VOTE YES on Measure S to protect the outstanding education students get at Ormondale Elementary and Corte Madera schools, while actually DECREASING the taxes you’ve been paying!

Our acclaimed public schools are a central part of the Portola Valley, south Woodside and Skylonda communities’ appeal. Great teachers plus rigorous math, science and reading curriculum have prepared generations of children to succeed in high school, college and beyond. Art, music, theater and more have rounded out our children’s educational experience, making school an enriching and fulfilling experience for all.

Unfortunately, woefully inadequate state funding in California and the impending expiration of our current parcel tax threaten to erode that level of excellence. If we don’t pass Measure S, the Portola Valley School District will have to cut academic programs, lay off teachers and increase class sizes to reduce its budget.

Measure S does NOT increase tax rates. In fact, it REDUCES your annual payment from $581 per year to $471. Measure S is an extension of an existing parcel tax that expires in June, but with a $110 per year reduction to reflect careful cost-cutting measures over the past three years.

Senior citizens and certain disabled people are eligible for exemptions. The measure will not create a burden for those on fixed incomes.

Whether you have school-age children or not, protecting the quality of local education is a wise investment. Good schools protect property values and keep our community strong.

Join parents, teachers and community leaders in VOTING YES on S.

Deadline to vote: May 4th, 2021

Ballots will arrive in the mail on April 5. Mail them back before May 4, 2010 to vote YES on S for Portola Valley and Woodside Students

Measure S will:

  • Maintain enhanced science, math, reading and writing instruction
  • Retain qualified and experienced teachers
  • Support music and arts programs
  • Maintain small class sizes
  • Sustain programs in engineering and technology
  • Maintain school library services

Taxpayer safeguards are REQUIRED:

  • ALL funds STAY LOCAL for PVSD schools and students
  • The State CANNOT take this funding away
  • NO funds are allowed for administrators’ salaries or pensions
  • Independent Citizens’ Oversight and mandatory audits ensure funds are spent properly

Did You Know?

Vote Yes on S for Local Students

PVSD is a community-funded District, so it receives minimal state support and the District gets less than 25% of the property taxes you pay.

The large majority of the District’s costs are unavoidable or mandated by the state, including payroll taxes, health care, pensions and more. Those expenses are escalating faster than property taxes and state funding. 

The PVSD has cut $1.2 million in annual costs over the past three years to ensure fiscal responsibility

Parcel Tax History

Portola Valley residents have repeatedly renewed a parcel tax for 35 years to ensure adequate funding for their children’s schooling. The current parcel tax, Measure O, which passed in 2013, expires in June.

All Measure S Funds Stay Local

None of the money raised by Measure S can be shared with any other government entity

There is an oversight board made up of community members to ensure that all Measure S money is spent properly

Measure S on a May 4 special election ballot is asking for a LOWER AMOUNT than you already pay for the parcel tax

We depend on local revenue to supplement limited State funding. Measure S is necessary!

Parcel tax monies fund 7.5% of the District’s annual $15 million budget

Is PVSD Open for In-Person Learning?

In contrast to the Sequoia Union High School District, the Portola Valley School District serves elementary and middle school students only, and has been open for live, in-person learning since early this fall.

Register to Vote

If you are not registered to vote, please register now so you can support Measure S before the May 4th, 2021 deadline to mail in ballots.
Register Now

(The deadline to register for non-provisional voting is April 19. After that, you can still register and vote on Measure S at County offices but your ballot will be provisional until approved)

2019–20 Revenues + Expenses

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Seven Simple Ways To Help Pass Measure S

Commit to voting YES on S

Let us use your name publicly as a Measure S supporter.
Endorse Measure S

Put up a YARD SIGN.
Request a sign

Help educate other voters about the many reasons to support Measure S by VOLUNTEERING for phone banks.
Volunteer

Spread the Yes on S message around your SOCIAL MEDIA circles and tell friends offline about why you support the measure

Return your ballot early so we can focus our get-out-the-vote efforts where they are needed most

Most importantly, DON’T FORGET TO VOTE by May 4!
Register now

Endorsements

It’s essential that your neighbors and friends see the groundswell of support for our local schools. Your name will be posted in our endorsements so others can see that you understand the importance of education for our children.

