Mountain View Voice

News - March 18, 2011

High schools in good shape, for now

MVLA finance official says district is on track, awaits June elections

by Nick Veronin

Halfway through their fiscal year the local high schools are in better financial shape than administrative officials had anticipated, according to a report presented to the district's board of trustees on Monday.

According to the 2010-11 Second Interim Report, which the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District's board of trustees approved at their March 14 meeting, the district took in more revenue than had been anticipated and spent more than had been budgeted for in the first eight months of the fiscal year. The amount the district took in exceeded the amount it spent by more than $1 million.

The district took in about $1.8 million more than expected. The majority of the surplus came from state and federal sources, as well as from the district's fundraising organization, the MVLA High School Foundation.

Mountain View-Los Altos also spent about $686,000 more than officials had budgeted. The increased expenditures were made to cover rising costs of employee health care plans and to account for unspent money from the previous year — which, due to tricky public sector financing protocol, was in the bank but wasn't included in the first draft of the budget.

That puts the high school district about $1.1 million ahead of where they had projected they would be by this time. The report took into account revenue and expenditure information from July 1 through Feb. 28.

The report also included a multi-year projection that anticipated the district would add 77 students next year and 150 by the 2012-13 school year. That growth, the report estimated, would require five additional "certificated positions" — teachers and non-administrators with some form of certification or credential — at an approximate cost to the district of $106,000 per position.

Overall, the report was positive, Joe White, associate superintendent of business services, said.

"Although we are deficit spending, the current projection demonstrates that the district will still be able to meet its current financial need through 2012-2013," he said. "Which is really the key."

There are still some unknowns in the near future, White said. Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed sweeping cuts and new taxes to deal with the state's budget crisis, and his promise to keep kindergarten through 12th-grade public education off the chopping block is very much dependent upon many of those proposals getting onto the June ballot and then passing.

"As of right now," White said, "we are waiting to see what happens in June."

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