Mountain View-Los Altos High School District Meetings June 2018

At a marathon meeting on 6/11, the board discussed the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), the budget, collective bargaining agreements, and several items related to Measure E, the bond measure on the June 5th ballot.  Public hearings were held on the LCAP, the budget, and both collective bargaining agreements, but there were no public comments on any of them.  The LCAP and the budget were approved at the 6/18 meeting.

Margarita Navarro, Associate Superintendent of Educational Services, presented the LCAP for 2018-19, which lists goals and actions for the next 3 years.  The process included reviewing the 2016-17 end of year data, looking at special populations: English Learners (EL), Socio-economically Disadvantaged (SED), and Special Education (SPED).  The LCAP template requires listing things that the district wants to maintain, things to increase, and things to decrease. On the “maintain” list are high quality professional development,  overall performance on standardized tests, and the performance of AVID students.  On the “increase” list are A-G eligibility through greater Algebra II success, some groups’ performance on the SBAC, and Tier 1 Intervention Services that promote social/emotional wellbeing.  On the “decrease” list are the number of D/Fs in 9th grade, the achievement gap between White/Asian/High Socio-economic status students and Latino/SPED/SED students, school avoidance rates, and the suspension rates among high need populations (EL, SED, SPED, and Latino).  

Mike Mathiesen, Associate Superintendent of Business Services and Technology, presented the budget for 2018-19, which is driven by the goals in the LCAP.  Total Revenue is $93.3M (5.2% more than last year), Expenditures are $89.2M, and transfers out are $590,000 (including cafeteria and post employment benefits other than state pension funds).  A full 83% of expenditures is personnel, before the salary increases which are under negotiation and expected to be $2.64M.

The measure E Bond Planning update was presented by Quattrocchi Kwok Architects and Kramer Project Development, including a proposed budget, construction schedule, and expenditure plan showing 4 bond sales in Q3 of 2018, Q2 of 2020, Q1 of 2022, and Q1 of 2024 (if needed).  The plan spans 7 years and $265M of construction, plus a possible $30M for 20 more classrooms if needed.  Construction is expected to start in winter of 2019, and the new classroom buildings are expected to be finished in the summer of 2020.  The board took actions necessary to initiate the bond sales and collect the taxes to pay for them.

— Sally Ahnger, Observer

Mountain View-Los Altos High School District Meetings May 2018

Board Meeting 5/7/18

Two presentations were made that showed trustees what the schools are doing to promote excellent education.

 1. Performing Arts

  • LAHS and MVHS Performing arts departments offer instrumental choral, drama, and dance courses.
  • Classes range from open-to-everyone, audition, and touring and competition opportunities.
  • To address challenges, LAHS requests more building and storage space to create a stagecraft class, and to add new counseling staff.
  • Student achievements were highlighted
  • MVHS has stagecraft and makeup classes.

2. Los Altos Academy of Engineering and Design

  • Courses in mechanical engineering, computer science, fabrication, and design.
  • Also provides career assistance and opportunities for students.

—  Nathan Pier and Ellen Wheeler, Substitute Observers

Board Meeting 5/21/18

World Language Department Report

Mountain View- Los Altos High School has 12 teachers teaching 22 courses to 1129 students in Spanish, French, Mandarin, and Japanese.  Los Altos High School has 12 teachers teaching 23 courses to 1349 students in Spanish, French, Mandarin, and Latin.  Both schools are developing new and improved courses for Native and Heritage Spanish speakers. (A heritage language is a minority language learned by its speakers at home as children, but it is never fully developed because its speakers grow up with a dominant language in which they become more competent.)

Associate Superintendent Mike Mathiesen presented a preliminary overview of the 2018-19 budget.  Budget assumptions: secured property taxes growing by 7%, enrollment expected to be 4,433 students, plan to hire 8 additional teachers, health insurance premiums growing by 7%, MVLA Foundation donation is expected to be $1.9M, and the cost of retirement programs will be 16.28% for certificated staff and 17.7% for classified staff.  Progress is expected toward the district goal of a 20% reserve. Board members suggested adding funding for consultants to address student safety, academic and college counseling, Latino parent outreach, and data analysis management.

