The first step is admitting you have a problem. And the San Mateo Foster City School District has a big budget problem.
There is actually one real miracle in the San Mateo Foster City School District… that our teachers, staff, administrators, and school boards have somehow managed to keep our schools running at just above California’s state average with below average funding in one of the most expensive cities in one of the most expensive counties in a state that funds its schools at near the bottom per student in the US.
For this we owe them all a huge thank you.
What they haven’t done, is really tell us how big the problem is.
Even now, they are in denial.
They are threatening a $5 Million dollar budget cut next year if Measure V doesn’t pass because of the “structural deficit”.
What we really have is a school district that has depended on a $7 million per year parcel tax for years.
The renewal of that parcel tax failed in 2017 (Measure Y).
Measure V‘s main job is to renew that parcel tax with a modest increase.
The “structural deficit” is that $7 million per year.
California doesn’t allow school districts to run out of money.
The San Mateo Foster City School District is actually VERY conservative with its budget (some say too conservative).
The $5 million cut is already running down our school district’s reserves.
That reserve will run out.
Within a couple of years, if Measure V doesn’t pass, we’ll have a school district that is running on $7 million less than it has been for more than a decade.
The game is basically up.
Another $7 million a year budget cut and things are going to get out of hand:
We can’t hire teachers now – why would they come to a community that doesn’t believe in their schools?
Our schools are already understaffed and run down. No toilet paper. No air conditioning. No librarians. Who is going to send their kids to these schools? There will be more escaping to private schools – by those who can afford to.
Our schools’ performance is mediocre. We are just barely above the unimpressive California state average:
- 51% of students do not meet the standard of performance for English
- 51% of students do not meet the standard of performance for Math
San Mateo Foster City School District:
- 39% of students do not meet the standard of performance for English
- 44% of students do not meet the standard of performance for Math
But, better is possible. In the Palo Alto School District:
- 17% of students do not meet the standard of performance for English
- 17% of students do not meet the standard of performance for Math
What is the big difference?
In Palo Alto, the annual spending per student is just over $16,000 per student per year (between state funding and parcel taxes)
In San Mateo, the annual spending per student is under $12,000 per student per year (between state funding and parcel taxes).
It is time to recognize that we have a serious school funding problem.
It is time to stabilize our funding and end the impending budget crisis.
Then, we can plan to fully fund our schools – not wait for some one else to rescue them.
First, we must pass Measure V.
If we fail at that, we have voted against our kids and our future.
At a minimum, vote.
If you would like to help. Join us.