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Editorial Rebuttal in Support of A & C

Original post made by YES on A & C, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park, on Apr 14, 2016

It is with disappointment that I read Richard Hine and Renee Batti’s (the Almanac Editor and Associate Editor) editorial saying that they were voicing a “reluctant ‘no’ on school parcel tax measures.”

Their decision to not endorse Measures A and C was especially surprising given the editors acknowledging that:

- “The Almanac has traditionally supported local school districts' efforts to fortify their funding through parcel taxes – a revenue boost made necessary over the years by increasingly unreliable funding from the state.”

- “We believe that the revenue that would continue to flow into the district by a renewal of the current parcel tax would be a good investment in the district's schools….”

- “We acknowledge that school board members are putting their hearts and their best efforts into the work of making very good schools great schools, and those efforts are paying off.”

and

- “We are not denying the need for additional funding to support outstanding teachers and programs, and to offset the costs of higher-than-expected enrollment.”

They also do not dispute that the schools’ need for the additional funds is expected to be there for the foreseeable future.

So, the editors admittedly reluctant decision to not support the Measures essentially comes down to the supposedly “fatal flaw” of the taxes being permanent. They claim that the absence of a sunset provision would result in “a diminution of public oversight of the public's business – oversight that's necessary in a healthy, open democracy.”

But in response to well-founded explanations provided by the Measures’ proponents about how public hearings and school board elections will provide appropriate public oversight, the editors can only point to an argument that is not based on actual facts.

The Measures’ proponents explain that if, after open, public meetings, the School Board decides to impose taxes in years when the community believes the taxes are not necessary, then the community can unseat School Board Members through the open, democratic process of school board elections. In response, they say:

- “the problem with that argument is that the school board…appears to have developed into a closed club: When a member decides not to run for re-election, he or she resigns before the term expires and at a point where the board is allowed to appoint a replacement. And that hand-picked new member then has the incumbent's advantage at the ballot box during the next election.”

Undermining the editors' argument, however, is the fact that there is only one time in the last 20 years when an appointed incumbent Board Member later ran for office and was elected in by the voters. And in that instance, the person who filled out the term of the resigning Board Member, Jeff Child, did so when a Board Member moved to Europe and Jeff had already been previously elected to the Board in his own right. In fact, after the only other board resignation in the past decade, the person who was appointed to fill out the term of the resigning Board Member, Scott Hinshaw, did not run for election after being appointed.

In sum, it appears that the editors have picked up from the opponents of the Measures an argument that is not borne out in reality. And given the editors' concessions about the need for funding, the worthiness of such investment in our schools, and the proven track record of the District in improving our schools, it is actually the editors' argument that is “fatally flawed.”

I respectfully disagree with the editorial and would encourage other proponents of this measure to forward this opinion so voters may have an additional viewpoint of which may help them decide how to cast their ballot.

I am voting YES on Measures A & C.

Comments (190)

21 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 14, 2016 at 9:19 am

Thank you for this. It's good to hear a different opinion on the editorial.


21 people like this
Posted by Concerned Parent, voting YES
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 14, 2016 at 9:32 am

As a parent of 2 Menlo Park students, I've looked into and seen the challenges of funding our schools effectively and as a community, we need to continue to make Menlo Park an attractive place for people to live.

Great schools are one of the top influencers (increased property value, closer community, broader experiences for our youth...) and we have an opportunity to continue making our schools the best in the state. Unfortunately, I've struggled with the fact we have a low level of state funding and rely on parents to directly fund programs that benefit the whole community. Frankly, this should be a permanent benefit to Menlo Park.

It was super helpful to find the FAQ at Web Link that I was made aware of by another post. After looking at that and doing some of my own digging online, I appreciate the facts on that FAQ that offset some of what I've read Mr. Carpenter posting. I'm enthusiastic about an open forum, but we should be clear in what is true and what is not and make informed decisions ourselves.

So, I voted YES and hope we can move forward together!


40 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 14, 2016 at 9:35 am

My kids are done with MP schools, am still voting yes.

btw, how 'bout that 73/400 last night?!?!?


18 people like this
Posted by Resident of Menlo Park
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 14, 2016 at 9:44 am

Thank you "YES on A and C"! I appreciate real content on these posts, and not just information based on rhetoric. Let's all remember, in terms of cost of Measure A, there is NO INCREASE, property owners will simply continue to pay the annual assessment of $201.38 per parcel. An exemption will continue to be available for those 65 and older who occupy their homes. This Measure does not CHANGE anything, it simply maintains our schools at their current high performing level of student enrollment at the District’s four schools.

AND More than 85% of District’s budget goes to salaries for teachers and staff, and almost all work directly with students. Measure A funds CANNOT be spent on District administration.

Even if I did not have kids in school, by supporting our great public schools, Measure A will keep our property values high and continue to attract home buyers willing to pay a premium to live in our community. For the same cost as a latte per week, we can maintain the great quality of our MPCSD schools!


10 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 14, 2016 at 9:46 am

Straight from Web Link here's a list of community leaders that ARE ENDORSING these measures:


Community Leaders

Rich Gordon, State Assemblymember

Joe Simitian, Santa Clara County Supervisor and Former State Senator

Warren Slocum, San Mateo Board of Supervisors President

Anne Campbell, San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools

Joe Ross, San Mateo County Board of Education, Vice President and Trustee Area Seven

Rich Cline, Councilmember and Mayor

Kirsten Keith, Councilmember and Vice Mayor

Catherine Carlton, Councilmember and former Mayor

Ray Mueller, Councilmember and former Mayor

Peter Ohtaki, Councilmember and former Mayor

Allen Weiner, SUHSD Trustee and Former President

Chris Thomsen, SUHSD Trustee and Former President

Katie Ferrick, Menlo Park Planning Commissioner

Jeff Child, Menlo Park City School District Board President

Stacey Jones, Menlo Park City School District Board Vice-President

Maria Hilton, Menlo Park City School District Board Trustee

Joan Lambert, Menlo Park City School District Board Trustee

Terry Thygsen, Menlo Park City School District Board Trustee

Karen Canty, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Mark Box, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Deborah Fitz, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Scott Hinshaw, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Bruce Ives, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Gordon Lewin, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Carol Orton, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Laura Rich, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Nancy Serrurier, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee


School Leaders

Michael Moore, Retired Hillview Principal

Ted Schlein, MPAEF Former President

Lynne Young, MPAEF Former President

Peggy Propp, MPAEF Former President

Jill Parker, MPAEF Former President

Steve Hoffmann, MPAEF Former President

Kim Guthrie, MPAEF Former President

Shari Conrad, MPAEF Former President

Scott Lohmann, MPAEF Former President

Gerang Desai, MPAEF Former President

Alison Leupold, MPAEF Former President

Theanne Thomson, MPAEF Former President

Kristin Seuell, MPAEF Former President

Laura Foster, MPAEF Former President

Leigh Flesher, MPAEF Former President

Jill Vizas, Encinal PTO President

May Matsui, Encinal PTO Co-Vice President

Stephanie Chen, Oak Knoll PTO President

Tamara Russel, Oak Knoll PTO Communications Chair

Janelle McCombs, Oak Knoll PTO Vice President

Kate Kennedy, Hillview PTO Co-President

Jody Buckley, Hillview PTO Co-Vice President

Gina Skinner, Hillview PTO Recording Secretary

Ken Wang, Hillview PTO Financial Secretary

Elizabeth Ouren, Former Encinal PTO President

Carla Posthauer, Former Laurel PTO President

Debi Rice, Former Laurel PTO President

Tracy Watt, Former Oak Knoll PTO President

Carolyn Bowsher, Former Oak Knoll PTO President

Jill Kispert, Former Hillview PTO Co-President


32 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 14, 2016 at 9:59 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"....how public hearings and school board elections will provide appropriate public oversight"

Sorry, but that is patently false. Oversight? You mean like the current Oversight Committee that is supposed to have seven members but only has three? That one? The one that even lacking a quorum has had meetings and done business? That "oversight?"

Thanks, but no thanks.

School board elections will also not provide oversight. Everyone knows it is a little club and the only people that get elected are members of "the club." Any time someone outside the club has tried to run the smear and whisper campaign starts as recently occurred.

Again, no thanks. The board's lack of transparency on the district financials is a perfect example of the lack of oversight.

My wife and I voted no and I encourage everyone else to do the same.


8 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 14, 2016 at 10:12 am

To those interested, here is a link to volunteer for the Citizens Oversight Committee. There are open positions so if you have time to comment on Town Square you probably have time to volunteer!

Web Link

CITIZENS' BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE MEASURE W
Bond The Menlo Park City School District is seeking potential candidates to fill positions on the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee. In November 2013, voters within the Menlo Park City School District boundaries approved the Measure W Bond to modernize and provide new school facilities. The Bond was passed per Proposition 39, which requires the creation of a Bond Oversight Committee. This volunteer committee is responsible for performing oversight activities such as review of bond expenditures and preparation of annual reports as set forth by Proposition 39. The Committee meets at minimum on a quarterly basis. The Committee is comprised of seven people from different segments of the Community. The District is currently seeking to fill the 7 vacant positions. One position is for a representative of the business community within the District; one position is for a representative active in a senior citizen’s organization; one position is for a representative active in a bona fide taxpayers’ organization; one position is for a representative who is a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the District; and one position is for a representative who is a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the School District and is active in a Parent-Teacher Organization or School Site Council. Two positions are at large and must meet the resident and age requirements. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the School District. For any further questions, please call Ahmad Sheikholeslami at 650-321-7140. Deadline to apply, open until filled. If you are interested in this position, please submit a Letter of Interest as well as background information about yourself and the organization in which you are active to: ahmad@mpcsd.org or to:

Menlo Park City School District
Attn: Ahmad Sheikholeslami
181 Encinal Ave.
Atherton, CA 94027


18 people like this
Posted by Elementary School Parent - Voting YES
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 14, 2016 at 10:29 am

As a parent with two children in MPCSD schools, I want to thank 'YES on A and C' for factual and reasonable information regarding how our highly acclaimed MPCSD board functions. I am disappointed about how the previous commentary, has confused the facts and mislead the Almanac and their readers. These objectionable posts have tried to discredit the Menlo Park City School District, a main pillar of our city, providing the best education possible for our children. I'd ask voters to please be sure to educate yourselves about the real issues before voting, and you will see how the future of our MPCSD schools depends upon funding from these measures. I highly recommend that you go to the website here to search for answers to any questions. Web Link

Please vote YES to support Menlo Park students, and continue to invest in the future of our wonderful community.

Thank you!


6 people like this
Posted by MP parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 14, 2016 at 10:38 am

I am glad that people voting yes are sharing their views, but for me it would be more helpful to see people address the Measures rather than the editorial.

>>>>"Let's all remember, in terms of cost of Measure A, there is NO INCREASE, property owners will simply continue to pay the annual assessment of $201.38 per parcel."<<<<

I think the $201.38 amount in the existing tax does not have an inflation adjustment, but Measure A includes one. If this is correct, there is an increase. Am I wrong?


1 person likes this
Posted by MP parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 14, 2016 at 10:46 am

Please give to the MPAEF and your PTOs to support Menlo Park students, and continue to invest in the future of our wonderful community.


10 people like this
Posted by Long-time Supporter of Education
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 14, 2016 at 10:52 am

Thank you 'Parent' for publicizing this very impressive list of Measure A and C supporters! These are our Menlo Park leaders and I firmly agree, VOTE YES to fund our incredible MPCSD schools! The opponent of these measures has made many unfounded statements that the district has been inefficient with funds...their math is off...perhaps the opposition did not have highly accredited math teachers like our MPCSD students do? But here are the real numbers... While total funding has gone up, those increases have not kept pace with enrollment growth. In fact, the District actually spent $465 less per student in 2014/15 than it did in 2005/06. Even the Almanac confirms that figure! According to the California Department of Education, our District spends considerably less per student than comparable high performing districts such as Las Lomitas, Woodside and Portola Valley. (Other districts the opposition mentions may spend less, but they are not truly comparable as they have larger class sizes and programs with less breadth.)
Thanks to the fabulous guidance of our MPCSD board and the hard work of our administration, our District is the first in California to have AAA ratings from both Standard and Poors and Moody’s. Our schools have improved dramatically in the past 10 years! Let's keep moving in the right direction, and properly fund our schools! VOTE YES


5 people like this
Posted by Mpcsd Parent2
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 14, 2016 at 10:53 am

@MP Parent
Expiring $201 tax does have provision that adjusts for inflation


Like this comment
Posted by MP parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 14, 2016 at 10:57 am

Thank you.


17 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 14, 2016 at 11:41 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Why is debt service for the $23 million bond measure (2013) not included in per student expenditure. What about debt service on the state bonds used for "matching funds" of the districts construction projects?

Now we are hearing from the "Focus groups" from whom the district concluded that "There is high satisfaction with Menlo Park in general and a strong belief that the schools are very good, very well run and a major contributor to good quality of life in Menlo Park"

Glittering generalities.

The Menlo Park City School District spent $37,200 to come to that conclusion. And,the upcoming election will probably cost the district at least $83,000, which is what its 2010 parcel tax election cost.


10 people like this
Posted by Moved here for the great schools
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 14, 2016 at 11:42 am

To me voting YES on Measures A & C are really a no brainer. Before moving to Menlo Park my wife and I fully educated ourselves on the different school districts in the area and chose MPCSD because of the obvious commitment this community has been making in education. As I look through the numbers, dollar for dollar, our children are receiving an outstanding education and funding for this education is being used efficiently. As new home owners it is why we paid to live in Menlo Park. Excellent schools are what brings new people to Menlo Park. New people that shop in the Menlo Park stores, New people that contribute back to the community.

I urge you all to fully educate yourselves and to not rely on rhetoric alone which is clearly what the opposition is hoping.

Here is a particular piece of data I found most useful in forming my own opinion to vote YES.

The following 2014 cost per student comparison of nearby comparable districts provides strong evidence that Menlo Park City Elementary School District delivers its outstanding program at a reasonable cost:
Woodside $19,458
Portola Valley $18,154
Palo Alto $14,955
Hillsborough $14,448
Las Lomitas $14,270
Menlo Park $13,006
We have high quality teachers, small class sizes and a comprehensive program like these other districts. That we are doing this at less cost is objective and compelling evidence that the District is managed well.

So of course we are voting YES!



15 people like this
Posted by Neela Gentile
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 14, 2016 at 12:15 pm

I have always felt that media outlets and reporters should check their opinions at the door - The Almanac included. It is one thing to report on fact and another entirely to try and influence people's opinions. I believe that the responsibility of reporters and media is to report - not influence. When they actually report, they are an essential and incredibly valuable part of the community. When they become opinionated, they are no better that the town gossip.


7 people like this
Posted by Laurel/Hillview parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 14, 2016 at 12:39 pm

I moved here three years ago for the schools, specifically for the low teacher/student ratio absent from our neighboring district. Measure A is simply a renewal of a 2010 parcel tax - without it we lose 13 teachers! Our enrollment is snowballing and we are merely being asked to maintain our current expenditure. Maintaining our schools' high quality (and the property value of ALL of our homes, even those without children) is a no brainer choice. We will be voting yes on A and C!


19 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 14, 2016 at 12:41 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Having participated in the editorial interview with Almanac staff accompanied by Peter Carpenter, Alex Keh and Jen Sun, I can assure you that Barbara Wood researched the facts thoroughly.

These parcel tax measures should never have been presented to the voters.

On Feb. 3, 2016, I sent the following to the MPCSD school board members: "Members of the Menlo Park School District Board of Directors. I urge you to cancel your plans for the ill-advised parcel tax measures you are pursuing. There will be opposition."

Please, mail in your ballots.