Endorsers

“Our school
facilities are run
down and classroom
equipment is
outdated. Our
students deserve
better. Please vote
YES on S.”

Chrisi Fleming
Retired Teacher’s Aide, PVSD
“Generations
of children have
received a fantastic
education in our
schools. I’m voting
YES so our schools
remain strong.”

Sue Crane
Former Mayor, Town of PV

& Ballot Measure Signer
“We have award-
winning schools
that are at the heart
of our community,
making it a
wonderful place to
live. I’m voting YES
on S.”

Sangini Majmudar Bedner
PV PTO VP, CMS
“Outstanding
local schools are a
significant factor in
maintaining strong
property values. A YES
vote is an investment
in our schools and in
our home values.”

Ron Ramies
Community Member
LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS

Jeff Aalfs
Council Member, Town of Portola Valley

Sarah Wernikoff
Council Member, Town of Portola Valley & Ballot Measure Signer

Kimberly Morris Rosen
Trustee, Portola Valley School District

Anne Fazioli-Khiari
Trustee, Portola Valley School District

Brooke Day
President, Portola Valley School District Board

Gary Hanning Trustee
Portola Valley School District Board & Chair, PV Trails & Paths Committee

COMMUNITY LEADERS

Sherry Andrighetto
Ormondale Teacher, Ballot Measure Signer

Kit Antovich
PV PTO Vice-President, Ormondale

Aimee Armsby
Co-President, Portola Valley Schools Foundation

Mike Armsby
Board President, Alpine Hills Tennis & Swimming

Sara Atkins
PV PTO President, Ormondale

Mieke Bloomfield Barrows
PV PTO Secretary

Karyn Bechtel
Former President, Portola Valley School District Board, Ballot Measure Signer

Sangini Majmudar Bedner
PV PTO Vice President, Corte Madera

Aimee Blum
PV PTO President, Corte Madera

Kim Cashin
Volunteer, Portola Valley School District, Covid-19 Pandemic Response Committee

Tricia Christensen
Former Portola Valley Schools Foundation Co-President

Sue Crane
Former Town Council Member and Mayor, Town of Portola Valley

Brook Coffee
Portola Valley School District, Gardening Program Teacher

Heather Cunningham
Portola Valley Schools Foundation, Annual Campaign Co-Chair

Heriberto Diarte
Former Portola Valley Schools Foundation Board Member

Sarah Dorahy
Former Portola Valley Schools Foundation Board Member

Hilary Duwe
Portola Valley Schools Foundation Board Member

Karyn Ellis
Portola Valley Schools Foundation Board Member

Chrisi Fleming
Retired Teacher’s Aide, Portola Valley School District

Dan Gilbert
Portola Valley Schools Foundation Board Member

Katherine Gilpin
Former Portola Valley Schools Foundation Board Member

Serena Hanes
Portola Valley Schools Foundation Endowment Committee Co-Chair

Michelle Gilman Jasen
Portola Valley Schools Foundation Board Member

Linda Kamran
Portola Valley Schools Foundation, Annual Campaign Co-Chair & “Yes on S” Campaign Chair

Ginny Kavanaugh
Local Realtor, PVSF Advisory Board Member & Ballot Measure Signer

Terri Kerwin
Local Realtor, Ballot Measure Signer

Susan McLaughlin
Former Portola Valley PTO President

Josh Moser
PVSD Parcel Tax Oversight Committee Member & PVSF Board Member

Connie Ngo
Chief Buisness Official, Portola Valley School District

Ron Ramies
Local Business Owner, Ballot Measure Signer

Erin Sanders
Portola Valley Schools Foundation Endowment Committee Co-Chair

Amanda Smoot
Citizens Bond Oversight Commitee President & PV PTO Treasurer

Chrissy Untrecht
Teacher, Corte Madera School & Signatory

William Urban
PVSD Parcel Tax Oversight Committee Member, Ballot Measure Signer

Jeff Wiley
Portola Valley Schools Foundation Board Member

Kim Zamboldi
Former Portola Valley PTO President

Rich Zamboldi
Portola Valley School Foundation Budget Committee Liaison and Board Member

