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Menlo Park school bond measure officially approved for November ballot

Original post made on Jun 18, 2013

There was much agonizing over language but no surprises when the Menlo Park City School District board met Monday night (June 17) and unanimously approved placing a $23 million bond measure on the November ballot.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 11:45 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by whatever, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm

So Renee - what kind of bond will it be - Capital Appreciation Bond? What's the term of the bond - 25 yrs, 40yrs? What's the actual cost of paying off the bond - $50 million, $100 million?

You mentioned they determined the wording for the ballot - what is the wording?


Posted by Understatement, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm

To say this decision was not surprising is the world's greatest understatement. The $23 million bond measure was a foregone conclusion and the meeting was merely a formality. It's not that the Board members are necessarily all clones of each other. It's that the administration is genius at presenting things to support their desired outcome thereby downplaying or eliminating debate. Board members can't or won't do their own further due diligence to dig deeper.

So, it's all about the sell now. That's why there was an entire meeting devoted to word-smithing. Notice how they have stepped back from saying they'll definitely tear down and rebuild to take some of the heat off? Keep an eye on how the engineering evaluation turns out. Again, no surprise because I'm sure it's already been determined by one of the cronies who will be hired to do the project. Get ready to hear that the O'Connor School is a health and safety hazard and if we don't vote for the Bond our children will be at risk.

I feel sorry for people who stretched to afford and live in smaller homes in Menlo Park and will now be paying for another lavish building project. But that's just the way things work here.


Posted by Get Real, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm


Good Lord! How is it that the German-American school parents and students can be enormously passionate and proud about their existing school, but the MPCSD board feels it needs to spend $23,000,000.00 in improvements before it deems it worthy for MP kids?

This should make for some interesting debate!


Posted by MenloParent, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I'd always suggest that you attend Board meetings when possible as it may give you a new perspective. It is hard work and takes a lot of commitment to review these sorts of issues and I feel that the Board does its level best to get to a sound decision and to consider the wide range of issues. If you would like to be part of the dialogue, why not attend a meeting?


Posted by Disappointed, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 18, 2013 at 1:23 pm

And what if the bond measure doesn't pass? What is plan B?

I would have been happier about voting for a smaller bond to do lighter renovations to bring the campus up to date and opening it sooner instead of dragging it out. They are already getting more portables at Laurel this year, just a year or two after finishing the renovations.

In other districts there is a school your kids are sent to if the most desirable school in the district is impacted (I am thinking about Redwood City and the Roy Cloud School) And San Carlos where you dint always get the closest school to your house if impacted. Where is the Menlo Park school like that? Why dont any of our schools ever fill up and become impacted? Now everybody already in the district has to pay for a new school for the people who are flooding in. You'd think property values would be even higher than they are.


Posted by school supporter, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 18, 2013 at 8:04 pm

I certainly would not like to be the parent of a child who is sent out of his or her "impacted" neighborhood school into a substandard overflow facility and away from all the other children in his or her own neighborhood. I'm really glad that we are taking steps necessary to ensure that ALL children in the District have an equal opportunity to a good education in quality school facility.


Posted by Interested Community Member, a resident of Encinal School
on Jun 18, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Some basic information that people should be aware of: When voters consider whether or not to vote for the bond in November, they should be aware that there is no exemption for seniors for bonds. Seniors may apply for an exemption for a parcel tax, but not for a bond.


Posted by peninsula resident, a resident of Encinal School
on Jun 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm

While I agree another school is needed and O'Connor is the right call, keep in mind that there's already a ballot initiative to continue the parcel tax of homeowners.

You will get one or the other, but not both. When I see both measures, I plan on voting YES on the bond, NO on continuing the parcel tax.

Our school district already gets ZERO dollars from the tax increase from MoonBeam Brown's proposition from last November. So we get taxed/bonded not once (high federal + state tax brackets), not twice (the nov proposition), not 3 times (the federal tax on investment income over 250k) not 4 times (the parcel tax) but FIVE times (the O'Connor bond).

