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City, school districts hold joint meeting ahead of high-stakes negotiations over Shoreline tax money

Original post made on Sep 20, 2023

The city council and two local school boards sat down for a rare joint meeting on Monday, Sept. 18, as the three entities try to hash out a long-term agreement to divvy up tens of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, September 19, 2023, 1:54 PM

Comments (16)

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 20, 2023 at 10:07 am

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

The last MVWSD school board election (2 seats) had 'no choice' because only continuing Trustee Blakely and returning former Trustee Lambert filed to run. My dear People, my Dear fellow Citizens (who can both vote and run for office). ... you do not get 'public policy clash' in composing a governing board when there is no Competition of Ideas / Ideals / Policy.

The Council, as the governing body of Shoreline District, as per the 1969 state law, HOLDS ALL THE MARBLES. This is called "tax increment financing" and it means that ALL the new property taxes generated out at Shoreline go under exclusive control of the Council ! I think this law needs to "Sunset" like the downtown redevelopment district did during my term as a MVWSD Trustee. [Thanks Gov Jerry Brown and his Demo Legislature !!! ]

Laura Blakely helped develop (ah - as a private citizen even) the "Share Shoreline" (more school $$) concept. This 'sharing' is obviously breaking down During Her Watch as an actual Trustee! I thought it inevitable - but it did work for a while I must admit.

But now Blakely - and it appears Conley - want to "be childish", the same argument Blakely recently make at a public Council meeting about Sharing School Fields. Please just BACK OFF both of you. You appear (IMO) very childish when you just won't honor your 'sharing partner' when they say - you are Hurting Me with your words (numbers)! (Ramirez and Hicks and Ramos)

Uh - who is being 'childish'? The partners in this process hold and own ALL THE TOYS! A majority of 4 on the Council has the legal power to TERMINATE any of the present $$ sharing. Conley and Blakely - please don't be childish, just direct the staff (straw vote to be Clear) to remove the 'offensive web page'.

The Council majority may just take up their (baseball analogy) ball, bat, and bases and only negotiate with the MVLA district. Then the MVWSD would be left with 'join AS IS' or be left out of new JPA sharing

Posted by CC
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 20, 2023 at 11:23 am

CC is a registered user.

I can see why the city council suggested taking down the flyer. I would like to know if Trustees Blakely and Conley actually read it? The flyer is pretty aggressive with its opinion/claims:

"Tax revenue collected from Shoreline is first sent to the city rather than going directly to the schools. The city of MV decides how to distribute the revenue. MVWSD gets a much smaller share than they would if there wasn't a special tax agreement. The city of MV keeps the surplus of what it receives. Now is the time to right-size the tax revenue allocations for MV schools."

The flyer reads like something a PAC would publish, not a public agency speaking about a 'partner' public agency in the same city. Dr. Rudolph is short sighted in his view of how to 'work' with other public agencies. Does he really think parents are going to believe that the MV city council, whom these same parents voted for, are intent on not providing appropriate revenue for schools? That residents aren't going to notice that MVLA doesn't have similar antagonistic statements against the city of MV on their district website?

I think the council knows that giving more funding to MVWSD will translate to funding the wrong things: hiring more admin staff for Dr. Rudolph, more consultants for Dr. Rudolph, more interest free home loans for Dr. Rudolph and maybe other staff the school board decides to be in the business of giving free mortgage money to (without public input). After all, Dr. Rudolph recently asserted he has plenty of budget to pay for maintenance of school district land and doesn't need the city of MV for that, which they were previously doing for free for the past 60 years. More funding to MVWSD is unlikely to result in spending where it actually should be spent: smaller classes, more teachers, increased teacher salaries. I don't blame the city for not wanted to give more budget to someone who has demonstrated he can't manage it effectively for our students.

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2023 at 11:39 am

LongResident is a registered user.

