure" on June 21. The committee raised $40,275 from May to June to support the $598-per-parcel measure, which would provide $4.6 million annually for 12 years. Statements show a total of 65 donations made.

Jacob Mizrahi, a partner at investment firm Oval Partners in Palo Alto, gave the second highest donation: $5,000.

Notable donors associated with the district included: MPCSD board President Sherwin Chen, $3,500; Trustee Stacey Jones, $250; Trustee David Ackerman, $200; Terry Thygesen, former trustee, $2,500; Trustee Francesca Segrè, $250. (Trustee Scott Saywell was the only board member who didn't contribute to the committee during the latest campaign finance reporting period.) San Mateo County Community College District Trustee John Pimentel contributed $250. Menlo Park City Councilwoman Jennifer Wolosin gave $200.

During the reporting period, the campaign spent nearly $6,800. The bulk of the expenses were to pay Whitehurst/Mosher Campaign Strategy and Media, a political consulting firm hired by the district to advise on the parcel tax, that charged $5,000 for its campaign consulting fees.

This isn't the first time Sandberg has supported the district's parcel tax measures. In 2016, she donated $10,000 to the campaign for the district's unsuccessful attempt to pass two other parcel tax measures.

The proposed tax, which requires two-thirds voter approval to pass and has not yet been named by the elections office, would replace the district's Measure X, which passed in 2017 with an initial annual rate of $360 per parcel for $2.83 million annually. The measure expires in July 2022.

Comments

Westbrook
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 2, 2021 at 12:46 pm
Westbrook, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Aug 2, 2021 at 12:46 pm

Are you tired of paying higher and higher taxes, Then Stop it Now, Read your property tax bill, There are approx. 10 separate parcel taxes you pay twice a year in addition to the county property taxes. This $600 tax may not sound like a lot to some people but add up all the extra parcel taxes and you may be surprised. Now factor in people on fixed incomes who are trying to hang on to their homes. Where are they going to cut back to pay this, Food, Medicine? Don't add to the crisis of homelessness. Just say No to more taxes, Ca. is already the highest taxed state in the country.


Atherton Resident
Registered user
Atherton: other
on Aug 2, 2021 at 1:06 pm
Atherton Resident, Atherton: other
Registered user
on Aug 2, 2021 at 1:06 pm

Westbrook- Totally agree. The district need to spend less, not tax more.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 2, 2021 at 7:35 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 2, 2021 at 7:35 pm

Sandberg could probably come out of pocket herself and cover what the district is asking for without even feeling it. Yet, she donates money to get voters to pick other people's pockets. I have yet to see the district provide any real evidence that they actually NEED more money. Enrollment is declining. Please explain how in a atmosphere of rising property tax revenues and declining enrollment the district could possibly need more money.


Enough
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 2, 2021 at 7:52 pm
Enough, Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 2, 2021 at 7:52 pm

I agree that this parcel tax makes no sense. Looking at enrollment in the last 10 years it has not really changed much, what has changed significantly is revenue from property tax. Because of the increase in home prices property tax revenue for Menlo Park and Atherton has been going up on the order of 10% a year. Since the school district gets a percentage of property tax the amount they receive has also been going up significantly year over year. Bottom line is the district has roughly the same number of students and more than twice the yearly revenue as 10 years ago, where it the money going? I doubt teachers are making twice what they were 10 years ago... Vote No


Taxed to Oblivion
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 3, 2021 at 1:37 pm
Taxed to Oblivion, Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 3, 2021 at 1:37 pm

Per all comments above, PLEASE encourage your friends and neighbors to vote NO on any/all new taxes, particularly this one. How many professions used the COVID crisis as a lobbying tool for higher taxes? Enrollment is DOWN, taxes are sky high. There is zero fiscal responsibility.


KidsFirst
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 3, 2021 at 7:19 pm
KidsFirst, Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 3, 2021 at 7:19 pm

I am encouraged to see the momentum behind the campaign that critically supports our local schools. The Menlo Park School District and the amazing education provided at Encinal, Laurel, Oak Knoll and Hillview Schools is one of the many reasons that my family celebrates being a part of this community. MPCSD is fiscally responsible and manages public funds well. It has a AAA bond rating, relatively low administrative costs and student outcomes that are the same or better than schools that spend significantly more per student. MPCSD does not receive sufficient state or federal funding and this measure will renew an expiring parcel tax that the community approved in 2017 by nearly 80% of the vote. Thank you everyone for your investment in this campaign and our kids.


