Mountain View Voice

News - January 17, 2014

No windfall for local schools in state budget

MV education officials anticipate most of increase in governor's proposal will go elsewhere in state

by Nick Veronin

Though Gov. Jerry Brown is calling for big increases in education spending, Mountain View schools aren't likely to benefit all that much from his recently proposed budget, according to local school officials.

The superintendents of Mountain View's two school districts agreed that the governor's proposal is a step in the right direction. However, each noted that the increases called for in education spending aren't likely to amount to much locally, as the majority of those funds will be earmarked to pay back money deferred from other districts during the recession.

"It doesn't have a big impact on our school district," said Barry Groves, superintendent of the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District. "We will only see incremental increases for our district."

Craig Goldman, superintendent of the Mountain View Whisman School District seconded Groves, saying he does not expect his district's general fund to get a big boost from Brown's proposed budget.

"We will see very little benefit from it," Goldman said.

According to a press release from the the governor's office, Brown has proposed allocating about $10 billion in new funding for schools. That breaks down to "an increase of more than $2,188 per student in 2014-15 over 2011-12 levels," the release said.

While it is promising that Brown is allocating more money to state schools, both Groves and Goldman said it will be some time before California students are getting the amount of funding they truly need.

"The 2015-2016 California Governor's budget proposal is much better for California's kids than past year's reductions," Groves said. "However, on average, California will remain in the bottom 10 percent of states in funding per child. Our higher education and other services for children also remain woefully underfunded."

"Even with the increases, we're still going to see California's per-student funding at the bottom of the country," Goldman said. "We're still seeing class sizes amongst the highest in the country."

That said, Goldman is grateful that the governor is so clearly focused on increasing education spending. He said that the proposed increases could mean more funding for his district in in specific categorical areas, such as special education and transportation, which Mountain View Whisman has had to pare back in recent years. It just isn't clear how much money could be coming.

"I can't even guess," Goldman said.

—Email Nick Veronin at nveronin@mv-voice.com

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