Poll: Would You Support a Parcel Tax in November?

Now that the San Bruno Park School Board voted to spare schools from closure, a parcel tax is being worked on for the November ballot. Will it have your vote?

In addition to , the San Bruno Park School Board made another important decision at last week's meeting.

Taking the superintendent's suggestion that the school district will need more money in years to come because of inadequate funding from the state, the school board voted to move forward with putting a parcel tax on the November ballot.

A parcel tax could generate $1.2 million a year for the district, according to .

Parents, angered by the possibility of having two schools closed in the city, seemed to show support for the tax measure at last week's meeting.

But would that support translate to votes at the ballot box, especially because Measure O, the school district's $40 million bond measure, in November 2011? The bond measure, which would have been used for capital improvement projects throughout the district, was just short of the 55 percent approval needed to pass.

For our full coverage on this issue, check out the San Bruno school closures topic page.

Dana Facciano May 01, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Bill, with regards to the budget that the SBPSD gets each year, are we privy to how they use this money? Is there somewhere a person can go to see how the money was spent in previous years?
Heidi Beck May 01, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Dana, the budget is public information. It is available at the district office.
Dana Facciano May 01, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Thank you Heidi. As you can tell I am a little green but very interested.
John Marinos May 02, 2012 at 12:22 AM
There seems to be lots of slamming of the Board but I am not reading any solutions concerning the budget by those people who are slamming the Board. What matters is how the money is spent currently and in the future. Please join in studying the Budget closely and coming up with ways to make this district work. The students of San Bruno deserve the best education. Just to name two things all the failure of Measure O accomplished is Parkside not getting completed and no new technology being installed in the classrooms. Measure O failed and all the Board members are still in office. Please come to the next Board meeting with your suggestions to the board and bring your copy of the Budget. From what I saw at the last meeting if the Board does not listen the people will demand that they do.
Heidi Beck May 02, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Too bad the district doesn't have a CBO at the moment -- it would be good for him/her to offer a "Budget 101" workshop for the community.
Cliona McHale May 02, 2012 at 09:03 PM
A Finance 101 presentation, that the District presented over a series of Board meetings a couple of years ago, and the District's 2011-2012 second interim budget report, are available at (click on the links): http://sbpsd.k12.ca.us/business-services.htm Information relevant to the District's 2012-2013 budget is available at: http://sbpsd.k12.ca.us/assets/docs/Special-Board-Agenda%20-01.26.12.pdf Many California school districts are experiencing severe fiscal challenges, the ultimate consequences being state bailout/takeover: http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/fi/ir/first1112.asp
Heidi Beck May 02, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Thanks for the links! I had remembered that there was such a presentation once -- I didn't think to look if the PowerPoint slides were still up. Still, it would be a good idea for such a program to be repeated.
Cliona McHale May 02, 2012 at 10:53 PM
I suggested yesterday that the District put the Finance 101 slides on their web site and they were very responsive and put them up this morning. I see that many districts have a budget FAQs page which is a useful resource.
Heidi Beck May 03, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Thanks so much for calling them, and thanks to district staff for responding so quickly!
Chris Kiely May 03, 2012 at 04:44 PM
It's a tough balance John. Jumping all over the Board for random slip-ups is unfair. On the other hand, when we are faced with sytematic, consistent problems with how they do business, it needs to get fixed. You are right that we need to move forward, and deal with how things get done now and in the future, and not focus on every old grudge. But recognize what you are asking people to do, and meet them half-way. There are plenty of folks who have been trying to wave a red-flag about District & Board opeartions for years. They have been ignored. The community is up in arms right now, about this problem. But many of those people were cheering every bad, short-term fix used in the past few years. Has the present shock has made those people realize that there are long term issues that need to be fixed? Take those articulate, concerned members of the Crestmoor community. How many of those people have been taken aside, privately by Skip Henderson? Don't you think he has told Scott Curtner that if only there were more people like Scott on the DDAC or the SOS committee, or the Foundation, that things would be a bed of roses? That we just need the critics to go away? How many others? And how many of those people are willingly drinking Skip's Kool-Aid? Are we fixing the District, or just trying to keep Crestmoor open till the kids are old enough to transfer to Taylor?
Edwin S May 03, 2012 at 08:03 PM
What a divisive and venomous comment posted here by Kiely. I can’t believe you posted this, it seems totally counter to the tone of your posts. First, where is the data – how many students transfer from Crestmoor relative to the other schools. Second, it simply does not reflect the attitude of the Crestmoor community. Furthermore, the person you are addressing, their spouse teaches at Parkside. You should remove this comment.
Martin Ricard (Editor) May 03, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Just looking at the latest poll results, it looks like there are more people not in favor of passing a parcel tax (nearly 3 to 1). Why is that? It seemed like more people at the last school board meeting were IN FAVOR of supporting a parcel tax.
