News

Palo Alto's 'Yes on A' parcel tax campaign raises more than $88K

Major donors include companies with ties to the school district

With less than a week left until Election Day, the campaign in support of Palo Alto schools parcel tax Measure A has raised more than $88,800, according to the latest campaign finance report filed with the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.

The "Support Palo Alto Schools – Yes on A" campaign managed to nearly double its fundraising since the last filing, which covered the period ending on March 21. The new report covers the period from March 22 through April 18.

The campaign has been rallying support for Measure A in recent weeks -- phone-banking, sending mailers and holding meetings with likely voters as some vocal opposition to the tax has emerged online. (Read: Battle over Measure A heats up)

No arguments opposing Measure A were submitted to the registrar.

Measure A would raise the $638 per-parcel tax that voters now pay by $120, to $758 per parcel. The tax would begin on July 1 and last six years with 2 percent annual increases, the same as the last parcel-tax increase that Palo Altans approved in 2010.

Top donors for this period, all of whom each gave the largest donation amount so far of $2,500, include: local real estate developers Gates Land Company and Keenan Land Company; San Francisco-based Deems Lewis McKinley (DLS) Architecture firm, which oversees the design for many district projects; fs3 Hodges, a construction management firm at which district's director of bond program management, Tom Hodges, is a principal; community advocate William (Bill) Reller; Sarah Sands, who serves on the Partners in Education (Pie) advisory council; and community member Diana Lee.

PiE Board of Directors President Asha Guha also chipped in $,1000, as did "Yes on A" campaign co-chair Nana Chancellor and community members Kimberly Klikoff, Jeff Magioncalda and Robyn Reiss.

Contributors at the $500-level this period include PiE's director of marketing, Susie Levine; the district's law firm, Dannis Woliver Kelly (DWK); and parent and former Stanford University dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising, Julie Lythcott-Haims.

The Leonard Wheeler Ely III Trust, a foundation started in honor of Palo Alto businessman and philanthropist Leonard Ely, also donated $500.

Palo Alto Unified Superintendent Max McGee donated $100, as did former PTA president Sigrid Pinsky and current president Susan Usman.

The Addison Elementary, Fairmeadow Elementary and Gunn High schools' PTAs followed suit from site PTAs who donated $999 during the last filing period.

The "Yes on A" campaign has so far spent about $46,500, with the lion's share of that ($28,000) going to TBWB Strategies, a San Francisco-based strategy and communications consulting firm that specializes in public finance ballot measures supporting programs, services and facilities.

With just under $40,000 received this period, the "Yes on A" campaign coffers remain flush with about $42,300.

The election takes place on Tuesday, May 5, but as it is an all-mail ballot election, there will be no polling places on Election Day. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked on or before Election Day and must be received by Friday, May 8 (three days after the election). Ballots that are returned in-person must be received by 8 p.m. on May 5, and can be dropped off at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. The registrar will also be offering early voting and drive-thru drop-off sites at City Hall on Saturday, May 2.

As of Thursday, April 30, 14,174 Palo Alto ballots had been returned, according to Registrar of Voters Media Officer Philip Chantri.

More information is available from the Registrar of Voters' Office at 1-408-299-VOTE (8683); toll-free at 1-866-430-VOTE (8683) or sccvote.org.

Comments

36 people like this
Posted by Who's Who
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 10:18 am

The list of donors reads like a Who's Who of those that will benefit from the tax money and will be first in line with special projects and "Other" cost categories on which to spend it.

VOTE NO ON MEASURE A.


34 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 10:19 am

As a parent who always voted yes before, and now voted no, I wish I hadn't seen this article. It only made me feel worse about what is going on with our school district. Would any of those donating money to this campaign help solve the problems we have in this district after the election, or are they more likely to use a yes result as a way to cover up the problems yet again and marginalize people trying to solve the problems? Which sadly, is a rhetorical question.

School district elections shouldn't be big money campaigns. The district should hear NO on this one, if only so they stop spending hundreds of thousands of extra dollars on expensive special elections to game the system rather than do the work of making our district better and providing a clear need and enforceable proposal to the community. This community has shown a great willingness in the past to approve supplemental taxes like this by comfortable margins, during cheaper general elections. This kind of gaming/buying the election to get more money we could find a few times over by streamlining bureaucracy makes me want to take a shower.

I was going to suggest people do both: vote NO and send their money to PiE instead, but now I'm not so sure.


4 people like this
Posted by Stop THE LEECHES
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 30, 2015 at 10:34 am

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by littlebigtree
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 30, 2015 at 10:55 am

I hope for more comments/arguments here. So far, as renter and low income single parent of one (K-current) 10th grader, I was under the assumption that a Yes vote was the correct vote. Now reading these comments I'd really like to understand "more better" (lame linguistic pun on self in lower rungs of socio-economics though actually my child is solid A's and B's student and we have some cultural exposure, if not social or financial clout.) Over the last 10 years I have certainly observed a "who's who" hierarchy of decision makers in the community, and personally I dislike this aspect of Palo Alto and PAUSD, very much (blech.) Politics will do what they do, and since I'm not of the ilk to mingle in it, I assume it's a necessary evil. But educate me a little and I will be more than grateful.


22 people like this
Posted by Eric Rosenblum
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 30, 2015 at 10:56 am

Eric Rosenblum is a registered user.

Final push!!

Nana, Sara, Sarah and the other indefatigable leaders of this campaign... THANK YOU for putting your hearts and souls into our community!

To our teachers, administrators and everyone else working with our children: THANK YOU! Titi and I are happy to lend our support. It's never enough!

Everyone get your ballots in!!


23 people like this
Posted by Voting NO
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:04 am

Vote NO this time to send a message to:

a) The Teachers Union (PAEA) to unconditionally adopt Schoology to reduce student stress.

b) The School Board to insist on the PAEA unconditionally adopting Schoology.

Schoology should be kept up to date daily by teachers.

Until that happens, please vote NO!


28 people like this
Posted by Who's Who
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:05 am

Because I loved Leeches comments, I am re-posting in a cleaned-up version. Hopefully I have removed the portions that caused the post to be deleted. If there is more that is offensive, please just delete the portion necessary.

----------

OUR LAW FIRM CONTRIBUTED TO THIS???? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? JUST AS THEY ARE COMING UP FOR ANNUAL EVALUATION???

No ethical conflict there, right?

So hidden among the cronies and operatives and realtors is the real power behind this mess: construction companies, contractors, and those who directly benefit from district largesse.

This is corrupt.

VOTE NO.


Like this comment
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:05 am

Alphonso is a registered user.

Just to be clear, while there are no polling places in PA you can still vote in person at the Registrar of Voters office in San Jose (Berger St) and you can do it on any day leading up to the election except Sunday. On election day you can vote any time between 7am to 8pm at that one location. Obviously it is easier to vote by mail, but voting in person is still possible.


13 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:11 am

Since Measure A has to pass with a 2/3 majority, just remember than every NO vote counts for two YES votes.


31 people like this
Posted by Thankful Grandma voting YES!
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:16 am

I continue to be amazed and thankful at this beautiful community we live in which time and time again steps up to support its youth and schools. This is what makes Palo Alto so special. Thank you to everyone who has so generously given of their time and money to the Measure A campaign. "littlebigtree" don't let the angry on-line nay sayers deter you from what makes sense. The parcel tax is what makes possible the much smaller class sizes here than elsewhere, the full-time librarians at every school, the counselors/psychologists, and the wide selection of creative electives at the high school level. This money is all invested in supporting our students, nothing else. Please talk to your neighbors, fellow parents, etc. And look at the beautiful orange/gray lawn signs that have sprouted up all over town. Outside of this forum, people get that there will always be improvements needed (and thankfully we live in a place where parents are well educated and involved in making changes); however, additional funding like the parcel tax continues to be necessary and to support every one of our students.


