News

Editorial endorsement: Ackerman and Lucas for Menlo Park City School District board

 

A common route to appointment or election to local school boards is that of the parent who is an active volunteer for the school district, often serving in leadership positions on school site councils and education foundation boards. Such experience can be valuable to those whose role on the school board is to help govern the district, a job that requires an understanding of how things work on many levels.

But if all board member emerge from a similar field of experience, the end result can be a governing board of like-minded thinkers in danger of discussing key issues facing the district in an echo chamber.


Caroline Lucas

David Ackerman
In many election years, voters who would like to see a governing board that brings to the dais a wider perspective have been frustrated because viable candidates haven't come forward; sometimes, such as in 2014 in the Menlo Park City School District, elections have been canceled because the number of candidates equals the number of open seats. This year is different.

In the race to fill the Menlo Park City School District board seats of Jeff Child and Maria Hilton, who have chosen not to run for re-election, we endorse David Ackerman and Caroline Lucas. They have come to their quest for governing board seats through untraditional routes and we believe they can offer valuable new perspectives as part of the district's decision-making team.

David Ackerman

Mr. Ackerman can hardly be called an outsider: He served in the district as Oak Knoll School principal for 15 years. Now retired and living in Menlo Park, he wants to stay involved in the district and offer, as a board member, a perspective gained from a 45-year career in education as both a teacher and an administrator.

From his position as a principal, he was able to observe firsthand the strengths and weaknesses in the district's leadership, and says he found that leadership lacking in inspiration.

As a board member helping to chart the district's way forward, he says, he would emphasize the importance of tapping into teachers' ideas and the valuable knowledge they have gained from on-the-ground experience. He rightly states that the board is at a disadvantage in having no member with a background in education.

Caroline Lucas

Ms. Lucas, a longtime educator and currently a Spanish teacher at La Entrada School in the Las Lomitas School District, also would come to the board with an educator's perspective, but with a broader community perspective as well.

She's been a school volunteer in the Menlo Park district and the Ravenswood elementary school district, which administers Belle Haven and Willow Oaks schools in Menlo Park and schools in East Palo Alto. Her children attended district schools and now attend Menlo-Atherton High School. She has also been a community volunteer a Girl Scout leader and a translator for Spanish speakers in medical clinics.

One of her goals as a board member, she says, would be to improve the district's communication with the broader community and increase the public's participation in district affairs. Her ideas for doing so include more town hall-style meetings, conducting more interactive surveys, and posting videos of school board meetings, which are poorly attended.

She wants to change a process in board decision-making that she sees as backwards: The board arrives at consensus on issues, she says, then solicits feedback from the public. If elected, "I'm going to ask the public what they want, then bring that back" to the board as an important component in deciding the way forward.

--

Note: Due to a technical error, Barbara Wood's byline initially appeared at the top of this editorial. Barbara did not write the editorial. Editorials are written by the Almanac editorial board of Renee Batti and Richard Hine and not by reporters.

Comments

329 people like this
Posted by Menlo Park Family
a resident of Oak Knoll School
on Oct 5, 2016 at 7:25 am

We support DAVID ACKERMAN & SCOTT HINSHAW, both who have done so much for our community and for the Menlo Park City School District.

Lets elect these two great people to the School board! and look after our children future! Please help us in supporting them.

--

EDITOR'S NOTE: Scott Hinshaw has dropped out of the race. His name is on the ballot, but he says that if he's elected, he won't be able to serve: Web Link


106 people like this
Posted by T Goldenshteyn
a resident of Oak Knoll School
on Oct 5, 2016 at 7:46 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


31 people like this
Posted by L Gonzales
a resident of Laurel School
on Oct 5, 2016 at 8:21 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


166 people like this
Posted by Jane Frances
a resident of Oak Knoll School
on Oct 5, 2016 at 8:29 am

David and Scott.H are the right people for the job! they get my vote and a big thank you for David who did an amazing job as principle of Oak Knoll School for 15 years.

Editor's note: Scott Hinshaw has dropped out of the race. His name is on the ballot, but he says that if he's elected, he won't be able to serve: Web Link


166 people like this
Posted by Tim Ong
a resident of Oak Knoll School
on Oct 5, 2016 at 8:35 am

I stand and support David Ackerman for school board member. He will always do whats best for the students and the school's.


4 people like this
Posted by MPCSD Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 5, 2016 at 9:32 am

Scott Seywell and Alka Gupta have our vote. Alka is so bright and level headed and has held our District accountable. Scott is an experienced leader from Laurel, Site Council president, who is open flexible and interested in the best for ALL of our students. Let's not go backward and use history to make our District decisions. Let's support two new faces in our community who have young children in our schools and want to see them continue to shine. Let's support our teachers and their families and not threaten to cut their pay and leave them out of our community, potentially sending us into the teacher crisis we are seeing in San Francisco. Scott Seywell and Alka Gupta not only support our community, but have a personal stake in their own children who still have years to go in our school system. Thank you!


Like this comment
Posted by FYI
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 5, 2016 at 9:42 am

FYI is a registered user.

Scott Hinshaw has dropped out of the school board race as of 9/28...

Web Link


161 people like this
Posted by MPCSD Mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 5, 2016 at 10:14 am

David Ackerman has our veto. Served as amazing principle for 15 years! knows the students, teachers and other board members. Been an active community member in Menlo Park for many many years.

Doing the best for the community and has update knowledge of today's teaching skills needed for our children to reach new high's. Knows the system and how its works, to acquire the results he has shown as principle.

Vote for David, Doing what right for our Children.


64 people like this
Posted by Caring Mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 5, 2016 at 10:30 am

David Ackerman is a great role model for our community and such a caring person, always willing to help out. God Bless you.

You have my vote and support, if you need anything you know where I am.

Help support and vote for David who has been helping our children, parents, teachers and staff for many many years.

[Part removed. We have no evidence that Caroline Lucas said these things. If you have evidence, please email it to editor@AlmanacNews.com.]


10 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 5, 2016 at 2:08 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"Where Caroline Lucas just wants to increase class sizes to over 35!, reduce teachers pay, employ new and inexperience teachers as they are cheaper. This is just madness our children will end up with low grades and over worked teachers, staff and admin staff. It's just failure in the making!"

