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Tuesday November 2, 2021 — Local Elections
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Special District

Menlo Park City School District
Measure B - 2/3 Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Passing

4,537 votes yes (73.7%)

1,620 votes no (26.3%)

Shall the measure to: protect outstanding public schools; attract and retain high-quality teachers; support core academic and enrichment programs; and ensure reasonable class size at Encinal, Laurel, Oak Knoll, and Hillview schools by renewing the expiring Menlo Park City School District parcel tax at a new rate of $598 per parcel, expiring after 12 years, providing $4,600,000 annually, with senior exemptions, annual adjustments, independent oversight, and all funds staying local, be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Details — Official information

Impartial analysis / Proposal

State law authorizes school districts to levy qualified parcel taxes for specified purposes if approved by two-thirds of those voting on the tax measure.

In 2017, Menlo Park City School District (“District”) voters approved an annual
special tax of $360 per parcel, adjusted annually for inflation, which now totals $405. That tax is scheduled to expire on June 30, 2024.

This measure, if approved, would replace the existing tax with a new annual special tax in the amount of $598 per parcel, adjusted annually for inflation, on parcels in the District for a period of 12 years beginning July 1, 2022 and ending June 30, 2034, for the educational purposes outlined below. The District estimates the tax will raise approximately $4.6 million annually.

The proposed tax applies to any unit of real property wholly or partially in the District that receives a separate property tax bill from San Mateo County tax collection officials. Individuals owning and occupying a parcel as their principal residence may apply for an exemption to the tax if they: are age 65 years or older; receive Supplemental Security Income for a disability, regardless of age; or receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, regardless of age, and have an annual income not exceeding 250% of the 2012 federal poverty guidelines. Property owners who qualified for an exemption under prior special taxes levied by the District are exempt from the tax under this measure, subject to the District’s right to verify a continuing qualification for exemption.

The stated purposes of the proposed tax are to:
Retain and attract classroom teachers;
Maintain reasonable student-to-teacher ratios;
Preserve comprehensive core academic programs in reading, writing, math, history, and science;
Protect whole-child enrichment experiences in social emotional learning, art, music, library, and language/culture;
Provide other supplemental financial support to purchase instructional equipment, supplies, and materials.

Proceeds from the tax shall only be used for the above stated purposes.

No proceeds may be spent on administrator salaries, benefits, or pensions. 

State law requires that the District take steps to account for the proceeds from the tax. Accordingly, the District will direct that the proceeds are deposited into a special account, appoint an independent citizens’ oversight committee, conduct annual audits to confirm that the proceeds are spent for the specified purposes, and file annual reports. 

The tax is not intended to jeopardize local, state, or federal funding and, if any such funding is reduced or offset because of the tax, the District may reduce the amount of the tax levied as necessary to restore the funding. If necessary, the District’s appropriations limit will be increased annually to ensure revenue from the tax may be spent for the stated purposes.

A “yes” vote on this measure would impose an annual tax of $598 per taxable parcel, adjusted annually for inflation, on property within the District for a period of 12 years beginning July 1, 2022, for the purposes listed above.

A “no” vote on this measure would not allow the parcel tax to be levied. 

This measure passes if two-thirds of those voting on the measure vote “yes.”

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

Arguments FOR

Join parents, teachers, seniors, business owners, and community leaders: vote YLES on Measure B to renew our school funding and preserve our local schools.

Menlo Park City School District (MPCSD) is an award-winning district that serves 3,023 students at Encinal, Laurel, and Oak Knoll Elementary Schools, Hillview Middle School, and the Early Learning Center. Our great schools improve our community by making it a desirable place to live.

MPCSD is fiscally responsible and manages public funds well. It has a AAA bond rating, relatively low administrative costs, and student outcomes that are the same or better than schools that spend significantly more per student. It was one of the first school districts in the Bay Area to re-open during the pandemic.

88% of the district's funding comes from local sources, including parcel and property taxes. In 2017, almost 80% of voters supported Measure X, a critical parcel tax that was a stopgap measure that will expire soon.  Measure B renews this parcel tax at a new rate to continue providing local funding for the next 12 years. We need to pass Measure B to maintain a quality public education for our kids.

With Measure B, MPCSD will

- attract and retain quality teachers

- keep class sizes reasonable

- support core academic programs in reading, writing, math, and science, and 

- maintain the fiscal stability of the district

Without Measure B, the District will have to cut an additional $3 million after nearly $1.9 million in cuts already being implemented. This will severely limit its ability to attract and retain the best teachers, increase class sizes and force cuts in music, arts, language, library, and counseling.

Measure B protects taxpayers by:

- keeping all funds local, preventing any funds from being taken by the State

- requiring strict fiscal controls, independent oversight and annual public audits, and

- including exemptions for residents 65+ and disabled residents.

Vote YES on Measure B to preserve our local slchools.

