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Original post made
on Jan 9, 2008
Will they build a sidewalk as part of this project? Kids walking to Escondido school often have to cross Stanford Ave twice in the rainy season because the only sidewalk is on the College Terrace side. Also, how many new driveways will open out onto Stanford Ave? That affects bicyclists traveling west, who presently have a route free of right-side conflicts from Wellseley to Oberlin.
37 homes could mean at least another 37 kids for Escondido school. And the middle and highs.
Who says we don't need more schools.
"The trustees also approved a plan to build 29 townhouse-style rental homes for its athletic coaches and staff on a 3-acre campus site near El Camino Real and Stanford Avenue."
Note that Stanford is trying to house some of its workers; it's making a conscious effort to do that. It's very admirable.
Now, if only Palo Alto could do the same.
Stanford is a company town and decides who lives there. Palo Alto is a city and can not do that.
All towns of substance have companies in them; we need to do our best to house their employees. Palo Alto has citizens who can make choices. If those choices are made to the detriment of the future of the city, and the environment - so be it, and let the necessary consequences take hold.
I see you have posted on all the current threads Mike and I realize you are a universal expert, so I won't interrupt your need to have the last word.
However, on this subject:
Stanford can decide who lives in its various housing developments. Palo Alto is a CITY and can not do that.
Palo Alto, as a city with citizens who are conscious agents, CAN do that. It's called "political will". btw, I'm honored by your deference.
> 37 homes could mean at least another 37 kids for Escondido school
> Who says we don't need more schools.
If, for some reason, these homes were assessed at $1M each, then this would mean that there would be another $170K for the PAUSD. If there were, as suggested, 37 new children introduced into the PAUSD, then (using roughly $15K per student for education services costs), this would increase the expenditures of the school system by about $550,000. Meaning that Stanford will be shifting the costs of its residents onto the backs of the Palo Alto property owners and businesses to the tune of about $385,000.
And what are the taxpayers getting in return? Nothing!
Stanford needs to take responsibility for the education needs of the people it brings to campus and open its own schools! Otherwise--it needs to pay the full cost of education and housing the kids it introduces into the public school system from this behemoth private enterprise.
** Palo Alto, as a city with citizens who are conscious agents,
** CAN do that. It's called "political will".
And as "conscious agents", they also MUST NOT COMMIT stupid, or deleterious, actions against themselves, or their town.
I'm a little confused. How do you calculate the $170K? Do Stanford homes not pay property tax, impact fees, and parcel tax at equal rate to PA and LAH homes in PAUSD?
> I'm a little confused. How do you calculate
> the $170K?
Assessed Value = 1% of market value.
(Assuming 1M/home), 37 homes will have an assessed value of 37M.
1% of $37M is $370,000.
The PAUSD gets about 46% of every Property Tax dollar collected .. hence the %170,000.
PAUSD's Cut = ((1M * .01)* .46) * 37);
(The Parcel Tax was overlooked in this calculation. (37 * 592 = $22K).
If the elementary schools on the Stanford campus are over full, the logical thing to do is reopen Fremont Hills in Los Altos Hills. Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto Hills students can then be returned to Fremont Hills, thus leaving room at Nixon for all the new elementary students.
Of course what you say makes sense to mere mortals like us, but the school board in the past considers itself more cautious and would worry about things like losing rental money from Fremont Hills and what would happen if for some reason numbers started to decline. At present, they are proposing to call back the lease on Garland School and will have space for growth at Greendell in 2010 when the JCC moves into its own property. Whether they decide to use Garland for an elementary school or use it to help provide space at the middle schools is still not known and whether Greendell will become the home of MI is still not known. However, our forward thinking school board will take its time coming to its conclusion and hurry on with its feet stuck in the mud. Hopefully, the two new members will be more enlightened.
"Stanford needs to take responsibility for the education needs of the people it brings to campus and open its own schools!"
Agreed! First, Stanford should take back Escondido and Nixon and Gunn and PALY sites. Stanford owns all or parts of of those sites. Then Palo Alto can go buy land to put four new schools on. Stanford can use its own sites to educate its own kids, then it will no longer be a burden on Palo Alto.
