Whether or not you decide to increase your property taxes by $118 a year to support the employees of theSchool District (PSD) and their pensions by voting for the up coming parcel tax renewal November 8 there are a few other numbers you may want to ponder. These numbers are readily available in the District’s most recent audit and can be verified by visiting the Districts offices on Reina Del Mar. The company that prepared the audit admittedly did not fact check the financial information contained in the audit but relied on staff’s assurances that the information provided was correct.
PSD has a combined enrollment of 3226 students and an operating budget last year of $29,584,810 or $9170.74 per student. By comparison a popular local private grammar school on the north end of town charges $6,421 a year tuition pre student which is $2749.74 cheaper than what we collectively provide for PSD students.
The District also has outstanding financial liabilities of $44,589,611 that include a $36 million bond obligation and $8,057,645 in accounts payable or in lay terms unpaid bills. It is surprising since so much public property has been sold to private developers by the District it published a $13,000,000 surplus after the last ten acre school property was sold a few years ago. Currently the District is going through the motions of selling off two more public properties but that has nothing to do with renewing the up coming parcel tax.
I've requested PSD salary information three times now in the last few weeks. The info I'm asking for is identical to that found on State Controller John Chiang's web site that shows what employees from the City of Pacifica and theCounty Water District earned last year which was so helpful last spring with the fire tax. Compensation sheets list positions only (no names) and the amounts shown in Box 5 on annual W2's the District must provide each employee. PSD has no such info I am told which is in my opinion stone walling as W2's are an IRS requirement. I'm sure the District could easily pull this information together from their accounting software. If PSD would make public the compensation paid to it's administrators, facilities department, grounds keeps and the like we would have a better idea of why the District is spending $9170.74 per student. Since the District so often boasts of how little it pays it's teaching staff the money must me going somewhere.
Clearly PSD which is it’s own government body needs to be more transparent to show it deserves more of our tax dollars especially in understanding its obligation of openness to the public at large not just motivated parents who want us to further fund their children’s education. At $9170.74 per student PSD needs to own up and publish a full compensation sheet that includes non classroom staff like administrators, facilities and grounds keepers among others in a timely fashion well before Novembers vote.
You may support the parcel tax renewal or you may not but please vote on this item either way come November 8. It is an off year election so voter participation is expected to be low. Millions of dollars of our property taxes will be voted on and whether or not you want to tax your neighbors to further fund PSD salaries, pensions and other expenses it is important that this parcel tax measure gets a large turnout so win or lose it will have gotten a fair shake.