Mountain View Voice

News - July 15, 2011

MV Whisman district finances looking rosier

Though challenges remain, district will end year in black, official says

by Nick Veronin

The Mountain View Whisman School District anticipates having more money next school year than it had in 2010-11, thanks to two large and unexpected infusions of cash that the district received late last school year.

According to the 2011-12 budget — presented by Superintendent Craig Goldman and approved by the Mountain View Whisman board of trustees on June 16 — the district plans to spend about $40 million next year (up from $38.7 million last year). Goldman said he believes the district will finish out 2012 with about $2.2 million in undesignated and unrestricted funds.

The good news, Goldman said, can be attributed in large part to the $2.8 million in funds the district received as a result of the reorganization of the Shoreline Community — a special tax district north of Highway 101, which had previously kept millions of dollars within its boundaries and out of the hands of local schools — plus a $1 million donation from Google.

Goldman, who played a major role in raising public awareness of the money being diverted from local schools by the Shoreline Community, said that it would be hard to overstate the importance of the Shoreline funds, which will continue bringing money to the district through the 2012-13 school year.

"If we didn't have Shoreline, not only would we have had to use our additional reserve, but we would have had to cut programs," Goldman said, adding that the district has benefited from several other fortunate financial turns.

Besides the $1 million from Google to bolster science and math education, the district received $400,000 in funds raised by the Mountain View Educational Foundation and a $210,000 donation from El Camino Hospital.

Every bit of extra income the district receives is a big deal in this economy, according to Goldman. Costs associated with healthcare, special education services, teaching materials, fuel and energy are all weighing more heavily on the district than ever before. Yet, while California readily acknowledges these increasing financial burdens on schools, the state is cutting education funding.

"We have to find other sources of revenue in order to keep pace with increased costs," Goldman said.

For now, Goldman said, the district is in decent financial shape and will remain in the black through the end of the 2012-13 school year. However, many challenges loom on the horizon — the first of which could hit the district as early as December.

The governor's office is hoping the state will pull in roughly $4 billion in additional revenues in the fiscal year that began July 1. However, if it doesn't, Mountain View Whisman may take a hit of roughly $330 per student. Goldman said the district has figured the potential cuts into the budget — setting aside roughly $1.5 million to absorb the state reductions, should they come to pass.

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