July 11, 2010

County Grand Jury Recommends School District Consolidation. Expect Massive Migration to Palo Alto.

What puts a house in rather than out of the Real Bay Area (RBA)?  A damned good school district.  Now watch some meddlesome busybodies try and ruin everything!

Consolidate Santa Clara County school districts to save millions, grand jury recommends

 

By Sharon Noguchi

Posted: 07/04/2010 07:15:28 PM PDT
Updated: 07/04/2010 10:24:07 PM PDT

When budgets are tight, businesses often consolidate — so why not school districts?

After all, Santa Clara County school districts are a hodgepodge of large and tiny agencies, each with its own administration, and with century-old boundaries that randomly join disparate regions while dividing other communities. Some superintendents oversee 25,000 students, while others supervise only a few hundred.

So the Santa Clara County civil grand jury has recommended unifying and consolidating the county’s 31 school districts, which it projects could save $51 million annually.

District officials dispute the estimated savings, and question the benefits. In past decades, similar suggestion have been shunned as politically implausible. Why should this time be any different? For one, schools are facing unprecedented cuts to their budgets now.

The grand jury released two reports on June 24th: “Achieving School District Efficiency through Consolidation” and “Looking at Policies Our Schools Use to Find and Place Employees.”  These thrilling potboilers describe that “while the school districts in Santa Clara County are doing well in all areas, there are redundant administrative functions that can be made more cost effective through school district  consolidation.”  I tell you, I couldn’t put it down!

By merging elementary and high school districts that share attendance areas, the county’s 31 distinct school districts could be reduced to 16, unless the county actually has 34 districts (per 2008-09 Grand Jury report “Who Really Benefits from Education Dollars? (Hint: It’s Not the Students)“).  That’s the fun of an official report; you just never know what alternate facts could emerge!  Last year’s report had six findings and suggested actions, and it’s number 6 that must have led to this year’s threat to school administrators:

Finding 6

The operation of 34 K–12 school districts and four (4) community college districts
creates excessively high management and administrative costs. Five K-12 school
districts have excessively high Superintendent costs per student which is reflective of
the district’s having only one or two schools.

Recommendation 6

A consolidation of districts should be considered to reduce the numbers and costs of
Superintendents/Chancellors, Boards of Trustees, administrative staff and overhead.

One piece of good news for administrators and board members is the grand jury didn’t recommend all 31 school districts be rolled up into one countywide nightmare like Los Angeles Unified.  Instead, they selected feeder elementary districts that could be merged with high school districts, creating “Unified School Districts” that serve the same boundaries.  These are the four “lucky” high school districts and corresponding K-8 districts singled out:

  • Campbell Union HSD with Burbank SD, Cambrian SD, Campbell USD, Moreland USD and Union ESD
  • Fremont Union HSD with Cupertino USD and Sunnyvale SD
  • Los Gatos-Saratoga HSD with Lakeside JSD, Loma Prieta JSD, Los Gatos USD and Saratoga USD
  • Mountain View-Los Altos HSD with Los Altos SD and Mountain View-Whisman SD

imageThe civil grand jury’s reasoning is that unified school districts save money and can operate more efficiently than smaller districts with just a few schools.  The grand jury holds up these unified districts in Santa Clara County to support the concept: Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Milpitas, Palo Alto, San Jose, and Santa Clara.  And their gold standard of the benefits of school district unification is last year’s formation of Twin Rivers Unified.  In Sacramento.  Puh-leeeeeze!

Are they seriously suggesting that RBA cities such as Saratoga, Cupertino and Los Altos should emulate mediocrities such as Milpitas and Morgan Hill?  Seriously?  The only RBA city on the Unified list is Palo Alto, and they’re so Special none of the regular rules apply anyway.

Can you see parents who paid the RBA premium to live in Los Gatos wanting to share a school district with the hillbillies of Lakeside?  Or the families who paid the big bucks to live south of Fremont Avenue now finding themselves sharing a school district with North Sunnyvalers?  Wouldn’t every Los Altan sooner pull their kids out of public school than consort with those troublemakers from Latham Street?

image Obviously I’m not going to comment about the proposed Campbell Unified District, because they aren’t in the RBA so nobody much cares.  The Grand Jury also wants to merge four East San Jose school districts into two union districts, and even fewer burbed readers would ask. (Berryessa + Orchard, Alum Rock + Mt. Pleasant, if you insist.  You’re welcome.)  All 21 school districts suggested for consolidation have 90 days to respond to the civil grand jury, and expect the replies to be even more thrilling reading.

