Town Square

School bond measure near approval

Original post made on Feb 23, 2012

The Mountain View Whisman School District board appears poised to move forward on a $198 million bond measure to pay for safety and facilities improvements at local elementary and middle schools.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, February 23, 2012, 12:03 PM


Posted by MV, a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm

This is ridiculous. Property owners are being taxed for schools that are over-crowded and fall behind in performance.

We pay property tax to support schools that we cannot send our kids to.

With more than 50% Mountain View residents living in apartment complexes and city council seems to be adding more high density housing every year. It should consider increasing tax on apartment complex owners.

Also how can property tax be increased with out a vote or public opinion?

Posted by MV, a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I noticed that it will be placed on June ballot. My vote is no, we already pay too much property tax.

North shoreline commerical property tax was set to be used by School District. What is happening with that money?

Posted by Ned, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Vote NO. When I did the math, they are asking me to chip in upwards of $150 a year. The slick glossy flyer that came out in the mail pushes the fact that the bond will be used to build new science labs and modernize science equipment--this from an elementary school district whose tenured science teachers are pretty unimpressive. New facilities and equipment won't make much of a difference as long as tenure is in place preventing qualified science teachers with advanced degrees from earning top pay over lesser qualified dinosaurs protected by the unions.

Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm

They put it on the June ballot knowing full well there will be less people activated to vote. If it were on the November ballot, it would be defeated, especially after voters see all the other initiative begging to raise your taxes at the city, county and state level. The district is essentially trying to slide one by on us. It's more manipulation and trickery than democracy at work here.

Posted by Nick, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm

The districts already have plenty of money -- check out the pensions being offered: many administrators are getting six-figure pensions, which is equivalent financially to giving them $3M+ as a payout when they retire. That puts them squarely in the "1%" -- no wonder they need more money!

They're clearly trying to game the system:
1) Using the June ballot was purposely designed to give it a greater chance of passing
2) They pick projects like building improvements that create sympathy from voters, rather than all the other expenditures they have (such as administrator pensions)

Vote no! We already pay high enough property taxes (at least homeowners, particularly recent ones).

Posted by Fed-up, a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm

I would have to vote a big no for several reasons. First; having lived in the Middlefield/ Whisman neighborhood for over 30 years,I have watched as both of our elementary schools were closed. Local children now must travel out of their neighborhood to go to school. The decision to close both of our schools was totally political, as we have a lower voter turnout than other neighborhoods and therefore are less of a threat at the voting booth. Second, with the Middlefield/Whisman neighborhood out of the process, those neighborhoods with active public schools will get the beneficial improvements making the neighborhood home values go up. In other words, other neighborhoods get the gold and we get the shaft.
I don't often weigh in on this forum, but this is a hot button for me. I have no quarrel with Google day care or the German School, but if they are so wonderful, why not relocate them South of El Camino Real?


Posted by Boondoggle, a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Ask anyone who served on the last citizen committee if the district paid anything more than lip service to their requests.

I suggest anyone who cares about this issue to look at the districts interactions with Bill Gould, the current architect of record. In the last go round, he designed schools without water fountains, but with expensive landscaping. If the schools had been done right the last round, this round would be unnecessary.

Vote NO!!!

Posted by Nothanks, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Don't know who the 400 people they surveyed were. But I agree with all the other commentors, I will be voting NO.

Posted by Rene, a resident of Jackson Park
on Feb 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm

"Facilities don't know that we're in an economic recession," Goldman said. "They continue to deteriorate, safety codes continue to change and educational issues have changing needs."

Where to begin with such a statement. Facilities are not people. We need to think about people first. (And something tells me there are some lucrative contracts and insider deals behind all this that will only short change the taxpayer in the end.)

Posted by Steve, a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Not very many open minds posted here yet! The board may vote to put the messure on the ballot, then there will be a campaign run by volunteers. If you have never had kids in the schools, believe it or not, better school facilities help maintain property values anyway. If you have had kids in MVWSD, you should talk to them about the facilities. The last time any facilities were upgraded was before the merger of the two school districts. Believe it or not, the Whisman and Slater decisions were both made based on declining enrollment in that part of town. If annual funding were in better shape,Whisman could be reopened in the next couple of years. New bond money could be spent to get it ready. Why do that if state funding is still so low that operating a school less than full just does not pencil. If you don't like teachers unions, don't take it out on the kids of my neighbors please.

Posted by James, a resident of Jackson Park
on Feb 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm


The last time facilities were upgraded was LESS THAN TEN YEARS AGO.

