Mountain View Whisman School District
Parcel Tax Oversight Committee

Meeting Minutes May 5, 2008



In Attendance

Committee Members:     Carmen Bryant, Mike Cobb, Steve Sherman, Jim Cochran, Greg Fowler, David Greene, Kevin Stone

Staff:  Craig Goldman, Maurice Ghysels

Ex Officio:  Gloria Higgins

No members of the public were present

1.   Call to Order and Review of Agenda

Meeting called to order at 6:37 PM.

2.   Public Comment

No members of the public addressed the committee at this time.

3.   Minutes Review and Approval

Committee reviewed minutes for the March 19, 2008 meeting. 

Motion:  Approve minutes for March 19, 2008 as corrected.  Stone / Greene.  Carried 6/0/1.  Sherman abstained as he was not present at the meeting. 

Fowler noted need to correct date on minutes to March 19, 2008.  No other corrections were made.

4.  Election of Officers

Committee selection officers for 2008.

Motion:  By consensus, Committee selected Mike Cobb as Chairman, Kevin Stone as Vice Chair, and David Greene as Secretary for 2008.

5.  Update on 2007-2008 Parcel Tax Expenditures

Craig Goldman reviewed spending to-date of Parcel Tax funds on 2007-2008 programs.

The following programs are currently expected to have variances from planned expenditures:

  • Leadership and Activities.  Expected to be slightly over budget due to higher actual cost of assigned staff.
  • Music Program.  Expected to be slightly over budget due to higher actual cost of assigned staff.
  • Academic At-Risk. -Lower cost reflects difficulty in predicting actual need for student placement in alternative programs.
  • Library Technicians.  Expected to be slightly under budget due to lower actual cost of assigned staff.
  • Clerical.  Expected to be slightly under budget due to lower actual cost of assigned staff.
  • 4/5/6 Lower Class Size.  Budget has been used to fund less senior staff resulting in program coming in around $50,000 under budget.
  • Support for Elementary Newcomers Class.  New model of site-level support rather than dedicated classroom has resulted in lower costs.
  • Costs Related to Parcel Tax Lawsuit.  Settlement of final charges with legal firm expected to result in credit of $11.950
  • Administrative Costs.  Expected to be lower than budget due to changes in internal tracking of time and resources. 

Other programs are currently expected to be on target by end of academic year.  Overall spending expected to be around $150,000 under adopted budget. 

Fowler asked for more information on variances in staff costs.  Variances typically reflect wide ranges in benefits for staff, based on personal situation, position, and seniority.

Greene expressed concern about the level of under-spending as this potentially represents missed opportunities. 

No action was taken by the Committee on this report.  Committee will formally review actually spending in September 2008.

6.   Review of Proposed 2008-2009 Parcel Tax Expenditures

The Committee reviewed and evaluated the appropriateness of proposed spending of Parcel Tax funds for the 2008-2009 school year.

Motion:  Committee advises Board of Trustees that proposed spending of Parcel Tax funds for FY09 are appropriate.  Sherman / Stone.  Carried 7/0/0. 

Craig Goldman presented the proposed spending of Parcel Tax funds for the 2008-2009 school year.  Overall, District budget planning is currently anticipating a 2.5-2.6% reduction in state funding and a 5% cost of living adjustment.

Proposed funding as follows:

  • Zero Period Electives.  Continue funding.  Reduced budget due to additional contribution from Mountain View Education Foundation (MVEF).
  • English Learner Development.  Continue with 5% increase in staff costs.
  • Leadership and Activity.  Reduce staffing to 1 FTE with 5% increase in staff costs.
  • After School Sports.  Continue funding.  Reduced budget due to additional contribution from MVEF.
  • Academic at Risk.  Continue with 5% increase in staff costs.
  • Music Program.  Continue with 5% increase in staff costs.
  • CHAC.  Continue with 5% increase in staff costs.
  • Library Technicians.  Continue with 5% increase in staff costs.
  • 4 / 5/ 6 Lower Class Size.  District is proposing redesign of 4 / 5/ 6 class size reduction program.  Overall, program has proven difficult to implement consistently across the district and has not yielded expect outcomes.  New program will refocus class size reductions on 6th grade only.  Proposal is to use funding previously allocated to 4 / 5/ 6 reductions to help fund K-3 class size reduction.
  • Clerical.  Continue with 5% increase in staff costs.
  • Custodial.  Propose increase from .5 to .75 FTE per site, with a 5% increase in staff costs.  Overall District custodial expenses are largely unchanged – a larger portion of cost now expected to come from Parcel Tax funds to compensate for cut in State funding.
  • Science Kits.
  • 5th Grade Science Camp.
  • CSMA.  5% cost increase, supplemented by increased funding from MVEF.
  • Support for Elementary Newcomers Class.  Continue support at site level.
  • K-3 Class Size Reduction Support.  State is not expected to fully fund staff and infrastructure required to support class size reduction for K-3.  Parcel tax funds used to bridge gap between state funding and program costs to preserve small classes.  Total gap between state funding and expected cost is expected to be approximately $500,000.
  • 4 / 5 Physical Education.  State mandated curriculum requires physical education for grades 4 and 5.  Program is currently funded by state grant and general fund that are not expected to continue next year.  Proposed Parcel Tax funding would be used to close gap in state funding.  Focus would be on preserving 4 /5 Physical Education. 

