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About this blog: I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to the area in 1963 when I started graduate school at Stanford. Nancy and I were married in 1977 and we lived for nearly 30 years in the Duveneck school area. Our children went to Paly. We moved ...  (More)

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Why Are You Supporting Measure A

Uploaded: Apr 5, 2015
There is already a Town Square blog thread for people who oppose Measure A. This blog is for people to share why they support continuing and increasing the parcel tax.

My wife and I are over 65 and have no children in our schools now. We opt to pay the current parcel tax and will both vote in support of Measure A and continue to opt in to paying the new parcel tax.

Our children had wonderful opportunities in the Palo Alto school system although neither was an elite college candidate.

Those opportunities came from caring teachers and counselors BUT they also came from investments made by previous generations in our school facilities, programs and staff.

We believe in generational connection and in passing along to others what was given to us. We were fortunate that older residents made the investments so our children could benefit and want to continue the tradition of generational gratitude.

Comments

 +   37 people like this
Posted by yes on A!, a resident of College Terrace,
on Apr 5, 2015 at 2:15 pm

What a lovely sentiment, Steve! Thank you for sharing. While our family doesn't have kids in the school system either, we are also supportive of measure A. Educating the next generation of students is an important legacy for all of us to leave behind. It's a shame that our tax system requires parents to beg for a super majority every time it's time to renew this tax. It's a lot of time, effort, and money that goes into getting this on the ballot and getting the requisite amount of support.


 +   37 people like this
Posted by Eric Rosenblum, a resident of Downtown North,
on Apr 5, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Eric Rosenblum is a registered user.

Well said, Steve.

We are strong supporters of Measure A. Both of our children have had wonderful experiences at Addison and Jordan, and we feel that it is our responsibility to support the teachers who are doing the hard work.

There has been a lot of discussion about the social/ emotional component of learning, and I believe that there are important changes that probably need to get made at our schools. However, I have also been impressed at what this school community is able to do with focused effort. As an example, when I grew up, bullying was endemic. Looking back on it, we just assumed that "this is just the way kids are... it's an important (albeit difficult) rite of passage." As a parent, I had worried about my own kids' experience in the school-- both of my kids would have been easy targets "back in my day".

Our experience has been eye-opening. The kids are-- by and large-- extraordinarily kind and supportive of each other. This is certainly not true of every child on every day, but it is largely true. And this has happened through a concerted effort on behalf of the school administration and teachers. I firmly believe that we have capable leadership in this town that are able to take on and solve problems.

At any rate, a huge THANKS to our teachers and the members of our community who support the school. I am hoping Measure A passes so that our kids can get more of the support that they need.


 +   35 people like this
Posted by Yes on A, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 5, 2015 at 8:32 pm

Happy to have a place to voice my support.

Opposing Measure A seems to be penalizing our kids because we're not getting what we might want from the Board . . . but how can we implement much needed programs if we're not sure the funding will be there? This money is necessary to allow PAUSD to address issues and support students.


 +   29 people like this
Posted by Thankful Grandma, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 6, 2015 at 7:44 am

Cheers to "generational gratitude"! Cheers to supporting our youth & schools! Cheers to protecting our property values! Cheers to Measure A!


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Love and trust, a resident of Gunn High School,
on Apr 6, 2015 at 10:18 am

As a parent, I would be most grateful if people who favor Measure A would help solve some of the concerns prompting people to even consider No this time. Given what has happened, blithe cheering is only going to convince people on the fence to vote no if they are doing so to send a message. Help solve problems, it will have the double benefit of getting support for the Measure. And saving lives. I think a lot of parents are looking for meaningful district action in considering how to vote. Since it is our labor mostly involved in these school bonds, we know we can try again. Even people I know who are working on the Yes campaign aren't sure how they will vote. I'm torn. I'm glad you started this thread, but please give real reasons people should vote YES, considering what is going on now. Anything less will backfire and cause people to lean to NO.


 +   27 people like this
Posted by paloaltoparent, a resident of Downtown North,
on Apr 6, 2015 at 10:46 am

paloaltoparent is a registered user.