16 people like this
Posted by Umm
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 14, 2016 at 12:47 pm

@ Neela Gentile

Editorials and op-eds are opinion pieces, not news stories. The Almanac's editorial opposed A and C, and this rebuttal is an op-ed opposing that view. Neither is news.


10 people like this
Posted by MP parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 14, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Here's where I am stuck. I would vote to authorize parcel taxes with an expiration date. I really wish the school board would have considered that rather than a permanent authorization. I think highly of the current board members, but I am struggling with the notion of whether boards should have this standing authorization -- putting the onus on our community to "do something about it" if we disapprove -- or whether it should be incumbent on the board periodically to come back to us, the voters, for a thumbs up. I am concerned that the permanent authorization would make it all too easy for the entire community-at-large to be less involved. I strongly believe in community oversight. Still mulling it over.

Is it correct that if Measures A and C fail there would be time for voters to approve a different (e.g. non-permanent) parcel tax authorization before the current tax expires in 2017?

In short, I would love to see our schools get more money, I'm just not sure this is the best way to do it.


29 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Maintaining our schools' high quality is a no brainer choice"

Of course it is a no brainer if your kids are the beneficiaries of everybody else paying all these taxes but very few property owners actually have kids in the MPCSD system.

"(and the property value of ALL of our homes, even those without children) "
Please explain the correlation between property values and school performance, specifically why are Menlo Park's property values lower than Palo Alto's or other districts that the proponents claim are comparable.

And why FIVE parcel taxes than NEVER expire rather than ONE consolidated parcel tax which has to be renewed by the voters on a periodic basis? That was the nexus of the Almanac editorial and yet no one wants to address these two issues.


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Note this story just posted in the Almanac:
"Property taxes and hotel taxes collected in Menlo Park during the first half of the 2015-16 fiscal year are bringing in more revenue than expected, according to a mid-year financial report presented to the City Council recently by Nick Pegueros, the city's administrative services director.

General fund revenues in the current fiscal year (which ends June 30) are expected to be about $2.1 million higher than was was budgeted at the start of the budget year on July 1, 2015. That 4.5 percent increase results from higher-than expected revenues from property and hotel taxes and charges for services, the report says."

What did MPCSD project as property tax revenues vs what is now their expected revenue?


6 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 14, 2016 at 1:59 pm

@ MP parent

Unfortunately our school district gets very little money from the state (as opposed to Basic Aid districts), so most of our funding is almost entirely local. This is not going to go away. On top of that, we get no additional state aid as new kids enroll. Its projected 71 new students will enroll in our schools next year. We will get no additional money from the state for them. In fact, I don't think we ever know what we will get from the state until they pass their budget in the summer before school starts!

Measure A simply renews the expiring 2010 parcel tax. Its base funding our schools rely on and like I said that need is not going to go away.

Measure C simply prepares the district for future enrollment growth. If 0 new students enroll, there is $0 tax. The tax is only levied if enrollment increases.

Its actually a built in set of checks and balances because instead of just waiting for the school district to come back to us and say they need funding for new technology or new fields or new buses, we are saying ok you are telling us the greatest cost and risk to educational sustainability is enrollment growth then we will cover the funding for just that and only when it happens.


30 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Measure A simply renews the expiring 2010 parcel tax." And that parcel tax was sold on the basis of being temporary because of the economic downturn so what is the justification now that property taxes will increase by 9%?

"we get no additional state aid as new kids enroll." So what? Most "new kids" come from homes that have been sold and hence reappraised at much higher values and from new residential construction which pays both significant impact fees and new annual property taxes.


34 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 14, 2016 at 2:53 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

These pro-5-parcel tax proponents constantly ignore objective revenue numbers that irrefutably prove that revenue is exceeding inflation and student population increases.

The pro-5-parcel-tax strategy is clear: just keep repeating the unsubstantiated pro-tax soundbites, hoping that repeating the same statements over and over will yield enough votes to get their 5 parcel taxes.

It's time to write our own rebuttal. Unlike the pro-5-parcel-tax proponents, I'll actually back up statements with math and easily verifiable references.


The Almanacnews recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.
The Daily Post recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.


Vote NO on Measures A and C


3 people like this
Posted by Mom in Linfield Oaks
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 14, 2016 at 3:27 pm

Every registered voter gets a ballot mailed to them at their home because this is a mail-in-only election. That is not a secret. It is the best-publicized election ever!


8 people like this
Posted by Linfield Oaks Mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 14, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Population growth is not likely to stop, so school enrollment will climb. The state of California is not likely to stop taking almost all property taxes away from local to pay state bills, so school funding will be low. It is impossible to imagine public schools will be over-funded. Ever. A permanent tax corresponds to a permanent need.


23 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 3:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The City of Menlo Park states that it will receive an 8% increase in property taxes yet MPCSD's budget states "Based on data from the San Mateo County Assessor’s Office for next year, the Second Interim Budget maintains an increase of 5.0% in secured property tax in the multi-year projection for
2016/17, approximately $1.2 million. The Second Interim Budget projection for 2017/18 secured property tax, and beyond, remains at 3%."

The difference between the MPCSD budgeted 5% and the City's 8% would be $772,500 for 2016/17.

The difference between MPCSD's budgeted increase of 3% for 2017/18 and a more probable 8% would be another 5%or $1,275,000.

When the $772,500 2016/17 property tax base increase is carried over from 2016/17 then this would mean a total property tax increase over the budgeted amount in 2017/18 of over $2 million.

So exactly why do they need more money?


20 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" The state of California is not likely to stop taking almost all property taxes away from local to pay state bills,"

Oh please, the State does not and cannot take away the percentage of the 1% General Property Tax levy that MPCSD currently receives.


9 people like this
Posted by Long time Supporter of Education
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 14, 2016 at 3:49 pm

I have great respect for the campaign FOR Measure A and C. The group has formally placed a website online for voters to gain transparency while gathering data and facts. The website also provides a forum where voters can interact, and contact the campaign proponents. Not to mention that our MPCSD board is ALSO transparent, providing links to their website, FAQs, open attendance at board meetings and readily available budget information, like:
Web Link

Web Link

Where is the transparency with the Opposition?!

It's incredible how the facts can be twisted in some of these posts...for example, in response to Mr. Carpenter...here are some great answers to some of your questions.

1) Isn’t there enough growth in property taxes to fund increased student enrollment?

No, although growth in property tax funding HAS rebounded since the recession, secured property taxes represent only a bit more than half of the District’s funding. Other funding sources have grown at a lower rate.
Looking back, the 2010 parcel tax was designed to address what was thought at the time to be a temporary enrollment bubble. But what actually occurred was that more families moved into our District, enrollment increased, and remained at higher levels than projected. And now enrollment is expected to rise even more.

2) Doesn’t the sale of a home (with the increase in property taxes) more than pay for the students that move into that house?

A:
The resale of a home typically doesn’t even cover the cost of one additional student. Take a home with an assessed value of $250,000 that sells for $3,250,000 The incremental growth in secured property taxes from that property would be about $30,000 per year. However, our school district only receives less than 20% of those property taxes paid to the County (the rest supports other entities such as the police and fire departments etc.) so our school district would only see an increase of approximately $6,000--far less than the cost to educate a single student.

Here is the link, if you would like to learn more:
Web Link


11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 4:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" secured property taxes represent only a bit more than half of the District's funding."

Actually secured property taxes represent more than 60% of MPCSD's revenues.

"The resale of a home typically doesn't even cover the cost of one additional student." Why do you assume that the previous owner had zero children in the school system and that the new owner has one or more students in the school system?

"Take a home with an assessed value of $250,000 that sells for $3,250,000" - or take a home near us was previously assessed at $250,000 and its replacement house just sold for $11,000,000 which will yield $110,000 in property taxes of which MPCSD will receive more than $17,000.


4 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 14, 2016 at 4:20 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

What percentage of the projected growth in student population will be absorbed by Menlo, Sacred Heart, GAIS, Beechwood(if it survives Web Link), etc.


12 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 5:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Why do the proponents assume that every "new" child moving into the MPCSD will attend MPCSD schools.

Out of 2941 students in MPCSD schools only 124* come from Atherton (Laurel School- 16 students from Atherton and Encinal School- 108 students from Atherton) or just over 4% of the total MPCSD student population.

*I understand that some Atherton students might attend Hillview but I do not yet have that data point.

Based on total assessed property values I estimate that Atherton taxpayers probably contribute more than 30% of MPCSD's property taxes.

So please explain how MPCSD schools contribute to Atherton property values when so few Atherton residents send their children to MPCSD schools.


10 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 14, 2016 at 5:36 pm

So Peter, are you saying Atherton should be its own school district or that MPCSD and its kids are not good enough for Atherton?

How exactly do you plan to divide the home values within MPCSD? The "haves" and the "have nots?"

I thought we were a community, but maybe I am wrong. I find your comment offensive.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 5:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"are you saying Atherton should be its own school district"

No, I never said or even suggested that.

"or that MPCSD and its kids are not good enough for Atherton?"

No, I never said or even suggested that.

The facts that I posted simply show that very few Atherton children attend MPCSD schools. It is a fact , not an opinion.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 5:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Unanswered questions:

1- Why do the proponents assume that every "new" child moving into the MPCSD will attend MPCSD schools?

2 - How MPCSD schools contribute to Atherton property values when so few Atherton residents send their children to MPCSD schools?

3 - Why is debt service for the $23 million bond measure (2013) not included in per student expenditure?

4 - Why FIVE parcel taxes than NEVER expire rather than ONE consolidated parcel tax?

5 - Why not have that consolidated parcel tax be subject to renewal by the voters on a periodic basis?

6 - Why assume unrealistically low property tax revenues increases?


2 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 14, 2016 at 5:53 pm

I'm not a real estate agent, but when folks start looking at homes in Lindenwood in Atherton do the agents say they feed into the MPCSD or some other one?


25 people like this
Posted by Another Linfield Oaks mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 14, 2016 at 6:01 pm

First, Peter, I agree with many of your points, but just do a quick search on "schools" and "property values" and you'll find lots of articles like this: Web Link

Whether or not you have kids attending public schools, a strong public school system usually correlates with strong property values. And note also that Atherton is divided into three public school districts, including the highly-rated Las Lomitas ESD as well as the less highly regarded Redwood City district.

Next, I support the schools as much as anyone, cliqueish school board notwithstanding, but it's pretty clear that these new parcel taxes are a function of Ghysels' empire-building tendencies rather than student needs. From what I can tell, a lot of money has been going into administrative overhead.

As the numbers cited above prove, the district should be awash in cash. Property tax revenues are way up. Measure C, in particular, which would bring in more money per new student than the cost to educate that student, is troublesome.

We can do the math. We're voting against. And thank the Almanac for its courageous stand.


4 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 14, 2016 at 6:01 pm

Peter - why or how do you think any of your abstract questions can or will be answered on Town Square? It's an online chat room for resident comments.

Have you actually taken any of these to city or school officials? Can you show those in writing?

Are there any board minutes showing you ever showed up, made a comment or asked a question?


6 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 14, 2016 at 6:08 pm

"Another Linfield Oaks Mom"

Measure C is $2.20 per parcel per new student. Really? The cost of a latte rather than supporting a local child's education.


13 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"when folks start looking at homes in Lindenwood in Atherton do the agents say they feed into the MPCSD"

Yes,because Lindenwood is in the MPCSD.

And the Niche school survey, which is sponsored by the real estate industry, recently published its elementary school rankings:

"The 2016 Best Public Elementary Schools ranking provides a comprehensive assessment of the overall experience of a public elementary school. This grade takes into account key factors such as the strength of academics, quality of teachers, diversity, as well as the overall quality of the school district.

At the time of calculation, our database contained records for 53,705 public elementary schools. For the purposes of this ranking, a public elementary school is considered to be a school that: (1) is located in one of the 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia; (2) offers a grade between kindergarten through 6; and (3) has sufficient data. Schools were not included in the ranking process if they did not meet these minimum requirements. The final ranking results in 51,397 elementary schools receiving a grade, with 48,819 of those also receiving a numerical ranking."

Web Link

The top 11 elementary schools in California were ALL in the Palo Alto Unified School District and there was not a single MPCSD school in the top 100 California schools.

Oak Knoll is #452

Encinal is #715

No sign of Laurel or Hillview - perhaps they were not ranked.

So what exactly are we getting for our tax dollars?


13 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 6:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"why or how do you think any of your abstract questions can or will be answered"

None of my questions are "abstract".

"Have you actually taken any of these to city or school officials?

First, the City has nothing to do with MPCSD. Why do you even ask that question?

And yes I have discussed my questions with three of the School Board members - let's just say that the questions remain unanswered except that they clearly prefer being unencumbered by a time limit on any of their parcel taxes and they prefer the difficult to understand complexity of having five separate parcel taxes instead of one consolidated parcel tax. I disagree with both positions.


26 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 14, 2016 at 6:25 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

MPCSD revenues have FAR exceeded inflation and student population growth. It doesn’t need even more funding.

Here is even more proof. I’m presenting the numbers below in a way that are EASILY verifiable: I provide links to all my sources, and show the math so all you have to do is copy/paste it into Google or your favorite calculator app.

And don’t let the 5-parcel-tax proponents fool you, the math used to confirm MPCSD doesn’t need more funding is very straightforward. I encourage you to check for yourself (the pro-5—parcel-tax proponents NEVER do that)…



2000-2001 REVENUE: $17,157,655
(source: Web Link )

2000-2001 STUDENT POPULATION: 1,957
(source: Web Link )

2000-2001 REVENUE per STUDENT: 17,157,655 / 1957 = $8767.325

Pro-5-parcel tax proponents claim revenue isn’t keeping up with inflation and student population growth. So let’s see what $8767.325 looks like in current dollars. The CPI (aka “inflation”) numbers below are April-to-April of each school year, which is exactly what proponents claim MPCSD uses:

These are the Bay Area CPI numbers, April->April:
April 2016 : 3.0% (15-16 school year)
April 2015 : 2.4% (14-15 school year)
April 2014 : 2.8% (13-14 school year)
April 2013 : 2.4% (12-13 school year)
April 2012 : 2.1% (11-12 school year)
April 2011 : 2.8% (10-11 school year)
April 2010 : 1.7% (09-10 school year)
April 2009 : 0.8% (08-09 school year)
April 2008 : 2.9% (07-08 school year)
April 2007 : 3.3% (06-07 school year)
April 2006 : 3.2% (05-06 school year)
April 2005 : 2.1% (04-05 school year)
April 2004 : 0.5% (03-04 school year)
April 2003 : 2.2% (02-03 school year)
April 2002 : 2.1% (01-02 school year)
(source: Web Link )
(source: Web Link )

2000 per student revenue adjusted for inflation
15-16: (11943.2993*0.030)+11943.2993 = 12301.5983
14-15: (11663.3782*0.024)+11663.3782 = 11943.2993
13-14: (11345.6986*0.028)+11345.6986 = 11663.3782
12-13: (11079.7838*0.024)+11079.7838 = 11345.6986
11-12: (10851.8940*0.021)+10851.8940 = 11079.7838
10-11: (10556.3171*0.028)+10556.3171 = 10851.8940
09-10: (10379.8595*0.017)+10379.8595 = 10556.3171
08-09: (10297.4797*0.008)+10297.4797 = 10379.8595
07-08: (10007.2689*0.029)+10007.2689 = 10297.4797
06-07: (9687.5788*0.033)+9687.5788 = 10007.2689
05-06: (9387.1888*0.032)+9387.1888 = 9687.5788
04-05: (9194.1124*0.021)+9194.1124 = 9387.1888
03-04: (9148.3705*0.005)+9148.3705 = 9194.1124
02-03: (8951.4388*0.022)+8951.4388 = 9148.3705
01-02: (8767.325*0.021)+8767.325 = 8951.4388


So, if inflation is resulting in a decrease in funding, current funding per student needs to be below $12,301.60.