The MVWSD Superintendent appears to not appreciate that without the Shoreline Regional special district there wouldn't be any development up there causing him to lust for more property tax revenue. The growth overall in Mountain View would be affected too. As things stand MVWSD will see tax revenue from another $20-30 Billion of assessed valuation increases going forward which he overlooks when thinking about what he thinks he could also have. Greedy is what it is.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 21, 2023 at 10:44 am

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

well, Yeah! First -the webpage. "The tax money is first sent to" 'the Shoreline District, and then distributed to the schools through the Joint Powers Authority.' Get Your Darn BASIC FACTS STRAIGHT MVWSD author! I just refuse to live in a Trumpian "alternate truth" world! The 1969 State Law is what causes loss of property tax revenue to the schools, NOT any "agreement."
Property Tax (increment) Revenue -------> "Shoreline" District -->
JPA -> MVWSD schools

"Shoreline" District is controlled by a board composed of the MV City Council.

BTW - The Shoreline commercial properties ($multi-Billions now) pay 'their full fare' (100%) of School Bond Taxes and "their" full share of the highly regressive Parcel Tax. (ah $127 for each GIANT GOOGLE building property? What a crock!)

Posted by MVWSD Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2023 at 12:23 pm

MVWSD Parent is a registered user.

It's rich when the most inexorable, immature gadfly in Mountain View declares that public servants and elected officials doing the hard work are childish.

Speaking of wanton ignorance and wasting valuable time: why do commenters criticize the local school district for doing everything humanly possible to get more funding so that they can hire and retain the very best teachers and staff? That is quite literally their job. They can't possibly be as conflict-averse as they claim -- they consistently model the behaviors they criticize.

When the California legislature passed the Local Control Funding Formula in 2013, they set up the rules of the school funding game in such a way that school districts with socioeconomic extremes (like MVWSD) can't win.
Web Link

Under this funding model, there are exactly 3 ways for MVWSD to get significantly more sustainable funding:
1) housing turnover leading to growth in tax revenue (district has little/no influence + MV has a high % of corporate-owned property that doesn't change hands, so tax revenue doesn't increase to market rates)
2) new/changed tax measures that generate more revenue designated for school districts (district has influence during election years)
3) getting a larger share of discretionary local tax dollars like the Shoreline development district (the district has the MOST influence at THIS moment in time).

How is urgently negotiating about school funding *not* in the long-term interest of students and instruction? As we head into the next election year I also want them to propose raising our taxes. In fact, the question that I ask when I read the district's "Putting Funding to Work" page is: "when will it be time for the Shoreline Tax District terms to change?" The public needs to be paying attention and not wasting our time.

Posted by School Funding Advocate
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2023 at 12:52 pm

School Funding Advocate is a registered user.

Here is the link to the recording of the special meeting. It is not actually 8 hours long. Someone didn't turn off the streaming or recording. It's about 2.5 hours. It is very educational and insightful.

Web Link

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2023 at 2:01 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

MVWSD doesn't have any case that it needs increased funding beyond what has already been happening. The truth is that between 2017-2018 and 2021-2022 the per ADA (student attendance headcount) the funding went from $14,616 to $23,217 which is a 59% increase PER STUDENT. The students got more affluent too. During the same time the total enrollment dropped by 600 students, and that drop was all felt in the number of students qualifying for free and reduced price lunches. The funding per student went up at the same time that the number of low income students went down. Back in time it was split 50-50 with low income students equaling the non low income students in numbers. Over this 4 year period the inflation rate was 11%. Funding up 59%. The portion of students who are low income went from 33% to 24%.

Meanwhile the district claims improvement in educational quality because there are fewer disadvantaged students, a fact for which the district didn't deserve any credit. They burn money on useless administrators and wasteful programs. Gross.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2023 at 3:00 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@Long Resident (@MVWSD) Anyone can make voluntary contributions to MVWSD related non-profits (Castro PTA / Theuerkauf / Lonta Loma /) that help serve the "miseducated" (ProPublic term for MVWSD & Oakland etc with highest California academic GAPS). These donations will be Tax Deductible as much as any charity. Also MVEF district-wide.

@MVWSD is misdirecting! As @Long Resident shows, I think. LCFF has absolutely nothing to do with the Shoreline special law! MVWSD is way over the LCFF minimums per student. MVWSD is a "Basic Aid" / or "Community Funded" district! It has (2021-22 school reports) about 50% more revenue per student than the state average.