Associate Superintendent Margarita Navarro presented the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) preparation.  The LCAP documents progress in closing the achievement gap for English Learners and SocioEconomically Disadvantaged students, based on goals set in 2106-17: Balancing high-quality instruction with student wellness; Improving Math performance; Improving performance of English Language Learners; and Increasing Special Education student placement in the Least Restrictive Environment.

— Sally Ahnger, Observer

Mountain View-Los Altos High School District Board Meeting April 2018

This meeting was notable because it showcased two methods the MVLA School District uses to try to improve student achievement. As always, it was demonstrated that while MVHS and LAHS work together, each school has its own specific approach to topics and these approaches are often dependent on the teachers leading the way. Both of these items were for information and discussion only. No action by the board was requested.

DELAC Update

Every district in the state with a substantial number of students whose first language is not English has a DELAC (District English Language Advisory Committee) that works to help those students (called English Learners, or ELs) and their families. At tonight’s meeting the board heard a detailed presentation on their work by Associate Superintendent Margarita Navarro. (Dr. Navarro was hired for the curriculum post after the retirement of Brigitte Saraff, whom experienced Leaguers remember as MVLA’s prior long-time respected curriculum guru.) This observer report covers some highlights of this detailed report. As always, interested readers may learn more by going to the Mountain View-Los Altos High School District website

There are three main goals of their DELAC: [1] To have communication between the District Office, schools, parents, and families to support their EL students AND for ELs to be as successful as possible; [2] To advise the district’s trustees on programs and services for ELs; and [3] To provide leadership training for parents so that they can provide meaningful feedback.

DELAC members advise on five items: [A] the Master Plan for ELs; [B] the District-wide needs assessment; [C] Goals and objectives for programs and services for ELs; [D] the Annual Language Census; and [E] Reclassification procedures and written parent notifications. (“Reclassification” refers to the process whereby an EL student is considered to be sufficiently proficient in their English language and their academic work that they no longer need extra help with their academics. Students are reclassified every year from grade one through twelve.) Tonight the focus was on items B. and C.

While Dr. Navarro noted that she was “reclassified” in 1st grade, she and all other reclassified EL students are considered “Ever ELs.” School districts work with three main profiles of ELs: Newcomers (those in the U.S. for 0-5 years), LTELs (Long-term ELs who have been in the U.S. for 5+ years and have yet to be reclassified), and RFEPs (Reclassified to Fluent English Proficient.) (The mark of a thorough reclassification process is that RFEPs do as well or better than non-ELs.)

There are 269 total ELs in MVLA – 164 at MVHS, 79 at LAHS, and 26 at Alta Vista HS. As you can surmise, MVHS is structured to have more support systems for less proficient EL students. The primary languages spoken by MVLA ELs is Spanish (by 78% students), Mandarin (by 5.5% students), Russian (by 2.3% students), and a variety of other languages (by 12.1% students). A fairly large number of LTELs are also special education students.

Trustees heard about the extensive professional development provided for MVLA teachers and staff for ELs. Additionally, related to DELAC, trustees heard of multiple activities done with and for parents. They also were told of the 2017/18 DELAC meeting topics for parent training and community building. For example, DELAC members spent one meeting learning how to analyze their child’s test score data.

After that extensive background information five DELAC members came up to the podium, one by one, to offer five recommendations to the board from their committee work. Those recommendations are: [1] Offer an academic support class for students in English Language Development (ELD); [2] Create an adult to student mentor program, especially for LTEL students; [3] Offer parent education workshops to learn about curriculum and ways to support students at home; [4] Offer field trips to universities for all EL students; and [5] Monitor the progress of EL students through “EL Learning Plan” meetings with staff, students, and parents.