John, although we disagree on many issues, I like your style on this one. :)
I am writing a story about the effect of these housing developments on the surrounding community. Would anyone be willing to talk to me for the story? Please call me at 326-8210 ext. 206 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
> First, Stanford should take back Escondido and
> Nixon and Gunn and PALY sites
Alternatively, Stanford could take back Nixon and Escondido and run them as a part of the university operations. For kids in middle school and high should, they could pay the full cost of educating these kids in the Palo Alto schools until there are enough kids on the Stanford Campus to open their own middle school and high schools--should enough kids of that age ever materialize due to their future building plans.
Unfortunately, the PAUSD foolishly became a party to something called the Stanford-Terman Agreement--which will cost Palo Alto taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars of subsidy to Stanford in the years to come.
I can't believe it is true that Stanford properties pay nothing toward the PAUSD for educating Stanford kids..is this true?
Does anyone really, really know?
Where do the Stanford owned property taxes go? And do they pay our parcel taxes ( which help fund our schools, also)??
> Where do the Stanford owned property taxes go?
> And do they pay our parcel taxes.
Properties on the Stanford Campus are either taxed, or not taxed, based on whether they are exempted by the County Auditor for certain reasons.
The bulk of the Stanford lands are exempt based on their being dedicated to what is called an "educational mission". The properties where professors live are taxed just like any other residential property and the taxes are paid for by the residents. A few of the residential properties are exempt (meaning they pay no property tax) for reasons that are known only to the Assessor's Office and Stanford.
Properties in the so-called business parks are not exempt, and pay property tax based on their being commercial properties. Stanford does NOT pay these taxes, as they are billed to the companies occupying these parcels. When a company exits the park, Stanford will attempt to have the Assessor exempt these properties again if it thinks that it will not be able to fill the empty property quickly.
All of the Stanford lands that are "dedicated to education" are subdivided into about 23 parcels. All of the non-education uses have their own parcel numbers. So, when it comes to parcel tax, there are about 1400 (roughly) taxable parcels on the Stanford Lands (within the jurisdiction of the PAUSD) which are billed. The vastness of the University is contained within 23 (or so) parcels.
> Where do the Stanford owned property taxes go?
All property taxes are collected by the County, and then redistributed per AB8, which was passed after Prop.13 was voted into law. As a Basic Aid School District, the PAUSD gets about 46% of every property tax dollar. The Parcel Tax is actually collected by the Tax Collector, so it does not show up on any of the records of the Assessor's Office.
Once Stanford takes back its land (Escondido, Nixon, Gunn, Paly,...El Camino Park, etc.), and forms its own school district, it can then keep the property taxes it currently pays to PAUSD, to be re-directed into its own schools district. That way, there will be no basis for any feelings of unfairness.
That should settle the issue.
> That way, there will be no basis for any
> feelings of unfairness.
If Stanford were to run the schools as private schools, then the property taxes would remain with the PAUSD.
If Stanford were to run them as Charter schools, then the funding would come from the PAUSD, although Stanford would be free to kick in as much money, material, and other support that it saw fit, as the schools would effectively be under Stanford control (with a modicum of oversight from the PAUSD/State). This later approach would not really benefit the PAUSD, and probably wouldn't be all that desirable to Stanford.
Running their schools as private schools would be the best approach for the Palo Alto taxpayers.
Maybe you've forgotten but Stanford gave the PAUSD $10 Million to buy back Terman from the City.
Elephant, thank you for the calculation. So I'm still confused. It seems like the taxes paid for the proposed Stanford houses are the same as for new houses in PA or LAH; the same as for any houses in PAUSD.
If so, are you just arguing against anyone building houses? Why is Stanford any different? Of course, each house with children isn't expected to pay its own way - the cost is distributed across the whole community.
If more kids come, to either existing or new housing, PAUSD will have to raised parcel tax or cut costs/kid. But that doesn't seem like an argument about whether to build houses.
