Interactive Financial Portal (OpenGov)
MPCSD, in partnership with OpenGov, is pleased to provide an interactive reporting tool of all District revenues and expenditures. The same financial data that is submitted to both the Board of Trustees and the State is utilized by OpenGov to make budgeting information available for community members to explore in various graphical formats with download capability. Key reports have been created (below) to provide information that spans from the current year back to fiscal year 2005/06.
The OpenGov platform provides the community with enhanced transparency and accessibility to MPCSD’s financial data. All California public schools submit financial data to the California Department of Education in a standardized format. These reports are approved by the Board of Trustees in public Board meetings at regular intervals throughout the year. MPCSD has made these reports and supporting material available to the public through Board agendas (see Agenda Online) as well as on the MPCSD's Annual Budget webpage. OpenGov makes this information easier to understand with the use of graphs, drill-down options for further information (most reports), annotations of major changes, and the ability to expand or filter data.
Key Financial Reports on OpenGov
For issues impacting the analysis of this data, please see introduction & notes below.
MPCSD’s operating budget is approximately $62 million 2021-22. The District employs about 400 staff and operates five campuses. Funding from local property taxes, parcel taxes, Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation and other local donations is approximately $53.6 million, making MPCSD truly a community-funded district. Very little funding is received from State and Federal sources.
The OpenGov reports below show current and historical data. At each reporting period, the District is required to project revenues and expenditures for a minimum of two subsequent years. See the latest Budget reports for the latest multi-year projection. The District projects reserve levels in line with the District's Board policy through 2021-22 fiscal year. Three of the four parcel taxes are evergreen. Measure X which was passed in March 2017 is set to expire in 2023-24 fiscal year. The District will need to closely monitor its mutli-year projections and consider at what point it will need to renew/expand this parcel tax to maintain the high quality and world class educational programs.
Enrollment Growth and Historical Trends
From 2005/06 to 2020/21, the District has grown by over 860 students or 40%.
Annual expenditures have almost doubled in the last decade. However, when considering enrollment growth and factoring in cost of living adjustments, the expenditures per student have remained relatively constant.
Annual revenues have almost doubled in the last decade. However, when considering enrollment growth and factoring in cost of living adjustments, revenues per student have remained relatively constant.
Revenue per Student (adjusted)**
Revenues have increased by an annual average of 2.5% over the last 10 years, only slightly exceeding the rate of inflation.
Expenses per Student (adjusted)**
Similarly, on a per-student basis, expenses have increased by an annual average of only 3.6% over the last 10 years
** The two per student reports have been adjusted to more accurately reflect ongoing operations as follows: interfund transfers in and out have been removed; actual parcel tax revenue has been added to all years prior to 2014/15; State contributions to STRS on behalf of local employees have been excluded from both revenue and expense. See Accounting Changes section below for more information on these items.
Current Year Reports
MPCSD is a community-funded district, with almost 60% of total revenue coming from local property taxes and about 25% from parcel taxes and community donations. State and Federal funding is minimal.
Almost 90% of the budget is spent on personnel.
Over 80% of personnel costs are instructional or instruction-related.
The current staffing levels enable MPCSD to maintain student-teacher ratios of 22:1 in our elementary schools and 24:1 in our middle school.
Financial Challenges Ahead
Pension Costs (District Portion
In response to growing pension liabilities, the state of California mandated increasing employer contributions for the State Teachers’ Retirement System (STRS). The historic employer contribution rate was 8.25% of salaries. The employer rate has risen every year beginning in 2014/15, to 12.58% in the 2016/17 fiscal year and will reach 19.1% in 2020/21 (i.e., 2.3x higher than the historic rate). Rates for the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) are also projected to increase. The additional financial burden resulting from increasing employer contributions to STRS and PERS (above the historic rate) is expected to total more than $3 million per year by fiscal year 2020/21. For further information click here.
Prior to fiscal year 2014/15, parcel tax revenue was recorded outside the General Fund and transferred back as needed. This report shows the actual parcel tax revenue received for each year. Note that in 2010/11, parcel tax revenue increased significantly due to Measure C, which passed in 2010 for a term of seven years. Measure X parcel tax was passed in March 2017 to extend and increase expiring parcel tax for another seven years.
Other Financial Considerations
Beginning fiscal year 2014/15, the State’s portion paid into the teachers’ retirement system is reported as both a revenue and expense in the District’s books (pass through). This does not affect our annual operating surplus/deficit but significantly distorts budget comparisons made between recent years and those prior to 2014/15.
