Guest Opinion: Stanford's commitment to Palo Alto schools | March 1, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - March 1, 2019

Guest Opinion: Stanford's commitment to Palo Alto schools

by Martin Shell

Strong public education is deeply valued in Palo Alto. The Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) and Stanford University have a long and close history together, reflecting our shared commitment to education as the key to society's health and advancement.

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Martin Shell is vice president and chief external relations officer of Stanford University.

Comments

31 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 1, 2019 at 8:05 am


Quote from article:

“Talks with the county are ongoing and we are not yet permitted to publicly share details while that process continues.“

Huh ???? The GUP, general use permit process with the county is a public process conducted in public hearings and studies are being prepared under CEQA as required by California state law; what exactly is Stanford not permitted to share???


31 people like this
Posted by Stanford PR
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 1, 2019 at 8:37 am

Stanford PR is a registered user.

During the last GUP, Stanford agreed to provide land for a school for its residents who were far from the existing schools but provided a parcel far from where their students would be that was not usable. This time Stanford has made very clear they do not want to build enough housing to significantly mitigate the impact of the additional jobs and grad students they would be adding to campus. Thus it appears they are using the threat of sending unfunded students to PAUSD to try and get out of mitigating their housing impacts.


89 people like this
Posted by BIll Glazier
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 1, 2019 at 9:53 am

As a Stanford grad it pains me to say this, but this guy (Martin Shell) should be fired. Now.

His argument can be summarized as follows:

1) We'd like to help you, but we cannot tell you how. Maybe iater.

2) You have too much capacity in your current school system. You should be glad we are willing to keep your schools full.

3) We pay enough property tax already, and in the future if we experience a tremendous amount of growth in our taxable businesses, perhaps some additional money might trickle down.

After attending an event at Stanford this week, I drove by all the new housing complexes being built on the South part of campus - by Escondido Village and the old graduate student housing. I was stunned by the density and number of buildings. It almost looked like Co-op City in the Bronx. The number of kids that will be coming from that is tremendous.

It seems this new VP of External Relations is not a fan of reality or the truth. That seems in vogue presently. As much as I love Stanford, they need to stop thinking growth at all costs is the right answer all the time. A lot of us who attend the school stay in Palo Alto, and we would like the school to respect the community, and be supportive of its school system and its residential character

I will give one very clear, but perhaps minor, example where Stanford is not very good at sharing. Stanford athletic teams regularly have access to Palo Alto and Gunn HS fields for practices for their athletic teams and visiting opponents - football, soccer, lacrosse. Attempts on the part of our high school teams to access Stanford fields (even on a paid basis on lowly grass fields) have resulted in a very clear lack of interest in any cooperation on their part.

Stanford, do you yourself a favor and stop writing op-eds like this. They disappoint even your loyal alumni. The most important thing to most Palo Altans is the quality of our school system. Stop trying to be a free rider and use it without paying into the system.






31 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 1, 2019 at 11:04 am

It's time to stop bullying Stanford. The campaign being run against Stanford has been dishonest.

Facts:
Stanford has proposed building housing as part of its expansion, with a potential yield of 275 PAUSD students over 17 years.
PAUSD's enrollment declined by 292 students just this past year.
PAUSD's enrollment is projected to decline.
Stanford is a tax exempt organization.
Stanford's lands are in the PAUSD school district; PAUSD is obligated to educate students living on Stanford lands.
The County and City, along with the teacher's union and the SEIU and prohousing advocates, with the school board's consent are pushing to force Stanford to build much more housing than Stanford proposed.
The County and City's and the teacher's union and SEIU's proposal to force Stanford to build much more housing would yield many more PAUSD students than Stanford's proposal.

The teacher's union and SEIU, along with the elected officials they put into office, say they are pushing Stanford to pay their “fair share” for sending students without corresponding property tax. Yet the are the ones pushing Stanford to build far more housing than it proposed, which would lead to potentially far more PAUSD students. And Stanford is paying its fair share --- contributing 17% of PAUSD's property tax revenues for only 6% of the students. Yet the same group isn't asking for any “fair share” from the 251 out of district PAUSD students who bring no corresponding property tax --- $0--- because these are teacher's children. @ $20k/student/year that costs PAUSD $5 million/year.

This is just another money grab, make Stanford build more housing to benefit their group, and then force Stanford to pay for the outcome they pushed for --- extra students from the extra housing they want to force Stanford to build. And also a gambit to maintain their salaries, perhaps?

Stop pushing for more Stanford rental housing, which would bring more traffic, and yield more unfunded students to our public school system.


28 people like this
Posted by Logic
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 1, 2019 at 11:12 am

Logic is a registered user.

So the next 292 families that move to Palo Alto dont have to pay property taxes to cover the cost of their students? Act now and you get a discount!

And then if I invest in commercial property in Palo Alto that generates more tax revenue than my students cost I can offset that from my property taxes that go to paying for our schools? What a deal! Sign me up!

Thanks For making all this so clear and simple!! Much easier than doing my share! I’ll have what they’re having!


10 people like this
Posted by Bill Glazier
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 1, 2019 at 11:14 am

[Post removed.]


21 people like this
Posted by Propertytaxpayer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 1, 2019 at 11:35 am

How about this - cut the PR and pay the amount per pupil that it costs PAUSD to educate them. Make sure it is safe for your kids to get to school. Pretty simple. If money is a problem, try using the revenue from your commercial property. You own Stanford shopping center which is subject to prop 13. You must make a fortune from that each month. Or you could tap into your 26 billion dollar endowment.

This should have been a simple issue but your greed and arrogance has made it a community problem.


13 people like this
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 1, 2019 at 11:40 am

> Stanford has not proposed any housing configuration that would
> produce 1,446 students in Palo Alto, a figure that many have seen.

This statement suggests that Stanford has never suggested the possibility of over 1,400 new students based on its growth. This is simply not true.

The so-called Stanford/Terman agreement includes the following language:

Whereas the new development contemplated by the proposed amended GUP may increase the number of District students residing on Stanford lands to between 7% and 12% of the total enrollment of the District.

The document claims that at the time of the document’s signing, Stanford students comprised about 5% of the total District enrollment. Strangely, the document is not dated, but it is signed by then Superintendent Don Phillips.