> Maybe you've forgotten but Stanford gave the PAUSD
> $10 Million to buy back Terman from the City.
Not at all. The money (one of a couple of options offered the PAUSD by Stanford) was used primarily to refurbish Terman so that it could be a middle school. The agreement binds the PAUSD to not ask for any more money from Stanford EVER AGAIN! Additionally, Stanford gives notice to the PAUSD that it will be increasing the number of students it will be resident on the Stanford Campus by upwards of 1000. The actually numbers are not expressed in terms linked to the growth plan in which Stanford identifies new housing for students, but in hazy terms of "percentages" students already resident on the Stanford Campus.
Future costs of refurbishing/maintaining schools that primarily are used by the children of Stanford students still remains with the taxpayers of the PAUSD.
The general issue of the cost of educating Stanford students was not the focus of this agreement. As with the costs of buildings for Stanford students children, the general fund costs are also most borne by the PAUSD property tax payers.
> It seems like the taxes paid for the proposed Stanford houses
> are the same as for new houses in PA or LAH; the same as for
> any houses in PAUSD.
Probably. But the assessments (and taxes) will depend on ownership and assessed value.
> If so, are you just arguing against anyone building houses?
> Why is Stanford any different? Of course, each house with
> children isn't expected to pay its own way - the cost is
> distributed across the whole community.
Therein is the problem. Why should PAUSD taxpayers be expected to support Stanford's inviting students from foreign countries to study at their private university and then expect the taxpayers to pick up the costs of their kids eduction? (About 45% of Stanford student body are not American citizens.)
> If more kids come, to either existing or new housing, PAUSD will
> have to raised parcel tax or cut costs/kid. But that doesn't seem
> like an argument about whether to build houses.
Perhaps if one looked at the "big picture" and realized that the problem is Stanford's property tax exemptions ($2.7B), its refusal to want to pay its fair share of educating the kids it brings into the community (remember that the underlying issue is really non-property owning students) and that the cost of educating a child in the PAUSD has been doubling in cost over ever ten years or so.
The bottom line is that as Stanford grows, the PAUSD taxpayers have to pay more to provide for the educational services of the staff and students--yet Stanford is exempt from property taxes. Why?
Time to rethink its exemptions and maybe even openly propose that it runs its own schools so that Palo Altans are not required to subsidize this private entity where education is concerned.
Thanks Elephant for that explanation. So it sounds like your bigger concern is that Stanford as an institution creates strain on PA infrastructure (including schools) but doesn't itself pay property tax (though its houses do). This is one of the universal town-gown issues.
This issue is generally addressed by obtaining payments in lieu of taxes and other fees and concessions from the tax exempt institution. In my experience towns never feel like they get enough; but since the institution often defines the town (as Stanford somewhat does PA), life just goes on. If potential residents don't place any value on Stanford, they probably won't choose PA.
So this is a piece of the Stanford-PA economic puzzle, along with the med center expansion. We'll have to strike a deal; it won't be perfect; but life will go on.
Carving Stanford out of PAUSD seems off. I welcome Stanford residents who enrich the district in many ways.
> So it sounds like your bigger concern is that Stanford
> as an institution creates strain on PA infrastructure
> (including schools) but doesn't itself pay
> property tax (though its houses do).
For the most part.
> This issue is generally addressed by obtaining payments
> in lieu of taxes and other fees and concessions from the
> tax exempt institution.
Yes, but the PAUSD has never chosen to look at this issue -- blindly chosing to tax the property owners instead. And Stanford has never seen fit to offer.
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that Stanford has donated the land where Palo Alto High School and Gunn are located (or some of it anyway).
These donations happened a long time ago, so it's difficult to put a price tag on their contribution. Assuming that PA High and Gunn sit on at least 50 acres, that comes to $250M at today's prices. Land was in the hundreds (maybe thousands) per acre when the donations were made, so the value of the contribution was much less then.
