Mountain View Voice

News - June 21, 2013

Property values boost high school district budget

by Nick Veronin

When it comes to the local high school district's budget, things seem to be getting back to normal, according to Joe White.

White, assistant superintendent of the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District, said local home values have been rising of late, and that's a good thing — since, as a basic aid district, MVLA's budget comes mostly from property taxes.

As a result, the White is projecting a 5.5 percent increase in revenue from property taxes compared with last year.

The MVLA budget, passed on June 17 by the district's board of trustees, predicts $58.37 million in total revenue will come to the district in the 2013-14 school year. That's $5.5 million more than White projected bringing in for the 2012-13 school year.

With increased revenues, the district will be able to spend more. The budget anticipates expenditures of about $54.25 million — nearly $5 million more than the district saw fit to budget for the previous term.

Superintendent Barry Groves said the growth means the district will finally be able to lift a pay raise freeze, bring on more faculty and staff and look into expanding its student programs.

White expects the growth to continue. The district's three-year budget projects continued and expanding growth in the coming years.

It's a welcome change, White said, and a return to the kind of growth the district was seeing before the recession — which brought minimal and even negative growth to MVLA over the last five years.

As a basic aid district, MVLA will not benefit directly from California's new budget, which emphasizes education spending. However, Groves said, the new state budget — particularly the fact that it was passed on time — has him feeling optimistic.

Additionally, the new Shoreline Community Joint Powers Agreement, which was on the verge of passage at press time, and will give MVLA a guaranteed lump sum payment every year for the next 10 years, should allow the district to make plans well into the future, White and Groves said.

White hesitated to say that the recession was in his district's rear-view mirror. But all in all, he said, things are looking up.

"We are in a healthy environment," he said. "I feel very comfortable."

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