Presumably, those signing this Agreement were thinking about the enrollment of the District at the time of the signing. But this is sloppy thinking, since the District could grow from other sources than Stanford growth.

If we were to look at the current enrollment of about 12,000, then 12% comes to over 1,400 students.

It’s a shame that Stanford officials can not be honest with the residents and taxpayers of Palo Alto. It would be one thing to admit that Stanford did suggest this 1,400 number over a decade ago, but now doesn’t see that its plans would generate that many new students. But that’s not the tact this fellow has taken.

The source of the 1,400 number is from Stanford itself, via the Stanford/Terman Agreement.


12 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 1, 2019 at 11:46 am

@Anon and @Bill Glazier. Because the County and Stanford are in negotiations for a possible Development Agreement, they are prohibited from discussing any details. Note that we haven't seen or heard anything from the County either about it. This is standard for negotiations. There will be a public comment period when and if a draft development agreement is reached. This point has been mentioned numerous times.

Yes, there is substantially more housing on campus - because Stanford graduate students, post docs, faculty, staff - just like our teachers and city employees and really just about everyone who doesn't work for a tech company here in Palo Alto - have been priced out of Palo Alto and the surrounding neighborhoods. Even the Weekly writes about the "housing crisis" in this area. Stanford's development is in line with the State's housing goals. The State wants communities to build up, not out. Palo Alto is way, way behind.

@Logic. Snarky, inflammatory comments add nothing to the discussion. This is the problem with the "online" world; many people seem to be taking their cue from the current administration about commenting either here or on Twitter.

We've been in Palo Alto a long, long time (yes, we benefit hugely from Prop 13). Things have changed greatly in the last forty years. Stanford, unlike Palo Alto, seems to be adapting to the changing times.


7 people like this
Posted by LAHscot
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 1, 2019 at 11:48 am

Let Stanford pay something between what we in Los Altos Hills contribute it tax revenues per LAH student that attend PAUSD schools - in excess of $20k per year/student, which is considerably more that the average for PA residents. Something between that figure and the "average" is what Stanford should pay for any students above its current enrollment. As for a site, how about taking back Fremont Hills, currently rented for more than 30 years to Pinewood School (private) AND provide Marguerite busing to mitigate the traffic impact on Los Altos Hills? That is completely possible under the lease terms (to terminate the lease with notice <--- 4-years now required; so, get on it! AND, make PAUSD whole for the Pinewood rental foregone for some number of years.


14 people like this
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 1, 2019 at 12:08 pm

> as a whole Stanford lands provide high tax
> revenues to PAUSD compared to the relatively small
> number of K-12 students living on university lands.

Statements like this one are technically true, but offer no clarity to the discussion. Companies leasing “Stanford Lands” pay the taxes, not Stanford. Stanford itself pays very little in property taxes. As has been hashed out too many times in the past, individuals living in homes on the Stanford lands pay the property taxes.

When a company vacates its Stanford location, Stanford moves quickly to have the SCC Assessor to revert this site to “educational mission”—in other words, tax exempt.

If Stanford were to stop leasing its property to commercial entities, then these property taxes would dry up.


28 people like this
Posted by PA Grandma
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 1, 2019 at 12:14 pm

Bottom lines ...

Stanford doesn't want to build enough housing to support all the people it wants to hire in this expansion.

Stanford doesn't want to pay the $$$ cost of adding XXX children to PAUSD. (Fill in the $$ blanks depending on the numbers of additional new families who will live on the campus.)

Stanford wants build whatever they want to expand the Stanford Academic Industrial colossus without local community oversight/input and no regard for the consequences.

All of this would be fine and dandy if there were no limits to growth in the form deadlock traffic, no place for service workers to live, school overcrowding - ad your own . . .


30 people like this
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 1, 2019 at 2:20 pm

The Stanford area is suffering from a historic housing crisis. Stanford is the epicenter of the jobs-housing imbalance that has caused rents to double in a decade.

Standard isn't just a private research university; it's also a landowner of a city sized block of land, and a major job center.

I'm a proud Stanford alumnus. But we cannot allow Stanford to make our region's job-housing balance any worse. If Stanford wants more jobs, it must add more housing. Housing near jobs doesn't just keep housing affordable, it also reduces traffic and fights climate change.

If more housing means more students, and that means Stanford must contribute more to school districts, so be it. The alternative of passing the buck on the housing burden to surrounding cities is unacceptable.


17 people like this
Posted by The Public Interest
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 1, 2019 at 4:13 pm

So let me see, using the logic above about commercial properties Stanford owns, if I own a condo in Palo Alto, and rent it out, I shouldn't get any "credit" for paying my property tax, and that shouldn't "count" as paying my "fair share," because the renters "paid" the property tax for me. So I guess I'm not allowed to derive any economic value from my property, like renting it out, because if I do, that doesn't "count," and I'm not paying my "fair share."

Even though whether or not the condo is rented out, say there was a fire in it, and it's sitting empty, I still have to pay the property tax, as I am the owner. But apparently only if I live in the condo, it seems, and maybe only if I pay the right amount, does it "count" as paying my "fair share."

And what about those paying more than their "fair share?" I guess some big mansions with lots of land in the PAUSD district have property taxes generating more than the $20k/student/year that a PAUSD education currently costs. Should they get a rebate since they are paying more than their "fair share?"

And what about those properties that haven't changed hands for a long time, which have really low property taxes from the long ago purchase date, and now have sons or daughters moving in with children who attend PAUSD, who plan to take over those properties and live there, and as a consequence their property taxes won't be raised at all, as that's the way the law works? Are they paying their "fair share?" Should we ask them to pay more to pay their "fair share?"





12 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 1, 2019 at 6:07 pm

Hey, "The Public Interest" the flaw with your logic is that property taxes have two elements: the value of the land and the value of improvements (i.e. buildings, parking, landscaping, etc).

In Stanford Research Park, Stanford leases the land to a tech company. The tech company builds and owns the improvements. Stanford pays the property taxes on the land. The tech company pays the taxes on the improvements as well as lease payments to Stanford for the land.