So, what is current student funding per student? Easy:

2015-2016 REVENUE: $42,726,549

2015-2016 STUDENT POPULATION: 2941

2015-2016 REVENUE per STUDENT: $42,726,549 / 2941 = 14527.898



So, MPCSD revenues exceed student population growth AND inflation by…(drum roll please)…

>>> 14527.90 - 12,301.60 = +$2,226.30 <<<



So, when a 5-parcel-tax proponent says revenues have not kept up with inflation and student growth, you have irrefutable proof that is FALSE.

MPCSD revenue growth far exceeds student growth and inflation. Substantially.



Vote NO on Measures A and C.


31 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 14, 2016 at 6:29 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

> open attendance at board meetings and readily available budget information, like: Web Link Web Link



OMG, you clearly don't even read those links. Try applying some 3rd grade math to the budget numbers and you'll see revenue has exceeded inflation and student growth.


The Almanacnews recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.
The Daily Post recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.


Vote NO on Measures A and C


18 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 6:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Measure C is $2.20 per parcel per new student. Really? The cost of a latte rather than supporting a local child's education."

Actually that would need to be over 7000 lattes given the number of parcels in MPCSD.


2 people like this
Posted by MP parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 14, 2016 at 6:33 pm

@Another Linfield Oaks mom said: "Measure C, in particular, which would bring in more money per new student than the cost to educate that student, is troublesome."

@Parent said: "Measure C is $2.20 per parcel per new student. Really? The cost of a latte rather than supporting a local child's education."

MPCSD website says for 2015-2016 it projects ~$6.7M in parcel tax revenue at ~$850/parcel so lets say ~7880 parcels. So $17,336 per new student (+ inflation adjustment). Is there some info as to the board's reasoning re the amount per new student from Measure C?


15 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 6:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"MPCSD website says for 2015-2016 it projects ~$6.7M in parcel tax revenue at ~$850/parcel so lets say ~7880 parcels. So $17,336 per new student (+ inflation adjustment)."

The Board approved budget assumes the passage of Measure A but not of Measure C.

If Measure A and C both pass and the enrollment increases as projected the total parcel taxes would be almost $1400 per parcel - a lot of lattes per parcel and about 5 million lattes for the entire District.


8 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 14, 2016 at 7:51 pm

Right... and your donation to the MPAEF is going to cover it? No and that's the point.

I bet over the next five years anyone's home here will appreciate 100x of $1400 with a large portion of that being credited to the great schools we support. $1400 is a small price to pay. And no, property taxes will not go up enough to cover the difference because of Prop 13.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 7:56 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" with a large portion of that being credited to the great schools we support."

Please explain how Atherton's property values are improved by a school system to which few of its children go and which does not even rank in the top 400 elementary school in California.

I suggest that the impact of MPCSD schools and particularly of MPCSD's expenditures have no impact on Atherton property values.

What % of Menlo Park elementary school children attend MPCSD schools?


26 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 14, 2016 at 8:04 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

> will appreciate 100x of $1400 with a large portion of that being credited to the great schools we support.

Using your logic, Ravenswood school district is responsible for the increases in property values in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park (Ravenswood Elementary School District). Homes in Ravenswood SD are increasing at a HIGHER rate than MPCSD.

Your logic is faulty.


The Almanacnews recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.
The Daily Post recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.


Vote NO on Measures A and C


12 people like this
Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 14, 2016 at 8:04 pm

Dear "Long time Supporter of Education", sure the math on your one house argument may makes sense to you, but since it takes only a drive around our great town to see that there is not a single street in the area that does not have at least one recent remodel, complete teardown and massive rebuild. Some streets have multiple. Each one does not equal one additional student, many are no additional students as they are families that are upgrading their properties.


1 person likes this
Posted by YES on A & C
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 14, 2016 at 8:06 pm

Question regarding the calling of a special election -

Some have accused the school board of calling a special election on these measures as a strategy to ensure low voter turnout and only by those supporting the schools. Here is the data from the San Mateo County Board of Elections office regarding the percentage participation of registered voters within our precincts across three different elections: the June 2008 Presidential Primary Election, the May 2010 MPCSD Special Election, and the June 2012 Presidential Election.

In 2008, 29.5% of our registered voters voted.
In 2010 (the MPCSD special election), 48.0% of our registered voters voted.
In 2012, 29.2% of our registered voters voted.

Think this proves the school board was not or is not trying to gain a "special advantage" by "sneaking in" a special election. In fact, this shows a special election actually increases greater participation across our entire community than a general one does.

We hope you join the rest of our community and endorsers in voting YES on Measures A & C.


13 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 8:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"will appreciate 100x of $1400 with a large portion of that being credited to the great schools we support."

Please explain why Palo Alto property values are appreciating at about the same rate as are MPCSD property values even though Palo Alto elementary schools all rank in the top 30 in California while none of the MPCSD schools rank in the top 400 IF increases in property values are "credited to" MPCSD schools?


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 8:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Here is the data from the San Mateo County Board of Elections office regarding the percentage participation of registered voters within our precincts across three different elections: the June 2008 Presidential Primary Election, the May 2010 MPCSD Special Election, and the June 2012 Presidential Election."

During the 2010 special election the supporters engaged in a very active get out the vote campaign. During the 2016 special election there has been zero activity by the supporters to get out the vote - they are hoping and praying for a low turnout election.


Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 14, 2016 at 8:23 pm

Peter - please share with us where you are getting these school rankings?


12 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 8:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter - please share with us where you are getting these school rankings?"

Please take the time to read the postings that I have already made which provided a link to those rankings:

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
2 hours ago
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"when folks start looking at homes in Lindenwood in Atherton do the agents say they feed into the MPCSD"

Yes,because Lindenwood is in the MPCSD.

And the Niche school survey, which is sponsored by the real estate industry, recently published its elementary school rankings:

"The 2016 Best Public Elementary Schools ranking provides a comprehensive assessment of the overall experience of a public elementary school. This grade takes into account key factors such as the strength of academics, quality of teachers, diversity, as well as the overall quality of the school district.

At the time of calculation, our database contained records for 53,705 public elementary schools. For the purposes of this ranking, a public elementary school is considered to be a school that: (1) is located in one of the 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia; (2) offers a grade between kindergarten through 6; and (3) has sufficient data. Schools were not included in the ranking process if they did not meet these minimum requirements. The final ranking results in 51,397 elementary schools receiving a grade, with 48,819 of those also receiving a numerical ranking."

Web Link

The top 11 elementary schools in California were ALL in the Palo Alto Unified School District and there was not a single MPCSD school in the top 100 California schools.

Oak Knoll is #452

Encinal is #715

No sign of Laurel or Hillview - perhaps they were not ranked.

So what exactly are we getting for our tax dollars?

******
It is hard to have a dialogue when people do not bother to pay attention.


39 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 14, 2016 at 8:31 pm

Voted NO -- lost confidence in the Board and superintendent's ability to be financially responsible.

There are other ways to support education than to have a tax with no sunset date -- that's bad governance and financial responsibility.


16 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2016 at 8:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Bob - I encourage you to donate to the Menlo Park - Atherton Educational Foundation

Web Link.

However if you do contribute to MPAEF be prepared to be attacked by the Measure A and C proponents for not contribution at least $5 million.


27 people like this
Posted by Jenson
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 14, 2016 at 8:45 pm

The right decision. Thank you almanac


7 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 14, 2016 at 10:00 pm

Peter -

Niche is not an unbiased, accurate assessment of school performance at all. I followed your link and if you actually looked further you would find how they actually accumulate their data here Web Link which includes:

"Our college and K-12 school rankings cover a variety of student life topics from Academics to Food. Rankings are based on two types of data: student or parent-provided ratings and reviews and facts/statistics..."

and

"Reviews and polls are submitted by people who have registered for our site"

So in some form they are basing their rankings on food. And the biggest weight seems to be schools that like to overly self publicize themselves and encourage their parents to submit online review submissions.

If you google Niche history, you know what it use to be called? - College Prowler. No, that was really their company name. I did not make it up. Web Link You can pull it up on Wikipedia too. "College Prowler has also been caught committing fraud against Facebook users, and censoring and redacting their “open” scholarship database."

and

"Yes, they literally allow campus marketing directors to login and update school profiles however they see fit."

I'll ask again, but show me a not for profit (unlike Niche/College Prowler) or government website or resource of reliable school rankings you are citing.

I don't mind your one vote against the parcel tax, but I do mind you using misleading or bogus information to disparage the schools our kids go to and our community supports.

Strong Schools. Strong Community. Vote YES on Measures A & C.


18 people like this
Posted by No Easy Solutions
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 14, 2016 at 10:25 pm

Voted No as well. Bob's post above was spot on plus lack of transparency and accountability. Posting Bob's comment:

"Voted NO -- lost confidence in the Board and superintendent's ability to be financially responsible.

There are other ways to support education than to have a tax with no sunset date -- that's bad governance and financial responsibility."


18 people like this
Posted by No on A+C
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 14, 2016 at 10:29 pm

Wow, now the proponents are even trying to spin objective numbers.
Yes on A & C wrote:

>In 2008, 29.5% of our registered voters voted.
>In 2010 (the MPCSD special election), 48.0% of our registered voters voted.
>In 2012, 29.2% of our registered voters voted.

Here are the real numbers according to San Mateo county elections. Perhaps you forgot to include those who vote by mail, which is a larger portion than those who show up in person to vote.
Web Link
2012 Presidential election: 288,592/361,486 registered voters = 79.8%
2010 MPCSD special election: 10295/20996 registered voters=49%
2008 Presidential election: 307,350/389,718 registered voters= 78.9%
2008 Presidential primary: 211,697/357,075 registered voters= 59.3%

I didn't do the precinct by precinct breakdown, but presidential election turnout is guaranteed to be higher than turnout of MPCSD special election, which is costing tens of thousands more.


7 people like this
Posted by Other voices, please!
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 14, 2016 at 10:39 pm

"It is hard to have a dialogue when people do not bother to pay attention."

Mr. Carpenter, the problem is that when you enter a thread, your end of the conversation isn't a dialog. You hector, lecture, and overwhelm topic threads with an unrelenting barrage of posts. I've followed the discussions about Measures A & C very closely, beginning months ago with the study sessions held at school sites, and as interested as I am in many of the comments posted in Town Square, I am so very tired of reading your many, many, many posts. I for one would love to see *more* of a dialog here, and less of the Peter Carpenter show.


20 people like this
Posted by No on A&C
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 14, 2016 at 10:55 pm


Voted No,

Permanent taxes should be unconstitutional.

Bring it back in the fall but not permanent and I might reconsider.


25 people like this
Posted by taxpayer
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 14, 2016 at 11:09 pm


"The Measures' proponents explain that if, after open, public meetings, the School Board decides to impose taxes in years when the community believes the taxes are not necessary, then the community can unseat School Board Members through the open, democratic process of school board elections."

That is the biggest load of crap I've read throughout these discussions.

Never happen. How about letting those paying the taxes have a say for extensions.


Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 15, 2016 at 12:00 am

Yes, No on A & C, your analysis does not show only precints within our district. I suggest if you are going to do this analysis you figure those out.

May 2010 Special Election June 2008 Presidential Primary June 2012 Presidential Primary

Precinct Reg. Voters Voted % Voted Reg. Voters Voted Reg. Voters % Voted
3001 533 291 54.6% 571 242 7.1% 42.4% 501 158 31.5% -6.0%
3002 1137 565 49.7% 1206 495 6.1% 41.0% 991 294 29.7% -12.8%
3008 851 314 36.9% 1056 283 24.1% 26.8% 962 201 20.9% 13.0%
3009 171 107 62.6% 182 106 6.4% 58.2% 173 31 17.9% 1.2%
3020 544 303 55.7% 584 177 7.4% 30.3% #DIV/0! -100.0%
3341 15 8 53.3% 518 179 3353.3% 34.6% #DIV/0! -100.0%
3361 7 3 42.9% 105 30 1400.0% 28.6% 83 22 26.5% 1085.7%
3371 115 42 36.5% 128 40 11.3% 31.3% 57 22 38.6% -50.4%
3372 28 9 32.1% 83 28 196.4% 33.7% 101 22 21.8% 260.7%
3374 3 1 33.3% 5 0 66.7% 0.0% #DIV/0! -100.0%
3375 16 7 43.8% 14 3 -12.5% 21.4% #DIV/0! -100.0%
3376 173 85 49.1% 205 59 18.5% 28.8% 247 70 28.3% 42.8%
3401 87 43 49.4% 1002 273 1051.7% 27.2% 562 152 27.0% 546.0%
3402 107 65 60.7% 880 276 722.4% 31.4% 943 272 28.8% 781.3%
3420 498 240 48.2% 524 194 5.2% 37.0% 486 160 32.9% -2.4%
3711 2 2 100.0% 3 0 50.0% 0.0% 3 3 100.0% 50.0%
3802 3 2 66.7% 959 284 31866.7% 29.6% 1564 463 29.6% 52033.3%
3806 609 269 44.2% 640 186 5.1% 29.1% 751 226 30.1% 23.3%
3810 129 55 42.6% 140 38 8.5% 27.1% #DIV/0! -100.0%
3901 1108 616 55.6% 606 284 -45.3% 46.9% 1120 393 35.1% 1.1%
3903 965 545 56.5% 976 373 1.1% 38.2% 948 333 35.1% -1.8%
3905 1082 625 57.8% 1114 376 3.0% 33.8% 1127 352 31.2% 4.2%
4401 725 370 51.0% 788 228 8.7% 28.9% 750 234 31.2% 3.4%
4402 648 311 48.0% 690 179 6.5% 25.9% 664 176 26.5% 2.5%
4407 506 221 43.7% 593 138 17.2% 23.3% 1628 417 25.6% 221.7%
4408 648 308 47.5% 755 192 16.5% 25.4% #DIV/0! -100.0%
4409 597 320 53.6% 655 184 9.7% 28.1% 1493 451 30.2% 150.1%
4410 536 167 31.2% 608 119 13.4% 19.6% #DIV/0! -100.0%
4411 865 435 50.3% 922 215 6.6% 23.3% #DIV/0! -100.0%
4412 197 109 55.3% 217 78 10.2% 35.9% #DIV/0! -100.0%
4413 1019 431 42.3% 1030 260 1.1% 25.2% 1228 376 30.6% 20.5%
4414 557 138 24.8% 656 129 17.8% 19.7% 437 118 27.0% -21.5%
4415 621 275 44.3% 687 183 10.6% 26.6% 618 177 28.6% -0.5%
4416 633 263 41.5% 690 220 9.0% 31.9% 596 200 33.6% -5.8%
4417 568 162 28.5% 708 130 24.6% 18.4% 1295 352 27.2% 128.0%
4418 638 154 24.1% 775 103 21.5% 13.3% 1136 290 25.5% 78.1%
4419 696 275 39.5% 744 149 6.9% 20.0% #DIV/0! -100.0%
4420 788 456 57.9% 836 251 6.1% 30.0% #DIV/0! -100.0%
4421 771 440 57.1% 801 258 3.9% 32.2% 1371 412 30.1% 77.8%
4422 547 306 55.9% 578 173 5.7% 29.9% #DIV/0! -100.0%
4423 621 374 60.2% 659 217 6.1% 32.9% 1251 374 29.9% 101.4%
4424 632 373 59.0% 666 198 5.4% 29.7% #DIV/0! -100.0%
20996 10085 48.0% 25559 7530 29.5% 23086 6751 29.2%


20 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 15, 2016 at 6:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I would love to hear other voices on this forum; unfortunately the proponents do not wish to engage and many opponents have been intimidated by the school lobby. Here is what one very smart local parent replied when asked to sign the opposing arguments:

"You are kidding, right? It would be academic suicide…..I’d sign up to lower Firefighter and Police Pensions before signing this with kids in the district."

