News

Editorial: Yes on Measure A

Parcel tax deserves support in spite of frustrations with Palo Alto school district governance

It is hard to imagine a worse time for the Palo Alto school district to go to the voters for the renewal and a 20 percent increase of a parcel tax that is currently providing more than $12 million a year in revenue for district operations out of a $185-million budget.

For many complex reasons, our school district is in turmoil, emotions are raw and many parents are feeling angry and disenfranchised. The heartbreaking loss of four more teenagers to suicide in the last few months and a continuing parade of avoidable controversies have created an unprecedented level of angst, frustration and soul-searching throughout the school community.

In a case of terrible timing, the school board decided to put Measure A before the voters at what may be the apex of disappointment in their lack of leadership and transparency, in the behavior of the teachers union and in the difficulty in implementing the most basic reforms, such as adherence by teachers to a three-year-old homework policy.

High hopes that a talented new superintendent would be able to turn things around by filling the leadership vacuum, build trust and successfully tackle an accumulation of inherited personnel and other long-festering problems have been dashed by one distraction after another and a school board that can't seem to get beyond its defensiveness and deafness to the community's concerns.

The board is neither leading nor allowing Superintendent Max McGee to lead, and both are spending precious time and political capital by poorly managing distractions like the current zero-period controversy.

Perhaps the expectation that McGee could restore trust and confidence and unite and lead the school board and district in a new direction was unrealistic. Perhaps there just hasn't been enough time for him to adapt to the strong political currents and bring about a needed culture change throughout the organization. Or perhaps the governance dysfunction is destined to continue until new school board members can be elected in next November's school board election.

But for the moment, we have Measure A, a proposal to renew and increase the parcel tax to $758 with annual 2 percent escalators. Not surprisingly, there is great ambivalence about it in the community.

As we cautioned in January before the board opted to go full-speed ahead with an increase in the parcel tax instead of a more humble request for a simple renewal, Measure A now appears in real jeopardy of being defeated — not because of organized opposition to the tax itself but because too many frustrated parents may choose to use Measure A to send a message of dissatisfaction. With a two-thirds vote requirement, it won't take many to defeat it.

To its credit, the district has done a much better job this time at honestly presenting its financial condition, without threats of the sky falling, in making the case for why we need to continue this additional tax revenue.

In spite of soaring property-tax revenues that will likely exceed even the new, more realistic projections made by the district, we cannot afford not to renew the parcel tax without consequences in the classroom. If Measure A doesn't pass it will return next year at a lower amount for another chance, in time to replace the current tax when it expires in June 2016. It is this re-vote that gives some voters comfort in voting now against Measure A.

But these message-sending voters need to realize the price for a protest vote is the cost of putting on another election and forcing the administration and school board to spend time weighing how to adjust the district's budget for the financial uncertainties.

For better or worse, the revenue from the current parcel tax has become baked into the budget and the district depends on it, primarily to achieve smaller class sizes by employing more teachers. With most of the district's expenses going to personnel, losing this revenue source would force the elimination of teaching positions at a time when enrollment continues to grow.

We sympathize with those who want to use this parcel-tax election to register a protest vote. But this election should be about maintaining the educational opportunities and experiences of our kids, ensuring that class sizes don't grow and implementing additional programs directed at closing the achievement gap and increasing mental health resources, among others.

This newspaper has supported every parcel tax and bond measure to come before the voters in the last 35 years. We believe in the importance of a high quality public education system, in paying our teachers well and in creating the best possible educational opportunities for children of all backgrounds and abilities.

Let us keep our frustrations and criticisms of district leadership separate from the need for this source of funding and vote to approve Measure A.

Related content:

Battle over Measure A heats up

'Yes on A' campaign raises more than $46,000

Ballots for school parcel tax mailed to Palo Alto voters

Interpretation of exemptions trips up school parcel tax

Palo Alto school board approves increased parcel tax

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Comments

30 people like this
Posted by Nana Chancellor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 24, 2015 at 7:18 am

On behalf of our tireless campaign team, hundreds of parents/teachers/principals/grandparents/students who have come out to phone bank for the last 8 weeks, the 1000 families who are flagging their support with a lawn sign in their yard, the almost 300 individuals who have donated to fund the campaign's efforts, and every school and student in our district who benefits from the librarians, counselors, & much smaller class sizes funded through the parcel tax: THANK YOU!


30 people like this
Posted by George Jaquette
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 24, 2015 at 7:20 am

Thank you for your support of Measure A. As you have written, this funding funds teachers. Those teachers enable PAUSD to keep a lower student-to-teacher ratio that schools nearby, both through class-size reduction and by funding teachers for the expanded student body.

As you also note, the time to send a message is when the school board is elected and not when funding for teachers is on the line. Frustration can be directed, but should not end up hurting our newest and youngest teachers.

Your support matters, so thank you for endorsing Measure A.

George


28 people like this
Posted by Christine
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 24, 2015 at 7:29 am



"Let us keep our frustrations and criticisms of district leadership separate from the need for this source of funding and vote to approve Measure A."

Let's do this for the kids. It's what's best for THEM!




14 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2015 at 8:04 am

Let's get the administrators to tighten their belts and decide where they can whittle down our expenses at the top.

In a family budget when there needs to be some financial changes made, it is the parties, the vacations, the new clothes put on hold. The bread and butter, food, rent, utilities, that become priorities.

The students are the priorities. Administration expenses are fluff and costs should be whittled down before one teacher gets a pink slip.


28 people like this
Posted by My Thoughts
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 24, 2015 at 8:04 am

My Thoughts is a registered user.

" But these message-sending voters need to realize the price for a protest vote is the cost of putting on another election and forcing the administration and school board to spend time weighing how to adjust the district's budget for the financial uncertainties.

...

This newspaper has supported every parcel tax and bond measure to come before the voters in the last 35 years"



There is also a price of the district ignoring the ongoing mental-health crisis, ignoring the parent concerns, ignoring the dissent among teachers unwilling to implement board policy, ignoring the students who struggle every day in a system that grinds their motivation into dust.

I view the price of dysfunction and mistreatment as a much higher cost than slightly larger class sizes. Really - what is more important: the well being and safety of our children, or the slightly easier job of teaching a slightly smaller classroom? I would put the safety of our children first.


And also - your approval of every tax over the last 35 years says a lot. This editorial feels forced and left-handed. Almost like you feel an obligation to do the same thing, even though you know it to be wrong.

Still voting No on Measure A


20 people like this
Posted by Stir the pot
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2015 at 8:12 am

If the Weekly says yes on Measure A, then vote No. As they admit--they have never seen a parcel tax or bond measure that they do not like.


32 people like this
Posted by Sarah Sands
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 24, 2015 at 8:13 am

I vote yes to support all the children in our district. Given increasing student populations, rising costs for everything from energy to health care, and a deep desire to serve our students better, Measure A is a crucial part of helping the Palo Alto school district improve. The wellness programs to be funded by the tax are simply non-negotiable during this difficult time for our kids. Please join me in voting "Yes" on Measure A, and mail your ballots today. Nothing at the district will be able to progress if there's suddenly a risk of huge budget cuts because the 7% of the district budget provided by the parcel tax disappears. Vote yes today.


27 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 24, 2015 at 8:18 am

It seems that the district has a great personality.

This is just damning with faint praise. I think that the Weekly is telling us to vote our conscience and that it is largely in sympathy with the "No on A" sentiment. After reciting a harsh litany of everything that the district is doing wrong, the editorial says "for better or for worse" we should support it albeit reluctantly.

The editorial recites that the district suffers from "lack of leadership and transparency, in the behavior of the teachers union and in the difficulty in implementing the most basic reforms, such as adherence by teachers to a three-year-old homework policy."

Then says "hold your nose and vote they have us by the short hairs!"

Nope. And many many of my neighbors and friends confessed to me conspiratorially that they had voted no but weren't telling anyone. They smirked, over their lattes, that someone has to tell the board to get its act together. Suicide seems to be the primary concern but there are others. What about foreign language? Where's that? Why are we poised to spend so much money on things that don't matter like more district staff? Why is the performing arts center so outrageously ostentatious? No one, and I mean no one, believes that they need this money.

So...is this an endorsement? It seems more like a ransom note to me.


28 people like this
Posted by NancyK
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 24, 2015 at 8:20 am

Please support Measure A to keep class sizes down and retain our counselors. Both of these are vital to student well-bring.

Students stuck in larger classrooms do not get the individual attention they need, no matter where they perform on the academic spectrum. High performing bored kids act out; low performing kids fall further behind and feel terrible about themselves.

I volunteer in the classrooms, and saw this fall out (of increased classroom sizes) while living in another school district that failed to pass its parcel tax. Please do not inflict larger classrooms on our Palo Alto kids.

And, I do not need to discuss the harms caused by laying off counselors.