This is a bald face lie. (sorry editor, but it is). Have you actually spoken to her or gone to a candidates forum to listen to what she has to say or are you just spewing rumors you've heard?


83 people like this
Posted by Menlo Park family
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 5, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Menlo Park family is a registered user.

Reading the comments and my own interactions with Daivd Ackerman, I will give Daivd my vote I think he is the person to bring a level head to the school board and has a wealth of knowledge in education services.

I will never vote for C Lucas, I don't think she is suited to any MPCSD position!!!!


Vote for Daivd Ackerman.




9 people like this
Posted by Oak Knoll parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 5, 2016 at 3:45 pm

Oak Knoll parent is a registered user.

No to David Ackerman. He didn't foster an atmosphere of collaboration among parents or teachers in his time at Oak Knoll.


15 people like this
Posted by Publius
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 5, 2016 at 3:58 pm

Publius is a registered user.

Caring Mom. Before you start putting out statements about candidates, you need to make sure you can back them up. Can you post any quotable comment from Caroline Lucas that states she wants to raise class size to "over 35!". Please post the source of your statement.


19 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 5, 2016 at 5:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is clear who are the "insider" candidates.

With three insider Board members not up for election hopefully the taxpayers who are not insiders will finally get someone who represents their interests elected to the two open seats.


23 people like this
Posted by Publius
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 5, 2016 at 7:26 pm

Publius is a registered user.

FYI all. Here is a quote from the Almanac attributed to Caroline Lucas - "Ms. Lucas said there are "creative ways" to decrease the district's spending without inflating class sizes".

Source: Web Link

In addition, I cannot find any comment that suggested replacing experienced teachers with inexperienced teachers. Once again I need to ask that you please cite your source.


20 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 5, 2016 at 7:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Publius - What we are seeing is the standard modus operandi whenever an outside runs for the school board. They are attacked and misrepresented by the insiders.

As the Almanac article states:
"

Home
News
Town Square
Blogs
A&E
Real Estate
Sports
Print Edition
Classifieds
Shop
Join
Contact

News

15

Uploaded: Tue, Oct 4, 2016, 1:25 pm
Editorial endorsement: Ackerman and Lucas for Menlo Park City School District board

A common route to appointment or election to local school boards is that of the parent who is an active volunteer for the school district, often serving in leadership positions on school site councils and education foundation boards. Such experience can be valuable to those whose role on the school board is to help govern the district, a job that requires an understanding of how things work on many levels.

But if all board member emerge from a similar field of experience, the end result can be a governing board of like-minded thinkers in danger of discussing key issues facing the district in an echo chamber."

The insiders have had a great deal - just keep the insiders in power and hold stealth elections and then everyone else will pay for our children's education.

Lucas represents a voice of both sanity and educational experience who would add a critical perspective to the school board.


24 people like this
Posted by Brown Eyed Girl
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 5, 2016 at 7:42 pm

Brown Eyed Girl is a registered user.

Caring Mom,

Please site your source for your false accusations. If people are going to post on this site they should at least submit accurate facts and abstain from spreading lies. What is your source other than spending falsehoods heard from third party sources?

You are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts. Speeding falsehoods and misinformation provides no societal benefit.

Caroline Lucas has my vote as she is the ONY candidate that has proposed a plan on how to address the growing fiscal imbalances facing the district.


30 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 5, 2016 at 8:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

IF you wants the facts go to Lucas' web site:

Web Link

And read her positions papers:

Web Link

1) District Revenue – Why It’s Impossible to Keep Up with the Joneses

2) Why Deficit Spending hurts Teachers, Students and the Community

3) How to Balance the Long Term Budget
***************

No other candidate has provided this level of clarity and transparency - why not?


21 people like this
Posted by Caroline Lucas
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 5, 2016 at 8:22 pm

Caroline Lucas is a registered user.

Contrary to statements made by some on this board, I have never made ANY statement around raising class sizes to 35 nor have I ever suggested hiring new and inexperienced teachers because they are cheaper. Anyone can read my position statement and papers on my campaign web site: Web Link.

Thank you,
Caroline Lucas, Ed.D.


13 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 6, 2016 at 10:14 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is the kind of thoughtful and essential thinking that is in Lucas' position papers:

"If you are a district teacher, student, or parent, you may think MPCSD should deficit spend in order to maintain an educational quality level that keeps up with neighboring high spending districts. That’s what the district is currently doing. However, this is terribly short-sighted because MPCSD is flirting with draining all its reserves. And when the reserves are gone what happens?

Layoffs
Pay cuts
Larger class sizes
Program cuts
If you are a teacher, would you rather be assured of long term job security than a 2-3% raise? If you are a parent, do you want the district to increase your child’s class size dramatically? If you’re a community member, do you want to see the district make these painful cuts?

I do not want this nor does anyone else in the community. We must STOP deficit spending. We must project future budgets based on realistic funding sources. We must stop scaring the community and be realistic with them. We can no longer afford to kick the can down the road anymore."
*****
This is music to the ears of the taxpayers who have been asked AFTER the expenses have been incurred to fund the resulting deficits.

We all want very good schools but there is a limit to how much the non-parent taxpayers can and will pay to educate other peoples children. We already have THREE permanent parcel taxes.


115 people like this
Posted by Hopefully Joe
a resident of La Entrada School
on Oct 6, 2016 at 11:50 am

Hopefully Joe is a registered user.

There we go again propaganda from some Lucas supporters trying to spin it to say why we should not give teachers pay raises, appearing to me to say they should be happy they keep their jobs or job security.By spinning it and using scare tactics.

I think to myself if they could save money and get away with it why would they not increase class size?, do away with art and music?, try to cut teachers pay? and cut other programs? Please think long and hard before voting for Lucas!

Publius spin on comments:
FYI all. Here is a quote from the Almanac attributed to Caroline Lucas - "Ms. Lucas said there are "creative ways" to decrease the district's spending without inflating class sizes".

THE FULL TEXT:
Ms. Lucas said there are "creative ways" to decrease the district's spending without inflating class sizes, such as having classes in music or art less often. "Our means may force us to make some choices," she said. "It may mean class sizes go up a little bit."