Scott C. May 04, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Hi Chris, Unfortunately, I don't make time to monitor this very good Patch website as closely as I would like - someone informed me that you mentioned my full name <blush> and I should take a look... Being envious of your excellent impromptu speaking ability, I'm honored that you called me articulate - thanks :-) If by "Kool-Aid" you are referencing my desire for amicable negotiations, or creating a friendly environment for creative solution generation and my perhaps Pollyanna-ish hope that we can overcome some massive problems with a massive team effort to accomplish a common goal, like saving our schools, then you're right ;-) I do appreciate the wealth of knowledge and time that Skip has generously allocated to me. After all, he does have 30yrs of (practically free) service to San Bruno's schools, and I know he's not perfect, but neither am I. I'm new to all this school stuff, and am always open to hear all sides of every story (considerately presented within a reasonable amount of time). If you have constructive ideas to share, I'm eager to hear them. John or Joan can give you my contact information offline. Respectfully, Scott C.
Chris Kiely May 04, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Edwin- that wasn't meant to be a rhetorical, inflammatory question. I mean it sincerely: What's the real goal? I like Crestmoor, three of my kids went there. But I don't remember Crestmoor parents, when I was there, bragging out about being the best school in the District. I didn't hear other schools saying that about themselves in the current debate, even schools that were also on the chopping block. I don't remember other schools trying to become a neighborhood K-8 so they could isolate themselves from the rest of the District, or telling the Board not to fix Parkside a couple of years ago, so that the money could be spent on the elementaries. I have no problem with people putting their kids first, parents are supposed to do that. But this is a public school system, and the isolationism is a little troubling. So yes, I'd like to see that this chaos is going to give rise to something more than a short term fix. And yes, I'm concerned that smart, dedicated parents are getting co-opted by the people who caused the problems in the first place.
Bill Baker May 04, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Sampling bias: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampling_bias
M Z May 04, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Why is wanting the option of a K-8 so bad? Why is middle school so bad? When the idea was floated a couple of years ago, I thought it would be a great option for students that need a slower transition between elementary and high school. Why not try it at the schools that have the space. Belle Aire has space and since it is in T5, why not at this wonderful school? All the schools in San Bruno are wonderful in their own way, why not capitalize on this? Why does coming up with ideas mean that ideas like K-8 is isolationism? Racist? The district is in T1 and needs to come up with a plan. Personally, I think promoting wonderful, unique and special schools would be a fabulous draw to the district. We have 7 elementary schools and 1 middle with lots of room to grow district wide. Some kids need the slower transition to high school than others. Why the them vs. us mentality? We are part of a great city, lets show some San Bruno pride and come up with a way to keep and attract kids to our schools.
Heidi Beck May 04, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Martin, you know this is not a scientific poll, and there's nothing on this site that keeps people from voting more than once. Of course people at the meeting support a parcel tax -- but what the larger community thinks is another story!
Martin Ricard (Editor) May 04, 2012 at 05:14 AM
You're right about the sampling bias, and I'm aware of that. But just wanted to put that out there.
Colleen May 04, 2012 at 05:45 AM
It is disheartening that it takes an issue like school closure to bring this community together. Now that the vote to not close a school has taken place, will everyone continue to be as involved? In general, I am not speaking of the people who comment on this board as most posters truly care about the educational opportunities available in San Bruno. I agree with John Marinos that people need to stay involved and work on solutions. Chris, while I find myself agreeing with you more often than not; I often have the impression you are kicking off your reelection campaign on this board. You make some excellent comments and suggestions but they are often overshadowed by your constant bashing of the current board and administration with the underlying tone that this is occurring because you are no longer a board member. With your knowledge of the district and ideas you should be a board member and I would support you if you ran. You just don’t need to bash the current board to make your point. You are not the only one who does this but it takes away from the messages you send which are often on target Colleen Eberle
Edwin S May 04, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I'm concerned that you meant it sincerely. I do not like that you are calling out Crestmoor parents by group, or specifically by name. I still don’t understand what your ramblings against Crestmoor have to do with anything here – it seems you have some personal resentment against Crestmoor that you can't shake. You will always find a few parents barging about whatever they are personally involved with, at any school, at any organization. Your evaluation of the Crestmoor community seems to assume the worst, it is a good school and an asset to the community. Supporting your school is not putting down another. I’m encouraged to see a school proud of its accomplishments, and valuing education. It’s only appropriate that the Crestmoor community used academic accomplishments as part of its defense for remaining open. What on earth did you want them to say “Hi, please don’t close down our school because we just kind of like something about it”. The K-8 idea was an excellent one, other districts have it, and it offers options not currently available. I would not enroll my children, but it has its merits. Has nothing to do with Parkside. You still haven’t supplied stats on transfer to Taylor across all schools in the district; let’s see if Crestmoor is at the top. BTW, I see former Crestmoor parents as very much involved at Parkside, with the PTO, and music boosters. I have just found out that you were REMOVED from the School Board in years past.