32 people like this
Posted by Barron Park Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:23 am

I support Measure A. I support the new team of McGee and Hermann. They appear to be off to a good start and we should give them a chance. They've both been on the job less than a year and by all reports (my daughter, teachers I've talked to), things have improved!

Let's fund the counselors, teachers, program, class sizes. Let's not add stress to a system that is already struggling with stress.

I voted Yes and hope you will join me in supporting our kids.


20 people like this
Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:24 am

Any senior who requests an exemption from this tax and votes YES for it lacks integrity.


35 people like this
Posted by Who's Who
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:26 am

@LittleBigTree:

I am a PAUSD parent, and have voted yes on every bond/measure/tax that came before the voters over the last 20 years, but I am voting NO this time. My reasons are below, but you can read the rest of the arguments in the "Battle over Measure A heats up" link provided in the article above.

-- In my opinion, the district is squandering money on lawyers to fight the federal government (I believe I read on the order of $1.5 Million over the course of a few years, but read the other thread - mentioned above - to assess for yourself).


-- The teachers union (PAEA) refusal to fully adopt Schoology so teachers can collaborate to avoid (and be held accountable for not!) test stacking (which means a bunch of tests all on the same day) and homework stacking (these are top issues in why our kids are over-stressed and killing themselves/hospitalized with depression/on suicide watch lists).

-- PAEA grievance against Gunn Principal Denise Herrmann, for strongly urging teachers to adopt Schoology (see above). A new principal actually cared enough to try and do something, and was swiftly beaten down by the teacher's union and left hanging out to dry by the superintendent.

-- Property tax rates rising faster than student costs, which should make this "temporary" tax unnecessary if the district decided to actual live within their means and on a budget that doesn't include administrative/legal waste.

-- PAUSD set this up as a "special election" (it's the only reason we are having an election), at a cost of about $300K, to improve their odds of getting it approved, rather than waiting for the general election, which is when the tax would actually expire. More money squandered.

-- This district has refused to make substantial changes that would help our kids, after not one but now two suicide clusters. The only way to get the message across is to deny their pocketbooks.

-- If the district listens, and starts acting like kids matter, and proves it really needs additional funding, this tax can be put on the ballot next year, which is still before the current tax expires.

I care far too deeply about our/my kids to give the district more money just to watch it go to lawyers, administrators, and teachers who refuse to help our kids. (Yes, there are a lot of good teachers, but they are not running the union).

VOTE NO ON MEASURE A.


22 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:30 am

@littlebigtree,

There are a few threads with discussion - here's one with NO arguments:
Web Link

One of the regular bloggers has one with only the Yes arguments, you can find it by going to the Blogs section.

I think one of the most compelling arguments is just that we mainly pay for schools with our property taxes, and they are at an all-time high right now. This supplemental parcel tax was originally voted in during the recession, just after the dotcom bubble collapsed, in order to shore up funding suddenly lost. It was supposed to sunset when times got better, as they are now. Certainly, we can always use up more money, but residents can't always necessarily shoulder larger tax bills. So, given that the economy will cycle down again, it's just inevitable, it's probably best if we kept this "credit line" for when it's really needed.

Also, the issue of spending so much money on special elections rather than the district conducting themselves in an open manner, making some administrative choices to streamline bureaucracy, and demonstrating the need with a clearer and more enforceable bond, is reason enough to vote against. If they really need it (big if, considering the gangbusters economy), let them do the hard work and come back during the general election and do a better job. The previous supplemental tax that this replaces won't expire for another year, so there is time.

Our kids will really benefit from the work done to clean up the district in the meantime. And the district will stop spending so much money on special elections to try to win when they don't have a good enough case in a general election.

It's a real baby seal issue -- who in their right mind is going to advocate for NO -- and yet, NO is really the best answer here because parents really have no other way to get that kind of a wake up call through. In fact, a really big win for NO would actually help more than anything, because then the district would see that money and playing games doesn't get rewarded, people here are smarter than that. That's probably too much to expect given circumstances, but I think if NO wins, it's better if it wins big.

I love our schools and teachers, have volunteered, and donated to the point of pain in relation to our means. I have always voted for school bonds/taxes in the past. Not this time. Voting NO.


19 people like this
Posted by Claire Kirner
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:31 am

A huge thank you to all of the Measure A donors and volunteers! You are supporting a measure that will help ALL of our students.


32 people like this
Posted by George Jaquette
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:33 am

George Jaquette is a registered user.

The parcel tax does not fund teacher's unions or property development. Revenue from the parcel tax must be spent on the uses spelled out in the measure -- it will continue to fund 67 teachers who were hired to keep our class sizes small with an increasing student population. The use of funds is clearly spelled out here in the report filed by the parcel tax oversight committee, a group that is also empowered as part of the new measure:
Web Link
This appointed committee reviews the use of funds, and represents a wide variety of views and political backgrounds. I am part of that committee and have two kids in the district, and we all signed our names to the fact that this money paid for teachers and the other declared purposes.

If the measure does not pass, the school district will have to issue pink slips in March to teachers that it cannot guarantee a paycheck in fiscal 2016-2017, by union contract (warning them that forecasted school revenue does not cover teacher payroll). The last hired, youngest, and most technological teachers will be laid off first (again, by union contract).

The parcel tax requires the approval of a super-majority (66% of those voting must approve). It is mail-in only, and it is the only issue on the ballot.

People who contributed to the campaign, including me, believe that the measure is necessary to fully fund the teachers who are helping our kids in class every day. The fact that there is no organized opposition, just angry anonymous voices online (with a few exceptions, whom I have thanked in the past), gives me hope that every parent is supporting this measure out of self-interest (their children benefit), every homeowner is voting Yes (property values are higher because of our great schools), and the community is proud to fully support our teachers by funding smaller class sizes and electives in the secondary school.

Please do NOT confuse opposition to Schoology with this measure, as you will hurt your own cause. Those who are reluctant to use it are exactly the people you are empowering; those willing to adapt the new tools today (last hired, younger) will be cut.

People who contribute to a campaign support the measure, and it is incredible to me how many donors there are -- not that a few large ones have a vested interest in the outcome. The list of endorsers is much more powerful and I would encourage everyone to put their name here:
Web Link

Organizations:

League of Women Voters of Palo Alto
Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce
Palo Alto Council of PTAs
Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Palo Alto Forward
PAUSD Board of Education
Santa Clara County School Boards Association
Santa Clara County Democratic Party
Palo Alto Educators Association
California School Employees Association

City of Palo Alto & Regional Leaders:

Jerry Hill: California State Senator
Rich Gordon: Assemblymember, Representing the 24th California Assembly District
Joe Simitian: Supervisor, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, Former California State Senator, Former Palo Alto Mayor
Karen Holman: Mayor, Council Member, City of Palo Alto
Greg Schmid: Vice Mayor, Council Member, City of Palo Alto
Marc Berman: Council Member, City of Palo Alto, and Director, Silicon Valley Education Foundation
Cory Wolbach: Council Member, City of Palo Alto
Pat Burt: Council Member, City of Palo Alto
Tom DuBois: Council Member, City of Palo Alto
Eric Filseth: Council Member, City of Palo Alto
Greg Scharff: Council Member, City of Palo Alto
Liz Kniss: Council Member & Former Mayor, City of Palo Alto
Gary Kremen: Director and Board Chair, Santa Clara Valley Water District
Jean McCown: Former Mayor, City of Palo Alto
Judy Kleinberg: Former Mayor, City of Palo Alto
Peter Drekmeier: Former Mayor, City of Palo Alto
Lanie Wheeler: Former Mayor, City of Palo Alto
Nancy Shepherd: Former Mayor/Council Member, City of Palo Alto
Sid Espinosa: Former Mayor/Council Member, City of Palo Alto
Vic Ojakian: Former Mayor/Council Member, City of Palo Alto
Yoriko Kishimoto: Former Mayor, City of Palo Alto
Gail Price: Former Council Member, City of Palo Alto
Bern Beecham: Former Council Member, City of Palo Alto