There is suggestion in the comment above "It may mean classes sizes go up a little bit", the interesting point here is some Lucas supporters all about facts but yet FAILED to mention the last sentence in the comments!!! wonder why? did it not benefit them mentioning that part?

I see we already appearing to see how many Lucas supporters are thinking, I DO NOT TRUST HER AND HER SUPPORTERS. I PERSONALLY DO NOT THINK SHE WILL BE GOOD FOR OUR SCHOOLS, STUDENTS, TEACHERS OR FOR THE COMMUNITY IN MENLO PARK.

I will not vote for her or support her!!!


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 6, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The deficit spending shows that the school district is already living beyond its means. And it has already promised ALL of the new dollars that would come from just replacing the current soon to expire FOURTH parcel tax to the teachers - not to programs. Were will the unavoidable cuts come from? The teachers contract protects them. Who will protect the students?

Lucas is the only candidate that is willing to address these hard facts.

As was clearly demonstrated in the rejection of the last two parcel tax proposals the taxpayers have reached their limit.

There will be no new parcel tax until the non-parent taxpayers can be assured
that their hard earned dollars will be spent wisely and not used to just pay for commitments that were already made and made assuming that the taxpayers would pay the bills.


17 people like this
Posted by Brown Eyed Girl
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 6, 2016 at 6:42 pm

Brown Eyed Girl is a registered user.

To Caring Mom and Hopefully Joe,

Perhaps you might be interested in reading the contract that the MPCSD just signed with the teachers.

Maximum class size is 27 students per their new negotiated contract.

No one is stating that class size will increase to 27 but the school district approved it and the teacher's negotiators signed and approved it too.

Perhaps the parents would have liked to have been involved and informed of these negotiations that are held in private behind closed doors.


17 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Oct 6, 2016 at 8:52 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

"Let's support our teachers and their families and not threaten to cut their pay"

I have not seen one person post saying that want pay cuts.

On the contrary, we're strong proponents of constraining additional spending to AVOID cuts.

If I were totally in charge (and boy oh boy, you people would fall in love with me! :) ), I'd institute the following:

* Cap pay raises at 1-1.5%.

* No bonuses, unless student enrollment is under projections and the district isn't deficit spending.

* Reduce teacher total "service days" from 189 to 185-186.

* Write the above 3 conditions into the teachers union contract for 2-3 years, with no language allowing for a yearly renegotiation.

* If there's still a projected budget deficit after the above items are place, slightly increase the average # of students per class by 1-3 students, preferably just 1 (Palo Alto Unified is increasing class sizes, but there isn't a mass exodus from PA).

* If there's still a projected budget deficit, THEN discuss the possibility of a TEMPORARY 4th parcel tax that ONLY fills in the deficit gap.


Many people who opposed the 2 parcel taxes in May are receptive to approving a 4th parcel tax, including myself. But MPCSD is going to have to make a real effort to contain expenses before the community will consider approving a 4th parcel tax.

That is a very reasonable expectation. Fail to meet that expectation and the next parcel tax will be voted down in flames.


44 people like this
Posted by Belle Haven mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 6, 2016 at 10:17 pm

Belle Haven mom is a registered user.

Train Fan, you can't easily increase class sizes by one or even three students. To increase class sizes (in order to save money), you have to eliminate a whole class of students at a certain grade level. If you have five 4th grade classes at a school, each with 25 kids . . . take away one of those classes and you now have 6+ extra kids per class. If it were as easy as taking on an extra student or two, it wouldn't be such a big deal, but adding six kids to a class is significant.


8 people like this
Posted by Publius
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 7, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Publius is a registered user.

Belle Haven Mom.
I am not sure if your statement is that accurate. At a recent board meeting, this concern did not seem to be much of an issue as the question did come up and Jeff Childs actually commented that it was not overly difficult to adjust class sizes if needed. Sounded like it could be easily accomplished by tweaking school boundaries and that the district may do this already each year based on incoming and returning class sizes. Anyway, who is saying increasing class size is the ONLY solution? There is more than one way to "skin a cat" (sorry to offend the cat lovers out there :) )

Again, I am not seeing any willingness by district parents to work with the community as a whole to deal with a significant budget deficit ($5.3m in 2021) other than asking for more money. Instead it is just the constant cry that the school will fall about and our children will fail. Not the case.


9 people like this
Posted by HelloHanalei
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 7, 2016 at 7:38 pm

HelloHanalei is a registered user.

Class size is not adjusted by "tweaking" boundaries (redistricting is a complex process, not lightly undertaken), but by reducing staffing, i.e. laying off teachers. The reason Jeff Child might have said that class size is a relatively "easy" thing to adjust is that staffing levels can be increased or decreased as revenues dictate. Since average class size is a function of the number of students in the District divided by the number of teachers, the process of increasing class size is relatively straightforward ~ unless you're the teacher being laid off or the students having less focused instructional time with your teacher, that is.

I'd remind anyone who believes that the District and/or the School Board are not interested in engaging with the community on this issue, or that parents are inflexible on the topic of reductions, that one community input session has been held, with 2 more scheduled this month, and that every School Board meeting is open to the public. Anyone who wishes to attend these meetings and provide commentary where it matters, as opposed to posting online, is welcome to come and speak at a School Board meeting.

Web Link

Moreover, the District is actively soliciting community input on the structural deficit and is open to any cost-saving suggestions. You can send your input using this form.

Web Link

This information is on the first page of the MPCSD website:

Get involved: By attending an input session, providing feedback through the online feedback form, asking questions or requesting information. Please feel free to email the members of the Superintendent's Communication Advisory Team at commadvisoryteam@mpcsd.org.

If you're willing to look beyond the Town Square echo chamber, you'll find that there are people in the District who very much want to hear from you.


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 7, 2016 at 7:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"If you're willing to look beyond the Town Square echo chamber, you'll find that there are people in the District who very much want to hear from you."

My 10 May 2016 questions to the Board have still not be answered 5 months later - so they may want to "hear from you" but do not expect an answer anytime soon.