My bathrooms haven't been upgraded in about 30 years, my house was never wired for the internet, yet somehow my kids doing great in private school and have internet access.

Posted by Andrew, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm

No for me, too. The public school system wasn't there for my children academically and I'm not about to vote to foot the bill for all the people with school-aged kids who are being lured to Mountain View with the promise of our superior schools. The system is seriously broken and it will take complete restructuring to improve things. It's not a matter of being closed minded or ill will or wanting the schools to suffer at all; my opinions come from nothing more than personal experience.

Posted by Fed-up, a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Not very many open minds posted here yet! Really?

There appears to be a clear trend rolling through this thread today. Just because we don't drink the school's kool aid, doesn't mean we have closed minds.
The people of this community tax themselves to build schools and then turn them over to the district to operate and maintain. I was involved in a earlier school bond measure where the district played up on broken toilets and leaky roofs to gain public support. While I don't feel that the district intentionally neglects the infrastructure maintenance, no one is ever held accountable when it is allowed to get in such a decrepit condition. The first elementary school I attended, K-4, was the same building that my father attended 30 years earlier (1920's), and it is still in use today. There doesn't appear to be much fiduciary responsibility or accountability for the oversight of the infrastructure maintenance in this district. We need to keep our schools safe not fancy. Hippocrates, it is said, needed only a tree to teach.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 23, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Like giving dope to an addict. Always more, more.

Posted by Ed, a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 23, 2012 at 6:15 pm

My father went to elementary school in a one room school house with no bathroom and no internet. Not even a science lab. He went on to become a heart surgeon and produced a three kids who went through K-8 in the 1970s in classrooms built in the 1950s. We all have either medical or doctorate degrees. Some one explain to me how that all happened? Like some one more or less said above. If you want the internet in your house, what do you do? You certainly don't tear down your house.

Posted by Frustrated, a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Feb 23, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Here we go again. I, too will be voting a great big NO on this bond measure. Fed-up is right, we had two schools closed and children sent a good distance away from their neighborhoods. We didn't sign up for that, but the Powers That Be knew what was best for us. As is almost always the case, decisions seem to be made in favor of those homeowners who live on "the other side of El Camino". Those in favor of this bond measure will argue that it is in the best interest of "all" of our children and can only have a positive impact. Well, I have to argue about certain aspects of the spending habits of our school district. Air conditioning in the classrooms? Really? We don't live in the middle of a desert climate, or in the deep south. We live by the bay with a few uncomfortable days a year. And frankly, kids don't notice the heat. How many of us have a/c in our homes? Do we really need it? It's wonderful to have, but certainly not a necessity - more like a wonderful bonus.

And while I mention the word "bonus", I think about the perks of being a teacher in our district. The pay is one of the highest in the state. And that's not even adding in the perks and pensions that tenured teachers get. The money that is spent on salaries, perks, and pensions is undoubtedly going to increase if this bond measure passes. Believe me, even if the proponents of the measure argue that it won't be spent on salaries, etc., I would wager that they find a loophole somewhere that allows that type of spending.

As is usually the case, those people who live on "the other side" fight for things that will ultimately benefit them, while trying to convince us that it's for "the children". Well, our kids are doing just fine, in spite of being moved. And the vocal proponents of this measure will see a benefit in their housing prices. But none of us will, because we don't have anyone in high places pulling for us. Just look at the whole Terra Bella Academy debacle. We need to send a message that there needs to be more fiscal responsibility and the money that we have spent in previous bonds needs to be spent in a more sane fashion.

I will be voting a very bit NO, and will encourage my friends and neighbors to do the same.

Posted by MV Parent, a resident of Gemello
on Feb 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm

"Safety and facilities improvements"? Are the roofs caving in? These are just mealy mouth scare tactics. I'd much rather see one of the closed campuses re-open. Hire better teachers and have the kids hit the books. We have yet to see the long term results of the internet in classrooms. We all are aware of the dire economic condition the state is in. It's always easier to make big plans and spend money. The hard part is producing results. The schools exist not to produce beautiful buildings. They exist to educate children who would not be harmed by learn how to do things the old-fashioned way... READ. Several years ago I was in one of the science labs at Graham. It looked perfectly modern to me, gas valve and sinks all present. It also appeared grossly underused and staffed by a few teachers that were far from impressive.

Posted by Frustrated, a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Feb 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm

I am observing something very telling on this particular thread. Where are all the positive voices telling us what a wonderful thing this bond measure is? So far, all I'm hearing are very compelling reasons for voting NO. Perhaps the proponents can't come up with any viable answers to counter our very thoughtful attacks on the subject of how to vote on the bond measure. Seems to me they will be unable to convince us that a yes vote is the way to go. I, personally, will never be able to be convinced, no matter how fancy they wrap it up and try to sell it.