Foundation contributions have increased from $1.5 million in 2005/06 to $3.6 million beginning 2013/14.
Property taxes represent approximately 60% of MPCSD revenues. Secured property tax, that portion tied to real estate, represents about 90% of property tax revenues -or about 55% of the District's total revenues. Historically, property taxes have experienced robust growth, and we expect those trends to continue. However, year-to-year growth can fluctuate significantly and is subject to periodic real estate cycles.
Redevelopment Agencies (RDA’s) were dissolved in 2012, resulting in a greater share of property tax available for schools. It will take many years for the full impact of this change to be realized by the District.
Orientation to School Finance
Like other governmental agencies, the District’s budget is organized and operated on a fund basis. Each fund is established for specific activities or objectives as outlined by the California Department of Education. MPCSD’s main fund is called the General Fund. Most of the District’s day-to-day operations are paid from the General Fund. This is the default view for all of our OpenGov reports. Other funds include those specific to bond issuances, cafeteria (lunch program), facilities improvements and repairs, and special reserves. These other funds are available on OpenGov by using the “Filter” feature found on the Annual Revenues & Expenditures report.
The information in OpenGov is consistent with public reporting. The District has maintained the State’s standardized account code descriptions and titles wherever possible. (See the California School Accounting Manual for reference.) This enables comparability with other school districts. Annual data for all California schools is available on EdData, an online tool provided through the partnership of the California Department of Education, EdSource, and FCMAT.
It is important to note when comparing the District’s financials across fiscal years that anomalies and variances can be expected. Significant events, accounting changes, and one-time funding can cause misleading or erroneous conclusions. These are identified in the supplemental information provided to the Board with the financial reports. Complete financial reports, including supplemental information, can be accessed through the MPCSD’s Annual Budget webpage. Major changes are annotated in the OpenGov reports in the right-hand side bar. If notes are applicable, a message at the top of the right-hand sidebar will appear. “Clicking” on the message will reveal the notes.
Key Events in MPCSD History
- 2000 MPCSD Becomes Basic Aid: Prior to 2013/14, districts were labeled “basic aid” when local property taxes exceeded the per-pupil State funding model. These districts no longer received State aid under revenue limit funding other than the minimum constitutional guarantee of $120 per average daily attendance, called “basic aid.” It is important to note the funding from the guarantee was essentially eliminated in fiscal year 2003/04. The terminology changed from basic aid to “community-funded” with implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) in 2013/14. For more information on what it means to be a community-funded district, see MPCSD’s California State Education Funding webpage.
- 2000 Measure A, Parcel Tax: On April 11, 2000, 74.7% of District voters authorized a parcel tax to improve children’s academic performance, reduce class size, improve teacher quality and expand courses. The revenue generated from this parcel tax in fiscal year 2016/17 was approximately $3.5 million, with a rate of $441.06 per parcel.
- 2003 Measure A (Renewal) & B, Parcel Taxes: On November 4, 2003, 80.9% of District voters approved a measure to renew an existing parcel tax (Measure A) to maintain smaller class sizes for all students. In addition, 77.4% of District voters approved a new parcel tax (Measure B) to restore programs lost due to State budget cuts, including funding for remedial math and reading, textbooks and materials, and to provide for teacher professional development. The revenue generated from these parcel taxes in fiscal year 2016/17 was approximately $1.8 million (combined), with rates of $129.34 per parcel for Measure A and $97.34 per parcel for Measure B.
- 2006 Measure U, Facilities Bond: In June 2006, the voters approved $91.1 million in bonds to expand and modernize the District’s schools. Approximately $20.7 million in State matching funds were utilized for these facility improvement projects. The proceeds from the sale of these bonds, as well as the related expenditures, are accounted for in the Building Fund (Fund 21). The collection and repayment of the bond financing instruments are handled by the San Mateo County Treasurer. The District does not have access to these accounts (Bond Interest and Redemption Fund, Fund 51). See MPCSD’s Facility Development webpage.
- 2008-2013 Great Recession: State revenue limit funding for K-12 education was cut approximately 20% over the course of the Great Recession. Because basic aid districts did not receive State aid through revenue limits, State categorical funding was cut proportionally for those districts. This was referred to as “fair share” reductions. The State’s intention was to restore the fair share cuts made to basic aid categorical funds as revenue limit funding was restored. However, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) school finance reform of 2013/14 eliminated revenue limits and most categorical programs. LCFF “holds harmless” all districts at 2012/13 funding levels and redistributes new monies according to the formula. This makes the reduction in basic aid districts’ State categorical funds a permanent cut. Where MPCSD had received almost $2 million in categorical funding before the recession, the District now receives $432,027 under LCFF (an amount that will never increase). See MPCSD’s California State Education Funding webpage.