Certainly the PAUSD owed Stanford something in exchange for these land contributions, and educating their kids certainly seemed like a fair swap. But with the costs of education becoming so high (already the PAUSD is seeing numbers that are hovering around 15K per student and growing at/about 6% per year), there is certainly a point-in-time when the land contributions would be "paid off".
> If potential residents don't place any value on Stanford,
> they probably won't choose PA.
That is a big "if".
> So this is a piece of the Stanford-PA economic puzzle,
> along with the med center expansion.
Perhaps. Unfortunately, none of the players seem to be thinking about the taxpayers.
> I welcome Stanford residents who enrich the district in many ways.
Perhaps. But most of Palo Altans don't have kids in school, and find that paying for Stanford's students less than appealing and in no way rewarding.
My understanding is that the Stanford land used by the PAUSD is rented at a nominal rent so the question of the monetary value of what Stanford is giving includes what would the fair market rent be for the same land.
> My understanding is that the Stanford land used by
> the PAUSD is rented at a nominal rent
The land was given to the PAUSD as long as it was used for education. If the use of the land were to be for some other purpose, then the land would revert to Stanford.
The PAUSD land is not rented from Stanford.
I have no object par se of new homes being built, either in Palo Alto or on Stanford. That is fine by me if they also build or open new schools. The schools are what makes so many people move here and I for one think that huge schools would be detrimental to my kids' school experience even if it does not adversely affect their education.
We do not want our schools to become the huge schools of other cities.
Therefore, if we are going to go ahead with encouraging more residents with families into our catchment area, then we must have more schools, not just more space in the existing schools. Stanford has accommodated PAUSD with Nixon and Escondido. However, we have LAH kids at Nixon and SI at Escondido. To accommodate the new Stanford kids, room must be made in these two elementary schools which may mean moving SI. We have more kids moving into new housing in South Palo Alto which will inevitably put stress on the South schools including Hoover and Ohlone. Re-opening Garland as an elementary school may alleviate the problems in the north but will do practically nothing to help the problem in the south where the bulk of the new housing is going. Greendell will have to be opened at some time either for MI or for local kids.
And this is just the elementary schools. The middle and high schools are also going to be impacted and the answer here is not so easy. If we can use Garland for making Jordan campus two schools in one, and re-open Cubberly, we then have the problem once again of elementary overcrowding.
So, please to whoever is advocating new housing, don't just think we can school all these new residents without building more schools. Schools may not be on the agenda of the city planning department, but they should be. Don't build any more homes until there is space to school the kids.
"These donations happened a long time ago, so it's difficult to put a price tag on their contribution. Assuming that PA High and Gunn sit on at least 50 acres, that comes to $250M at today's prices. Land was in the hundreds (maybe thousands) per acre when the donations were made, so the value of the contribution was much less then."
In real dollars, Stanford's contribution relative donation is the same.
"Don't build any more homes until there is space to school the kids."
With this philosophy, Palo Alto would still have 5000 inhabitants. There is a concern about school growth, but as in the past, that concern will be answered by our residents, who have always supported education.
Do you have any kids in PAUSD at present?
If you don't, you won't understand.
If you do, I am surprised at your attititude? If this is the case, then maybe you should ask your kids what they think about big schools. It may surprise you.
Kids don't care about the size of their school - if the school is well run, who cares what size it is?
> In real dollars, Stanford's contribution relative
> donation is the same.
says the inflationary rule, real dollars then inflate to real dollars now - the relative weight is the same
> says the inflationary rule, real dollars then
> inflate to real dollars now - the relative
> weight is the same
Yeah .. right!
Unfortunately, the "inflationary rule" missed Palo Alto real estate.
By you claims, a loaf of bread around 1900 would have been in the thousands of dollars in PA! Sorry pal .. it wasn't!
Land is a special case here in our town ..
But thanks for playing the home version of our game ..
sorry, but the relative weight, in terms of the perception of those who made and received the contribution, was the same then as it would be now, because we all share the same space. how are you missing this?
there IS a differing formula for different items, but you're trying to make it look like Stanford somehow "got away"with something when it donated the land, as if Stanford was able to predict future growth here. Not so.
