San Carlos Real Estate Agent, San Carlos Realtor Measure H Polarizes San Carlos Voters. | The White Oaks Blog

Measure H Polarizes San Carlos Voters.

by Chuck Gillooley

$72M School Bond Measure.

Three weeks from today, San Carlos voters will head to the polls where they will once again be asked to vote to approve a bond measure which will raise funds for the San Carlos School District.  Measure H, if it passes by the required supermajority of 55%, will authorize the school district to issue up to $72 million in bonds to fund improvements deemed necessary to “improve, repair, and equip San Carlos elementary and middle school facilities”.

The principal and interest on these bonds will be covered by a levy on all taxable property in San Carlos.  That levy equates to about $30 per every $100,000 of assessed value of that property, and will be recorded against the property for at least the next 30 years.  As we discussed in this post, the average homeowners can expect to see an extra few hundred dollars tacked onto their property tax bill over the next 3 decades if the measure passes.

Strong Opinions on Both Sides.

As this election draws nearer, it’s very apparent that there are strong opinions both for and against this measure.  On one side, there’s the very well organized and vocal pro-Measure H contingent who have been stuffing the mailboxes and working the phone banks with equal efficiency and determination.

But there’s also a significant portion of the San Carlos voting population that has yet to be convinced that they should vote in favor of yet another school bond measure while there are still two others currently on their tax bill.    This is likely a common under-current for families with no children, and perhaps those on fixed incomes who will find it difficult to absorb another few hundred dollar hit to their bottom line every year.

There’s absolutely no refuting the direct relationship between a strong public school district and the health of its respective real estate market.  The reputation of the San Carlos School District remains one of the top reasons (if not THE top reason) why home buyers insist on establishing their roots inside the district boundaries — even when their house buying dollar will go further in other neighboring communities.   And that constant demand has kept house prices in San Carlos stable (and high) while prices in communities without a strong school district have fluctuated with rising and falling market.

A Tight Race.

But despite this obvious correlation, there’s a certain percentage of San Carlos homeowners who may not feel that another school bond measure is in the cards for them.    And in order for supporters of the measure to ensure that they get their required 55% vote, they may need some of that aforementioned group to change their minds.     The results of the highly UN-scientific poll that has been running on the site seem to support this:

How will you vote on San Carlos School District $72M Bond Measure on the November ballot?

View Results

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If this slice of voter sentiment is even remotely accurate, it’s apparent that the race for Measure H will be a tight one, and that every vote will indeed matter.
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Measure H Polarizes San Carlos Voters., 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating
Comments 13
  • You’ve done an excellent job of summarizing feelings on this subject in a nutshell.

    Until someone proposes a plan to to pay off the previous two bond measures, I can’t vote YES on H. This bond measure is primarily to fund bigger school facilities. Enhancing the classroom instruction comes primarily from the Ed foundation “voluntary” contributions. So I’m paying for this twice plus for the other two bond measures? Sorry, I’m (like others) suffering from donor fatigue. Like many bond measures, this opens the door to further bond measures and laying out the guilt trip on homeowners.

    In regards to the correlation of high real estate values to high performing schools; I take that with a grain of salt. I’ve never banked on home equity as primarily funding my retirement or college tuition costs. My house is a shelter, nothing more. My savings funds my lifestyle.

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  • The end does not justify the means. It is unfarily assessed and should be levied evenly as a parcel tax would, BUT also include all homeowners (read “seniors”).

    Those of us with higher assessments are already paying exponentially more than those paying, for instance, under $2000 year on their property tax bill.

    No person could convince me that this is fair. That, coupled with the two parcel taxes we are already paying, is not making me lean toward checking the yes box.

    I’m voting no.

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  • They say the schools are getting over crowded by the number of families with children moving into the district, but doesn’t this mean an increase in property tax to the city that they can put towards the schools? I am in the process of closing on a house in SC. Property taxes had been around $2,000 a year, but once I close escrow and it gets reassessed I will be paying around $9,000 per year. I would the same would apply to a lot of new SC residence purchasing older homes.

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    • CKD,
      Congratulations and welcome to San carlos.
      You will find that the view of our children and the importance of good schools outweighs the fairness when it comes to “asking” us to continually kick in to pay for it.

      You would think that the healthy housing market here would be a harbinger of things to come, but the schools seem to think that the gloom and doom we’ve endured the past few years will endure indefinitely.

      We have no children in the public school system, yet the portion of our $12k tax bill goes to schooling other children. Yes, I know we are all supposed to contribute regardless of how many children we may have. But we are paying more than our share.

      I think it is admirable that many families contribute their own money toward their childrens’ education here, but where is their outrage that there is never enough money? It seems like a bottomless pit.