I'm supporting Measure A! It's the only way to keep moving forward. $13M per year pays for 85 teachers, psychologists, counselors, and other staff. 46 elementary school teachers keep class sizes manageable along with other teachers in core middle and high school classrooms. It is basic funding, and it's baked into our school budget.

My middle and elementary school children love school. One's a little geeky, one's super-social. Total opposites. What they share though is a love of school and have had, with few exceptions, teachers they could connect with consistently. I've seen how teachers have matched each child with the style of teacher that works well with where they are at the time. Some years work better than others, but overall, both kids are learning and thriving. I'm grateful that we have parcel tax funds compensating for lower state funding and increasing enrollment so that there aren't more children in the classrooms as there are in many other less well-resourced districts around us.

Clearly, there are major areas for improvement: I follow the school board closely and am thrilled with the district's work to address some critical district issues around social-emotional wellness and academic performance of struggling kids. Parcel tax funds will pay to address some of these priorities. At the last board meeting Max McGee and the board agreed to spend funds from the reserves fund 2 more therapists at the high schools to address our mental health crisis. Reserve funds gets us started, but as he said, parcel tax funds are to be spent ongoing on mental health and social, emotional resources, including these hires.

The spending priorities are spot on for parcel tax funds. This is an easy YES for me.


 +   29 people like this
Posted by Bob Wenzlau, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Apr 6, 2015 at 11:01 am

I came to support Measure A after an exercise of reflection. I am an empty nester, and turned my vote to yes after seeing my view was selfish and short sighted.

The arguments that I abandoned included an inaccurate concern that funds would build more structures, and a concern that the spending would be careless and perhaps not bring benefit. Measure A won't build more buildings, but supports staffing. Measure A will be carefully audited to help assure spending is not careless.

A nod to fairness to the next generation of family helped me realize support for Measure A. The tax proceeds are part of a historic and relied upon revenue stream that maintains the education at the current level. While Measure A introduces some supplement teaching resources, at its core the tax maintains the existing level of teaching. A no vote rolls teaching levels backward, and yes vote maintains the current levels.

Thus a vote Yes is a vote for fairness and integrity allowing the next generation of families to enjoy the same benefits our family reaped, and other empty nesters reaped.

A No vote should not become our Boston Tea Party on the state of education. While the sentiments for student health are essential, a vote no is very careless. The carelessness of voting No, as a statement of not liking the current trajectory of the District risks doing harm to the institution and student health that we all seek to heal. The message to get the health of the student body right should work in parallel to maintaining the funding resources to enact change to improve student health. The short sighted outcome of a No vote would mean that once the proper course is found to support student health, the financing would be missing. That would be a shame, and one that causes me to support Measure A to make sure that the District has all the resources necessary to support student health as well as their academic success.


 +   23 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Slaney, a resident of College Terrace,
on Apr 6, 2015 at 11:03 am

I support Measure A because our environment is driven by the good schools in our community. Measure A is the best way to make sure our schools have the funding they need. I volunteer in the schools, I see the wide range of needs, and I'm happy that PAUSD is working to help everybody.


 +   27 people like this
Posted by NancyK, a resident of Barron Park,
on Apr 6, 2015 at 11:09 am

I am so grateful for the Palo Alto parcel tax and hope the voters continue to support it.

We moved from a school district with much greater student to teacher classroom ratios, closed school libraries, no art teachers, music teachers for upper grades only, and no school counselors. That community didn\\\\\\\'t value education like Palo Alto does, and repeatedly didn\\\\\\\'t pass parcel taxes.

Who paid the price? Most immediately - the students.

My son went from a 27:1 student teacher ratio in that school district to a 10:1 ratio (1 teacher and 1 classroom aid per 20 students) at Barron Park Elem. Talk about s huge increase in teacher accessibility!

At Barron Park, every week, he and his classmates eagerly awaited their time with the fabulous Barron Park librarian - Mr. Tooley - who instills a lifetime love of reading in the students.