YesforMenloParkSchools.com

/s/ Charlot Singelton, 43 Year Resident

/s/ Paige Arata, Co-President, Menlo-Atherton Education Foundation\

/s/ Kristen Garcia, Menlo Park City School District Administrator

/s/ Erin Paruszewsky, Small Business Owner

/s/ Drew Combs, Mayor, Menlo Park 

 

Arguments AGAINST

With this latest "temporary" parcel tax, the Menlo Park City School District claims they need a tax increase to continue providing "high quality educational programs."

The district wants to extend the 2017 "temporary" parcel tax ($360) for another 12 years and they want to add inflation adjustments so your taxes will rise every year for the next 12 years.

Have they earned this extension that will cost you over $71,176 over the next 12 years - (on top of the taxes you are already paying)?

Let's look at the latest academic performance:

2019-20 school year results: 15.93% below grade level for English

2019-20 school year results: 17.49% below grade level for math

The district rewarded students, parents, and taxpayers for the passage of the 2017 parcel tax by dropping proficiency in English and miniscule 1.67% improvement in math.

Source: California Department of Education Data Partnership

Should you, the voters, reward the district for declining academics?

If no, we encourage you to Vote NO on Measure B.

This district is already spending $19,990 per student per year which is 148% ABOVE the statewide average ($13,489) while providing average education. Yet they want more of your hard-earned money to pad their salaries (averaging $106,988) plus up to $13,250 in benefits and fat pension plans.

They claim no funds will be used for administration. But revenues increased over the last five years ($12,215,610) can be used for administration expenses without limits.

They say this tax will raise $4,6000,000 but revenues are already up $12,215,610 in the last 5 years. They clearly don't need the tax revenues.

Tell the Menlo Park City School Board to be fiscally responsible by voting NO on Measure B.

If you reward failure, you will get more failure!

For more information, please visit us at www.svtaxpayers.org

/s/ Xuetei Han, Software Developer

/s/ Marguerite Pavsidis, Business Owner 

 

Replies to Arguments FOR

With this latest "temporary" parcel tax, the Menlo Park City School District claims they need a tax increase to continue providing "high quality educational programs."

The district wants to extend the 2017 "temporary" parcel tax ($360) for another 12 years and they want to add inflation adjustments so your taxes will rise every year for the next 12 years.

Have they earned this extension that will cost you over $71,176 over the next 12 years - (on top of the taxes you are already paying)?

Let's look at the latest academic performance:

2019-20 school year results: 15.93% below grade level for English

2019-20 school year results: 17.49% below grade level for math

The district rewarded students, parents, and taxpayers for the passage of the 2017 parcel tax by dropping proficiency in English and miniscule 1.67% improvement in math.

Source: California Department of Education Data Partnership

Should you, the voters, reward the district for declining academics?

If no, we encourage you to Vote NO on Measure B.

This district is already spending $19,990 per student per year which is 148% ABOVE the statewide average ($13,489) while providing average education. Yet they want more of your hard-earned money to pad their salaries (averaging $106,988) plus up to $13,250 in benefits and fat pension plans.

They claim no funds will be used for administration. But revenues increased over the last five years ($12,215,610) can be used for administration expenses without limits.

They say this tax will raise $4,6000,000 but revenues are already up $12,215,610 in the last 5 years. They clearly don't need the tax revenues.

Tell the Menlo Park City School Board to be fiscally responsible by voting NO on Measure B.

If you reward failure, you will get more failure!

For more information, please visit us at www.svtaxpayers.org

/s/ Mark W.A. Hinkle

 

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

The Menlo Park City School District (MPCSD) provides an excellent education for our kids and great schools for our community while protecting taxpayer funds.

Our schools are in the top 5% of California public schools and all rank 10/10 on test scores. This district is highly sought after and attracts families to our community.

MPCSD spends thousands less per student than other local districts with lower per-student spending than Woodside, Portola Valley, Las Lomitas, Hillsborough, and Palo Alto. It has earned AAA credit ratings for years, made millions of dollars in strategic cuts and is implementing nearly $1.9 million in additional cuts.

We need Measure B because:

- MPCSD is community funded. Our schools rely on local sources - not the state or federal governments - for 88% of its total budget. California spends far less than other states on schools and the district has no control over how much money it receives.

- Property taxes don't cover our schools' needs. Only about 18 cents from each property tax dollar you pay goes to MPCSD and we receive less property taxes than any of our peer districts.

- High quality teachers and education are top priorities. The classroom teacher is the most impactful part of a child's education experience. Nearly 90% of the district's budget pays for staffing.

- MPCSD is an award winning school district. Measure B will allow the District to keep class sizes reasonable, retain excellent teachers, and support academic programs in reading, writing, math, and science.

We need Measure B to preserve our local schools!  Vote YES!

/s/ Johnathan Carpenter

/s/ Megan Stone

/s/ Greg Alden

/s/ Jennifer Wolosin

/s/ Liliana Perazich 

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