Get the Facts About Measure B
MPCSD is community funded. MPCSD relies on local sources - not the state or federal governments - for 88% of its total budget. MPCSD taxpayers have the benefit of seeing their investment stay right where it matters most: at Encinal, Laurel, Oak Knoll, and Hillview schools.
State and Federal funds offer minimal support for MPCSD. California school funding is complicated; different types of districts are funded in vastly different ways. The type of funding a district receives is determined by state law, and a district cannot change it.
MPCSD is not entitled to sufficient state or federal funding, based on its amount of local funding generated by property taxes, nor does it receive funding based on its enrollment numbers. The legal formula that determines a school district’s funding means that MPCSD only receives about 12% of its total revenue from state and federal sources. The MPCSD community comes together to make up the difference and support the excellent education we value for our children!
Property taxes don’t cover our schools’ needs. Even with a strong housing market and recent property tax growth, revenue does not fully support our schools. And remember that property tax growth only happens from homes that are sold - property value increase without actual sales does not change property tax revenue. MPCSD receives 62% of its budget from property taxes. Only about 18 cents from each property tax dollar you pay comes to MPCSD. The rest of your property taxes go to other local entities like the fire district, sanitation, and the high school and community college districts. MPCSD has no ability to change this amount; it was determined after Prop 13 passed and was based on the district’s needs at the time - in the late 70s! Since that time, our beloved MPCSD schools have grown, excelled, earned top-notch reputations, and become a driver of growing property values. But the amount we receive from those property taxes has not changed. MPCSD receives less in local property taxes than any of our peer districts. It’s up to us to make up the difference and keep our schools strong.
High-quality teachers and education are top priorities. Educational research continues to show that the classroom teacher is the most impactful part of a child’s education experience. Nearly 90% of the district’s budget pays for staffing. The state’s required pension contribution has grown over the last few years placing additional burdens on the budget. This is a mandated expense that the district cannot avoid. With careful planning and community support, MPCSD will continue to meet its mandated contributions and support the quality education we expect. MPCSD is committed to recruiting, retaining, and developing its educator workforce, and compensating them as the professionals they are. Encinal, Laurel, Oak Knoll, Hillview, and the ELC are only as good as their teachers and staff, and parcel taxes allow the district to hire and retain the best educators available.
Investing in MPCSD is a smart move. MPCSD has earned AAA credit ratings for years, reflecting the careful management of your tax dollars. When given the opportunity to refinance public dollars, the district has repeatedly lowered its interest burden and returned funding to taxpayers. MPCSD keeps a healthy reserve to ensure that the community’s investment is protected from catastrophic events. And MPCSD has met the community’s desire for limited taxes with millions of dollars in strategic cuts, enabling the district to continue providing an excellent education and a prudent budget. The ROI on MPCSD taxpayers’ investment is so good that MPCSD maintains outstanding schools and strong academic performance even with the lowest per-student spending among six highly-desired local districts: Woodside, Portola Valley, Las Lomitas, Hillsborough, Palo Alto and MPCSD. Yes, MPCSD spends thousands less per child than every one of those districts and delivers a comparable and equally sought after K-8 experience.
This measure will provide long-term funding. The expiring parcel tax that this measure will replace provided a four-year runway for the School Board to define strategic long-term goals and funding. The district has been engaged with the community in its planning and knows the taxpayers don’t want frequent parcel tax elections. That’s why this measure will expire in 12 years, giving a generation of MPCSD students and families assurance of sufficient funding while allowing taxpayers to reassess the district’s funding for future decades of students.
MPCSD was a model for managing the pandemic. While many districts locally and statewide did not reopen until very late in the year (if at all), MPCSD was open to in-person learning back in September 2020, and offered a fully MPCSD-staffed Virtual Academy for those that chose it. MPCSD created the reopening plan that many others emulated; the district’s agreements with its labor partners were models of collaboration and student-centered priorities. The School Board operated from a mindset of what was best for students: having them in person as soon as possible, as long as possible, and as safely as possible. MPCSD succeeded in providing a safe school environment where students thrived all year long amidst significant challenges and constantly changing guidelines. MPCSD also organized community testing across from Menlo-Atherton High School for all Menlo Park residents when other agencies failed to do so and raised $150,000 for food and housing insecure residents. When it mattered most, MPCSD again proved its competence and value to the community. The Spring of 2021 brought multiple awards in recognition of MPCSD’s excellence, including the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce Golden Acorn Award and Superintendent of the Year for our service during the pandemic.
MPCSD families already make significant financial contributions. Every fall, district parents, grandparents, alumni, businesses and community members show their support of MPCSD schools by funding the One Community Campaign, raising nearly $4 million for our schools. While a remarkable effort that allows MPCSD to provide a high quality experience, it still isn’t sufficient to keep up with the rising costs of education AND continue to provide a comparable experience to our more highly-funded neighbors. The over 70% of MPCSD parents who contribute to the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation raises nearly 7% of MPCSD’s annual budget. Parents are investing in their schools beyond their property taxes and are asking the community to invest with them. All together, parcel taxes and philanthropic giving make up nearly 25% of MPCSD’s budget. That community support keeps Menlo Park schools strong and property values high.
Measure B is on the ballot for the November 2, 2021 Special Election. Beginning on October 4, Vote by Mail ballots and the Voter Information Pamphlets will be mailed to all registered voters eligible to vote in the election.