Now, some of these recommendations make sense.  There is only one school in Lakeside, Luther Burbank and Orchard School Districts.  One-school districts are clearly wasteful, and the Grand Jury has already noted criminal behavior in Burbank SD.  But some of the proposed unified districts will be much, much larger than others.  The proposed Mountain View-Los Altos Unified would have 21 schools, and the proposed Los Gatos-Saratoga Unified, 14.  But both proposed Campbell and Fremont Unifieds would have 41 schools each, which isn’t much smaller than San Jose Unified’s 43.  All the other current Unified Districts (which the Grand Jury report specifies as an ideal model) have between 14-24 schools.

41 schools?  Are they serious?  Does this fit the reasoning behind “Five K-12 school districts have excessively high Superintendent costs per student which is reflective of the district’s having only one or two schools”?  Cupertino USD, a K-8 district, already has 25 schools, which is more than all but one existing SC County unified district.  This is not a school district with excessively high costs, the complaint of the 2009 report.  This is a district that manages to produce perfect API test scores despite below-average funding.  But someone took the idea of merging feeder schools into high school districts and ran all the way to Twin Rivers Unified with it.

image At a certain point, large school districts lose the ability to respond to parental concerns, and nobody could call a 41 school unified district anything but large.  Effective and responsive school districts are exactly what parents expect when they spend the big bucks to buy in the RBA.  So recognize this plan for what it is: a recipe to remove Cupertino from the RBA forever. 

It’s clearly a plot by Palo Alto real estate agents.

Comments (99) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

99 Responses to “County Grand Jury Recommends School District Consolidation. Expect Massive Migration to Palo Alto.”

  1. maryjane Says:

    Looks like we finally know what Real Estater’s Mega Project was.

  2. madhaus Says:

    Ha ha!

    One thing I discovered in researching this article is that CUSD isn’t quite the poor stepchild (in terms of funding) that it used to be. They still receive less than average for the county, but at 97% of the median I doubt they’re the lowest anymore. I believe the change is due to a big change in demographics: the number of children per household in the district has risen quickly, and CUSD is a revenue-sharing district. That means they are funded per student, not from just the property taxes.

    That is also why they were hurt so badly with this year’s state budget cuts. As the state lowered their reimbursement rate, it hurt revenue-sharing districts far more than Basic Aid.

    I’m still looking around to find a ranked list, wondering who the big loser is. Palo Alto remains incredibly richly funded (and is Basic Aid). A Basic Aid district is relatively insulated from state budget cuts but can be hurt by property tax declines or a large increase in students.

  3. nomadic Says:

    Frankly, I never understood this weirdness in California by having separate districts for elementary/middle schools and high schools. And the weird way districts are drawn.

    That’s only because I come from a place where if you live in city or town X, you go to the schools of X from kindergarten to high school. The superintendent is responsible for all schools in X, and district size is determined by the city/town size. I suppose that isn’t very efficient either though.

    They should consolidate any district with fewer than about 2000 students, IMO.

  4. bob Says:

    Sort of related to this topic, We had a measure in Alameda called Measure E, which was to be a parcel tax to help raise money to avoid school closures and teachers being laid off. The measure failed. There are already some members of the school board and community pushing for ANOTHER parcel tax next year.

  5. madhaus Says:

    I would suggest ability to pass a school parcel tax as an independent measure of an area’s RBAness. There were 6 parcel taxes on the SC County special election in May, and all passed except Lakeside SD (LG Mountains).

    Fremont Union HSD district had a parcel tax fail last year when they asked for cost of living increases and no sunset clause. It passed this year when the increase was dropped and a 6-year term included.

    Palo Alto was able to pass one with a cost of living increase at an amount triple the size of anything else on the other ballots, which suggests highest possible score of RBA membership.

    #4, do you have any info on why Measure E failed?

  6. bob Says:

    It failed because a super-majority is required to pass such measures in Alameda. 65.62 were for it and 34.38 were against it. Needless to say parents are definitely upset about it. As mentioned a new parcel tax is already being proposed so I suspect that one way or another the schools will get their money.

  7. madhaus Says:

    #6, the “super majority” is a statewide requirement, and is not peculiar to Alameda. All parcel taxes require a 2/3 majority to succeed. Why did Measure E fail while 5 out of 6 succeeded in Santa Clara County? I am not asking about the math, I am asking why the parents failed to convince the non-parents to support it. What did those voting no say to explain their vote?

  8. nomadic Says:

    My guess would be that the chances of a parcel tax passing are lower in areas where incomes are lower and residents are less interested in the quality of the schools.

  9. bob Says:

    Because there are a lot of old people in Alameda who live on fixed incomes and somehow extra taxes were just too much for them to pay. The month before the vote was like a circus. Lawn signs were everywhere. There was a march and other stuff. Some signs even said: “Protect your home’s value! Vote YES on measure E!” I kid you not.

    At the end of the day it still strikes me as totally stupid that even though the bay area has tons and tons of really rich people and people spend craploads of money on houses and everything else that somehow the schools are in such horrible condition. Oh well. I don’t have kids.

