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Tuesday: Polls open for school parcel tax voters

Original post made on Mar 6, 2017

Tuesday, March 7, is Election Day in the Menlo Park City School District. Voters will decide whether to approve an annual parcel tax of $360 per parcel. Authorization for the tax would expire in seven years.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, March 6, 2017, 9:44 AM

Comments (27)

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Mar 6, 2017 at 12:49 pm

Isn't it about time that instead of threatening teachers' jobs or kids' education that someone explores why there are four school districts spending several millions of dollars on administration costs which are redundant and have little or no effect on educational outcomes.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 6, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

"Following the failure in May 2016 of two parcel tax measures to win the necessary two-thirds voter support, the district held many public meetings before the school board proposed the new measure."

They also held many private meetings with Whitehurst/Mosher, campaign consultants. A party to those meetings was the Principal Officer of the YES on X committee, Stacey Wueste. That committee then hired Whitehurst/Mosher for their campaign. The district essentially paid for the groundwork.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 6, 2017 at 7:18 pm

Looking forward to voting yes tomorrow to support our schools!


Posted by Retired
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 6, 2017 at 7:38 pm

Thank you to the campaign volunteers for reaching out to the community.


Posted by Katie Ferrick
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Mar 6, 2017 at 8:16 pm


Thank you for supporting our local public schools! This is a moment when we as a community need to decide whether or not we value our local public education.

Yes on X is a renewal at an increased rate-- a critical increase that is about 40 cents a day-- and provides a huge difference in the education program available to students. Public schools are a crossroads and we are fortunate to have 20+ years of strong community volunteers, teachers, administrators, parents, grand parents, and board members who have dedicated their time to build a very high performing district with excellent outcomes.

In fact, have you seen the information available on the website that shows the increased outcomes in recent years Check them out on the homepage under "Watch & Learn": Web Link

Let's show our community's children that we care about their education and value our teachers and programs. Yes on X.


Posted by Caryn Wasserstein
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Mar 6, 2017 at 9:04 pm

I have been so impressed with our community and the residents who live within the boundaries of the Menlo Park City School District. You have talked, you have listened, you have asked questions and you have come together. I have had many converstations with neighbors, those who kids are grown and living on their own, those whose children are enrolled in private schools, those whose children are in high school and those with children in the MPCSD schools. ALL of them have said the same thing, they value education, they value the future of our community's children, they value their homes and they value their community, and because of all of these reasons they either already voted Yes by mail, or they will be going to the polls tomorrow to vote Yes rain or shine. I am proud to call this place where my family lives home. Thank you to the volunteers, to the Almanac for their endorsement and thorough reporting, and to the community for coming together for education, for our futures. Thank you for voting!


Posted by Menlo Park Parent
a resident of Laurel School
on Mar 6, 2017 at 9:14 pm

United we stand... Making this community decision to vote Yes on Measure X is the right thing to do...To support our fantastic schools, hardworking teachers, top notch administration, local businesses and most of all ourselves. What can be better than investment where we live, and in the future of Menlo Park? Especially now, we need to come together, turn off the "noise" that comes from outside our city, and make decisions locally which have the most positive long-term impact. I will be voting YES on Measure X tomorrow, and I do hope you will join me!


Posted by Parke Treadway
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 6, 2017 at 9:16 pm

Happy to vote YES on X tomorrow! The community always came together to support our treasured schools when my kids were going through, and I want the same commitment to education and teachers for today's and tomorrow's students. Great schools make a great town.


Posted by Elizabeth Ouren
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 6, 2017 at 9:43 pm

I hope that many voters will join me in voting YES for Measure X to continue the funding our schools need to provide a great public education to the children in our community! My youngest child is graduating from 8th grade this year but I want to see our schools stay strong for the many children that will continue to go to MPCSD schools.