So, when Martin Shell says that the Research Park "generates tax revenue", the largest chunk of the revenue isn't paid by Stanford at all - that money comes from the tech company. In fact, as other have said, when the tech company no longer leases from Stanford, Stanford appeals their land assessment back to an "educational mission" and greatly reduces their property tax obligations.

This is why Martin Shell's statement is misleading.


22 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 1, 2019 at 6:38 pm

Stanford is a University in name only, in reality it's the Stanford Industrial Complex. They are building not to educate but to grow their own power and wealth. Stanford has an endowment of $26 billion. How much is enough? When the endowment hits $50 billion, will Stanford pay to educate their own kids? Or will it take $100 billion?


7 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 1, 2019 at 8:17 pm

"I want to share a few pieces of context that I hope will help build awareness and constructive community conversation on this very important issue"

Mr. Shell is trying to start a constructive conversation, and I don't understand why the input he has offered is so quickly dismissed. It sounds like this process has been long and collaborative and the hopes and expectations have changed over time. Whatever past documents may say about numbers and projections no longer applies. And I understand that the fact that he can't disclose all the facts is frustrating. but it doesn't mean the University is trying to pull a fast one. It means the University is respecting the terms of this process.

He is offering facts and they sounds promising to me. Stanford is not the enemy of Palo Alto. It is an essential part of the community. Not the most important part, but still essential, like outstanding public schools, innovation, and diversity, Stanford is one of the many things that make Palo Alto so remarkable and strong.

I believe this process could end well for the city and for PAUSD and for Stanford. We just need to be willing to permit space for positive change and wait for the process to unfold.


20 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 1, 2019 at 9:30 pm

As a Stanford graduate and faculty at a university as well as a current PAUSD parent, I can see both sides of the arguments. However, Martin's arguments are not compelling to me.

1. The negotiations are ongoing and in secret.
That may be true, but that does not prevent Stanford from stepping up and doing the right thing, which would be to openly commit to a fair compensation for the burden they will put on PAUSD schools. Would that be difficult?

2. The enrollment in the school district has gone down.
This is not relevant. If the school district has fewer students, they have less income (since at least a portion of funds are allocated based on the number of students). Since some costs (such as building maintenance) are fixed, PAUSD will have to do the (almost) the same job with less money. So having fewer students will stretch the budgets thinner, and having more students coming in from tax-free households will stretch the existing funds even further.

3. The actual number of students is going to be 275 rather than 1400.
It is impossible to know for sure exactly how many students will be in this category, but any number of new students will increasingly stretch the PAUSD budget.

4. Stanford already pays its fair share.
While it may be true that Stanford pays a lot of taxes in Palo Alto, that has no bearing on how the school district is going to pay for this influx of students. There is no secret stash of money to cover the extra costs. Either we will have to make due with less, which means a worse education for our children, or we will have to raise taxes, effectively subsidizing Stanford to give their employees children free education.

It is in Stanford's best interest to ensure that the Palo Alto schools are strong. When potential new faculty are considering joining Stanford, the school system is a significant consideration in making the decision.

The question of supporting the PAUSD schools could be addressed in a straightforward manner by just counting up the number of students that fall into this untaxed category each year and then paying PAUSD a fixed amount per student that is equal to the lost revenue caused by not paying the taxes. I realize that there are other issues on the table, such as new school costs and safe routes to school, but at least we could start with a commonsense approach to solving the problem of the per-student funding loss.


6 people like this
Posted by Midtown50
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 2, 2019 at 10:07 am

Why is the county deciding what Stanford can build when the main impact is on Palo Alto and the property is apparently associated with Palo Alto schools? I would suggest revisiting the agreement of Palo Alto to educate students that do not live in the city of Palo Alto.


9 people like this
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Mar 2, 2019 at 11:30 am

stephen levy is a registered user.

Stanford has committed to making a contribution to the schools.

What is a fair amount does not have an obvious answer. Schools are paid for by all of us. Virtually no one pays the full cost for their students.

Most funding comes from sources that do not have children--older residents, younger families without children, families whose children go to private schools and non residential property owners.

That is how our system of school finance works. We have shared public financing not user pays full cost financing. So asking Stanford to pay much more than anyone else pays per student seems unfair to me.

It should be possible to document what the assessed value of the 550 rental units would be and see what revenues would be generated as a starting point.

But it is also true that Stanford as a university is tax exempt for many activities and the final result will come from a negotiation where Stanford is being asked to do a lot of other commitments re the GUP.


7 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 2, 2019 at 1:38 pm

@ Dan. Your enumerated comments are interesting because they conflict with information by PAUSD, Stanford and the County - but in different ways.

1. "Commitment." If you've been following this whole process, you'd know that Stanford has repeatedly "committed" to supporting the schools. But, they haven't agreed to PAUSD's and the PTA's demands which are, really, really absurd if you've read them. The biggest question is "what is fair compensation?" I have no doubt that the County will ensure that the schools will at the very, very minimum get "fair compensation." Supervisor Simitian is one of the negotiators and he is very committed to schools and the district he serves.

2. "The fact that enrollment has gone done is not relevant because funding is allocated on a per child basis." This statement is the opposite of what PAUSD claims because we are a basic aid district and our school funding comes "primarily local property taxes" and it is "key to the quality of the PAUSD schools." See PAUSD's fact sheet. PAUSD will not run into problems that Redwood City is having because are funding is NOT tied to enrollment.

The decrease in enrollment IS relevant for PAUDS's long-term planning purposes so that whatever Stanford contributes to the school system has the "biggest bang for the buck." Right now, PAUSD has more than a few empty classrooms in different schools throughout the district. The number of senior citizens in Palo Alto continues to rise (See City Comp Plan). One of PAUSD's request is for land for a new school and the money to build the school. Is this a wise use of resources? I'd argue "no" when you look at enrollment numbers and our demographics.

3. "It is impossible to know for sure exactly how many students will be in this category." It may be impossible to know for sure, but if you read the County prepared FEIR (available online), you'd know that 275 is a conservative upper limit. A more accurate estimate would be under 200. And, that's IF Stanford builds as proposed. They've applied for what they maximally build. For the 2000 GUP, the EIR estimated up to 550 new students may be added over the lifetime of the permit. Stanford paid mitigation based on that number. How many students were added? 50. Not 550. Stanford did not build as much housing as applied for is my understanding.

