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MPCSD Property Tax Debt Service and Cost per ADA

Original post made by Jack Hickey, Woodside: Emerald Hills, on May 17, 2016

The chart MPCSD Debt Service shows how much property tax is scheduled to be collected to service the General Obligation Bonds issued by the MPCSD. The information used to create the chart was provided to me by Ahmad Sheikholeslami, Chief Business and Operations Officer, Menlo Park City School District. As has been posted in this forum, these are off budget funds which are not reflected in the cost per ADA of students in the District.

With an enrollment of ~3,000, each $10 million adds more than $3,300 to the real cost per ADA. State debt service, "on-behalf " of the District, for matching grants funded by state bonds, adds to the cost per ADA, as does the state's subsidy "on-behalf" of the Districts for unfunded accrued liabilities(UAL's) in CalSTRS and CalPERS pensions and benefits.

The real cost per ADA will exceed $20,000 in a few short years.

With teacher's compensation already among the highest in the state, the district is re-negotiating a contract into a likely retroactive pay raise. I guess they really didn't need the parcel taxes.

Comments (4)

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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 17, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

The scale on the chart goes from 0 to $14 Million in $2 Million increments. The first year is 2013. Debt service exceeds $10 Million in 2017.

2 people like this
Posted by Alex
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 20, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Thanks for highlighting the real cost per student is actually higher than what most people think it is. Most data sources just include operating costs per student, while you are taking account both operating and capital costs. Homeowners should be aware of both these costs as they represent a complete account of the yearly tax burden:
1)the district's part of the general property tax
2) ongoing bond principal and interest repayment (MENLO PK EL 2005 REFUNDING SER)
3) four current parcel taxes

Speaking of school bonds, the Merc has an article today on how Bay Area districts withhold key tax information from voters when they put bonds up for a public vote.
Web Link

2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 20, 2016 at 1:37 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.


thank you for that great link.

From the linked article: "School officials could easily be transparent. They just don't want to."

It's time we demand total transparency.

Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 20, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

I posted this comment to the Merc article:

During the recent Menlo Park City School District Election, I discovered that the cost per ADA used by the district did not include property tax funded debt service on bonds ($2104 per ADA per SMC Controllers's Office) or debt service for bonds used to fund matching grants received by the district.($368 per ADA per Dan Kaplan of the Legislative Analyst's Office) And then there is "on behalf" state funding of CalSTRS unfunded accrued liability or UAL for district teachers ($1,173 per ADA).
MPCSD cost per ADA will exceed $20,000 within 2 years. (sooner if the district caves in to teacher union demands for retroactive pay increases in a current re-negotiation of their contract)

I forgot to mention the districts share of SMCOE and CDE administrative costs.($842 per ADA))

And, what about the Legislature's cost of maintaining the convoluted education Code? Also, San Mateo County does not charge the district for costs incurred in administration of the district's parcel tax collections, debt service admin, etc. I'm sure I missed something, but you get the picture.

Wouldn't it be a better world if parents got a piece of that $20,000 in exchange for re-assuming full responsibility for the education of their children?

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