  10. Petsmart groomer Says:

    They had Senior Citizen exemptions (65+) and SSI exemptions.

    nomadic, care to give your opinion about the elderly people? :-)

  11. Real Estater Says:

    I think it’s a good proposal, as long as they don’t touch PAUSD, which is already large enough, and is self-sustaining.

  12. SEA Says:

    madhaus- “I would suggest ability to pass a school parcel tax as an independent measure of an area’s RBAness”

    True! In fact, the higher the taxes, the more the place is worth. You know, it’s the way to keep prices higher. And if taxes won’t do the trick, then there’s always association dues.

    There’s been plenty of examples of this featured right here on burbed.
    :-)

  13. Petsmart groomer Says:

    Real™ Estater is also for the high speed rail in the East Bay, higher sales tax in San Francisco and public transportation for others.

  14. anon Says:

    I think they should combine east palo alto and palo alto districts.

  15. madhaus Says:

    I think they should combine east palo alto and palo alto districts.

    Heh. #14, Palo Alto mom agrees with you (see the first comment).

    The Tinsley program, from the viewpoint of PAUSD, allows 60 students a year from EPA to transfer into PA. But the San Mateo County Office of Education notes that white (well, “non-minority”) kids are welcome to transfer to Ravenswood as well under the program. Why doesn’t PAUSD let Palo Alto parents know about this exciting opportunity to attend school in East Palo Alto?

  16. madhaus Says:

    #11, please explain your reasoning why PAUSD is “already large enough” yet this is a “good proposal.” Two of the suggested unified school districts would have 41 schools. CUSD, a K-8 district, already has more schools than Palo Alto Unified’s 18.

    The stated goal of the civil grand jury report report was to avoid wasteful duplication of services due to small school districts. Rolling smaller districts into PAUSD could make this proposal even better!

  17. SEA Says:

    “Why doesn’t PAUSD let Palo Alto parents know about this exciting opportunity to attend school in East Palo Alto?”

    They should get a signed election form for each non-minority child.

    “Your child has been identified as a non-minority. You have options to ensure your child has the best possible experience.

    Please select one:

    [ ] East Palo Alto (no extra charge)
    [ ] Regular Palo Alto”

  18. Pralay Says:

    #11, please explain your reasoning why PAUSD is “already large enough”
    —-

    Real Estater ALWAYS explained in past.

    —–
    yet this is a “good proposal.”
    —–

    If a proposal good for Real Estater Selfish, it is good for everybody.

  19. Pralay Says:

    Why doesn’t PAUSD let Palo Alto parents know about this exciting opportunity to attend school in East Palo Alto?
    —-

    Great idea! East Palo Alto residents use Palo Alto parks, BBQ tables “disproportionally”. It’s payback time know. Palo Alto residents should start using East Palo Alto schools “disproportionally”.

  20. Real Estater Says:

    anon says,
    >>I think they should combine east palo alto and palo alto districts.

    Another uneducated statement on your part. East Palo Alto is not even in Santa Clara County. You can’t merge 2 school districts across 2 different counties.

  21. Real Estater Says:

    madhaus says,
    >>Why doesn’t PAUSD let Palo Alto parents know about this exciting opportunity to attend school in East Palo Alto?

    Because there’s an even more exciting opportunity to go serve in Iraq. Why don’t your kids take advantage of it?

  22. Sio2 Says:

    #3, Nomadic,
    I’ve heard that the reason for the school district and city non-congruency is that the school districts were set up 100+ years ago, and tended to follow the boundaries of ranches and farms that existed then. The cities grew mainly after 1950 (San Jose in particular) by annexing neighboring county areas. So the cities grew independently of the school setup, explaining why the school districts and city boundaries are not the same.

  23. Pralay Says:

    Because there’s an even more exciting opportunity to go serve in Iraq. Why don’t your kids take advantage of it?
    —–

    Another uneducated statement on your part. Iraq is not even in America. You can’t have kids with minor age take advantage of exciting opportunities across 2 different nations.

  24. madhaus Says:

    Here is everything the State Board of Ed has to say about school districts, including creating new ones and changing existing districts. In particular, this section from Chapter 5, Reoganization of School Districts in California, will be of interest to #20, who is (to nobody’s surprise) 100% wrong.

    4. Reorganization Involving Two or More Counties

    In any action to reorganize school districts that are located in more than one county, the same procedures are required and shall take place in both counties. Hearings may be conducted in each county or jointly in either county, as it appears most convenient and practical. Any action regarding the reorganization may be taken during or after a joint hearing. If separate hearings are held, action may be taken only after findings of the hearings in each county have been transmitted to the other counties. (EC 35520 through 35524)

    If plans and recommendations for district reorganization involve territory under the jurisdiction of the superintendent of an adjacent county, the county committee of the adjacent county is requested to concur with the plans and recommendations. Regardless of concurrence, or after 60 days’ notice of nonconcurrence, the plans and recommendations must be submitted to the State Board of Education for a decision. (EC 35723 through 35724)

    See Appendix C [Reorganization of Districts Under the Jurisdiction of Different Counties] for further details of the procedures that must be followed when two or more counties are involved.

