https://almanacnews.com/square/print/2017/02/24/school-parcel-tax-election-backers-raise-more-than-80k-for-campaign


Town Square

School parcel tax election: Backers raise more than $80K for campaign

Original post made on Feb 24, 2017

Backers of the March 7 parcel tax measure in the Menlo Park City School District had reported raising more than $80,000 by Feb. 14 from a long list of donors. That's almost two and a half times as much as the total raised in last year's unsuccessful parcel tax campaign.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 24, 2017, 11:47 AM

Comments

Posted by Atherton J
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 24, 2017 at 9:24 pm

Thank you to all the community members who are helping spread the word about the importance of Measure X.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 24, 2017 at 9:28 pm

Thanks for the info.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 24, 2017 at 9:31 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This $80 k is equal to the amount from 222 parcels paying the propose $360 parcel tax.

Why not just contribute the $80k to the school foundation?


Posted by William W.
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 24, 2017 at 9:44 pm

Our whole community benefits from quality schools. I voted yes on X.


Posted by Pro X- Anti campaign
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 25, 2017 at 12:36 am

The campaign is cheap and dishonest. I support the measure but not the campaign.

After seeing the scare tactics used, I would be embarrassed to have contributed to this effort. It's misleading and anyone who donated is a part of that dishonesty.

How much of the campaign was run on this 80K and how much was done by the Whitehurst firm on district dollars?

The campaign has done damage and has people questioning the motives instead of trusting the district. That's too bad. I hope it hasn't done irreparable damage.




Posted by Jeff Oberg
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Feb 25, 2017 at 7:04 am

X for eXcessive pensions. That's where the money is going. Wake up folks.its going to keep getting worse.


Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Feb 25, 2017 at 9:51 am

MPAEF donations have been flat. So parents are telling us, they will only give more money if everyone else is also forced to pay more.

If the district is having budget issues when economy is doing well and property taxes are at an all time high, what do you think will happen when economy slows down? Prepare for another parcel tax in a few years. It's coming.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 25, 2017 at 10:04 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

15% of Menlo Park's population is over 65 and 20% of Atherton's population is over 65.

If Measure X passes and then the proceeds are used for salary and benefit increases then some/many/all of these individuals may get exemptions for ALL MPCSD parcel taxes which will be a negative $1,047 per parcel.

The net effect could well be a decrease in total revenues for the district in spite of Measure X passing.


Posted by Pro X- Anti campaign
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 25, 2017 at 10:31 pm

Taxpayer,

I agree with you that this future tax is likely. I think that might be the future of our district.

What I think needs to happen is that the district needs to be straight with us and acknowledge that. I support our schools and will do what it takes to keep them running at high levels.

What I won't do is be treated like I don't know what's going on. I am not voting for this tax because I am afraid of layoffs or program cuts. From my understanding, there are no programs actually being cut. To tell us that they are is completely not true. I don't want the programs to be watered down, and for that reason I will support the measure. I've voted yes.

Future yes votes for me are dependent upon how the money is used and how the district/board communicate with us about the reality as well as the plans.

Basically members of the public shouldn't have to dig in and read the fine print to get the full reality/truth. It should be out there for all and it's not quite there in this marketing plan.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 25, 2017 at 11:31 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Rest assured Pro-X, if this measure passes the district will be back in two years asking for more as the district isn't dealing with the underlying problems. Not to mention, that they will surely grant raises to the teachers that will eat up the majority of the income from Measure X. Great fiscal management MPCSD!


Posted by Raising awareness
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 26, 2017 at 9:59 am

@Peter Carpenter

The donors to the campaign also donate generously to the foundation. As you know, the results of this campaign, if successful, will raise $2.8M annually for 7 years. To be successful, the campaign needed to get the word out to residents in the form of mailers, lawn signs, and printed materials to deliver door to door. That costs money. I recall you were very strongly vocal about encouraging the campaign to be sure the wider community was made aware of the measure specifically through lawn signs and mailers.

Thank you, campaign, for supporting local public schools, both in raising awareness beyond the parent community, as the community asked.




Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 26, 2017 at 10:39 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I recall you were very strongly vocal about encouraging the campaign to be sure the wider community was made aware of the measure specifically through lawn signs and mailers. "

Correct, but do not confuse communicating poorly with the need to communicate well.

The Pink Slip mailer was a huge mistake and it will cost the District dearly both in lost votes and in senior exemption requests.


Posted by Grateful
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 26, 2017 at 10:56 am

Thanks Peter for supporting Measure X and for your advice that the campaign should work hard to communicate widely to the community. It takes a lot of volunteer time and money but the future of our public schools is worth it!


Posted by Menlo Park Parent
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Feb 26, 2017 at 2:23 pm

As a parent, and full time community volunteer, who has been supporting the campaign, but only on the fringe, I am so grateful for our committed volunteers who have worked tirelessly, for weeks, to pass this very important measure. It takes a village and I am in awe of our community, pulling together the funds necessary to run an efficient, but broad-reaching and informative campaign for ALL. Let's face it, campaigns take money...lots of it...this is our investment in the future of our students. In these posts, it is the strategy of the few, some who do not live in our district, to oppose...complain we don't run a high enough powered campaign, not uch fundraising, then criticize leaders...then later complain, we DO run a full power campaign, too much fundraising, and criticize yet again. As anyone who has done a considerable amount of public service work knows, there will always be scrutiny... AND knows behind every communication, public meeting, campaign sign, flier, publication, post, social media, etc there is a committed community volunteer, working tirelessly to ensure these hard-earned, donated dollars work...to pass this crucial measure. Thank you volunteers and I am voting YES on Measure X.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 26, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

There is hope on the pension front. See: Web Link
A second appeals court panel has unanimously ruled that the public pension offered at hire can be cut without an offsetting new benefit, broadening support for what pension reformers call a “game changer” if the state Supreme Court agrees.

The new ruling on Dec. 30 in a state firefighters suit on pension-boosting “airtime” purchases made several references to a groundbreaking ruling last summer in a Marin County pension “spiking” suit.

“The law is quite clear that they are entitled only to a ‘reasonable’ pension, not one providing fixed or definite benefits immune from modification or elimination by the governing body,” wrote Justice Martin Jenkins.

The two appeals court rulings are contrary to previous rulings known as the “California rule”: The pension offered at hire becomes a vested right, protected by contract law, that can only be cut if offset by a comparable new benefit, erasing any savings.

The 24K Gold pensions could be reduced by 20% and still be at Platinum levels.

Vote NO on increasing MPCSD parcel taxes to $1,047. Vote NO on Measure X!


Posted by Menlo Park Parent
a resident of Laurel School
on Feb 26, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Jack Hickey is not a resident of the MPCSD, but lives in Redwood City. He publicly states on the Almanac that he is very supportive of Betsy DeVos. Yet not formally, this is Jack's 7th parcel tax opposition in our county...he concurrently opposes to the Foster City Measure Y ...and these won't be his last.

Please read FACTS about the teachers' pension increase and MPCSD's legal obligations here:

Go to this subject at the link below: Why are pension costs for district staff increasing and does MPCSD have any options? MPCSD is required by law to participate in two state-managed and state-administered pension programs...

Web Link

Thank you for supporting Measure X!!!


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 26, 2017 at 3:05 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

MPCSD should file an Amicus Curiae in the State Supreme Court case mentioned in my prior post.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 26, 2017 at 3:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Why are pension costs for district staff increasing and does MPCSD have any options?"

Pension costs are increasing because the State has overestimated the returns on the investments made with prior contributions and now must dramatically increase the contribution rates for the school districts.

The school district has zero control over the pension rates.

However the school district has TOTAL control over the annual total salary cost to which the pension rates are applied.


Posted by Thank You
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 26, 2017 at 3:58 pm

I wanted to offer my thanks to the community members who have volunteered countless hours of their time and energy to support Measure X. I also want to thank the huge number of people who supported the campaign financially AND supported the foundation. I also wanted to thank Peter Carpenter for his support of Measure X.

