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Voter Guide: Portola Valley School District asks voters for a smaller parcel tax in special election

Original post made on Apr 9, 2021

Portola Valley voters will decide the fate of a nearly $1 million annual parcel tax this spring.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 9, 2021, 11:28 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by PV Resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on Apr 9, 2021 at 3:02 pm

PV Resident is a registered user.

In '98 voters approved a 30-yr bond, with buildings done in '02. In HALF the promised lifetime of those buildings, we were told they were in disrepair and needed $48m upgrades and new construction…that the schools were in poor shape when our eyes told a different story. So either the district can't construct schools well OR they can't maintain them OR they skewed the picture to present a crisis that didn't exist. (It's #3)

Here's your property tax bill for the next decade:
- $17m bond from '98
- $7m '02 bond for budget overages
- $50m '18 bond
- Unbudgeted Phase 2 of '18 bond
- Interest on the above. Original forecast for 2018 interest was $47m
- PLUS annual budget dramatically in excess of state & national levels

That's about $140m of construction for 25 years across two major projects that each promised to be 30-year solutions. $280k/student.

US average cost of a new school is under $50k/student. Average lifetime is 42 years. Most school districts can build buildings that exceed the promises and the bonds they put to voters. Portola Valley does not.

The parcel tax is from the same taxing authority, the same people who told you in 2015 that our schools were crumbling. Now they're telling your our classrooms will fail without this tax.

Average CA spend per student is $12-18k per year. Here it's nearly $30k. Somehow, that's not enough.

2009 741
2010 711
2011 709
2012 671
2013 652
2014 628
2015 628
2016 626
2017 608
2018 574
2019 548
2020 495

We have lost 30% of our students but the budget (and buildings) only get bigger

There's an exemption for seniors. It's cynical economic gerrymandering to get your vote. It literally costs you nothing. Same for renters and Sequoias/Priory. When you vote, please think of ALL OF US. Look at the numbers above. Think of the millions and millions of spending ON THE MERITS.

You can love our community, our schools and kids and also say "enough." Vote NO.

Posted by SMB
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 11, 2021 at 10:16 am

SMB is a registered user.

As an involved parent and community member I am so proud to call Portola Valley home; its schools are a reflection of what makes Portola Valley the connected and caring place it is. We are voting Yes on S!

Posted by MB
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Apr 11, 2021 at 10:35 am

MB is a registered user.

Strong schools benefit everyone whether you have children at district schools or not! Yes on S!

Posted by PV Resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Apr 11, 2021 at 10:53 am

PV Resident is a registered user.

My family and I moved to Portola Valley for the outstanding public schools. As a parent and an educator, I firmly support Measure S to ensure that students receive high-quality instruction offered by skilled teachers.

Posted by pv123
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Apr 11, 2021 at 10:56 am

pv123 is a registered user.

Our schools are one of the gems of our community. I am so appreciative of the holistic education my kids get in our schools. From maker projects to music to the exceptional foundation in the critical math, language arts, and reading subjects, my kids are getting an amazing education that teaches to the whole child. I can’t imagine our community without this level of excellence in our schools. We are a definite YES on S in our family.

Posted by PV School Supporter
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Apr 11, 2021 at 11:24 am

PV School Supporter is a registered user.

I grew up in Portola Valley and moved my family back here in large part because of the wonderful, small school district. We have an amazing community in PV and the incredible schools are an important factor in bringing new families into our neighborhoods. I support Measure S for the kids - keep our local schools strong!

Posted by KA
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Apr 11, 2021 at 1:09 pm

KA is a registered user.

Strong schools were a key part of our decision to move to the area a few years ago. Our kids are thriving in the schools and we are so grateful they've been able to attend in person for much of the past year. We will be voting YES on S so our schools can maintain high standards that benefit the community.

Posted by Skylonda Person
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Apr 11, 2021 at 4:19 pm

Skylonda Person is a registered user.

The only reasons my daughter wants to get up in the morning and go to school all boil down to the funding that Measure S ensures: Advanced Math, Science, Band, Art and the Maker Lab. Those are her favorite classes and her motivation to get into the car without a fuss every day when her dad drives her down the hill to Corte Madera. Without Measure S, any one of those could be on the chopping block. And without those programs, school is .... well, let's just say it would be a tough sell to get her out of the house at 8:30 am. In our household, we're voting YES on Measure S because we love it when our kid loves school.