    The State Board of Ed pages include a a report on the history of school districts in California. In 1932 there were more than 3000 school districts in the state, now there are under 1000. Several state laws encouraged creation of unified districts. It’s possible that the grand jury report had some input from the County Board of Education, which was following State Board of Ed guidelines.

    One of the guidelines was to create unified districts from elementary feeder schools and high schools sharing boundaries. This created the nonsense we see in the report which purports to create savings due to small school districts but suggests overly large ones.

  25. A. Lewis Says:

    As we’ve discussed at length, the final key leg propping up RBA prices is always the school districts.

    Which is a direct admission, that if anything happened and test scores started falling, so would home prices.

    It’s hard to see it as a good time to buy when your school district has a 1000 API score – it can only go down from there! There’s no upside!

    At least if you gamble on a 750 district, if they somehow get their act together, and gentrify properly, and push it up to 900 – you might have some expectation of prices following!

    It’s a tough world we live in, when you have to worry about all these factors, for the privilege of owning a home…

  26. DreamT Says:

    A. – Lame comment. If the 1000 API stays around 1000 and all other scores decrease by 5%, then you have an upside. Also reminds me of a Math teacher for 11 year old who said of an A+ student “I’d rather start the school year with a B student than an A+ student, because the A+ student’s grades can only go downhill.” As it happens, the A+ student kept grades steady throughout the year and the teacher looked like an imbecile throughout the year (because word goes around).

  27. SEA Says:

    When you’re at the bottom, you can only go up…

  28. Real Estater Says:

    Editorial from the Mountain View Voice:

    Merger won’t fly

    …Merging is one of those ideas that looks good on paper but would be virtually impossible to execute.

    First of all, it would take a majority vote of each school district’s board or a petition signed by 25 percent of the district’s registered voters just to get the question on the ballot. That hurdle alone presents a huge challenge, due to varying demographics in the Mountain View Whisman, Los Altos and Mountain View Los Altos High School districts.

    These are not homogeneous districts…It would be counter-intuitive for Los Altos parents to support merging with the Whisman district, especially if they asked, “What’s in it for us?”

    Likewise, we can’t see why parents who live in the high school district would elect to share their higher property tax income with the elementary districts.

  29. anon Says:

    Of course it won’t happen. No need to get defensive.

  30. A. Lewis Says:

    27 – Rude! Yes, there are upside scenarios – but are you suggesting that the entire country but your school district drops 5% is more likely than any other scenario? Hmmm…

    And your student analogy doesn’t work here. I did not suggest that being at 1000 made you more likely to drop below 1000 – I’m talking about threats to home prices, not reasons that scores go up and down.

    If you can’t understand that a good school district is a draw, but home prices being more likely to fall than not is a disincentive, at the same time, I refer you to the first sentence of my post, which is key to the premise.

  31. DreamT Says:

    A. The best schools propping up RBA prices? But RealEstater’s neighborhood, the “shining beacon” of Palo Alto, has been on free fall these past three years, while lesser school districts have already climbed more than half way back to 2007 prices.

    In any case, I was comparing to the neighboring zips, obviously not the entire country. If the overall state performance decreases, as it has over the past decades, but some isolated public schools’ performance remain steady, they become comparatively more attractive and therefore are not a draw.
    Also I don’t see evidence at the moment (at least in the peninsula & south bay) of a correlation between school districts and likelihood for prices to fall further. I’d simply avoid buying where prices have climbed relatively too fast up to 2007 and are still falling while other neighborhoods have already climbed back (94103 comes to mind)

  32. DreamT Says:

    oops * 94301 comes to mind * (ever since I worked @ Clay / Sansome, I keep confusing these two zips)

  33. Real Estater Says:

    People who keep checking their homes’ prices on a regular basis are basically insecure about their purchase. Frankly, I like to live where I live, and it doesn’t matter if other people’s home rose 50%.

  34. Pralay Says:

    People who keep checking their homes’ prices on a regular basis are basically insecure about their purchase.
    —–

    That’s right, except Real Estater who checks it for fun.

  35. madhaus Says:

    >>People who keep checking their homes’ prices on a regular basis are basically insecure about their purchase.<<

    That’s right, except Real Estater who checks it for fun.

    Or checks it for pay stubs and frequent flier miles.

  36. DreamT Says:

    #33 – The topic is, as #25 made clear, whether this is a good time to buy in higher school districts for a future homeowner. It is not about current homeowners living in blissful ignorance…

  37. Real Estater Says:

    >>It is not about current homeowners living in blissful ignorance…

    Yes, I’m blissfully ignorant of the fact that Palo Alto was the only city to see assessed values increase during the biggest property assessment drop since the Great Depression.