Goals for 2018/19 are [A] To update the EL Master Plan; [B] Examine reclassification criteria (noting that the state of California will be publishing this; does MVLA want to adopt the state’s plan?); [C] Explore the “English Learner Road Map” (a new state policy); [D] Expand opportunities for parent training; and [E] Examine RFEP data.

Science program update

In preparation for the statewide implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), trustees heard from enthusiastic MV and LAHS teachers about how they are already implementing the “hands on” and research-based NGSS model. In addition to what we consider to be the “traditional” 3-course model of science courses (biology, chemistry, and physics), our high schools offer many more options for students. Advanced Placement courses are available in Physics (AB and C), chemistry, biology, environmental science, as well as honors courses in these subjects. And, multiple science class electives are offered at each school (with different offerings at each school depending on the availability of having a teacher for them). Examples of electives are forensics, biotechnology, and robotics. Students at both of these high schools are very excited about taking lots of science classes, so much so that there is a need for more classroom space.

— Ellen Wheeler, Substitute Observer

Mountain View-Los Altos High School District March 2018

March 12, 2018

The board passed the Resolution on Student Safety, which states (in part):

MVLA district holds regular drills, works with local agencies to take any threats of violence seriously, and fosters a positive school climate, free from harassment and violence.  The district urges the state of California and the U.S. Congress to invest in wraparound services to prevent bullying, harassment, discrimination, and violence in schools and to provide funding for programs to support students’ mental, physical, and emotional health.  The district urges the U.S. Congress to pass legislation to reduce gun violence on school campuses and to repeal the prohibition against data collection and research on gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control.

The board passed the Resolution in Celebration of the Right to Vote, declaring 2/23/18, the 47th anniversary of the 26th Amendment, as the Day of Student Registration to Vote.

Associate Superintendent Mike Mathiesen presented the Second Interim Budget Report, reporting revenues of $87.4M, Expenses of $86.0M, and Transfers out of $1.0M, with no significant differences from the First Interim.

The board approved adjustments of Developer Impact Fees on residential development from $1.16 to $1.26 per square foot and on commercial development from $0.19 to $0.20 per square foot.  A Public Hearing on the fees was held, but there were no speakers.

The Adult Education Annual Review was held, highlighting the Job and Career Fair in October 2017.  Job placement for Adult School students has been very successful.

The board voted for the incumbents in the CSBA Delegate Assembly Election: Joe Mitchner, Frank Biehl, Cynthia Chang, and Jodi Muirhead. 

— Sally Ahnger, Observer

March 26 Meeting

   March 26: Recognizing that success at school is connected to the feelings of mental health and safety, MVLA puts time and money into student wellness. Tonight the board heard about the clinical services that are provided at MVHS, LAHS, and Alta Vista High School. Some context for this need: most high school students were born after 9/11 and have grown up with the tragic norm of school shootings. Added to these unsettling sociological factors is the fact that students feel more pressure to perform academically and get into colleges that are increasingly harder to get into. According to a California Healthy Kids survey, the percentages of students who report “chronically sad or hopeless feelings” has gone up for the past three years, with 20% of MVLA 9th graders feeling anxious or depressed and one third of 11th graders feeling this way. MVLA hired Dr. Susan Flatmo to be their clinical services coordinator to help these students, with Huang Vo as student services coordinator at MVHS and Kristin Castillo as student services coordinator for LAHS. A grant from El Camino Hospital helps pay for these positions. They work with a team of mental health counselors through CHAC (the local Community Health Awareness Council) who help students at both schools plus Alta Vista. What are the top five student issues via referrals? They are (in descending order) academic difficulties, depression, anxiety, family issues, and frustration tolerance. These counselors utilize three tiers of support for students: Tier One (for all students via school-wide mental health awareness events, teacher training, and more); Tier Two (early intervention for some students using individual counseling, services and support groups, and more); and Tier Three (intensive intervention for a small number of students including acute crisis intervention and support, referrals to outside services, clinical groups, and case management).  Looking forward, goals of this extensive and evolving work are to help students have an increased capacity to self-regulate and problem solve via student wellness centers and school-wide awareness work. Additionally they strive to help reduce mental health stigma (including that for parents who feel alone and stigmatized if their child has mental health issues).