Posted by Sarah D
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Apr 11, 2021 at 8:51 pm

Sarah D is a registered user.

Vote Yes on S! This means renewing a reduced parcel tax on which our Portola Valley schools rely to deliver an enhanced and quality education for our kids. Our family is so appreciative that our schools have specialist teachers in Spanish, Art, Drama, Counselling, Music, Band and Library as well as reduced class sizes and a rigorous, enriched curriculum across the board. And, kudos to the District for navigating this past pandemic year so impressively and opening for our kids. We are so thankful for our excellent local schools and our amazing extended school community. Thank you, PVSD, you have our support all the way.

Posted by CC
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Apr 11, 2021 at 9:40 pm

CC is a registered user.

I'm voting yes for S! Having strong schools is key to both our kid's success and the value of our property. It's not an increase in our taxes and there are reasonable exemptions. It seems like a well thought out measure.

Posted by Portola Valley neighbor
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Apr 11, 2021 at 9:54 pm

Portola Valley neighbor is a registered user.

We are wholeheartedly appreciative of the public school community and quality education offered in Portola Valley. As is true for many families, the excellent public school district and small class sizes were key in drawing us to the area. In order to keep our schools strong, we are enthusiastically voting Yes on S!

Posted by Sarah Wernikoff
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Apr 12, 2021 at 8:44 am

Sarah Wernikoff is a registered user.

All 3 of my kids attended PV schools, and like so many others were a key reason we choose to move to PV 15 years ago. Our schools offer great teachers, a rigorous and well-rounded curriculum, and low student/teacher ratio. Measure S does NOT increase taxes; it is an investment in our community and will help keep property values strong. Vote Yes on S!

Posted by Joshua Harmssen
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 12, 2021 at 9:22 am

Joshua Harmssen is a registered user.

My children have been a part of this district for 7 years and love the community fostered here in Portola Valley. Community is exactly what we are trying to preserve here with this measure. This District offers this community a valuable service that is reflected in the quality of education and that shines in the many interests our children leave here with and often times bring back! To me this is more than a money issue and how it is allocated (which is clearly stated) but more about richness and depth of our kids educational experience.

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 12, 2021 at 5:26 pm

Neighbor is a registered user.

I agree with the original post, and I'm very irritated at the sudden and coordinated flood of "vote yes!" messages right afterward.

Here's the bottom line: We are tapped out. If you continue to threaten the music and arts programs every single time you want more money, you're going to get zero response. That's bullying, and it's misleading the public. Please explain why, in a community of this size (tiny), with a small number of students and an enormous amount of tax base, the PVSD is constantly pleading poverty. I fail to see why a school district that spends twice the amount per student than almost every other district in CA, cannot seem to allocate funding so that the music and arts programs are stable parts of the curriculum.

Stop trying to compete architecturally with larger communities. That's a start right there.

Posted by Caroline Diarte
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 12, 2021 at 8:58 pm

Caroline Diarte is a registered user.

PVSD is doing an incredible job and is offering a world-class education to our children. My 4 kids have attended schools on 3 continents and PVSD offers an education that compares very favourably to top schools in other countries. My husband and I have carefully reviewed the district budgets and projections; Measure S is an absolute necessity to sustain the quality of education of which Portola Valley can be so proud.

Posted by Sara Atkins
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Apr 14, 2021 at 8:01 am

Sara Atkins is a registered user.

I have two kiddos at Ormondale and one more on the way. This school is what brought us to Portola Valley in the first place. There is no place like it and if we lose the funding that provides for the programs that make it so special, our children will suffer and so will our property values!

Posted by Karl
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on May 3, 2021 at 11:12 am

Karl is a registered user.

How much have home values climbed in the last ten years? And how many homes have been resold with a tax readjustment that's dramatically higher? Yet, somehow, schools still don't have enough money. Sure, I support education but I'm disgusted with never ending taxes, public debt and questionable "teachers" that brainwash kids with garbage like critical race theory and white fragility. Even the Priory (which just raised its tuition by 25% this year) employed one of these diversity Marxists. Stop the insanity! Any new taxes is an easy NO!

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