Posted by Katie R
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Mar 6, 2017 at 11:20 pm

I am so proud to be part of this community and all the dedicated, selfless, hard working, passionate citizens within that bond together to support each other and keep Menlo Park the amazing place it is. I have 3 children, with the oldest in Kinder this year at Laurel, and two others to follow. I have been blown away by the talent and dedication to quality education of the teachers and staff there. My son is reading and speaking Spanish within the first 6 months! Please vote Yes on X tomorrow to support your friends and neighbors in this amazing district so that all our Menlo schools and children can continue these exceptional experiences, and keep Menlo Park a top place to live and thrive.


Posted by Mpcsd parent]
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 6, 2017 at 11:36 pm

Just in case you don't yet know about this Jack Hickey fellow, it bears repeating that:

— Mr. Hickey does not live in our district — he is Redwood City homeowner

— Mr. Hickey consistently opposes parcel taxes proposed by school districts throughout the Bay Area

and

— perhaps most importantly, Mr. Hickey has made it clear that he opposes even the notion that we should have quality public schools, claiming that "government schools should be schools of last resort," and that they should at most provide only a “basic” education.

So, when deciding whether to support Measure X, it is probably worth remembering that Mr. Hickey has made it clear that he is not really interested in whether or not our kids are getting a quality education, and he is also not really interested in whether or not our district is being fiscally responsible in providing our kids with a quality education.


Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 7, 2017 at 5:25 am

Anonymous, our district's situation is most certainly not about extravagant administrative costs. As has been discussed in this forum many times before, our district has the lowest admin cost per student in the area...

District
Administration Costs
Per Student
MPCSD
$2,169
Palo Alto Unified
$2,177
Hillsborough
$2,396
Las Lomitas
$2,406
Portola Valley
$3,915
Woodside
$3,937

Before you rush to such judgment, I'd encourage a quick read of some analysis on that subject and the real reasons behind our financial predicament...

Web Link
Web Link



Posted by Karen Dearing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 7, 2017 at 5:29 am

Karen Dearing is a registered user.

Thank you to the selfless district community volunteers and to the Almanac staff for keeping our community informed about the incredible need for Measure X!

Friends, neighbors, and community members, please take the time today to go to the polls or send in your ballot and vote YES... for our schools, our children, our community, our future.

YES ON X!


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 7, 2017 at 6:58 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I would urge everyone to vote YES on Measure X.

However, without significant changes the current model for MPCSD education cannot be sustained without ever increasing new parcel taxes.

Citizens need to show up in force at the next School Board meeting to demand better control on the district's total salary costs ( which is actually what drives all pension costs) and a fundamental rethink of what level of educational excellence the community can really afford in the long term.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 7, 2017 at 9:12 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Since the unions have made no offer to not seek raises which will suck up most if not all of the funds provided by X, thus doing nothing to save programs or keep class sizes the same, they have earned my NO vote. Further, if X passes and the school board grants teachers raises (likely) I will seek the senior exemption to parcel taxes. Measure X is nothing more than a band aid and a poor one at that.

Without the promise of the unions not to seek pay raises or improvements to benefits and the likelihood that the board will roll over as they always do, X will do nothing to solve the district's problems. You can take to the bank the cuts in programs and the increases in class sizes that are coming. You can also plan on the board being back in two years asking for yet MORE. Enough is enough. Vote NO.


Posted by Gina Parks
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Mar 7, 2017 at 9:23 am

Our children are our future! I will vote YES on Measure X and hope that my fellow Menlo Park citizens will do the same. This vote will not only support our children's education, but it will also keep our community strong!


Posted by Daniel G
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 7, 2017 at 9:58 am

Very grateful for the people committed to supporting public education in Menlo Park.

I've gotten to know what Menlo Park really stands for: Community. For this & many other reasons I'm voting YES on Measure X.

Over the last few months I've witnessed first hand - the dedication and passion of many residents, neighbors, volunteers, local leaders, teachers, & school administrators. Thank you to everyone - this was truly a community effort.


Posted by Devin L.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 7, 2017 at 10:02 am

I'm a student that goes to Menlo Park schools. If this doesn't pass, some of the teachers whose classes I will attend today will be laid off. Help us out, MPCSD residents. I few things to keep in mind: renters do not pay, as this is a parcel tax. Seniors can apply for exemptions.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 7, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Eventually, renters DO pay for MPCSD. Not just the pass-thru cost of parcel taxes, service on bond debts, etc., but also by their state income taxes, etc. The REAL annual expenditure per student in California is almost $15,000. In MPCSD, it is more than $18,000. Give choice a chance. Vote NO on Measure X.