The Palo Alto children enjoy weekly art and music teachers - nonexistent in that school district lacking a parcel tax where we lived.

Please pass the parcel tax. Please let the Palo Alto children continue to enjoy the things the Parcel Tax adds to their daily lives - teacher accessibility (lower classroom ratios), art, music, libraries, counselors.

Thank you.



 +   26 people like this
Posted by Suzie Provo, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Apr 6, 2015 at 11:14 am

My 4 children received a wonderful education in the Palo Alto schools, and I fully support all efforts to maintain and enhance the quality of our schools. As a realtor for the past 30 years, I have seen what top notch schools do to increase property values. As a parent I know what benefits my own family received by having strong educational programs, faculty and staff in our schools. This is such a small price to pay for the long term benefits we all receive as citizens; with or without children in the schools at this time. I urge all Palo Altans to vote YES on Measue A!


 +   31 people like this
Posted by Kim Bomar, a resident of Stanford,
on Apr 6, 2015 at 11:36 am

Like so many district parents, I was deeply moved by Carolyn Walworth's heartfelt opinion piece on her dismal experiences in this district; I too am outraged by the actions of the teachers' union, refusing to use Schoology to help identify and control student stress that is related to too much homework; and I too cringe when I hear a helicopter or see flashing lights speeding toward East Meadow. But I disagree that we should penalize our students or tie the hands of Superintendent Max McGee because of all this. I think we have an opportunity for genuine change in this district, for the first time since my kids started here 8 years ago at Nixon (now a 7th grader at JLS), and Measure A funds are an essential part of the solution.

Given the recent PaloAltoOnline expose on the grievances filed against the Gunn principal, people can stop attacking Max McGee over not making the immediate changes they want, such as eliminating the zero period at Gunn and requiring the use of Schoology in MS and HS. These are teachers' union issues. Rather than opposing Measure A Funds, which would help support the positive changes the Superintendent has planned for the benefit of district students, send Max McGee some mail and let him know he has the broad community support he needs to take a strong stance with the teachers union on these and other issues that matter to parents. Give him permission to act boldly on the issues that matter to parents. Small tweaks are not going to solve our problems.

Max McGee has well-thought out plans to improve our district, ideally for all students. Not only is he trying to reduce student stress and offer additional much-needed mental health support, he's also trying to bring more fairness and better teaching practices to our students. All of them will benefit from this. Think of students who get the teacher who gives mountains of useless homework versus the one who gives a limited amount of more effective homework-- it's the luck of the draw for many students, and lots of them lose. Measure A will help bring more uniformity, consistency around best-practices, and fairness in course offerings and teacher assignment.

Though we have some excellent teachers, consider all the parents who have had to pay for a tutor for their child, not because their child can't learn, but because classes are poorly taught or taught at the pace of kids who have already learned the material, so teachers don't really have to teach. And consider the students whose parents don't have $100/hr to hire effective tutors, and who struggle and sometimes fail or are referred to Alta Vista. We have an opportunity to actually educate all children, not just segregate them and send them off to bright or dim futures, based on their race/class. Max McGee has this experience-- expecting high standards of all kids (even those with all the social baggage) and giving them the support they need, and seeing them do well. It's a vision that is lacking here, where people expect poor kids to fail, and are surprised when they do well. But as a public school, we have a legal duty to educate the public (and for many of us, a moral duty to be fair to the poor and disadvantaged). Max is trying to accomplish all of this while maintaining opportunities for excellence and advanced learning of our most advanced kids. Let's give Max a chance, people. We need Measure A funds to support all of this.

I share the outrage, but opposing Measure A is not the answer. It penalizes the most vulnerable of our students: those with diagnosed mental health conditions, those who are vulnerable to self-harm due to school and other stresses, students (including minority students) who struggle and even fail due to lack of support. Support Measure A, and Support Mac McGee's efforts to improve our schools.