4. "Stanford Already Pays their Fair Share." Well, that's the crux of this whole thing. PAUSD's request is that they annually pay (in addition to all other requests) the equalivent of property taxes per child (not household) of almost $45,000. How many homes in PAUSD pay $45000/year in property taxes for each child that attends PAUSD? By PAUSD's measure, there are an awful lot of homes that are not paying their "fair share."

5. The Commonsense Approach - amount per child? Is that the common sense approach? It's not how we fund our public schools. See #4 above. Here in Palo Alto, all households contribute to the schools sytem. Knowing the median and avarage contribution per household and single family home may be a good place to start. Remember, all of those homes that are owned by faculty and staff pay full taxes on the land and improvements. Should those taxes count towards Stanford's fair share? And, Stanford homes have a much higher turnaround than Palo Alto's since you can't pass your home to children and you can't live on campus and not work there and you can't rent it out.

So, what is a common sense approach?


8 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 2, 2019 at 1:49 pm

@Midtown50. The County is deciding because Stanford campus lies in unincorporated County land.

PAUSD can always revisit not educating students who don't live within the city's boundaries. This would exclude the students who live in Los Altos Hills (I'm sure those homes would like their taxes redirected elsewhere); over 200 students who don't live in the district, but who have at least one parent who teaches in the district (a long and valued and worthwhile program for all); and of course the 550+ students who attend PAUSD as part of the Tinsley VTP (another worthwhile and highly valued program) But this last group cannot be excluded since the program is conducted as parat of a Settlement Order. (Web Link)


18 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2019 at 3:21 pm

You sort of had me until the editorial said this:
"As an academic institution whose primary mission is to advance knowledge and learning, Stanford supports a range of programs that serve local educators and K-12 students. "

This is like saying local billionaires give back for the destruction they have wrought on the local community and quality of life by giving out little bags of salty chips at Halloween. And charging $5 for them. Huh? Stanford is notable for how stingy it is with its resources relative to the local community.

For example: PAUSD shares its auditoriums and other public spaces with the community. If you want to rent them, the cost is reasonable to non-profits if the schools aren’t using them. The City of Palo Alto does the same. But if you want to ask Stanford if you can hold a musical event to benefit one of the PAUSD schools that Stanford faculty and staff send their kids to, and that would complement the musical offerings of the Stanford arts programs, at one of Stanford's facilities because the community doesn't have anything as large as, say, Dinkelspiel, the answer is a blanket NO. They only allow their facilities to be used for Stanford. Even if the Stanford space isn't going to be used then for anything else.

Another example: we are blessed locally with several high-quality youth orchestras that serve as excellent musical and performing educational opportunities to augment the wonderful programs in the schools. Stanford families can take advantage of all of these. PAUSD and the City (Cubberly) rent space out to more than one of them for rehearsals and performances at reasonable rates -- as do Foothill College and DeAnza College, and other cities like Cupertino, Campbell and and other schools up and down the peninsula. Canada College is home to other adult orchestral performers. These programs are well-established, many decades old. It's otherwise very difficult to get the spaces to run these programs, and it's a great advantage for local youth. Stanford would never do anything like what PAUSD, Foothill and DeAnza do, even though Stanford has so, so much more funding and actual resources. (For heaven’s sakes, the Weekly won’t even advertise for these long-time local organizations’ events because they have to hold them outside of Palo Alto! They could hold them locally if Stanford weren’t so hardnosed/stingy.). It's like the local billionaire with the gates and the doberman's suddenly wants to remind you of how chummy they are because of those annual snack bags of cheetos. Really?

I'm not sure what other programs this editorial means. I'm very glad for the programs that serve East Palo Alto, but they are as much about the research and reputation of the Stanford people, not altogether a wholly altruistic endeavor. The summer camps? Stanford OHS? Stanford Continuing Studies? They're great, but all so UNGODLY expensive, only rich people can go. (Yeah, sure, there might be aid but the middle here doesn't usually quality because people are judged on an absolute scale relative to income, not based on the fact that it costs five times more to live here - outside of the Stanford cocoon - than anywhere else and that a $150,000 salary - which sounds like a lot - is the equivalent of $30,000 in much of the rest of the country).

Sure, every once in awhile, the music department holds a one-of short program to introduce music to the kids. I can think of many organizations, like the local opera on a shoestring budget, that contribute way more to share music with the kids. Foothill and DeAnza, on shoestring budgets, do WAY WAY infinitely more for local arts education than Stanford.

Yes, I like the free art museums. Been a few times, thanks. They made those for themselves, though, not really for the community. Again, a tour of the great billionaire's house once or twice in ten years just doesn't improve my life like my kid getting to be part of a great musical opportunity or having a reasonable sized class at school. The fact that the list this article brought up couldn’t really mention anything substantial, especially relative to what the far less-well-funded local organizations do for the community, really comes across as handwaving to excuse a whole lotta stinginess.

On the whole, the programs Stanford makes available to the community are just so expensive, you can hardly call them "for the community". It's more, like Stanford, everything they do is for themselves with some crumbs for the few who can afford it. I really, really would love to hear about resources and programs that refute what I am saying, but I have been here a really long time, and if they exist, my question would be, why are they such a secret?

Mostly Stanford acts like the community is an inconvenience on the other side of the ivory tower walls.


13 people like this
Posted by Big Red
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 2, 2019 at 3:28 pm

What the complainers don't get... if it wasn't for Stanford University, Palo Alto would be just another nondescript town on the peninsula. Ingrates.

Close proximity to Stanford is why your PA residential property is worth what it is.

Consider the major difference between PA & EPA.


24 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2019 at 3:45 pm

@Red,
Ummm....lots of communities around the nation have high real estate prices because of the local k-12 SCHOOLS without Stanford. The neighborhoods in Cambridge around MIT are high priced but they are also crappy. Brown University existing in Providence with nice neighborhoods surrounding it, yet still the houses cost a fraction of what they do here. You make a point that does not follow and comes across as more billionaire making false excuses for why billionaire should be allowed to take more of what they've already taken from the ordinary person living next door.