2 people like this
Posted by HelloHanalei
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 7, 2016 at 8:10 pm

HelloHanalei is a registered user.

Peter, did you actually speak to anyone face-to-face, or make any kind of contact beyond sending your list of questions, which, if you're referring to the list you posted on Town Square many times, read more like a list of demands? I don't know why you didn't receive the response you were looking for, but if it were me, I'd: a) email the commadvisory team, b) pick up the phone and call the District Office, c) stop by the District Office, and/or d) attend one or more of the public meetings. Submitting a letter at a Board meeting, without any comment or context, isn't really engagement.


Like this comment
Posted by HelloHanalei
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 7, 2016 at 8:16 pm

HelloHanalei is a registered user.

I should add that I think it's unfortunate that you haven't received a response, and I'm genuinely sharing the strategies I would use if I were in your shoes.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 7, 2016 at 8:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter, did you actually speak to anyone face-to-face, or make any kind of contact beyond sending your list of questions, which, if you're referring to the list you posted on Town Square many times, read more like a list of demands?"

I actually used the public comment period at the May Board meeting and I provided a written copy of my questions, face to face, to each Board member.


May 10,2016
Dr. Maurice Ghysels
Superintendent
Menlo Park City School District
Dear Dr. Ghyles,
In your capacity as Secretary of the Board this is a formal written request for the placement of the following item on the Board's agenda for its regular June meeting as an Action ltem:
Review and Approve answers to the following questions:
1- What percentage of new age eligible children moving into the MPCSD is projected to
attend MPCSD schools?
2 - Would new out of district students have been counted as increased enrollments under
Measure C thereby causing every parcel to pay an additional tax for these out of District
students?
3 - Why are the District's $130+ million bond revenues not reflected in some manner in
the calculation of revenue per student?
4 - Why have FIVE parcel taxes than NEVER expire rather than ONE consolidated
parcel tax?
5 - Why not have every MPCSD parcel tax be subject to renewal by the voters on a
periodic basis?
6 - Why assume unrealistically,low property tax revenues increases?
7 - How many out of district children of MPCSD staff are currently enrolled in MPCSD
schools?
I
8 - At $17k per student what is the cost of this benefit?
9 - Where does this expense show up in the MPCSD budget?
- Is it included in the $7 million+ Benefits line item?
10 - Is this benefit reflected in the compensation analysis of the staff?
11 - Is this benefit taxable income to the recipients?
12 - There are 58(?) non-Tinsley, no-Ravenswood students at MPCSD that come from
outside the District. At the claimed $l7klstudent who is paying the $1 million/year cost
ofthese students?
13 - How many Tinsley transfers resulted in the related S804,860 Ongoing State Funds
revenue item?
14 - How much do their residence districts pay to MPCSD for Non-Tinsley transfers?
15 - Why does the "Expenditure - Salaries & Benefits" line item - not include passthrough
of state contribution to STRS on behalf of district employees?
l7 - Why would Measure C have charged taxpayers over $l7k per new student when the
current revenue per student is $13,006?
18 - Why are the taxpayers' annual Bond repayment taxes not included in the District's
financial information?
Respectfully submitted,

Peter Carpenter


6 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 7, 2016 at 8:30 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Hello:

Peter didn't receive a response because the board didn't want to respond. Had they wanted to they could have done so a long time ago. No, they choose to continue down the opaque road as they always have. If the board wants this community to approve any future funding increases they need to start being transparent and ANSWERING QUESTIONS ASKED OF THEM BY THE TAXPAYERS. They've done nothing to answer these questions and NOTHING to be transparent. Peter sent these questions DIRECTLY to the board. If that's not the proper procedure to receive an ACTUAL ANSWER, then our system is seriously broken. When will the board answer the questions they have been asked? They're not complicated. Just "uncomfortable" for a board that has not been good stewards of the taxpayers money. I'm not holding my breath. It is time for a change. This board needs to go.


Like this comment
Posted by Belle Haven mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 7, 2016 at 8:52 pm

Belle Haven mom is a registered user.

The Sept. 20th board meeting agenda lists Peter's questions as a discussion item. Not sure what came of it.


12 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 7, 2016 at 9:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Not sure what came of it."

They deferred my questions to a DECEMBER Finance Committee meeting.

Anything instead of answering my questions before Election Day.


22 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Oct 7, 2016 at 9:27 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

HelloHanalei wrote:
"the District is actively soliciting community input on the structural deficit"

Actually, I agree with this. The issue is whether they're receptive to implementing any significant changes to help address the structural deficit. "Soliciting" and "listening and implementing" are not the same thing.


"average class size is a function of the number of students in the District divided by the number of teachers"

On average this is true, but in reality classes don't grow linearly across all grades.

In the scenario where class sizes are included as part of resolving the budget deficit, some grades would keep the same teacher:student ratio, some would be higher. It would really depend on where the increases occur.

By the way, this (changes in teacher:student ratio being different in each grade) occurs regardless whether there's a deficit or not.


"Class size is [adjusted by] reducing staffing, i.e. laying off teachers."

This is *not* true. Everyone agrees that the student population is likely to increase. No cuts are needed, just make smaller additions to the teaching staff.


13 people like this
Posted by Concerned Mom
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 8, 2016 at 10:05 am

Concerned Mom is a registered user.

I love how my posts keep magically disappearing. I DO NOT endorse Caroline Lucas and just because it goes against how the Almanac feels my posts are deleted. Facts, are facts...kind of hard to dispute.


27 people like this
Posted by Train Fan...apologizes
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Oct 8, 2016 at 10:38 am

Train Fan...apologizes is a registered user.

"Facts, are facts...kind of hard to dispute."

I saw the post,and link before they were deleted.

What was interesting about the alleged reviews of Lucas was that almost all of the 1-stars occurred recently. In my opinion, that is a subtle smear campaign and tacky politics. Seriously? People are going to skew her teaching evaluation because she's running for school board? That's awful. Kudos to the editor for deleting your post.

And I feel an apology from me is in order. Over the past year, I've seen people (menlo voter?) claim that in the past, some people in the community have resorted to smear campaigns against some board candidates.