- 2010 Measure C, Parcel Tax: On May 4, 2010, 76.2% of District voters authorized a parcel tax (Measure C) to maintain small class sizes, fund teachers and educational programs. Measure C is a seven year parcel tax that sunsets June 30, 2017. The revenue generated from this parcel tax in fiscal year 2016/17 was approximately $1.6 million, with a rate of $206.82 per parcel. The final year for revenue generated from this parcel tax was 2016/17.
- 2013 Redevelopment Agency (RDA) Dissolution: Redevelopment Agencies (RDA’s) were dissolved in 2012 due to State budget constraints. RDA’s gave cities, and sometimes counties, the ability to capture a greater share of property taxes for purposes of combating blight. The dissolution of RDA’s results in more property tax dollars available for schools and other property tax recipients, potentially reducing the State’s obligation by billions of dollars for State-funded school districts. The dismantling of this multibillion dollar program is complicated and will take many years to unwind. The average funding received over the last three years, 2014/15 to 2016/17, was about $400,000 per year.
- 2013 Measure W, Facilities Bond: In November 2013 the voters approved $23 million in bonds for the construction of the new Laurel School Upper Campus. The proceeds from the sale of these bonds, as well as the related expenditures, are accounted for in the Building Fund (Fund 21). The collection and repayment of the bond financing instruments are handled by the San Mateo County Treasurer. The District does not have access to these accounts (Bond Interest and Redemption Fund, Fund 51). See MPCSD’s Facility Development webpage.
- 2013 Proposition 30/2016 Proposition 55, Education Protection Account: Proposition 30 provides funding from the temporary increase in State taxes approved by voters in 2012 and set to expire in 2018. MPCSD received about $580,000 from this source in fiscal year 2016/17. Proposition 55 was passed in November 2016 extending the increase on personal tax for incomes over $250,000 for another 12 years which will continue to provide the District the same level of State funding.
- 2014 Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF): LCFF is the new State funding model implemented fiscal year 2013/14. It replaced the prior State funding model of revenue limits and most State categoricals. (As a result of LCFF, “basic aid” districts are now referred to as community-funded districts, and “revenue limit” districts referred to as State-funded districts.) For MPCSD, this change resulted in a permanent reduction of approximately $1.5 million in State funding from loss of categorical dollars. See MPCSD’s California State Education Funding webpage.
- 2015 Loss of Lease Rental Income: In 2015 the District ended its lease with the German American International School at the “O’Connor” school site. The site was needed to build a new school by the District to handle current and projected enrollment growth. The District’s annual lease for that school site was about $350,000 annually.
- 2015 Pension Cost Increases (STRS/PERS): MPCSD participates in the State Teachers’ Retirement System (STRS). Contribution rates for STRS are fixed in stature. Assembly Bill 1469 was enacted in fiscal year 2014/15 to increase the employer rate for STRS from 8.25% (2013/14) to 19.1% (2020/21). See CalSTRS 2014 Funding Plan. The District also participates in the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) for non-certificated employees. PERS rates are determined by a Board of Administration each year and are also expected to increase over the next several years.
- October 2016 New Laurel School Upper Campus Opens: Construction was completed on the new Laurel Upper School Campus serving grades 3rd to 5th. The new school increased the District capacity to handle student growth and better balance existing elementary school enrollment at Encinal and Oak Knoll Schools. The school is state of the art with features that support collaberative learning while being extremely effiecient and environmentally friendly.
- 2017 Measure X, Parcel Tax: On March 7, 2017, 79.1% of District voters authorized a parcel tax (Measure X) to retain high-quality teachers, excellent programs, and reasonable class sizes. The measure authorized the District to levy the tax at the initial rate of $360 per year on each parcel of taxable real property in the District beginning in 2017/18. Measure X is a seven years parcel tax that sunsets on June 30, 2024.
- 2015 Parcel Tax Revenue: Beginning fiscal year 2014/15, all parcel tax revenue is reported in the General Fund. Prior to 2014/15, parcel tax revenue was reported in the Capital Facilities Fund (Fund 25) and transferred in total to the Special Reserve Fund (Fund 17). It was then transferred to the General Fund as needed.
- 2015 State STRS On Behalf Reporting: Beginning fiscal year 2014/15, the State contribution paid to the State Teachers’ Retirement System (STRS) on behalf of local employees is reported as both a revenue and an expense in the General Fund. Although the net effect on the fund balance is zero (essentially just a pass through), it distorts both revenue and expense when comparing recent years to those prior to 2014-15.