  38. SEA Says:

    “Frankly, I like to live where I live, and it doesn’t matter if other people’s home rose 50%.”

    This needs to be fixed:

    “Frankly, I like to live where I live, and it doesn’t matter if other people’s home FELL 50%.”

    Who doesn’t like watching their neighbors’ homes start selling for 50% more suddenly, not that Mr. Real Estate sign for an avatar would ever notice. It’s been my basic observation that people get a little more concerned when property values fall by 50%.

  39. DreamT Says:

    RealEstater – Excellent, presumably your property’s assessed value also increased by the “meager .4%”, and you’re not going to argue that fact with the county assessor?

  40. Real Estater Says:

    >>presumably your property’s assessed value also increased by the “meager .4%”, and you’re not going to argue that fact with the county assessor?

    I’ll get hit with a 2% increase year after year regardless, since my property value is way ahead of assessed value.

  41. Pralay Says:

    Yes, I’m blissfully ignorant of the fact that Palo Alto was the only city to see assessed values increase during the biggest property assessment drop since the Great Depression.
    —-

    You mean Real Palo Alto – right side of Middlefield.

  42. DreamT Says:

    RealEstater – Let me correct you on the 2% increase. No need to thank me.

  43. Real Estater Says:

    >>Let me correct you on the 2% increase. No need to thank me.

    Indeed no need to thank you. I’m the one getting the assessment. I know it’s always 2%.

  44. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay says,
    >>You mean Real Palo Alto – right side of Middlefield.

    Some basic questions for our Palo Alto expert:

    1. Which side of the Middlefield is El Camino on?
    2. Which side of Middlefield is the Children’s Library on?
    3. Which side of Middlefield is Caltrain on?
    4. Which side of Middlefield are the University Ave. mansions on?
    5. Which side of Middlefield is this house on?
    6. Which side of Middlefield is Crescent Park on?

    If you can answer these questions, you are qualified to comment on Palo Alto.

  45. Real Estater Says:

    No answer? Looks like our Palo Alto expert is stumped.

  46. DreamT Says:

    #43 – lol, was apparently too much for you to click, read and understand :)

  47. Real Estater Says:

    Still no answer?

  48. SEA Says:

    Real Estater- You ask a question at 12:58 a.m., and then you suggest “No answer?” at 1:11 a.m.?

  49. SEA Says:

    “Still no answer?”

    lol

    I guess I posted 5 minutes too late.

  50. Sio2 Says:

    I think DreamT is on to something regarding the RBA and basic aid schools.

    The revenue limit schools get funding from Sacramento. This is not a stable source. The basic aid schools get funding from local property taxes. Even if values go down, the assessments in many (most) cases are way below the actual value. Imagine a house bought in the 90s for $500k, and now worth $1m. Even if it was $1.2m 3 years ago, and now it’s 1.0m, the assessment is still $500k * (1+(.02)^years)=$650k. So, as in RE’s case, the assessment goes up 2% per year unless the value has a tremendous drop. Which has not happened, although it’s possible.

    Furthermore, everytime one of those houses is sold, the assessment goes up to the new purchase price.

    Finally, the basic aid districts usually have foundations, getting another $500 to $2k per student.

    So ultimately, the basic aid districts are going to have more stable funding, where the revenue limit districts will have less stable funding in the near future.

    All bets are off if the US enters hyperdeflation, or hyperinflation, or both.

  51. Pralay Says:

    Some basic questions for our Palo Alto expert:

    1. Which side of the Middlefield is El Camino on?
    2. Which side of Middlefield is the Children’s Library on?
    3. Which side of Middlefield is Caltrain on?
    4. Which side of Middlefield are the University Ave. mansions on?
    5. Which side of Middlefield is this house on?
    6. Which side of Middlefield is Crescent Park on?

    ——

    It depends on the direction you’re traveling in, you idiot. :)

  52. nomadic Says:

    DreamT (#46), we’ve established many times that RE has a comprehension problem. Maybe this will give him a clue:

    Since Proposition 13 was adopted, the yearly inflation factor has been 2% except for five of the fiscal years: 1983-84; 1995-96; 1996-97; 1999-00; 2004-05. Applied to the lien date, or the annual date at which property is reassessed, the years represent 1983, 1995, 1996, 1999 and 2004, now on January 1st of each year. The inflation rate in those years was between 1% and just under 2%.

    Past results don’t guarantee future returns – or assessments.

    The drop in assessments is covered there too, and even a fifth grader could figure it out.

  53. Sio2 Says:

    DreamT #42, I just read your link and stand corrected. Prop taxes can actually go down even for a house which is assessed under actual value. Interesting.

