Menlo Park’s $91M school bond

Support appears strong for a bond measure that would raise $91 million for four local elementary schools.

A poll among local voters in mid-May showed that 70 percent supported Measure U, 5 percent opposed it and 25 percent were undecided, according to campaign chairman Mark Box. The 35-year bond, which requires 55 percent approval to pass, would fund the constructionof new buildings to accommodate the district’s burgeoning student population.

The campaign has raised approximately $45,000 in donations, all from local parents, according to finance committee member Jeff Child. The bond would cost homeowners $28 per $100,000 of assessed value, or $231 per year for residents who bought homes at Menlo Park’s average price, $820,000.

Already, 311 kindergartners are signed up for the 2006-07 school year, while 220 students are graduating from eighth grade this year, according to Menlo Park School District Superintendent Kenneth Ranella. “Just from the size of that kindergarten class, our student population is increasing 4.5 percent.”

A demographer commissioned by the district predicts that enrollment will continue to rise. In addition, the district’s retention rate — students who stay in its schools from kindergarten through eighth grade — has risen from 77 percent to 97 percent, Box said.

So far, the district has coped by adding portable classrooms to its small campuses while hunting for space to build a new school, but no suitable land has been found. Residents who have criticized the bond measure say they worry that bringing additional students to existing schools will worsen neighborhood traffic.

“We’re going to have kids on the campuses we have, and denying the money to address the needs in a rational way is not a good solution,” Box said. Some of the bond money will go toward improving the schools’ parking and traffic configurations.

bwinegarner@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocalPeninsula

Just Posted

Cabernet sauvignon grapes sat in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
<ins></ins>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — seen in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday — touted Congressional Democrats’ infrastructure bill in San Francisco on Thursday. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times)
Pelosi touts infrastructure bill as it nears finish line

Climate change, social safety net among major priorities of Democrats’ 10-year funding measure

Most Read