Roberta Zarea
Superintendent, Portola Valley School District

COMMUNITY MEMBERS

Sally Aalfs
Ilja Bedner
John Cashin
Ryan Coffee
Laura Dahl
Laura Davidson
Colin Duwe
Caroline Diarte-Edwards
Josh Harmssen
Imad Scott Kamran
Jen & Tim Katz
Ruhi Khan
Walid Khiari
Renae Killen
Claire Magat
Korinn Meyers

Lori & Matthew Muffly
Laura & Mike Nicolls
Naomi & Joey Pritikin
Leigh Pyle
Susan & Diogo Rau
Chris Selden
Rob Smoot
Carol & Mark Sontag
Anne Van der Staay
Matt Van der Staay
Andrew Vingiello
Lesley Wiley
Erica Woo
Carolyn & Tim Worthington
Brittany Zilka

FAQ

Measure S is a local parcel tax renewal on a May 4, 2021 special election ballot. It will continue current Measure O funding at a reduced rate of $471 per parcel for the next eight years. Measure S will support students in grades TK-8 by paying for enhanced science, math, reading and writing instruction; retaining qualified and experienced teachers, supporting music and arts programs, maintaining small class sizes, sustaining programs in engineering and technology and preserving school library services. Measure S requires 66.7% support to pass. All Portola Valley School District residents registered by April 19, 2021 can vote.

The Portola Valley School District values the outstanding education it has provided to its elementary and middle school students for generations. The District’s schools consistently rank among the best in the State. Exceptional teachers, small class sizes, challenging instructional programs, dedicated parent volunteers plus outstanding science, art and music curricula have prepared generations of local children to succeed in high school, college and careers. Our goal is to continue that proud tradition. Unfortunately, education funding from the State is inadequate, and the coming expiration of our existing parcel tax in June will leave the District with a $1 million budget shortfall. Measure O, approved for eight years in 2013, cannot be extended without a new vote of the District’s voters. Without the renewal of this parcel tax, $1 million in existing local school funding will disappear from the District’s budget, leading to drastic cuts that will reduce the quality of our children’s education.

“To maintain excellent local schools, shall Portola Valley School District protect enhanced science, math, reading/writing instruction, retain qualified/experienced teachers, support music and arts programs, maintain small class sizes and school library services by renewing and reducing the current annual per parcel tax to $471, raising approximately $997,000 annually, for 8 years, with senior exemptions, annual audits, independent citizen oversight, no money for administrator salaries, no funds for Sacramento, and all funds supporting Portola Valley School District students?”

  • Maintain enhanced science, math, reading and writing instruction 
  • Retain qualified and experienced teachers 
  • Support music and arts programs 
  • Maintain small class sizes 
  • Sustain programs in engineering and technology
  • Maintain school library services

By law, ALL Measure funds MUST stay local, dedicated to Portola Valley School District TK-8 schools.

Measure O, passed in 2013 to supplement local education funding, expires after the 2020-21 school year that ends this coming June. If we do not renew that current parcel tax at the reduced rate of $471 per parcel, $1 million in existing local school funding will disappear from the Portola Valley School District’s budgets, causing drastic cuts to academic programs, increased class sizes and a reduction in programs like art and music that enhance our children’s learning. Renewing Measure O (this time named Measure S) at a reduced rate of $471 per parcel for eight years will not address all our funding needs, but it will help retain exceptional teachers and protect core programs.

The Portola Valley School District has had a parcel tax measure in place to support its excellent programs for the past 35 years. If this measure is not renewed, the District will have to make significant reductions. The District has already made $1.2 million in cuts over the past three years and will need to slash another $1 million over the next few years if Measure S does not get the 66% YES votes needed to pass.