  54. Pralay Says:

    Indeed no need to thank you. I’m the one getting the assessment. I know it’s always 2%.
    —–

    Translation: First I demonstrated my ignorance. When DreamT showed how ignorant I am, I just say “I’m the one getting the assessment” (and person who is getting the assessment possibly CANNOT be ignorant).

  55. SEA Says:

    Pralay #51- 100% lol!

  56. Petsmart groomer Says:

    No need to thank me, but here is something that should give Real™ Estater a massive woody: Palo Alto ranked #3 top-earning town.

  57. nomadic Says:

    #53, SiO2 – you’re actually both correct. If a property is being taxed at, say $500k but the factored base year value is $650k as in your example, the assessment can still go up 2% because it’s being taxed for less than the factored base year value. However, the factored base year value will be adjusted downward because of deflation in 2010.

    The factored base year value is the purchase price plus inflation (capped at 2%) for each year it has been owned.

  58. Pralay Says:

    Applied to the lien date, or the annual date at which property is reassessed, the years represent 1983, 1995, 1996, 1999 and 2004, now on January 1st of each year.
    —-

    Well, you should know that Real Estater is “the one getting the assessment” and in those mentioned years he didn’t get any. They were lost in mail.

  59. madhaus Says:

    #50, did DreamT mention Basic Aid schools? I can’t find another mention in this thread other than mine. Then again, you know memory is the second thing to go.

    #56, I’ve seen much better woody. Recently, too.

    Some basic questions for our Palo Alto expert:

    [questions included below]

    If you can answer these questions, you are qualified to comment on Palo Alto.

    This was clearly addressed to me, since steve hasn’t posted in a while. However, the conclusion is incorrect, as #44 is not a Palo Alto expert and the Dunning-Kruger effect prevents #44 from recognizing his poor understanding of this, or any, subject matter. Victims of the Dunning-Kruger Effect are incapable of judging the skill level of others, tending to discount objectively measured expertise and talent, and overestimating their inferior performance. This was demonstrated by posts #23, #24, #34, #36, #42, #51, #52, #54, #57, #58 and #59, showing #44′s poor understanding of the real estate field, in this very thread. I realize this is not much evidence, since there have been a few posts by this user that were not subject to multiple corrections by better-informed commenters.

    Anyway, here are my answers to #44, in the best Bay Area Spirit.

    1. Which side of the Middlefield is El Camino on? El Camino = the street. Here is a street on the right side of Middlefield. It’s a rather nice street, because Steve Jobs lives on it.

    2. Which side of Middlefield is the Children’s Library on? It’s on the wrong side of Middlefield. Increased traffic to the area, including nonresident parking in front of homes in the area negatively impacts property values.

    3. Which side of Middlefield is Caltrain on?Properties near Caltrain have lower values because of the noise and the threat of HSR, despite being on the right side of Middlefield. This is like other impacted streets such as Alma, home to transient residents who cannot live in the RBA. We already know that only 20% of properties in a prime zip can survive a first pass for RBA membership.

    4. Which side of Middlefield are the University Ave. mansions on? Trick question! Mansions are exception to Middlefield side rule! Just as only 20% of homes in a prime zip are good enough for RBA, in a less desirable neighborhood there may be a few choice homes grouped together bucking the trend.

    5. Which side of Middlefield is this house on? Is that your house? It’s on the wrong side.

    6. Which side of Middlefield is Crescent Park on? Crescent Park? On the wrong side, more convenient for the transient thugs to rob. But no soccer field to tear up in Pardee Park, use Rinconada please. Thugs can stop in there and terrorize the Girl Scouts.

  60. Real Estater Says:

    Here are the “right” answers:

    1. El Camino Real is on the “right” side of Middlefield.
    2. Children’s Library is on the “wrong” side of Middlefield.
    3. Caltrain is on the “right” side of Middlefield.
    4. University Ave. mansions are on the “wrong” side of Middlefield.
    5. The Ventura house (cheapest neighborhood in Palo Alto) is on the “right” side of Middlefield.
    6. Prestigious Crescent Park is on the “wrong” side of Middlefield.

  61. Pralay Says:

    Here the rightest right answer:
    Wrong side of Middlefield is right side of Middlefield because Real Estater always travels north.

  62. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay,

    Are you in the right side of the globe or the wrong side?

  63. Pralay Says:

    A spherical object does not have right or left side, you idiot.

  64. wrabbit Says:

    You clearly don’t know what you are talking about with respect to Los Gatos Lakeside.

