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School board: state ballot measures 'critical'

Original post made on Aug 22, 2012

With school districts across California slashing programs and payrolls, four Palo Alto school board members Tuesday said they would endorse both school funding measures on California's November ballot.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 9:55 AM

Comments (27)

Posted by David Pepperdine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2012 at 11:00 am

Re:
"On the controversial issue of high school guidance counseling, board members asked Skelly to reformulate his recommendation to encompass specific board guidance given last spring."

Just when can we hope that Skelly will get his head into the daylight on this issue? He's had his nose bloodied more than once because of this but maybe that isn't enough?


Posted by huh, a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 22, 2012 at 11:14 am

what about the kids whose noses are getting bloodied at paly with the ta system?


Posted by John, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm

The State government of California is the most expensive in the United States with the highest paid state legislators in the U.S. and, with the most perks of any state legislature. They have voted to divert more funds from the specific directions / will of the voters (voter approved measures) such as the gas tax for our roads and MANY others. They have taken on social expenditures that the people of the State of California can ill afford and as a result California is a nearly broke (bankrupt) state.

And now, Governor Brown wants us to vote in new taxes that will only AGAIN be diverted for every other pet whim that our state legislators can think of.

NO, NO and NO new / tax increases for the State of California! First they must cut the TONS of FAT out of the state programs for which we have no business paying. They must NOT constantly use education as the whipping boy to steal funds and then complain that educations is without funds. They must control these massive salaries being paid to the education administrators who give themselves massive salary raises and unbelievable retirement packages ALL at the expense of teachers and students and the Taxpayers of California.

Bottom line: NO NEW TAXES without FIRST putting our financial house in order and, without FIRST restoring the funding to those items (such as the Gas Tax for our roads and MANY others)for which the voters gave the State a voter mandate for specific allocation for taxing and spending.

If we recklessly spent money in our personal lives the way the State
of California recklessly spends OUR money, we would be immediately shut off by our banks and maybe even go to prison for fraud or worse.

To the State Government of California: Consider yourselves shut off from any new funding until the State gets serious about REAL financial reforms!


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Tell me again, why didn't we elect Meg?


Posted by some sort of joke, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Looking at how they are written, they guarantee the new funds will be for the specified programs. However, they don't guarantee that existing funding to the same programs won't be cut.


Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm

If this tax doesn't pass, we have to education funding (extortion), but meanwhile, let's spend $68 billion on high speed rail (it will cost over $100 billion). It would be foolish to vote for these taxes, and foolish to reelect those that back them.


Posted by Dan, a resident of Southgate
on Aug 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm

John;
It's easy to say "cut the fat" and reduce legislatures' perks, but that's simply not going to balance the budget. After we pay for Education, prisons, debt servicing, State workers, and retirement obligations, there just isn't much left. We've already suffered closed parks, laid off cops and firemen, college tuition increases from practically free to unaffordable for many, and a public education system that has gone from #1 in the US to #49. How much more will our children have to suffer before you're willing to pay more taxes? Every day I see houses for sale for over $1M that are assessed at less than $100k, each one of which has been getting a government hand-out of >$10k/year for a long time. Could that have anything to due with a budget that just won't balance?


Posted by rita, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 22, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Cut reckless spending, control massive salaries paid to education administrators, do something about pensions which are bankrupting our cities, and please say NOOOO to spending a staggering 68 billion++++ on high speed rail.....then watch the healing begin to take place.
California is a spoiled and selfish child.


Posted by Taxpayer, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm

The new tax money will simply go to backfill huge pension debt that the legislature is making no effort to rein in or even stop the bleeding.

Vote no on Prop 30 (no new taxes until the reckless spending stops) and vote Yes on Prop 32, which will take the public union's ability to continue bribing politicians.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm

HSR = a household that will vote for no new taxes for California. If the choice was a repeal or redo of Prop 13, our vote would be different.

Lets also keep local funding local and out of the state hands with a permanently fixed percentage of property tax going to schools, cities, etc. with state programs at the tail end.


Posted by Midtowner, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 22, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I will vote yes. It is a very reasonable plan.