Measure O was a parcel tax of $581 per parcel, per year passed in 2013 to support the Portola Valley School District in maintaining the high-quality educational programs it offers from Transitional Kindergarten through 8th grade. For eight years, Measure O has helped fund math, reading and writing as well as hands-on science instruction among other important educational programs. This added funding has helped the District attract and retain qualified and experienced teachers and has supported art, music and other classes that make our schools enticing and stimulating places for the children of our District. Measure O, approved for eight years, will expire in June, after the 2020-21 school year ends. Measure O cannot be extended without a new vote of the District’s voters. That’s why Measure S is on a special election ballot – to extend the old Measure O funding for another eight years, but reducing the cost to you, the taxpayer, by $110 annually. Without the renewal of our parcel tax, $1 million in existing local school funding will go away, requiring the district to make drastic cuts.

Per pupil spending on education in California ranks well below the national average. In 2019, California ranked 41st in the nation for per-pupil spending when adjusted for cost of living and the picture has not changed significantly since then. The state of New York, by contrast, spends almost twice as much. Even community funded districts like ours do not receive the support needed to provide an exceptional, well-rounded education for our children. The current State funding formula adopted in 2013 limits new state funding to our neighborhood schools while mandated costs such as payroll taxes, health care and pensions rise disproportionately.

Over the past three years, the District has cut $1.2 million from its budget. Our governing board has been careful to keep cuts away from the classroom, instead reducing administrative positions and operational costs. The District also has been prudent about filling positions after staff retirements. But even with these cuts, the loss of the current parcel tax funding will mean a $1 million annual budget shortfall in the coming years if Measure S does not pass. 

While many other school districts cut electives, special programs and key instructional services years ago, the Portola Valley School District maintained programs such as art, music, foreign language and counseling because it had the additional funding from 2013’s Measure O parcel tax. Without that additional source of money, the District will need to increase class sizes, risk losing its best teachers and reduce or eliminate high-value instructional programs such as those listed above in addition to reading intervention, library services, math support, technology in the classroom, enhanced science and other programs that contribute to our children’s well-rounded education.

For 50 years, our District has been fortunate to receive additional financial support from parents, neighbors and local businesses through our local education foundation. The Portola Valley Schools Foundation contributes 6% of the District’s budget – about $900,000 per year. Even with that support, a significant funding gap of $1 million will remain if Measure S does not pass because our current Measure O parcel tax will sunset in June. That gap is too large for the Foundation to fill. The parcel tax and contributions from the Foundation together help make up for inadequate State funding by providing the extra money needed to maintain low class size, challenging instructional programs and enrichment offerings for our schools.

Lottery funds do help supplement classroom instruction. However, the funding our school district receives from the Lottery each year provides less than 1% of our annual General Fund budget. Lottery contributions alone are simply not enough to fund the extensive instructional programs that our schools need to set our children up for success in high school, college and beyond.

Senior citizen homeowners aged 65 or older and certain disabled people are eligible for an exemption through an application process. Those who are exempt from Measure O will still be exempt under Measure S. We do not want this measure to become a burden for those living on a fixed income. To apply, contact Chief Business Officer Connie Ngo at (650) 851-1777 x2560 or email [email protected]

An independent Citizens’ Oversight committee and audits will ensure Measure S funds are spent properly. By law, all funds from Measure S must stay local, dedicated to PVSD schools only. The State cannot take Measure S funding away. Measure S funding is only for school instructional and educational needs. No Measure S funds can be used for administrator salaries or employee pensions.

Measure S will cost $39.25 a month or $471 a year per parcel for eight years to provide a stable, local source of funding for Portola Valley schools. That is $110 less than the $581 per parcel that residents of the District have paid during the past eight years – a reduction made possible by reduced spending across the District. Senior citizen homeowners of age 65 or older are eligible for an exemption.

Yes, commercial, industrial and residential property owners will be subject to the same rate per parcel.

Good schools are the foundation of any healthy, thriving community. Good schools protect property values and keep neighborhoods strong, particularly here in Portola Valley.

The Portola Valley School District strives for excellence in every educational setting. Exceptional teachers, challenging instructional programs, dedicated parent volunteers as well outstanding science, art and music programs are essential to student achievement and have prepared generations of local children to succeed in high school, college and careers. Renewing our parcel tax will allow the District to continue offering these programs, thereby maintaining the outstanding quality of education our students have received for generations.

