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A Senior for Measure A

Original post made by walter hays, Greenmeadow, on May 24, 2008


As a senior with a long family history in Palo Alto (my grandfather, for whom the school is named, led the District’s first bond issue, which built Palo Alto High School) I urge your readers to support Measure A.

• Our three children received an outstanding education here, so although we no longer have children in school, we feel it is our duty to do whatever is necessary to ensure that today’s students receive the same benefits. The excellence of our schools also maintains the property values of everyone, including families with no children, so as beneficiaries of that system it is in our interest to maintain it.

• As chair of the Sustainable Schools Committee, I know that the District is exercising outstanding stewardship of our tax dollars. With financial help from City Utilities, it has installed an energy management system that achieves substantial savings, shifting funds from utility bills to improved education. It has also worked with an engineering firm to plan more energy-conservation projects, and funding these projects through Measure A will accomplish still further savings.

No matter how outstanding our schools may be, they cannot maintain their high quality without substantial capital investment: Many of the District’s buildings are 40-90 years old, and seriously require renovation or replacement, and the 25 percent increase in the student population since the last bond issue in 1995 requires new facilities.

Measure A will solve those problems without raising tax rates. Vote “Yes!”

Walter Hays
355 Parkside Drive
Palo Alto, CA 9430
(650) 424-9633


Comments (10)

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Posted by Karen
a resident of Midtown
on May 24, 2008 at 4:35 pm


When you sent your three kids through PA schools, were they neighborhood schools? If so, how do you feel about the attack on neighborhood schools in PA?

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Posted by peter
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 1, 2008 at 11:50 am

There have been comments by seniors that they will not have to pay taxes on Measure A because they did not pay taxes on the previous B4E bond measure. This is not possible.

Measure A is an “ad valorem" tax which generates tax based on the
value of the property. A Parcel tax is one which is a “flat” tax which simply generates so many dollars per parcel, regardless of the value of the property.

This MEASURE-A is an “ad valorem” tax, not a Parcel tax.

The California education code allows school districts at their discretion to exempt seniors from paying Parcel taxes. There are NO similar exemptions for “ad valorem” taxes. In the past the PAUSD has offered a Parcel tax exemption so that seniors either vote YES, or stay home and don’t vote at all.

I don't believe the PAUSD has made any claims that seniors can vote yes on the current Measure A and then opt out of the tax. But seniors might be confusing the previous Parcel Tax (also Measure-A) with this bond measure and its "ad valorem" tax.

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Posted by Dean
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 1, 2008 at 12:23 pm

As a senior, I must say that I will vote against Measure A. This will be my firs time, ever, in opposing a school bond measure.

I don't like what is happening to Palo Alto schools. My kids all went to their neighborhood school, the closest one. Now, it seems that kids are assigned to special schools based on language and type of instruction. I don't like that. The way I look at it, if we pass this bond, we are building a better physical structure, while allowing a decay in our neighborhood schools. This is wrong. I have finally had enough!

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Posted by No Reason for A
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 1, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Please vote No on A, both seniors and others. This is at least 2 times the bond we need and it will force tax increases to pay for any library or police hq building we desperately need. The bond is FAR bigger than any bond neighboring districts have asked for, and brings almost NO new capacity (and zero new facilities). While there are some necessary projects, this bond goes FAR BEYOND that, includes the infamous "thermal comfort upgrades" and landscaping upgrades that are almost embarrassing to read about.

Vote NO and let's get a bond that makes sense at half the size. That path is truly for a stronger Palo Alto.

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Posted by Newcomer
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 1, 2008 at 8:51 pm

I will be voting for A even though I will be paying lots higher taxes than Dean who will be asked to pay a pittance and get the same benefit as my family because he has lived in his house for many years.

Dean is also incorrect about neighborhood schools. There are only two fully "choice" schools at the elementary level. There are still 10 elementary neighborhood schools and all of them are within walking or biking distance to schools. Only a small fraction are at choice schools.

Thanks to Peter for his information. However he makes an error in saying "Measure A is an “ad valorem" tax which generates tax based on the value of the property." It is not the value of the property but rather the ASSESSED value which, for anyone who has owned their home for more than a decade is half or less the real value of the home. That's prop 13 at work, for better or worse.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Thanks for your support Newcomer

One comment about one comment of yours which I don't fully understand.

"There are still 10 elementary neighborhood schools and all of them are within walking or biking distance to schools. Only a small fraction are at choice schools."

All elementary schools, whether choice or regular schools are in walking distance or biking distance to some of the people they serve. Many people live closer to Ohlone or Hoover and have been unable to get into them and instead have to go further, possibly passing a school, to get to their regular school. This may mean that they are still in walking or biking distance, but perhaps not as safe for a third grader to go by themselves.

All of our schools were built in neighborhoods, in fact we had over 20 when PA was built. Now there are clusters of schools, some very close together, and for some this means that walking to the local school is not a viable option. Our schools are over-crowded and it is not possible, even with all the portables, for say 5th grade promotions to be held inside or choir or music recitals to be able to accommodate all the parents and visitors who want to attend.

So, when you state that all of them (elementrary schools) are within walking or biking distance to schools, clarification is needed.

Like this comment
Posted by Also a parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 1, 2008 at 11:31 pm

The reason the schools are crowded is that the town has been on a development binge and has brought in thousands of new children. Wait till the monster development on Charleston and El Camino is filled. And the houses at Alma Plaza and all the rest that the citycouncil recently approved.
Why not have those developers build the schools and libraries they need? Seriously! Those developments are very profitable. I'm not sure why the rest of us should subsidize them.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 2, 2008 at 5:27 pm

The Mandarin Immersion (MI) fiasco is reason enough to send a message to the PAUSD Board, by voting no.

Those who say that neighborhood schools are under attack are correct. Besides the Hoover (direct instruction) and Ohlone (cooperative instruction) schools, there is Escondido, which has been taken over over by Spanish Immersion. Once the disaster of MI at Ohlone blows up, MI will probably take over a site that would, otherwise, have been a new neighborhood school.

Send a strong message, and vote NO!

Like this comment
Posted by Jon
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 11, 2008 at 1:51 am

Bitter Palo Altans: 0
PAUSD and the Children: 1

Sending "strong messages" is sheer silliness. The school needed the money, and as a student and journalism student, our school's facilities desparately need the renovations, Gunn needs (deserves) a better swimming pool, etc etc etc.

Like this comment
Posted by No Reason for A
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 11, 2008 at 6:47 am

Jon, a shame that as a journalism student you didn't do more research (like most Palo Altans on this).

While there are needs, the bond is WAY bigger than what is really needed, going far beyond "desperately needed renovations" and the Gunn pool (a $5M item in a $400M bond btw, hardly worth a mention). Nor does it add meaningful space (zero new schools expected). It is an "upgrade" bond - fancier windows (we have window problems?), "thermal comfort upgrades," landscape and hardscape. Truly, it is an astounding bond on any scale.

And when the new police HQ and library bond are passed (or the Council end-runs with other financing schemes), there will be significant new taxes.

So it is good you like the bond - it will be passed on to the next generation of homeowners in PA, as it runs for a full 35 years.

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

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