Posted by MV Mama, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 23, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Well, I'm one who lives on the "wrong" side of El Camino and I am fully in support of this bond measure. I have kids in the MVWSD. Some of the building may have been renovated recently but the campus my kids attend is RUN DOWN. The windows don't open, there is no space large enough for school assemblies. A majority of the classrooms are portables or trailers. There is NO space for a computer lab or a science room. There is no break out space for specialists to meet with kids. Kids in MVWSD are getting the short end of the stick. There's a reason our property values are so much less than our neighbors in Palo Alto and Los Altos. Our kids need to have the opportunity to compete, having the appropriate facilities for learning will help that. Our property values will increase. It's a win-win in my book.

Posted by Unfair , a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 23, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I bought a home recently in mountain view. And paying 1.25%~ in property tax around $10K with dwindling hope of sending my kid to failing schools here!!! They need more money? How about show improvement and ask for money ....!!!

Posted by Frustated, a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Feb 23, 2012 at 9:26 pm

MV Mama,
My children were accepted to top notch schools and came out with jobs waiting. The buildings didn't matter. We, very fortunately, had teachers who cared and were extremely competent. However, having said that, I still have to say that they are overpaid and have way too many perks. There were definitely some teachers who were, in my opinion, awful, and who should never have been allowed to teach any children. And as far as the children getting "the short end of the stick", have you been to Bubb or Huff lately? Hardly run-down schools. Oh, you must be talking about the schools "on this side of El Camino", right? Now your comments make at least a little bit more sense.
You go ahead and vote yes on the measure. If it passes, Bubb and Huff and Graham will most likely see the majority of the funds, while leaving us somewhat in the dust. As far as I know, Bubb has a Computer Room. They have a "break-out" space. But I'm sure that they will find something else that they are in desperate need of. If we're lucky, maybe they will throw our schools a bone.
And as far as our property values increasing - really? You really believe that a bit of money infused into the local schools will raise our values? Try again. It's going to take a lot more than a bond measure to raise our property values. I will still vote NO. Until this district shows some fiscal responsibility, they do not deserve the millions that they are asking for. We're already paying through the nose and look what we're getting.

Posted by Cuesta Park mom, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 23, 2012 at 9:47 pm

I hope that some of the many commenting here will show up at the March 1 school board meeting, to tell the board what you do and do not want.

Posted by Frustrated, a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Feb 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm

I can tell you what I don't want right here and now. I don't want to spend more money on a bond measure for years on end while the teachers and administrators keep making more and more money and retire with pensions that many only dream of having. We don't need to approve more bond measures. The more we allow them to pass, the more people will continue to put them on the ballot. It's easy money for them. But if we take a stand and vote NO, they might, OH NO!, have to be responsible with whatever funds they have. Maybe they need to think twice about those raises. We went 5 years without a raise - in fact, we took a cut. Can you imagine the teacher's union allowing something like that to happen to them?! I can't. How about having them pay for more of their health insurance. Ours is through the roof. I could go on, but you get the point. The only way to get the message across is to vote NO. And if you're worried about the education your children will get, spend the same amount of money we've spent on bond measures over the years, and try private school, or maybe home schooling. Something has got to give, and it's unfair for people to expect those on fixed incomes to foot the bill for others who are worried about their property values and the quality of education in MV. Move to Los Altos or Palo Alto if you're so concerned about the quality of your children's education. My kids are doing just fine, and they didn't have the benefit of computer classes in grade school.

Posted by District Insider, a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 24, 2012 at 7:42 am

Most of the money will be squandered if this thing passes. Contractors will take a big heap and deliver and inferior product. This is what happend when Graham was "remodeled" ten years ago. The baseboard used was the cheap stuff that's glued on and now following off. The contractor couldn't nail it on? The list goes on. Just go to the schools that we remodeled and take a good look on what our money bought the last time.

I read the flyer mail out and the word science is listed in every category. Technology comes next. Isn't this an elementary district? The middle schools already have science labs and all schools have computer labs and all classrooms have at least one computer in them. So what exactly is missing other than a doubling down on instructional effort in reading comprehension and math? Instead of focusing on all the material and facility shortfalls, focus on instructional ones. Get every student through Alegbra 2 by eighth grade. All that's required for that is a chalk board, chalk, a teacher who knows what their doing, and a stack of texts books.
[Portion removed. Please stick to the topic. This is an unsubstantiated personal attack which violates terms of use.]