Education Leaders:

Max McGee: Superintendent, Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD)
Melissa Caswell: President, PAUSD Board of Education
Camille Townsend: Member, PAUSD Board of Education
Ken Dauber: Member, PAUSD Board of Education
Heidi Emberling: Member, PAUSD Board of Education
Terry Godfrey: Member, PAUSD Board of Education
Barbara Mitchell: Former President, PAUSD Board of Education
Grace Mah: Board Member, Santa Clara County Office of Education
Walt Hays: Chair, PAUSD Sustainable Schools Committee
Julie Lythcott-Haims: Former Freshman Dean, Stanford University
Cathy Kroymann: Former President, PAUSD Board of Education & Tall Tree Award Recipient
Mandy Lowell: Former President, PAUSD Board of Education
Julie Jerome: Former President, PAUSD Board of Education
John Barton: Former President, PAUSD Board of Education & Former Council Member, City of Palo Alto
Barbara Klausner: Former President, PAUSD Board of Education
Diane Reklis: Former President, PAUSD Board of Education
Dana Tom: Former President, PAUSD Board of Education
Carolyn Tucher: Former President, PAUSD Board of Education
Don Way: Former President, PAUSD Board of Education
Susan Usman: President, Palo Alto Council of PTAs
Sigrid Pinsky: Former President, Palo Alto Council of PTAs
Barbara Spreng: Former President, Palo Alto Council of PTAs
Amanda Boyce: Principal, Addison Elementary School
Anne Brown: Principal, Palo Verde Elementary School
Chris Grierson: Principal, Duveneck Elementary School
Chuck Merritt: Principal, El Carmelo Elementary School
Danae Reynolds: Principal, Escondido Elementary School
Denise Herrmann: Principal, Gunn High School
Grant Althouse: Principal, Fairmeadow Elementary School
Greg Barnes: Principal, Jordan Middle School
Kathryn Bimpson: Principal, Hoover Elementary School
Kim Diorio: Principal, Palo Alto High School
Lisa Hickey: Principal, Juana Briones Elementary School
Kim Diorio: Principal, Palo Alto High School
Magdalena Fittoria: Principal, Barron Park Elementary School
Mary Bussmann: Principal, Walter Hays Elementary School
Mary Pat O'Connell: Principal, Nixon Elementary School
Nicki Smith: Principal, Ohlone Elementary School
Pier Angeli La Place: Principal, Terman Middle School
Sharon Keplinger: Principal, Greendell Site
Sharon Ofek: Principal, JLS Middle School
Rebecca Westover: Assistant Principal, Jordan Middle School
Sandra Pearson: Former Principal of Palo Alto High School
Susan Charles: Former Principal, PAUSD
Esther Wojcicki: 30+ year Palo Alto High School teacher and Chairman of the Board of Learning Matters
Bruce Swenson: Trustee, Foothill-DeAnza Community College District

Friends, Neighbors, & Community Leaders:

A. C. Johnston
Abdo George Kadifa
Adele Jessup
Aimee Blum
Al Yuen
Allan Seid, M.D. - 2015 Recipient, Avenidas Lifetime of Achievement Award
Ambrish Stivastava
Ammie Rodden
Amy Kacher
Andrea Fleming
Ann Holum
Ann Xu
Anna Centrella Thayer
Anna Toi
Anne Avis
Anne LeWar
Annelise Mora
Annette Fazzino
Annie Bedichek
Annie Chen
Anpita Karna
Audrey Gold
Arthur Keller
Ashima Agarwal
Baldwin Cheng
Barbara Best
Barbara Stroud
Bijal Shah
Bisi Akinola
Bob Harrington
Bob Wenzlau
Bonnie Ceegielski
Brandi Walters
Brian Chancellor
Brooke Davi
Cara Silver
Camilla Olson
Carla Carvalho
Carole Alvarado
Carolina Albers
Carrie Daniel
Carrie Manley
Catherine Crystal Foster
Cathy Crane Moley
Cathy Fisher
Chitra Sharma
Chris Daniel
Chris Flynn
Christine Meyer
Cindy Zou
Claire Kirner
Cynthia Costell
Daniel Garber
Debbie Mytels
Debra Cen
Devony Taylor
Devra Wang
Diana Lee
Diana Nemet
Diana Walsh
Diane Rolfe
Douglas Spreng
Dror Sheh
Elaine Andersen
Elaine Hahn
Elaine Uang
Elizabeth May
Elizabeth Olson
Elizabeth and Stephen Lucchesi
Ellen Ehrlich
Enoch Choi
Erhyu Yuan
Eric Nee
Eric Rosenblum
Erik Thomspu
Erwin Morton
Esther Luh
Evan Lurie
Frederick Chancellor
Gabrielle Conway
Garrett Morton
Garry Gold
Gary Hammer
Gary Paladin
Geoff Kerr
George Chiao
George Jaquette
Greg Sands
Gerry Walters
Gina Dalma
Gioia Allegretti
Gordon Saul
Grace Yu
Hamilton Hitchings
Helen Li
Hong Guo
Imogene Chancellor
Jackie Wheeler
Jafi Jepson
Jamey Boccio
James Cook
Jane Hayes
Jay Boyarsky
Jeff Gielow
Jenna Bollyky
Jennifer Antonow
Jennifer Bittinger
Jennifer Sullivan
Jenny Dixon
Jenny Stein
Jerry and Mae Tinklenberg
Jerry Underdal
Jessica Ferrell
Johanna Ehrlich
John van Gelder
Jon Foster
Jon Schlossberg
Jong-Mi Lee
Josephine Chien
Joy Hinton
Joyce Beattie
Julie Lythcott-Haims
Karen Douglas
Karen Nierenberg
Kate Downing
Katie Eggemeier
Katie Morton
Katie Shade
Kathleen McCarthy
Kathryn Johnston
Kathryn Lamis
Keri Wagner
Kelly Mahoney
Ken Novak
Kriss Deiglmeier
Kristan Green
Kristen Hughes
Kristi McMichael
Kristen Chandler
Kristina Vetter
Lanie Wheeler
Larisa Usich
Lars Pedersen
Lars Johnsson
Laura Landolfi
Laura Lindstrom
Lauren Janov
Lauren & Richard Burton
Lee Caswell
Lili Nova- Roessig
Lin Sun-Hoffman
Linda van Gelder
Lisa Rimsa
Lori Krolik
Louise Valente
Lucy Lee
Lydia Kou
Marcie Brown
Margaret Murphy
Marilyn Keller
Mark Grossman
Mary Holzer
Mary Seid - 2015 Recipient, Avenidas Lifetime of Achievement Award
Maximillian Rayner
Megan Fogarty - Tall Tree Award Recipient
Mehdi Alhassani
Melissa Anderson
Melissa Hopkins
Melissa Racz
Melissa Reller
Michele Dauber
Mike Danaher
Mila Zelkha
Minnie Cadambi
Molly Efrusy
Mudita Jain
Nana Chancellor
Nancy Krop
Pat Markevitch
Patty Boas
Penelope Ellson
Rachna Rangan
Ralph Cavanagh
Ralph Wheeler
Ramesh Narayanaswamy
Raymond Gold
Rebecca Fox
Rebecca King
Richard Carreiro
Rita & Joe Brogley
Robyn Reiss
Rosaria Haugland
Roy Williams
Sally Kadifa
Sally Lieber
Sandra Slater
Sara Armstrong
Sara Woodham
Sarah Longstreth
Sarah Sands
Samir Tuma
Scott Best
Scott Thomas
Seema Vora
Shannon Chancellor
Sharon Tobias
Smita Kolhatkar
Soledad Dykwel
Sonal Budhiraja
Sonya Bradski
Sriprasadh Cadambi
Stacey Ashlund
Stacy Mason
Stephanie King
Stephanie Martinson
Stephen Levy
Steve Turnbull
Sue Kramer
Suman Gupta
Susan Bailey
Susan Farrell
Susan Spangler
Suzie Hwang
Suzie Provo
Takenori Sanami
Tod Cohen
Toiya Black
Tom Kramer
Tracy Stevens
Tias Schmitt
Tina Sugimoto
Titi Liu
Valerie Pedersen
Victoria Liu
Victoria Thorp
Vinaya Kapoor
Virginia Rock
Vivek Bhaman
Wendy Miller
Wendy Smith
Winter Dellenbach
Xenia Hammer
Xin Jiang
Yanfei Hu


17 people like this
Posted by Maxwell
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:35 am

So glad I voted NO on this one. Encourage others to do the same.