In these times when we hear so much on the news about communities alienating people and general unrest, it is so heartwarming to know that my family is living in a community that supports each other and most importantly takes care of it's children. They are ALL of our future afterall.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 26, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Thanks to the community members that worked so hard on Measure X.

Too bad you took the low road.

I'll be voting NO.

If Measure X passes it will simply be passed along in raises to teachers and in two years you'll be back asking for more money. I'll be voting NO then as well. You people simply don't get it. The taxpayers of this district are not dummies, yet you keep treating us like we are. Hope you're happy. You've guaranteed a loss in future elections. Good job!


Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 27, 2017 at 8:30 am

I too will be voting NO on Measure X.

The school district still hasn't demonstrated any improvement to its financial management from the last time they asked for money. And as was pointed out in a previous post, they will be back in a couple of years asking for another parcel increase. The school district continues to do a band-aid approach to their financial issues.

Additionally, I was disappointed in some of the campaign strategies-- "pink slips" really poor tactics.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 27, 2017 at 8:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I would urge everyone to vote YES on Measure X.

However, we then 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.

If the Board doesn't listen then I will certainly encourage eligible seniors to exercise their right of exemption from all of the MPCSD parcel taxes.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 27, 2017 at 10:44 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Interesting factoid on statewide expenditure per ADA. Web Link

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.

This is the REAL cost of education in our government schools!

The REAL cost in MPCSD using all the facts, likely exceeds $18,000 per ADA.

Nada mas! Vote NO on Measure A. Give choice a chance!


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 27, 2017 at 11:02 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Mail-in ballots received as of this A.M.: ~4,000. Last May, the total number of votes cast was 5,900. Time will tell.


Posted by Menlo Park Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 27, 2017 at 1:45 pm

This article says the district has raised $80K for the campaign of Measure X but no one is taking about the cost of putting on this special election. Based on the limited research I have done it appears to cost over $1.0 million just to hold a special election. Assuming these numbers are accurate, who pays for this special election? It seems tax payer dollars could have been better spent adding this to the next regular scheduled election. Does anyone know the answer....and before you start blasting me with hate know that I have already turned in my ballet and I voted Yes but I do have a big problem with the cost of the campaign and the vote.


Posted by Barbara Wood
Almanac staff writer
on Feb 27, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Barbara Wood is a registered user.

Assistant Superintendent Erik Burmeister says the estimated cost of this election is between $200,000 and $250,000, not $1 million.
The district will not know the exact cost until after the election, in part because the cost depends on how many people vote.
The March 7 election is a regularly scheduled election, and the district chose the date after much discussion over a number of school board meetings, in part because if the parcel tax measure passes on March 7, teacher layoff notices will not have to be given out.
If the election were held later, layoff notices would have to go out on March 15 assuming there would be no parcel tax.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 27, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"This article says the district has raised $80K for the campaign of Measure X..."


That is not what the article states - it would be illegal for the District to raise and/or spend any money in support of a ballot measure.

The article correctly states "Backers of the March 7 parcel tax measure in the Menlo Park City School District had reported raising more than $80,000 ...."


Posted by Basic aid issue
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Basic aid issue is a registered user.

School enrollment has gone up 40% over the last decade but as a Basic Aid District, local funding has not kept pace. Hence the need for additional funding.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 27, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"School enrollment has gone up 40% over the last decade but as a Basic Aid District, local funding has not kept pace. Hence the need for additional funding."

That is flat out false as has been repeatedly shown in past postings regarding this issue. This has to do with financial mismanagement, rising demands from the state for pension contributions and the district's inability to control the one thing that is 90% of their budget: payroll.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 27, 2017 at 4:58 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Senior exemption factoid from Ahmad Sheikholeslami of MPCSD:

Currently there are only 825 seniors who have filed for exemption. I believe these apply to all of the parcel taxes. That leaves a substantial number who have not claimed the exemption.

Ahmad provided me with a list of exempt parcels.


