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What happens when Atherton Town Council extends its "fiscal equity" scam to our schools?

Original post made by Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest, on Jan 29, 2020

The Atherton Town Council has for the last six years been conducting a so-called Municipal Services Review of the services that are provided to Atherton residents by other public entities – all of which have their own leadership elected by the residents whom they serve.

Web Link

The Council's first target was the Fire District which it incorrectly assumed lacked strong public support. That effort has proven to be totally unsuccessful. Here is the Town's own staff report on this effort:

Web Link

In its own words "Based on the results of the Study and subsequent conversations with the District and LAFCO, it is unlikely that a tax agreement could be negotiated; unlikely that Special Legislation would be supported; and a detachment application through LAFCO, although it could be pursued and would be processed, would not be supported by LAFCO staff. "

So what happens when the Town Council next turns its effort to our elementary and high schools?

Here are facts:

There are currently 104 students who attend the SUHSD who live within the Atherton boundaries.

There are currently 228 students that reside in Atherton and attend one of the four schools within the Menlo Park School District.

There are approximately 55 Atherton residents in the Las Lomitas Elementary School District.

Redwood City School District has ZERO Atherton residents in the Selby Lane Elementary School

So there are 387 in public schools or about 400 in public schools.

Here are the Atherton property taxes, number of Atherton students , tax payments per student and the school's cost per student:

• Sequoia Union High School District $13,284,166 in Atherton residents' property taxes for 104
students = $127,732 per student vs SUHSD cost of $19,232/ student

• Menlo Park City School District $7,902,223 in Atherton residents' property taxes for 228 students =
$34,658 per student vs MPCSD cost of $16,684

Las Lomitas School District $4,310,600 in Atherton residents' property taxes for 55 students = $78,374
per student vs Las Lomitas cost of $18,790

Redwood City School District's Selby Lane Elementary School $4,103,554 in Atherton residents' property taxes for zero students and a school cost per student of $11,238/ student

So Atherton residents pay about $35M in property taxes to the elementary and high school districts for about 400 Atherton students at a per student property tax payment of about $87k.

The actual costs per student in those school districts is about $18k.

So, by the Atherton Town Council's standard, Atherton residents are being “charged” $69k per student
above cost or about $27M “extra”.

Just imagine what would happen to each of these schools if the Atherton Town Council were to steal these property taxes paid by Atherton residents to those school districts!

And the property taxes paid by Atherton residents would not go down by a single penny.

But our schools would be devastated.


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