6 people like this
Posted by Maxwell
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:35 am

So glad I voted NO on this one. Encourage others to do the same.


32 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:38 am

It is so hard to read these comments and not wonder about Palo Alto parents and voters. Who cares who donates to help make sure the Parcel Tax passes? Of course the list is of donors is parents and community residents who are involved or engaged because they know breadth and scope of what it takes to get anything done in Palo Alto. Trolling online, sitting at home ranting isn't going to change a thing and may be terribly destructive. Engage with your community. Stop throwing rocks at the people who are working tirelessly for YOUR children and community.

No one other than the PAUSD students benefit from a Parcel Tax. The money that is raised goes directly to the schools primarily to pay for teachers which allows for class size reduction. If you are unhappy in the schools, show up. Participate. Be present. The Parcel Tax makes possible amazing teachers who show up on Saturday to help my struggling child, and follow up with phone calls and emails after a tough day. They put on plays so the child I've never hear speak has the chance to use her voice. They save great writing examples to share with us, and hold conferences on weekends so that both parents can come. If the class was 30 kids they wouldn't have the time to notice or do these things. They are not perfect but I'm not either. Don't screw this up Palo Alto.


11 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:39 am

I almost forgot.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this ballot was also put through with an exemption option for seniors but not one for the disabled. That may make it subject to legal challenge. Even if not, they should have done the right thing (wasn't there an article about this)?

The measure itself is vague and put through in haste under a deadline -- nothing all the promoters promise that it will pay for can be enforced. One of the most vocal proponents is also on the oversight committee! The district could get the money and still fire dozens of teachers the next day, or use it to give administrators raises, there is nothing specific or enforceable in the tax language.


25 people like this
Posted by YES!
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:39 am

I am so excited to hear that people are rallying to support keeping the parcel tax funding in place for our schools! Thank you!!! Our kids need us to continue supporting their smaller class sizes, counselors etc. and I am so hopeful & appreciative of the areas where the increase will be spend. I sense a shift in priorities among my fellow parents, at the board level, and even the teachers. The fact that the increase is earmarked for helping students who are struggling not only academically but also socially & emotionally, and for reducing the achievement gap warms my heart & shows a healthy shift in priorities. Please don't let your frustration with the teachers' union or select teachers' hesitation to use schoology get you sidetracked from doing what's in the best interest of all of our 12000+ students. Join me in voting for keeping the funding in place which currently pays for 85 full time critical positions at our schools (teachers, librarians, counselors, psychologists) and for boosting the support for those among our students who needit the most. Yes on A!


20 people like this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:42 am

Alphonso is a registered user.

R Wray - Rather than complaining about the relatively few Seniors who ask for an exemption, you should thank the many more Seniors who continue to support the schools even though their children have long since graduated.


23 people like this
Posted by paloaltoparent
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:44 am

paloaltoparent is a registered user.

It takes unfortunate amounts of money to run a campaign. This cannot be news. Passing a Measure at the 67% level cannot be run as a casual campaign. At the end of the day, $88K spent to secure over $90M over the next 6 years to keep our elementary and middle and high school class sizes well under 30 kids per class is well worth it. I call it an investment, and I’m happy to have corporations with deeper pockets fund than I fund this election to invest in our children. Yay!! to the campaign for casting a wide campaign funding net. This gives our community the best possible chance to maintain core teachers, counselors and staff we take for granted now, as well as the additional mental health therapists the Board recently stated would be funded by part of the parcel tax increase, along with some other key programs for struggling students that we need. I voted YES on Measure A.


15 people like this
Posted by Informed Grandma Voting NO!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:47 am

@ Grateful Grandma:

"This money is all invested in supporting our students, nothing else. Please talk to your neighbors, fellow parents, etc. And look at the beautiful orange/gray lawn signs that have sprouted up all over town. "Outside of this forum, people get that there will always be improvements needed (and thankfully we live in a place where parents are well educated and involved in making changes)"

You are regrettably ill-informed if your posting is to be believed.

Big Piles of money buy big piles of "beautiful orange/gray lawn signs" Those of us who have done our researcing realize that no amount of signs or money can buy our votes!

I am talking to all of my friend and neighbors about what the district is NOT doing to support all of our children. They will not get an additional dollar from me until they start doing things that should have been done a long time ago (Schoology etc.).

This is the best place for all to register their displeasure with the district and VOTE NO ON A!! Our schools will all get by and get better by registering our displeasure with the status quo at the voting booth.

No More Money from me until you start delivering what our kids deserve.


18 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:49 am

@Parent from Duveneck,

Your post only reassures me that if this passes, the parents trying to solve problems will have an even tougher time.

No one in a public position is going to come out publicly against a baby seal issue like school funding. Ain't going to happen. They get asked to sign -- what else are they going to say? I know people who have signed publicly for who aren't even sure they should vote that way.

In the future, no one is going to remember the climate and context of this vote, they'll only dredge up whether some public person came out for or against the baby seals. Obviously, the public figures have no choice.

[Portion removed.] Do you really think, in a district in which the Superintendent makes 20% more prorated annual salary than the President of the United States (and about 3 times more than the very top tier of Federal Judge in San Francisco, an equally expensive area), and which we have so many administrators most people can't even name who make more than the Governor and the judges, do you really think we will start any fiscal streamlining by cutting teachers instead of paperpushers? Why are those who want this money threatening to do it when we haven't even gotten an open accounting of the bureaucracy in this district and why the money can't first be found in our own closet. And we would all be better for it.

That alone should make people vote NO.


2 people like this
Posted by littlebigtree
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:51 am

oh, such good info. grateful for this thread. i have my late night reading cut out for me this week/end. thanks for being informed and helping others get there as well!


18 people like this
Posted by Robert Smith
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 30, 2015 at 12:05 pm

I just broke a decades-long voting record of supporting bond issues. For the first time, I voted against a bond issue, specifically Measure A.

This vote is a year EARLY. The district has time to put it up for a vote again next year. This happened once before, where it failed the year early but then passed when it was actually due. No ill effects were observed in that period.

A "No" vote does not deprive the district of anything. It simply gives them another opportunity to make a convincing case. Meanwhile, they will continue to get the current $638 per parcel for the next year.

Think of this as failing a test that you have the opportunity to take again.






20 people like this
Posted by Voting Yes
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 30, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Fellow Voters--

-Voting Yes on Measure A is critical to the success of all our children!
- Do not listen to others who say, "send a message by voting no" That message hurts all our children! Is that what you want?
- And really....regarding the screams around who and which people and companies donated to the campaign makes me sick! Its about time companies that work with PAUSD donate. And the griping around the folks that donated are the whose who of PA?? Really?? I donated and I am not a whose who!

Mother of 4


3 people like this
Posted by muttiallen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 30, 2015 at 12:17 pm

muttiallen is a registered user.