 +   19 people like this
Posted by D Darcy, a resident of Community Center,
on Apr 6, 2015 at 1:07 pm

With $13M in operating budget for teachers, counselors, psychologists and other staff on the line with this election, it is incredibly important to continue to support the schools by passing Measure A. With recent events, it becomes even more important that we support our schools, and the need for Measure A funds is very clear. A no on Measure A would be like a slap in the face to all the students we need to support. I certainly don't feel that penalizing students is the right answer, and I hope others don't either. Don't use Measure A to make a point -- give our students the help they need. Yes on A.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by help with facts, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 6, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Steve,

Can you clarify the questions that I have heard about Measure A. I have always been a supporter of the schools and these clarifications would help folks who support and need details.

1. If this fails, is there one more year that the Measure can be put on the ballot before the past on completes it's cycle?

2. Does it cost more to run it campaign this year than if it ran during the same cycle as city council (or president)?

3. Are there facts as to exactly what the money will be used for?

I would appreciate ant details.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Steve Levy, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 6, 2015 at 3:47 pm

Steve Levy is a registered user.

To the last two posters.

@help with facts. I passed your question on to folks who know better than I. I believe there is one more year on the parcel tax. As far as the money I do not believe it is legal to designate the funds from a specific parcel tax although the District can indicate how they hope to spend the money.

@Jack Hickey. It is on the main Palo Alto Weekly town square site.


 +   24 people like this
Posted by Annette Fazzino, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Apr 6, 2015 at 8:37 pm

I support Measure A. One very important facet that helps define the quality of our community is our legacy of excellent education. This legacy is available to all of our children today. With many teacher and resource salaries on the line, a "no" vote would risk this legacy. The funds from the parcel tax pay for teachers, counselors, psychologists, and other staff. Let's keep this going for the future of our kids and our community.

Please vote "yes" and help continue the legacy of excellence in our community.


 +   27 people like this
Posted by Megan Swezey Fogarty, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 6, 2015 at 9:14 pm

I have served on the Parcel Tax Oversight Committee for the past three years. I can say that the district has spent the funds to the letter of the law. I have been proud to observe that these locally controlled funds have been used for what we voted for - namely protecting class size, supporting reading and library support, and electives. Despite the added sacrifice the increase will require, I am a firm yes. Let's get this done now instead of delaying and having to spend more to run another campaign. Yes on A.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Mom of Gunn Alumni, a resident of Ventura,
on Apr 6, 2015 at 9:21 pm

Read the details on 2015 Measure A:
Web Link
and
Web Link

I concur with Kim Bomar's points.


 +   22 people like this
Posted by George Jaquette, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Apr 7, 2015 at 10:30 am

The parcel tax funds staff, and that staff is the difference between our smaller class sizes and the 30:1 ratio of students to teachers that schools nearby live with. The parcel tax mandates the appointment of an oversight committee to ensure that the funds raised are used for the purposes declared in the measure we are voting on, and like Megan I have served on that committee for the current parcel tax and I know that the money is spent on people in the schools who make a huge difference to our kids.

Property taxes provide the majority of our school funds, and PAUSD benefits from a strong housing market. But those taxes are not enough to support the growth in students (1100 more kids are in PAUSD today than when the current parcel tax was passed), and without the parcel tax the district would have no option but to increase class size and to reduce the number of teachers in our classrooms. By any measure, $13M from the parcel tax makes a huge difference in our schools.

Parents must support the parcel tax out of self-interest, but anyone living in Palo Alto who cares about education and property values should also support the measure. Broad community support for our schools, and dependable funding that cannot be taken away by the state, is key to planning and execution by the school district.

Past reports on how the parcel tax revenue has been spent are here:
Web Link


 +   23 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal, a resident of Barron Park,
on Apr 7, 2015 at 10:55 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Steve,

I will send in my ballot marked Yes on the day it arrives for all the reasons you mentioned in starting this topic and more besides. My vote and yours may be necessary for this to win. In 2010, 79% of the voters renewed the parcel tax, according to the Yes on A pamphlet that arrived recently. That won't happen this year. With two-thirds of votes cast required for passage, an energized minority of No supporters could pull the plug on funding that has made a difference in the quality of education available to all students in our public schools .

