Menlo Park's Future

 

New Budget Decisions Are Being Made

Fellow Residents,

Our garbage rates are going up by 24%.

The Council talks about raising our Utility User Tax (UUT) Rates from the current 1%.  This is a tax on electricity, wireless phone and computer connections, gas, phone landlines, water, and cable.

And now we learn that we have been subsidizing the 54 child care slots in the West-Menlo Park pre-school program (Menlo Children’s Center or MCC) by $358,802 a year. That means that we have been subsidizing each slot by roughly $6,644 a year, and the tuition increases proposed by staff will do little to alter that subsidy.

We know the following:

·         The Childcare program became city run about 20 years ago on a so-called “temporary” basis.

·         We are one of only a handful of cities on the Peninsula who still run their own child-care programs. (Most do so to accommodate low-income families, which we also do in our Belle Haven Childcare Programs.)

·         Many parents in West Menlo Park send their pre-schoolers to private programs.  Should they be subsidizing their neighbors who have not demonstrated special needs?

·         We know from research done just 2 years ago that at least one private and reputable firm would (1) take over the West Menlo city facility, (2) not raise tuition, (3)provide an enhanced program with new foreign language instruction, computers, hot lunches and more, (4)and pay the city rent.

·         Some families whose children are enrolled in the West Menlo program are already protesting a raise in tuition of even 10%. A 10% tuition hike would only bring the City’s cost recovery to 80%--and even at 80% cost recovery the MCC program’s tuition would be more than some Private competitive rates.

I believe that West-Menlo Park families should either pay the real cost of their children’s childcare,

·         Or apply to the City for a needs-based scholarship or loan if the city’s cost-recovery rates are more than they can afford

·         Or request that a private provider, such as the highly-rated operator running the new center built by Mountain View, run MCC at the current tuition rates.

If you want to make a difference in this discussion, write City.Council@MenloPark.org .

Decisions will be made tomorrow—Tuesday, Nov. 25th.

Thanks,

Lee Duboc  (menlofuture@gmail.com)

For past emails, please link to http://menlofuture.weebly.com/index.html

Subsidy figures are available from the just released cost-allocation study at http://www.menlopark.org/departments/fin/study/APPENDIX2.pdf. The study has been on-going for 3 years, and has involved much staff time. It was conducted so that we could accurately understand program costs and recover program fees.