Posted by Senior Moment
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 1, 2017 at 9:15 pm

We just filed for next tax year exemption....expect a big increase in those of us seniors filing for exemptions ...wouldn't be surprised to see it double or triple

as local cost of living...Medicare , Social Security future funding uncertainties disconcerting....private sector pension non existent for us as life long self employed with only IRAs........and for others dependent on only 401k..IRA RMD barely able to justify keeping our homes as well maintained as we would like.

Seems that the driver on this request for parcel tax increase to in excess of $1,000/year per homeowner is the State Teacher Union Pension Fund demand to increase investment yield to make up for incompetent state pension fund managers and entrenched state political appointee hacks now demanding local school districts contribute more to state pension funds to cover their screw ups .
Reminds us of MPCSD going in on the Lehman Bros pooled security fiasco that cost the district big time.

No doubt the phone bank volunteers will be schooled thus week to target senior voters (many of whom vote early by mail, to vote Yes on X....its "for Excellence in our local schools" "It's for the kids"....ad nauseum....then the closer tool "it won't cost you a dime because you can opt out and apply for the senior citizen homeowners exemption...but you need to check with the school district office to tell you if you can qualify "

Time for the school board and teachers union to fess up that this Measure X is a contrived money grab that is regressive taxation at its worse because it's over $1,000. Per home...regardless of home value...to prop up a bureacrat bloated mismanaged state teacher pension fund and NOT about Excellence in our school district...


Posted by Pro X- Anti campaign
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 1, 2017 at 11:52 pm

Senior Moment-
I believe that the campaign is running as if it's about one thing but it's really about saving programs. I don't see the district staff or board pretending that but I think it's possible and will be watching closely. If they need a short term fix to figure out a bigger solution to a pension problem, then they need to say that. I think this is becoming common knowledge because it's happening all over; it's just impacting Basic Aid districts a lot.

If they win the measure and then immediately give a raise, without convincing us that it was absolutely necessary to kee the great teachers, then we will know we were duped.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 2, 2017 at 7:58 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

pro x anti:

I think a teacher raise is just about guaranteed. They've already reopened negotiations on their contract. Why anyone was stupid enough to agree to that being allowed is beyond me, but that' another subject for another day. My prediction: X will pass, the board will roll over and give raises (either in actual wages or some other type of benefit) and they will be back asking for more money in two years. I will be pleasantly surprised if it doesn't happen, but past behavior often predicts future performance.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 2, 2017 at 11:01 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Correction: 834 Seniors have filed for exemption. Of those, 125 are Atherton residents.

The exemption applies to ALL of the MPCSD parcel taxes.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 3, 2017 at 11:25 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is time to vote.

I would urge everyone to vote YES on Measure X.

However, we then 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 Joan
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 3, 2017 at 12:43 pm

I live on a budget and I expect the school district to do the same. This parcel tax will go to teacher salaries and ultimately to teacher pensions. Many MP residents are not rich and another parcel tax will be a financial burden. I voted NO and hope others will do the same.





Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 3, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Today's Daily Post front page: "If tax fails, teachers will lose their jobs"
Pages 6, 8 and 9: "Menlo Park City School District Salaries"
Way to go, Dave Price! Let the chips fall where they may.

Todays Daily News Letters to the editor: "Bloated school districts" by Henry Riggs.
Here's an excerpt:
"Unfortunately, if district pension promises aren't up for renegotiation--parcel taxes or not--the discussion of what programs to cut is a waste of time."


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 5, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Campaign filing showed $47,105 this year as of 2/18/2017. Add this to the November - December report of $51,746 and we get a total of $98,746. That does not include contributions since 2/18. Expenditures as of 2/18 included $46,513 for Whitehurst/Mosher.

MPCSD hired Whitehurst/Mosher to provide the groundwork for a campaign. Of course, this was BEFORE Measure X was placed on the ballot.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 5, 2017 at 4:46 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

As of Friday, March 3, 5,000 mail in ballots were received. The last election had total ballots cast at 5,900. Turnout will be much higher than the previous election.
Hopefully, seniors who take exemptions, but may have chosen not to vote in previous years, have been persuaded to vote NO on Measure X.

The cost of YES votes will likely exceed $25 each.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on Jul 20, 2017 at 7:50 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on Jul 20, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?