While I never commented on that allegation, I was quietly skeptical that it was true. Based on what I've just seen, it turns out that it's correct.

So, I apologize for believing this that no members of this community would stoop to smear campaigns and tacky politics.


12 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 8, 2016 at 11:21 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Establishment views Lucas, who has super professional credentials and who has had first hand experience with children in the MPCSD, as a real threat to their closed cabal and then are organizing to attack her and discredit her.


Fortunately the non-parent taxpayers have finally awakened from a long sleep and we are no longer willing to allow this cabal to simply keep sending us the bills for limitless increases in the cost of their children's education.


8 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 8, 2016 at 5:57 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Yes, I've said it and so have others. If an "outsider" dares to run for the board, the smear and whisper campaign begins. Next thing we'll be hearing is that Caroline is "mentally unstable." It's a very sad, but true reality of our community. The parents of our school district would sooner destroy a wonderful educator and candidate than see their school system run in an efficient and cost minded manner. Nope, it's "I want a platinum" education for my child and the rest of the community should pay for it." Sorry folks, but the rest of the community is tired of writing you folks a blank check.

We understand a quality education is important. What we don't appreciate is being kept in the dark as to the cost of said education, then handed a bill and being expected to pay it because "it's for the kids." Sorry I and many other taxpayers are calling BS on this practice. You want my money? You clearly and transparently explain to me why it is needed. Otherwise, forget it.

Caroline intends to bring some fiscal responsibility and transparency to this board and I'm all for it.


9 people like this
Posted by Ana Ruiz
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 10, 2016 at 5:02 pm

Ana Ruiz is a registered user.

Sadly the actual board still the same "family" that was when I run for the School Board 4 years ago. Is time for a fresh approach that can give the district a new voice with the right idea in mind. Fiscal responsibility is still not there. Embracing the kids that are different leaners still have so many hurdles. Inclusion needs to be done in a different way. Living out of the reserves is not the right way to conduct business so at this point is necessary to have a fresh look with someone that has been in the school system and understands the in and outs and that is Caroline Lucas. Mr. Ackerman has been part of the system vey long time, but is part of the group that has been in the same position for a very too long time. Is necessary someone that can bring together the right combinations to make sure our children have the right education here in Menlo Park. Go Caroline you will do a fantastic job in the district.


6 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 10, 2016 at 6:47 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

There you go folks. Ana, the outsider that ran four years ago was subject to the whisper and smear campaign. There were those that claimed she was mentally "unstable." Those people should be ashamed of themselves. As should the current crop of parents and insiders trying to smear Caroline. I'm disgusted that I live in the same community as you people.


8 people like this
Posted by Scott Lohmann
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 11, 2016 at 5:47 pm

Scott Lohmann is a registered user.

My vote is for Alka Gupta.

Her endorsement list reads like a Who's Who in ALL community leadership positions in our city, and surrounding areas. Not only is Alka wicked smart, she is also a diehard volunteer, who did a tremendous job while being Co-President of the MPAEF. In addition, her business career has mainly been focused in the field of finance. One of Alka's platform positions is "rigorous fiscal discipline" - she's all over this! In a time like this, when we are having financial challenges with our expense budget, Alka is one of the few that truly understands our predicament, and can help solve the challenges. Good Luck Alka!!


11 people like this
Posted by Scott Lohmann
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 11, 2016 at 8:36 pm

Scott Lohmann is a registered user.


What is it about "rigorous fiscal discipline" that you don't understand? Alka spent 4 years helping MPAEF raise north of $3M each year, so our public schools can thrive. You wanted fiscal discipline, no? That's what you were screaming about (again, too many negative posts to count) during the parcel tax challenge. This "insider" helped orchestrate a group of concerned, positive, forward thinking board members, to raise money for the public schools, of which you benefit from with your home appreciating. Yep, not gonna leave that one alone. She had no authority on teacher salaries, physical plant changes, curriculum decisions....nothing but helped raise money. I'm pretty sure that's not a very good definition for "insider". Good grief, say something positive, or volunteer and help!


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 11, 2016 at 8:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Alka may well have superb financial and insider credentials but many of us want someone who will represent the interests of the non-parent taxpayers. For decades we have had zero zero representation on the board and yet we pay the majority of the taxes.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 11, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.



[part removed.]


It's time for those that aren't "the anointed" to be on this board to represent ALL of the taxpayers. NOT just those with children in the district. The majority of us actually PAY THE BILLS.


3 people like this
Posted by Scott Lohmann
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 11, 2016 at 9:08 pm

Scott Lohmann is a registered user.

[part removed.]

However, I pay the bills too, and help raise money, and donate, and volunteer, AND many, many other people do too. They just don't sit in front of their keyboard spouting negative garbage, they actually do something constructive. I DO believe it's good to have several people running for School Board. Our School Board has been one of the best in the state. I hope the tradition continues with some top-notch candidates!


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 12, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Scott:

Considering you don't know me you don't know what I do or don't do.

As to you also paying the bills, yes you do, but my point was that the MAJORITY of us paying the bills don't have children in the district and we have ZERO representation on the board. I share your hope for good candidates. I hope they are Lucas and Ackerman.


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 12, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Our School Board has been one of the best in the state."

Scott - Do you have any facts to support that assertion?

From my experience I have never encountered an elected body that so ignores the taxpayers and which refuses to answer questions that have been formally and personally presented to them.


3 people like this
Posted by Scott Lohmann
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 12, 2016 at 4:26 pm

Scott Lohmann is a registered user.

The CCEF has given MPAEF and LLEF several Apple Awards throughout the years. In addition, both Foundations have always had some of the highest donations per pupil, in the state. Obviously, this has lots to do with where we live, and we are grateful for that. The total annual dollar amount raised has also been some of the highest numbers in the state, along with Hillsborough and PIE. And, on a side note, it was rewarding to see MPAEF receive a Golden Acorn Award this year for being tops in the Community Service category, thank you Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce!


8 people like this
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardi�a
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 12, 2016 at 5:16 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardi�a is a registered user.

The Center for Public Education is VERY clear on what a School Board's Role is:

"The local school board is a critical public link to public schools. Whether elected or appointed, school board members serve their communities in several important ways. First and foremost school boards look out for students. Education is not a line item on the school board's agenda—it is the only item."