The campaign for YES has raised twice what it budgeted for this election. What happens to the left over money? It can be donated to a non-profit. I'd recommend the Ravenswood Education Foundation. Let's have the fat cats of Palo Alto help those who really need the school funding.


25 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 30, 2015 at 12:24 pm

The sad part of this is the deception of Measure A. Our property tax dollars should be spent on the schools: teachers, principals, staff, utilities; but looking at the PAUSD Budget book, only 65% is spent the primary mission of educating our students. The other 35% is spent on "other".

Yet these same proponents of Measure A are the first to suggest that if Measure A does not pass that teachers get cut - not the spending on "Other". Proponents of Measure A should put the primary mission of educating our kids first, not spending on "Other".

The proponents of Measure A have yet to articulate solutions to the homework policy enforcement, spending by the School District on fighting civil rights charges, spending on a public relations person, spending on consultants, etc, the lack of trust in some members of the school board, the lack of trust of some school district management, the war on Parents waged by some in the district office.

Vote NO to send a message.


19 people like this
Posted by NancyK
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 30, 2015 at 12:24 pm

Please VOTE YES on the parcel tax.

Someone above wrote:
"I think one of the most compelling arguments is just that we mainly pay for schools with our property taxes, and they are at an all-time high right now."

PAUSD is NOT flush with funds. Comparable high performing school districts spend thousands more per student. They budget for classroom sizes of 15 students per teacher. They have SO much more than PAUSD can offer our students, in the way of programs, curriculum, technology, and professional development opportunities.

Since the last parcel tax passed, enrollment has surged 1100 students, with another 700 expected in the next 5 years. PAUSD receives NO funds from CA for these additional students.

The parcel tax funds 87 full-time positions, including 67 teachers, librarians, counselors.

Coming from a school district that lacked librarians (libraries are closed), and counselors - please do not inflict those conditions on our kids.

Thank you.


17 people like this
Posted by Elizabeth May
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 30, 2015 at 12:26 pm

As a volunteer on this campaign, I am incredibly grateful to the PAUSD community - parents, teachers, aides, classified staff, alumni who have spoken up and supported our District. And that community members gave to support the campaign, knowing that this is an open political process is a wonderful testament to their belief in the process and our schools. Palo Alto Schools are not perfect and are being challenged by many forces. Rather than derail change I am hopeful our community will continue to focus on what benefits all our children. Yes on A for my children, for yours and our community.


1 person likes this
Posted by No
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 12:27 pm

Give the money to a city who has children already in PAUSD? No way. Use the money for custodial work to clean up our filthy schools. Healthy environment = healthy minds.


6 people like this
Posted by No
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 12:36 pm

And when is the Paly theater going to be completed? Is it stuck in a lawsuit? Where will everyone park after completion? Nice planning.


26 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 30, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Vote NO on A. Not until there is accountability from the school district. Not until teacher and administrative salaries are frozen and we know where every penny is going. Send a message that OUR CHILDREN COME FIRST, not the other way around. Until we do this, the district will continue to cry poor every chance they get while salaries and benefits for administrators and teachers escalate. It's the district mantra. Give us more while we do less.


14 people like this
Posted by Bob Wenzlau
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 30, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Our family delivered 5 YES Votes! Empty nester parents, make sure you get the kids ballots in. They benefited from a great education, and of course their progeny will be rewarded as well. Thank you volunteers and supporters!


27 people like this
Posted by Who's Who
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 12:55 pm

Failure of this measure will not result in teachers being fired - that is a scare tactic. PAEA will never allow that to happen. If the district cleans up it's act and starts acting like they are accountable to the students and parents in this district they can put this on the ballot next year, when the tax is actually scheduled to expire.

The long list of names supposedly supporting this measure is just more manipulation. No public official in their right mind (or school leader, teacher, principal, etc) would be caught dead refusing to support this measure - it would be political/professional suicide.

As stated many times, those against this measure are not able to come out in force openly because we will face retaliation from teachers and the district. More manipulation.

>> Comparable high performing school districts spend thousands more per student

Yes they do. Please take a look at how PAUSD spends it's budget compared to other school districts. If this does not make your head spin you must be unconscious! Demand accountability NOW!

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%

VOTE NO ON MEASURE A AND DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY.

Resist the urge to be frightened and manipulated into the wrong decision.


21 people like this
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Apr 30, 2015 at 12:56 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

@littlebigtree

As you know we live in very contentious times--here, in the nation, in the world. So emotions tend to run high.

My wife and I are seniors supporting Measure A and we pay the parcel tax, no taking the exemption.

We do so in appreciation of the wonderful care our children received in PA schools and to carry on the tradition of previous generations that paid for the schools and wonderful amenities in Palo Alto that we found when we arrived.

There is a great deal of information on the Measure A website and in the voting materials as to how the money will be spent. The campaign funding comes from volunteers and does not take away from classroom spending.

As to the back and forth about the "other" or non teacher component of District spending, it includes many direct student services--nurse, counselors, librarians, transportation--things that contribute directly to students and parents but are not provided by teachers.


10 people like this
Posted by Voter Fraud?
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 30, 2015 at 1:04 pm

[Post removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 1:06 pm

@Elizabeth May,

But I am not seeing change. I am seeing parents working for change and being slammed for it. I am seeing a district that absolutely refuses to prioritize how it spends its money that has no mechanism for cutting back on burgeoning administrative waste or culling people who work against families of the best interests of children. During the downturn, even the City cut 60 administrative positions -- how many paperpushers did PAUSD cut? Or did they just all make more money and hire a PR person for a salary almost equal to the governor of California's? I see a district where people in charge can be bullies and hurt children, and use taxpayer dollars to whitewash their despicable behavior, and no one even knows about it, they have no recourse at all.

You don't help a drunk by buying a liquor store. Sometimes you have to get a message through to make things better. You cannot tell me, given the things said on the Yes side, that that's going to happen if this passes. The PTA and district insiders will come out publicly and say, "see, it's not that bad, and those who are unhappy it's just really them" -- that's happening in many of the yes posts -- and our kids will continue to kill themselves. The PTA insiders would get the votes of other unhappy parents by just being intellectually honest about what's going on, but no, it's more glossing things over so they can get favors for their kids and blaming parents trying to do the hard work of change.

As for what this will pay for: read the Measure. Does it say, This money WILL pay for exactly X, Y, and Z? Or is it vague intentions? Because even if the district says, "we intend to do X, Y, and Z", they can STILL weasel out of it. There is no specific promise made in the measure, it's written so the district has carte blanche. They could use it to pay for more administrator salaries, or more "OTHER" which seems to be such an unusually large expenditure in this district compared to others. Or they could even say they are using it for teachers, and then are freed up to buy more administrators with the rest of our money.

Please vote NO, for our children. Sticking our heads in the sand, covering up problems, and throwing more money at things won't make it better. That's what will continue if this Measure passes. Doing the hard work of standing up (even when people might not like you for it) and rolling up our sleeves to do the right things for our kids, the only chance of it is if the district gets the message that this community is smart enough to see past the glib smoke screen.


9 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 30, 2015 at 1:06 pm

@ NancyK...when making statements like "comparable high performing districts spend thousands more per student" it would be helpful if you specifically name the districts you reference, the difference in money per student spent and the programs, curriculum, technology and professional development opportunities that you say are so much better than what is offered in PA schools.

Otherwise, I think most would find it hard to believe that PA spends thousands of dollars less per student unless the districts you reference don't have teacher salaries that average in the six figures and as a result they actually put the money toward student enrichment. Or maybe, you're talking about private schools.

Yours is the same argument that City of Palo Alto makes when hiring new employees. "Well the neighboring cities are paying X, so we have to offer more than that to attract really good people." Baloney.