- 2015 Deferred Maintenance Transfer: The Deferred Maintenance Program was repealed with the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) school finance reform of fiscal year 2013/14. However, the California Department of Education (CDE) allowed the Deferred Maintenance Fund (Fund 14) to remain open for districts to continue tracking those expenditures. With this change in classification, the CDE recommended that districts no longer record contributions to this fund as an interfund transfer, or expenditure, from the General Fund, but as a direct transfer of LCFF revenue. MPCSD implemented this change in 2014/15. This results in a reduction of both revenue and expense (interfund transfers) when comparing recent budget years with those prior to 2014/15. The Deferred Maintenance transfer for 2016/17 was $643,750.
One-Time Funding Sources or Impacts
- 2009 Lehman Brothers Investment Loss: MPCSD cash accounts are held and invested by the San Mateo County Treasurer. Unfortunately, the County Treasurer had invested some of the funds with Lehman Brothers, which filed for bankruptcy in September 2008. All local agencies with funds in the County Treasurer lost monies as a result. The District’s investment loss totaled almost $4 million across all funds, of which about $3.3 million were from Measure U bond sales (Fund 21). Portions of these loses have been recovered through the bankruptcy process. See OpenGov report: Lehman Brothers Investment Loss & Subsequent Recovery Payments. The County has implemented new investment procedures and oversight to avoid this type of loss in the future.
- 2011 Transfer of $1.3M from General Fund to Special Reserve Fund (Fund 17): Approximately $1.3 million from General Fund reserves was transferred to the Special Reserve Fund (Fund 17) as a set-aside for Learning Leaders/Curriculum Coordinators to support classroom teachers and student learning in subsequent years.
- 2013 Redevelopment Agency (RDA) Asset Distribution: In fiscal year 2012/13 (the second year of distribution of these funds), the District received over $1 million in RDA funds, primarily from the one-time dissolution of assets. Most of this was transferred to other funds for facilities purposes (for example, Deferred Maintenance projects and construction of the new school).
- 2014 Transfer of $1M to California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust (CERBT) Account: In fiscal year 2013/14, the District opened a trust account with CalPERS to prefund retiree health and welfare obligations. Prior to 2013/14, the District held these funds in the Special Reserve Fund for Other Post Employment Benefits (Fund 20). In order to transfer these funds to CERBT, the District had to first transfer the funds into the General Fund which artificially increased expenditures by $1 million for 2013/14.
- 2014-2017 State Funding, Mandated Costs Backlog: In fiscal year 2015/16, MPCSD received an unprecedented $1.53 million of State funding to pay down outstanding amounts owed for mandated cost reimbursements. It has been a priority for Governor Brown to reduce this “wall of debt” beginning in 2014/15, and MPCSD received its first payment of about $188,000 that year. Although a fourth round of approximately $425,300 was paid in 2017/18, this debt is expected to be substantially paid. Of the $1.53 million received in 2015/16, the District spent about $565,000 on one-time expenditures and set aside, or assigned, the remainder (about $970,000) for future expenditures of a one-time nature rather than use it for ongoing operations. See 2015/16 Unaudited Actuals, “Summary of One-Time Funds” on page 9.
- 2014-2018 State Funding, One-Time/Limited-Time Grants:
- Common Core Implementation Grant (FY 2013/14), $562,494 for professional development, instructional materials, and technology
- Proposition 39, Clean Energy Act (FY 2013/14 to FY 2017/18), approximately $100,000 per year for five years to be used to increase energy saving projects
- Educator Effectiveness Grant (FY 2015/16), $284,506 for professional development
To Learn More...
All are welcome to attend the public Board meetings where budget presentations are given by the Chief Business and Operations Officer. The District’s fiscal year is July 1 to June 30. The budget cycle adheres to the following schedule:
First Interim Report
Second Interim Report
The audit report is generally taken to the Board in December or January. A calendar of Board meetings, Board agendas, and supporting documentation, are available on Agenda Online. To join the School Board Email Distribution List, click here.
Those wishing to go into more depth regarding the District’s budgets are welcome to attend the public meetings of the Finance and Audit Committee. Join the School Board Email Distribution List (above) to be notified of meeting times.
Disclaimer: The data in OpenGov should be used for informational purposes only. Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the reports and data provided; nevertheless, some information may not be accurate or up-to-date. The Menlo Park City School District assumes no responsibility arising from use of this information.