MV Whisman made basic aid district Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Mountain View Voice Online, on May 27, 2009 at 12:42 pm
Further complicating the financial uncertainty over Mountain View Whisman's future, the local elementary school district recently became a basic aid district, and will now be funded primarily through local property taxes.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 22, 2009, 12:00 AM
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community, on May 27, 2009 at 5:16 pm
Chas, I don't think the county is involved. It has to do with how much the state thinks the district is entitled to per student (the "revenue limit") and how much of the property tax revenue gets allocated to the district. When the district's cut of the property tax revenue meets or exceeds what the state decrees your revenue limit is (different for every district), you become basic aid. Just means that the state isn't backfilling the gap between the property tax amount the district gets per student and the "revenue limit" amount. So if the property tax revenues increase, the district gets to keep the extra (above the "revenue limit" amount). If the tax revenue fall below the revenue limit amount again, the district is no longer "basic aid" and just gets the revenue limit amount. Weird system, I don't think any other state has one like it.
Posted by Enough!, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on May 27, 2009 at 8:37 pm
There is much more to this story. A big point missed by the Voice is that basic aid district don't look favorably on outsiders' children filling up the schools. The less students the better particularly if those students parents aren't contributing to the tax base. Los Altos Elementary aggressively routes out such interlopers and freeloaders under the basic aid model.
Posted by Parent, a resident of the Waverly Park neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 12:57 pm
When a district is NOT basic aid, it is actually kind of beneficial to accept transfer students, since the state pays you a set amount for every child in a seat; the more kids, the more money you get. It doesn't cost the district more, we get the same dollar amount from the state for a kid from Sunnyvale as for the kid from Mountain View. When you are basic aid, you get one pot of money to divide up whether you have 3000 kids or 5000, so you don't want to take transfers.
Los Altos Elementary district has still been accepting transfers in; they have been borderline basic aid for the past couple of years, bouncing in and out, so I guess they didn't feel it was necessary to eliminate all transfers. This may be the case with MVWSD for a few years as well, until it is certain that they are comfortably in basic aid and will stay there; I don't know, time will tell.
The MVLA High School district is solidly basic aid, and has been for a long time; they are the ones who are very rigorous about verifying that their students are residents of the district.
Posted by BasicAidMayOrMayNotBeMyFriend, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on May 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm
I've been filling the bucket for MVWSD without drawing from it (since I have no kids) for a few years. In my naive opinion (?) I'd like all of the local prop tax revenues to go to local schools (geez, call me radical.) The above article implies that the state decides the proportion of property taxes that are allowed to go to local school districts (which sounds a bit strange to me.) Could someone elaborate how the state / county decides what to do with the rest of my property tax that doesn't go towards local schools within my district?
Posted by True Friend, a resident of another community, on May 31, 2009 at 12:33 pm
The bottom line-sufficient and effective funding is the true friend to schools and communities, not an arbitrary status. Read on for an explanation.
Eric is right with one qualification. Basic aid status is *eventually* better than revenue limit status. A basic aid school district keeps all of its property tax revenue, even if the revenue is more than the revenue limit amount, but it's not really helpful until revenue is significantly higher than the limit.
For example, let's say the property tax revenue for MVWSD is $1000 per student. Let's also say that last year, the revenue limit set by the State was $1001 per student. MVWSD would be considered a revenue limit district and the State would fill up the bucket with $1 per student. The reason MVWSD is basic aid now is that the State lowered the revenue limit amount. Using my example, lets say they lowered it to $999 per student. So now, MVWSD gets to keep all their property tax revenue and gets basic aid status but the funding per student is essentially the same. You could see how a district might become basic aid even if funding decreased.
Basic aid status does make an immediate difference in how a district would want to treat inter-district transfers which was addressed in an earlier post.
Posted by Steve Nelson, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 9:44 am
If MVWSD ($13.5 B assessed valuation in taxes) actually got it's share of most of the $3 B in assessed valuation from the Googleplex commercial area (Shoreline Community) it would be about 17% above basic aid. Then this district could compete in per-pupil spending with its neighbors in Los Altos and Palo Alto. Don't think the best teachers switch jobs 'just for the money'? Think again. The 'Dump District' also is currently set up to keep its taxes in perpetuity - the schools (MVWSD, MVLAHSD, Foothill/DeAnza) will NEVER get any future tax growth north of 101.
Think redevelopment districts are crazy? Write assemblyman Paul Fong - he used to be an education district trustee and a friend of educational financing!
Posted by Parent, a resident of another community, on Jun 1, 2009 at 2:47 pm
Redevelopment districts serve a greater good, too. As a parent, I used to share the frustration that the downtown redevelopment district and the Shoreline district (especially Shoreline) seemed to have huge surpluses and the schools were struggling. But as a Mountain View resident, I really appreciate the wonderful and vital downtown we have, and the great resource that is Shoreline. Those things would not have happened without redevelopment districts.