Tell me, where would Palo Alto be without Stanford, without its varied and many contributions to our community, without the fertile intellectual engine whose ideas fueled commercial success here
I think a little humility is due here, with an effort to undertand Stanford - our neighbor - as a partner in development.
That's clearly lacking in this discussion
I'm beginning to enjoy this thread.
Mike, our universal and omnipresent expert, who posts on every subject and has many recognizable clones, is suggesting "a little humility" on the part of other people. Hehehe, hohoho! LOL!!
Henry, that was REALLY funny. You got me laughing. And, thanks for the compliment!
Are you familiar with the following Mike-ism?
"He who can laugh at himself has the power to suggest that others do likewise"
and oh, btw, in addition to a little more humility, I sure would like to see more substance to your posts - other than two-line baiting (which I'm happy to take, because you're such an easy mark :) It kinda adds to my aura...
You're worried about these houses?
Ask Stanford what percent of its faculty housing is occupied by very old people.
> Ask Stanford what percent of its faculty housing
> is occupied by very old people.
Stanford is not likely to answer any questions about its property from the public. However, the Assessor's Office shows that a goodly number of the faculty housing is taxed at a rate that looks like the owners were living in those houses in 1976, when the initial Prop 13 assessment was taken.
> but the relative weight, in terms of the perception of
> those who made and received the contribution, was the
> same then as it would be now, because we all
> share the same space
Land prices were very cheap all over the west at the time Stanford purchased the land for his university. The ten million dollars offered by Stanford for the ENTIRE FUTURE demonstrates their view of how much they own for education services beyond their land contributions.
Why aren't you seeing this?
> Tell me, where would Palo Alto be without Stanford,
> without its varied and many contributions to our
> community, without the fertile intellectual engine
> whose ideas fueled commercial success here
The same place Mountain View, Sunnyvale and San Jose would be.
While the age of Terman certainly spawned the birth of Silicon Valley, the weather, low land prices and a lot of GIs getting out of college after the end of WWII did far more to shape California, than Stanford did. While Hewlett and Packard both attended (and earned degrees-a BS for one and an MS for the other) from Stanford -- it was THEIR vision, THEIR sweat, THEIR risk and THEIR energy that was invested in the little garage workshop that ultimately became today's HP.
Most companies do not locate in Palo Alto because Stanford is nearby.
> I think a little humility is due here, with an effort to
> undertand Stanford - our neighbor - as a partner
> in development.
It's doubtful that Stanford would see Palo Alto in any such light. Who would want that headache? (Stanford and Palo Alto were actually partners in the Palo Alto-Stanford Hospital. The cost of running the place, and the control of the place became so problematic that the city government took to holding closed door meetings in the early 1960s that led to a Grand Jury investigation. After that, Stanford decided it would be better if it ran its own hospital, and exited the arrangement with its "partner"--the Palo Alto government. The current hospital was built in the late 1960s.)
> you're trying to make it look like Stanford somehow
> "got away"with something when it donated
These are your words alone.
The point is that as education costs rise, there is a break-even point between the value of the land donated and the total cost of education Stanford students. At that break-even point, Stanford needs to start paying fees in lieu of taxes.
"The point is that as education costs rise, there is a break-even point between the value of the land donated and the total cost of education Stanford students. At that break-even point, Stanford needs to start paying fees in lieu of taxes."
How convenient to include only this variable in your analysis. I sincerely hope you never have to negotiate anything of substance with Stanford, because you'll have your hat handed to you.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
> I sincerely hope you never have to negotiate anything of
> substance with Stanford, because you'll have
> your hat handed to you
Anyone who has read the Stanford/Terman agreement certainly can see how the PAUSD genuflected before Stanford and had its head handed back to it on a plate.
Oh, and this agreement was negotiated by the PAUSD Superintendent and Board.
any one want to talk about impact of these new housing to the Water drainages and Sewage system etc? did they add new capacity or they are going to use the existing one there? please this is a much bigger problem then parking. cars go away, but not sewage......
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