Palo Alto Unified School District $868 Parcel Tax: Argument Against Measure A

We all want to honor our teachers and support our schools, especially in Palo Alto.  We can, without saying that money is no object. 

Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) has proposed an increase above its current $820/year parcel tax, despite the fact that PAUSD's property tax revenues have significantly increased, and student enrollment has decreased. Moreover, our tax dollars have not always been well utilized.  Palo Alto Unified should rework its parcel tax proposal to reflect current circumstances, and place it on a later ballot.  There is time; the current parcel tax does not expire until July 2021.

In the last decade, assessed property values increased by 82% in PAUSD’s district.[1]  Meanwhile, PAUSD student enrollment declined (7% for the 5 years since 2014-15),[2] and is projected to decline 17% from 2013-14 through 2023.[3] Inflation remained subdued, increasing 19% over the same period.[4]

Due to high Palo Alto property tax revenues, permitting high concurrent spending, PAUSD’s current expenditures are more than $20,500/student, the highest in the state for a comparable district.[5]  According to PAUSD, staff salaries and benefits represent 86% of PAUSD expenditures.[6]  According to the Daily Post, PAUSD Trustees Ken Dauber and Jennifer DiBrienza agree that PAUSD doesn’t have a problem attracting or retaining teachers.[7]

Administrative errors in 2016 and 2017 cost PAUSD $7.7 million;[8] while legal noncompliance cost $2 million from 2017-2018.[9]   Newly created PAUSD administrative positions require further resources.[10]  

We do want to honor our teachers and support our schools, but without saying money is no object. PAUSD, please revise your parcel tax proposal: No on Measure __

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Also endorsing a No vote:

Brian Holtz, V.P. of Purissima Hills Water District and PAUSD resident

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