     The other major agenda item at this meeting was a discussion about the increasing difficulty in finding qualified substitute teachers. According to a recent survey done by MVLA, over a two-week period there was only one day where they had enough substitute teachers. On all the other days other teachers had to fill in for that absent teacher during their prep period (and sometimes even the principal had to fill in). One way MVLA hopes to be able to attract more substitute teachers to work for their district is to raise their pay. Currently MVLA pays a daily rate of $152. Several surrounding districts (including Palo Alto, Los Altos, Mountain View Whisman) offer these substitute teachers $160 per day. In order to remain competitive with these surrounding school districts MVLA is recommending to the board that they raise their daily substitute teacher pay to $180. The board heard this recommendation and made a few comments. This recommendation will come back as an action item (in the consent agenda) at a future board meeting.

— Ellen Wheeler, Substitute Observer

Mountain View – Los Altos High School District Meetings January 2018

January 8 and 22, 2018

The main attraction of these meetings continued to be the Facilities Master Plan, which was approved at the Jan 22 meeting.  The Jan 8 meeting was preceded by a 3-hour study session on the Plan during which the master plan was presented in some detail and community members had an opportunity to speak.  Several speakers were neighbors of LAHS, concerned about the two-story building on the edge of the campus which would be very close to their homes.  Other comments concerned the parity of facilities between MVHS and LAHS, including classrooms, cafeterias, and performing arts facilities.  At the Jan 22 meeting, the architects presented a table showing the number of classrooms and the square footage of various facilities at the two schools.  In the new plan, storage and practice rooms were added to the LAHS Instrumental Music building to provide facilities comparable to MVHS. The architects also described various ways to mitigate the impact of the two-story building on neighbors.  With the Facilities Master Plan approved, design will begin immediately on the new buildings to be constructed.  The first step is schematic design, during which the architects will work with a committee of teachers, administrators, students, parents, and community members.  The classroom buildings could be built by 2020, with all of the facilities finished in 6 to 6.5 years.  The approved Master Plan will require a $295M bond, which needs to be approved before the March 9 deadline for the June election.

A report was presented by the Instructional Support Team about developing common assessments, including final exams, for all courses.  A survey of MVHS and LAHS course team leaders in all departments found that significant progress has been made toward aligning curriculum, grading systems, and practices, and that alignment improves student achievement.  Providing more time for collaboration and more leadership in collaboration would sustain and extend progress in these areas.  

The board approved: 

     – a California School Board Association resolution calling for full and fair funding of California’s public schools, by funding schools at the national average or higher by 2020, and at or above the average of the top 10 states by 2025.

     – a contract for the College Board Pre-AP Program for LAHS in World Studies and Algebra 1, which includes an intensive teacher training and improves critical thinking, reading, and writing skills in the curricula.

     – the School Accountability Report Cards for all three high schools.  

     – contract negotiation re-openers for the District Teachers Association and the California School Employee Association. Items that will be negotiated will be compensation, health and welfare benefits, and two items chosen by each side.  Public hearings were held with no speakers in either hearing.

Principal Bill Pierce presented the Alta Vista High School Annual Review.  Starting 1/22/18, Leyla Benson will be the new Associate Superintendent for Personnel.  Brenda Harris is the new Director of the Adult School.  The board accepted the independent auditor’s report for 2016-17, which had no audit findings.  