Please vote for Meadute A. These funds are critical for our children to thrive in our schools.


22 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Grandma
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 24, 2015 at 8:21 am

Those of you who are frustrated with the School Board and critical of School District leadership need to take your criticisms directly to the source. Go to the School Board meetings and make your opinion known. Write letters, or even run for the school board. Don't take your frustrations out on the children of Palo Alto. Get involved in working to make the situation better - if you are so concerned, put some of your own skin in the game.

If Measure A does not pass, beginning in the 2016-17 school year, Palo Alto would lose $13M in yearly revenue which would come primarily out of employee salaries and benefits, resulting in teacher layoffs and increased class sizes, as well as possible closing of an elementary school. In real numbers, that means the loss of 85 full-time school staff (67 teachers, as well as counselors, librarians and psychologists). In elementary schools, average class size would rise from 21-23 per classroom to 27 per class room, and in middle school/high school to 29 students per class.

So get up close and personal and take your message directly to PAUSD administration and the School Board Members.


40 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 24, 2015 at 8:30 am

For those who urge a "Yes" vote please tell me what you think should be done about the out of control teacher's union and its refusal to use our district IT tools, its filing of the grievance against Denise Herrmann, and the way that it is impossible to fire bad teachers.

Please tell me how my Measure A money should be used to send Phil Winston a paycheck. The board claimed that it couldn't fire Phil Winston. If we can't fire Phil Winston, then we can't fire anyone. So why would we want more of these people? I don't think you understand that when you say this funds teachers what you mean is that this gives more raises to the very people who are running amok.

For those saying it's wrong to use your vote to send a message, that's BS. Every vote sends a message. A" Yes" vote sends the message "I approve of the current course of the district." A "No" vote says "Things should change and I don't feel good about the current course of the district."

It's false to say you don't send a message. That's the whole purpose of voting. No taxation without representation, remember that? Your elected leaders are failing when they retain Phil Winston and his ilk. You want to change that, and you do that by rejecting taxation when they don't respond to the voters. That is how it works. This isn't a PIE donation, it's a tax.

No.


19 people like this
Posted by My Thoughts
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 24, 2015 at 8:56 am

My Thoughts is a registered user.

@Grandma writes: "So get up close and personal and take your message directly to PAUSD administration"


...And watch your teacher retaliate against your child.


You hit on the problem exactly - thanks Grandma.

There is NO mechanism to publicly, privately or otherwise resolve the issues brought against the school system: Board has no ability to prevent such retaliation (they cannot even get teachers to use tools), Principals and Teachers support each other in the broken Site-based model - often to the detriment and retaliation against the students.

So your recommendation, while well-meaning, has been tried and failed.

The remaining option is to send the message of dissatisfaction through the ballot box. And because these problem affect a minority of families, a minority ONLY has leverage in a 2/3 supermajority vote, like a parcel tax.

There is NO OTHER WAY to get our Board to respond. If you are dissatisfied, I urge you to Vote No on Measure A. It's your only chance to be heard.


31 people like this
Posted by Eric Rosenblum
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 24, 2015 at 9:06 am

Eric Rosenblum is a registered user.

There are many who are saying "yes, the school district has problems. However, let's *still* support Measure A because the alternative is even worse".

I appreciate that point of view, because I believe that it is fundamentally correct.

However, I'll go a step further. Our personal experience with PAUSD has been fantastic, at almost all levels. Both of our children have had caring, hard-working teachers. The administration has been responsive. Our son has some vision impairment issues, and the vision specialist has been remarkably capable and proactive.

I recognize that our experience may not be the same as that for some people, but I wanted to make sure that the voices of people who are really happy with PAUSD are also heard (not just those who are grudgingly accepting of a need to step up to the plate).


26 people like this
Posted by Voting No
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 24, 2015 at 9:12 am

I, too, have supported every parcel tax for the schools, but, not this one. It may be costly to have to come back to the voters next year, but, that is the situation the board and the district has put themselves in.

As the dam has broken and the bad news has gushed out, the majority on the school board has not only failed to act, they have failed to even acknowledge the public's concerns. Voting to add a science research coordinator position at this time, without the funding being approved, without adequate information, is presumptuous. To not mandate the use of Schoology, is craven. When the board begins to have an honest, straightforward dialogue with the voters, when it addresses the governance issues in the district, I will happily vote for a parcel tax. Until then, it's a "no".


27 people like this
Posted by Private Parent
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 24, 2015 at 9:21 am

Although I have been severely critical of both PAEA and the decision on zero period, I am voting for measure A as well.

I believe quality education for our kids is a public good on many levels. The kids deserve it, and having an educated work-force is vital in this day and age.

There was once a time when California schools were the envy of the nation. One major reason was because they were extremely well funded.

That is the case no longer, but we can make it the case here in Palo Alto.

PAUSD has its share problems--and I urge all involved to work toward fixing them.

But the fact is that most kids are getting a great education, and we shouldn't overlook that fact, and give the next group the same chance.


29 people like this
Posted by Jon Foster
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 24, 2015 at 9:28 am

I am in my 12th year of being a PAUSD parent and have been very pleased with PAUSD. Does PAUSD sometimes make decisions I don't agree with? Sure. Are some teachers better than others? Of course. But overall, do I think we have high quality teachers and administrators who work hard to provide the best education possible for our students? Absolutely. And does the funding provided by the parcel tax allow PAUSD to provide a better educational experience than would be possible without it? Without a doubt. The parcel tax is a key component to allowing the Palo Alto school district to be one of the best public school districts in California and the nation. Everyone should care about the quality of our public schools, and everyone who does should vote yes on Measure A.


4 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2015 at 9:30 am

Who's Phil Winston? He must be getting quite a pay check if you are willing to defeat a parcel tax .for his salary. I thought the top salary went to the highest paid superintendent in California, Dr McGee . He gross salary is over $300,000 a year with perks and a million dollar house loan.


15 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 24, 2015 at 9:41 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Nana Chancellor and George Jaquette merit special thanks from a public concerned about having a factual basis for policy debate in Town Square.

You can see their arguments about the reasons to support Measure A and invitation to opponents of Measure A to engage openly in the debate on the blog "A Pragmatist's Take" under the topic "Frustrated with arguments on the parcel tax." You'll also see the arguments to vote No and who is standing up to make that case. Highly recommended reading.


8 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2015 at 9:43 am

Let's give McGee a little credit though. At least he's returned from his tax payer paid trip to Singapore with his elite group of students and rumor has it he's back in his office.


29 people like this
Posted by Teacher supporting Measure A
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 24, 2015 at 9:51 am

Supporting Measure A supports our students. There are other ways to communicate dissatisfaction with aspects of the schools - holding ALL of the children of this district hostage to financial blackmail is NOT a strategy that reflects responsible civic engagement. If you are angry and unhappy, channel that anger and unhappiness into positive engagement by going to board meetings and RUNNING FOR THE SCHOOL BOARD IF YOU HAVE THE ANSWERS, rather than making the children pay the price.

As a teacher I can guarantee you that smaller class sizes are ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to building a flourishing creative educational environment. Enrichment through electives offerings is an avenue to building the sort of creative engagement we want to encourage in our students, so that they find as many paths as possible to personal and individual success. We have amazing electives offerings throughout the district - these programs would be the envy of any public school anywhere in the country and we need to continue that support. We need to continue to support the awesome schools and the awesome teachers that we have, and to continue to build a positive environment for ALL of our kids. We need the parcel tax to do this.

Do it for the kids. Robbing them because you are upset is a very poor strategy.


25 people like this
Posted by Voting Yes
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 24, 2015 at 9:54 am

I support Measure A. How about a sports metaphor? Let's bring in a new coach (McGee), let's bring in a new assistant coach (Hermann), a new front office (Gunn counseling staff), a new training program (enhanced ACS services), and a new team co-owner (new board members).

Gunn students and teachers are very happy with the new team (personal conversations). The tone has changed at Gunn. Even my grumpy Senior daughter says the new principal is great and all the kids like and support her.

Let's give them 2/3 of a season to change all that ills the team. All problems not solved, let's fire them all!

Not wise. Support Measure A. Let's focus on the kids.


30 people like this
Posted by Another dad
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 24, 2015 at 10:03 am

"Let us keep our frustrations and criticisms of district leadership separate from the need for this source of funding and vote to approve Measure A."

This is nonsensical. There is no difference between "criticism of leadership" and "funding". Those issues are linked and have ALWAYS been linked in every state, every municipality in the nation, for as long as our democracy has existed.

"No on A" is the perfect and appropriate way to send the message, from the public to the institution.


24 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Apr 24, 2015 at 10:08 am


Did you see the list of salaries in the Daily Post this week? Wow! Perhaps if we let go the higher priced administrators and teachers and bring in fresh new teachers that cost less but WILL use Schoology and enforce the homework policy, we will save money and improve the system too.

So a NO vote might be best for the children.