Stanford's presence is why we have these companies that want to overdevelop and take over our town, which has largely happened in the retail areas. Cal Ave is like some company's glorified gym spa and eatery, after driving out all the longtime businesses that served residents.

My proximity to three top schools in the state are why my real estate is high. Stanford's presence here does nothing at all but encourage companies trying to stay close to Stanford who are ruining life here, and frankly, reducing what the real estate would otherwise be if not for the drop in quality of life.


19 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2019 at 3:51 pm

Furthermore, Stanford's ability to be in a community with top-ranking schools is one major reason it can attract top faculty.


2 people like this
Posted by Midtown50
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Mar 2, 2019 at 4:48 pm

Midtown50 is a registered user.

@Mary
Thanks for the info - my followup question is why is the Stanford's "unincorporated County land" assigned to Palo Alto schools? I'd like to understand this.


8 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 2, 2019 at 5:49 pm

@Midtown50. PAUSD and Stanford have been “together” since PAUSD’s beginnings. From PAUSD’s website. “Two major events have materially formed the city—the founding of Stanford University in 1891 and the founding of Hewlett Packard in 1939. With the first event, the intellectual and cultural seeds of the city were sown;...The school District was founded on March 20, 1893. The first school opened in September 1893 with two teachers and 70 pupils crowded into a temporary two-room schoolhouse.” Web Link

From the very beginning, PAUSD and Stanford worked together as a community. Professors used to live in Palo Alto. The fact that the City owns its own utilities is because it was two professors who lived in Palo Alto who has the idea and helped to make it happen. “It was the forward thinking of two Stanford University professors, Charles "Daddy" Marx and Charles Benjamin Wing, who were largely responsible for the emergence of the municipally owned utility service in Palo Alto. Marx and Wing argued that the City could provide utility service at rates significantly below those charged by private companies. One of the founding principles of those early pioneers was that the utilities must show a financial return to the community.” Web Link

The notion that Stanford is not part of the community or is some drain or sponge or whatever negative image that’s being projected, is, in my mind, relatively new. Don’t buy into the divisive “us/them” mentality being pedaled; we are all in this together. We are all one community (including all the wonderful students who live outside the city boundaries and attend PAUSD!)


27 people like this
Posted by Todd Collins
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 2, 2019 at 10:08 pm

Todd Collins is a registered user.

I'm happy to read that Stanford "intends to offer additional support for Palo Alto schools through this development agreement." That's great - but still disappointing given that it is the most specific thing they have told the District in 18 months of on and off discussions. It could mean anything from what our schools really need - a flexible funding formula whereby Stanford pays its fair share for the actual number of students attending from rental housing - to a box of pencils. It would be great hear something more specific, so the community, not to mention PAUSD, can understand their intentions. The District requested this for months and got nothing.

On the arguments about number of students - yes, absolutely, Stanford proposed 550 units, which the County estimated would produce 275 students. The County Planning Dept., on the other hand, studied Stanford adding up to 3000 units with over 1400 PAUSD students, because the County Supervisors presumably want the option of *requiring* that of Stanford.

Neither the schools, Stanford, or the County can tell how many apartments there will be or how many PAUSD students will live there. That's why the District has suggested a flexible per-student per-year formula, based on what actually happens, not anyone's guess. It's fair to all parties - it's hard to understand why Stanford has shown no interest in this approach, and continues instead to argue over the (unknowable) number of students.

As for the arguments about declining enrollment and taxes "generated" by Stanford lands (and paid by others, who actually own the buildings), other posters have pointed out the weakness of those points, as have many others to Stanford directly.

I hope Mr. Shell's comment is the first step in Stanford stepping up to do its fair share. It would be most welcome by all in the school community.


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Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2019 at 8:55 am

If you look back at the developments around Palo Alto, part of the modus operandi of overdevelopment advocate City staff and City Council (who were somehow able to take "finders fees" from developers, I still don't know how that's anymore legal than taking expensive gifts) was to underestimate the impact on Palo Alto schools. Remember the quaint days when Juana Briones was an overflow school? They said the Ricky's Hyatt development would mostly be occupied by seniors (Ha ha ha - as if those tall 3-story underparked units that are hard for young healthy people would be most attractive to the demographic most impacted by mobility impairment). They said this to get all kinds of zoning exceptions. And guess what happened? Mostly families with kids to put in the local schools moved in.

I'm not exactly a fan of the fiscal management or honesty of the local school district. But in this case, I think Stanford's notorious stinginess is misplaced.


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Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2019 at 8:55 am

I take it back (sort of). There’s Stanford Splash, which is better than Berkeley Splash, but not as good as MIT’s. There’s Kavli’s open house (very cool).

But Splash is a one of, local kids don’t get any kind of priority for the lottery spots, and it’s still not a sustained support of anything in the community.

So, while I stand by my point, that Stanford is mostly pretty stingy and standoffish with the local community, as compared to other far less-well-resourced educational and community organizations, but there are a few notable exceptions.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 3, 2019 at 9:49 am

Our County and City and School District government officials MUST hold Stanford accountable for their undeniable impact on the our public schools and traffic.
Strictly speaking, I do not oppose development (provided the foothills aren’t built on, something I was always told was a condition of those who years ago generously donated these attractive lands TO Stanford).
It is also necessary for Stanford to contribute more financially NOW to PAUSD and also to traffic improvements.
The new roundabout is well done.
I personally know some “Stanford” homes that are outrageously under valued with a tiny amount of property taxes being paid, all the while, in at least one situation, more than one generation of students benefit by attending PAUSD.
Stanford has one of the largest university endowments in the world.
- from a homeowner who already pays high property taxes on a home (home owned a moderate # of years)


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Posted by @Palo Altan
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 3, 2019 at 4:21 pm

@Palo Altan is a registered user.

Why do you think the school district is as strong as it is? Do you not believe that Stanford has any impact on that?


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Posted by PA Grandma
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 3, 2019 at 8:30 pm

@Steven Levy . . .