—Sally Ahnger, Observer

Mountain View-Los Altos High School District (MVLA) Meetings Nov & Dec 2017

November 6, November 20, and December 4, 2017

These three meetings of the MVLA Board were quite long, due to lengthy discussions about how much of the Facilities Master Plan should be built, and how large a bond to propose for the election.  The various proposals presented by the architects, at the request of the board, ranged from a bare minimum plan of $210M to a more complete plan of $304.8M.  The changes in the various options included: the creation and size of Student Services Buildings to bring all services into one location; the size of the Student Unions; the modernization of cafeterias, libraries and gyms; increasing the size of existing classrooms at MVHS; the size of the Freestyle Academy building; improving Performing Arts spaces at MVHS; artificial turf fields; and the building maintenance at Alta Vista, Adult Ed, and District Office buildings. Even the $304.8M plan did not include everything recommended in the Facilities Master Plan.  Community comments overwhelmingly supported a much bigger budget to include all the needed upgrades and to build a facility that is comparable to neighboring schools and is built for the future.  Neighbors of LAHS expressed concern about having a two-story building so close to the edge of campus and suggested it get built in the center of campus.  The board did not take a vote on the Facilities Master Plan on 12/4 as planned, but deferred it to January.

In addition to the construction conversation, regular business also needed to be done.  The Annual Review for Los Altos High School and Mountain View High School was held using a new format this year, in which the high schools presented their reports together, as a panel discussion.  Topics covered included: more detailed data tracking for sub-groups of Latino students (regular education, special education, English Language Learners, and Socioeconomic Disadvantaged); gender parity in STEM classes; student wellness and counseling needs; and the impact of enrollment growth on school culture.

Brigitte Sarraf, Director of Assessment and Evaluation, presented an analysis of over 500 pages of data on SBAC *, AP, SAT, and ACT test scores, including breakouts of data on Latino, English Language Learners, Special Education, and Socioeconomic Disadvantaged students.  Her conclusion is that SBAC results in 2017 truly reflect what students know, much better than 2016 results.  She covered what it takes to prepare students for the test: provide students experience with taking tests on a device as part of regular classroom experience; cover common core style exam questions; and emphasize critical thinking and problem solving every day in classrooms.

The first Interim Budget Report was presented by Associate Superintendent Mike Mathiesen.  Revenues are projected to be $87,591,000 compared to $84,931,000 in the original budget due mainly to an increase in property taxes and in one-time state revenue increases.  Expenditure projections increased from $85,031,000 to $88,567,000, due to increases in staffing, retirement benefits, and special education costs.  Expenditures include $2M of transfers to reserves and other funds. The reserve in the first interim is $12.6M compared to the eventual goal of $17.7M.  

Keith Moody’s retirement was announced from his position as Director of the Adult School, effective 12/15/17.  New board officers were elected: Fiona Walter, president; Joe Mitchner Vice President; and Phil Faillace, Clerk.  The board selected Fiona Walter as the Board Representative for the County Committee Election. Joe Mitchner as California School Board Association Delegate, and Ellen Wheeler as representative for the Santa Clara County committee on School District Organization District 5.

*Smarter Balanced Assessment System – Testing (CA Dept of Education)

The Smarter Balanced assessment system utilizes computer-adaptive tests and performance tasks that allow students to show what they know and are able to do. This system is based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics. 

Sally Ahnger, Observer

Mountain View – Los Altos High School District (MVLA) Meetings October 2017

Mountain View – Los Altos High School District (MVLA)

October 9 and 23, 2017

Consulting firm, TBWB Strategies, presented the results of a public opinion poll on a possible bond measure to upgrade school facilities.  They conducted 611 interviews of likely voters in a June election.  Support for a bond measure is well above the required 55% to pass, and is not affected by the dollar amount of the bond.  MVLA currently has the lowest tax rate of any school district in the county.  They recommend putting the school construction bond measure on the June 2018 ballot.

Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA) presented the Facilities Masters Plan, including on both campuses: new two-story classroom buildings to accommodate expected increased enrollment; new student services buildings; new auxiliary gyms; library and cafeteria improvements; and needed repairs and improvements.  Also included is a new building for Freestyle Academy and needed repairs to Alta Vista, Adult Education and District office buildings.  The rough cost estimates are: LAHS $108M to $119 M, MVHS $121M to $133M, and Freestyle Academy $20M to $22.5M. The total estimated cost, including the repairs to other buildings, contingencies, and expenses is $270M to $295M.The Board requested a prioritization of elements of the plan in order to perhaps leave some things out to reduce the cost. The QKA presentation is available at:

The Board approved a contract with California School Boards Association (CSBA) for their Agenda Online service which provides a web-based application and hosting service that enables the district to create board meeting agendas, attach or link to supporting documents, record minutes, and publish it all on the web.  The service will meet the requirements of a new law that says agendas must be searchable.

The Board approved a limited number (net 78) of intra-district transfers from LAHS to MVHS for 2018-2019, available in an open enrollment period to incoming 9th graders, because LAHS has reached its maximum facility capacity.

The board heard presentations on the Computer Science and Engineering Departments from MVHS and LAHS, a Progress Report for the 2016 Special Education Study, the PEAK (Pathways, Exposure, Academic connection and Knowledge) program for AVID students (a collaboration with MVLA Scholars), and the AP Success Project at LAHS (working with the Stanford University Center to Support Excellence in Teaching).

—  Sally Ahnger, Observer

Mountain View – Los Altos High School District (MVLA) August & September 2017

August 21 and September 5, 2017

Summer School Principal Bill Pierce gave the board a report on summer school.  Classes were offered for credit recovery and makeup for failed courses to improve UC A-G eligibility, plus some acceleration courses and a few transition-to-high-school classes for incoming 9th graders, including “Bridge to High School” for students who did not graduate from their middle schools.  The numbers of students attending and classes offered were roughly the same as last year.  Added new this year, Algebra 2 Boot Camp was for students who needed a little help getting ready to take Algebra 2 in the fall.  Last year’s Catalyst class was divided into Catalyst Algebra and Catalyst Geometry this year, to prepare incoming 9th graders for algebra and geometry.  There were many more girls in the Catalyst classes this year compared to last year.

New Associate Superintendent of Educational Services Margarita Navarro presented a review of the implementation of the homework policy that was begun in 2016-17.  Both MVHS and LAHS conducted surveys of students to determine their reactions to the new policy.  A majority of students reported a reduction in stress due to homework-free weekends.  There were mixed results on the question of whether homework was useful to learning or busywork.  A small percentage of students reported that some teachers were not following the policy and those reports were investigated.

Associate Superintendent Mike Mathiesen gave a Facilities Master Plan progress report.  There will be a complete update at the October 23 board meeting with the architect and campus maps showing where new construction is recommended.  The agreement to lease Mountain View city land near Alta Vista for a new two-story building for Freestyle Academy and office space is in final negotiations.  A bond feasibility survey of voters is being designed and will be presented at the October 9 board meeting.   School site meetings will be held at the end of September and early October to get input from administrators, teachers, students, parents, and neighbors.  An application to the state school building fund is being prepared;  MVLA is eligible for $25 million in funding for new construction and improvements.

The board approved an increase in fees for the rental of MVLA facilities by outside groups, to be phased in over two years, 2017-18 and 2018-19.  Rates have not been increased since 2001.  A survey of nearby school districts (Saratoga, Fremont, and Campbell)  found MVLA’s fees to be substantially lower than average.  Palo Alto was not included in the local school district average fees because their rates are much higher. 

Associate Superintendent Mike Mathiesen presented the 2016-17 unaudited actual financial results, which showed revenues of $82.3 million and expenses of $78.6 million.   The final balance in the reserve is $9.5 million, including the state required 3% reserve.  The target reserve amount is $16.2 million (17%); the district is working to achieve that level gradually over multiple years. 