26 people like this
Posted by yes on A!
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Apr 24, 2015 at 10:21 am

I don't have kids in the schools but I support Measure A because I benefited from a public school education and I believe in paying it forward.

People who are arguing against Measure A - is firing 85 staff, including 67 teachers and counselors and psychologists and librarians going to make you happier? Does that actually get us to more responsive teachers or more comprehensive mental health programs? No, it doesn't do that at all. Maaaybe if this money were earmarked to fund the administration and the board? But it's not. So I don't see why or how this would change anything you say you care about - it would just make things worse for the kids. Smaller class size and more staff means more individual attention, means deeper connections with students. We NEED that in order to fix our problems. It's the first step towards making things better and here you are advocating against it.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 24, 2015 at 10:47 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The first paragraph says it all:
"It is hard to imagine a worse time for the Palo Alto school district to go to the voters for the renewal and a 20 percent increase of a parcel tax that is currently providing more than $12 million a year in revenue for district operations out of a $185-million budget."


27 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 24, 2015 at 10:50 am

A NO Vote on A is what's best for the children. Let's make the school district accountable for every penny that they already have. Let's put an end to the bloated administrative costs and put a cap on salaries and benefits for teachers and staff. Let's send a message that Children Come First. Not the other way around.


20 people like this
Posted by My Thoughts
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 24, 2015 at 10:53 am

My Thoughts is a registered user.

@yes asks a good question: "People who are arguing against Measure A - is firing 85 staff, including 67 teachers and counselors and psychologists and librarians going to make you happier? Does that actually get us to more responsive teachers or more comprehensive mental health programs? "


I actually don't believe your proposition that this will result in firing 85 staff. In fact, when the Board ACTUALLY closes the financial gap, there will be much more scrutiny to avoid teacher layoffs as the very last thing they do.

The Union will ensure that priority is maintained.

In addition, I believe that the Board will take 1 year to re-establish trust with the community, and they will absolutely come back with another Measure in upcoming elections. The loss in revenue will never actually occur. Or if it does, it is because the Board refuses to re-establish community trust.

Worst case scenario: they ignore community until new Board members are elected in 2016, draw down reserves for a year, then ask for a new Measure in 2017, once they start to demonstrate good management. Actual gloom-and-doom scenarios just aren't believable.

Bad management however, is directly in front of us. And needs to be addressed.

#RightNow


34 people like this
Posted by Parent Voting NO
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 24, 2015 at 10:58 am

As a parent who always vote for any funding in the past, I too am voting NO.

Sadly, this editorial misses one of the biggest reasons for McGee's inability to make good on his talent and promise, and that is the unfortunate immediate staff we seem to have no means to remove and improve. How could anyone expect a new guy to come into a den of slick wolves like that and clean up all by himself? They are still running the show. Skelly was the least of our problems. People who are already inclined to dismiss any families unfortunate enough to have to deal with that will have zero reason at all if this vote passes.

Please vote NO if you care about our children, it is really our only leverage. This replaces a supplemental, temporary tax, and there is still time to vote through another if we need the funds (despite the gangbusters real estate market). We've done this before. Right now, we need to send the district office a message they can't ignore far more than we need this supplemental tax approved just now.

Secondly, the fourth estate and the District have done nothing at all to respond to calls for clarifying how the district spends our money on PAUSD's top-heavy administration. Since the Measure doesn't ACTUALLY promise to pay for teachers (it's actually so vague, there is nothing enforceable in it), and money is fungible anyway, if defeating this measure results in even the hint of letting go teaching staff before first streamlining the top-heavy bureaucracy, many of whom make more annually than the Governor of California or the very top tier of experienced federal judges in expensive areas like San Francisco, there will be tar and pitchforks and torches like you can't imagine at the District office. Ain't going to happen.

The editorial points out that if we vote this down, we will have to pay for another vote.
That is another big reason to vote NO.

This community has demonstrated high levels of support for our district when it needs the support and is doing a good job. When it last sent a message about a bad request and voted down a measure, the district responded by moving to costly special elections like this one to game the system. That's right, placing a measure like this on a general election ballot costs a small fraction of this special election. The district could afford 5 or 6 regular elections to try to get what they want for the price of this one. The community should vote this down precisely to show that we don't want our money spent gaming the system to extract more money from us ever again. It's insulting and unnecessarily wasteful, as we have consistently shown high support for reasonable funding requests. The community should vote NO on this for that reason alone. What teaching staff had to be sacrificed for the extra $300,000 -$500,000 the district will spend each time to put its votes in every special election cycle from now on if they are rewarded for doing it this time? The extra $300,000 they spent this time over putting the vote up for a general election -- what wasn't done for our kids because of that?

This tax is a SUPPLEMENTAL tax, not our majority school funding, which comes from our taxes. The earlier Weekly editorial admitted we are flush because of that, tax receipts are at an all time high, and the person doing the budgeting regularly underestimates tax receipts and ends up with a surplus at the end of the year that isn't spent well or on priorities. Fix THAT first.

The tax this is replacing was a temporary tax to fill in gaps during the recession. It was supposed to sunset when times got better, as they are now. People should vote NO just for that reason, because you never know when the economy will cycle down again or there will be another short-term need, and if we commit to maxing out the community now out of laziness, we won't have that resource there when we really need it.

Lastly, anyone who has ever had to deal with the toxic cover-up culture in the district office knows very well that if this community approves this vote, they will feel invincible to continue it, and they will portray this approval in an acknowledgement from the community that they are getting away with it. The insularity in the district office will only increase.

I, too, have voted for every previous ask, but not this one. Please VOTE NO, as a show of support for our kids and families who want to solve the problems.


17 people like this
Posted by Parent Voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2015 at 11:09 am

Those expressing NO should please also add their voices to the NO on Measure A thread started recently:

Web Link


19 people like this
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 24, 2015 at 11:19 am

I was surprised to see no rebuttal argument to Measure A in the ballot. Maybe people are frightened to speak out publicly for fear of reprisal--I certainly would be.

The constant refrain of "Do it for the children!" by the "Yes" campaign rings pretty hollow. We need to do what's right for the children and everyone, and this time it's by voting "NO."


5 people like this
Posted by jerry99
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 24, 2015 at 11:27 am

No more taxes, especially when the City Manager is trying to use 8 Million dollars to keep a firetrap trailer park open. [Portion removed.]


27 people like this
Posted by Gunn Mom
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 24, 2015 at 11:27 am

I have two students presently at Gunn. I am voting YES on Measure A.

Gunn provides an excellent education. There are things that need to be changed, but my observation as an involved Gunn parent is that change (that the school can control) is well underway. The school cannot control type A parents who push their kids too far. I don't think we need to "send a message" via ballot. I think we need to retain the staff who are presently working on implementing change. Cutting off their hands by reducing staff will, most certainly, slow the progress of change.

I'm watching the process at Gunn, and I'm pleased with the progress I see. Can we do more? Yes. But it's unlikely more will get done with $13 million less money and deep cuts in staff.

Is it more important to support the students...or to win a battle around a personal agenda? My 18-year old Gunn senior tells me she just voted YES on A. Please join her.


22 people like this
Posted by They have enough money
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 24, 2015 at 11:42 am

I have already mailed in my ballot with my NO.

My children have done well in PAUSD overall. I have no complaint with their experience there.

Yes, there are some problems, such as the refusal to use Schoology, that seem ridiculous and out of hand. These problems need to be addressed.

However, none of the problems are why I voted NO.

I voted NO, because PAUSD has enough money!

They are almost swimming in money, with record property tax revenue. Even they have admitted that they have extra money! Then, there is an unbelievable amount of financial waste in the district.

PAUSD needs to learn fiscal restraint and responsibility, just like the rest of us.

I cannot afford these taxes, especially for a district that does not need the money, but just tries to blackmail voters into voting yes.


7 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2015 at 11:45 am

@Nora Charles,
"I was surprised to see no rebuttal argument to Measure A in the ballot. Maybe people are frightened to speak out publicly for fear of reprisal--I certainly would be. "

That's actually more just an artifact of the process. This was a special election -- it was hard leading up to it to even figure out when it would be. The district submits the qualified ballot, and then there is a narrow window to submit arguments, on the order of a week or 10 days. There is a specific process for it, to, you can't just send an email. By the time the public really knew about the election, that window was long closed. No one advertises to the grassroots in advance to submit arguments.


10 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2015 at 11:50 am

@Bill,

"He gross salary is over $300,000 a year with perks and a million dollar house loan."

Actually, McGee doesn't work a full year, he gets paid for around 200some days of work. If you prorated his salary to 365 days a year, he makes $480,000 annually, which is $80,000 more than the annual salary of the President of the United States. McGee also gets a $750/month car allowance, and an interest free $1M house loan, plus all expenses reimbursed.

Can you please tell me what day the Post's story about the salaries is?


