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Measures A and C - the unanswered questions

Original post made by Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood, on Apr 16, 2016

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?

Comments (25)

11 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 17, 2016 at 9:08 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Wow. A day later and not a single answer.


2 people like this
Posted by Apple
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 17, 2016 at 11:30 am

An open town hall would be a great way to get these questions answered. I hope the district holds one and invites all interested citizens. This would be a great way to address concerns and demonstrates openness and transparency.

For example, Atherton is rebuilding its civic center. Although it will be privately funded (except for the library), the town council have held town halls every step of the way to solicit input, ensure a well-informed public, and to address concerns.

The downside with a FAQ is that it only answers the questions the board wants answered, not the questions the community has.

If passing the parcel tax is as important as the proponents say it is, why isn't there more public outreach being done, especially in light of public opposition? If the facts and case can be made for higher parcel taxes, then the proponents should embrace a public discussion.


Like this comment
Posted by MP parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 17, 2016 at 12:37 pm

I also would like to know the answer to question 2.


8 people like this
Posted by Alex
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 17, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Among midsize districts, why is MPCSD the third-highest K-8 district in per pupil spending? This is before we take into account whether the new parcel taxes pass. Spending doesn't seem to be in control.

Why aren't we seeing economies of scale from being a midsize district? MPCSD has five to six times the number of students of Portola Valley or Woodside school districts. Those districts will always have higher expenses per student because they have fewer students and need a minimum of administrative staff and can't purchase in bulk. MPCSD can, yet the board is still comparing MPCSD spending levels to these two small districts.

Assuming these parcel taxes pass, what does the board plan to do in a few years when we become low on funds again? Future budgets are being designed with ever growing amount of spending. Will there be another large parcel tax increase and another? When does this cycle stop?


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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 17, 2016 at 1:58 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 â€" approximately 70% of Ravenswood City School District base funding for students who live in that attendance boundary but attend our schools

In Question 12, Peter asked: "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?"

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

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

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

Re: Question 2 How many of the inter-district transfers are counted as enrollees for purposes of adjusting parcel tax levies?


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 17, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Alex said: "Among midsize districts, why is MPCSD the third-highest K-8 district in per pupil spending?" Is that in San Mateo County or the entire state?


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 17, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

What is the origin of the $17K per student?


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"What is the origin of the $17K per student?"

Measure C proposes a $2.20 per student/parcel tax and with about 7880 parcels the total tax per new student is over $17k - which is therefor what the school district seems to claim is their cost per student.

And where this really gets interesting it that they claim their current revenue per student is $13,006 (per their ballot argument).

So either Measure C dramatically overstates their cost per student or they are going to have a much bigger deficit than is shown in their current budget.


5 people like this
Posted by Alex
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 17, 2016 at 3:40 pm

@Jack

Third highest per pupil midsize K-8 district in all of California based on 2013-14 year. The 2014-15 numbers came out recently. MPCSD is now fourth. Yet the new parcel tax is charging $17k/student.

Midsize districts are supposed to be more efficient spenders than small districts. Cost per student is supposed to decline as you get bigger.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2016 at 4:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Added questions:

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

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

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

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


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2016 at 4:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

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?


2 people like this
Posted by Superintendent from where?
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2016 at 9:32 am

Two more question$: (1) where did you get your Superintendent, and (2) should he be trusted with even more money and power?


3 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 18, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Peter - please show me the minutes of a School Board meeting where you have gone and asked these questions.


16 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 18, 2016 at 1:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Parent - I have met personally with three of the five School Board members.

There is no need to attack the messenger rather than just answering the very reasonable questions that I and many others are asking.

And when thoughtful people have examined these two Measures carefully they have come out in opposition as is evidence by both the Almanac and the Post recommending NO on A and NO on C.


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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 19, 2016 at 12:30 pm

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


2 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 20, 2016 at 12:02 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

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

Here's information from the Controllers Office which should help resolve this question:

For 2015/2016, there are 8,780 taxable parcels in MPCSD. Only 7,917 of them are subject to the parcel tax.

Each year, the district sends a list, to the SMC Controller, of parcels subject to the parcel tax.


2 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 20, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

In fiscal year 2014/2015, debt service for MPCSD bonds was $6.1 million.

If enrollment were 3,000, that would be an additional $2,000+ per student.

Why does the district not include this?


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 20, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

7,917 parcels at $2.20 = $17,417 per new student.


6 people like this
Posted by George Takei
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 20, 2016 at 9:18 pm

Mr. Peter -

I feel very bad and am very sorry this chat room has not answered your chat room questions. I think you and I should go to the next School Board meeting and demand some answers.

I plan on going to the next Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board Meeting on 5/13/2016 and asking why our small town has 7 fire stations and 9 really big fire trucks and no fires. I don't think I will get those answers here because this is the internet and I have more respect for the Menlo Park Fire Protection Board and the men and women who so unselfishly serve it to expect my questions to be answered in a chat room so I plan on going in person.

[Part removed. Please make your point without negative characterization of posters.] I am sure you have some valid points here and there and some good discussion, but to your detriment that is overshadowed by your misguided notion of community watchdog.

I did however like your post here on Town Square of your visit to Bradley's Funky Franks. I thought it was very informative and a great service to our community. I love BFF as well and their multiple selections of sausages and weiners.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 25, 2015 at 3:26 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
Yes, this is progress. It is a well designed comfortable space with lots of seating and owners who are quickly revising the menu in response to customer feedback.

We went the first day that BFF was open and expressed our disappointment with the buns - before we had completed our meal they had selected a new bun source starting the next day. They have also added a choice of sausage.

These folks are customer driven!

Thank you Peter for those insights.

George


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 20, 2016 at 9:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"expect my questions to be answered in a chat room "

George - I have always answered every question posted in the Town Forum regarding the Fire Board on which I serve as your elected representative. And it is a pleasure to do so.


16 people like this
Posted by Leonard Nimoy
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 20, 2016 at 9:40 pm

George Takei wrote:
> Bradley's Funky Franks

Like I said, the only thing pro-5-parcel-tax proponents do is bash the messengers when they can't address the message.

You know they're getting desperate when they're digging up restaurant reviews instead of addressing why MPCSD needs FIVE parcel taxes even though its revenues far exceed inflation and student growth by over 6.5 MILLION dollars since the 2000-2001 school year.

The pro-5-parcel-tax proponents logic is...illogical.


18 people like this
Posted by vote no
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 20, 2016 at 10:05 pm



Still voting No,


18 people like this
Posted by Apple
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 21, 2016 at 1:01 am

If both the parcel taxes are defeated, I would expect we'll get answers to these questions from the school board and district. Once in awhile, voters need to vote no to remind elected officials they work for the community, not the other way around. In this case, the tax increase is large and it is permanent, which provides a big reason for voters to say no.


14 people like this
Posted by Tired of Overhead
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 21, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Just imagine the economies of scale if the 5 different school districts in Menlo Park. Woodside, Portola Valley merged and eliminated the duplicity of administrative staff and high paid superintendents? Does anyone have a solid number for what the overhead is for administrator level people in these school districts? I bet the 5 superintendents make over a million dollars alone. We don't need another parcel tax, the districts need to manage their money better and eliminate the overhead and redundency between districts.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 30, 2016 at 2:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

These questions were posted two weeks ago and as of today none of these questions has been answered.

In the absence of essential information the only appropriate response is to vote NO.


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