Silicon Valley is one of the most expensive real estate in the nation, and the property taxes collected here are in tens of Billions of dollars per year. Santa Clara County is one of the wealthiest counties and has over $551 Billion of assessed property value, with about $6B collected in property taxes. 44% of these taxes go towards funding schools. Rest is consumed in the county, city, and other services, including paying for the bonds issued previously. Cupertino is one of the county’s high priced cities, with about 60K residents, and is home to Apple Corporation. Despite these apparent riches, Cupertino schools are in financial trouble and are proposing to permanently close schools to meet a $5M annual shortfall in about $180M annual operating cost with about 16K students.
This is a travesty that needs serious attention, as this phenomenon will not just be limited to Cupertino – it is likely going to happen to many other cities around the Bay Area. Funding for schools has often come up in state propositions, and every year we have a shortfall. Our property tax system and the government’s forever bloating expenses are a chronic problem. About $4B of the $8B annual budget of Santa Clara County is in salary and benefits. $660M of property tax collected in the county goes to a redevelopment trust – education is obviously less important than spending money on redevelopment!
About $1.5B of the county property taxes go to the county to perform its services (Justice, Health, Social programs, etc.). Cupertino contributes over $300M to the county. How about negotiating with the county to balance the priorities such that education for its resident’s kids becomes a top priority instead of multiple other programs? Unfortunately, our school boards have not been strong enough to renegotiate formulas such that both the county and the state funding are increased to match the costs in our expensive areas like Cupertino. Instead, they take the decision they can at the local level, which is to close schools and create overcrowding. It is really shameful!
Long term solution for funding our schools need to be where the locals can have a larger control of their future. Property taxes need to be 100% controlled by the cities, and county services should be negotiated and paid for if used by the city’s residents. Much of the bloated county budget needs to be pared. It is feasible that we can even reduce the property tax bills with proper allocation and paring down of unnecessary and duplicating programs. Additionally, we need to have more school choices that will create competition within the school district to ensure the schools’ quality and accountability.
Today, our school system and colleges are not up to speed with next-generation technology. Some of the next century of innovation for the valley, we see in areas below:
• Artificial Intelligence
• Quantum Computing
• Advanced Manufacturing
• Advanced Medicine
We need to sow the educational seeds of the next-generation technology needs in high school and at the community college level. We need to train our teachers and help invest more in training and upgrading school/college materials. We cannot permanently close schools and squeeze the quality of education because of a small $5M budget shortfall. County has a lot of money and must revise its allocation to the Cupertino school district, and the school board must negotiate hard with the county to future proof its allocation and expenditure formulas for schools, as education is the highest priority, not other county programs.
I strongly oppose the closure of any schools in my district, including Cupertino, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Fremont, Newark, and Alviso. Children are our future, and we need to invest more in children.
Please sign the petition, join our fight to SAVE schools from permanent closing: http://chng.it/nG7sTJXXgH
Congressional Candidate District 17
This is a sponsored post. Paid for by Tandon for Congress.