I'm sure you must know about the fundraising group PIE (Parents in Education) the fundraising group which raises money every year to support academic programs the school district does not have the funds to provide. Every parent is asked to give what they can afford. Clearly some can afford more than others. And this is above and beyond property taxes. PIE, the PTA and groups that donate (through fundraising) targeted financial support for particular programs go a long way toward providing a rich educational experience for Palo Alto children. Clearly it is not the case that parents and Palo Alto residents do not pay much to support schools.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2019 at 8:31 pm

Posted by Palo Altan, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> So, while I stand by my point, that Stanford is mostly pretty stingy and standoffish with the local community, as compared to other far less-well-resourced educational and community organizations, but there are a few notable exceptions.

It seemed to me to be a rather public and conscious decision by Stanford. Back in the day, there were more activities on campus where city residents were encouraged to attend, including low/no-cost athletic events. I don't remember exactly when it was, but, Stanford made a point of instituting admissions charges for non-students to all sporting events, even if it meant drastically reducing the audience. Stanford was very public about wanting to "divorce" city residents from Stanford events. I don't know why.

I'm hoping that Stanford will change course on this very non-traditional-university policy.


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Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2019 at 9:40 am

"Why do you think the school district is as strong as it is? Do you not believe that Stanford has any impact on that?”

" Stanford was very public about wanting to "divorce" city residents from Stanford events. I don't know why.”

The local schools are strong because they are well-funded and the local parent community is extremely supportive and involved, the students well-motivated and geared to getting a good education. If Stanford is somehow a partner I don’t know about, please let us all know, because again, they have seemed the billionaire behind the ivory tower gates while those with much much less to give have been the partners. I have often wished the district would give up on all the high-cost resume-building administrators, and just hire a few Stanford education grad students, but it’s almost like the organizations exist on different planets.

I might feel differently if we had gone through school near Stanford, but where we were, there just weren’t that many Stanford families. There are academic partnerships like Middle College with the community colleges — I know several successful adults who went through Middle College to get started on their chosen career paths earlier — but nothing with Stanford. The word is that Stanford doesn’t even like to admit the local youth. There’s no regular academic or financial support from Stanford that I know of. The best word is probably “Standoffish”. $tandoffish $tanford.

I know there were particular doctors involved in local mental health efforts, but that wasn’t really a Stanford effort. I remember calling some of the organizations mentioned during the worst of the crises, and there again, “standoffish” seemed the best word.

@Anon, now that you mention it, it seems to me there was a turning point, too. They just got so … stingy and self-absorbed. It’s a far cry from the days when Mrs. Stanford sold her jewels to rebuild Stanford after the big quake, so the students could continue to go tuition free.

Look, I have my criticisms of the local schools especially administration. But what's good about the schools, especially relative to what Stanford could easily be doing? No, I don't see it.


5 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2019 at 9:54 am

That’s the billionaire mentality for you. We should all think we are lucky that they deign to live among us and aren't our lives better because they lifted the property values. Nevermind that most people just suffer all the degradation of their quality of life and health because of the damage the source of the billionaire’s wealth is doing to the area, and that to most people whose lives are already severely curtailed with costs soaring (with no ability to save for retirement except all the money going into the dilapidated tiny roof over their heads), they were happier with the town (including real estate) before the billionaires.

The billionaires in Los Altos have created an organization that makes it possible for Los Altos to maintain a reasonably nice town and downtown with regular retail. Palo Alto billionaires are as standoffish as Stanford, or eager to take over parts of town for themselves *because of* proximity to Stanford.

Let’s not forget that Palo Alto became billionaire city because people like Steve Jobs didn’t want to live in Woodside among the other uber rich but preferred to be among the ordinary folk in a quiet suburb. We ordinary folk make the place the billionaires and the Stanford Faculty want to be; they aren’t exactly giving back, especially not proportionately to the serious, life-altering daily problems they are creating for the locals.

What’s that called when you think you are so great, that other people should just be grateful they are near you?


2 people like this
Posted by jh
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 4, 2019 at 1:55 pm

jh is a registered user.

"In 2018, Stanford lands generated 6 percent of PAUSD student enrollment, with more than three-quarters of those students residing in homes that pay property tax."

Martin implies that campus homes within the County of Santa Clara are the equal of homes within the City of Palo Alto in that because they pay property taxes a portion of those taxes therefore contribute to the PAUSD in the same way the property taxes of Palo Alto residents do.

But campus homes are on county lands and not within the City of Palo Alto. So is it correct to imply that a percentage of their property taxes of campus residents must therefore contribute to the PAUSD in the same way that those of Palo Alto residents do?

PAUSD is a self-funded school district, called a Basic Aid District. (Many decades ago, when California changed the way education for children was funded, school districts were given the choice of keeping a portion of their property taxes to self fund their schools or instead for the State to pay a per pupil allocation.)

So are the property taxes paid on campus homes within the County treated the same way as those paid on properties within the City of Palo Alto? That is, a percentage automatically allocated to PAUSD?

Unfortunately, we have learned that the spokespersons for the University have a long history of appearing to give the full picture while not actually doing so. Accomplished by omissions which have appeared to be deliberately misleading and manipulative. Wordsmithing which has created, sadly, a lack of credibility and trust.


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 4, 2019 at 2:26 pm

Regardless of whether one lives in Palo Alto, on Stanford, in Los Altos Hills or Portola Valley and you are in PAUSD, the taxes are apportioned the same way PAUSD. All homes pay the same tax rate (including school bonds, parcel taxes) to PAUSD if they are assigned to the school district.

I believe that of all those areas, the average taxes paid per single family home is the lowest in Palo Alto and it is the highest in Los Altos Hills. I made a request for that answer from the County, but they said they would have to “run” some programs to get it.

Why did I make this request? I’m a resident and homeowner in Palo Alto. I saw the PAUSD flyer and the numbers just seemed wrong. So I started researching including communicating with the Santa Clara Assessor’s Office and others.

Information put out by PAUSD is wrong. I remain hopeful that it’s an error and that they will correct the information that they and the PTA handed out and that we don’t have another campaign of misinformation like we did with the Judge Persky recall campaign that removed a sound judge from his seat.

