While voters in the Menlo Park City School District overwhelmingly approved a $360 parcel tax measure on March 7, the district's work to avoid a projected $5 million deficit is not over.
On Friday, San Mateo County released the semi-official results showing 79 percent voted yes on Measure X, well in excess of the 66.7 percent necessary for passage. A total of 5,747 voted yes and 1,531, no. Just 42 percent of registered voters cast ballots.
The measure authorizes the district to impose an annual tax of $360 per parcel for seven years.
Last May, after two parcel tax measures failed to gain the needed two-thirds voter approval, the district held a series of public meetings to discuss how to both cut expenses and increase revenues. The school board ultimately decided on a combination of the two, asking for a parcel tax purposely not designed to solve all its budget woes. Now the district must decide how it will cut spending.
On election night, Erik Burmeister, the district's assistant superintendent who will become superintendent on July 1, said the district's work is far from over. "I'm grateful that the community has given us this vote of confidence," he said, "and I'm committed to using not only their financial resources responsibly, but also their trust."
"I look forward to a continued conversation about the impact great schools have on our community," Mr. Burmeister said.
The school board's first task at this week's March 14 school board meeting will be to go over a list of resignations, retirements and job share requests received by human resources, "which will free up some space in the organization," he said. "We're still cutting" teacher positions, he said, but "we're likely not going to have to lay anybody off."
However, there may be a few layoffs of non-teaching employees, Mr. Burmeister said. Between two and four non-teaching positions will be eliminated, he said, but at least one of those is currently vacant.
The school board will meet Tuesday, March 14, starting at 6 p.m. in the TERC building, 181 Encinal Ave., Atherton.
Because kindergarten enrollment for fall 2017 recently closed, the district will soon be able to forecast what its fall enrollment will be, Mr. Burmeister said. That information will help to determine if the 13 temporary teachers on the rolls will be able to return in the fall, Mr. Burmeister said.
Details of other spending cuts will probably wait for the board's April meeting, he said, when the district is more clear on its staffing for the 2017-18 school year.