Town Square

Post a New Topic

Palo Alto schools brace for more budget cuts

Original post made on Nov 30, 2011

Palo Alto schools are bracing for their third round of budget cuts in as many years and face some "tough decisions," officials said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 3:52 PM

Comments (29)

Posted by Tim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 30, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Budget cuts?! The ciy gives the school district over 9 million a year, plus each house (bond passed this year) gives another $348 each year.
What is going on.


Posted by RIF, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 30, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Did you not read the article?

""As a result of state funding cuts, enrollment growth and relatively flat property tax growth, the district now receives $939 less per student compared to three years ago (excluding locally raised funds from the PTA and Partners in Education)," she said."


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Funny, with all the new housing in Palo Alto we should be seeing net growth in property tax. Perhaps each of the new homes produces so many children for PAUSD that the property tax does not meet the cost per student when evened out!


Posted by Once-Bloated-Always-Bloated, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Ah .. a $2.8M reduction from a $162M represents only 1.7%. With unemployment at as much as 25% in some places, and routinely 9%-11% in others, to reduce spending locally by only 1.7% seems like nothing more than a trifle.

This tiny cut is not even newsworthy. What makes people associated with PAUSD believe that they should be immune from the general economy?


Posted by Meg, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 30, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Gov Brown is convinced that spending hundreds of billions (don't forget the interest on that debt that has to be paid!) on a not so fast train to nowhere, will save the state and prosperity will rain down from above. Naturally, the billions that will be siphoned off the top of the state budget every year to finance this project before one cent is spent on schools, should actually somehow benefit the CA education system, currently ranked one of the worst funded education systems in the country. I have no idea how that economic model works, but Gerry Brown and the Democrats in Sacramento surely do.


Posted by parent, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Fear mongering to get voters ready for an increased parcel tax measure to protect the holy grail of home values.


Posted by Reality Bites, a resident of Community Center
on Nov 30, 2011 at 9:56 pm

OK. So maybe it's time to quit allowing kids from East Palo Alto to attend Palo Alto schools (new enrollees)? This will reduce some headcount, albeit slight. Let the ones who are already here finish their education, but perhaps we close the door for those not already enrolled. Tough times, tough decisions. Sorry, but we need to start somewhere.


Posted by Palo Verde Parent, a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 1, 2011 at 7:08 am

I agree with Rality Bites. Tough times, tough decisions.


Posted by Sully, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 1, 2011 at 8:57 am

I agree with Reality Bites. The Tinsley program needs to be revisited.


Posted by Brian, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 1, 2011 at 10:33 am

Fortunately, there are many people who feel the Tinsley Program adds more to our school district than it takes away. I'm for keeping it. And in any case, it's not very easy to just "revisit it". It was implemented by a court order.


Posted by End-The-VTP-Program-Now, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2011 at 11:33 am

> It was implemented by a court order

There are those who say it is a "Consent Agreement", which does not carry quite the same level of difficulty in modifying, or vacating by simply walking away from the terms of the agreement.

In this case, if the PAUSD made it clear to all concerned that it was no longer honoring the Consent Agreement, what would happen? The original parties no longer have children in the PAUSD, so what might happen if the PAUSD simply notified all of the families with children VTP that they would no longer be accepted at the PAUSD and to register in the appropriate EPA school district (such as Ravenswood)?

It's possible that some misguided organization like the ACLU might get involved, but they, per se, have no standing. Given that it is costing about $15,000-$16,000/student (and likely more if all expenses were reported), it's certainly time for the taxpayers funding the PAUSD to claim "standing" to protect themselves from the growing costs of educating children who do not live within the district boundaries.

At a very minimum, the PAUSD should have a plan in place to exit this wrongly-decided/settled bit of civil litigation.


Posted by David Pepperdine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm

There is so much bloat in this organization. Cutting 2% should be a walk in the park. Just walk around 25 Churchill. It seems positively lavish compared to some of the school facilities. And I'm sure Skelly is pulling his weight in salary, heh heh.


Posted by JA3+, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm

"...it's certainly time for the taxpayers funding the PAUSD to claim "standing" to protect themselves from the growing costs of educating children who do not live within the district boundaries."

Well said; agree in full; +1


Posted by About time!, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm


The only bad news here is that the cuts aren't deeper! As a taxpayer, I'm very much in favor of "forcing" all consumers of tax dollars to look harder at how we're spending them. Many of us have had to make very difficult personal choices to balance our budgets. I don't think that PAUSD has even looked into the mirror of reality yet.


Posted by Dan, a resident of Southgate
on Dec 1, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Wow. In 5 years, State funding for PAUSD has decreased from $13.6M to $527k. A 96% cut. Where is this State headed?


Posted by Marie, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Paul, a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 1, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Historically in difficult times the majority population looks for a scape goat. Yes, you neo-Nazis (Sully,JA3+, and Hitler) want to put the blame on the folks from the east side of 101. Cowards? Bigots? Shame on you. As a white man of good faith, you make me ill. You make good people any where ill. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Marie, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 1, 2011 at 7:37 pm

To: JA3+

How about the kids from Los Altos Hills who go to PAUSD schools? Tried of paying for their education? They could afford to go to private schools but the "lines" were drawn to include them in the attendance area for PAUSD. Oh, but, I forgot that most - nearly 99% of them - are white or Asian. I say dump the L A Hills kids. Let them go to the schools in Los Altos NOT Palo Alto.


Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 1, 2011 at 9:01 pm

To Marie,

Los Altos Hills kids' parents pay property taxes to PAUSD just like Palo Alto residents and Stanford residents. And the average Los Altos Hills property taxes is alot more than the average Palo Alto property tax.


Posted by Carlito Waysman, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 1, 2011 at 9:31 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by options?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2011 at 10:58 am

Many of the new housing units are high density, and end up filled by people wanting the schools. Many communities in the bay area have a real estate transfer tax that goes right to the schools. We bought a house in another area, and I recall the real estate transfer tax was pretty steep, but we were much more willing to do it because it was for the schools and only the schools. Have we looked at this option?


Posted by Robin, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 2, 2011 at 1:05 pm

"...it's certainly time for the taxpayers funding the PAUSD to claim "standing" to protect themselves from the growing costs of educating children who do not live within the district boundaries."

Well put. Very much agreed.

The old solution: doing nothing to address waste and to streamline efficiency, but simply asking the public to pay more, is not going to work anymore.


Posted by Concerned Citizen, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm

If you want to re-litigate Tinsley, then prepare to spend a lot of PAUSD money there. A plaintiff in EPA will have standing and I'm sure many civil rights organizations would be ready to go to bring the case. What PAUSD needs to do is stop paying for all these extra frills that they get bullied into by powerful special interests in the community, and educate everyone like a public school district should with the ample money that we have.


Posted by Re-litigate Tinsley!, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 2, 2011 at 10:37 pm

It was a preposterous decision that was only agreed to because of the cowardly liberal white guilt of Palo Alto leaders unwilling to take a stand for basic common sense. Stop letting kids from outside Palo Alto go to PA schools. People pay a fortune for small houses to send their kids to school here. This should also hold true for the kids of district employees.

And of course, the fact that we get no aid from the state anymore is all the fault of the Democratic party wealth-spreaders so beloved by Palo Alto's liberal voters. Palo Alto voters (those who vote for the Democrats at least) are getting exactly what they deserve.


Posted by Concerned Citizen, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2011 at 5:54 pm

If you want to re-litigate Tinsley, then you need to look at segregation facts and law in terms of how the school district lines are/were drawn, so PAUSD would just lose again, but go for it if that's where you stand. It's not a random event that EPA was unincorporated (i.e., not annexed) for so long and is isolated in the Ravenswood district, but for example Los Altos Hills gets into our district somehow. Note that Menlo Park also has the VTP program. Menlo Park is a very interesting case -- they managed to cut the Belle Haven neighborhood on the East side that is part of their very own city (!) out of their byzantine elementary district structure. If you are interested in property taxes, then why not unify school districts for savings and efficiency (less district overhead for one thing, as per the Santa Clara County grand jury report) and combine with Ravenswood and/or others. Not advocating this, just making the point -- let's be honest that some people appear not to want the kids from EPA on any terms, or to care about their success here in a top district like ours, where everyone should get an excellent education. That's sad, when we could instead choose to embrace all of the children in our district, who are again, just children, and deserve the very best from all of us adults.


Posted by help students selectively, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Giving a chance to underprivileged kids is ideal. It'll hopefully allow them to help themselves and their families out of the welfare system. What is needed is data. How many kids are in or have pass through the program? How much money has been and are being spent on them? How many actually end up benefiting from the program in the long run? If they just end up failing, then the program is not working.

It's unfortunate that once kids are in the program, they are guaranteed in all the way through high school. Combined with social promotion (i.e. passing kids to the next grade regardless of performance), the kids and families don't understand that they too, need to do their part to ensure academic success, that the district's abilities to help them are limited regardless of the amount of resources poured into serving them.

Meanwhile, other kids and families who may actually benefit from the program are kept out because they didn't get through the lottery system in the early years.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Concerned Citizen, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 5, 2011 at 8:34 am

So please don't assume that everyone in the VTP program is on welfare, that's rather insensitive and I expect wholly inaccurate. In any event, where children fall behind is in elementary school, so if our schools can stop dumping them disproportionately into special education (see state-mandated corrective action against PAUSD on this), and actually teach these young children the basics of how to read, write and do arithmetic, then we are more than half way there. Don't blame little children for not being taught anything in elementary school -- look at the SARC data to see how this starts so early in leaving these children behind. Let's focus on the fact that this thread is about the district budget issues, and picking on VTP students is just the standard way to vent on how some people don't like having the EPA kids in our schools under any circumstances. Let's focus on how the district can live within its means on its ample resources, and stop beating up on black and brown children.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 5, 2011 at 8:49 am

The true worth of the Tinsley program has to be in how the students end up after graduation. I doubt very much if this has or can be done.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by EPA dad, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 5, 2011 at 8:58 am

So I need to check you on that comment -- you are saying our children cannot be educated? The VTP program deals with segregation, which it does. Why do you want to talk about EPA criminals and not about the PAUSD budget? Come to EPA, meet some people and we can discuss this with you anytime -- try in front of the Garden supermarket on Pulgas, I'm sure a lot of people would like to hear your views. However people like you rarely want to show their face in the light of day as you know you're wrong and you're a coward.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Scott’s Seafood Mountain View to close, reopen as new concept
By Elena Kadvany | 13 comments | 4,003 views

Richard Linklater's Masterpiece "Boyhood"
By Anita Felicelli | 5 comments | 1,378 views

How Bad Policy Happens
By Douglas Moran | 21 comments | 1,363 views

The life of Zarf
By Sally Torbey | 8 comments | 1,019 views

When Grandparents Visit
By Cheryl Bac | 4 comments | 698 views