I have not heard or read one thing stated by Stanford that is incorrect.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Park Resident
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 4, 2019 at 10:48 pm

FYI-

Menlo Park City School District is facing the same situation with Stanford's development. It gets less press because it is smaller but the financial impact on a small district is considerable. It's also true that MPCSD didn't pressure Stanford University to do anything. Rather, they educate lots of students of fellows and the like, who come for a year and then leave. (Because they often use English Language Development services) . they are even more expensive. While they have every legal right, it's to be noted. We have challenges educating our second language learner students from low income households but always gladly take a host of children from the Stanford fellows.

We're not complaining but it should be out there that they give nothing to MP, they send students, which they have every right to do, but then to proceed with the development leading to more students without a contribution.... It's a bit much.


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Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 5:42 pm

> I believe that of all those areas, the average taxes paid per single
> family home is the lowest in Palo Alto and it is the highest in
> Los Altos Hills. I made a request for that answer from the County

I made this analysis some years ago. At that time, the highest average property taxes were paid by the folks living in Los Altos Hills. Palo Alto paid in the middle and the folks on the Stanford campus owning their own homes paid the least.

At the time, it appeared to me that the homes on the Stanford Campus were owned longer than in Palo Alto and Los Altos Hills. Of course, over time, homes change hands and the assessed values are set at the market value of the home.

One way to do this analysis yourself is to look at the median home price in PA and LAH. The Stanford homes are not traded on the open market, so one has to actually dig out that data from the Assessors' records.


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Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 5:47 pm

> Information put out by PAUSD is wrong.

What information put out by the PAUSD is wrong? Can you provide a brief list?


1 person likes this
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 7:16 pm

> So are the property taxes paid on campus homes within the County treated
> the same way as those paid on properties within the City of Palo Alto?

There is a bit of a misconception here. The PAUSD is an independent agency with taxing authority. The boundary of the jurisdiction is not restricted to a given municipality or area of the county. The PAUSD is a example of this independence, given that it is comprised of LAH, PA and Stanford lands.

> That is, a percentage automatically allocated to PAUSD?

After Prop.13 passed in 1978, the Legislature passed AB-8, which determines how property taxes are to be allocated to those agencies dependent on these taxes. In the case of the PAUSD, it receives roughly 46% of each property tax dollar. The City of Palo Alto, on the other hand, receives only about 9% of each property tax dollar.


3 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Mar 5, 2019 at 10:06 pm

Todd,

You are good at criticizing Shell, but why did PAUSD make such wild-eyed claims about the effect of possible new students on the district in the first place? You lost so much credibility in the beginning that no arbitrator would side with you. After all the county is making the deal with Stanford, not Palo Alto. You got too greedy and got called on it.

Please go back to the drawing board and work with actual "facts" and not gross speculation.


5 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Mar 5, 2019 at 10:23 pm

Todd,

If you haven't done so already, I suggest you have a conversation with Mary. I think she can education you on things PAUSD board members should know, but apparently don't.

The most salient point is that only 6% of Stanford students come from Stanford lands, but Stanford lands provide 17% of PAUSD's property tax. Obviously, most employers do not have students living on their land, but why would 20% or 23% be a fairer percentage than 17%. Try answering that with a straight face.


5 people like this
Posted by macbaldy
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 6, 2019 at 2:40 pm

So much of this ill-informed dogma about the PA-Stanford relationship reminded of the anti-vac propoganda. Why no mention of how both PA high schools are on dedicated Stanford land? Nixon Elementary is on Stanford land. College Terrace is Stanford land. When Stanford began building staff-faculty apartments along Sand Hill Rd, against San Francisquito Creek, those units now have PA street addresses. None of that is tax-exempt.

So many envious locals have no clue about how PA and Stanford have been so variously entangled throughout their 125 years (next month) of coexistent adjacency. Palo Alto was originally the primary housing district for Stanford Faculty and staff. In myriad ways, PA exists because of LSJU. The main impact of Stanford's on-campus housing evolution has been to remove renters from PA housing market--along with their commute traffic. The reason for PA' high-ranking schools is misconstrued. There's an significant variegation of quality among the PAUSD K-8 schools; local PTA and parent contributions vary immensely among the various schools, with the most-augmented schools showing the best performance results. Nothing about whether Stanford sends its 6% kids will change that. Also, PA's many private schools are not unknown to Stanford community parents, ask Menlo School or Castilleja School. So many envious and misguided locals close their eyes to why PA is here...Stanford created PA--virtually. Don't be grateful, just wake up!


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Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 6, 2019 at 4:24 pm

> Why no mention of how both PA high schools are on dedicated Stanford land?

This gets mentioned time and again. However, Palo Alto High School is not on "dedicated Stanford Land". In the 1950s the Palo Alto High School site become the property of the PAUSD, with the proviso that if the property were to ever not be used for a school, it would revert to Stanford ownership. Sadly, far too many people in this town do not know this.

As to the other schools, one of the current Board of Trustees claims to have seen all of the deeds for the other schools on Stanford lands. It's that Trustee's claim that the PAUSD owns these properties. This uncertainty about Stanford land ownership of PAUSD school sites needs to be put to bed. The PAUSD needs to issue a press release, maintained on its web-site in perpetuity, as to who owns the properties where all of its schools are located and what any contingencies for this ownership might exist.

> When Stanford began building staff-faculty apartments along Sand Hill Rd,
> against San Francisquito Creek, those units now have PA street addresses.
> None of that is tax-exempt.

Correct. As they should be taxed.

> So many envious locals have no clue about how PA and Stanford have
> been so variously entangled throughout their 125 years (next month)
> of coexistent adjacency.

The exact history of the Palo Alto school and Stanford is more shrouded in the mist of history than not. When Palo Alto opened its first school (1894) about the same time that Palo Alto incorporated as a town--Stanford was going through a law suit with the US Government, which was seeking repayment of the bonds which Leland Stanford's company (Central Pacific Railroad) had been issued by the Gov't as an inducement to construct its portion of the Transcontinental Railroad in the mid-1860s. The Central Pacific had not repaid its bonds and the government decided that since Stanford had "deep pockets" that it would try to recover its investment from Stanford's widow and her educational establishment. There was talk in the papers (San Francisco Call) about how Stanford might have to shut its newly-opened doors if the government were to prevail in its suit. As it turned out, the government did not prevail.

