Town Square

Mountain View School Funding

Original post made by Concerned Citizen, another community, on Jun 5, 2013

Do we have uneven and unfair school funding in Mountain View? It seems to me that we do.

Mountain View is served by one High School District which also handles parts (not all of any city besides Mountain View) of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Sunnyvale, and Palo Alto. The district is fed by 4 Jr High Schools, from two different districts. (There used to be 3, but the smaller 2 of the 3 merged together to form Mountain View Whisman.)

The two elementary districts have roughly equal sizes and roughly equal budgets, around $45M each, but they get their money differently. Basically Mountain View Whisman has 3 idle campuses which it rents out for millions per year plus a very modest parcel tax to reach its full $45M of revenue, and Los Altos gets $6M in charitable contributions and $10M in a local parcel tax where each parcel pays two taxes totaling around $900 each per year. So since it rents some of its land, Mtn View Whisman has smaller campuses than Los Altos does. Like the high school district, Los Altos School district serves parts but not entirely all of any of its cities including Mountain View, though the largest fraction is he city of Los Altos where it handles 90%+. It is not really composed primarily of Los Altos, but Los Altos dominates its operations.

So now we have in Mountain View 2 Jr High schools with 50% of the students who are both considered disadvantaged due to lower incomes qualifying them for federal lunch program subsidies as well as non fluent English language learners. Those Jr High's have average class sizes of 30 students. each. Then located in Los Altos, but serving all 5 cities mentioned, there are 2 Jr Highs where the disadvantaged populations are less than 5%, and the class sizes in math, English, science and social studies are 20 students each. The smaller classes in LASD Jr High's are paid by district funds for classrooms, and parent contributions of $350,000 every year for the required additional teachers. It seems to me to be very unfair for the schools with the greater needs to receive the same funding, and only to receive that by renting out their space reducing their size.

What do you think?