At the request of members, Commission reviewed and discussed in detailed selected programs.  All other programs were classified as “Appropriate” by consensus of the Committee.

K-3 Class Size Reduction

Appropriate:  6
Appropriate with Concerns:  1 (Sherman)
Not Appropriate:  0

Stone request further discussion of K-3 Class Size Reduction.  Total cost of Class Size Reduction staffing is $2.9 million.  State funding expected to be $2.24 million.  Stone noted that proposed Parcel Tax funds do not cover the gap and increased expenses.  Based on discussion with Committee Goldman revised proposed increasing funding for K-3 Class Size Reduction by $100,000 to $415,000.  Stone expressed concern about funds being applied to general staffing costs.  Goldman clarified that funds would only be used to fund specific teach resources made necessary by class size reduction.  Cobb views this as a core mission of the parcel tax measure and thus an appropriate funded program.  Bryant, Fowler, Cochran expressed support.  Sherman expressed concern at lack of hard evidence to support the value of the program, particularly given size of the investment and thus identifies as “appropriate with concern.”  Greene expressed support as appropriate but requested more formal reporting of the expected positive impacts of this funding.  Goldman offered an initial belief that program is particularly important in retaining quality staff.


Appropriate:  6
Appropriate with Concerns:  1 (Sherman)
Not Appropriate:  0

Cobb requested further discussion of Custodial spending.  He expressed concern about using Parcel Tax funds to support a greater proportion of District custodial spending.  Based on discussion the Committee Goldman proposed to maintain 2007-2008 funding levels with addition of 5% cost of living increase.  Sherman expressed concern about potential need to cut custodial resources if state funding is not available, and noted the negative impact such cuts would have on teacher morale and overall quality of the work environment.

4 / 5/ 6 Class Size Reduction

Appropriate:  7
Appropriate with Concerns:  0
Not Appropriate:  0

Bryant requested further discussion of 4 / 5 / 6 Class Size Reduction.  Overall, Bryant expressed concern about the availability programs and resources for students who are succeeding academically.  In general, programs seem to be targeting students who are having difficulties rather than students who are would benefit from additional challenges.  She would like to keep program on the “radar”.  Higgins offered to take general concern to the Board.  Fowler noted program would be nice to have but did not appear to fit current resources.  Cochran expressed surprise that District staff would not choose to continue this program.  Greene expressed desire to see District develop alternative proposals for 4 /5 class size reductions that may be considered for future funding.  Cobb noted disproportionate positive impact on K-3 as compared to 4/5 class size reductions.

3% Reserve

Stone noted from prior discussions that all Parcel Tax funds need to be spent in last year of the Parcel Tax, which is the 2008-2009 school year.  A review of the Ordinance and past meeting minutes indicates that funds need to be spent to support the parcel tax objectives, but need not be spent in the last year of the tax.  Committee recommended that reserves and any carry over be used to fund program that were previously reviewed and approved.

7.  Communications of PTOC Review of 2008-2009 Spending

Committee discussed methods for communicating results of their review of proposed 2008-2009 parcel tax spending. 

In general, Committee agreed to follow past practices. 

  • Formal report of findings, using format from previous years.
  • Advertisement in the Mountain View Voice summarizing results of the review
  • “Backpack Mail” flyer with results of review
  • Presentation to the Board of Trustees.  Trustees will hold working session on the budget for 2008-2009 June 5, with approval of budget on June 17. 
  • Posting of reports to the Parcel Tax section of the District web site.  Sherman requested a review of the structure of the Committee data on the District website to ensure that information could be readily accessed by the public.

8.  Future Agenda Items

Committee identified agenda items for its next meeting.

  • Update on State funding for 2008-2009
  • Review of adopted budget for 2008-2009
  • Review proposals for use of Parcel Tax funds for the 2008-09 academic year
  • Update on State Budget and Govenor’s proposal
  • 2007 / 2008 spending to date

9.  Set Date of Next Meeting(s)

Committee set September 15, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. and December 8, 2008 at 6:30 as the dates of its next meetings.

10.  Adjourn

The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.