Second community meeting on long term financial planning for Menlo Park schools takes place on Feb. 6

by Parke Treadway on January 31, 2018

Menlo Park City School District Superintendent, Erik Burmeister, invites members of the MPCSD community — future, current and former district parents, as well as all taxpayers and interested community members — to provide input regarding the district’s long-term financial planning. On February 6, 2018 at 6:00 pm in the Boardroom at 181 Encinal Avenue, Atherton, the second of two community input sessions will convene. The first session was held on October 24, 2017.

At this point in the long-term planning process, the district has more information on its financial position and seeks community input on what should be prioritized based on current financial models. The Board and district staff are currently considering a myriad of questions related to long-term financial planning. The Board welcomes public response to these and other questions related to our financial planning:

  • How should MPCSD respond to the latest enrollment projections that show a flatter growth rate as a result of lower birthrates and increased cost of housing?
  • As a community-funded district, MPCSD is dependent on increasing property tax growth for increased funding; increased enrollment does not bring in more revenue. When property tax revenues increase beyond the budgeted amount, how should MPCSD plan for those funds?
  • What impact is local housing development and growth of Stanford University likely to have on MPCSD and how should the district respond?
  • To what degree does increasing salary and benefits of teachers and staff encourage staff to stay in the area and remain teaching and working in MPCSD?
  • How should MPCSD compare to our neighboring districts in terms of quality of program, class size, salary and benefits of staff, and workplace culture and climate?
  • The MPCSD will embark on drafting a Compensation Philosophy that will inform future planning. What should our long-term compensation philosophy include?
  • What impact is the state’s increasing pension burden likely to have on MPCSD in the short and long term? How should the district respond and plan?
  • In years with stronger economic growth, school districts often receive additional one-time funds from the state. When one-time monies are provided to the MPCSD, how should the district spend those funds?
  • Under what conditions would MPCSD need to request a renewal and/or increase of its current property tax level prior to the 2023 expiration of Measure X?

As a community-funded school district, MPCSD depends on a combination of property tax revenue, parcel tax revenue, and educational foundation gifts to provide the world-class education for which it is known. With a 40% student enrollment increase over the last 12 years and new housing development in the area, as well as increasing staffing and program costs, MPCSD staff and elected Board members are dedicated to ensuring sound fiscal planning.

MPCSD remains grateful for the community’s support of the March 2017 Measure X parcel tax. Measure X revenues combined with $2.2 million in cuts have temporarily stabilized the district’s budget. The community-wide conversation we are engaged in will inform how MPCSD prioritizes its programs, staffing, and resources in the longer term.

High-level financial information will be provided prior to public comment. Superintendent Burmeister plans to present the results of the Long-Term Financial Planning Initiative at the regular Board meeting scheduled for June 5, 2018.

In addition to the public input sessions, interested individuals may submit comment to the district by emailing info@mpcsd.org or visiting our monthly information table at the Menlo Park Farmer’s Market on one of the following dates: Feb, 11, Mar 18, Apr 22, or May 20 (dates subject to change). For more information, please contact Parke Treadway, Public Information Officer at info@mpcsd.org.

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