A formal petition requesting the review of boundary lines between the Mountain View Whisman, Mountain View-Los Altos Union and the Palo Alto Unified School Districts was submitted in September. Eighteen units of the complex at 670 San Antonio Road that are currently a part of the Mountain View Whisman School District (MVWSD) and MVLA District wish to transfer to the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD).
Of the 40 townhouse units at San Antonio Village, 22 are already a part of the PAUSD, but the remaining 18 are split between the MVWSD and MVLA District.
The governing board of the MVLA District has already taken a stance opposing the transfer. However, the County Committee on School District Organization will make the ultimate decision.
On Tuesday, October 14, it was announced that the petition will be reviewed by the County Committee over a 120-day period, during which it will be examined according to criteria set by the Education Code. Until then, there will be no final decision.
Superintendents Barry Groves of the MVLA District and Kevin Skelly of PAUSD have acknowledged the issue, and both feel that there is no need to redraw the border lines.
For the MVLA District, changing the borders would have a significant impact on school funding.
“We receive our funding for our schools by people paying property taxes,” Groves said. “If their property taxes go to another district, we would lose that income from that property … for our kids.”
In addition to this loss of property taxes, other taxes would increase. The district has borrowed money through bonds to help pay for modernizing the schools. If the bonds were to be taken away, the remaining residents would have to help contribute their share to make up for the budget gap.
Skelly is more concerned with overcrowding and maintaining the ratio of 20-24 students to 1 teacher. Around 420 new students are anticipated to enroll in PAUSD schools in the next school year, already pushing the ratio higher. Likewise, the MVWSD is reaching its limit with about 4,400 students, a number that was not expected to be reached until 2011.
Chief petitioner Simran Raheja recognizes these issues and believes that there are reasonable means of combating them.
“Palo Alto has about 500 new units that are coming in to the city,” Raheja said. “I can safely say that at least 250 of those units will have children. Even Mountain View has a lot of new construction that is coming up in the near future, which would easily offset the loss of revenue that they would have from our 18 units.”