Notice it doesn't say a SINGLE word about looking out for the interests of residents without children in the district. It's job is THE CHILDREN in the district!

Period, and end of discussion.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 12, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"Period, and end of discussion."

Sorry Roy, not when I'M paying the bill. The platinum education the folks with children want is unnecessary and we're not willing to pay for it. They can pay for the extras. End of discussion.


10 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Oct 12, 2016 at 6:03 pm

Train Fan is a registered user.

"The Center for Public Education is VERY clear on what a School Board's Role is"

Well, it's an advisory group. A group who's scope of interest is in education thinks education is very important. OK. So do I. Is there a point to this aspect of the discussion?

The community decides what type of school district we want (within the State's legal requirements). The community decides how much we're willing to pay for it (within the legal requirements of property taxation). Not the MPAEF, not the "Center for Public Education" and not the MPEA.

End of discussion.

(drops mic)


5 people like this
Posted by Scott Lohmann
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 12, 2016 at 7:56 pm

Scott Lohmann is a registered user.

Ironically, most of the Board Members currently on the MPCSD, do NOT have children being educated in the District. In addition, I think I can name 3 or 4 others in the recent past that also did NOT have kids being educated in the District. So.....I'm curious as to where all of this anger and pent up emotion is coming from about the current Board? I guess it's because you don't like these specific individuals, because they did not agree with your proposals? That sometimes happens, but we elected them to make these tough decisions, they were not appointed, nor "anointed". If it's the fiscal concerns you have, again vote for Alka Gupta, she has "rigorous fiscal discipline"!


8 people like this
Posted by Publius
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 12, 2016 at 8:15 pm

Publius is a registered user.

Maybe instead of the Center for Public Education, which has its own agenda, lets look at the California School Board Association and see what they say is the role of a school board, and I quote:

"Citizen oversight of local government is the cornerstone of democracy in the United States. School board members are locally elected public officials entrusted with governing a community's public schools. The role of the school board is to ensure that school districts are responsive to the values, beliefs and priorities of their communities."

"THEIR COMMUNITIES", that is their ENTIRE community, not only the school community.


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 12, 2016 at 9:56 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is truly frightening to have intelligent members of our community like Roy espouse the undemocratic belief that Roy has articulated that elected officials are not responsible first and foremost to the voters who have elected them.

Sorry Roy but the Center for Public Education does not determine what is California law.

Elected bodies are accountable to the citizens within their jurisdictions - not to their employees or to their "customers".

This is what the California School Boards Association states:
"Effective Governance

California K-12 schools are public institutions that belong to the communities they serve. Responsibility for their fiscal health and effectiveness is granted to locally elected boards."

"School boards are elected or appointed to serve the community, so individually and collectively board members have a responsibility to ensure that their governing work is informed by the values and interests that the community has for its schools. Community input is critical; it informs the board what the community wants the district to do for its students."

What is not clear about that Roy?



15 people like this
Posted by HelloHanalei
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 12, 2016 at 10:57 pm

HelloHanalei is a registered user.

"The platinum education the folks with children want is unnecessary and we're not willing to pay for it. They can pay for the extras."

You know what, Menlo Voter? We DO pay for the extras. That's EXACTLY what our donations to the MPAEF accomplish: the Foundation gifts the District a substantial sum of money each year, thanks to the generosity of parents and community members (lots of whom have no problem with contributing to the education of other peoples' children - and I'll be one of them when my children graduate MPCSD). Here's what we fund with our Foundation donations.

- 29 additional teachers and their professional development.

- Arts & Sciences credentialed specialists.

- Innovation & technology, including design thinking workshops and a thoughtful use of technology in the classroom.

4. Guidance & wellness: our dedicated guidance and wellness counselors promote emotional well-being and social development.

89% -- EIGHTY-NINE PERCENT -- of the District's budget goes to salaries and pension obligations. Do you consider teachers to be a "platinum" experience that students can do without?

It's incredibly frustrating to read ill-informed comments on Town Square, and I only hope that people who come here have the good sense to attend School Board meetings and input sessions, talk to District leaders, both parent volunteers and administrators, and get the facts before they decide how to vote in November.

I can tell you with certainty, borne of close personal experience, that there is no "whisper and smear" campaign. Rather, people who have met, observed, and/or worked with one of this year's candidates and a prior candidate had/have concerns about their ability to carry out the duties of School Board Trustee based on their personal statements and actions, and their ability/willingness, or lack thereof, to fulfill volunteer job responsibilities. You're going to challenge me for not being more specific, but I won't do that, out of respect for the individuals in question.

The problem with being an outsider and proud of it is that you don't always have a clear view of the situation or an accurate command of the facts.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 13, 2016 at 6:29 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" We DO pay for the extras. That's EXACTLY what our donations to the MPAEF accomplish:"

Great - then you don't need another parcel tax. Thank you.


5 people like this
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 13, 2016 at 7:03 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

All of the candidates are to be commended for even volunteering to run for a public office. Specially in a 1%er city like Menlo Park with vitriol coming from the citizenry. Really an underappreciated sacrifice.

Qualifications aside this race will be decided by the voters who come out time and time again to support MPK. We are not a citizenry that takes that privilege lightly with higher than average voter turnout.

This talk of insiders is simply the voice of a minority voting segment with minimal direct involvement in our School District voicing their opinion....

When the district needs funding and properly applies the outreach they have available. I remain certain the bond measures they require to maintain the quality education our children receive, and deserve, will pass.

Roy Thiele-Sardiña


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 13, 2016 at 7:10 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"When the district needs funding and properly applies the outreach they have available. "

And there's the crux of the problem. The board doesn't properly apply outreach to anyone but parents. Their last stealth attempt at getting two parcel taxes passed is a perfect example. Even after being defeated they still don't understand that we want transparency. We still aren't getting what we want.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 13, 2016 at 7:33 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" We still aren't getting what we want."

Precisely - questions formally submitted to the Board six months ago by a non-parent taxpayer have been deferred to a December Finance Committee.