Posted by Rex, a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 24, 2012 at 9:48 am

I agree VOTE NO!!

What's even worse is that the City of Mountain View provides $1.5 million dollars direct from Shoreline plus maintains the school districts fields and provides another $12 million in direct and indirect expenses for after school programs, these people take us for fools.

Criag Goldman should be terminated for lack of honesty and DO NOT vote For Board Member Ellen Wheeler, an attorney, who twists the facts to support her agenda. VOTE NO and remember the names.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:30 am

Glue on baseboards are a great example. The last Mountain View bond measure had to compete for construction funds in the run-up. In order to do things needed at every school, less expensive means were used in some cases, and not everything that should have been included was.

The folks who got advanced degrees after elementary in old schools, Congratulations! A community's success is not based on the exceptional, but on how well we all do together. Also remember that school projects get reviewed by the state, which can take awhile. Bonds have to be sold before money can be available. If it passes in June, most construction starts in summer 2014 or later. If it fails, two more generations of K-8 students are involved.

For those paying private school tuition -- Is it really a better educational value for the money? Voting down present trustees won't help without more candidates, these folks mostly run unopposed because people would rather just complain than act.

Posted by District Insider, a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 24, 2012 at 11:41 am

Listing publicly available information of teachers not qualified to teach is not a personal attack. The facts were clearly substantiated with links from the State credentialling website which any one can access. Two teachers at Graham do not have the appropriate credentials to teach. Correcting that situation would go a lot further in helping average schools become great schools. The Voice does nothing more that spin the party line. Why not research the allegation if you are going to remove it?
[Your attack on these teachers has nothing to do with the topic of this thread, which is why it was removed. Ed.]

Posted by Nick, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 24, 2012 at 11:51 am

District Insider -- can you post a link to that data? Sounds valuable.

Another good resource -- check out the current retirees making >$100k annual pensions... and these are just the beginning (we'll see dozens more in coming years, while the district asks for higher taxes):
Web Link


These annual payouts are worth $2.5M to $3.5M in value at retirement!

Posted by District Insider, a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm

[Post removed. This thread is about a prospective bond issue. Your posts look like nothing more than a personal attack on teachers that are gainfully employed by the district. It appears that you have a personal vendetta against them. If so, please take it up with the district. Until we can verify this information, it will be removed. Ed.]

Posted by Steve S., a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

A group is forming to create a ballot measure that will place a 20 year moratorium on parcel taxes by our local school districts. If necessary, it will be retroactive so as to void the (proposed) MVWSD measure, should it pass. When the details are posted here, please join us in this effort.

While we do support our local schools, we also consider these parcel taxes to be an end-run around Prop 13 and its protections, and they avoid the hard truth that higher state taxes, ON INCOME, NOT ASSETS, are needed to fund our schools. At a very minimum, homeowners who are unemployed, retired, disabled, and low-income should not be subjected to more property taxes.

Please join our effort to create and pass a moratorium on local school district parcel taxes.

Posted by Nick V, Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Feb 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Nick V is a registered user.

Steve S: Please keep me posted on the progress of your effort. If your proposal receives significant community support we would be interested in covering it in our pages.

Nick Veronin

Posted by Ron Haley, a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2012 at 9:37 am

Why doesn't the community get together and open Whisman Elementary School as a charter. Also, with a 50% vote, you can repeal any parcel tax via prop 218.

Posted by Ron Haley, a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2012 at 9:58 am

Steve S,
What % of the vote do you need to implement the moratorium. We could do something like that here in Los Altos.

Posted by James, a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 25, 2012 at 3:22 pm

If we don't invest in education now there won't be the growth and income to pay for the unfunded liabilities we face in the near future, and retirees better get used to a declining standard of living.

Web Link
Web Link

Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 25, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Investing in education, as the links point out, would be departing from ways of the past. This bond does nothing for education per se. It remodels buildings. It doesn't hire new highly qualified teachers of math and science. It leaves you with the same mediocre (in one case unqualified) teachers in new looking classrooms.

The links James cites also argue for the development of a more technical oriented curriculum. I agree, but this goals of this bond do not point to achieving those goals.

The best idea posted here, IMO, is to start up charter schools that emphasize science, math, and the technical trades.

Vote No on this measure.

Posted by James, a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm

From the description in the bond flier it includes "Modernize science equipment and update classroom computers and technology" and all comes under infrastructure spending that economists generally agree is good for future growth. I looked at the credential website and all the math and science teachers I checked appear to have single subject credentials in their subjects. Looking at the test scores and taking into account the economic diversity in Mountain View the scores look very good. I think the charter schools just attract highly motivated parents, the stevenson PACT school is like a charter school.