Carlton Loeber
Registered user
another community
on Aug 4, 2021 at 9:49 am
Carlton Loeber, another community
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2021 at 9:49 am

[Post removed due to being off-topic]


Public Education Supporter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Aug 4, 2021 at 9:54 am
Public Education Supporter, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2021 at 9:54 am

I've really been happy to see school district leadership have a very open and inclusive process to help residents understand district finances over the several few years. Measure X expires in 2022; this is a replacement measure that one at a modest increase. Residents on fixed incomes (seniors) can be exempted from having to pay for the tax, as they have been able to do with the current/expiring tax. The funding this tax would generate is dedicated entirely to core curriculum and keeping class sizes reasonable-- in other words for teachers.

The MPCSD leadership and teachers have been heroic this last year getting kids who wanted in-person instruction back in the classroom since last October, which helped our kids and parents in this community. It shows me they are really on top of the needs of students and have their act together as a district.

I no longer have kids in the district and haven't for several years, but I'm proud to remain a supporter of strong public instruction in my local community. It is a bargain for us all to pay this parcel tax to keep our community strong -- and a side note-- an outcome of quality public schools is that property values are protected. When I moved here 20+ years ago, quality public schools was the primary reason we chose this city over other areas nearby. I'm all in to support this replacement tax measure supporting quality local public education.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 4, 2021 at 11:04 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2021 at 11:04 am

For those in support of another parcel tax. Please answer the question I posted above. How can a district who's enrollment is declining or, or at best, remaining static, that is seeing HUGE gains in income from property tax increases need more money? Please, explain that. Rationally and without a bunch of "it's for the kids" and "they're great schools so we should just keep giving them whatever they ask for" BS.


MenloMom
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 4, 2021 at 11:40 am
MenloMom, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2021 at 11:40 am

If you look carefully at the district's finances, particularly in comparison to the neighboring strong districts, it is amazing what an education our children are able to receive with a level of per student funding that is way below the others! Property values have gone up, but the district only receives 18 cents on the dollar from property taxes, and any significant revenue increases only come from the properties that have changed hands. This is not a new tax, just a modest renewal to maintain the status quo.

MPCSD handled the pandemic as elegantly as humanly possible this year. My parent friends in neighboring districts were pulling their hair out with flip-flopping and confusion, while Menlo Park offered in person instruction (full time for many) starting in November, or a cutting edge virtual academy for those who preferred that option. The strong administration and teaching staff in MPCSD should be commended and we should not be making cuts to funding at this time when they are already a lean, well run machine.

Cheers to the upcoming school year! We are lucky to live here and I thank all of the volunteers and staff working to preserve our schools.


Menlo Park Resident
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 4, 2021 at 1:15 pm
Menlo Park Resident, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2021 at 1:15 pm

We are fortunate to live in such a wonderful neighborhood with a great school district. We can see from the rising property values and lots of families wanted to move here. Over the past year, we have witnessed how effective the school administration has been - opening schools and creating a productive environment for our children to learn despite the difficult circumstances. We should rally the community to support renewing the Parcel Tax to continue funding these schools. Recently, I saw an interesting explanation of the sources of funds for the school district. A whopping 16% of operating budget came from this Parcel Tax. Many other cities and school districts receive a much bigger portion of funding directly from property taxes. Menlo Park City School District doesn't. This Parcel Tax is a critical part of running these schools. It is not a pot of "nice-to-have" money. Hope the community can show support.


KidsFirst
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 4, 2021 at 10:33 pm
KidsFirst, Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2021 at 10:33 pm

Our kids are the future, plain and simple. I was born and raised here in the MP and now raising my children here. They have completed their time at MPCSD and grateful for those years. MPCSD rose above all during Covid, the administration, staff and teachers gave up their summers last year to train, prepare and plan for a new approach to teaching during the pandemic. In order to keep everyone safe, new safety measures following CDC and county guidelines had to be implemented, this cost money. This parcel tax is essential otherwise the District will have to cut an additional $3 million, after nearly $1.9 million in cuts already being implemented. This will severely limit its ability to attract and retain the best teachers, increase class sizes and force cuts in music, arts, language, library and counseling. Supporting this parcel tax is supporting our amazing teachers along with being able to provide our kids with much needed counselor guidance and elective courses. Keeping our community and schools strong is good for everyone.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 5, 2021 at 8:31 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2021 at 8:31 am

So far all I've heard is "it's for the kids". Does anyone have an actual answer to the question? Why with declining enrollments and climbing income from property taxes is a parcel tax needed?


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