16 people like this
Posted by PA denizen
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 24, 2015 at 12:06 pm

As I perused the pro/con arguments for Measure A, I come away from the debate with questions about the aim of those voting no. We have many folks (if posting in the Palo Alto online forums are any indication) in this town who are ready to lead (and micromanage) the school district. All of a sudden we have discovered folks with such keen sense of expenditure control that they must have missed their true calling as financial controllers. I would take exception to the micromanagement that we see in the forums (overpaid administrators, junkets, etc). Yes, the school district should be aware that they are spending precious resources (i.e. our money), but there are checks and balances (oversight committee, anyone?) to ensure that process works. How many of the 'no' voters attended an oversight committee meeting? Thought so. If we spend 33% of our effort optimizing 1% of the budget, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that something is wrong with the process.

It boils down to trust -- do we trust our elected officials and do we trust the actions that they have taken (like hiring the said administrators)? For many years (having lived in Palo Alto for 18) one of the prime attractions of this town was the high caliber schools. And it is a virtuous cycle -- good schools attract motivated families who have kids who do well in school and the schools get better.

Perhaps the globalization of the college admission process and the increased competition has created, in parents and students, an unhealthy amount of stress? I have read numerous articles about the college admission process and wonder if that is not part of the problem (elephant in the room)? Why else would the environment be as reportedly bad as it is? Could it be the social and parental pressure, for example, in the Gunn population that creates these issues?

Thought exercise: If a teacher has been teaching at Gunn for 15-20 years (and many have) why would their teaching methods be in question now and not 10+ years ago? Folks, something else has changed. And we might need to get all of the stakeholders to acknowledge it. Especially the parents... (hint: they are part of the problem).


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Posted by Tuesday
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2015 at 12:18 pm

@Parent voting NO: Tuesday, 4/21.


13 people like this
Posted by Parent Voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2015 at 12:39 pm

@ denizen,

Your post is demeaning to the many parents who put their heart in soul into working with our district and for our kids on a regular basis, who try to communicate problems and fix them. (Are you aware that oversight committees don't see that money is well-spent, only that it is not misappropriated for some outside purpose? One of the people openly shilling for this measure is on the oversight committee. Not a good sign.)

@Tuesday,
Thank you.


5 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2015 at 12:44 pm

"Are you aware that oversight committees don't see that money is well-spent, only that it is not misappropriated for some outside purpose?"

By outside, I mean, non-school-related, like Swiss bank account. There is absolutely NO specific enforceable language in this bond Measure that promises the money will be spent on reducing class sizes or even teachers. I see a morphing laundry list, too. Oversight committees don't do much, and if you think they aren't doing enough, what do you think your recourse as a community member is? (Give yourself a nickel if you guessed "none".)


22 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm

The PAUSD budget book for 2014/2014 shows a budget of $182 million; $109 is spent directly on schools (teachers, principals, school support staff, utilities, etc). $73 million is spent on other.

1) If Measure A does not pass, why would the cuts come out of the school spending, which is the primary mission of the district? All those who suggest that the cuts will be teachers have the wrong priorities. The first place to cut should be the "other".

2) Previous budget projections from the school district were property tax revenue increases of 2%, while the City of Palo Alto uses a 5% number for the current year and next year. That 3% difference is $4 million this year, and $8 million the next year, when the current parcel tax expires.

By cutting "other" spending by 7% (things like outside lawyers fighting the civil rights complaints, the extra hiring of PR persons, "coordinator" positions, outside consults, etc), and the higher than forecast property revenue would be enough to cover this proposed parcel tax.

You see, this parcel tax is not about funding more teachers, it's about funding the "other" category.

Add to this the lack of trust of some of the board members, the non-friendly parent culture of the district office management staff, the opaque hiding of information, the obtuse teacher's union leadership position using tools to help enforce the homework policy, the unwillingness of management, board to address fundamental questions on what spending priorities are (teachers for our kids, or spending on "other"), many I've talked to will be voting NO.


8 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 24, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Parent voting No

You make very clear that for you a "non-negotiable" in determining your vote is a specific change of key administrative personnel, starting with the number two official in the organization chart. You argue that you and your family (and others in your situation trying to get accommodations from the district for a student with special needs) have not been treated fairly, have been lied to and retaliated against.

These are serious allegations that should be addressed without impeding the ongoing efforts being made to get the district back on a solid footing. The parcel tax should not be held hostage to your satisfaction with Supt. McGee's choices in personnel matters.

Let's say your No on A campaign works this time and the parcel tax is blocked. Assume further that Supt. McGee doesn't make the personnel changes so important to you. Why should we expect that you would not use this same, no cost, successful method of conducting a completely online campaign to block the next attempt to pass a parcel tax?


9 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 24, 2015 at 1:16 pm

@Bill

Phil Winston is the former principal of Paly who was found responsible for sexual harassment of students and staff and creating a hostile sexual environment by a district investigation. [Portion removed.]

Phil was not fired by Skelly and the board (GOOD LUCK SAN MATEO!! Get used to the word "oops."). Instead he was made a special education teacher [portion removed] and we STILL PAY HIM TO THIS DAY.

[Portion removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 24, 2015 at 1:43 pm

Parent voting NO,

Thanks very much for that clarification. It seemed odd there was no opposing argument when so many seem opposed.


23 people like this
Posted by Retaliation Exists
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 24, 2015 at 1:53 pm

It's simple.

We don't need to hire more teachers who overwork our students.

If the bad teachers were controlled, we wouldn't need counselors.

We spend a lot of money on tutoring due to deficient teaching so a few more children in the classroom won't matter.

The only way we can "speak up" is through our private ballots. I've spoken to a Paly teacher before about rigor and my child's grade was affected negatively (subjective grading). All the parents were up in arms about this teacher but no one wanted to complain, fearing retaliation. Now, my child's college admissions are affected because I politely told the teacher he was expecting too much from his students.

On the other side, we have some great teachers who welcome feedback and adjust.

But it's the bad ones who ruin it for all the good ones. We shouldn't be paying bad teachers so much money to stress-out our students.




20 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2015 at 2:41 pm

@ Jerry Underdal,

I have always voted for past requests for school funding, even the last one that failed. I have put my heart and soul into volunteering for our district, including fundraising. I do not like having to vote NO, but I also feel it is the best way to help our children under the circumstances, especially since the arguments for are unconvincing and often fear-mongering with no basis.

I also think you have answered your own concerns. If you, as a community member, can work to help us parents restore trustworthy personnel and behavior at the district level, problem solved. It will be good for our kids, and you will ensure the disaffected who have in the past voted for funding, will help again. If you think we could use other recourse, how about helping us get it through new board rules allowing more leverage and checks and balances when things are going wrong? How about joining the call for a restoration of trust and trustworthy personnel? I don't see any "campaign" against funding our schools, only sincere disaffected parents speaking in the only way they can against bad behavior and waste.

There is an overwhelming institutional campaign to get people to vote Yes, but none of those people putting anywhere near that kind of effort into ensuring our schools solve the problems expressed. There are lawn signs, use of PTA lists, phone banking, spending an extra $300,000 on an off-cycle special election, etc, but no real horse race here. I think you have confused me with the #RightNow person who seems to be actively against -- and actually I would love if someone could explain to me what the "#" means (is that a discussion? Facebook? Twitter? i'm not on any of those. Can someone please explain?)

McGee didn't hire any of those people, he came in with them already there, and there doesn't seem to be any mechanism for streamlining, culling, improving, or otherwise giving a great new superintendent a good team to work with when we finally are able to make a change. It may destroy our chances of realizing his promise. This Measure going down will actually give McGee and voices for change within the district like Dauber more power to speak up for fixing things.

I'm curious why you think parents expressing themselves is a "campaign"? I haven't even so much as suggested how others vote to my friends or online lists, and probably won't. Just because we have something powerful to say that resonates, is no reason to turn this into a political fight. Can you explain why you are so concerned with this election when I haven't seen you volunteering ever to help our schools (and I'm betting we'll never see you help to deal with any of the serious problems we have)? Seriously, if it wasn't for this election, would you even give 2 seconds to help parents solve some of the problems? Students are dying, even parents who disagree on this measure do and will work together in the future. If you enjoy inciting political battles, there is always City Hall.

Speaking as a current parent, we would really be better off if we got our house in order and then asked the community for money, if it is even needed. I think people should vote NO.


16 people like this
Posted by Another NO on A
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 24, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Sorry, I don't know what it means to say that if this doesn't pass it will be felt in the classrooms. I don't know how much is spent on classroom technology that many teachers have trouble using, and that generally seems unnecessary, but it's a visible note to me that there's too much money in the system now.


2 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 24, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Parent voting No

"Just because we have something powerful to say that resonates, is no reason to turn this into a political fight."