The papers at the time carried a number of articles about bond elections which were to be paid for by city property owners to pay for the original school site(s). There is no reference to Stanford in any of these articles as having any interest, or planning to contribute in any way, to these expenditures.

At that time, the schools were run by the Palo Alto City government. Up until 1900, Stanford was paying property taxes (about $200K a year). But after the State election giving it tax exempt status, it no longer paid any taxes to help the County or Palo Alto with its infrastructure, or school funding needs.

There are claims that Stanford faculty did have some influence in the schools. Difficult to document. It is true that some Stanford professors were elected to the school board over the years. However, there just is little that one can find in local sources that identifies hard cash or real support being provided to the Palo Alto schools by Stanford other than the original use of Stanford lands for schools.


3 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 6, 2019 at 4:29 pm

@ Wayne Martin. I meant to be clearer in my response to jh of Evergreen Park. As you said Mr. Martin, 46% of every tax dollar goes to PAUSD if one's home has been assigned to PAUSD regardless of whether one has children or not. This applies to homes in Palo Alto, Los Altos Hlls, Stanford and parts of Portola Valley. So, to jh, yes, the homes on Stanford pay into PAUSD.

Mr. Martin, your information is a bit out of date re: Stanford property taxes. Stanford leases its lands to residents for no more than 51 years with most leases being for 35 years now. They can't pass to their children so their turnover rate is higher than in Palo Alto now. I can't find the reference for the analysis of the property tax values, but Palo Alto's average contribution was lowest. This makes sense - we have a very large over 65 population here. They've been in their homes a long time.

What information is wrong that PAUSD put out? No way to be brief. Look at the flyer and look at a guest opinion from a PTA Board Member and the link they provide. First, there are less than 160 students in PAUSD who live in tax exempt housing on Stanford - not the 400 or speculative 1400 PAUSD is claiming.

Second, PAUSD did not pay "full market value" for lands that Stanford once owned and where now several schools reside as the Guest Opinion said.

Third, the district is NOT "currently absorb(ing) $8 million annually to educate students living in tax-exempt Stanford-owned rental properties." How did they come up with that number? So, do none of Stanford's owned homes count as a tax contribution towards educating 160 elementary school children? The list goes on and on.

I like to believe that I'm living in a well-educated, thoughtful community. Let's act like one.


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Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 6, 2019 at 5:11 pm

> I can't find the reference for the analysis of the property tax values,

Well, I was interested enough to actually make many trips to the Assessor’s office and construct a list of all of the parcel number on the Stanford lands. I then looked up every one of those parcel numbers on the Assessor’s web-site, making a spreadsheet with the addresses, parcel numbers and assessed values. The parcels which showed private owners of the homes (ie – properties not paid for by Stanford) went into a separate tab.

I then went through the Assessor’s web-site for all of the properties in LAH assigned to the PAUSD, making another spreadsheet for that portion of the PAUSD. I then acquired a list of properties in Palo Alto which had addresses, parcel numbers and assessed values.

Based on data obtained from the Assessor’s office, the average assessed values were determined. So, it didn’t take much for the three averages to be computed.

This was several years ago. It’s a shame that the PAUSD doesn’t pay to have this data produced by the Assessor’s office—but they haven’t to date. It was a lot of work, but given how many people in this town seem to genuflect before the School District, rather than ask hard questions—I felt it was worth my time to look into this.

> but Palo Alto's average contribution was lowest.

Then where did you get this data?

In the past, the Assessor has always wanted $2,500 (or more) for this data – offering nothing but vacuous excuses for not producing it for free.

Times change, so it’s possible that in time the median per-property assessments might change between LAH, PA and Stanford Residential properties. Today, Zillow shows the median price for a home in PA at about $3.1M. Zillow shows the median price for a home in LAH at $4.7M. So, it’s not hard to see that properties selling today in each of these two towns have different tax assessment—based on their sale prices. Older homes of course affect this sort of analysis, since the older homes will have had initial assessments at the time the properties traded hands.

Zillow claims that median home prices on the Campus are about $3.1M. So, it would seem that turnover since I did my analysis has brought the Stanford homes up to PA prices.

As to how long Stanford leases its properties would contribute to reassessment when the properties are re-leased. That could help to boost property prices.

You’re free to your own opinions, but not your own facts.


3 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 6, 2019 at 5:39 pm

@ wayne martin. I have not made up any facts. I've posted numbers and references from reliable web pagest. I can't find the reference for now - but I will. However, it was an inconsequential difference in average property tax paid. I'd find the median tax paid to be more illuminating. I have made a request of the School Board and the County to do the analysis since this whole issue has become so divisive.

I do note that you did not say a word about PAUSD's claim that they paid full market value for land from Stanford or that they spend $8M more than they get from Stanford to educate less than 160 elementary students. Or their implicit claim that if a household isn't paying almost $45K in property taxes annually per child in the household, then that household isn't paying their "fair share." How else can their $19,200 per child be interpreted?

Really, the School Board and PTA should be ashamed of themselves for taking such a divisive approach to this issue. I've talked to neighbors who rent who tell me they're afraid to say anything - they don't want to draw attention to themselves. Given that 44% of Palo Altans rent (City Comp Plan - look it up), that's an awful lot of people who aren't speaking up.


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Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 7, 2019 at 12:56 pm

> I do note that you did not say a word about PAUSD's claim that they
> paid full market value for land from Stanford

I have the conveyance for the property transfer between Stanford and the PAUSD. This transfer occurred in the mid-1950s. I doubt any of us were around when that transaction occurred. However, it's clear that property in Palo Alto in the 1950s was a lot less valuable than it is now from reading the papers (on microfilm) of that era. Market values change on a day by day basis. Unless you have bothered to look up the price of property during the month that the Palo Alto High School site traded hands and then made your comparison with the known prices of other properties of that month, your use of the words "market value" seems to have little value to this discussion.

As noted in a previous posting, it would behoove the PAUSD to come up with a document that identifies all of its properties (school sites), with any ownership contingencies, and make that document available to the public in perpetuity on its web-site. It's time for everyone to have access to this information.


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