MVWSD particularly under the urging of former Trustee Lambert, has tried to maximize the financial return of land and buildings leased to Google and other day cares and the German International School. This good-use-of-public-asset plan has been pushed by the Board and generally resulted in extra revenue (above average for the state).

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2023 at 4:46 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

The biggest most insulting redirection that Rudolph did was to show that picture with portable classrooms on the open area at Monta Loma. That was absurd. The district has loads of more logical places to put portables than that.

The whole increase in students in the Google vicinity is overblown. There won't be as many kids there as the district claims, and more than that, the enrollment at Castro and other schools is going to go down over time with all this gentrification going on. Families are smaller anyway and a lot of new residents don't even have kids and if they do, they will be older by the time they start a family. Translates into fewer kids in every new apartment complex, compared to what used to be the case.

Posted by MVWSD Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2023 at 5:28 pm

MVWSD Parent is a registered user.

@LongResident: “MVWSD doesn’t have any case that it needs increased funding beyond what has already been happening.” Here’s one: MVWSD teachers should be able to afford to live near where they teach without living in a district-funded dormitory.

Your bizarre lament about affluent families in MVWSD sure sounds like you miss the good old days when local schools had twice as many low-income students *and* less than half of the current funding per student. Do you also long for old-fashioned American school segregation to happen openly instead of hiding among the fading remnants of the redlining that created today's gentrification battles? You know, like the golden days of the 80s and 90s when the children of Moffatt-stationed officers (mostly white) went to MV schools and those of the (poor and often brown) enlistedmen went to Whisman schools.

Perhaps you’d like to continue to educate ignorant local parents like me: why is it so bad for MVWSD to grow per-student funding in accordance with California's funding model? Can you explain (to the affluent and the non-affluent families) why it should be acceptable to all of us that Mountain View’s per-pupil spending has lagged behind the state average until 2016 (when today’s 7th graders were in Kinder); while LASD and PASD have spent SIGNIFICANTLY more per-student than the state average EVERY YEAR FOR THE PAST THIRTY YEARS?

Are you going to keep claiming that MVWSD is lining its pockets while neglecting to mention that LASD’s per-student spending is 20% higher than MVWSD’s and PAUSD’s per-student spending is 30% higher than MVWSD’s, and have been so for dacades? Are you going to pretend that MVWSD didn’t add a couple of hundred unfunded TK students this year? Did you even know that?

Do you genuinely believe that the growth in housing units won’t generate more students?

It seems very likely to me that “LongResident” might not have a particularly 21st-Century perspective about education.

Posted by MVWSD Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2023 at 6:19 pm

MVWSD Parent is a registered user.

@SteveNelson - Taking local control of the Shoreline Special Tax District is absolutely relevant to the **Local Control** Funding Formula (LCFF) for public schools. Under the LCFF, Basic Aid districts like MVWSD (and LASD and PAUSD) can **only** grow per-student funding for operations (you know, for paying teachers) by taking every opportunity to increase the real # of tax dollars that may be allocated to schools.

Why are people accusing the school district of malfeasance for trying very very hard to pay teachers a living (local) wage? Meanwhile the VERY PROFITABLE corporation doing the “re-development” is … actually making the money? Why aren’t citizens advocating to tax Shoreline appropriately?

These comments sound just like the fixed-income/retired NIMBY residents that give Californians a bad name. You're still living on a 1999 budget and you don’t understand the realities of raising a family (or educating children and keeping schools safe) in 2023. I get it, I have retired parents. Declaring that the “increase in students in the Google vicinity is overblown” may make you feel better, but prefacing it with “the district has loads of more logical places to put portables than [on the school field]” reveals the true extent of your "get off my lawn [field]" carelessness.

In fact, do you even really live in Mountain View? There's no deficit of families having multiple children. The high-density housing around the 3 schools on Escuela isn’t going to reverse-gentrify into a high-income-single-family paradise. The neighborhoods with the lowest housing density are likely to see declining enrollment as those children graduate; but housing supply is INCREASING. There are two brand new multi-story apartment projects starting on Escuela alone. It's far more likely that a future re-zoning will put the Escuela site's future overflow into Bubb and Imai.