I guess we have different notions of what a political fight is. Trying to influence the outcome of an election, as you have been doing, is a political act and in this case, since there is a vote which will go either Yes or No with different consequences for the body politic, it is in fact a political fight. You're doing a good job with the free tools available to you online. If Measure A goes down it will be just like Measure D, won't it. David over Goliath.

In fact, It would be an even more striking victory. A campaign of online posts against the Maybell project and PAHC, its sponsor, morphed into PASZ and the No on Measure D campaign, which combined a dominant online presence with the usual trappings of an election campaign--highly visible spokespeople, street signs, campaign fund drives, and a victory that upset predictions that the pro-affordable housing position would prevail.

In this case, the campaign against A is almost exclusively online. Can a well-supported campaign with funds and volunteers and spokesmen and a city history of strong support for taxing itself more so its schools will be better be beaten by an expense-free campaign led by people whose identity is opaque to most voters?

If Measure A fails, we can be sure there will be more campaigns like this in the future.


18 people like this
Posted by Sea Seelam Prabhakar Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 24, 2015 at 4:12 pm

I plead for a NO vote.

Palo Alto School district has plenty of resources. They need to manage it better.

Respectfully


11 people like this
Posted by Parent voted No
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 24, 2015 at 4:33 pm

We really shouldn't separate the frustration with the leadership from funding request. Without having accountability and trust, how can PAUSD expect to get more funding from the residents again and again?

Let us have a full review of the budget and expense. Please don't hold our kids' education hostage.Currently, parents spent so much in tutoring and private education due to the disappointment in public system. Why should we give more money to leadership that we cannot trust and let them spent however they want? It makes more sense to stop and review a broke pipe instead of pouring more money into a leaking pipe...


2 people like this
Posted by CW
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 24, 2015 at 4:42 pm

I don't think the Weekly's editorials are very influential. They endorsed and heavily promoted Dauber in 2012 and he lost. They pushed him again in 2014 and he won. So they're 50-50. No evidence of any influence on the public.

[Portion removed.]


17 people like this
Posted by Reason
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 24, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Reason is a registered user.

@Jerry observes: "If Measure A fails, we can be sure there will be more campaigns like this in the future."


Yes, this is true - if Measure A fails, the board will have to work hard to earn the support of the community.

As well they should; addressing a suicide cluster is not something that should take 6 years to see action. If they want our money, they have to earn it.

I think most of us just want to see them get started. The Board should act with some urgency, the District should act with some urgency, the Principals should act with some urgency, the Teachers should act with more urgency.

The Teachers' Union should simply do the exact opposite of anything they currently are doing, and everything they plan to do next.

And what to do urgently?

- Implement the homework policy
- Implement Schoology
- Implement block schedule
- End pressure tactics in the classroom
- End retaliation against children and families
- Re-establish Trust.

This is the hard part, and what the Board is learning with every misstep: once you lose credibility, it is VERY hard to regain. Seeing them try to find their credibility is like watching an Elephant knit.

Currently ALL the voices for yes on measure A sound like this: "SHAME ON YOU! GIVE US YOUR MONEY, WE DESERVE IT!"

What they should say is: "what do we need to do in order to regain your respect and trust? How can we make the district a safe place for kids?"

No on Measure A


3 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 24, 2015 at 5:02 pm

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 24, 2015 at 5:02 pm

@CW, I saw Dauber out last Sunday morning at the farmers market lobbying Yes on A.


8 people like this
Posted by If you only knew
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2015 at 5:09 pm

I do hope the parent and community backers know that some of the parcel tax is truly spent wisely on key staff and even various supplies, but so much if it is squandered on random expenses that don't line up when compared year to year or school to school. There is a scary amount of money in PAUSD and we have become fat since the 2008 recession. Certainly another dip will come and that is when the parcel tax should return. What I am saying here is that the parcel tax should not be renewed until the district is in need, and that is not now. Keep requesting public records, they cost a fraction of what you will discover is being given to FFF or Lozano & Smith. Without the parcel tax in 2016, we might not be able to help our thousands of students by writing thousands of dollars for memos and emails to fight OCR. Remember that?


2 people like this
Posted by Own it.
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Apr 24, 2015 at 5:15 pm

[Portion removed.]

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

- Eleanor Roosevelt


1 person likes this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 24, 2015 at 5:34 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

[Post removed due to inaccurate statements.]


5 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 24, 2015 at 5:59 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


19 people like this
Posted by Another dad
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 24, 2015 at 6:24 pm

Protect our children! No more suicides!

Vote NO on A!


20 people like this
Posted by Reason
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 24, 2015 at 6:28 pm

Reason is a registered user.

@ Concerned Parent asks the most important question:
"For those who urge a "Yes" vote please tell me what you think should be done about the out of control teacher's union and its refusal to use our district IT tools, its filing of the grievance against Denise Herrmann, and the way that it is impossible to fire bad teachers.

Please tell me how my Measure A money should be used to send Phil Winston a paycheck. The board claimed that it couldn't fire Phil Winston. If we can't fire Phil Winston, then we can't fire anyone. So why would we want more of these people? I don't think you understand that when you say this funds teachers what you mean is that this gives more raises to the very people who are running amok.

For those saying it's wrong to use your vote to send a message, that's BS. Every vote sends a message. A" Yes" vote sends the message "I approve of the current course of the district." A "No" vote says "Things should change and I don't feel good about the current course of the district."

It's false to say you don't send a message. That's the whole purpose of voting."

====================

That was 10 hours ago. Not a single response from the yes crowd. Jerry, George, Christine, Jon? Anyone? Can anyone put together a logically cogent, well-reasoned argument to counter the basic thesis of the NO on MEASURE A issue?

Lacking the ability to rebut the basic problem of student abuses happening in our schools, why should anyone vote for this?

Really - the burden is on the District, Board and supporters to answer these kind of questions; otherwise I cannot see how you can achieve a supermajority. Can you, in fact, answer any of the basic questions around the competence of the schools and the mistreatment that has been happening in the classrooms? (and denying it is not an answer that will win votes - tell me how it is going to be solved)

Just answer the question.


16 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 24, 2015 at 6:43 pm

The bottom line. Schools asked for tax in the recession. Recession is long over. Understand that
you are being blackmailed into perpetual tax.


19 people like this
Posted by Regrettably No
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 24, 2015 at 8:20 pm


I too have supported all previous measures to support our schools and agree with the frustrations
discussed in the editorial. But I don't agree with decoupling Measure A with the performance of the
school district. Until the school board, administration and teachers union can demonstrate that they have
a plan to solve the current issues facing the district with existing resources I don't agree with giving
them more. Let them come back next year after having demonstrated that they can take constructive
action to help our students.


17 people like this
Posted by NO!
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 24, 2015 at 8:41 pm

Another NO vote! Waiting for the district, administrators, teachers' union to get their act together!
There is too much money already! Show us why we pay a PE teacher 150K! Why we have multiple assistant principals? Why we have a so many administrators at Churchill?

NO!!!!


14 people like this
Posted by Green Acres resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 24, 2015 at 9:11 pm

The teachers' union even objects to using Schoology, an online schoolwork-management system, to help students with their learning. And why would I want to spend my hard-earned money on those selfish people who wouldn't even want to do such a simple task to help the kids? My wife and I will vote NO on measure A. Let the school district lay off the low-performing selfish teachers. I wouldn't mind larger class size.


9 people like this
Posted by RV a PA resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 24, 2015 at 11:21 pm

RV a PA resident is a registered user.

Palo Alto residents fully support their schools just like we fully supported the last parcel tax. However, a 20% increase is unjustifiable. In my opinion the School Board chose such a high amount as pure strategy. If it passes they get away with it but if not they can ask for a more reasonable amount next year! Such a huge increase is not justifiable and shows lack of consideration by the School Board.

We are very lucky to have wonderful schools, student body and teachers. However, the School Board has to support and maintain the excellence. It appears to have become disfunctional with little authority or direction. The new Superintendent appears to be showing his powers by putting his foot down on zero period but not trying to resolve the bigger issues of Student homework, Student stress, Student counselling, Student isolation, teachers lack of consistent use of technology and the High schools becoming like mini colleges!

Until the School Board gets their act together, sadly we will be voting No this time.


1 person likes this
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 25, 2015 at 8:44 am

I understand the sentiment of not wanting to support PAUSD leadership, I really do. They are something else. BUT! Does anyone really believe the if this money does not come through the belt will be tightened on top? That the Press Person to improve the image will be let go?
I don't believe that for a second. My believe is that all PAUSD will loose is resources for the kids. I think they are the only ones who will be hurt.
Many of you say we need change and our kids will need more help. Where is that help supposed to come from when the district is suddenly short 13m?
Maybe we can all combine our thoughts and find a more constructive way to make change happen. What if all PAUSD parents came to the Board meetings? What if we all worked together for good? I think we could do it and create real change, without hurting our kids any more. This is a serious amount of money, can you imagine what our schools will look like without? And who will be there for our kids then?