A look at recent Town Square threads shows the energy behind blocking this measure to "send a message,"the details of which vary. Yes on A needs two votes to every one of theirs in order to win. How sad if it doesn't make it.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Serious questions, a resident of Professorville,
on Apr 7, 2015 at 10:56 am

SL: This is a blog for people to tell their stories in support of Measure A. It is not a place to debate school policy. I am leaving a bit of the post below in but will not post any continuation of this discussion here. There is another blog open for that discussion. The edited post is below.

@Kim. I take all your points and I thank you for your heartfelt post. I have one factual dispute with you however, and it goes to the heart of my concern over Measure A. It is this. You wrote: "Given the recent PaloAltoOnline expose on the grievances filed against the Gunn principal, people can stop attacking Max McGee over not making the immediate changes they want, such as eliminating the zero period at Gunn and requiring the use of Schoology in MS and HS. These are teachers' union issues."

Zero period is not a union issue in any way. Zero period is a Max McGee issue. Max McGee owns that one. He was squarely presented with the problem by over 100 medical doctors after the recent cluster implicated zero period as a possible hazard and one board member has suggested that it may have played a role in at least one or more tragedies. (portion deleted)

Is it worth voting no on Measure A to send a message on zero period?

I am torn but I will tell you what the good reasons are: This is an issue of life and death.

On the other side, we have some imperatives to make progress on the achievement gap. That's a great goal. It's one we have made very little progress on in the past forever years. (portion deleted)
I ask because I care very deeply about that issue as well. But not as much as I do about students dying since you can never be a-g ready once you are dead.

I'll probably vote for Measure A but I think that you have overshot the mark on the case for it.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by OlderParent, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Apr 8, 2015 at 12:41 am

( portion delete)

The schools support our property values -any idiot can tell you that. Paying this tax and supporting our schools is our duty. The younger generation will thank us for the gift of a Palo Alto education .


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Steve Levy, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 8, 2015 at 9:22 am

Steve Levy is a registered user.

@olderparent

I deleted your posts because this is a blog for people to tell their personal stories of support for Measure A. Only for that purpose as I clearly stated. There are several other blogs on Measure A where you can post your comments. I left in the only part relevant to Measure A.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by OlderParent, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Apr 8, 2015 at 9:54 am

Okay -got it.

(off topic portion deleted)

I'm voting for measure A because it is the Right thing to do.

Semper Fi.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Steve Levy, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 8, 2015 at 10:02 am

Steve Levy is a registered user.

thanks for understanding olderparent. I am looking forward to hearing your reasons why voting yes on Measure A is "the right thing to do"

If you served in the military, thank you for your service to our country.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by OlderParent, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Apr 8, 2015 at 10:15 am

I'm voting yes because I don't believe in the "suicide cluster"


 +   24 people like this
Posted by Elaine Uang, a resident of Downtown North,
on Apr 8, 2015 at 10:36 am

My kids are too young to be in the PAUSD school system, but I hope they benefit one day. As the product of another excellent local public school system, I value public education and applaud all the teachers, administrators and staff who work day in and day out to give so many kids an excellent education.

The school funding system in CA is hopelessly flawed, but until we can find structural fixes, our public schools need every penny from measures like A. A small increase in my parcel tax is a relatively minor cost and one that I am happy to provide.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 9, 2015 at 6:22 pm

I will hold my nose and vote yes on A if we see some tangible progress on critical issues in the next few days. Zero period and Schoology are good places to start. Senior citizens: vote yes if you plan to pay the parcel tax.


 +   13 people like this
Posted by Steve Levy, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 10, 2015 at 9:57 am

Steve Levy is a registered user.

I started this blog as a safe place to tell personal stories. Since everyone's personal story is their own, it is not subject to "an opposing view".

It is ironic given the current appropriate emphasis on making our schools safe emotionally for our children that so many posters (all deleted) have made nasty comments about this being a safe place for people in support of measure A to tell their personal stories without being bullied.

Our daughter was born with epilepsy, development delays and dyslexia. For Becky school and life was a constant struggle.