      Yet, it is alright to unfairly divide this new bond measure and heavily weigh the burden on those of us already paying higher taxes.

      I always ask the question, how will we sustain our $15-$20K property tax bill in retirement? Certainly not with social security or any reduced amount once we hit that magic 65. No one seems to be worried about that. I guess it will be ok for future senior citizens to be forced to sell their homes but current seniors continue to get their free ride (as well as their heirs who choose not to sell their inherited homes).

      Again, I vote no.

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    • You are correct in that the higher base year AV will increase the total collected and therefore an increase in the portion that goes to the local schools, the problem is that the district still comes in under the revenue limit set by the state (the state then backfills up to that limit)……if we were a basic aid distric and alread could meet the revenue limit based on the property tax base in the SC Elem SD then the incremental incease you are speaking of would come in as “extra” or additional funds.

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    • CKD — Although I am hesitant to jump into the discussion (as I think I have made my own view very clear on this issue on how vital Measure H is both to our schools and to our property values), I was afraid your question would go unanswered. When the overall property tax roll in San Carlos goes up, it does not translate into more money for the schools. The funding for our schools is actually not connected at all to the property taxes we pay (other than the special parcel taxes and bonds that are voted on by San Carlans). It’s a very complex and byzantine system, but San Carlos is what is referred to as “Revenue Limit” district, meaning our funding essentially comes from the state and not from local property taxes. It would take way too long for me to explain why, but if you’re interested, feel free to contact me directly at seth@rosenblatt.org or you can also watch this video I have on the subject which explains California school finance —

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  • As a San Carlos parent, I would like to vote yes for Measure H, but I would like more information on why CLC would possibly receive a new school on the Heather campus when they have a large percentage of students from out of the San Carlos School District. I don’t believe that is fair to ask San Carlos taxpayers to pay for a new school for so many out of district children. Also, I have been told that if CLC moves to Heather they will take over part of the new field at Heather for their school. Isn’t the field new & don’t we need more field space in San Carlos, not less?

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    • Assuming this comment is genuine and not intended to merely stir the pot, you can obtain more information on not only a new CLC facility at Heather but also the alternative proposals on the table by attending school site counsel meetings and/or requesting information from the school board members. As a Heather parent I’ve been very engaged in the discussions and potential solutions to relieve over-crowding at the schools and can tell you that the superintendent and board have received the message that nothing less than full transparency will be tolerated. The information is certainly there to be had if you’re really interested in it.

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  • Seth,

    I have tried to find answers to my questions in board minutes but I haven’t found information on % of out of distict students at CLC or any other schools. I also checked the CLC website but they are missing agendas & minutes for the last few years. Can you provide us information or provide a link to the information? I want to have all available information in order to make an informed decision & Heather Parent made a good suggestion to reach out to the board.

    Jim

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    • Jim — there are a total 184 out of district students in our schools, out of a total of around 3,000 (this does not include CLC — I will have to contact them to get their exact numbers). So, that’s about 6%. However, of those 184, note that 22 are children of employees, 59 were actually residents of San Carlos who since moved out of town while their kid was in school (and by law, they continue to stay in our schools), and 36 were let in because they were siblings of current students in that school. So only 67 (about 2%) are students who were new families let in originally living out of district, and almost all of them are in middle school now. This is because the district has not let in out of district students — excluding siblings and staff children — for the last four years. That is also true for CLC — they have not let in any out of district students other than siblings and children of staff members — in about three years. Our enrollment growth in San Carlos is purely due to new San Carlos families, as we’ve shrunk the number of out of district students in our schools every year since I’ve been on the board, but our overall enrollment continues to grow. I’m sure Chuck can verify that so many of his clients moving into San Carlos are young families with little kids or ones on the way.

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      • That’s absolutely correct. I think I can speak for other agents who do a significant portion of their business in San Carlos, too — the profile of the typical buyer looking to establish roots in San Carlos right now is a young family with school-aged kids, or at least plans to have them. The schools, the downtown, and the central-Peninsula location are all huge factors that are driving home buyers here.

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  • Heather parent, since you’re already in the know, can you please provide details as to the potential solutions you’ve alluded to above? Like a lot of parents, I work, so I can’t attend the school site counsel meetings, but thanks for the tip.

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    • 1) Leaving CLC where it is now
      2) Creating a 4/5 grade curriculum on those school campuses that have sufficient space for it (this is somewhat tied in to the 21st Century Learning concept, on which you can locate information from board meeting minutes and/or school board members or your school’s PTA)
      3) Building a new CLC campus somewhere other than the Heather campus

      And for the record, I work full time as well.

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