Mountain View Voice

News - December 17, 2010

District: No need to re-open Slater School

MV Whisman set to renew lease with Google daycare

by Nick Veronin

A need for revenue and the low population of students surrounding the Whisman neighborhood has the local elementary and middle-school district preparing to renew the lease of the former Slater Elementary School to Google.

When Google agreed to lease two-thirds of the Slater campus from the Mountain View Whisman School District back in 2006, the arrangement was hailed by the district's former chief financial officer as a "win-win." The district needed money and the titan of search was looking to expand its employee day care and preschool services.

Today, six months before the end of that five-year agreement, the district's financial situation is more or less the same, and Google is still thankful to have a local site for its child care programming.

"It's been, frankly, a life-saving source of revenue for our district," Superintendent Craig Goldman told the district's board of trustees at its Dec. 9 meeting, before recommending that the district negotiate a new five-year lease with Google.

Mountain View Whisman is still strapped for cash, Goldman said, and although local elementary and middle schools saw a significant uptick in students this year, he assured the board that there is little risk that the district will need the Slater site to accommodate more kids for at least another five years.

"First of all, our growth is not in that part of town. And, secondly, as we look forward, the growth is ultimately going to be moving toward the middle schools," Goldman said.

The board unanimously approved a motion to begin negotiations with Google to extend the lease through 2016.

"We've got a really symbiotic relationship," said Dan Hoffman, director of real estate at Google. He said that the Slater site has been ideal in its proximity to the company's Mountain View campus and the amount of space it has provided for children's programming.

The Woods, as it is called, is one of four day care centers operated by Google throughout the city. It is open only to the children of Google employees, according to Google representative Jordan Newman, who said that as far as he knows, charges about the same prices and offers similar programming as other preschools in the area.

Hoffman stopped short of saying a new lease between Google and the school district was a done deal, but noted that he saw no reason why it wouldn't go through. "It is a great relationship and we'd be happy to continue it," he said.

Besides the "strong financial interest" the district has in continuing the lease — the site brought in $731,581 this year — Goldman said there are other perks.

"They take great care of the site," he said. "In fact the site is in better shape than when they took it over."

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