Vote no on Measure B, Menlo Park school district's latest parcel tax initiative | October 8, 2021 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

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Viewpoint - October 8, 2021

Vote no on Measure B, Menlo Park school district's latest parcel tax initiative

by By Mark Hinkle

With this latest "temporary" parcel tax, the Menlo Park City School District claims they need a tax increase to continue providing "high quality educational programs." The district wants to extend the 2017 "temporary" parcel tax ($360 is your current property tax assessment) for another 12 years, and they want to add inflation adjustments so your taxes will rise every year for the next 12 years.

Have they earned this extension that will cost you well over $7,176 for the next 12 years (on top of all the other taxes you are already paying)?

Let's look at the latest student academic performance for English and math. Results from the 2018-19 school year indicate 15.93% of students are below grade level for English, and 17.49% are below grade level for math.

The district rewarded students, parents, and taxpayers for the passage of the 2017 parcel tax by dropping proficiency in English and (with) minuscule 1.67% improvement in math!

How many students in the graduating class took one or more Advanced Placement (AP) exam? Answer: 13 out of 2,922 students for the 2018-19 school year, the latest figures according to the California Department of Education Data Partnership (ed-data.org).

Should you, the voters, reward the district for declining academics? If not, we encourage you to vote no on Measure B.

This district is already spending $19,990 per student per year, which is 148% above the statewide average ($13,489), while providing average education results. Yet they want more of your hard-earned money to pad their salaries (averaging $106,988 per year plus up to $13,250 in benefits) and fat pension plans. They claim no funds will be used for administration. But revenues increased over the last five years ($12.2 million) can be used for administration expenses without limits.

The statewide average teacher's salary is $84,531 (2019-20 school year) compared to this district's average salary of $106,986 (according to the latest figures from 2017-18). That's a whopping $22,455 difference. And they only teach 180 days a year, earning $594.36 per day.

Furthermore, the district's average daily attendance expenses for certified personnel are 178% above the statewide average.

Student enrollment continues to decline, now down to 2,922 students.

They say this tax will raise $4.6 million, but revenues are already up $12.2 million in just the last five years. They clearly don't need more of your hard-earned income.

Tell the Menlo Park City school board to be fiscally responsible by voting no on Measure B.

In the real world, you get better results when you reward success. However, if you reward failure, you will get more failure!

Tell the Menlo Park City school board that you want education success first and then they'll get a reward. But for now, vote no on Measure B.

The ballot measures states there will be "independent oversight" of the funds. However, guess who picks the oversight committee? You guessed it: the Menlo Park City school board. Not exactly like foxes guarding the henhouse, but hardly an objective oversight committee.

The ballot measure also states that this "temporary" tax will expire after 12 years. But we all know they will just seek another extension for more money for another "temporary" tax increase after this one expires.

One last thought: Parcel tax elections are paid for by the school district, which means your tax dollars are paying for this mail ballot and not being spent on educating students. If you think this is a misuse of your tax dollars, then please vote no.

For more information, please visit us at svtaxpayers.org

Mark Hinkle is president of the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association and lives in Morgan Hill.

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