The problem is that the new housing doesn't automatically come with new tax dollars for the children that it will bring.

Posted by MVWSD Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2023 at 7:17 pm

MVWSD Parent is a registered user.

@SteveNelson your comment about living "in a Trumpian alternate truth"world" is ...really confusing. Because you quote MVWSD's explainer. Then you say that the explainer process you quoted is wrong. Then you outline a process essentially identical to the one that you quoted, with a small amount of additional explanation (that City Council controls the "Shoreline District"). Is it the "sending money" language that's wrong? Or is it "the City" vs. "City Council?" The point being made is the same either way: allocation of Shoreline district tax revenue is under the direct control of the City, with City Council as the governing board. I'm genuinely confused about why pointing this fact out directly on an explainer page is so offensive. Isn't it helpful to know who is in control of the revenue that is received under the new agreement?

The VERY last part of your comment is the most important piece of the whole puzzle (imo): "ah $127 for each GIANT GOOGLE building property? What a crock!"

^ THIS is what we need to be talking about as a community. Why aren't we talking about it? Why are we arguing about school "redirection" when they are pointing over and over again to exactly the points we as voters and taxpayers should all be looking at?

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2023 at 8:26 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

As things stand, with the same amount of sharing from the Regional Park district special funding, MVWSD is sitting pretty. History has shown that revenue continues to rise, so it will go on with that. There's no need for a bigger share of the money that supports the Park and the Google buildings as they undergo the effect of continued sea level rise. That funding stream is the only reason all this development up there has even occurred, because without funding for holding back the Bay and reclaiming the garbage dump and so forth, there wouldn't have been the possibility for Google to build so much and hire so many high paid employees

Outside of the Google growth concentration, the city is poised to add another $20 Billion or $30 Billion of assessed valuation. It could be $50 Billion. It doesn't matter that the money doesn't come from the Google building spree. It's still a whole lot of new revenue for MVWSD. I don't want to see a lot of additional similar administrative spending growth on consultants and superintendent cronies using new tax money.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 27, 2023 at 9:22 am

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@MVWSD. We might continue to try to "educate ignorant local parents like" You in particular.

But / you are starting to rant.

I should not have used the "Trumpian" phrase - it makes us all 'crazy' when we are discussing civics. I am sorry that I was confusing to you, when trying to explain the error of (subtle) legal fact that 'the MVWSD explainer' was writing about and officially posting.

^ THIS might be what we should be talking about / education parcel tax that is Uniform per-square-foot /
"Sunset on Shoreline" - the special statute from 1969 is in drastic need of state legislative revision! That is the body that wrote the 'almost a redevelopment district' special law and that is the body that has the power to drastically revise this outdated law.

Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Sep 28, 2023 at 3:12 pm

SRB is a registered user.

Beyond the schools/city wrangling over Shoreline taxes, ....there is one aspect of the Shoreline Tax Distict that seems overlooked.

Tax increments captured by the Shoreline Tax District can only be spent in that district and not in any other neighborhoods. Taxes collected from my neighborhood don't stay in my neighborhood and some might be spent in the Shoreline district.

It was probably justified sixty years ago to grow Shoreline tax base.

Today, this doesn't seem very equitable nor fair, especially in perpuitity.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 2, 2023 at 5:00 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Good Readers: please be sure you check the credentials and sources of all proported "troll" civic experts. I myself do not troll (live in secret under bridges? :) and what I post very occasionally has Complete Errors. (I should provide links more! - AKA @School Funding Advocate)

It is untrue that the average MVWSD per student Revenue is not equivalent to Los Altos elementary District.
The last numbers easily available to you and I (2021-22) State Dept of Education data.
Los Altos $23,217 and MVWSD $23,117 (audited) - that is a LA/MV 0.4% difference! 4/10 of one percent.

No decade trend of difference either.

However: MVWSD has about 4 X higher percentage of poor family students.

Web Link LASD in

Web Link MVWSD
You can prepare 5-yr trend graphs by picking "Graphs" tab.

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