As for my many posting - the vast majority are simply facts. If you don't like dealing with facts then I can understand why you don't like my postings.


16 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 15, 2016 at 7:13 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Sorry to bother Other Voices with new facts but an intimated parent who is forced to remain silent has just brought this report to my attention:

Web Link

" the projected total from last year for the current enrollment is 14 students below the actual count. That is a deviation of just 1⁄2 of 1%. And all but one of that 14-student difference came from an unexpected jump in incoming inter-district students (i.e., with home addresses outside the MPCSD) that are not from the Ravenswood City School District region (as is shown in Appendix B1 on page 18). Most of these are children of district staff."

I was amazed to find that a significant source of growth in the student population was caused by students from outside the district who are children of district staff. I had no idea that our taxes were paying for these students.


5 people like this
Posted by MP parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 15, 2016 at 8:33 am

I have no objection to having teacher and other staff children attend MPCSD. They are part of our community and I think it helps the district stay competitive in recruiting.


10 people like this
Posted by Long time Supporter of Education
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 15, 2016 at 9:32 am

Here is what a NO vote will get you, please voters, SERIOUSLY consider the ramifications and impact to our students and overall community...

Without RENEWAL of Measure A and addition of Measure C, our schools will LOSE $5,700,000 in ANNUAL funding. At least 42 teachers will be cut, class sizes will increase dramatically and core educational programs will be severely reduced or eliminated.

Don't be fooled by Mr. Carpenter, his dated views, voodoo math and ludicrous accusations...the Menlo Atherton Education Foundation CANNOT make this amount of money up...THERE IS NO SECRET FUND...even with the wealth and generosity in the area, there are many families who cannot donate at all to the foundation, but provide volunteer time to contribute to our schools...we are not all living in 11 million dollar homes.

When did the opposition last spend time learning about the value of our amazing educational programs? And to make a statement that our smart kids probably don't even need a good education to do well?! A new low! These are comments by people who are WAY out of touch with today's world and the cost of an education in our area; what it takes to retain highly accredited teachers that make all the difference and how hard our MPCSD staff works to bring the best of education to ALL students.

Although Mr. Carpenter and his small entourage are delusional on many topics, and often go "off-topic", this minority of opposition is right about one thing, MPCSD families and residents ARE smart. Smart enough to see through these misleading, unfounded statements by the opposition...they know that our children need a high quality education, know that in our state and rapidly growing city, we require significant community funding to provide an education for ALL students. If you don't like the system, DON'T GO AFTER OUR KIDS, go after the state government. Did you know the state of California consistently ranks in the bottom 5 states for per pupil funding? Often in last place? I advise you TO refocus your energy, and make this point your focus for change.


12 people like this
Posted by No on A + C
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 15, 2016 at 9:33 am

@Yes on A+C.

You listed precincts including Menlo Park and Portola Valley district. Even looking at precinct by precinct breakdown, your percentages aren't even close to the voter turnout on the presidential election year figures.

Election numbers are easy to verify. If you're going to argue your wrong numbers are correct, there is no further point in discussing this.

Anyone who wishes to look at numbers can find it here. Web Link


24 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 15, 2016 at 9:48 am

Train Fan is a registered user.

> our schools will LOSE $5,700,000 in ANNUAL funding.

This is the most egregiously incorrect statement made on any of these posts. And that's saying something!

This is egregiously FALSE, with no basis in fact. Note the complete lack of references backing up this egregiously incorrect statement.

More scare tactics by the pro-5-parcel-tax proponents. Anyone unclear on what direction to vote, just look at the posts:

* Opponents of the 5 parcel taxes repeatedly post references proving Measures A and C are unnecessary.

* 5-parcel-tax proponents repeatedly post statements with no basis in fact.


The Almanacnews recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.
The Daily Post recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.


Vote NO on Measures A and C


20 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 15, 2016 at 9:55 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Without RENEWAL of Measure A and addition of Measure C, our schools will LOSE $5,700,000 in ANNUAL funding."

Wrong. The current parcel tax that would be replaced by Measure A does not expire until 2017 so ZERO dollars from that parcel tax would be lost in the 2016/17 budget year.

The 2016/17 increment of $156.20 per parcel from the proposed Measure C would be "lost" but that amount is not included in the current approved budget. And that "loss" could not result in 2016/17 teacher layoffs because the deadline for notification for such layoffs during the 2016/17 year has already passed.


There is no need for a long lengthy process to discover what needs to be changed to get the necessary 2/3 approval for a new parcel tax. The discussion on Measures A and C has made clear that we all support our schools but many taxpayers object to the multiplicity of parcel taxes for one single public entity and object to those taxes never coming back to the voters for their review and reconsideration.

The School Board could easily use the Atherton Parcel Tax template to place a Consolidated Parcel Tax (replacing all of the existing 4 parcel taxes plus any additions the Board feels can be defended) with a four year expiration date on the November General Election ballot.


5 people like this
Posted by Encinal Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 15, 2016 at 9:58 am

Existing funding is going away. Significant existing funding. I will vote to renew it with Measure A so our teachers can continue in their current numbers. And yes administrators also get paid with our taxes. Shouldn't we have them? Are we expecting teachers to run the budget and handle health insurance and plan the school behavior policies for example? We already have a federal school hot lunch program at MPCSD that is entirely run by volunteers so that children whose meals are paid for by the government can stand in line with the well to do kids at lunch. There's no school lunch lady. There aren't even enough school nurses -- they run between several sites and kids with chronic diseases, insulin shots, ... may or may not get the support they need just to learn how to read because there isn't budget to get real health care support. As far as Measure C, the enrollment and the budget of the MPCSD are public record. If enrollment doesn't grow then the legal requirement is that no tax is taken. If you believe that enrollment is shrinking then vote for C. I am voting for C because all the baby carriages around town pretty clearly represent enrollment growth.


8 people like this
Posted by MP parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 15, 2016 at 10:16 am

@Long time supporter,

Not sure who you are calling "the opposition," I haven't yet made up my mind and want to hear arguments on both sides. Had the school board proposed a non-permanent authorization I already would have voted yes without much thought so by choosing to ask for more they are causing me to ask more questions. If you think the people who have voiced concerns here about the Measures have provided incorrect information, please provide the correct information. This is not an "us vs. them" situation -- I know people who already have voted no, who have kids in the schools and volunteer in the schools. They are not delusional or out of touch.

I asked this question above, and Mr. Carpenter says the answer is "yes," do you disagree?:

"Is it correct that if Measures A and C fail there would be time for voters to approve a different (e.g. non-permanent) parcel tax authorization before the current tax expires in 2017?"

One of your observations above touches on an additional concern I have. You note that "there are many families who cannot donate at all to the foundation, but provide volunteer time to contribute to our schools" -- If these families do not have extra funds why would we want to force them to pay a certain amount of parcel tax (which unlike the MPAEF/PTO is not optional)? Even if they are renters don't you think the landlord is going to pass on the costs?


2 people like this
Posted by MP parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 15, 2016 at 10:29 am

Encinal parent, you ask good questions about what staff positions the district should fund. Here is a link to the staff in the district office:

Web Link

We have 2 nurses and a health assistant. The superintendent has an assistant superintendent, an executive assistant, and a customer service receptionist. All of these folks might well fill critical roles but unlike "nurse" it is not clear to me what they do?

I would vote to renew the authorization for the expiring parcel tax if it were not in perpetuity. As the current Measure reads, I'm just not sure.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 15, 2016 at 10:56 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.


"Is it correct that if Measures A and C fail there would be time for voters to approve a different (e.g. non-permanent) parcel tax authorization before the current tax expires in 2017?"

The School Board's final resolution regarding calling a May 3 parcel tax election was passed on Feb 4 which was 90 days before the election date.

Placing a new parcel tax proposal on the Nov 8 General Election ballot would require the School Board to act on or before early August - more than three months after the results are known from the May 3 election.

If the Board hired Bill Conners, the superb attorney who crafted the last Atherton Parcel Tax measure, he could do the same for MPCSD in a few days and at a very little cost. (In the interest of full disclosure I was a member of the Citizens Committee that reviewed all the candidates for the Atherton Town Counsel opening and which unanimously recommended Conners for the position.. Conners was a breath of fresh air compared to all the big firm lawyers we interviewed and he has since done a superb job.)


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Posted by MP parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 15, 2016 at 11:46 am

Is anyone voting no on A but yes on C?


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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 15, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Inter-district transfers(Tinsley) Web Link Web Link

From MPCSD 2015/16 Second Interim Budget March 10, 2016
Web Link
• $804,860, Court-Ordered Voluntary Pupil Transfer (Tinsley) program – approximately
70% of Ravenswood City School District base funding for students who live in that
attendance boundary but attend our schools


2 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 15, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Government schools are not for everyone. Low income parents of students attending Beechwood School in eastern Menlo Park Web Link have chosen to avoid the government schools. That choice may be disappearing. Other families reluctantly bite-the-bullet and send their children to the government schools. Others have turned MPCSD into their private academies through the ballot box. Many wealthy families(and some not so wealthy) have chosen other alternatives. The German American International School is one such alternative.
After having been evicted from facilities leased for many years from the Menlo Park City School District, They have new digs with room for 400 students and a current enrollment of 270. They could absorb a significant number of the projected enrollment which MPCSD uses in their attempt to justify two new parcel taxes(Measures A and C on an all-mail ballot)
If MPCSD used half their claimed expenditure for each new enrollee, to facilitate such choice, they would save the taxpayers ~$7,000/year per student. Perhaps the MPAEF could modify their charter and join in the effort to promote real choice.

Voting NO on Measures A and C would be a stimulus in that direction.


9 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 15, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Copied from a letter from our Encinal Principal this week!



Midweek Principal's Update
April 13, 2016
Encinal PTO

Wonderful Families,

I am so excited to share with you that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is recognizing Encinal School as a California Gold Ribbon School!

Tom wrote in his letter to us, "The award reflects your school's success in creating a positive learning atmosphere for your students. Such success is a direct result of your dedicated, creative, and talented staff, and your supportive school community."

Congratulations to all of our Encinal Eagles for their hard work and dedication to their learning, to our amazing staff that enrich our students' lives everyday, and to our incredibly supportive parent community who make Encinal a great place for kids!

Encinal will receive this award formally at the California School Recognition Program Awards Ceremony on 5/5/2016 at the Santa Clara Marriott.

Feel proud everyone!

Principal Sharon Burns


11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 15, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Measure C suggests that the "cost" of each additional student is about $17k.

How many out of district children of MPCSD staff are currently enrolled in MPCSD schools?

At $17k per student what is the cost of this benefit?

Where does this expense show up in the MPCSD budget?

Is it included in the $7 million+ Benefits line item?

Is this benefit reflected in the compensation analysis of the staff?

Is this benefit taxable income to the recipients?


2 people like this
Posted by Mpcsd Parent2
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 15, 2016 at 2:23 pm

@MP Parent (and others):
A point of clarification.
I believe that references to "the Opposition" are to the people who wrote/submitted/signed the formal ballot arguments against Measures A & C:
-Alexander Keh/Atherton
-Jennifer Sun/Atherton
-Peter Carpenter/Atherton
-Brian Blackford/Menlo Park
-Jack Hickey/Non-Resident)


18 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 15, 2016 at 2:31 pm

Perhaps I missed it but one would think that a rebuttal to an Almanac staff editorial would require the author's name.


1 person likes this
Posted by ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 15, 2016 at 2:40 pm

@whatever

Wait a second. Are you telling me that Jack Hickey, who's been all over these comment sections with his opinions on Measures A & C in particular, and public education in general (i.e. public schools are baaad and everyone should be home schooled) doesn't even live within the MPCSD boundaries and can't vote on the Measures?!? Unbelievable.


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Posted by ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 15, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Sorry @whatever ~ my comment was in response to the list posted by Mpcsd Parent2.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 15, 2016 at 2:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Please read Jack's postings - they all state:

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills

Note that he uses his real name.

Note that he lists his real place of residence.


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Posted by MP parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 15, 2016 at 2:46 pm

Mpcsd Parent2, thank you.

I do hope the discussion can focus on the Measures themselves rather than the opposition, as I haven't seen anything suggesting the folks who signed the "No" ballot argument have any hidden agenda.

I have watched the video arguments, read the FAQ on the pro-A/C website and the arguments here and would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to share information and views. It is a helpful discussion.


3 people like this
Posted by Mpcsd Parent2
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 15, 2016 at 2:47 pm

@Jack Hickey "Government schools are not for everyone....":
Thank you for your most recent post making clear your views on defunding public schools in an effort to promote so-called "school choice."
At least now we know the impetus of your opposition to Measures A & C. It has less to do with the MPCSD schools' need to fund additional student growth (which is real and documented by the District), and more to with your vision of privatizing public eduction.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 15, 2016 at 2:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is telling that not a single proponent, including the author of this thread, has used their real name - why not?


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Posted by Mpcsd Parent2
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 15, 2016 at 2:48 pm

educAtion


20 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 15, 2016 at 2:49 pm

"One of your observations above touches on an additional concern I have. You note that "there are many families who cannot donate at all to the foundation, but provide volunteer time to contribute to our schools" -- If these families do not have extra funds why would we want to force them to pay a certain amount of parcel tax (which unlike the MPAEF/PTO is not optional)? Even if they are renters don't you think the landlord is going to pass on the costs?"

This is my concern as well. Pro-parcel tax folks never seem to take into consideration that low income families do NOT have an extra $1000-$1400 to educate children not related to them. We have a housing crisis with rents well beyond any reasonable amount. Is this community just for the rich? Should low income families just get out? It would seem so. Shameful.



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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 15, 2016 at 4:06 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

@Mpcsd Parent2
Here are the opponents as listed on the ballot arguments:

Alexander Keh, Homeowner
Jennifer Sun, Homeowner
Peter Carpenter, Homeowner
Brian Blackford, Homeowner
Jack Hickey, Advocate for Taxpayers

I am the only one who is not a registered voter of the MPCSD, and therefore can not vote on the issue. I have disclosed that on another Topic in this forum. Web Link
I am a registered poster on this forum, I use my real name, and my residence area is as posted.

"In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a resident of the MPCSD. I am a Senior who has taken exemptions on the San Mateo Community College District and Redwood City Elementary School District parcel taxes. My house is situated on two separate parcels. With considerable effort, I was able to get both Districts to apply my exempt the tax on both taxable lots. I advise those with a similar situation in MPCSD to pursue a similar remedy."


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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 15, 2016 at 4:08 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Here's the missing link:
Web Link


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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

There are 9 private elementary schools in Menlo Park, CA, serving 1,823 students.
Minority enrollment is 30% of the student body, and the student:teacher ratio is 8:1.
From:
Web Link

Tuition at Nativity school is less than half the per pupil expenditure by MPCSD.
Saint Raymonds tuition is slightly more.

I'm sure there are members of the community who would like to shut down these schools. I am not one of them. I am a product of 8 years of Catholic schooling (St. Boniface in Elmont, Long Island), which allowed me to breeze through 4 years of a government high school.

How would MPCSD handle the influx of 1,823 students if these alternatives were shut down? Let's cut the private schools some slack by voting NO on A and C.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 15, 2016 at 6:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I had previously posted this comment:

"Out of 2941 students in MPCSD schools only 124* come from Atherton (Laurel School- 16 students from Atherton and Encinal School- 108 students from Atherton) or just over 4% of the total MPCSD student population.

*I understand that some Atherton students might attend Hillview but I do not yet have that data point."