The new tax plan asks for an effort from everyone, but the more affluent will pay a larger share as they should. Repealing prop. 13 means hitting people who can't afford it generally when it comes to home owners (it's different for commercial properties, this part of prop 13 should be changed).

As to HSR, I rode HSR in Europe this summer and was thinking of poor Palo Alto. HSR trains are MUCH quieter than the current Caltrain trains! And so convenient.
Even on the East Coast people have been switching from flying to riding the ACELA trains between Boston and Washington. (Look it up, there was a recent article on this in the New York Times, I believe).

Only in California do people want to stay stuck in the past.


Posted by Midtowner, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 22, 2012 at 6:18 pm

My yes vote will be on prop. 30, NOT on prop. 38 BTW


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 22, 2012 at 6:39 pm

"the more affluent will pay a larger share as they should"

Looking at the governor's budget summary I saw a note that 3.8% of personal tax returns had AGI > $200K, and this group paid 54.6% of all California personal income tax. Maybe we can get them to just pay the whole thing!


Posted by John, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 22, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Don't kid yourselves. ALL the new tax money will go to school employee pensions. CALPERS made 1% last year.

80% of the tax money goes to school employees. If this additional tax (added to the already exorbitant taxes we already pay) doesn't pass, the money will come out of the 20% that actually goes to educating the "kids".

School employees wages and benefits will not be cut, nor will layoffs occur.

Programs for the children will be cut, and here we are again with "vote yourselves more taxes or we'll cut school programs".
When will we ever learn?


Posted by Big BILL, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 22, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Our School board can't see beyond their noses if they think supporting Jerry Brown's prop 30 will help schools. Heads up school board, Prop 30 is a high speed rail tax, pure and simple. That our greedy Governor pits higher taxes against school funding, as opposed to any number of other useless state programs that should be cut, shows his true colors.

I will absolutely vote NO for Jerry's tax hike, even though I would not pay more taxes if it passed. High speed rail is our delusional Governor's wet dream. Private funding was supposed to fall from the sky to fund his legacy train. It's such a stupid project, private investors will not touch it. So, now, Jerry's kids get stiffed with the bill.

Jerry is an idiot, and our school bard, while well meaning, isn't seeing the whole picture. New taxes offset rail expenses. Extra funds get swallowed by exploding pension debt, and maybe the superintendent of CA schools will get a new office chair.

sadly, schools are left to twist in the wind while Sacramento fiddles.


Posted by STOP RATCHETING UP TAXES!, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 22, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I agree with John and others that oppose the new taxes, even though I have kids in PAUSD and their education is extremely important to me. Why? Because government CONTINUALLY uses education as their poster child need because it works! No one wants to hurt kids! If we don't increase taxes the kids will suffer!

Sorry, I don't buy it anymore. Our state and city have got to be one of the least fiscally responsible entities in the country. The city pensions and cost of government, state and locally, along with special interest projects, are the real factors that are hurting our children. Continuing to squeeze money from families trying to also figure out how to put their kids through college is the true crime here.

I was born in Palo Alto, and we make reasonable incomes, but we are FAR from rich. We do not have enough discretionary income to take nice vacations or even save enough for our kids college. I also think more than 50% of Palo Alto families are just like us.

I am voting NO on all tax increases until the state of California and the City of Palo Alto stop wasting money on Nice To Haves: E.g. $10M bike bridges, HSR, big, new libraries (books are the value to our kids and community, not how fancy the building is), full pensions for city employees, controversial road changes that are then reversed, etc, etc, etc...

If it's not ESSENTIAL - take up a collection, ask for donations, and start holding bake sales and car washes!

Midtowner: If you're embarrassed that Europe and the east coast have better public transportation than Palo Alto, find people with your same priorities and get them to kick in! (Or just move to Europe or the east coast, where there is great public transportation... Oh, but I bet they have other amenities/standards of living not quite up to your desires. Yes, it can be disappointing to want everything.)

STOP robbing education, public safety (police and fire personnel), and city infrastructure. What is truly embarrassing is the volume of wealth and intelligence in this state and yet we are broke and our government continually uses our kids as hostages. Despicable.

STOP using education as an excuse for a incessant tax increases.


Posted by Cur Mudgeon, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 23, 2012 at 9:43 am

No to both Props, and NO to all incumbents running for office again who got us here.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I wrote letters to Gordon, Simitian and Brown. I told them that I will not vote for the either new tax proposition of they passed HSR.