The non-parent taxpayers who pay a majority of the bills deserve both timely answers to their questions and representation on the Board.


5 people like this
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 13, 2016 at 7:43 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

All of the candidates are to be commended for even volunteering to run for a public office. Specially in a 1%er city like Menlo Park with vitriol coming from the citizenry. Really an underappreciated sacrifice.

Qualifications aside this race will be decided by the voters who come out time and time again to support MPK. We are not a citizenry that takes that privilege lightly with higher than average voter turnout.

This talk of insiders is simply the voice of a minority voting segment with minimal direct involvement in our School District voicing their opinion....

When the district needs funding (and they do based on the projected deficit) and properly applies the outreach they have available. I remain certain the bond measures they require to maintain the quality education our children receive, and deserve, will pass.

Roy Thiele-Sardiña


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 13, 2016 at 8:01 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Back to basics:
CSBA describes a framework of four perspectives within which boards govern:


The community perspective: what stakeholders want the schools to do;

The legal perspective: what the law says the schools must do;

The professional perspective: what educators say the schools ought to do and,

The fiduciary perspective: what the schools are able to do.

On the last point CSBA states "Boards have a fiduciary obligation to ensure the financial health and long-term stability of the district.
Boards must hold the assets and resources of the districts in trust—literally acting in the district’s best interests."


7 people like this
Posted by HelloHanalei
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 13, 2016 at 10:30 am

HelloHanalei is a registered user.

' " We DO pay for the extras. That's EXACTLY what our donations to the MPAEF accomplish:"

Great - then you don't need another parcel tax. Thank you."

-------------------------------

Peter, it's difficult to have a dialog with you when you communicate in such simplistic terms.

As should be quite clear to anyone without an axe to grind, the key word in my sentence was "extras."

The community funds things that you would view as "extras" with our Foundation donations. The things that you would gladly see stripped away are not what any reasonable person would view as extras. Since the bulk of MPCSD's expenditures are for salaries and pension obligations, the only way to make meaningful budget reductions is to reduce salary expenses; i.e. lay off teachers. Getting rid of Hillview mini courses, cancelling field trips, and eliminating Art, Music, and P.E. (things which I believe your son would have enjoyed during his time at Laurel) simply will not close the gap.

The annual grant from the Foundation ($3.6MM last year), while incredibly meaningful, is put in the general fund and then used for those "extras" that you and others here rail against. That's the compact that MPAEF makes with its donors. Even if the funds raised were to be used for essentials like teacher salaries and pension obligations, they would make only a small dent in the District's total obligations.

I've seen people here say that parents should just give more if they don't want to see teacher layoffs and other painful cuts. Well, the Foundation's suggested donation is currently $1,500 per child. Many families and community members are in a position, and are generous enough, to give more than that, but many families are able to give much less. As a former District parent, what would you suggest the Foundation ask be raised to, in order to close the gap? $2,000? $3,000? $5,000? Surely you can see that isn't realistic or feasible.

I think you actually do understand that Foundation gifts do not, and cannot, solve this problem, and I also think you understood perfectly well what I meant when I said that District parents and community members already fund the extras. Straw man arguments are great for pot-stirring, but they don't do anything to foster meaningful conversation or move towards a solution.


3 people like this
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 13, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Menlo Voter

When I said outreach, what I meant was turning on the marketing machine towards parents. You have to realize that the votes they garner from that constituency are typically more than enough to pass something. That they failed to market correctly the last time means they've learned their lesson.

Like I said earlier, expect a full court press to cover the budget shortfall that is being caused by the increase in students without a corresponding increase in funding.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


7 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 13, 2016 at 3:03 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Roy:

They did market to the parents last time. They're the only ones they marketed to. They were trying to run a stealth campaign where only parents were really aware of the parcel tax. It didn't work because the rest of us decided we'd had enough of writing blank checks. It will happen again if this board doesn't become more transparent and better at there fiduciary responsibility.


6 people like this
Posted by Scott Lohmann
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 13, 2016 at 5:13 pm

Scott Lohmann is a registered user.

Amazing how this banter continues, from a select few.

IF we had widespread problems in our school district, like poor facilities, poor test scores, too many kids per classroom, crime in the hallways, lack of volunteering in the schools via PTA or Foundation, mass exodus out of the school district, poor curriculum, etc........THEN I could see the need to continually bring up these types of assertions and charges, like the post above, from an anonymous poster. I find most of these comments extremely disingenuous, counterproductive, and quite honestly just not true. I think most of us, that support the school district, believe that no matter what the school board does or does not do, they cannot appease these folks. These folks do NOT want to spend one more dime on our schools, and probably think they should not have to spend any money, at all. The expense budget for schools in California is MUCH more complicated than these type posters attempt to portray. MPCSD cannot touch tenure, cannot touch pensions, must compete with a few higher paying districts, must compete with districts that actually do have less expensive housing, must negotiate with one of the strongest unions in the state, and then this board has to manage all of this with a VERY engaged parent population that have very high standards.(this is NOT the Fire District) I hope the voters out there will listen to those that are closer to the finances and successes of the MPCSD, and not listen to the naysayers and the "throw the bums out" mentality. Let's vote to continue the great work and growth of our schools by voting for those that are truly engaged, and have the experience!


5 people like this
Posted by Publius
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 13, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Publius is a registered user.

For all those undecided voters out there, just go back to the one paragraph from the Almanac endorsement of Caroline Lucas and David Ackerman.

"But if all board member emerge from a similar field of experience, the end result can be a governing board of like-minded thinkers in danger of discussing key issues facing the district in an ECHO CHAMBER."

As someone who has attended board meetings, "ECHO CHAMBER" is an understatement. This is why having someone like Caroline Lucas on the board will bring discussion back to the board meetings and help engage the community on a broader level than just the parent community.

So voters. Do you want a board of "like-minded thinkers" or a board that debates the issues and comes up with outcomes that build consensus among all. If the latter, then make one of your votes for Caroline Lucas.


13 people like this
Posted by HelloHanalei
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 13, 2016 at 6:43 pm

HelloHanalei is a registered user.