Thanks to Board Member Joan Lambert I now have more complete information on the number of Atherton students who attend MPCSD schools:

MPCSD:
Heritage Oaks (pre-school) - 2 (Note: Heritage Oaks is an MPCSD pre-school program on the Laurel School campus. It is for students with certain special education needs. These students are considered MPCSD students and are served by MPCSD teachers and staff.)
Encinal School - 109
Hillview - 77
Laurel - 16
Oak Knoll - 18

Total 222 out of 2941 or 7.5%


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 15, 2016 at 6:55 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"Total 222 out of 2941 or 7.5%"

So, if I read this right, Atherton sends 7.5% of the students to MPSCD yet they send far more property tax revenue. And Atherton residents should have to cough up even more money to support schools that are almost exclusively attended by Menlo Park residents. Yeah, that makes sense.


5 people like this
Posted by public school supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 15, 2016 at 7:12 pm

@Menlo Voter

Your comment makes it clear that you don't even support the basic concept of public school.

The entire premise of public schools are that the entire school community pays to educate all of the community's children who attend the schools, regardless of whether the children are from their own family, their own street, their own sub-segment of the school community (e.g. the portion of Atherton that is in the Menlo Park City School District).


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 15, 2016 at 7:19 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The entire premise of public schools are that the entire school community pays to educate all of the community's children who attend the schools, regardless of whether the children are from their own family, their own street, their own sub-segment of the school community"

If that is the case why should MPCSD taxpayers pay almost $1 million (at $17k/student) for the 58 currently enrolled MPCSD K-8 students who live at non-MPCSD and non-Ravenswood-CSD addresses?


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 15, 2016 at 8:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The entire premise of public schools are that the entire school community pays to educate all of the community's children who attend the schools, regardless of whether the children are from their own family, their own street, their own sub-segment of the school community"

So does public school supporter also support a unified school district that includes all the students and all the schools in Woodside, Portola Valley, Atherton, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and the adjacent unincorporated areas of San Mateo County - the "entire school community"?


6 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 15, 2016 at 8:45 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"So does public school supporter also support a unified school district that includes all the students and all the schools in Woodside, Portola Valley, Atherton, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and the adjacent unincorporated areas of San Mateo County - the "entire school community"?"

How about just adding Ravenswood? I'm betting not. Another well healed hypocrite that wants us all to just pay whatever the district wants regardless if it is necessary or not so their privileged child gets a "superior education."

Sorry, if the district didn't just keep coming year after year after year and then ask me to vote for a parcel tax that was never ending I might buy it. But they're not, so NO vote here.


19 people like this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 15, 2016 at 11:22 pm

My wife and I had 3 children benefit from the excellent Menlo Park schools. All 3 attended from K - 8 and then attended a private High School. Our families choice. Every year we donated to the MPAEF in support of the schools.

The education of our children is always an emotional topic. Obviously all of us want what's best for the kids. This current special election, however, is one that should be voted down. If there is a "NO" vote - the district can reload and put something together for the next general election. If the vote is "YES" everyone that owns a parcel in the district is stuck with a new tax - FOREVER. It just doesn't make sense.

One single data point on the property tax issue. Recently the parcel at 520 Olive Street in Menlo Park sold for $5,998,000. It's a matter of public record. The new owners of that parcel will be paying $74,975 in annual property taxes ( $5,998,000 x 1.25%).

Web Link

The previous owner of that property, again per public record, paid $2,457.88 in property tax in the 2011 tax year. The change of ownership of this one parcel created a $72,517.12 increase in property taxes.

Web Link

Transactions like these are common and will continue to occur. And they will more than take care of the districts cash flow issues.


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Posted by No on A&C
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 15, 2016 at 11:27 pm

What age do I become eligible to be exempt?

Is that exemption good for all other school taxes already in place


21 people like this
Posted by Joe G
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 16, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Thank you Peter and Train for all your work on speaking up against the well funded "Yes" crowd. I can only imagine the expense being paid for all the campaign literature not to mention the cost of a "Special Election". My wife and I have mailed back our ballots with a resounding NO vote for both measures. I strongly encourage others to read the Almanac and Daily Post articles and opinions to see why a NO vote is called for on these poorly crafted measures.


6 people like this
Posted by stop wasting existing $
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 16, 2016 at 6:03 pm

I'd like to share a concern. I have a neighbor who has mentioned tremendous financial waste on the part of MPCSD. I cannot imagine such a waste and want the district to stop using our money in such a way before asking for more.

True story and example of current waste:

Child was diagnosed years ago with severe dysgraphia.
Child has successfully been using a computer in all classes, except math. (according to his 504 plan, "Computer shall be provided for written work") Student has done fine in all classes except for math.
Facts:
Child had straight A's in every class except math.
Child had F in math.
Child requested use of math aps in math class to support the dysgraphia.
District agreed the child had dygraphia, decided it was not severe and denied the use of a device with aps in math (even though the ap was totally free and the child had an ipad anyway).
MPCSD gave the reason, "written work" means "linguisitic representation not numerical representation"
Family hired attorney and district agreed to add the math aps to the 504 plan.

While this is a personal case, I share it because I was horrified to hear of the waste. To think that MPCSD would need the pressure of legal counsel before giving a free math ap to a student, severe or just regular dysgraphia?! Where is the strategic plan on technology and innovation?!

A cheap solution became a very very costly venture for the district. I suggest that taxpayers go into the public expenditures and see for themselves. It is 100% true and while the funds are different (short term insurance costs for anticipated litigation vs. long term sustainability), we all have to wonder what kind of waste might be going on.... this is just one that I heard about.

Each time the family hires the attorney, it is coming out of their pocket book.
Each time MPCSD does, it is ours. No more money wasted on frivolous litigation!

Step up MPCSD and own your part and please don't ask for money until you use the money that you have in responsible ways. I cannot endorse any more money until I see better spending and less on attorney fees. If what you are doing is totally legitimate, then you wouldn't need to hire so much representation because there would be nothing to go after......


Would love to hear your opinion but please, look at the spending. This is 100% true and it will show up on the books.

Neighbor of dysgraphic MPCSD student who is disappointed to hear MPCSD asking for more and wasting what they have.


12 people like this
Posted by local teacher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 16, 2016 at 6:19 pm

To Moved Here for the Schools:

I am a teacher in a local school district. I can tell anyone who is looking at the list of revenue per student that the problem in MPCSD is not the amount of revenue with which they have to work, it's the amount that they are giving to the students. My district has many less administrators per teacher and while the MPCSD administrators often are outstanding, they often cover each other's backs making them less genuine than not. I've experienced a level of "entitlement" in MP and as well as "exclusivity" in particular. The children of MP have a great education and are not going to melt if they don't have the Cadillac model. If the administration is worried that "everything's on the table", try looking to the other side of the tracks..... Students are hanging in there with a lot less and we can do the same. Our kids will be just fine if they don't have everything under the sun and so will our teachers, administrators, and department heads.

Let's not be entitled MPCSD.


8 people like this
Posted by Equity
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 16, 2016 at 7:43 pm

I want to know when we are going to consider unifying the districts? I live in MP. My children attend HV and M-A. I work in Ravenswood. and I see all many thoughtful caring Menlo Park moms volunteering, coming and going to support struggling readers. But the truth is that it's not enough. Not nearly enough.

Students who don't have weekends in musuems, summers in Europe and tutors to help them through any problem that they face can't be the ones with large student teacher ratios (can't afford small classes), can't be the ones also breaking teachers into the profession (You gotta love beginning teachers but they still lack experience), can't be the ones whose teachers are supplying their own classrooms (unless someone adoptions them through Adopt a Teacher) because the parents don't send in glue sticks and colored pencils and can't be the ones whose teachers are writing to Donors Choose just to get four ipads for classroom use.

Community members, if you are surprised at what is going on at Menlo Atherton High School (segregation and tracking), take a look at the skills the incoming freshman from Ravenswood Ave (even though Willow School is in Menlo Park.

If you are not surprised and don't care, please take a step back. What could be more important than teaching our children that when we can go without, others can have enough.

I see many of the proponents of YES on A and C at Menlo Church, sending their children on service trips, participating in Compassion Weekend and the like. I'm not saying that these are not wonderful projects. However, at some level it's doing lip service to help on weekends and holidays when Ravenswood School District really needs a piece of the pie. Justice will really be done when teachers are paid the same or more FOR working in situations of poverty and that involves a lot of folks stepping up to the plate.


3 people like this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 16, 2016 at 10:37 pm

@Equity

Unifying the districts is a terrific idea. It's time to align the Ravenswood city school district with Palo Alto Unified. Maybe some thoughtful caring Palo Alto moms can "Lean In" and replace the Menlo Park moms that you've witnessed volunteering to support the struggling readers. Hopefully they will "step up to the plate" as you ask. And I'm sure Gunn and Paly - both excellent high schools - won't segregate and track like MA and the other high schools in the Sequoia Union High School District. It's a win/win!

Please let us know what the folks at Menlo Church think.


3 people like this
Posted by Elizabeth Ouren
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 16, 2016 at 11:17 pm

I voted YES on Measure A and C. Measure A will extend the parcel tax that expires this year and Measure C will be directly tied to future enrollment growth in the Menlo Park City School District. The Measure C parcel tax will rise and fall with future enrollment. I was part of the Measure W campaign 6 years ago and the reason it was given an expiration date was because the demographer predicted that enrollment would not continue to rise. However, it did continue to rise and is predicted to keep going up. Our enrollment continues to rise because the schools are great! I have two children that have gone through Laurel, Encinal, and Hillview. I hope others will consider joining me in voting YES on both measures.


16 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 17, 2016 at 8:59 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Elizabeth:

the parcel tax does not expire until 2017, not this year as you said.

Just another example of pro A and C folks not getting their facts straight.

Yes, enrollment is rising, so are tax revenues. The rise in tax revenues far exceeds the rise in enrollment.

A and C are permanent and unnecessary.

Vote NO.


21 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2016 at 9:11 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

". I was part of the Measure W campaign 6 years ago and the reason it was given an expiration date..."

Wrong, Measure W was for a $23 Million school bond - not a parcel tax.

Wrong, Measure W, as a Bond Measure, does not have an "expiration date"

"the reason it was given an expiration date was because the demographer predicted that enrollment would not continue to rise".

Wrong, the Argument in favor of Measure W clearly states "Growth is projected to continue for at least the next ten years."

It would be very helpful if the proponents of Measures A and C would get their facts right.


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Posted by school supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2016 at 11:48 am

[Post removed. Please make your point without negative characterization of other posters.]


16 people like this
Posted by Peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 17, 2016 at 11:58 am

1) East Palo alto is in San Mateo county; Palo alto is in Santa Clara county. School districts don't span counties. There is no chance ravenswood would ever merge into Palo alto unified.

2) I agree that mpcsd asking for more when it already has sooooo much, while other districts actually are underfunded and need help, while mpcsd and the pro-tax supporters claim it's "for the children" is incredibly hypocritical.

3) Ravenswood SD will NEVER agree to further downsizing; the smaller it is the less students it has and the less homes it has means less funding. Anyone familiar with the O'Connor Street petition knows a reduction of Ravenswood will face vocal resistance.

That said, I do think in an ideal world school district boundaries would match town/towns boundaries.

I would love to have a MAUSH: menlo-atherton unified school district, that comprised of just Atherton proper and Menlo Park proper. But it won't happen for a lot of reasons.


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is the Rebuttal which I signed - I challenge anyone to document an incorrect fact:

"Menlo Park City Elementary School District is being dishonest with voters. Total revenue growth, mostly from property tax gains, is MORE THAN SUFFICIENT to fund enrollment growth.



Year MPCSD Revenue (%Increase) MPCSD Enrollment

2011-12 $25,906,292 2719

2012-13 $29,464,452 (13.7%) 2799 (3.4%)

2013-14 $32,341,123 (9.8%) 2903 (2.9%)

2014-15 $38,089,792 (17.8%) 2904 (0.03%)

2015-16 $42,269,175 (11%) 2940 (1.2%)

Current state funding at $3,204,186 already exceeds 2010's funding ($2,133,566) when the TEMPORARY parcel tax was passed. The state funding percentage actually decreased from 19% to 9% due to property tax revenue's rapid rise.

The district claims it spends less per student but it only compares significantly smaller districts with HIGHER overhead costs. Among mid-sized K-8 districts, MPCSD has the third HIGHEST per student expenditure in California.

All basic aid districts rely on property tax revenue to fund enrollment growth. MPCSD's revenue growth surpasses nearby districts."


14 people like this
Posted by Another Linfield Oaks mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 17, 2016 at 12:48 pm

For historical, political, and legal reasons, we are not going to merge with Ravenswood. We're not even going to merge with Las Lomitas, which would make more sense, as they also cover Menlo Park and Atherton and only have two schools.

I see that the district's usual MO -- to keep the parcel tax election under the radar of voters -- has failed thanks to the Almanac and other voices of reason raised in opposition. Yesterday I got two glossy pieces from the Yes on Measures A and C campaign. Obviously, they are going to be able to outspend the opposition, but I trust that voters will do the research and not be swayed by shiny pictures.


12 people like this
Posted by Penny
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2016 at 1:39 pm

To Peninsula Resident: "For historical, political, and legal reasons, we are not going to merge with Ravenswood."

I disagree. WE is us. We is not some entity out there. Lots of things have changed that one never would have imagined. (Women's suffrage, abolition, desegregation, to name a few) It's not about merging. It's about equalizing and merging is one way to begin to help that problem. I also work in Ravenswood and have children in MP. There is no comparison to the quality of education that they receive. One to one ipads in MP and teachers writing to Donors Choose to get a few pads in RW. I bring this up now because MPCSD has no idea how already silver plated their program is. It's gold plated. Peter Carpenter's most recent post outlines how unnecessary this tax is to maintain what is already gold plated. I am arguing that its not necessary to maintain the such gold plating when our own neighbors don't even have their light fixtures working. I am telling you that I am in classrooms (as a literacy coach) and teachers are still waiting to have their work orders completed on light fixtures. What we have going on here possibly the largest economic gap in the country at one high school (Menlo Atherton) and it's a mess. (With all due respect to the wonderful staff and teachers who are doing their best) because we are sending in students who cannot read to a school with students who are three years above grade level and it's not right. I see it with my own eyes as I go from dropping my son off at Hillview, to work in Ravenswood and picking up my daughter at M. A.

I'd also like to bring up the amount of money spent on teachers' children who attend MPCSD schools. It's a nice perk but a very very expensive proposition. How many are there? Does anyone know how much we are spending for them? Because the salaries are already so great, we don't need to offer such perks to entice teachers. If we want to offer this because we think it will help teachers invest in a district that educates their own children, then how can they share in the cost that taxpayers are being requested to vote in which will remain with us forever, long after those teachers (again hardworking and wonderful) are long gone and whose children have graduated.


22 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 17, 2016 at 1:40 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.


Since the 2000-2001 school year, MPCSD revenues are higher than the student population growth and inflation by...


+$6,547,549 (2000-2001->2015-2016 school years)


MPCSD does not need even more tax revenue; the existing 3 permanent parcel taxes plus property tax increases are mathematically proven to be more than sufficient.


The Almanacnews recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.
The Daily Post recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.


Vote NO on Measures A and C



6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2016 at 1:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I have long advocated a unified school district that includes all the students and all the schools in Woodside, Portola Valley, Atherton, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and the adjacent unincorporated areas of San Mateo County.

And for similar reasons I have also long advocated a single fire and emergency services agency for all of San Mateo County. The good news is that, thanks to the leadership years ago of MPFPD, we already have a single dispatch center for all the fire agencies in San Mateo County but that is just a start to where we should be. SacMetro and Orange County fire agencies both provide a better level of service and do so at a lower per person cost than does any other fire agency in the state.

And I note the the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, which serves over 90,000 residents in East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton and the adjacent unincorporated areas of San Mateo County provides EVERYONE with exactly the SAME LEVEL OF SERVICE and it does so in spite of rising populations and without even a single parcel tax.