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2015 at 10:32 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Reason

"And what to do urgently?

- Implement the homework policy
- Implement Schoology
- Implement block schedule
- End pressure tactics in the classroom
- End retaliation against children and families
- Re-establish Trust."

Homework policy: being worked on with an urgency not seen before, student activists on the case, parents pushing hard, administration on board, teachers--who have to effectively teach their curriculum and meet community expectations for instructional results haven't found their footing yet but I believe will do so, just not within the 10 day window before rejection of Measure A causes significant harm

Schoology implementation: (see related above): huge pressure on the teachers, and the administration to negotiate a way out of the mess they're in. I believe they can do it, but not within the 10-day window. Imposing a mandate, instead of negotiating a change of practice for next year would poison the atmosphere even further.

Implement a Block Schedule: very promising start to getting this done and implemented at Gunn next year. Student dismay at the zero period decision will fade as they see that they are helping shape a much better school context for the future.

But those last three are so vague that I don't understand how they can be addressed "urgently." We could have feel good declarations in an instant––been there. But there are significant differences among parties within the school community on what these would look like. They must be done, but a hurry-up, urgent job (10 days) is likely to miss the mark and satisfy no one.


3 people like this
Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2015 at 10:42 am

SteveU is a registered user.

I will treat the schools like the State has treated having a supply of water in a major drought.
Wait until it is a Major Problem, then think about it.

If Palo Alto had its way, average students would be deported. You can only have the BEST in Palo Alto because it might hurt our school rank standing.
Vote No


8 people like this
Posted by MiddleGround
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2015 at 10:49 am

I have decided that I want to do both!

I want to send a message that the school Board needs to fix some problems in the Middle and High school, but they need money to do this.

Here is what I recommend:

- Vote No on Measure A to send a message.

- Donate $758 to PiE so the schools still get the same amount of money. Heck, I might donate a little extra.


Then everyone gets what they want, and what is best for the children!

Please Join me to do Both!


1 person likes this
Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 25, 2015 at 11:03 am

Starve out government schools. Vote NO on A.
Do away with Post Office - Amtrak type of schools.
Imagine what schools would be like with Silicon Valley type of innovative free market schools.


12 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2015 at 11:10 am



@Jerry Underdal,

The largest group that seems to be coming out NO on this seem to be high school parents and those who have the greatest contact with the district when it comes to dealing with major educational and social issues and problems at school.

The people voting YES and the people voting NO -- almost all care about our schools and about funding them well, or we as a community would not in the past have voted in taxes by 80% margins in general elections. Our community has well demonstrated that when the case is made and the need is there, we support our schools.

So you really should stop and listen to what the NO side is saying. The reasons parents are voting NO on this Measure are important to act on, so inserting yourself in a way you did in Measure D to create divides in the community is probably the worst thing that could happen here.

You wrote that you don't have kids here, don't have any way of judging the serious concerns of parents. You don't even volunteer to help our schools even though you are a long retired teacher from another district. Could you please do your homework and perhaps volunteer to fix serious problems in our district, instead of dominating discussions that are of import to children's lives?

To anyone who has children in our schools right now, the "trust" problem is not "vague". (I even spoke with an organization concerned with finding innovative approaches to suicide prevention, and one of the barriers that came up is districts that have trust problems.) It is only vague to you because you have no connection at all to our schools and our families [portion removed.]

-

In fact, that alone is a reason to vote NO. So our district stops getting into the habit of spending extra $300,000 - $500,000 on special elections every few years, and gets used to doing what is necessary when general election funding votes need to be passed. Our district should always behave in a manner that is honest, transparent, and straightforward. It is a SCHOOL DISTRICT. They should not be spending an extra $300,000 for a special election on a supplemental tax, when a general election vote would have been so much cheaper. What educational opportunities were taken away from our kids for that $300,000, money the district only spent so it could game the election rather than make a better case for the community or deal with the trust problem??

If the district simply worked on restoring trust, it could have waited until the next general election or perhaps not had to ask at all. (Part of restoring trust would result in the kind of soul-searching that would streamline admin so we could ask again for a supplemental tax like this when we really need it and not squander it now when our main source of funding, property taxes, is at an all-time high).

When something is rotten and festering, you don't pile more bandages on it, you have to first clean it out, and only then apply more bandages.

You can't ask for money like this, especially to extend a supplemental tax that was supposed to fill gaps during a recession, without dealing with the serious trust problems in our district that are both about dollars and cents and about the emotional health and education of children. We have over 50 children hospitalized for depression, 200 on watchlists -- to those parents and families, being able to trust the district going forward is paramount. [Portion removed.]

In fact, handing McGee and Dauber a NO at this moment in time is an opportunity -- it is more likely to give them political pressure to deal with some of these problems more urgently. Yes only allows the rotten element more cover. Vote NO.


5 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto the Laughingstock of the Nation
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2015 at 11:42 am

There's an article in the New York Times this morning about Gunn High suicides.

Now "Suicide High" is national news. Now the vultures descend -- lawyers, paparazzi, and soon, state law enforcement officials.

The inevitable result of PAUSD's insane attempt to be "rigorous". It's not just Palo Alto of course. Pleasanton, Cupertino, and other local communities are slipping down the same path.

Pleasanton -- highest ADHD drug abuse rates in the nation (the school pushes drugs on kids)
Cupertino -- parents moving away to avoid insane school stress


13 people like this
Posted by Reason
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 25, 2015 at 11:51 am

Reason is a registered user.

@Jerry - thanks for the rebuttal of the arguments against No. Here is how I interpret the results you indicate:

- Implement the homework policy
(3 yr old goal. In progress. Almost wish I could give 1/2 point. I can actually feel some progress in some classes. Not all, but some. Note: following the policy on homework still implemented in some of the more oppressive classrooms, this task is late. Late homework gets a Zero. So, until the homework policy is complete, you have a Zero. Sorry, it's just the principle applied to our children, so you have to understand, you know, fairness.)

- Implement Schoology
(Stuck in negotiations. Probably legal mess. You suggest a negotiation rather than mandate. May take a year or more. Slow and pointless. 1/4 point. generous.)

- Implement block schedule
(Under way at Gunn for next year. full credit. Not even examined for Middle schools. 3/4 point. solid)

- End pressure tactics in the classroom
(you call this vague, but agree it must be done. Not started. 0 points )

- End retaliation against children and families
(you call this vague, but agree it must be done. Max made one subtle, nonbinding statement. Good sentiment. 1/2 point. generous)

- Re-establish Trust."
(you call this vague, but agree it must be done. Not started. 0 points)



That's a total of 1.5/6 = 25% (F-)


But let's be fair - I gave you 3 easy items, some have been around for years, and 3 hard items. So let's say a passing grade is Supermajority level: 66%. Just like the election.

When you get to 66%, then I will vote for Measure A. If you get to 80%, I will actively lobby for Measure A.

And because you point out that this cannot possibly be done in 10 days, I will give you a 1-year extension. That should be fair.

Stay encouraged, stay motivated, remember, this is Palo Alto, so you are under a lot of pressure to deliver here.



10 people like this
Posted by Gunn Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 25, 2015 at 12:39 pm

As a very involved parent with three kids at Gunn/Terman, and someone who was voting Yes until the PAEA issue blew up... my ballot is still sitting in the kitchen waiting. What would help me, and others, is a statement from the board, maybe the HS principals and PAEA, before the ballot deadline, stating the intent to work together to find a solution to the seemingly crazy resistance to the board and Dr Herrman from the union. I am on various teams at Gunn to help move us forward, but if even reasonable requests are going to be blocked by the union, is there any other way to ask the board to help us, but by voting this down? Knowing that there will be another chance next year?
I have only encountered a couple of bad teachers... and that's life. Most are incredibly hardworking, thoughtful and caring. I wouldn't have my kids anywhere else. But... I am not clear that just going on as usual is going to help in this case. So... probably voting No unless I see a sign that the three bodies are intent on working this out, just as we do in other areas of life and as we teach our kids.


6 people like this
Posted by MiddleGround
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Gunn Parent - do Both!

Vote No to send a message, and donate $758 to PiE to fund the schools!

It's a great solution!


4 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2015 at 1:22 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Reason

Big smiles here. Thanks for the Reason-able evaluation. I think there will be progress in the coming year whether or not Measure A passes.


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 25, 2015 at 2:54 pm

At least giving to PIE is tax deductible... if you get hit by AMT the parcel tax is not(given the tax burden of state+property many probably are in this situation)

Instead of simply creating new spending to consume the 7% increase in property taxes this year, why don't they attempt to conserve a portion of it and combine it with the inevitable increase for next year and use that to replace the parcel tax?


4 people like this
Posted by Reason
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 25, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Reason is a registered user.

