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High school district puts $265 million bond measure on June ballot

Original post made on Mar 5, 2014

The Sequoia Union High School District board decided on Wednesday (Feb. 26) to put a $265 million bond measure on the June 3 ballot.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, February 27, 2014, 10:42 AM

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Posted by TaxTired
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 5, 2014 at 9:04 am

Another massive bond on the ballot. Didn't the last time Sequoia had a bond we ended up paying a huge amount for the Menlo Atherton Performing Arts Center? Was that really a good use of our tax dollars? Now they want a "broadly worded" bond to allow them flexibility to spend the money as they want. Looking at my tax bill I see we are already paying for a Menlo Park School Elementary Bond from 2005, another Sequoia High School bond from 2005 a San Mateo Junior college bond and Menlo Park just passed a bond to put a new school in the district. Those bonds alone add up to over $100 per assessed $100,000. Give that a cheap house in this area is probably in excess of $1,000,000 that is over an additional $1,000 a year per family.

My opinion is that it is time to say no to these bond measures. The Open Trust and the School districts need to live within their means and quit trying to tax everyone more.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 5, 2014 at 9:33 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 2, 2014 at 12:27 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
It is a bit perplexing.

The SUHSD has capital assets of $320M and current bond indebtedness of $336M so they owe more than their current assets are worth.

And now that want to borrow $265M more to increase their capital assets to $485M - a 80% increase in their capital assets.

Three questions:
1 - How can they justify a a 80% increase in their capital assets vs a much lower increase in population served?

2 - How can they justify not funding capital improvements, or at least a significant portion of them, from their property tax revenues?

3 - At what point will the voters decide that the SUHSD simply is carrying too much debt?

Another question comes to mind:
- What will be the increase in operating expenses, which must be paid for by property taxes and not by bond proceeds, when the capital assets increase by 80% and will the property tax revenues be sufficient? If not then the district will be building buildings that it cannot afford to operate.

To be clear, I am a great proponent of education and our son went through grade school at Encinal and high school at MA. But I am also a strong proponent of good management, fiscal discipline, public agency transparency and careful stewardship of taxpayers' dollars.

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

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