Joe May 04, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Chris Kiely you are a bright person but I have always been waiting for the other shoe to drop with you and it did on the night of the closure meeting when you very eloquently singled out Crestmoor to close. Then I read your letter to the editor in the San Mateo Daily Journal saying that the school board could not make the tough decision about school closure and the picture started to become clear. Had they voted for school closure i believe you would have condemned them for closing schools. It does not matter what the argument is you will always come out against the current board and superintendent. , I see you have a vendetta. Choose a side not against the board but for the children, we could use you. I do not like the current board and superintendent anymore than you do, but a recall will only help school closure because all of the effort put into saving the schools will be split.I was was the parent you said "bragging"about Crestmoor being #1. It is fact which you can check the rankings schooldiggers.com. I am against asking San Bruno to save the school district through tax. That is why i asked for an opportunity to raise money ourselves without school board involvement and elected reps. I like Curtner also talked with Skip and other members of the school board, I know the agendas but I am not going to cut off any line of communication that can help save the schools, that includes you and your knowledge.There are too many factions and too many agendas on both sides.
Chris Kiely May 04, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Scott- I never said you were drinking Skip's Kool-Aid, I hope you aren't. You got up at several meetings and made thoughtful, constructive comments. What I am trying to point out is that Skip's typical M.O. in these situations is to take folks who make intelligent comments aside, and privately tell them "the real story". Or to mention all the big things they are working on "behind the scenes". With lovely reasons why he can't talk about them in public, and why they had to do the things they did. You won't be the only one he does that with. What I mean by "drinking the Kool-Aid" is relying on anything that he (or anyone else, including me) is saying about this without verifying it yourself. Talk to him all you want. But if you spend any time waiting for him to move things in the right direction, you probably find it was time wasted. Time we don't have.
Chris Kiely May 04, 2012 at 08:53 PM
More generally, the latest budget news (Dan Walters of the Sac. Bee today) out of Sacramento says they are $3Billion more in the hole over the next two years than they thought in March. I expect Board may start waffling again on school closure. Likely at the meeting next week.
Zentrifugal May 05, 2012 at 12:18 AM
I would have to know a lot more before I cast my vote, such as how the funds will be used and what the district's plan is. I am very supportive of the students, though I have a lot of reservations about the board and administration. I hope there will be some more media coverage and explanations of the districts financial situation so that residents can understand how such a measure fits into the districts overall plans. I'm not a fan of just voting yes for funds when I don't have a coherent explanation of the district's direction.
Steve B May 05, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Taxed to the Max That would be a NO vote
Scott C. May 05, 2012 at 05:09 AM
Hi Chris, Thanks for clarifying, and... Agreed. The key fact that this new guy has taken away is that we have to sprint towards the accomplishment of 2-3 major goals to avert potential disaster looming in November.
Scott C. May 05, 2012 at 05:48 AM
If the expenses outweigh the revenues as much as I understand they might, something has to go. Maybe we close all of San Bruno schools and make it a purely on-line school district, then use the savings to buy all the kids iPads... I jest, but seriously, the district has provide transparency to the community in a comprehensible format, so that my kindergartner can understand it. Perhaps they lay out their hierarchy of needs against a yardstick or a rectangular thermometer. Listed at the bottom are core expenses that can't be altered, moving up, the next section lists critical expenses; further up, important items, then at the top is a shining goal we can all rally around that makes our district the envy of California. Filling up that thermometer are the funds we have, the empty space above are the funds we need. If we broadly list the hierarchy of expenses against the revenue, then we know what we have to give up if we don't get the $$.
Chris Kiely May 06, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Scott- Dr. Hutt actually tried to get the Board to do that a few years ago. He had a special session about what the District's core program was. Somehow, that meeting got turned into more of a goals session, where they ended up listing ideals, and what they wanted the District to be able to offer. So that listing of "what is the core", and how much does it cost never got created.
John Marinos May 07, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Chris-Back during the Parkside Pancake Breakfast you and I had a great conversation(at least at the time I thought that) about our DIstrict. I left that conversation thinking you had real solutions to our real problems and the Board should be taking your thoughts seriously. I have heard you say many intelligent well thought out statements at the Board meetings. Then I read your postings about you slamming Crestmoor. I did find it humorous when describing Crestmoor you use the words "isolate" and "isolationalism". Chris, you know Crestmoor has the most intra-district transfers in than any other school. Actually, Crestmoor has students from every school in our District. No other school can make that statement. That certainly does not sound like a school that isolates other students or parents..... The momentum is finally shifting. Join in that movement by being positive. Let's grow this district to being the evny of the Peninsula and not pit one school against another.
Heidi Beck May 07, 2012 at 07:11 AM
John, let me add a little historical perspective. When Chris was talking about isolationism in his statement, "I don't remember other schools trying to become a neighborhood K-8 so they could isolate themselves from the rest of the District, or telling the Board not to fix Parkside a couple of years ago, so that the money could be spent on the elementaries," he was talking about Crestmoor in the PAST, not the present. I was attending school board meetings regularly at the time, and I remember it pretty much the way Chris says it. Certainly, there were members of the Crestmoor community AT THAT TIME who believed a K-8 school was a better educational option for their kids, but it was also clear from meetings AT THAT TIME that there were members of the community who had another agenda that was isolationist and exclusive. So that's where Chris is coming from with that statement. I don't always agree with Chris, but I was at those meetings years ago and that's what he is talking about. Not the current community.


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