14 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Apr 30, 2015 at 1:06 pm

It would have been better to have this vote next year. With property values and taxes surging, it will be clear then that this tax could have been extended at the same level or with a much smaller increase. With the current lower projection, the district is trying to pump up the amount it says it needs.


16 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 1:14 pm

@Levy,
"As to the back and forth about the "other" or non teacher component of District spending, it includes many direct student services--nurse, counselors, librarians, transportation--things that contribute directly to students and parents but are not provided by teachers.
"

Sorry, wrong.

You and the district have provided no clear evidence of how much our administration costs us versus direct education.

We already had librarians before the downturn when this supplemental tax was put in place. All library costs except the librarian comes from PTA funds, NOT district money. The other personnel you mention fall under the staff category, not "other". Our transportation costs are relatively low. We don't bus in the majority of students, and we don't even provide buses or school transportation for field trips, mostly parents drive.

Under "student services" our district only spends a relatively small percentage of its budget.

There have been many calls for specific accounting of the budget and what the administration costs. Still waiting (please, from a trustworthy source).

Just because a certain amount of money COULD be used for something, does not mean it will. If it was definitely going to be used that way, why doesn't the Measure just say it? And say it in an enforceable way so the public could ensure it? It doesn't. And why aren't we getting an accounting of the burgeoning administration, despite repeated calls for it?


5 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Apr 30, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Palo Alto is educating students from San Mateo County.

How much of an increase is San Mateo County contributing to the PAUSD budget?
Why should the entire burden fall on PAUSD homeowners?


13 people like this
Posted by Voting Yes on A
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 30, 2015 at 1:24 pm

First, I support Measure A. I support our kids. As another poster said, let's give the new team - superintendent and Gunn principal - a chance. My son, who is often grumpy, loves the new principal. He has at risk and has been in counseling. The Gunn team has been supportive. Sure, they have a long way to go. But I will give them a chance.

Second, there are many factual errors in the posts and misleading inferences in the original story. I have worked on ballot campaigns in other cities in a previous life. I'm sure TBWB is paying for all printing and mailing costs in addition to their consulting. I'm sure the money still in the bank will be eaten up by the last mailings. The campaign is non-profit, they will spend what they take in.

Someone said that the Measure A team has raised twice what they budgeted for. I haven't seen a budget, maybe the poster could elaborate. But $100,000 is in line with other campaigns I've been involved with for this size city.

Please support our kids. Don't just complain because it's easy. Get involved and make change happen!


18 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Voting,

It's just that kind of glibness, assuming that people voting NO are just complaining and aren't involved, that is so wrong and irksome, that will be reinforced if this passes, making it harder to change things or solve problems. The "team" McGee is in with isn't new and is much of the problem. McGee isn't changing them, they are changing him.

I am voting NO precisely because I have put probably more work into helping our district than anyone I have seen shilling for yes. People who gloss things over just make life harder for those trying to improve things.

They haven't made a case that we need an increase in an emergency parcel tax from the recession, or that it shouldn't just sunset at all since we get most of our funding from property taxes that are not at issue in this election and are at all all-time high. They haven't made a case that the issues people are concerned about are really going to be addressed or that the district is really listening. Sending a message that they really do have to care about the concerns of the community, and addressing rather than dismissing and glossing over if they want more funding from us.

And for heaven's sake, get them to stop putting these funding requests up for special elections when general elections cost a fraction and the community has shown full willingness to pass the taxes in general elections if really needed.


11 people like this
Posted by Voices of Reason: Yes on A!
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 30, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Fabulous to see Julie Lythcott-Haims on the list of generous donors to this campaign! Talk about a mover and shaker in our community who is advocating for drastic & positive changes in our schools and overall community of over-achievers.

Another voice of reason is Bill Johnson (Editor of this paper) who, in spite of his cry for certain changes in the district, endorses Measure A. In case you missed his editorial, this is what he wrote:

"Editorial: Yes on Measure A
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…
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 all 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."


4 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 30, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Web Link

PAUSD does a pretty good job getting everything you could possibly want to know about the budget into this book. And then there is a shorter version on the site too. The PAUSD's budget is roughly $185MM.

As someone else above notes, there does seem to be a lot of bad data on this thread..




11 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:02 pm

@Voice,

Since when does that work in life? Just give me more money and THEN I will fix the serious problems. Only then will I stop ignoring your concerns (much less afford everyone the kind of favoritism I show district and PTA insiders). Seriously?

@Duveneck/St. Francis,
Please summarize for us, with enough detail so we can check your honesty, instead of just sending us to do an indecipherable job: How much money goes to administration in this district (separate out district administration from site administration) and how much money goes directly for student education? If it's so easy to do, why hasn't the district answered the many calls for that kind of information, even on McGee's own post? He would have gotten brownie points from me if he had even said up front how some savings were going to be made in streamlining bureaucracy before asking for more money.


18 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:04 pm

I voted NO immediately reading Steve Levy's article linking Proposed parcel "A" to BV mobile home park. Just so tired of all the shenanigans CC is trying to pull on the tax payers.


19 people like this
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:05 pm

Can any of the supporters please explain to me how the past 2 years of property tax revenues increases (7 and 8%) could not have been used to eliminate the need for this parcel tax? Or maybe even reduce the amount instead of increase it? It is all about extracting the maximum amount of the residents and then finding some way to spend the money. It is the same as the PTA doing the direct ask, and then getting so much money they can't find a way to spend it so they decide to just squander it on something like smartboards so they get rid of it and can ask for more next year.

Not Supporting Measure A != Not Supporting Out Kids


3 people like this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Alphonso is a registered user.

Whos Who - Your numbers appear to be a fabrication. Everyone can see the budget posted online - the 2014-2015 budgeted expenditures are $186 mil and 84.4% of it goes to teachers salaries/benefits. You can not be that far off by mistake - so what is your motive?


23 people like this
Posted by ShameOnYouForShamingMe
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:16 pm

The YES on A crowd has three essential arguments:

- we deserve the money.

- think of the children (while essentially ignoring the valid concerns brought up by the NO camp. - who generally AEE thinking of the well being of our children)

And shame:
"...Do not listen to others who say, "send a message by voting no" That message hurts all our children! Is that what you want?" ... Or worse.


My question to you: what, if any is your strategy?

If this loses, there is not a person left with an ounce of credibility to engage the NO crowd. The entire campaign has been waged on the predicate that the NO camp is wrong, evil and marginalized.

How are you going to get their vote if this ship sinks?

There is literally nobody left in the establishment who can be trusted to go out and get these votes.

Votes you are going to need to pass in a year.

No on Measure A


9 people like this
Posted by Voting Yes on A
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:16 pm

To Parent Voting No,

I choose to remain anonymous since my son is in counseling as an at risk student at Gunn. What's your reason?

You say you have been involved. Here are my credentials: 2 years elementary PTA President, 2 years middle school PTA officer, 4 years high school PTA officer, attended numerous school board meetings - many of which I have spoken, lots and lots of field trips and room parent meetings, attended several principal coffees where I let my voice be heard, technology adviser to several clubs at Gunn, numerous one-on-ones with principals, active in last two school board elections, numerous parent ed meetings, numerous parent volunteer roles, etc.

I'll put my resume up against yours any day.

As I said, the district has a long way to go but what's the best way to get there? I support Measure A and will continue to work actively to make things better!


5 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:33 pm

@ Voting Yes on A....your volunteerism is commendable. Has the district EVER taken a suggestion you have made and implemented it? Have they listened to your voice? Or do you get a pat on the back and it's business as usual with a preplanned agenda?


16 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Throwing more money into a system that exhibit systemic issues will not make it better. Vote NO on A


18 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:36 pm

I am very glad to exercise senior exemption and vote NO on A. Rainy day became every day, this is never ending tax that will support nothing but bureaucrats.