    “Can you see parents who paid the RBA premium to live in Los Gatos wanting to share a school district with the hillbillies of Lakeside?”
    First of all, Lakeside “hillbillies” often score higher than “RBA” Los Gatos schools.
    We moved from downtown Los Gatos to Lakeside so our children could attend Lakeside instead of Los Gatos – and so that our children wouldn’t have to go to school with kids with parents with an attitude like yours – at least until High School. Also, many of the homes in Lakeside are on large estates which cost more than homes in “RBA” Los Gatos! It was recently announced that our children will have the choice of a mountain middle school or CT English Los Gatos. We will choose the mountain school. The test scores are often higher, the people are friendlier, and it’s more of a community.

    “Now, some of these recommendations make sense. There is only one school in Lakeside.”
    It makes sense only if you assume they will save money (which is an unproven assumption) AND if the only goal is saving money rather than a quality education and environment for the children. Lakeside is a top scoring school with happy kids and parents. Why mess with it!? For the good of the kids in Lakeside, it does not make sense. We want our kids to stay at Lakeside. The assumption that Los Gatos proper schools are somehow preferred or superior is incorrect.

    “I would suggest ability to pass a school parcel tax as an independent measure of an area’s RBAness. There were 6 parcel taxes on the SC County special election in May, and all passed except Lakeside SD (LG Mountains).”
    The Lakeside parcel tax passed.

  65. Petsmart Groomer Says:

    > [...] which cost more than homes in “RBA” Los Gatos.

    Wake up, it’s Oct 2010 now. There is no such thing as RBA Los Gatos anymore.

  66. madhaus Says:

    #64: I just looked up Measure C and it appears to have passed, barely, by 67.2% (517-252).

    Results here.

    When results were first announced, Lakeside was failing, and in my experience, ballots counted after election night tend to vote no on taxes and bonds. I did not follow up to see if the result changed. Thank you very much for your update.

    As to RBAness, Loma Prieta failed (measure G, 65.5%) and all other parcel taxes in the May election passed. Compare the pass percentages down the hill with Lakeside. Maybe the rest of the mountain community isn’t as supportive of the school district as you would like.

    Measure A – Palo Alto USD – 79.4%
    Measure B – Fremont Union HSD – 72.5%
    Measure C – Lakeside JSD – 67.2%
    Measure G – Loma Prieta JUESD – 65.5% (failed)
    Measure H – Union ESD – 72.4%

    #65, there isn’t even RBA Palo Alto anymore.

  67. SEA Says:

    We all know there will always, at least until that one last special person sells out, be at least one PA house in the Real PA Real RBA.

  68. madhaus Says:

    #67, well I hadn’t heard that Steve Jobs plans on dying in his house, so we can always hope it gets listed someday.

  69. SEA Says:

    No matter if he does die, the Real PA Real RBA will shift to a PA cemetery. Think of the price doubles every 10 years or sooner on that small bit of land. From what I’ve heard, PA cemeteries are the best. I’m still trying to find some instant equity.

  70. Real Estater Says:

    SEA,

    You want to die in your home? Here’s one place to do it.

  71. SEA Says:

    I hate to be the one to break this to you, but, using your basic logic, it’s been noted that all people eventually die, and, yes, that includes PA residents.

    Ok, now that we have a nice past historic observation that everyone eventually dies, we’ll use your past is indicative of the future logic to suggest that we will all die in the future, and yes, death is king.

    Now how many PA homes are in the RBA today?

  72. mamafour Says:

    So, no name calling and no personal attacks…..huh, guess the author didn’t get the memo. Calling Lakeside “hillbillies” seems to fall under that category. That’s pretty immature and irresponsible to write about something that you know nothing about. In case you didn’t know, Lexington is part of the Los Gatos Unified school district and is located in the mountains. Loma Prieta is also in the mountains but no mention of them as hillbillies. Looks like you’ve got something against Lakeside.

  73. DreamT Says:

    On behalf of the entire thread, I would like to apologize to the hillbillies of Los Gatos mountain.

  74. madhaus Says:

    I apologize for failing to include the Loma Prieta school district with the hillbillies of Lakeside.

    That was completely unfair to Loma Prieta.

    Please read a few articles on this site before further getting your overalls caught in the combine. Personal attacks are discouraged, but insulting entire cities or school districts is de rigueur. Ask about our discounts for insulting entire regions!

  75. DreamT Says:

    mamafour – and much love from the valleybillies

  76. nomadic Says:

    jeez, who would’ve guessed that so much attitude came with the altitude? Must be an inferiority complex.

  77. SEA Says:

    Maybe mamafour is a little upset about the college prospects for her kids? You know, college was never a problem with all that over-bidding from instant housing price appreciation. Now she’s likely worried about affording community college.

  78. nomadic Says:

    Over-bidding in the LG mountains? Bwahahahahahahaha!

  79. Real Estater Says:

    mamafour,

    I agree with you. Some folks here contribute nothing but personal attacks. The worst of them (Pralay) hasn’t even shown up yet.

  80. anon Says:

    Real estater agrees with the yokel complaining about nonexistent problems?

    What_a_surprise.