A parcel tax is a flat assessment on each parcel of land. Unlike school bond measures, which can only be used to fund school facility improvements, parcel tax revenues can be used to fund programs and services. School districts use parcel tax revenues to preserve, restore or enhance instructional programs. A parcel tax measure requires approval by two-thirds (66.7%) of registered voters who vote on the measure. A Proposition 39 school bond only required 55% plus one to pass. No revenue generated by a local parcel tax can be taken away by the State. All parcel tax revenue stays local to benefit local Portola Valley schools and students.

Government budgets are limited. The way California public schools are funded currently is known as the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). That allocates more funding to school districts that have high concentrations of students who are English language learners, low income and/or foster youth. Our current total revenues are 6% State, 1% Federal, and 93% locally funded by our Portola Valley community (including 6% from the PVSD Foundation and 8% from the Measure O parcel tax). This, coupled with rising operating costs, and the expiration of our existing Measure O, simply does not provide the level of funding for instructional programs that our students, families, and community have come to expect and deserve.

All registered voters living within the jurisdiction of the Portola Valley School District registered by April 19th will be eligible to participate in the May 4 Election.

Measure S is approved if it receives at least two-thirds or 66.67% of the votes in the May 4 special election.

The locally elected Board of Education of Portola Valley School District is the legal entity that called for the Measure S election. Ultimately, Portola Valley School District REGISTERED VOTERS will have the final say on whether or not to authorize the tax.

Fewer than 25% of the property taxes you pay each year stay in Portola Valley to support our local elementary and middle schools. The remaining 75% goes to other county priorities including sheriff’s services, fire departments, hospitals and health programs, the Sequoia Union High School District and community colleges as well as special districts such as flood control. In 1978, voters in California passed Proposition 13, which capped property taxes to benefit long-term homeowners. Homeowners only pay taxes on the amount their house was worth in 1976, or on the date of purchase with a maximum appreciation of 2% per year. This significantly reduces the tax base for local schools. At the same time, the cost of providing a quality education continues to rise. As one example, the amount districts pay into mandatory pensions statewide doubled between 2015-2019 and will continue to go up in the coming years.

While enrollment in the Portola Valley School District – as well as at the state level – has declined in recent years, the fixed costs required to keep the District’s classrooms running smoothly have not. In the coming years houses will turn over and new families will move into town, new ADU units will be built to meet state-mandated affordable housing, and proposed developments may be approved. The District has to be prepared to serve any number of students who enroll.

The Portola Valley School District was among the first in San Mateo County to reopen classrooms when most others remained closed. All elementary school students who choose to attend in person have been back in the classroom nearly full time for months. Middle school grades are on campus part time and phasing back in to full-time, face-to-face learning. For those who cannot risk exposure to the coronavirus, the District offers distance learning that combines some live-streaming instruction with their regular teachers with some computerized programming. The effort to reopen Portola Valley schools to live and in-person learning has cost the District an additional $1 million in staffing and other accommodations to comply with smaller classroom cohorts as well as increased need for technology, sanitation and other costs. The district is committed to in-person learning and optimistically anticipates a full-time reopening in fall of 2021.

Measure P on the March 2020 ballot came up 77 votes short of the 66.7% majority needed to pass. So the District took a hard look at its expenditures, cut spending, and is back with this proposal to actually REDUCE your taxes by $110 annually.

Visit PVSD.net OR contact: Roberta Zarea, Superintendent at (650) 851-1777 or [email protected].

The Portola Valley School District was among the first in San Mateo County to reopen classrooms when most others remained closed. All elementary school students who choose to attend in person have been back in the classroom nearly full time for months. Middle school grades are on campus part time and phasing back in to full-time, face-to-face learning. For those who cannot risk exposure to the coronavirus, the District offers distance learning that combines some live-streaming instruction with their regular teachers with some computerized programming. The effort to reopen Portola Valley schools to live and in-person learning has cost the District an additional $1 million in staffing and other accommodations to comply with smaller classroom cohorts as well as increased need for technology, sanitation and other costs. The district is committed to in-person learning and optimistically anticipates a full-time reopening in fall of 2021. The Sequoia Union High School District, by contrast, still has not opened to live, in-person teaching.

Ad paid for by Friends of Portola Valley Schools – Yes on S 2021