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Menlo Park mayor hosts talk about education inequality

Original post made on Sep 11, 2017

Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith will host a community conversation Monday, Sept. 18, about options the city might have to deal with the problem of education inequality in Menlo Park.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 11, 2017, 1:20 PM

Comments (16)

3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 11, 2017 at 5:03 pm

Question: do homeowners in the Ravenswood school district pay the same tax rates as homeowners in the Menlo Park school district? Another question: do Ravenswood schools receive the same amount of funding (per student) as Menlo Park schools?


29 people like this
Posted by Merge districts
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 11, 2017 at 10:18 pm

The three tiny districts (MPCSD, Las Lomitas, and Ravenswood) in MP make no sense and seem to exist almost purely to enforce segregation and discrimination. At a top level, it would make far more fiscal sense to have one administration rather than three and it would go a long way towards equity if those districts were merged and MPAEF (etc) funding distributed evenly across schools in all three districts. MP: you voted ~94% dem in the last election. I say put up or shut up.


18 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Sep 12, 2017 at 11:51 am

"do homeowners in the Ravenswood school district pay the same tax rates as homeowners in the Menlo Park school district?"

Since you used the word "rate"...homeowners in MPCSD and Ravenswood SD (and LLSD, and PAUSD, and SCSD, etc) pay the same property tax rate.

Homeowners in MPCSD pay the highest parcel taxes of any elementary school district in the Bay Area.



"do Ravenswood schools receive the same amount of funding (per student) as Menlo Park schools?"

Ravenswood receives slightly more funding ($286) per student than MPCSD:

* MPCSD 2015-16 revenue/student: $15,638
Web Link

* Ravenswood SD 2015-16 revenue/student: $15,924
Web Link

* state average revenue/student (elementary districts): $11,431


Ravenswood students receive $4,493 (39.3%) more per-student than the state average.


24 people like this
Posted by Shameless
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 12, 2017 at 12:31 pm

Another shameless conversation about a problem without a proposed action or solution on the "I am Mayor remember my name" reelection tour. If Keith wanted to actually merge districts she could prepare the petitions for community members. She is a lawyer. "My hands are tied" has worn thin.


11 people like this
Posted by @Merge
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 12, 2017 at 2:39 pm

You should also include Portola Valley and Woodside districts in your merger proposal with Ravenswood, MPCSD, and Las Lomitas. Both these districts are very small and are well funded. They could benefit from consolidating administrations.


20 people like this
Posted by Not again!
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Sep 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Shameless, are you telling us that you know Kirsten Keith is looking for a 3rd re-election? Is it not time to switch to term limits as well as district elections?

This discussion has been dragged up every few years and I'm beginning to think it's a campaign "must do". In the late 70s and early '80s the County and LAFCO allowed the big wigs of MP to carve up the area east of 101. This was a gift to big developers such as Tarlton, Bohannon who benefitted under City Manager Mike Bedwell's permissiveness. South of Willow Rd which is now made up of large Bio Engineering companies and will soon be the new Facebook Village.

Left behind was Belle Haven and the Ravenswood School District. This is a solvable problem but it would take political will that is not seen on our council or our MP School Board. In addition, Ravenswood School district could balk. Finally Ravenswood will benefit handsomely from property taxes from Facebook.

Keith knows all this but a dog and pony show is part of the pre-election check list. CHECK


26 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Sep 12, 2017 at 4:55 pm

"it would make far more fiscal sense to have one administration rather than three and it would go a long way towards equity if those districts were merged and MPAEF (etc) funding distributed evenly across schools in all three districts."

The problem with your proposal is that funding could DROP for students in *all three districts*, since Ravenswood would lose a lot of state aid.

LLSD and MPCSD are "revenue-limit"/"basic-aid" districts and see relatively low funding from the State.

Merging Ravenswood into them will result in EPA+East-MP being "revenue-limit" as well, with the loss of significant state aid:

2015-16 Ravenswood state aid: $23,052,551
2015-16 LLSD state aid: $ 945,778
2015-16 MPCSD state aid: $ 1,817,574

In your scenario, state Aid for Ravenswood students would likely be around $2.3-2.5 million, an almost 90% decrease in revenue.

Ravenswood "administration" cost is $4,305,131
LLSD "administration" cost is $1,876,880


So in your scenario where LLSD, MPCSD and RCSD merge, here's the (very) rough net financial impact:

Money saved: 4,305,131 + 1,876,880 = $ 6,182,011
Money lost: 23,052,551 - 2,500,000 = $20,552,551


So your "merge" results in a financial reduction in funding by...