8 people like this
Posted by Peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 17, 2016 at 2:22 pm

To Peninsula Resident: "For historical, political, and legal reasons, we are not going to merge with Ravenswood."

I never said the statement you're quoting; this quote is from someone else.

That said, I effectively agree with a lot of what you said. (and again, I think that in an ideal world, school district boundaries would map to 1 or more town/city boundaries). And I love the "gold-plated" MPCSD analogy: spot on.

But...with all due respect you're also implying that RSD's issues are purely based on funding, and unfortunately RSD's issues run deeper than that. RSD per-student funding is higher than some of the nearby school districts that have higher API scores (Belmont-Redwood Shores elementary, for example).

I'm sympathetic (and actually agree) that ideally "east" Menlo Park would be incorporated into MPCSD. But to imply that that would address "east" Menlo Park schooling issues is unfortunately an unrealistically simple and ineffective approach to a more complex problem.

I think we're starting to run far afield, topic-wise...


19 people like this
Posted by Brown Eyed Girl
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Brown Eyed Girl is a registered user.

The Board and the District have not been forthcoming in explaining the growth in the expenses. They claim, costs are rising due to enrollment growth when the facts show pension and retiree healthcare benefits are the fastest rising expense category.

I urge all voters to research the facts and get educated. The reason the parcel tax is permanent is because the school board knows, the pensions are permanent.

The school district needs to restructure. Merging wth Los Lomitas is a good idea. Reduce administration expense, outsource non-credential positions to non-union employees and stop burdening district residents with escalating pensions.


15 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2016 at 9:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is a perfect, documented example that the District has no idea what is going on:

1 - The Measure A ballot arguments claim that MPCSD's cost per student is $13,006,

2 - The Measure C proposed tax of $2.20 per parcel for 7867 parcels yields an amount of $17,307/student.

3 - But their total expenditures are $42,249,036 and they have 2940 students which yields an amount of $14,370/student.

What is the cost per student?

And why don't they know what is?


17 people like this
Posted by Penny
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2016 at 9:26 pm

To Brown Eyed Girl:

Hats off to your summary. I couldn't agree more.

If you look at the number of teachers who are lifetime career teachers in districts such as MPCSD, it is many. While I can't quote the number, the fact is that the working conditions are so good that teachers don't leave and retire elsewhere. Let's call a spade a spade. These are all good hardworking teachers who want to retire like anybody else and have right to after a long career of working with demanding families. That being said, ALL teachers deserve that and why some and not others. I am a teacher who lives in MP and I also want to have a pension that allows me to retire but I can't because I don't work in a district with such a big salary yet my property tax is funding pensions for my colleagues in another district. I like Peter's idea of doing with the districts as have been done with the fire departments.

Anytime someone speaks of sharing the wealth, it means that someone might gain and someone might lose. Personally I teach my children that we are already fortunate to have as much as we do and they can pick ONE name brand item a year for me to buy (Northface backpack, UGGS, Nike socks and the rest is on them to save and buy (ages 13 and 15).

When we have students whose teachers are trying to make a living teaching across the tracks and commuting from Oakland because that's all they can afford on Ravenswood salaries, who are we to have another "gold plated" special program. Vote NO on these measures and let the district settle in to do the best it can with what it has. It really is good enough and the students will be OK and so will the teachers.

Dr. Ghysells states, "Everything is on the table" as if the district will fall apart if these measures don't pass. No, it won't. If the new school doesn't end up as "state of the art" but non wealthy residents can afford to stay living in MP, so be it. I don't want to push out the middle class residents of MP because I don't want to live in a completely gentrifed society. When is the last time someone had a real conversation with his/her gardner? Try it sometime if you haven't. It can be fun.


1 person likes this
Posted by YES on A & C
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 17, 2016 at 9:43 pm

I'd like to correct the comment I had previously made on April 14 that I listed below. After speaking at length with the County Elections Office, it was 36.5% of San Mateo County registered voters that voted in the 2012 Presidential Primary Election, not the 29.2% I cited below. I apologize for the error and will continue to do everything I can to make sure anything I publish is factual and honest.


Posted by YES on A & C
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 14, 2016 at 8:06 pm
Question regarding the calling of a special election -

Some have accused the school board of calling a special election on these measures as a strategy to ensure low voter turnout and only by those supporting the schools. Here is the data from the San Mateo County Board of Elections office regarding the percentage participation of registered voters within our precincts across three different elections: the June 2008 Presidential Primary Election, the May 2010 MPCSD Special Election, and the June 2012 Presidential Election.

In 2008, 29.5% of our registered voters voted.
In 2010 (the MPCSD special election), 48.0% of our registered voters voted.
In 2012, 29.2% of our registered voters voted.

Think this proves the school board was not or is not trying to gain a "special advantage" by "sneaking in" a special election. In fact, this shows a special election actually increases greater participation across our entire community than a general one does.

We hope you join the rest of our community and endorsers in voting YES on Measures A & C.


2 people like this
Posted by YES on A & C
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 17, 2016 at 9:54 pm

How is MPCSD being dishonest?

All information is publicly available. Web Link

Yes, I would encourage everyone to gather the documented public FACTS around revenues and expenditures and not just interpret the angry opinions on the Town Square.


25 people like this
Posted by Another Linfield Oaks mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 17, 2016 at 10:19 pm

I encourage everyone to check the budget information on the district's own website. By looking at the district's own budget for this year -- Web Link -- I was able to identify a few places where the supporters of A and C were exaggerating.

The aforementioned budget takes into account the fact that the parcel tax might not be renewed -- the current Measure A.

"The District’s multiyear projection includes its renewal in 2017/18 at approximately $1.6 million. The loss of this funding would reduce projected reserves in that year from 10% to 6.3%."

That's right, folks. You can ignore the scare tactics. Dozens of teachers will not lose their jobs; class sizes will not increase. The reserves won't grow as quickly as the district might prefer -- but all the district needs to do is to come up with a similar measure that isn't permanent and my guess is that it will pass.

Measure C, which brings in an additional $17,000 per new student, simply makes no sense, unless you consider it a monopoly profit.

I support our schools but cannot support mismanagement of funds, manipulation of data, and efforts to manipulate the voters.


15 people like this
Posted by Equity
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2016 at 12:06 am

Thanks Linfield Mom. I agree with almost everything you said. But one question: Why come up with a proposal that isn't permanent. If the reserves are more than enough, which I agree they are, there really is no need for a proposal that is permanent or more short term. Why not just work with what they have? It's really enough.

How can we get your message out to all those voters who don't read this post and who are just going off of the glossy photos that arrive in the mail?

Thanks for your ideas.


2 people like this
Posted by Who is Superintendent?
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2016 at 9:18 am

[Post removed; stay on topic.]


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 18, 2016 at 12:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here are ALL the school parcel taxes passed in 2015 in California - NONE is permanent:

Election results, 2015

School parcel taxes
Ballot Measure: County: Outcome: Yes (%): No (%): Amount: Expires: Turnout:
Campbell Union School District Parcel Tax, Measure B (May 2015) Santa Clara County Approved 7,237 (67.56%) 3,475 (32.44%) $49/parcel 8 Yrs 33.47%

Las Virgenes Unified School District Parcel Tax, Measure E (November 2015) Los Angeles County Approved 3,252 (76.63%) 992 (23.37%) $98/parcel 12 years 19.3%

Nicasio School District Parcel Tax Increase, Measure A (May 2015) Marin County Approved 134 (70.90%) 55 (29.10%) $573.46/parcel 10 Yrs 46.67%

Palo Alto Unified School District Parcel Tax Increase, Measure A (May 2015) Santa Clara County Approved 13,903 (77.34%) 4,073 (22.66%) $758/parcel 6 Yrs 33.47%

San Carlos Elementary School District Parcel Tax Increase, Measure P (May 2015) San Mateo County Approved 4,656 (68.3%) 2,163 (31.7%) $246.6/parcel 6 Yrs 40.4%

San Marino Unified School District Parcel Tax Continuation, Measure E (March 2015) Los Angeles County Approved 2,131 (75.62%) 687 (24.38%) $865/parcel 6 Yrs 29.3%

San Ramon Valley Unified School District Parcel Tax Renewal, Measure A (May 2015) Contra Costa County Approved 19,618 (74.98%) 6,548 (25.02%) $144/parcel 9 years 29.46%

Santa Cruz City Elementary School District Parcel Tax, Measure P (November 2015) Santa Cruz County Approved 8,499 (76.60%) 2,596 (23.40%) $105 per parcel 8 years 28.4%

Santa Cruz City High School District Parcel Tax, Measure O (November 2015) Santa Cruz County Approved 15,784 (71.63%) 6,251 (28.37%) $72 per parcel 8 years 30.8%

Union Elementary School District Parcel Tax Renewal, Measure B (November 2015) Santa Clara County Approved 5,454 (74.77%) 1,840 (25.23%) $96 per parcel 10 years 33.33%

**********

The longest was for 12 years it was for $98/parcel.

No school district had more than one parcel tax on the ballot.


1 person likes this
Posted by YES on A & C
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Of the 1,790 parcel taxes in California, 26% (or 465) of them are permanent.

- California Tax Foundation, September 2014

Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 18, 2016 at 2:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Great citation - Please take the time to read the entire report which concludes:

"As seen in Figure 7, approximately 74 percent
of all parcel taxes are levied without a sunset date.
Every parcel tax should include a sunset provision that automatically expires the tax after a certain
amount of time, unless it is renewed by voters.
Local governments must have a stable revenue
stream, so the sunsets could be tailored to ensure
that revenue does not fluctuate – for example,
a parcel tax does not need to be resubmitted to
voters every two years, as this would be inefficient
and costly. But property owners should have an
ability to occasionally ascertain and determine
whether a parcel tax and the programs supported
by the tax continue to be necessary. Existing parcel
taxes that do not have expiration dates should be
resubmitted to voters with sunset provisions. "

That is pretty clear !!


40 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 18, 2016 at 2:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Another recommendation from the California Tax Foundation Report that is very pertinent to MPCSD's unique collection of FIVE parcel taxes:

"No property owner should pay more in parcel taxes and assessments than he or she pays in ad valorem property taxes."

************

If A and C pass I, and many other property owners, will be paying much more in MPCSD parcel taxes than we pay in MPCSD ad valorem property taxes.


7 people like this
Posted by Curious C.
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2016 at 4:58 pm

To Who is Superintendent?

Could you repost following the guidelines of The Almanac so that we can hear what you have to say? I am interested.

Thank you Peter for supplying us, as always, with accurate.


2 people like this
Posted by YES on A & C
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 18, 2016 at 5:51 pm

Yes Peter, we know you and Jack Hickey are against public schools as seen in this last opposition to Menlo Park Schools in 2003. Let alone Jack's failed runs as a Libertarian at Governor, Senator, U.S. Representative, state legislature, county supervisor and who knows how many other ballot measures. Looks like Jack's statement on enrollment growth was way off back then. Do we still think enrollment in our great community is not going to grow? Do you want to go on record?



ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE B
School Districts around the State have squandered tax dollars on class size reduction, which has been used as an emotional plea to increase funding for education. Of course it's nice to have more teacher student contact! That's why many parents choose to have their children tutored at home. And, they do this in spite of the enormous tax burden placed upon them to support government schools, which consume more than $10,000/year per student in K-12.

Class size reduction was a convenient way to fill the overbuilt facilities which were predicated on predictions of enrollment growth which failed to materialize.

At a time when the State's bond rating is in the tank , school districts should exercise fiscal restraint. It's time to say no to Parcel Taxes, and the divisive Senior exemptions which they employ to buy votes.

Vote NO on fiscal irresponsibility

Vote NO on Measure B

/s/ John J. "Jack" Hickey August 15, 2003 Chair, Libertarian Party of San Mateo County

Rebuttal to Arguments Against


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 18, 2016 at 6:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Yes Peter, we know you are against public schools as seen in this last opposition to Menlo Park Schools in 2003."

I had no position made NO statements on that issue.

I am certainly not "against public schools". When our son was in the third grade we took him out of a private school and enrolled him at Encinal. He then graduated from M-A.

I have repeatedly expressed my support and respect for MPCSD schools.

That support, however, does not extend to a record breaking FIVE parcel taxes which will last FOREVER and automatically INCREASE every year.


11 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

> you and Jack Hickey are against public schools [snip]

There you go again: the pro-5-parcel-tax proponents can't attack the message, so they instead attack the messenger.


MPCSD 2015-2016 revenues are higher than the student population growth and inflation by...


+$6,547,549 (2000-2001->2015-2016 school years)


MPCSD does not need even more tax revenue; the existing 3 permanent parcel taxes plus property tax increases are mathematically proven to be more than sufficient.

Other school districts accomplish just as much, or more, with less. We don't need a gold-plated school district, we need a public school district that is actually affordable to the PUBLIC. These parcel taxes are unnecessary largesse.


The Almanacnews recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.
The Daily Post recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.


Vote NO on Measures A and C


10 people like this
Posted by Brown Eyed Girl
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2016 at 8:29 pm

Brown Eyed Girl is a registered user.

To Yes on A & C:

Thank you for providing the link to the second interim report on the MPCSD website.

However, that does not tell the complete story. Voters also need to see the independent auditors report:

Web Link

According to the 2015 independent auditor’s report, the MPCSD has $32,637,000 in unfunded pension liabilities. This figure assumes a generous discount rate of 7.60% and suggests that the unfunded liability is much larger. In fact, using a discount rate of 6.60% increases the pension liability by $18,474,000,
(57%) to over $51 million and even that figure understates the true obligation. Using a more realistic discount rate of 5% increases the liability to in excess of $80 million.

And the report by Total Compensation Systems:

Web Link


According to Total Compensation Systems, Inc., an independent actuarial service hired by the District, the unfunded actuarial accrued liability for retiree healthcare benefits is nearly $5.5 million and the annual required contribution to fund retiree healthcare benefits is $596,000.

Voters, please review these reports and you will see pension and retiree healthcare expenses are the fastest growing expense item in the MPCSD budget and these expenses will not be met with the proposed parcel taxes.

Restructuring and reform is the only solution.


6 people like this
Posted by YES on A & C
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 18, 2016 at 8:49 pm

Jack Hickey is not the messenger, he is the AUTHOR against these Measures for our schools (not his) as you can see here -

Web Link

And he authored against this one for schools in Redwood City -

Web Link

And authored against this one for schools in San Carlos -

Web Link

And authored against this one for schools in San Mateo -

Web Link

And authored against this one for schools in Burlingame -

Web Link

See a pattern here? Jack puts an opposition argument on the ballot against nearly every school measure in San Mateo County. Does he really care about Menlo Park? Or just care about his own agenda? The author does not live here. The author can not vote here.

What is the author's agenda? Well, here it is from his 2003 campaign for Governor website -

"Mr. Hickey has a long range plan (20 years) involving Education reform (PAVE 2000). According to a summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Sales of public schools could generate one-time revenues potentially exceeding $100 billion. Measure could also result in annual long-term savings approaching $100 billion for elimination of public support of K-12 education; capital outlay savings to 'state and local governments of as much as $1 billion annually; and potential loss of federal funds in the billions of dollars annually. This plan includes a phase-out of the Sales Tax.

Jack Hickey website: www.GovHickey.com"

That folks is the author of the arguments against these measures to support funding for the schools in your hometown.

We hope you join us in Voting YES on Measures A & C.




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Posted by ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 18, 2016 at 9:29 pm

@Yes on A & C, thank you for posting the links elucidating Mr. Hickey's history of authoring arguments against school Measures, and his bias against the public school system in general. It's hard to believe that anyone would think selling public schools for a short-term revenue gain to be in any way a sound policy, and it's important for Menlo Park voters to know that this is one of the voices agitating so vociferously against Measures A & C. I've been doing a lot of thinking, reading, and researching about the Measures, and I intend to make up my OWN mind. I encourage everyone to do the same.