Nancy and I are grateful that PAUSD could create a loving and safe environment for Becky to graduate from Paly and feel good about herself and going to school.

Our support of Measure A and our commitment as seniors to continue paying our parcel tax is support born of gratitude to PAUSD and and the special teachers that touched Becky and David's life and to the generation before us that left a legacy of great schools.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 10, 2015 at 4:17 pm

I'd rather tax the realtors.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by village fool, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 10, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Dear Mr. Levy,

I am trying to explain the "other side" since I think you care. Your personal note amplified this thought.

Obviously, time have passed since your personal involvement with the schools.

Adding to that, I am asking you to consider the possibility that not all kids and parents had the same attitude you personally experienced.

I am asking to consider the possibility that those who as not articulate as you, those who are not as connected as you may have encountered a very different approach towards their kids. .

And, please consider the possibility that "those" are not only experiencing ongoing retaliation, but are also being silenced.

yours, sincerely
village fool


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on Apr 10, 2015 at 4:43 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

@ village fool

Thanks for your post.

I speak only for myself. I wrote about why Nancy and I are voting yes.

I am also trying to create a safe place for people in support of Measure A to tell their stories BUT I absolutely acknowledge that other families have had different experiences and have perspectives.

Thanks again for your respectful post.


 +   21 people like this
Posted by Nana Chancellor, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Apr 10, 2015 at 6:38 pm

Dear "help with facts." Steve has asked me to help answer your questions; sorry about my delay in doing so. Please know that I am writing this as a current co-chair of the Measure A campaign, but also as a current PAUSD parent and as a former mental health and child welfare social worker.

1. If this fails, is there one more year that the Measure can be put on the ballot before the past one completes its cycle?
The current parcel tax officially expires in June 2016, so the short answer to your question is yes. That being said, to have to run it again would be risky and not without consequences. The following are factors to keep in mind:
a) Every parcel tax campaign here and in other districts run their renewal campaigns a year ahead of expiration because it is simply too disruptive and risky not to do so.
b) It would take a lot of effort, time, & distraction by the district to have to plan a budget without confirmation that 7% of it will stay in place; they would basically have to prepare & plan for 2 different budgets.
c) The timing of a second run would be very challenging. We know from experience that chances of getting a super majority if running in a general election are very slim (the one that lost in 2004 was in a general election; parcel taxes all over California are held as special elections because getting a super majority in anything in a general election is close to impossible).
d) Running it in a special election next May would cause a lot of anxiety and instability for teachers and other school personnel (as well as for parents & students), as pink slips have to be given out in March.
e) Using defeat of Measure A to send a message (as some have suggested) sets a very dangerous precedent which would likely trigger a trend of future organized opposition with various agendas which could make it almost impossible to pass future parcel taxes by the super majority needed. I'd also be concerned about what message a no vote on school funding would be sending to our students, especially if used as a manipulation tool to strong-arm our board/superintendent/teachers into taking some kind of specific action, regardless of how valid the requests might be. This funding is simply too important to get mixed up in any political battles.
f) Not to mention the 1000s of volunteer hours and money which would be wasted? (it costs the district about $300,000 to hold a special election and the campaign has to raise more than $100,000 to educate and persuade at the scale needed to get a super majority)
g) It might loose the second time around? which would force PAUSD to cut nearly $13 million in expenditures for the 2016-17 school year. This could possibly result in having to close an elementary school and would definitely force the district to lay off numerous teachers causing increased class sizes at all grade levels and the elimination of many electives.

2. Does it cost more to run it campaign this year than if it ran during the same cycle as city council (or president)?
The cost of running an advocacy campaign is fairly consistent from election to election (roughly $120,000) but the cost to PAUSD to administer the election does vary depending on the number of other local agencies with issues on the same ballot sharing in the cost of the election administration. When compared to the value of parcel tax revenue to PAUSD, the differences in election cost are marginal and many factors are considered when selecting a date for these elections.