  81. Petsmart Groomer Says:

    > Real estater agrees with the yokel complaining about nonexistent problems?

    Come on, that’s not how you treat newcomers.

    We need new blood, so wrabbit and mamafour are welcomed guests.

  82. nomadic Says:

    That’s right, anon. mamafour needs to get with RE’s program so she can move her kids to PA in time for high school. They need to get entrenched over there so they’ll be able to get into Stanford. Besides, everyone with any sense wants to move there, at any cost.

  83. Pralay Says:

    LOL! Someone is complaining about “hillbillies”. And another guy is complaining about “contribution”.

  84. anon Says:

    “Besides, everyone with any sense wants to move there, at any cost.”

    It’s just the smart thing to do!

  85. madhaus Says:

    Well you have to understand. He’s only complaining about “contribution” because he’s written hundreds of guest posts that have all gotten lost on teh internets when submitted to burbed. But he will tell you how great they were. All you need to do is ask!

  86. Real Estater Says:

    Good news:

    Despite its enormous unpopularity among voters, the government’s Wall Street bailout plan succeeded much more quickly and at a lower cost than expected, a U.S. Treasury report released on Tuesday said.
    “The Troubled Asset Relief Program has succeeded faster, and at a much lower cost, than expected,” the report said.
    The final cost to taxpayers of what started out to be a $700 billion Wall Street bailout will be about $50 billion. An expected $20 billion return for selling the government’s stake in American International Group would bring the final cost down to $30 billion, the report said.

  87. anon Says:

    Yaaay!! This just in: Accounting tricks fool dumbasses like real estater.

  88. Real Estater Says:

    anon,

    You know more than the U.S. government does?

  89. SEA Says:

    “We need new blood, so wrabbit and mamafour are welcomed guests.”

    I still wish “Owner” was our resident expert on those properties without wheels. It was really hopeless, however, as he had a much different agenda.

    “…a U.S. Treasury report released on Tuesday said.
    “The Troubled Asset Relief Program has succeeded faster, and at a much lower cost, than expected,” the report said.”

    US Treasury suggests that TARP worked great? Is this like asking Real Estater if P*** A*** real estate is great?

    Real Estater- Please do tell us about the missing guests posts!

  90. Pralay Says:

    Well you have to understand. He’s only complaining about “contribution” because he’s written hundreds of guest posts that have all gotten lost on teh internets when submitted to burbed. But he will tell you how great they were. All you need to do is ask!
    —–

    Silly madhaus. Why would the owner of this blog be guest? Uncle Estater owns this blog and he moderates diligently.

  91. madhaus Says:

    #88 reminds me of the joke of the two hunters who surprise a bear and try to run away. One hunter stops to take off his hiking boots and put on running shoes.

    “You fool!” shouts the fleeing hunter. “You can’t outrun a bear!”

    The other hunter calmly replied, “I don’t have to outrun the bear. All I have to do is outrun you.”

    Similarly, #88, #87 doesn’t have to know more than the US Government. #87 just has to know more than you.

    For the record, my gas dryer also knows more than you.

  92. nomadic Says:

    I wish Prof. Bleen would come back. He’d be welcome too.

  93. anon Says:

    “anon,

    You know more than the U.S. government does?”

    I know more than the government wants me to know. You don’t. What’s the problem?

  94. Fake Estater Says:

    Anon,
    If you know more than me, how come you are a loser rentard? You guys can’t argue with me, because I own an one-car garage in 94301.

    BTW, you can’t say that above logic is flawed. Because, well, I own an one-car garage in 94301.

  95. Fake Estater Says:

    For the record, my gas dryer also knows more than you.
    —-

    Does your gas dryer live in RBA? If not, it is not Real gas dryer.

  96. madEstater Says:

    All of you are dead woods from loser land. I own a one-car garage in 94301. nomadick, you own a VW bug and a ponytail. Praliar, you can link to useless aggregate articles but you are still rentard loser like your buddy anos. DreamT I will buy you a cup of coffee, but you are paying for my breakfast. And madhauswife, I don’t care how many air guitars you say you own in your million dollar shack, you’re still a GIRL.

  97. madhaus Says:

    My gas dryer lives in my two-car garage. In 408-land. My question is, does it also know more than #93? I know it knows more than US government tells it, because US government did not tell it when my sheets are dry but it figured it out all by itself.

    However I asked it whether TARP had succeeded and it didn’t answer, which definitely shows it knows more than #86.

  98. SEA Says:

    That dryer is a just a waste of good land.

  99. bunemama Says:

    consolidation makes a lot of sense to me in mvla
    2 of the schools in la are in fact mv schools but districted for la

    the district lines are bunk – any developer in mt view will tell you that – they are able to take toxic soil property, get a closed session board meeting, built a ridiculous amout of condos into lausd island- da plane boss, da plane


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