33 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 18, 2016 at 9:38 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

yes on a & c wrote:
> Jack Hickey is not the messenger, he is the AUTHOR

Strawman.

straw man: A logic fallacy involving the purposeful misrepresentation of an argument in order to strike it down.

We are arguing the merits of Measures A and C, but instead you want to argue about the messengers (aka "authors"). You're using the strawman because you don't want to address the actual issue: MPCSD doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a SPENDING problem. So instead you throw up strawman and attack the messengers instead of addressing the actual issues.

MPCSD 2015-2016 revenues are higher than the student population growth and inflation by...


+$6,547,549 (2000-2001->2015-2016 school years)


MPCSD does not need even more tax revenue; the existing 3 permanent parcel taxes plus property tax increases are mathematically proven to be more than sufficient.

Other school districts accomplish just as much, or more, with less. We don't need a gold-plated school district, we need a public school district that is actually affordable to the PUBLIC. These parcel taxes are unnecessary largesse.


The Almanacnews recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.
The Daily Post recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.


Vote NO on Measures A and C


15 people like this
Posted by Another Linfield Oaks mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 18, 2016 at 9:38 pm

@Yes on A & C, you have every right to your opinion. As a long time supporter of the schools myself, I understand where you are coming from.

But that does not include the right to try to smear people who don't agree with you. I don't know Jack Hickey, but the fact that he doesn't live in this city or that he is a longtime supporter of school reform is irrelevant. What is important is that he is producing facts to refute the propaganda and mindless jingoism spouted by supporters.

If this tax is truly a reaction to burgeoning pension liabilities and not about our kids and teachers, well, that's a mark against Ghysels and the board for duplicity. And I agree with Brown Eyed Girl: we're not going to be able to tax our way out of an $80 million obligation. Time to stop using voters to plug the holes; instead, let's invest our energy and resources in rebuilding the dike.


4 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 18, 2016 at 9:39 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ wrote:
> [another strawman]


16 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 18, 2016 at 9:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Let's debate the issues.

Here are the unanswered questions:


1- Will every new age eligible child moving into the MPCSD attend MPCSD schools?

2 - Will new out of district students be counted as increased enrollments under Measure C thereby causing every parcel to pay an additional tax for these out of District students?

3 - Why is the debt service for the $23 million bond measure (2013) not included in per student expenditure?

4 - Why have FIVE parcel taxes than NEVER expire rather than ONE consolidated parcel tax?

5 - Why not have that consolidated parcel tax be subject to renewal by the voters on a periodic basis?

6 - Why assume unrealistically low property tax revenues increases?

7 - How many out of district children of MPCSD staff are currently enrolled in MPCSD schools?

8 - At $17k per student what is the cost of this benefit?

9 - Where does this expense show up in the MPCSD budget?

- Is it included in the $7 million+ Benefits line item?

10 - Is this benefit reflected in the compensation analysis of the staff?

11 - Is this benefit taxable income to the recipients?

12 - There are 58 non-Tinsley, no-Ravenwood students at MPCSD that come from outside the District. At the claimed $17k/student who is paying the $1 million/year cost of these students?

13: How many Tinsley transfers resulted in the related $804,860 Ongoing State Funds revenue item?

14: How much do residence districts pay to MPCSD for Non-Tinsley transfers?

15: Expenditure - Salaries & Benefits - Does not include pass-through of state contribution to STRS on behalf of district employees. Why not?

16- The Measure A ballot arguments claim that MPCSD's cost per student is $13,006 yet their total expenditures are $42,249,036 and they have 2940 students which yields an amount of $14,370/student.

What is the ACTUAL cost per student?

17 - Why does Measure C charge taxpayers over $17k per new student when the current expenditure per student is $13,006?


21 people like this
Posted by Another Cup of Kool Aid
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 18, 2016 at 10:04 pm

The Board of Education is in a complete frenzy right now because, for the first time in recent history, there's actually a chance that they won't get whatever they ask for. They're sending out the brigades to go door-to-door and write rebuttals to The Almanac -- a local paper that has always been known as an unwavering advocate of the school district.

The same folks that went against the wishes of district parents to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars bringing Everyday Mathematics into our students lives only to toss it in the trash as an inferior curriculum two years later are now telling us to trust them on a taxes that will never expire. They must be using Everyday Math themselves to have come up with their data because none of it adds up.

To all the good-hearted parents who have sipped the Kool Aid and believe the end is near, please note: the district is not in danger of collapse, your property values are safe, and no matter how hard you work to convince the community to vote for these ill-conceived taxes you will never be invited to the private garden parties.

No more blank checks -- The Menlo Park school district needs the same oversight as any other even though they think they're above it all.


13 people like this
Posted by Equity
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2016 at 10:51 pm

To: Another Cup of Koolaid

I couldn't agree more. Well said and spot on. Thank you very much.

To: Peter C. How did the perk of a 17K education work it's way in to children of staff members? I know of some staff members who have brought 3+ children.... It's not a given. I know many district's that don't allow such a perk.

To Peter C. While slightly off the subject, how can we learn about the wasted attorney fees referred to by "stop wasting existing dollars". Please point me where I can find out how much the district has spend in litigation, frivolous law suits and the like. It's all part of the picture and there are ways to pick up $ as you have mentioned without taxing. I'm interested in learning how much is going toward attorney fees and if it's more than it should be.... Please advise if able.


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Posted by Elizabeth Ouren
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 18, 2016 at 11:01 pm

Oops, Thanks for correcting my typos. You are right, Measure W was the bond measure, I meant to type that in 2010, at the time of Measure C (not Measure W), enrollment was not projected to continue to rise. And I meant to say Measure C will expire next year (not this year). Sorry for the confusion.







2 people like this
Posted by Legal Eagle
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 19, 2016 at 9:29 am

It appears that enrollment for children of staff is permissive but not mandated (though it cannot be revoked for a particular student once granted, except for termination of employment of the parent). See Web Link.

Interdistrict Transfer Because of Parent Employment/Allen Bill

California Education Code Section 48204(b) permits a school district to deem a pupil to have complied with the residency requirements for school attendance in the district if at least one parent/guardian of the pupil is physically employed within the boundaries of that district. Once admitted to residency, the pupil’s transfer may be revoked only if the parent ceases to be employed within the boundaries of the district. As a resident, the student does not have to re-apply for the transfer to be valid.


6 people like this
Posted by Legal Eagle
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 19, 2016 at 9:55 am

Here is a link to the teachers' contact with MPCSD. Web Link

I cannot find any contractual provision requiring the district to grant enrollment to children of district staff.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 19, 2016 at 10:07 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The US News and World Report High School rankings have just been published:

Web Link

The highest ranking local high school is Everett in Redwood City which is #21 in California

The only other local high school in California's top 100 is Palo Alto.

Menlo Atherton and Woodside are unranked but have college readiness scores of 49.8 and 35.4 compared to 71.5 for Everett, 69.2 for Palo Alto and 70.7 for Gunn.


Does this mean that Menlo Park and Atherton property values will now fall compared to property values in Palo Alto and Redwood City?


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 19, 2016 at 10:25 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Thank you Legal Eagle for posting the MPCSD Teachers' contract.

Since Section 9.2 of that contract requires the District not to exceed an average class size of 27 there is no way that the District could either increase class sizes or lay off any teacher during the course of this contract which expires 1 July 2017.


6 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 19, 2016 at 10:56 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Answers to debt service and matching funds questions from Ahmad Sheikholeslami
Chief Business and Operations Officer Menlo Park City School District

Hi Jack,

At this time the State program does not have funds for matching Modernization or New Construction funding. There appears to be a ballot measure for a State Bond program in November 2016 election. If that measure passes and we meet the program requirements we will submit for funds which for our project under Measure W. We have estimated that the project would be eligible for Modernization funds in the amount of $1M. But because there is no program at this time we have not included those monies in our budget.

The Bond debt financing does not go through the general fund. Both the collection of taxes and debt repayment of all bonds are handled at the County level.

Best,

Ahmad Sheikholeslami
Chief Business and Operations Officer
Menlo Park City School District


6 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 19, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Peter, you said: "As seen in Figure 7, approximately 74 percent
of all parcel taxes are levied without a sunset date.
The California Tax Foundation, September 2014 report did say that, but Figure 7 has this text in it:
"Of the 1,138 parcel taxes identified with effective
dates listed, 41 percent were levied in perpetuity
and 59 percent contain a sunset date."

Conflicts of facts notwithstanding, MPCSD is the "poster child" for parcel tax abusers.


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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 19, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Peter, what is the current average class size? I would hate to think that the school board does not have the flexibility to increase class size if it became necessary.


2 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 19, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Food for thought.

Web Link


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Posted by Eqity
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 19, 2016 at 5:46 pm

Dear Legal Eagle:

Two questions:

So what would need to happen to reopen the conversation about the taxpayers supporting the full "tuition" of staff members' children at 17K a year for 8 years X the number of children they each have....?

Seems like we can endorse and renew the status quo and/or not......

How can we ascertain the amount of money the district is spending on attorney fees and how much of that might be to ward off situations for which they district acted in irresponsible ways?


Thanks for sharing what you know.


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Posted by Eqity
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 19, 2016 at 5:46 pm

Dear Legal Eagle:

Two questions:

So what would need to happen to reopen the conversation about the taxpayers supporting the full "tuition" of staff members' children at 17K a year for 8 years X the number of children they each have....?

Seems like we can endorse and renew the status quo and/or not......

How can we ascertain the amount of money the district is spending on attorney fees and how much of that might be to ward off situations for which they district acted in irresponsible ways?


Thanks for sharing what you know.


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Posted by MP parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 19, 2016 at 5:58 pm

Jack Hickey, I do not know the district average but I believe the largest class size at Laurel is 24 and at Encinal is 25 (most are smaller). Someone should correct this if I am wrong.


1 person likes this
Posted by YES on A & C
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 20, 2016 at 7:56 am

Encinal School wins Gold Ribbon award

Encinal School in Atherton, a Menlo Park City School District kindergarten- through fifth-grade school, has received a Gold Ribbon award from the California Department of Education.

The Gold Ribbon Schools Award program has replaced the California Distinguished Schools Program while the state adopts new assessment and accountability systems. Elementary schools are honored in even years, while middle and high schools are honored in odd years.
Encinal was the only school in the Almanac's circulation area to win the award, which required schools to describe a model program or practice at their site that benefited unique student populations and could be replicated by others.

The awards were given to 772 schools in the state, and nine in San Mateo County.

Vote YES on Measures A and C to keep our great schools strong!


4 people like this
Posted by Legal Eagle
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 20, 2016 at 9:52 am

Eqity asks: "So what would need to happen to reopen the conversation about the taxpayers supporting the full "tuition" of staff members' children at 17K a year for 8 years X the number of children they each have....?"

I don't know, as it looks like the decision whether to allow interdistrict transfers to children of staff members may be discretionary with either the Board or with the administration. See the stated policy at Web Link. It isn't clear to me how much leeway the Board/administration would have to deviate from its current practice without changing the wording of the policy.

Eqity asks: "How can we ascertain the amount of money the district is spending on attorney fees and how much of that might be to ward off situations for which they district acted in irresponsible ways?"

I have never tried to access details of the district's expenditures. Other commenters appear to have experience in this area, so I leave it to them. I suspect that, at most, we can get a summary of attorney fee expenditures and that the district probably would not be required to disclose the details of the consultations.





4 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 20, 2016 at 11:00 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

If they are anything like the Sequoia Healthcare District on whose Board I serve, they will claim attorney-client privilege. My district spent $7,000 in legal fees to seek advice on how to stop my Referendum petitioning effort to overturn the Board's decision to move Sequoia Hospital to east of 101.

For obtaining payment information, I have this from Ghysel:

Regarding payment information history, please see MPCSD's Agenda OnLine for our monthly vendor warrants listed under the Consent Agenda. These reports are submitted to the Board at every Regular Board meeting. For example, click here to view last month's Regular Board meeting agenda. Scroll down to item XIII. c. Vendor Warrants and Employee Reimbursement for January 2016. You will find a vendor payment history report attached to this agenda item.


1 person likes this
Posted by Present
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 20, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Present is a registered user.

Thank you Almanac for posting the news of the only school within your entire circulation to win the Gold Ribbon Award from the California Department of Education - Encinal Elementary School in MPCSD.


16 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 20, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

YES on A & C wrote:
> Encinal School wins Gold Ribbon award

Lets look at some of the winners in San Mateo County:

Encinal Elementary: district revenue/student 14-15: $13,745

Roosevelt Elementary: district revenue/student 14-15: $ 9,373
Clifford Elementary: district revenue/student 14-15: $10,731
Hoover Elementary: district revenue/student 14-15: $10,731
Roy Cloud School: district revenue/student 14-15: $10,731
Taft Community School: district revenue/student 14-15: $10,731
Martin Elementary: district revenue/student 14-15: $ 9,522

See a trend here? Many, many other districts are able to become Gold Ribbon award winners without the revenue largesse that MPCSD currently enjoys.

And MPCSD wants EVEN MORE, with FIVE parcel taxes.



MPCSD 2015-2016 revenues are higher than the student population growth and inflation by +$6,547,549 (2000-2001->2015-2016 school years)


MPCSD does not need even more tax revenue; the existing 3 permanent parcel taxes plus property tax increases are mathematically proven to be more than sufficient.

Other school districts accomplish just as much, or more, with less. We don't need a gold-plated school district, we need a public school district that is actually affordable to the PUBLIC. These parcel taxes are unnecessary largesse.


The Almanacnews recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.
The Daily Post recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.


Vote NO on Measures A and C


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Posted by Present
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 20, 2016 at 8:40 pm

Present is a registered user.

Two editors say no. Here are all the people that say YES (so far and counting)

Straight from Web Link here's a list of community leaders that ARE ENDORSING these measures:


Community Leaders

Rich Gordon, State Assemblymember

Joe Simitian, Santa Clara County Supervisor and Former State Senator

Warren Slocum, San Mateo Board of Supervisors President

Anne Campbell, San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools

Joe Ross, San Mateo County Board of Education, Vice President and Trustee Area Seven

Rich Cline, Councilmember and Mayor

Kirsten Keith, Councilmember and Vice Mayor

Catherine Carlton, Councilmember and former Mayor

Ray Mueller, Councilmember and former Mayor

Peter Ohtaki, Councilmember and former Mayor

Allen Weiner, SUHSD Trustee and Former President

Chris Thomsen, SUHSD Trustee and Former President

Katie Ferrick, Menlo Park Planning Commissioner

Jeff Child, Menlo Park City School District Board President

Stacey Jones, Menlo Park City School District Board Vice-President

Maria Hilton, Menlo Park City School District Board Trustee

Joan Lambert, Menlo Park City School District Board Trustee

Terry Thygsen, Menlo Park City School District Board Trustee

Karen Canty, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Mark Box, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Deborah Fitz, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Scott Hinshaw, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Bruce Ives, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Gordon Lewin, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Carol Orton, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Laura Rich, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee

Nancy Serrurier, Former Menlo Park City School District Trustee


School Leaders

Michael Moore, Retired Hillview Principal

Ted Schlein, MPAEF Former President

Lynne Young, MPAEF Former President

Peggy Propp, MPAEF Former President

Jill Parker, MPAEF Former President

Steve Hoffmann, MPAEF Former President

Kim Guthrie, MPAEF Former President

Shari Conrad, MPAEF Former President

Scott Lohmann, MPAEF Former President

Gerang Desai, MPAEF Former President

Alison Leupold, MPAEF Former President

Theanne Thomson, MPAEF Former President

Kristin Seuell, MPAEF Former President

Laura Foster, MPAEF Former President

Leigh Flesher, MPAEF Former President

Jill Vizas, Encinal PTO President

May Matsui, Encinal PTO Co-Vice President

Stephanie Chen, Oak Knoll PTO President

Tamara Russel, Oak Knoll PTO Communications Chair

Janelle McCombs, Oak Knoll PTO Vice President

Kate Kennedy, Hillview PTO Co-President

Jody Buckley, Hillview PTO Co-Vice President

Gina Skinner, Hillview PTO Recording Secretary

Ken Wang, Hillview PTO Financial Secretary

Elizabeth Ouren, Former Encinal PTO President

Carla Posthauer, Former Laurel PTO President

Debi Rice, Former Laurel PTO President

Tracy Watt, Former Oak Knoll PTO President

Carolyn Bowsher, Former Oak Knoll PTO President

Jill Kispert, Former Hillview PTO Co-President


16 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Apr 20, 2016 at 9:28 pm

"Present", formerly known as "Parent", wrote:
> Here's the list

A lot of those "leaders" are associated with the school and foundation.