Voting NO on both.


Posted by katie, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 23, 2012 at 8:26 pm

John of Fairmeadow: CalPERS is not the teacher pension fund; CalSTRS is. Just an fyi.


Posted by ODB, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 23, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Right on Big BILL! Prop. 30 IS the high-speed rail tax! I'm not going to vote for a tax increase to pay the interest on $68 billion+++ of HSR debt that Governor Moonbeam wants to take on. Why ideed didn't we elect Meg Whitman? Gov. Moonbeam is 10 times worse than Gray Davis and should likewise be recalled.


Posted by sort of joke, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 24, 2012 at 9:12 am

Yeah, because Meg's doing so well at HP.
If these had been measures to guarantee school funding I'd vote for them.
Go ahead and then put measures for raising taxes. Just don't use this bait and switch model. It doesn't work.


Posted by John, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm

FYI-The California Public Employees' Retirement System posted a 1% return on its investments for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The smaller California State Teachers' Retirement System reported a 1.8% annual return.

The unfunded liability for CalSTRS' defined benefit program actually increased – an obligation that will all but certainly fall on the backs of taxpayers.

This tax grab is for pensions and pensions only. The cry is always "WE NEED MORE OR PROGRAMS WILL BE CUT"


Posted by Christopher Chiang, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 25, 2012 at 5:00 pm

If you are frustrated with state spending, you have even more reason to seriously consider supporting the PTA's Prop 38 (Munger Initiative). Prop 38 sends funds directly to local school districts, where localities can exercise even more oversight (your neighborhood school board is more accessible than Sacramento and you can "walk up to" dollars at work in schools versus state spending via Prop 30).

Prop 38 is the only one to fund early child development. Prop 38 also has all taxpayers invest in education, not just the wealthy. Prop 38 upholds the philosophy that we all have a commitment to the public good.

There's a saying, "when did taxes become ashes in the mouths of patriots?"

If there's any tax a patriot should support, it's Prop 38. Now more than ever, we should think of what our nation's framer's sought: "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." -Thomas Jefferson

Details on Prop 38: Web Link


Posted by kids in the district, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 27, 2012 at 1:38 am

Here's what I understand from the article:

Prop 30 wants to raise taxes for 4 years to fund schools (and others say HSR will benefit.) "Failure of Brown's measure would trigger $6 billion in immediate spending cuts, mainly to education."

Prop 38 will direct funds for 12 years specifically to schools only. (and in the first year a % will service debt)

The KEY in my mind is this: If both measures pass, the state Constitution specifies that the provisions of the measure receiving more "yes" votes prevails.


So, the way I see it... we need to vote YES on BOTH 30 and 38. (to avoid triggering the $6B cuts by Gov. Brown) and we must hope that 38 gets MORE votes in CA than 30. That way Prop 38 can be what gets enacted.



Posted by overtaxed in Palo Alto, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 27, 2012 at 9:07 am

Honestly, if you can somehow afford to live in Palo Alto, you feel like the one targeted by almost all proposed tax rises. We already pay an astronomical amount of property tax for a mediocre home. OUr income taxes are high. We all know sales taxes are already high in this state as well as in this county. I don't see especial effort at fiscal management, rather a continous wail for increased taxes one way or the other, and I worry the increases will come from several sides. Time for cutting spending, especially at the state level. And Hgh Speed Rail HERE is an expensive joke - merely a way to buy union votes.


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 27, 2012 at 10:31 am

and note a 2% state income tax rate increase is actually a 20% increase.


Posted by pavoter, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm

@Dan, part of your comment is about the closing of parks and you use that as one example of why we should support Brown's raising taxes. I think you must have missed the news that while parks were being closed, 54 million dollars was sitting in a hidden account for the state parks. Still no word on how that happened except Brown's assurance it was just a fluke. Really? I remember donating to the state parks because I love them. What else is hidden?

I voted for Brown because I thought he was the one who could finally get the legislature to do the hard work of eliminating waste and reign in the pensions. Instead, Brown pushes a train to no where.

I'm with John. No new taxes until our state proves it will clean house.


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