12 people like this
Posted by Rovers
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:38 pm

The sad thing about this debate is that I truly believe both the Yes and No camp want what's best for our and the community's children. I've been a supporter of PAUSD in the past but voted NO in this election. Financial accountability is a real issue -- but I'm usually willing to give the district the benefit of the doubt. What pushed me over the edge to NO was my frustration with Gunn and the district's handling of student stress and homework. I feel like my kids don't get the benefit of all the money in the district, but at a minimum I would like to see actual responsiveness to parent concerns and the recent tragedies. Not just PR and media relations, but actual change. I didn't see that and haven't experienced it as a parent and I feel that voting NO sends the message I want to send. I'm glad this online forum exists for me to read everyone's thoughts even if I don't agree with all of them.


13 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:48 pm

@Parent voting Y,

I remain anonymous because of having experienced retaliation from within the district that was aimed not at me but at my child, and it was vicious and harmful to a vulnerable person. [Portion removed.]

You can state your resume because you do not face retaliation even if you are recognized by it. And yes, I put my own bona fides up against yours any day. I guess we will have to let God be the judge, and I would be more than happy if that were the case with everyone in the district and the insider parents.

What has been hard for me as a parent to see is how insider parents often work against those trying to fix the system, because the insiders are deriving perks and comfortable in the system as it is, and they don't want change even if other kids are hurt by the status quo. They just shut their eyes to it and criticize the parents rather than the problems. We don't need more of that. We don't need this supplemental and we don't need its approval giving wind to people trying to cover up our problems.


5 people like this
Posted by Parent voting NO
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:57 pm

@ Alphonso,

I believe "Who's Who's" numbers come from Ballotpedia.org, who cites the source for the information as "Ed Data", District Reports, accessed December 11, 2014." Ed-Data is a "Ed-Data is a partnership of the California Department of Education, EdSource and the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT)"

Again, accusing people rather than dealing seriously with their concerns is not helping people who realize we have serious problems in this district to want to give more money, it's only highlighting the need to send a strong message that can't be ignored.


13 people like this
Posted by Voted No Full Stop
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 30, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Three reasons: (i) tax shouldn't go on forever now that the economy has bounced back, (ii) resent scare tactics about losing teachers when we have plenty of overhead that could be shed; and (iii) resent pro-A attitude that people who want improvements are malcontents. Maybe if the pro-A folks owned some of the problems and were visible about changing them, it would seem different. To average families like us, it seems like the insiders all drink the kook-aid of positivity and don't acknowledge problems because they're all working behind the scenes to game the system for themselves.


4 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 30, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Well, we must have drunk the insider "kook-aid". My family voted yes. I'm hardly an insider though. And in a couple weeks I'll no longer be a PAUSD parent. Gonna miss it.


4 people like this
Posted by George Jaquette
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 30, 2015 at 3:24 pm

George Jaquette is a registered user.

@parent voting no

You really should take a rest. Nine posts in four hours is a bit much, don't you think? I think people know where you stand, and perhaps you could let others air their views.


1 person likes this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 30, 2015 at 3:34 pm

Alphonso is a registered user.

Parent voting NO - Ok I looked on Ballotpedia and I do not see any numbers like that. The only way Whos Who could get close to the numbers he displayed is if he combined Capital and General (operating) fund expenditures. School districts periodically add to the infrastructure (buildings)but they do not do it in the same years. The last two years displayed in Ed Data are 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 and in those two years PA had $60-$70 mil of capital projects in each year - if you included that capital spending and then compared PA to say Fremont (which had virtually zero capital spending) the percentage comparisons would be completely distorted - simply an apples to oranges comparison. It does not take much work to figure out what is going on - it took me about 5 minutes to look up the sites and again conclude Whos Who presented distorted data. And again I will question his motive since the information is entirely misleading.


3 people like this
Posted by One of 174
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 30, 2015 at 3:39 pm

Only 174 ballots returned as of today? Is it just me, or is this really low? If low, it is worrisome for anyone against this tax renewal, as I am.


1 person likes this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 30, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Alphonso is a registered user.

Parent voting NO - I should have added that "serious concerns" based on faulty information are likely false concerns. The only concern that I think may have merit is the fact that property values are rising faster than is reflected in the budget so perhaps the extra $120 need may not be real, but it is only $120 and it is tax deductible. Here is a link to the 2014/2015 budget - Web Link


16 people like this
Posted by Voted No
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 30, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Property values are surging - and as a result so are property taxes. Why did the powers that be behind Measure A need a special election where they spent hundreds of thousands of the tax payer's money for this election? That is because they realized that if they waited another year, the numbers would show that the increased revenue to the district would negate the need for this extra money. Why pass up on the trough if you can stick it to voters silly enough to fall for the usual guilt tripping ignoring all facts? Enough of this. Vote No.


7 people like this
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 30, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Greenacres is a registered user.

@alphonso,

I believe you are looking for this link on Ballotpedia:
Web Link

The main pages of many of the school districts appear to have an "Expenditure by Category" chart at the bottom, and they do appear to compare apples to apples. For Palo Alto, the numbers Who's Who cites appears to be the average of 3 years. 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13.

What isn't clear is how much of "Staff expenses" is administration. I would love to see the budget split out more clearly along those lines.


3 people like this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 30, 2015 at 5:40 pm

Alphonso is a registered user.

Greenacres - Thank you, but my point is still valid - it is wrong to mix capital spending and general fund spending when you compare districts since there is no uniformity as to the timing of capital projects. I assume the "other" in the case of PA is almost entirely capital building improvements which are not funded the same way as school operations. You really need to compare the general fund spending on a district to district comparison. I suppose I came down too much on Whos Who but he (or she) is still drawing conclusions based on data that is not comparable. You could compare districts by using the Ed Data stats - using General Fund data and recognizing that the data is a several years old.


20 people like this
Posted by concerned mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 30, 2015 at 5:57 pm

concerned mom is a registered user.

I voted "NO" because I am done with all the politics and empty promises from our district in the last 20 years. They don't need more money. They need to put their resources back into the classroom by
1. stop paying $150K for a middle school PE teacher
2. start standing firm against teachers' union in the interests of students
3. stop placing assistant principals in our schools without measurable/specific job descriptions
4. stop hiring district support staff to coordinate!!

Vote NO! hold them accountable with all that extra property tax. Check the latest school board meeting minutes where they just approved another two coordinators to do who know what.


4 people like this
Posted by MBH
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 30, 2015 at 7:27 pm

MBH is a registered user.

Whether we like it or not, school districts in CA are increasingly self-funded. We may not agree with the model and it may not be fair, but that is the situation. Although voting No may send a message of your frustration to the school board, etc., it does nothing to support the students in the Palo Alto schools.

The PAUSD primary revenue source is Palo Alto property taxes, making up 72% of PAUSD General Fund revenue for 2014-15. The Parcel Tax provides 7%, State funds 7%, lease revenues 5%, local donations 4%, PIE 3% and Federal 2%. Note: 2% of the $$ from the State are one-time funds.

In 2008 the CA school funding model changed with the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). This change permanently reduced $9.9M State funding to Palo Alto (approximately 4% of the PAUSD General Fund) by $7.4M to $2.3M. Part of the current parcel tax goes to cover that funding reduction.

When adjusted for inflation, even with somewhat increased property tax revenues, PAUSD funding has not grown since 2008-2009. This is the result of decreased state funding, increasing enrollment, loss of lease revenues, and pension expenses, including a looming pension increase of $2M that the parcel tax is not allowed to pay.

Where does the money go?
Where the parcel tax is focused and the largest part of the PAUSD revenue stream - 84% - goes to salaries and benefits. The bulk of the remainder is spent on services and operating expenses.