Posted by Devin L.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 7, 2017 at 12:29 pm

Could I get a link to the proof, Jack?


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 7, 2017 at 12:58 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

I have posted it on other topics in this forum, but here it is once more:

Taxpayers are already paying enough to position MPCSD well beyond the countywide average per pupil expenditure. Additional funding should come from the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation. Voters should vote NO on Measure X, and demand that the remaining $684 in permanent parcel taxes be cancelled.

Information following was obtained from:
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION - SCHOOL FISCAL SERVICES DIVISION
2014–15 CURRENT EXPENSE PER AVERAGE DAILY ATTENDANCE (ADA)
Web Link

There are 17 Elementary school districts in San Mateo County.
Average expenditure per ADA in 2014/15 was $10,124
MPCSD expenditure per ADA in 2014/15 was $14,007

There are 3 Union High school districts in San Mateo County.
Average expenditure per ADA in 2014/15 was $13,841
SUSHD expenditure per ADA in 2014/15 was $14,776

There are 3 Unified school districts in San Mateo County.
Average expenditure per ADA 2014/15 was $8,540

If Measure X fails, MPCSD would see a $1,700,000 reduction in revenue. With 3,000 students, that equates to a $566 per ADA reduction. Using 2014/15 figures, that leaves $13,441, still well above the county average for elementary schools. With a full accounting of state “on-behalf” payments related to pensions and debt service on bonds issued to provide “matching funds” to the district, as well as debt service on the $131,000,000 debt outstanding in bonds issued by MPCSD, that number grows substantially.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 7, 2017 at 1:18 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

The budget package reflects Prop 98 funding for K–14 education of $71.9 billion in 2016–17, a $3.5 billion increase over the 2015–16 Budget Act level. This funding reflects state resources of $51.1 billion and local property tax revenues of $20.8 billion.

On a per-pupil basis, Prop 98 spending for K–12 education is $10,643 in 2016–17, up from $10,203 in 2015–16. When all funding sources are considered, per-pupil spending for K–12 is $14,799 in 2016–17, compared to $14,302 in 2015–16.

Source for above:
Web Link


Posted by Let's Move Forward Together
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 7, 2017 at 2:32 pm

So kind of Mr Hickey to ask Menlo Park to lower its expectations to that of other struggling schools rather the build something better for our children. Of course he doesn't have children currently in the school district, he doesn't work in the District and he seems to fancy himself a tax reformer/politician. Suggest we ignore Mr Hickey and do what we believe is right, for Menlo Park (not Emerald Hills)!


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 7, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Unless the pension problem is solved, in a few short years, the REAL expenditure per student in MPCSD will exceed $20,000 per year. It's one thing for parents to spend that kind of money on their child's education, and quite another thing to impose $1,047 per year in parcel taxes on EVERY property owner in the district.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 7, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Too bad that $100,000 of campaign money for YES on X was not donated to MPAEF. And then there's the ~$200,000 cost of the election. Don't forget the district money spent on Whitehurst/Mosher, who also got half of the $100,000 from YES on X.


Posted by Ed Rollins
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 7, 2017 at 6:53 pm

Vote for Measue X if you support ever-increasing fixed benefit pensions because that's what X buys. This measure has little to do with education quality and increasing numbers of students and everything to do with teacher and staff pensions. Look at the financials and you will see this is true.


Posted by Ed Rollins
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 7, 2017 at 9:10 pm

Parke Treadway says great schools make a great town. I agree. But it is NOT true that more money for the district equals great schools. We taxpayers are being asked to pay more money because the state is siphoning off our tax dollars to pay for pensions. We have no choice but to vote Yes. But we need to pressure our elected officials to fix the core issue: out-of-control union influence preventing any meaningful pension reform whatsoever.


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