Hear, hear, Scott! I wish I could like your comment hundreds of times. There are 3 eminently qualified candidates running for seats on the School Board, and I encourage everyone who cares about the future of MPCSD, and who wants to see the good work that's being done continue in the future, to vote for Alka Gupta, Scott Saywell, or David Ackerman. Any one of them would make an excellent Trustee.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 13, 2016 at 7:50 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"These folks do NOT want to spend one more dime on our schools"

WRONG! I don't want to spend one more dime in a district that is fiscally mismanaged as this one is. I would not mind spending my money on one that was. Not to mention one that is transparent. Tell me what is REALLY going on and I'll probably open my wallet. Treat me like a mushroom and you can forget it.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 13, 2016 at 8:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Scott - There is no value in creating trumped up charges against those of us who are deeply concerned about the poor financial stewardship of the school board and its failure to communicate with the entire community.

I cannot find a single example where I or others have criticized the quality of education provided by the school district. We do however have great concerns about the deficits that are being incurred and the long term commitments that have been made without regard for those deficits.

The next parcel tax will probably need to be almost $1000 just to cover the commitments that have already been made and it is presumptuous for the board to simply assume that the taxpayers will keeping making up the shortfall.


9 people like this
Posted by Menlo Man
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 13, 2016 at 8:59 pm

Menlo Man is a registered user.

Peter keeps referring to the fact that the Board did not respond to his questions, as evidence that the Board is not transparent, or not willing to engage the public.

Peter the 18 questions you asked were....

1) 18 QUESTIONS! Do you expect them to a) have those responses immediately b) drop everything and dive head first into answering them, along with the regular business of running a district?

2) Almanac readers: Have you read some of these questions? They are not simple : "Lemme check with HR and get right back to you" type questions. They are DENSE and COMPLICATED, as is this one: "Would new out of district students have been counted as increased enrollments under Measure C thereby causing every parcel to pay an additional tax for these out of District students?"

3) Perhaps the Board is being cautious about engaging with you Peter given your combative stance. You have threatened to sue the school district for violating the Brown Act. Wouldn't you deal carefully and methodically with someone who has threatened to sue you ??


17 people like this
Posted by Menlo Man
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:01 pm

Menlo Man is a registered user.

Peter Carpenter and Caroline Lucas have one thing in common:

They have both threatened to sue MPCSD when they did not get their way .

EDITOR'S NOTE: Caroline Lucas denies that she threatened to sue the school district.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"1) 18 QUESTIONS! Do you expect them to a) have those responses immediately b) drop everything and dive head first into answering them, along the regular business of running a district?"

No, my request specifically asked "In your capacity as Secretary of the Board this is a formal written request for the placement of the following item on the Board's agenda for its regular June meeting as an Action ltem."

That did not happen.

I then expected them to answer the questions during the summer months when school was out.

That also did not happen and six months later there are still no answers.

The question "Would new out of district students have been counted as increased enrollments under Measure C thereby causing every parcel to pay an additional tax for these out of District students?" is neither dense or complicated and calls for a simple Yes or No answer.


10 people like this
Posted by Scott Lohmann
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:09 pm

Scott Lohmann is a registered user.

Peter - These are not trumped up charges, these are simply observations. Anytime the school board doesn't answer a question from you, or acknowledge you, the posting begins. If you do not have it answered in a way that you are satisfied, your group of 3-5 go in a different direction and more "trumped up charges" begin. I again think it is disingenuous to discount almost every thing these VOLUNTEERS have been doing throughout the years. And again, which you have not addressed, most of them do NOT have kids in the District. They have done their best, under circumstances I have described above. Perhaps, just perhaps, there are circumstances out of everyone's control.(i.e. pensions, competing districts, etc.) However, for some odd reason, you and your ilk decide to go down a different direction of "transparency" and "fiscal mismanagement"?? On a completely random note, I find it odd for your group to be supporting an individual that seemed more concerned with Jeff Childs "disheveled look and unkept hair" (I'm paraphrasing, but it's something close to that) during the parcel tax debate. Does she not have any thing else to offer?


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" However, for some odd reason, you and your ilk decide to go down a different direction of "transparency" and "fiscal mismanagement"?

We went down that road because that IS where the problem is - the problem is NOT the quality of education or the commendable efforts of the volunteers.

My "ilk" has veto power over a new parcel tax and we will use that power unless there is a viable long term financial plan and greater transparency.


6 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:25 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Scott:

The district has had MONTHS to answer Peter's questions, yet? Nothing. That is total BS from an organization that works for US. Just another example in a long line of a lack of transparency by this board. If the district wants more money from the MAJORITY of this community they better start being transparent.


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:33 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

menlo man:

[part removed because it refers to a post that was removed.] Try actually reading her position papers and you might actually understand that. No one else running for the board has put forward ACTUAL PLANS for fixing the districts' problem. [part removed.] Go ahead, elect yet another insider and make the problem worse. Brilliant!


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 14, 2016 at 10:52 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

My ballot offers me five choices.

I recommend voting for LUCAS and HINSHAW.


6 people like this
Posted by HelloHanalei
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 14, 2016 at 12:41 pm

HelloHanalei is a registered user.

I have a hard time believing that Peter Carpenter doesn't know Scott Hinshaw dropped out of the School Board race a couple of weeks ago. Could it be that he's "endorsing" Hinshaw in hopes that uninformed voters will vote for him, in the process dividing the David Ackerman/Alka Gupta/Scott Saywell vote and ensuring Caroline Lucas is elected? That's the only explanation I can come up with, since it makes *no* sense that Peter Carpenter would have missed as big a development as a candidate leaving the race. If true, those are some low, desperate tactics.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 14, 2016 at 12:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

HH - We all face ballots this year that leave us with less than optimal choices. My first choice is clearly Lucas. For my second choice I endorsed Hinshaw before he dropped out and I am not prepared to transfer that endorsement to any of the other insider candidates.

If Hinshaw were to get a significant number of votes that would help send a message than just continuing to elect anointed insiders is no longer acceptable to the community.

So, I recommend voting for LUCAS and HINSHAW.


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

Let's Talk Internships
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 849 views

Couples: Sex and Connection (Chicken or Egg?)
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 630 views

Zucchini Takeover
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 582 views