— Sally Ahnger, Observer

Mountain View – Los Altos High School District (MVLA) July 2017

June 12 and 19, 2017

The board passed a budget for 2017-18 after holding a public hearing on June 12 which garnered no public comments.  The budget assumes a secured property tax growth of 8% and a donation from the MVLA Foundation of $1.7M.  It includes 4 additional full-time teachers to accommodate the expected increased enrollment. This budget also includes the rise in STRS/PERS (the teachers and public employees retirement systems) contribution rates from 14.43/15.8% in  2017-18 to 18.1/20.8% in 2019-20, as the state requires the districts to pay a larger share of the pension costs.  The district budget for Career Technical Education increases as county funding of Regional Occupation Program, ROP, continues to ramp down.  The state continues to supply an Adult Education Block Grant of $1.3M.

Superintendent Jeff Harding and Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph of the Mountain View Whisman School District presented a report on the impact of the Mountain View North Bayshore Precise Plan on the two school districts.  According to demographic analysis, the 10,000 units of housing planned for the North Bayshore will produce 1100 K-12 students.  Adding in all of the housing projects currently in the pipeline, there will be 5800 additional students by 2023-24, needing 235 classrooms, estimated to cost $440 million, not including the cost of land.  The elementary district would need 3 new elementary schools and 1 new middle school, and the high school district would need a new high school.  The superintendents are planning to make this presentation to the Mountain View City Council.

Bill Pierce reviewed the Alta Vista Opportunity Program, a small program for credit-deficient students with behavior problems.  At the end of the 2015-16 school year the district discontinued its partnership with the county Office of Education to operate the program itself.  Last year’s program was run out of the Adult School, but it turned out that it was too far away from the resources needed by the students so the program will be moved near the District office for next year.  The other discovery from last year was that the range of student capabilities and ages was too broad, so next year the program will serve only 9th and 10th graders without severe special education needs.

The board approved the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) report after a public hearing on 6/12/17 which had no public comments.  The LCAP is a tool for local educational agencies to set goals, plan actions, and leverage resources to meet those goals to improve student outcomes. The report is available on the district website.

Mountain View – Los Altos High School District (MVLA) May 2017


Five Reports/Discussions/Action items were on the agenda of the May 8, 2017 MVLA Board of Trustees meeting that are of particular interest to Leaguers.

  1. Assistant Superintendent Mike Mathiesen gave the board an update on the Facilities Master Plan they’ve been working and reporting on since March of this year. The draft Ed Specs were received by the District Administration on April 27, but were not ready for public viewing or comment for tonight’s meeting.  They’ve scheduled two public Master Plan meetings to show and explain their work – one at Los Altos High School on May 17 and one at Mountain View High School on May 24, and the plans will be available for viewing before those meetings. These draft plans were created by Quattrochi Kwok Architects (QKA). The plans will include recommendations to expand both high schools to accommodate expected growth in student population. Mr. Mathieson noted that the last tine MVLA drafted a Facilities Master Plan was over 20 years ago.
  2. The board heard a presentation and recommendation by Superintendent Jeff Harding of SB 751 (Hill/Glazer). SB 751 would modify the state education budget reserve cap “to restore governing board flexibility over the use of reserves to adequately prepare for economic difficulties and save for investments in educational programs.” Currently there exist conditions where school districts like MVLA would be limited to having a 6% reserve. SB 751 would allow school districts to carry a 17% reserve. The board voted unanimously to endorse this bill.
  3. The board heard a recommendation to approve the tentative collective bargaining agreement with their teachers union. This agreement reached back to last year (2016-17) to approve a 5.75% raise for district teachers. The agreement shown to the board shows a budget that can healthily maintain this raise for three years. This budget also includes the rise in STRS/PERS contribution rates from 12.58/13.88% in 2016-17 to 14.43/15.8% in  2017-18 and 16.28/18.70% in 2018-19. (Trustees know that these rates will continue to rise.) The board voted unanimously to approve this raise.
  4. The board then approved the identical raise for their classified staff.
  5. The board then approved the identical raise for their “unrepresented employees” (confidential, supervisory, and management).

— Ellen Wheeler, Substitute Observer