Gee, people who created the measures are supporting the measures.

And the others are politicians; they didn't want to incur the wrath of the "school community".

MPCSD does not need even more tax revenue; the existing 3 permanent parcel taxes plus property tax increases are mathematically proven to be more than sufficient.

Other school districts accomplish just as much, or more, with less. We don't need a gold-plated school district, we need a public school district that is actually affordable to the PUBLIC. These parcel taxes are unnecessary largesse.


The Almanacnews recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.
The Daily Post recommends a NO vote on Measures A and C.


Vote NO on Measures A and C


13 people like this
Posted by Voting No
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 20, 2016 at 10:10 pm

Thank you Richard and Renee, also Dave Price for your honest assessments. It's a gutsy thing to go against the establishment.

Hard to find that these days.

Will be voting no


15 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 20, 2016 at 10:27 pm


Present,

Shame on all of you for pandering to your own self preservation and self serving parents. When is enough enough?

Suggest anyone still thinking about voting. Go to the campuses and see for your self what luxury looks like.

Also suggest everyone get out your property tax bill. You probably thought prop 13. limited your tax liability to 1% of your purchase price.
Take some time and read all those pesky little extra taxes. They add roughly another 20% to your bill. It's ridiculous.

Vote No


3 people like this
Posted by Serenity Now
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 20, 2016 at 11:00 pm

@Train Fan wrote:

"A lot of those "leaders" are associated with the school and foundation."

Yes; that's what makes them "School Leaders" as indicated in the endorsement list.

"Gee, people who created the measures are supporting the measures."

Contrary to what you might think, volunteers who give their time and energies to school PTOs and/or the MPAEF aren't a hive mind. They think and act for themselves and make up their own minds about issues affecting their schools and community. They also don't create parcel tax or bond measures; that's the job of the elected School Board.



16 people like this
Posted by Curious C.
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 20, 2016 at 11:21 pm

I have been a MPCSD parent for ten years. My children have had good experiences and bad. We've enjoyed parts and like anyone been frustrated with things here and there. But one thing I have learned during that time is just how much money talks. The reference by one commentator to "garden parties" really hit home.

I remember one time attending a foundation event and people hardly spoke to me ( I am a middle class working parent and can only make modest donations. )

I remember when Scott Hinshaw (highly involved in finance) was appointed as a board member over a teacher even though we had a board member with a financial background and were lacking an educator's perspective on our board.

I remember my neighbors (foundation ambassadors) turning their noses up at me during campaigns when our donation was small.

I donate lots of time in classrooms. I help students who are struggling. My spouse takes days to attend field trips. We do our part but it's not mostly from our pocketbook.

When I see Train Fan's comments about those who endorse the measure, wrote the measure, that's how I feel as well. I see list of names and many of them, not all, are the ones who participated in the actions above.

Gold standard yes. Gold plated no. Not good for our kids to live in a community where they want for nothing. Not good for us to live with these taxes unless we are willing to take the laborious actions suggested by Jeff Child in his post. Too much work to undo them Jeff. No one is going to take that one in our busy society. Better just vote it down the first time and learn to live within our means.




2 people like this
Posted by No on A&C
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 20, 2016 at 11:55 pm

present,

were there any community leaders that oppose the tax but didn't make the list,

lets be fair and balanced


4 people like this
Posted by Present
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 21, 2016 at 7:36 am

Present is a registered user.

I don't know <No on A & C>, what community leaders did YOU get to oppose these measures besides the people that make money off this town forum?

NOOOO ONNNEEE?!?!?!?!?!

Oh yeah, you got Jack Hickey. You sure that's someone you want leading your opposition?

Here's a quote from your "leader" when opposing Prop 39 - "If any kid comes home with a flyer supporting the bond, boy, I want to nail them," Hickey said.

See below

There is, however, already established opposition. Jack Hickey, perennial candidate and chair of the county's Libertarian Party, is constructing a web site to keep track of the district's campaign methods.
"If any kid comes home with a flyer supporting the bond, boy, I want to nail them," Hickey said.

- See more at: Web Link

Let me repeat - "If any kid comes home with a flyer supporting the bond, boy, I want to nail them," Hickey said.

That's not the type of "leader" I'd want endorsing my measures.


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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 21, 2016 at 11:31 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Present, your link to Jon May's editorial "Prop 39 clears the way for community colleges" reveals a Jon May's who was obviously not well when he wrote it.
The issue raised is relevant. Prop 39 was the disaster which lowered the vote requirement for school bond measures from 2/3 to 55%. The rest of the editorial dealt with the subject of political advocacy in the context of electioneering by a government agency.

You said: Jack Hickey, perennial candidate and chair of the county's Libertarian Party, is constructing a web site to keep track of the district's campaign methods.

Here it is: Legitimate PR or Felonious Political Advocacy? Web Link

More on the subject can be found here: Web Link

From what I can gather, glossy mailings supporting the parcel taxes have been received by voters. Check the postage permits. I did that for the Sequoia Healthcare District Annual Report and found that they were mailed by a non-union print shop in San Francisco.

The Yes on A and C committee reported another $1,000 in contributions yesterday. Their second pre-election report is due today. It should show expenditures and more contributions. Will MPAEF be one of them?

In an earlier filing, Jeffrey Weiner of Menlo Park gave $2,500. His occupation was listed as "unknown".

In another thread, it was revealed that $6.1 million dollars in bond debt service was collected from MPCSD property owners. That's an annual expenditure of more than $2,000 per student. It was also revealed that this expenditure is not included in the cost per student reported by the district.


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Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Apr 21, 2016 at 12:02 pm

Jack Hickey -- "Present, your link to Jon May's editorial "Prop 39 clears the way for community colleges" reveals a Jon May's who was obviously not well when he wrote it."

Keeping it classy as always, I see.


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Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Apr 21, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Oh, and how about this:

"He has also suggested that the district pay for upgrades by selling surplus property and enlisting corporate sponsors.
"'It's like Pepsi-Cola in grade schools,' Hickey said. 'I think the venture capitalists should get involved. I wouldn't be opposed to venture capitalists buying the school district and running it.'"

WOW. Seriously? Letting vulture capitalists get their hands on our schoolchildren? That definitely is a sign of something there, sport...


4 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 21, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

What we have here are 4 individuals who had previously never met, coming together for a common purpose. Defeat the unnecessary Parcel Taxes.

Proponents failure to participate in this debate remind me of then State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Max Rafferty and challenger Wilson Riles.
Most incumbents avoid debates. Max Rafferty, Mr. Nice Guy, agreed to a debate and lost the election. Proponents of the Parcel Taxes don't want to make that mistake.

Vote NO on Measures A and C


14 people like this
Posted by Vote NO on A & C
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 21, 2016 at 12:37 pm

The YES on A & C keep pointing to the list of public officials who have given their support of the measures. However, that was back before this entire boondoggle has blown up in the face of the MPCSD. Where are the editorials, comments of support, campaigning from these people now? Other than a couple members of the school board it has been quiet. My guess - like any good politician, when you see something going south, you start swimming away from the sinking ship.


6 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 21, 2016 at 5:16 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Many of the "supporters" of A & C are either the authors or others with a vested interest in its passage or politicians, who knowing that "opposing school funding", would be a political death sentence, are supporting these measures.

As someone else has previously posted, "the words of my mother ring in my ears; if everyone else was jumping off a cliff would you do it too?"

I suggest the very intelligent citizens of MPCSD look CRITICALLY at the claims of the school board for PERMANENT parcel taxes. I think you'll find they're not warranted.

Vote NO on A & C.


6 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 21, 2016 at 5:25 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

One other thing for the intelligent citizens of Menlo Park, if the school board won't answer very pertinent questions, what are they hiding?


16 people like this
Posted by Brown Eyed Girl
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 21, 2016 at 8:59 pm

Brown Eyed Girl is a registered user.

The true reason for the Measure A and Measure C parcel taxes is because the MPCSD projects employee benefits to increase by +41% over the next 2 years, with further increases in the years ahead.

In accordance with AB 1469, the MPCSD contributed 10.73% of a member's earnings to the State Teacher's Retirement System (STRS) and this employer contribution will rise to 19.10% by 2020. Contributions to the Public Employees Retire System (PERS) are also escalating.

Employee benefits (pension contributions to STRS and PERS) are crowding out critical services. In 2014, the MPCSD contribution to STRS was 8.25% of a member's earnings and in 2015 it increased to 10.73%. That is a 30% increase in 1 year in the contribution rate and does not even account for increased payroll due to higher numbers of employees or higher salaries due to raises.

The District is asking for permanent and rising parcel taxes because they know, the pension liability is escalating.

The numbers are all in the links provided in my previous post. They don't make it easy and you need to read the footnotes and fine print.

I am not exaggerating. Read it for yourselves.

I find it interesting that none of the proponents dispute this. The reason they cannot dispute this is because these are their own facts taken directly from their own projections and audited reports.

No opinions here, just the facts.


22 people like this
Posted by Brown Eyed Girl
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 22, 2016 at 8:58 pm

Brown Eyed Girl is a registered user.

In 2012, California voters passed Proposition 30 which was supposed to be a TEMPORARY tax hike to fund schools through 2018. With the tax hike scheduled to expire in 2018, the California Teachers Association is backing a 2016 ballot measure called the California School Funding and Budget Stability Act to extend the tax hike for another 12 years until 2030.

Funny thing about taxes is that they are never TEMPORARY and there is NEVER any effort to restrain spending or restructure or reform the way things are done.

The backers of this extension to Prop 30 believe we should return to a top tax rate of 70%.

They will never stop until they have confiscated every last dollar.

It is time to stop feeding the beast.


2 people like this
Posted by Ally
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 22, 2016 at 9:23 pm

She's right. It's all in there. The projections are non sustainable unless something (increased taxes?) changes. What that something is is TBD. Most likely this happened during bargaining unit negotiations. It's a tough place in which to be because teachers (often rightfully so) demand a lot (perks, salary etc.) We, the public, should assume our role in making their jobs harder than needed by exhibiting entitlement and expecting the impossible. Being a teacher in MP is not easy, I'm sure.

That being said, it still is true that the district is in this situation because of what they allowed to happen at the bargaining table. There needs to be truth in lending about the situation. Then there needs to be compromise. The taxpayers get schools that are better than most but maybe not THAT much better. The teachers get paid/pensions etc. better than most, but a LOT better than some with some hard demanding families (Los Altos for example).


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Posted by parent
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 22, 2016 at 10:31 pm

I read teachers unions have the largest membership in the country. It only stands they have clout w/ special interest, and politicians,

It's not necessarily the teachers that make the schools so highly rated as it is the parents.

Pay them well but there is a lot of competition in the pension packages


Like this comment
Posted by Linfield Oaks Mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 24, 2016 at 8:04 am

@ Peter Carpenter - quick correction on your correction of another poster's message about how much of the MPCSD revenue is from property taxes. I studied the district's web pages about property taxes and budgets and learned this: MPCSD estimates 2015-16 revenue will be 56% secured property taxes (which is buildings) and 6% unsecured property taxes (which is boats and airplanes and some things owned by businesses). The original poster was correct in saying that just over half of MPCSD revenue is from "property taxes" as defined by everyone in this thread, which is to say people's houses.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 24, 2016 at 8:22 am

You are correcting a comment that I did NOT make.

I posted "Actually secured property taxes represent more than 60% of MPCSD's revenues."


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 24, 2016 at 9:00 am

Remember that the bond payment, which if often ignored in calculating revenues and per pupil revenues, is a tax on secured properties.


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Posted by Linfield Oaks Mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 24, 2016 at 10:52 am

@ Peter Carpenter

You said secured property taxes are more than 60% of MPCSD revenue but the correct number is 56%. Unsecured property taxes are 6%. Total of both is 62% so taxes from houses and buildings are not more than 60%. It is 56%.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 24, 2016 at 11:23 am

$6.1 million dollars in bond debt service was collected from MPCSD property owners. That's an annual expenditure of more than $2,000 per student. This expenditure is not included in the cost per student reported by the district.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 24, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

From the MPCSD Second Interim Report page 112:

"Principal Balance Fund 51, Bond Interest and Redemption Fund $131,153,954.00"

That is a LOT of debt!


My PROPERTY tax bill includes $151.02 to pay a very small part of this debt and every other property owner also pays an ad valorem tax to help retire this huge debt.

As noted, this revenue does not seem to appear in the MPCSD budget. It is as if the taxpayers incurred the original debt, MPCSD got the money and from then on the annual cost to the taxpayers is none of the District's business or responsibility. And`since MPCSD does not include the $6+ million paid annually by the property owners as revenue so, of course, it does not show up in the revenue per student calculation. And IF it were included in revenue per student calculation that would dramatically change all of the current comparisons to other school districts and further undercut the justification for these new parcel taxes.

I do not know whether this is duplicitous or justifiable accounting tricks or what but the bond debt payments by secured property owners are very real.

I would welcome someone providing documentation that proves any of the above statements to be incorrect.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 24, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As just realized that Jack Hickey asked for and posted the confirmation of my last posting:

"The Bond debt financing does not go through the general fund. Both the collection of taxes and debt repayment of all bonds are handled at the County level.

Best,

Ahmad Sheikholeslami
Chief Business and Operations Officer
Menlo Park City School District"
***********

So as I said - the taxpayers incurred the original debt, MPCSD got the money and from then on the annual cost to the taxpayers is none of the District's business or responsibility.

There are 15698 registered voters in the District so this $131,153,954 of debt represents a debt of $8354 per voter.


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Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 24, 2016 at 6:14 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

by the way we’re also screwing you on the bond payments, but we won’t tell you that so you’ll give us even more money. Disgusting.

Vote NO on A and C.

Demand financial accountability from your school board.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 25, 2016 at 7:55 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here are the Bonds issued by MPCSD:

"To fund MPCSD’s facilities expansion and improvements, our voters have overwhelmingly approved three bond measures: a $22 million bond measure in 1995 with 82% voter approval (the “1995 Bonds”), a $91.1 million bond measure in 2006 with 70.6% voter approval (the “2006 Bonds”) and a $23 million bond measure in 2013 with 75.3% approval (the “2013 Bonds”)."

Interestingly MPCSD claims revenue per student of $13k in 2006. This does not include the revenue from the 2006 bond of $23 million. If that bond revenue were applied to the 2006 revenue per student then the total revenue per student in 2006 would be over $22k per student. Obviously it would not be "fair" to apply all the bond revenue to the one year in which it was received but that is the way that the district actually treats bond revenue - as received in a single year. And then the district simply ignores the property taxes paid in any year to retire that debt as if those revenues were meaningless. Yet clearly the MPCSD students benefit every year from the use of that bond revenue to dramatically improve their facilities.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 25, 2016 at 7:59 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Correction - the 2006 bond was $91 million or almost $40k per student so the "revenue" per student in 2006 would have been over $50k.


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

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