NO.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm

<<Some basic information that people should be aware of: When voters consider whether or not to vote for the bond in November, they should be aware that there is no exemption for seniors for bonds. Seniors may apply for an exemption for a parcel tax, but not for a bond.>>

I read elsewhere that the cost in taxes would be $30 per hundred thousand of property value, not the $8 noted in this article. This will cause some seniors to lose their homes. Many are stretched to their limit now and cannot possibly afford increased property tax. It is absolutely shameful that they were not excluded.


Posted by Interested Community Member, a resident of Encinal School
on Jun 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm

For Anonymous regarding there being no exemption for seniors for bonds -- It is important to note that the reason seniors are not excluded from paying for the bond is that bonds do not come with a provision for an exemption. The public, however, may think that since parcel taxes do provide the opportunity for an exemption that bonds would too. This is a very deceptive assumption. Hopefully, voters will understand this when they go to the polls.


Posted by crown, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 22, 2013 at 9:09 pm

The absolute paradox of this new taxation scheme is that we have this loser board constantly begging for more funding while they simultaneously have DESTROYED the district at the command level. The latest is the departure of the lead tech, Jim. Why? Ask him! He told Maurice for at least 20 minutes that he CAN NOT STAND working for a destroyer! Or, words to that effect.

The District Office has been, and continues to implode. Our board REFUSES to REMOVE Maurice.

I expect several Principles are looking for employment elsewhere this summers.

The terrible dimensional destructive properties of this Superintendent and this STUPID and ignorant board will last for several years!

Meanwhile, these old ladies and the old guy want the voters to trust them! Surreal.

Again, I'm not joking. I'm NOT lying.


Posted by Hoping, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 22, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Crown sounds like an insider, and I hope things at the "command level" aren't as bad as Crown makes it sounds, but who knows? I also hope that if there are problems with today's leadership, it doesn't lead to a destructive reaction by voters that will damage tomorrow's prospects. A new school must come into the system to deal with enrollment that is way higher than expected, and how can that new school be built without the bond money?


Posted by Parent, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jun 23, 2013 at 8:58 am

I really appreciate the District is adding a new campus to deal wiith enrollment growth. I also appreciate all the good work that has been occurring. Thank you MPCSD!


Posted by Interested Community Member, a resident of Encinal School
on Jun 23, 2013 at 10:05 am

In response to Hoping, rest assured that things are as bad as Crown makes them sound - actually, they are way worse! This shouldn't be about voting for the bond or not. The main issue needs to be about understanding that new leadership is desperately needed for the District -- including the bullying superintendent and the District's ineffective School Board.


Posted by Insider, a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm

"Crown" is absolutely right on the money. The letter that the outgoing tech director wrote to the district community really encapsulates the climate in Menlo Park since Maurice Ghysels became the superintendent. Quoting from his letter, "As Dr. Ferdinand Porsche once said: 'Change is easy. Improvement is far more difficult.'" He also went on to state that he is leaving on his own terms rather than waiting for it to be his turn on the chopping block, as everyone believes that next year will be another round of bloodshed.

At the school sites, we are pretty sheltered as our principal does a good job of shielding us and parents from this toxicity. But any interaction with the district office and you can see that the climate in the district is at its all time worst. Ghysels is unable to do anything but remove people who challenge him or that he deems are smarter than he is because the only way he can lead is by submission, not by respect. Jo Mitchell was able to keep the district on course last year, but after her ousting, Allison Liner is ill-equipped to manage the burden of an inadequate superintendent. Neither Ghysels nor Liner are able to build and manage quality programs. They just throw out ideas and hope that something sticks. They show up at our school all smiles (and with ice cream!!) and hope that is enough to build buy-in. Menlo Park teachers are highly educated and are able to see past this facade. And the board turns a blind eye to it all.

I completely agree with "interested community member". I wouldn't vote in a $23 million dollar bond until there is district leadership qualified to lead our district in a positive direction.


Posted by crown, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 23, 2013 at 6:04 pm

yes, I know and so do the above people, and everyone knows, including the board. Terry, a board member, with Maurice, did all possible to stop the district office survey and have now stopped all possible email communication at the district level.

Terry and Maurice HATE anyone outside knowing the survey results. I can not wait for it to go public. You guys will not believe it at all.


Posted by Stop the Deception!, a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2013 at 7:57 pm

[Comment removed because poster is using multiple aliases in the same thread.]


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