For more detailed PAUSD budget information, as well as graphs of PA school enrollment, enrollment growth, property tax growth, and other relevant PAUSD data, download:
Web Link

If you want the details of how the existing tax funds are allocated:
Web Link

What will happen if Measure A doesn't 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 the 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.

In comparison to the rest of state and the country, Palo Alto per student funding (approx. $14,766) is above the overall state funding level of approx. $9,400. Although Palo Alto per student funding is above state level, a Measure A Parcel Tax loss would reduce revenue by roughly $1000/student. Measure A is not about frills or fluff. It IS about maintaining the low class sizes and current high level of education available to students in Palo Alto Schools.

Cursory searching reveals that our current funding is on a par with at least one of our close neighbors (Las Lomitas - $14,888 per student). Additional searching of nationwide funding shows that although California as a whole ranks 49th in the nation in per pupil funding, Palo Alto ranks higher, but behind Wyoming, New York, Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey and Vermont - if curious, see:
Census data: Web Link
CA: Education Data Partnership: Web Link
Nationwide: Web Link


13 people like this
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 30, 2015 at 8:27 pm

Greenacres is a registered user.

@alphonso,

I agree with you that it's important to compare apples to apples, but until the district is forthcoming with clear numbers addressing this concern of administrative waste, then all people can do is come forward with the information they can find.

It appears to me from looking at Ballotpedia that districts that fund their own facilities upgrades without resorting to bonds have those expenditures under "operational expenditures". Speculating that "Other" is the result of capital spending appears to just be speculation. The number under "Other" does not match the district's stated expenditure for the bond program for the year in the following link, the difference is pretty major. It's impossible to conclude anything either way.
Web Link

My question is: why are we all still speculating? Several people asked McGee to split out administrative expenditures on his post to the community in which he said he would answer questions, but he did not. He didn't answer there or anywhere else. I like McGee, but I'm troubled by not just this but previous situations in which I've observed him even less forthcoming with information than Kevin Skelly, even though we now have a communications person whose presence was largely justified to help the district satisfy information requests.

If you don't like seeing people speculate, perhaps you will join me in asking the district to enumerate those expenses clearly. I'd love to see where they went during the recession, too. If you find something that clearly separates instructional versus administrative expenses, and maybe even differentiates district office versus site admin, that would be great. Then we could talk about the actual numbers instead of speculating.


12 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:36 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

@MBH,

You say:
_________
"What will happen if Measure A doesn't 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 the possible closing of an elementary school. . . ."
_________

This is something of a scare tactic. What happens immediately is that the old tax of $638 remains in force. Then, next year, the PAUSD can put the parcel tax up for another vote. This vote is actually a year early.

This scenario happened before a few years ago, and the tax passed on the second try. I do not recall any problems developing from that process.

I voted no because I was dissatisfied with their numbers and justifications, as well as a number of peripheral issues not directly related to the tax.

There is every reason to take this opportunity to send them back to rethink this tax, as well as other things. The Yes campaign has tried to stampede the voters with scenarios that are neither immediate nor certain, and that will not occur if the district does its job better on next year's re-vote.




18 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:38 pm

m2grs is a registered user.

Parcel Tax was like morphine. It was to relieve the pain during financial crisis. But now the economy is much better.

Morphine can be addictive. So is the parcel tax. It's time to withdraw and stop the addiction.

Parcel Tax should only be used for rainy days. We should preserve this precious community resource only for the time when economy goes really bad, which will happen some day. Otherwise there will be yet another, higher parcel tax, on top of Measure A.


5 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on May 1, 2015 at 9:25 am

Abitarian is a registered user.

According to the Mercury News, Nana Chancellor confirmed that the parcel tax "was never intended to expire".

Chancellor said, "The reason that we don't have it be an evergreen is so that every five years we can reevaluate where the priorities are, where the money should be spent."

Presumably, the renewal also provides an opportunity to increase the amount of the tax beyond a simple inflation-type adjustment.

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on May 1, 2015 at 9:35 am

Alphonso is a registered user.

Greenacres - Of course waste should be eliminated and there probably is some of that. If you take a top level look however the waste is not very obvious - PA spends 6% of the budget on Admin which is exactly the same % as the Statewide average of all public schools. Web Link
One expense that bothers me are all the costs driven by parents taking various legal actions against the District - there are direct costs (legal costs, a PR person etc) and indirect costs (lots of teacher and admin time that could be spent on other things). I am aware of one teacher who is leaving the district as the result of a completely fabricated case brought by a parent - the issue was completely investigated and the school and everyone else involved were completely exonerated. So I would like to see a summary of all of the cases for a period of say 3 years, a scorecard of the results, the direct costs associated with the actions and some estimate of how much time was wasted on all of the claims determined to be false. I would also like to see the district push back on the false accusations - to recoup all of the wasted dollars and help teachers file harassment actions against people making false accusations. To some extent I think this paper and a number of people this paper has supported have contributed to this rather hostile litigious environment. Of course some cases have merit, but most don't and the wasted resources are enormous. At least in this way the community of PA parents has changed since I went to school - in the direction of being very counter productive. The same parents then wonder why the school district needs positions like the PR position - more attention (by parents and this paper) should be focused on the damage and waste [portion removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on May 3, 2015 at 2:47 am

Greenacres is a registered user.

Alphonso,

[Portion removed.] First of all, you are talking about tremendously stressful, time consuming, and expensive (for parents) endeavors that families are only going to endure for a really good reason, and only if they have the resources. They're not getting rich from it, they're not even likely to recover their costs, and they are usually threatened with the possibility of covering the district's costs if they are found to be waging something frivolous. So there is one measure of what you want to know.

The State DoE recently told districts to stop forcing parents to have to take matters to expensive/difficult hearings, but try to work them out short of that. Our own district was the subject of two OCR settlement agreements. OCR doesn't take individual cases just because someone feels they have been wronged, they take cases when it's clear a district isn't extending due process. In other words, if you have a court case, it would be like they found our city not to have a court system. They don't decide the individual case usually, they just make sure you have a venue for it. Thhe district was found not to be extending 504 procedures to families, procedures it wrote itself to follow the law.

You should be a lot more concerned that the district is incurring liability through the unprofessional behavior of its employees. Charles Young's shortcomings have been well-described -- he is the district compliance officer. If the district doesn't act soon in regards to the systematic practice of overtly producing lengthy, demonstrably false documents in special ed cases (typical legal strategy to wear down opponents, despicable in a school district), and the deliberate and unlawful mishandling of student educational records, it is very likely to face another major complaint soon, only this time by group rather than individual.

This is a school district. The damage and waste are the result of a few incompetent and abusive employees. The families have no recourse, because uniform complaints all go to Charles Young. Fox/henhouse, you know the drill. You never see the damage to families, because they don't have support staff and PR people paid by the taxpayers. In fact, Tabitha Hurley's hiring was justified for the filling of records requests, yet I don't think families are getting their records requests met, if anything it seems worse than the Skelly years.

Parents have no motive to do be the subject of such scorn. The district administrators, on the other hand, are making unusually high salaries to protect, have shown a propensity for CYA behavior and even retaliation, and the power dynamic is highly uneven, they hold all the cards. You seem oblivious to the real burdens, risks, and costs to families and children.

For you to start your post with a handwave that dismisses administrative waste as minor is the first hint of your agenda against families. [Portion removed.]


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

The Oft-Unseen Fruits of End-of-Life Care
By Aldis Petriceks | 1 comment | 1,578 views

Global Warming Diet
By Laura Stec | 5 comments | 1,139 views

Couples: "Taming Your Gremlin" by Richard Carson
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 954 views

He said – she said – who is lying? Justice Brett Kavanaugh or PA resident Christine Ford
By Diana Diamond | 11 comments | 844 views

Preparing for kindergarten
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 532 views

 

Pre-registration ends tomorrow!

​On Friday, September 21, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run, or—for the first time—half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More