"It's very positive for both Mountain View Whisman and our school district," said Joe White, associate superintendent of business services for MVLA. White said that having a planned funding source locked into place is a big deal, especially considering how tumultuous the past five years have been. It isn't common to get a 10-year agreement and having one means the district can make plans well into the future. "It's going to be a great benefit."
. As the Voice went to press on June 19, both the Mountain View City Council and the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District had signed the three-way agreement, leaving the Mountain View Whisman School District as the only party yet to approve the contract, which would lock in a revenue-sharing structure between the city and the two local districts for a decade. The MVWSD board of trustees was scheduled to vote on approval of the JPA at its June 20 meeting.
The city's schools would receive at least $4.7 million a year until 2023, possibly more, depending on property tax revenue levels, determined by the property values of companies like Google, which have been rising as the area redevelops rapidly.
"The school district shares some of the risk of property tax fluctuation," said assistant city manager Melissa Stevenson Dile.
Under the agreement, the Mountain View Whisman district is guaranteed a minimum payment of $2.87 million per year for 10 years and the high school district is guaranteed a payment of $1.84 million over 10 years. The money is to come from tax revenue generated in the special district known as the Shoreline Community, similar to a redevelopment agency but created under special state legislation in 1969 to funnel property taxes north of Highway 101 toward maintenance of Shoreline Park and its landfills as well as infrastructure projects in the area, home mostly to office buildings.
Dile said the agreement was worth "six times" the original agreement the city had with schools before a group of parents started a campaign to "Share Shoreline." The parents had read an article in the Voice in May 2010 which reported that the elementary school district alone was missing out on over $5 million a year in property tax revenue because of the existence of the special tax district.
City officials say the funds continue to be earmarked for technology-related programs in schools, intended to create a link to the original purpose of the funds for the Shoreline area, now populated with companies that need highly skilled workers.
Craig Goldman, superintendent of MVWSD said he was grateful to the city council and the city manager's office.
Without their priority of serving the children of Mountain View the arrangement would have never been possible," Goldman said. "We're very excited about a long-term agreement that ensures a substantial and stable revenue source for both the elementary and the high school district."
Both Goldman and White said the money would undoubtedly be used to start phasing in new curriculum in line with the the national Common Core standards.
Goldman said the guarantee of money comes at a time when education is changing rapidly. In addition to getting his district ready for Common Core, Goldman pointed to new educational trends that his district is currently exploring, such as project-based learning and blended learning. Plus, he said, his district is focused on closing the achievement gap.
"These funds supplement what we would otherwise get from the state and give us the best opportunity to do all of those things," he said.
Approving the agreement at the end of a very long meeting, council members had little to say about it Tuesday night, with members thanking the city and school officials who drafted it.
"Our staff and the school districts have worked hard to come to an agreement," said council member Margaret Abe-Koga. "The key is that it's been a collaborative effort. There is no question that it is helping our schools create a better prepared workforce for the future."
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