@Jerry - as a show of good faith discussion, I will donate $758 to PiE if Measure A fails. I am reasonable enough to know this is a tall order to fix some very broken schools, and that money is needed to solve some of these problem.

(Thanks for the suggestion - Middle ground)

Best of luck with your campaign. But win or lose, I hope the Board continues to work on these items:

- Implement the homework policy
- Implement Schoology
- Implement block schedule
- End pressure tactics in the classroom
- End retaliation against children and families
- Re-establish Trust."


5 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2015 at 3:15 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Reason

Great! Thanks for the commitment.

I too hope that the full list gets addressed. No one should have "pressure tactics" used against them. Now let's define pressure tactics, with examples so we know we're talking about the same thing. No one should be retaliated against. Now let's define retaliation, with examples so we know we're talking about the same thing. Trust is essential. Now let's see what harms trust, in both directions, with examples so we know we're talking about the same thing.

That's the year's assignment--project-based learning in the real world, taking advantage of cooperative learning practices that are commonplace in classrooms now.


7 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 25, 2015 at 3:36 pm

Jerry,

My problem with your take is that, having been around for the last suicide cluster, I have to wonder if there would be *any* progress made if it weren't for the prospect of Measure A going down. My take is that if Measure A passes, it will serve as an excuse to go back to business-as-usual for the union and district bureaucracy.

If all teachers were excellent and put students first--and I know many PA teachers who fit that bill--I'd have no problem sticking with the carrot approach. But it looks to me that a lot of bad policy is being driven by the not-good and the selfish--and that calls for the stick approach.

Measure A would get my vote *if* the union retracted its grievance and vowed to get going on Schoology. Or, alternatively, if 80 percent of Gunn's teachers implemented it on their own steam--currently, implementation's at 50 percent.

They have time to do either of this things. If they don't, that's a sign to me that don't get what's going on.


7 people like this
Posted by Gunn Family in favor of Measure A!
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 25, 2015 at 3:44 pm

Did you all finish reading Bill Johnson's Editorial to the end??

"This election should be about maintaining the educational opportunities and experiences of our kids, ensuring that class sizes don't grow and implementing additional programs directed at closing the achievement gap and increasing mental health resources, among others.

Let us keep our frustrations and criticisms of district leadership separate from the need for this source of funding and vote to approve Measure A."

Thank you, Bill, for understanding this wise distinction. The parcel tax is -- as Bill writes -- baked into our school district's funding and is directly benefiting every child in our district by providing smaller class sizes (more individual attention), additional counselors, librarians, and psychologists. The parcel tax funding is not gravy but part of the meat, as Ken Dauber recently said at a Board Meeting. For anyone to claim that voting against a continuation of this funding stream is somehow doing what's best for our children is completely irrational. Some of you want to jeopardize these essential resources for our children to retaliate against the teachers' union! Really?

We are all heart-broken over the suicides and stress among our teens, but can we please try to heal and move forward united in our efforts to support our youth and work on effective ways to support them. [Portion removed.] Voting Yes on A to keep resources in place and add a little extra in much-needed areas that will help our struggling students is the only logical and caring way to move forward right now.

I really am feeling so sad and discouraged right now after reading a lot of the comments on here. The [portion removed] voices on this thread are NOT the voices of the Gunn Community that I belong to and love. I and many of the people I know in this community are thankful and excited about the increase considering the wonderful ways in which this money will be spend: summer school, more family and student counseling, narrowing the achievement gap, providing more expert tutoring for our students who struggle academically but can't afford private tutors, more nurses and physical wellness programs,... All these new wonderful additions for $10 extra a month!? I did the math and the total amount per month with the increase is just about $65. That's not even a dinner out?

[Portion removed.] So many possible things are starting to happen, please don't halt the much needed progress by sabotaging Measure A.


16 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2015 at 3:45 pm

@Middle Ground,

Actually, that's an excellent suggestion! I would add to that. Perhaps the common ground is:

-Vote NO. Send a msg to the school district they can't ignore.

-Make a 5-year pledge to PiE for $769-$1,000 per year. But send with it a note that you will only write the check and renew it IF the district immediately makes substantive efforts to restore trust and address the major problems (as well outlined by "Reason" above, list your concerns !!!!!) Send your list every year as you write the check. Make note of progress, too.

This way, the community can make a HUGE statement, still provide the funding, but also have far more control of the funding. The district office will know far more that they are being watched.

It would be a way for both sides to come together.


22 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 25, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Gunn Family in Favor A,

Here's the thing--I'm still heartbroken over the previous suicides--when things were said, promises made and nothing substantive was done.

I don't feel vengeful, I feel *frustrated*. I've lived here for decades and I see an insular, self-satisfied small-town mentality in Palo Alto where insiders continue to have an excessive measure of clout. Public outcry? Lip service is paid, but then it's back to business-as-usual.

There's a lot of vested interest in keeping tests scores high, HS rankings way up and little interest in doing things that would ease pressure on kids in the middle if it impacts in any way the prestige of our schools. It's not at all surprising to me that some pro-Measure A people have baldly said vote for A so you keep up your property values. Because it really does come down to the money.

So, I would rather vote for A than not, but I fear a vote for A means that no real changes will be made in the high schools. Over on another thread, I just responded to a teacher who, well, seemed a bit petulant about Schoology. It's the sort of attitude that makes a "yes" vote from me a little less likely because I feel like the teachers' union still doesn't get it.

Sometimes a defeat is needed to make a difference.


16 people like this
Posted by MiddleGround
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2015 at 5:20 pm

WooHoo! MiddleGround brings the community together!!!

@GunnFamilyInFavor - yes, I did read Bills Editorial. And it didn't quite sit right with me, because I think the ballot box works better than our district.

I don't think Bill considered a third option - Middle Ground.

This is good. If everyone who votes yes instead sends their money to PiE, the school will still get most of what they ask, and can work on the problems Bill mentions.

It's a win-win-win.

Do Both: Vote No on Measure A and donate $758 to PiE!


17 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 26, 2015 at 5:36 pm

The school district has a huge budget and property tax revenues are pouring in due to the booming economy which keeps pushing Palo Alto's housing prices into the stratosphere. Even from a strictly financial POV, this parcel tax is unnecessary. If the district can hire a 150,000 dollars per year PR person, it is flush with money. A YES vote will also send a message that everything is fine, no reform and change is necessary, which is completely false.


12 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 26, 2015 at 11:16 pm

Palo Alto tax payers are stretched already.

Vote No. The economy is very good. Let's save this option for rainy days.

If we vote yes PAUSD will keep expanding, keep adding on bloated bureaucracy. What happens when economy goes bad, and state funding starts to shrink? Sorry, another parcel tax?

Let's keep parcel tax option for the rainy days.


4 people like this
Posted by Megan Swezey Fogarty
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 27, 2015 at 9:49 pm

I am voting yes on Measure A

I have been on the oversight committee with a group that has a very critical eye. The money is needed and has been well spent for what voters approved.

The tremendous hole that will be left if it does not pass would be unfortunate and result in a tremendous expense to launch another campaign.

While I am incredibly sympathetic with the issues folks raise they are not a reason to vote no on Measure A. Voting no will not move the needle on those issues, but it will certainly take precious time from leadership that could be used towards solving them.

Please join me in voting yes on Measure A.


10 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 27, 2015 at 10:46 pm

Gunn parent writes: that she is excited about the ways that the Measure A increase will be spent: "summer school, more family and student counseling, narrowing the achievement gap, providing more expert tutoring for our students who struggle academically but can't afford private tutors, more nurses and physical wellness programs,.."

This is absolute fantasy. Without better leadership and management, the Measure A money will be peed away and spent like all the other money of the district, with reckless abandon. It will be blown first and foremost on giant and undeserved pay increases and bonuses for PAEA. Most of the money will just be swept into the union's paper bags. Say goodbye Measure A money. It will also go for more highly paid admins for the district office like Tabitha Hurley the PR officer. Useless? Youbetcha. Permanent? Youbetcha.

Third it will go for wanton spending on outside counsel and unnecessary legal fees.

No.


6 people like this
Posted by No, No, and Still No
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2015 at 11:30 pm

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 27, 2015 at 11:59 pm

If they take the 7% increase in normal property taxes that they received this year and did not rush to squander it as fast as they could, they could use that money to make up for the loss of the parcel tax.


1 person likes this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 28, 2015 at 11:52 am

So, what is that 20 percent going to "other"--will the Weekly being breaking that down for us? It's really such a high percentage compared to other districts.

So, construction costs somehow?
Lawsuits and legal bills?
It's not all our pointless PR person.


2 people like this
Posted by Budget Book
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 28, 2015 at 12:58 pm

"Other operating expenses and services include services, rentals, leases, maintenance contracts, travel, insurance, utilities, and legal and other operating expenditures."

"Utilities, special education nonpublic schools, and mental health residential placements are the three largest expenditures in this area."