Posted by District Insider, a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 25, 2012 at 7:37 pm

There's one Graham math teacher that only has an Emergency Teaching Credential good for 30 days 6 months into the school year. Last year he held no credential.

Credentials are a bare minimum requirement. Qualified teachers with advanced degree and practical experience are what the district should be spending money on, not new classrooms with a least one unqualified teacher!

Re-read your articles James.

Posted by James, a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 25, 2012 at 7:53 pm

If I started teaching middle school math I would not have a credential until I passed the exams and met the other requirements of the credential, but I have a masters degree in applied math.

Posted by Charter School Supporter, a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 26, 2012 at 7:10 am

But apparently you can still get hired in Mountain View without either a credential or a masters degree in applied math. And therein lies the problem. Fix the teacher side of education, don't just remodel buildings and claim it's going to improve things. For many, teaching is part-time work to supplement a household's earnings. Teaching needs to return to being a profession (without a union). Teachers should be highly qualified, paid more, and expected to continually meet higher requirements.

Posted by James, a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 26, 2012 at 9:05 am

I agree teachers should be paid more, but keep in mind that the single subject credential also requires completion of an approved univertity program in the subject area. If you want everyone to have BS or MS in the subject area then the credential requirement should change no? That said, there are no credential requirements for other professions like say computer programming were there are successful people without bachelors degrees. Regarding unions, I'm from a labor background so I tend to side with workers, my union member brother works in the entertainment industry which seems to be doing pretty well with all it's unions. Also, I seem to remember reading here or on the district website that the district had some program with foothill college where they were improving the curriculum and teacher training particularly for Algebra. Learning is changing and there is really no excuse for students not being math wizards today with all the online resources available (epgy, Khan Academy, online tutors, etc.).

Posted by Steven Nelson, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 26, 2012 at 9:29 am

On the merits - of the particulars in the Facilities Plan (SFIP), I do not consider this to be a frugal and prudent use of $200M of additional tax money. With a "7-11 Committee" of the community, before a NOVEMBER election, I believe the major deficiencies COULD BE fixed. However, Superintendent Goldman (or Trustees) has not engaged in any systematic effort over the last 22 months, since first adoption of the SFIP, to get a first class community prioritization and timeline. I can identify at least %50M of (IMO) pure waste. A 'District Office replacement' is in the bond language small print. But they can only ask for $200M out of a $423 SFIP total budget. So - Trustee Phil Palmer is right, this looks like a sort of grab bag of wishes. Goldman himself, in a November Board meeting called it "a laundry list".
It would be nice if MV Voice reporter Nick V. had a better economics background.

Posted by Ron Haley, a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2012 at 10:45 am

I was involved right from the start in the formation of Bullis charter. I know that BCS would be more than happy to help Mountain View parents develop a charter. BCS receives a large number of applicants from MV every year, and unless they have s sibling preference, unfortunately they can't attend.
So if you can establish a group that would like to run with this, contact me and I will get you in contact with the appropriate persons that can take you through what's required, pros and cons, etc.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Interesting headline on this article: "School bond measure near approval". Someone must have leaked the future election results to the 'Voice'. We should all just lie back and enjoy it.

Posted by haoleboy, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 29, 2012 at 11:57 am

Heck NO!
Why do these people always look to the property owners pocket books to fill their unending need for more cash? How about a revenue raiser that impacts ALL residents equally? Answer: It's easier to go after the property owners! These clowns don't get it! Are you a senior property owner in Mountain View? Are you aware that you're entitled to an exemption from the previously enacted parcel tax? NO? Guess what, They don't feel any obligation to inform people of this exemption!
Talk to your friends and neighbors, tell them this is a stinking load of dog do..VOTE NO!

Posted by Observer, a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 12, 2012 at 8:53 am

Haoleboy, as far as seniors being exempt from the parcel tax -- that was stated in all of the campaign literature, and was explicitly spelled out in the ballot language in a paragraph labeled EXEMPTION OF SENIORS AND SSI RECIPIENTS. I found the ballot language in about 3 seconds on the district's website, along with a statement that seniors can apply for an exemption and a link to the form that they need. It's here: Web Link. I didn't know that it was there, I almost never go to the district's website; but it was obvious and easy to find, so if I can find it, others can as well.

Posted by MV 1980, a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 13, 2012 at 4:22 pm

No!!!!!! Enough parcel tax burden for the homeowners. I'm on fixed income but not yet 65 and can't afford all this nonsense.