$ 6,182,011 - $20,552,551 = NEGATIVE 14.37 million dollars


Unless you have data that says otherwise, merging those districts is financially a bad idea.


9 people like this
Posted by pdj
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 13, 2017 at 10:15 am

pdj is a registered user.

This issue is about providing high quality education for all children living in Menlo Park. Currently there are two district which provides excellent education and two districts performing poorly.


16 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Sep 13, 2017 at 10:49 am

"two districts performing poorly"

Ah, I forgot about the new apartment complex that's built over by the Porsche dealership: that's Menlo Park with Redwood City Schools.

That apartment complex is the only part of Menlo Park in Redwood City schools that I'm aware of, but your point is well taken, there are kids that are bound to live there, and that should be factored in as well.


18 people like this
Posted by Biteme
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Sep 13, 2017 at 3:46 pm

To @Merge
Keep your menlo park problems to yourselves.
We pay for our own school district in our own town of Portola Valley!


3 people like this
Posted by pdj
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm

pdj is a registered user.

There are four k-8 school districts serving the children of Menlo Park, Las Lomitas, Menlo Park, Redwood City and Ravenswood.
The Menlo Park neighborhood of North Fair children attend Garfield Elementary in the Redwood City School District. Children living in the two new apartment complexes on Haven will attend Taft Elementary School.


27 people like this
Posted by Peter F Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 13, 2017 at 4:34 pm

It is time for a unified school district that includes Sequoia Union High School District and ALL of the elementary schools that feed into SUHSD.

There is enough political influence in all of the included school districts to get the State legislators to solve any funding issues that result from such a consolidation of elementary school districts.

Every child deserves the same quality of education and the quality of that education should not be determined by property values.


8 people like this
Posted by Problems in Fair Oaks
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Sep 18, 2017 at 9:48 am

Fair Oaks is the unincorporated Menlo Park neighborhood of about 700 homes in the area bounded by Middlefield, Marsh Rd., the railroad tracks, and is South of North Fair Oaks. The assigned elementary school is Garfield (in North Fair Oaks) and Menlo Atherton for high school. There are lots of families with kids in the neighborhood. None of them send their kids to Garfield – the assigned elementary school. I don’t mean that most don’t, I mean none. A quick Google search on school rankings will tell you why this is. I’ve met lots of families and school is a frequent sidewalk conversation topic. I always ask what they are doing for school. Families either (a) move before their kids start kindergarten, (b) try their luck with the redwood city transfer lottery, or (c) send their kids to private school – peninsula, nativity, St. Raymond’s, Menlo, synapse, Casti, etc. We have a son at St. Raymond. It is great that Menlo Park is looking for ways to improve schools, but please remember that Fair Oaks is in need of fixing.


36 people like this
Posted by Problems in Lloyden Park
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Sep 18, 2017 at 12:02 pm

Lloyden Park is the Atherton neighborhood bounded by Fair Oaks Ave, Caltrain, El Camino and Wilburn Ave. The assigned elementary school is Selby Lane, and Menlo Atherton for high school.

There are lots of families with kids in the neighborhood. None of them send their kids to Selby Lane – the assigned elementary school. I don’t mean that most don’t, I mean none. A quick Google search on school rankings will tell you why this is. I’ve met lots of families and school is a frequent sidewalk conversation topic. I always ask what they are doing for school. Families either (a) move before their kids start kindergarten, (b) try their luck with the redwood city transfer lottery, or (c) send their kids to private school – peninsula, nativity, St. Raymond’s, Menlo, synapse, Casti, etc.

It is great that Menlo Park is looking for ways to improve schools, but please remember that Lloyden Park is in need of fixing.


5 people like this
Posted by I'm pedantic
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm

I agree with all commenters that we should do what we can to improve education growth for all children, regardless of school district. That said, I'm a bit pedantic and thought I'd mention this:

> Fair Oaks is the unincorporated Menlo Park neighborhood

Saying "unincorporated Menlo Park" is like saying "unincorporated corporation"; no such thing exists.

Fair Oaks is the south-of-the-tracks part of a section of unincorporated San Mateo County that is on both sides of the Dumbarton railroad tracks. Both the north side and south side of that section of unincorporated San Mateo County attend Redwood City schools for K-8.

That said, improving Redwood City schools is every bit as much of a worthy goal as improving Ravenswood.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 19, 2017 at 6:45 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"That said, improving Redwood City schools is every bit as much of a worthy goal as improving Ravenswood."

True, which is why we need a unified school district that encompasses all of the elementary schools that feed SUHSD and the all the SUHSD high schools.


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