News

Shoreline joint powers pact gets final OK

City to begin sharing more tax revenue with local public schools

With the unanimous approval of the high school district's board of trustees, the new Shoreline Community joint powers agreement went into effect on Monday.

Officials from Mountain View's primary and secondary schools agree that the newly approved amendments will provide much needed relief during trying times.

"It could not have come at a more opportune time for us," said Barry Groves, superintendent of the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District. The new deal between the city, his district and the Mountain View Whisman School District will bring about $10.8 million to local elementary, middle and high schools over the next three years.

At a March 28 meeting, Groves and the MVLA board of trustees were the last of the three "powers" in the joint powers agreement to approve the amendments to the tax sharing structure of the unusual special district in north Mountain View.

Earlier this month, both the City Council and the trustees of the Mountain View Whisman School District signed off on the new arrangement.

"From our standpoint, we're extremely grateful that we can rely on this funding to help out with the economic crisis," said Craig Goldman, superintendent of Mountain View Whisman. "Not knowing what types of cuts will be coming down from the state, it's comforting to know that we have this safety net.

The new joint powers agreement, or JPA, is intended to more equitably mete out tax revenues generated in the Shoreline Community -- a special district encompassing most of Mountain View north of Highway 101.

Because of the Shoreline Community's special designation, the vast majority of taxes generated by the companies that operate within its boundaries end up being earmarked for Shoreline-specific projects, and only a small portion end up in the coffers of local schools.

Groves and other education officials had been aware of the issue for some time, but only recently a group of concerned parents, calling themselves Share Shoreline, began showing up at school board and City Council meetings demanding that changes be made to the distribution of funds.

Members of that group clapped and gave a cry of jubilation as the MVLA board of trustees approved the new agreement, which will bring about $6.8 million to local elementary and middle schools, and roughly $4 million to local high schools. The first payment is scheduled to come to schools before the end of June.

"We're ecstatic that we were able to secure this interim agreement with the city," said Jim Pollart, the leader of Share Shoreline.

Pollart, a Mountain View Whisman parent, stressed the word "interim," noting that the new agreement is only scheduled to last three years and does not provide local schools with the amount they would get if the Shoreline Community were to be dissolved entirely.

He and the rest of Share Shoreline plan to work with they city to come to a permanent arrangement. "Shoreline should provide full funding to the schools unless there is a demonstrated financial reason why they can't," Pollart said.

Groves, who along with Mountain View Whisman's superintendent, Craig Goldman, has always maintained a more diplomatic tone, said that the agreement was "the first step in coming to a long term solution."

Comments

Posted by Miss USA, a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2011 at 2:24 pm

This is excellent news for the schools in Mountain View who have suffered so much from shriveled budgets. The Voice brought this story to light in the last year; Community journalism is as important as ever! Congrats to the Voice, the MV schools, Share Shoreline and the city for making this happen.


Posted by Margaret, a resident of Willowgate
on Mar 30, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Congratulations to everyone who worked on this! This is a great step forward step forward for the schools. I'm really looking forward to seeing what is determined based on a full review of the Community.

Great work and cooperation!


Posted by George, a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 30, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I'm glad for the School Districts.. They can use the money. BUT it should not be spent for on going expenses, since it well may not continue beyond the three years. Use it for capital upgrades, maintenance, etc

Don't put it into salaries.

Does this mean that these taxes were not necesary at all ? If I were Goggle, etc, I'd be suing for a rebate.


Posted by Steven Nelson, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm

George - remember these funds are DIVERSIONS by Shoreline from the regular flow of funds generated by normal 1% property taxes. Google, Microsoft etc. pay them like everyone else, but instead of half going to elementary, high school, jr. college and county education - 99% of it now goes to Shoreline (Chapter 1109 of Cailf Statues of 1969). It is a 'super redevelopment district' that is 'never' to end. In some ways it is also a conglomeration of a Regional Park District (why it supports the park and Stevens Creek Trail).
Jim Pollard's point is also one I have been making to the school boards and superintendents for several month's, without a statute change, this victory is just partial and temporary, although GREAT! About 1/5 of the normal property taxes will flow to County and Education for the next several years.


Posted by Sue, a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 30, 2011 at 4:27 pm

The Shoreline District was formed to redevelope a blighted area and the funds are very much needed for maintaining the clay barrier at the former MV Dump. This is not a good thing especially in light of the MV Council and School Districts previously approving an agreement several years ago to give money to the schools.

Will the School Districts pinch in when the EPA comes calling for dump maintenance and mitigation? I doubt it - this is NOT GOOD for the City overall!


Posted by Voter, a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 30, 2011 at 5:34 pm

I thought that Steven Nelson was the one opposed to the recent education funding ballot measure.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm

@Sue, I think Shoreline will still have enough money left over after sharing with the schools to maintain the area. I believe that this is one reason that this agreement is not to completely dismantle the special district, nor, as Steve Nelson pointed out, is this agreement giving the schools what they would really get if the special district did not exist. The city knows very well that Shoreline requires funds for future maintenance, and they will be sure that that happens.

@George--what the schools need is unrestricted operating funds. Putting this money into maintenance and/or reserving it for capital improvements while letting the school PROGRAMS fall apart because they don't have enough operating cash makes zero sense.


Posted by Steven Nelson, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 9, 2011 at 9:31 am

Sue of Rex Manor, there is currently $30 million in reserves for the maintenance of the dump. Comparison with other dumps in Calif. governed by the same long-term-maintenance laws shows that this is entirely adequate (city has to document this). There is over $6.6 million a year from city owned Shoreline land (seized by eminent domain decades ago) that gives the city an income stream on top of the 1/4 of property taxes that a city would normally get. Now (May) there is an additional $30 million from Google for a 50 year lease. IF THIS MONEY WAS DEPOSITED IN DUMP RESERVES, and not spent on city salaries, there would be no need to divert money from the elementary schools in MV (Los Altos elementary is not affected).
-PS "Voter", in a Public Policy Debate, it is germane to debate the method of achieving a goal if not debating the goal itself. Shoreline diverts sufficient taxes to entirely pay for the recent capital bond project of the High School District.


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