3. Are there facts as to exactly what the money will be used for?
Funds from Measure A may by law only be used for the purposes specifically defined in the text of the measure, which may be found here: Web Link. Annual audits are mandatory and an Independent Citizens? Oversight Committee reviews the use of funds and report to the community to ensure the funds are used as promised. My personal experience, having communicated with several of the current oversight committee members during this campaign (and knowing a couple of them privately), is that this group is made up of very thorough, diligent, wise, and caring community leaders who take this responsibility seriously. As one of the current members, Megan Swezey Fogarty commented earlier on this blog: "these locally controlled funds have been used for what we voted for - namely protecting class size, supporting reading and library support, and electives."

I hope that this answers your questions, "help with facts", and that you will join me in supporting Measure A to help ensure that our district has the funding needed to provide the educational and social-emotional support that is needed for our youth to thrive.


 +   14 people like this
Posted by Lori Krolik, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards,
on Apr 12, 2015 at 11:10 am

Our schools rely on these dollars to continue to offer quality services to our students. I have 2 kids currently in PAUSD and measures like this are essential for the infrastructure of our schools. For those who do not have kids in the schools, your real estate values depend on the reputation of our schools. Please support this measure!


 +   7 people like this
Posted by HR, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Apr 12, 2015 at 12:16 pm

"Four times your Gross." Thats the general rule of thumb to qualify for a home. Even the Superintendent with his interest free loan could not get a home in the community he works in. It's going to be hard to hold onto experienced educators who choose teaching as a career. Pay less, require more, increase class size ? This won't attract or retain quality educators. I do not know the numbers District wide , but in my children's elementary school, I have seen a few teachers leave. To say it was due to cost of living would only be speculation. I have watched real estate prices go thru the roof. Many reasons for this but I tend to believe that schools and their program offerings make or break where someone will settle. There are a few nay sayers out there and like the Geico commercial with the boats, your always going to have a Sea Hag. I'm not 100% satisfied with the districts choices , and few always are, but if I can get just 1 child less in my children's classroom, that extra $2 a day is worth it. I'm pretty sure our property value is rising considerable more. Yes on A.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Economics, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Apr 16, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Hi Steve,

From purely an economics perspective, isn't there a simple trade-off between paying a tax for Measure A vs. keeping Measure money in my pocket, and spending this on my own tutors/enrichment?

So for example, if Measure A fails, and I spend 7 years in Middle/High school, plus decide to hang around after kids are off to college, then I would be paying 14years of tax: 14 x $720 = $10K

$10K will buy a lot of tutoring. What is the economic benefit of turning this money over to the district to manage vs. managing this money myself?

Thanks for your answer.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by Claire Kirner, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Apr 16, 2015 at 5:52 pm

I am voting YES. I was a teacher in another state prior to having my three kids (all PAUSD students), and can tell you that the presence of counselors and librarians on campus make a world of difference to students, as do SMALLER CLASS SIZES. We are so lucky to have such fantastic teacher to student ratios in this district, as well as additional staff to help our kids. Are there things in PAUSD that I think need to be addressed or changed? Of course. And I have faith that our board members and superintendent will continue to listen and work with us to resolve some very complex issues. Let\'s support our kids by working together. Please join me in voting YES on A.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on Apr 16, 2015 at 5:58 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

@ economics

From your perspective the money may be better spend in your pocket for tutoring or whatever. You are certainly entitled to your perspective.

There are other considerations also.

One, roughly one in three PA household has children, most but not all of whom are in school. That means that were the parcel tax voted away, that the District would lose the funds of two thirds of PA households and all businesses. I doubt that we all would be interested in writing personal checks to the households with kids so that money and the programs it supports would be lost.

Two, your question if acted upon moves away from the public school concept where the community funds schools in their public interest a little bit toward a private funding model.

Three, what if parents want something for the parcel tax funds that cannot be purchased privately such as more librarians or nurses or counselors, or programs or people that are more economical to provide collectively, not separately?

Four, your idea precludes the opinions of those residents who support schools but do not have children in school. it again moves a little way toward private not public funding models.

Your thoughts?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by village fool, a resident of another community,
on Apr 21, 2015 at 12:27 am

"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." Voltaire



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