So if PAUSD would just stop spending money on Utilities, Special Education and mental health they'll have plenty of money.

Hey, great reason to vote "No on A" you have there, OPar!


4 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2015 at 1:43 pm

I think that's a different "other" than the budget reporting from Ballotpedia of different school districts: (not posted by "concerned parent" from above obviously)

Posted by Concerned parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2015 at 8:07 pm
People have brought up this major "Other" category of expenditures for Palo Alto, and I am still in the dark. I took a look at the rough budget categories for some top performing districts in California with similar demographics, and here's what I found on Ballotpedia (not all districts had the information, this is what I could find):

Notice something? Palo Alto spends way less on teachers/staff and student services than many, and by far the most on "Other". In fact, the most anyone else spends on "Other" is 5%, and for most it's either 1% or 0%. Palo Alto is spending a whopping 25% of our budget on "Other". What is that? (It's not special ed, by the way, that falls under student services, which we spend far less on than most. We must be serving students pretty poorly since we spend so much of what we do spend on special ed on legal fees.)

Compared to other districts, our percent spent on students services is incredibly low, operations low, debt service highest of any I found, and "Other" outrageously higher than anyone else.

Seriously, that's around $60,000,000 PAUSD spends under the category of "Other". These are budget numbers entirely separate from our Bond Measure which is not part of our budget.

Vote NO.
All these other top performing school districts



PAUSD Total ~$232,377,000

Staff expenses 58%
Student services 3%
Operational expenses 8%
Debt service 5%
Other 25%


Fremont Unified Total ~$271,414,000

Staff expenses 85%
Student services 5%
Operational expenses 8%
Debt service 1%
Other 1%


Santa Clara Unified Total ~$148,545,000

Staff expenses 80%
Student services 8%
Operational expenses 12%
Debt service 0%
Other 0%


Lynwood Unified ~$133,316,000

Staff expenses 76%
Student services 5%
Operational expenses 16%
Debt service 0%
Other 3%


Torrance Total ~$181,505,000

Staff expenses 81%
Student services 3%
Operational expenses 12%
Debt service 0%
Other 5%


Poway Unified Total ~$280,258,000

Staff expenses 83%
Student services 6%
Operational expenses 11%
Debt service 0%
Other 1%


Cupertino Union Total ~$237,760,000

Staff expenses 58%
Student services 6%
Operational expenses 36%
Debt service 0%
Other 0%

Huntington Beach Unified Total ~$271,414,000

Staff expenses 85%
Student services 5%
Operational expenses 8%
Debt service 1%
Other 1%


San Marcos Unified Total ~$265,955,000

Staff expenses 51%
Student services 3%
Operational expenses 46%
Debt service 0%
Other 1%


Irvine Unified Total ~$214,629,000

Staff expenses 85%
Student services 4%
Operational expenses 9%
Debt service 0%
Other 2%


Castro Valley Unified Total ~$75,362,000

Staff expenses 83%
Student services 5%
Operational expenses 11%
Debt service 0%
Other 1%


Santa Barbara Unified Total ~$127,486,000

Staff expenses 80%
Student services 5%
Operational expenses 15%
Debt service 0%
Other 0%


Like this comment
Posted by Andrea Wolf
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2015 at 4:04 pm

@ Parent Voting No

These figures you've posted are astonishing! This is a time when I wish someone from the district would respond right here in this thread. Superintendent McGee, Cathy Mak, a Board Member... Could someone explain this differential between us and the other listed districts?


2 people like this
Posted by Andrea Wolf
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2015 at 4:16 pm

Maybe surprising is a better word than astonishing. I want to be clear that I am not criticizing the district, I am simply very interested in why we have so much in the "other" category when it appears that several districts do not .


5 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 28, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Maybe those other districts don't have Fagen Friedman working on their Special Ed cases? No junkets to Singapore? Perhaps no million dollar interest free loan and car allowance (WTF) to the Superintendent? Maybe they don't have Charles Young practicing his sailing knots all day at $275K?


Like this comment
Posted by Andrea Wolf
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2015 at 5:20 pm

To the District: Are legal fees in the "Other" category?

To the Weekly: Could you look into this and report on which category the legal fees are located within the district's budget.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 28, 2015 at 6:28 pm

Those Ballotpedia figures could just be artifacts of accounting buckets. Weird that PAUSD "debt service" is five times the next highest districts - we must be the only one issuing bonds. And how can our "operational expenses" be so much less than Cupertino's? (San Marcos must have one heck of an air-conditioning bill.) Maybe our "other" bucket includes some staff expenses that other districts account differently, like payments into health or retirement funds, or maybe we have a different definition of "staff".

Here's what our PAUSD 2014-15 "Budget Book" General Fund summary (p. 23) says:

Certificated Salaries $90,407,604
Classified Salaries $30,167,717
Benefit Costs $36,014,472
Supplies and Materials $8,516,635
Other Operating Expenses and Services $19,364,419
Capital Outlay $182,000
....Total ~ $185 million

@Andrea, here's where legal fees are buried --> "Other operating expenses and services include services, rentals, leases, maintenance contracts, travel, insurance, utilities, and legal and other operating expenditures. Utilities ($3.8 million), special education nonpublic schools ($4 million), and mental health residential placements ($1.6 million) are the three largest expenditures in this area." <direct quote from p. 23>

The Ballotpedia numbers given in a previous post were 3-year averages 2010-2013.
Most recent year reported for PAUSD was 2012-13:
Staff Expenses $132,434,575 ... 50.2%
Student Services $10,609,317 ... 4%
Operational Expenses $24,784,602 ... 9.4%
Debt Service $13,492,098 ... 5.1%
Other $82,698,573 ... 31.3%
....Total ~ $264 million

I suspect in the "Other" category Ballotpedia included $40M or so from the $378M "Strong Schools" bond issue we voted for in 2008, plus a few million here and there for the Adult School Fund, Child Development Fund, Cafeteria Fund, Special Reserve Fund, Self-Insurance Dental Fund, etc, none of which appear under PAUSD's own "General Fund" expenditures.

I'll have to leave it to someone else here to reconcile this accounting.


8 people like this
Posted by outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 28, 2015 at 8:06 pm

NO because the chem teacher still is putting ap questions on a regular chem class midterm.

These children are so bright and so eager to work- all of them want to be awesome and challenge themselves. None of them deserve the overload and unfair evaluations they have to suffer through.

It is so so sad to see the tutoring centers full and tutors who make more than 600 a day because the teachers are not following common standards and best practices. Maybe the tutoring centers and tutors should have to pay an extra school tax.....
Could we just hire these tutors as the actual teachers? Maybe just do not go to school and just hire tutors so our kids will have some childhood left, time with their family and good college prep ( this is all we wanted- we did not ask for our kid to be beat up so we could brag about rigor in an elite way) Too bad Paly seems to want this for their students. what a sad, dark school for the eager, bright kids who are so willing to meet the levels that they will put up with this treatment and still go to tutoring after school. what an impressive bunch of kids. they deserve much better treatment. so sad to see the emperor still standing without clothes but somehow even after he has been told is not looking for cover.


2 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 28, 2015 at 9:23 pm

Budget Book,

I am still undecided, but leaning toward "no" because of the recalcitrance of the teacher's union.

Since our schools are public, I'm interesting in how the money's being spent--a glib answer without real specifics (Why is the district paying a "nonpublic" school for special ed? How much is it paying? Why would that, utilities and mental health account for a *quarter* of the budget? Why don't other districts have these expenditures?)is unhelpful.

The district's asking us to give it more money--why shouldn't we know where a quarter of the money is going? I'm willing to vote for Measure A if it makes sense to me, but, I have to wonder if my family's better off spending the money on oboe lessons. I know what I'm paying for there.


5 people like this
Posted by Chem parent 2
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 28, 2015 at 10:20 pm

We have Lalond for chem as well. Complained to the principal, but nothing happens. Progress in this town is like waiting for lightening to strike.

They have had many complaints and still no response.

I have been holding my vote until the last day, but it looks like NO

Why won't they manage these teachers?


1 person likes this
Posted by Parent Voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2015 at 11:52 pm

musical,
I wouldn't speculate about the bond being included in the budget accounting. Could it be the Paly gym plus some other $40M project? But schools who don't use bonds, such as Cupertino, perhaps San Marcos, probably do list those expenditures under operations for facilities. (Didn't San Marcos have an enormous fire -- I wonder if they had smoke damage one year or something like that?)

Point is, now we're even seeing different numbers for the Paly gym. Before he left, Skelly upped it to $40million, with the district chipping in $16 million or thereabouts. Now McGee is quoted as saying it's $24million. Where did that $16 million go all of a sudden?

The community would really benefit from a better means of dialog with the community.


3 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2015 at 11:52 pm

Naturally, I meant, the district would really benefit from a better means of dialog with the community (and vice versa).


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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