Cautious high school district holds on to reserves | News – California News

Cautious high school district holds on to reserves | News – California News

Despite talk of launching expensive new programs and spending down reserves earlier this year, the Mountain View-Los Altos High School District opted to take a cautious approach to the budget for the 2017-18 school year.

Last week, the high school district’s board of trustees approved a spending plan for the upcoming school year that, by most measures, is a “boring” budget with little in the way of new initiatives, according to Associate Superintendent Mike Mathiesen. Small changes include about $500,000 in new retirement costs, additional teachers to keep up with enrollment, and a bigger pool of funds for updating and improving the district’s technology.

The district expects to see another healthy increase in annual revenues — $84.9 million for the 2017-18 year — and adopted a spending plan of $82.9 million. During a board study session in February, board members considered whether a $2 million reserve fund ought to be put to use in the upcoming school year; spending options reviewed included a $500,000 behavioral health program, an initiative to reduce school avoidance, new classroom technology and capital projects like new classrooms and cafeteria furniture.

In the end, the district didn’t include any of those initiatives in the budget, Mathiesen said. Some of the ideas were instead addressed within existing, already budgeted programs, but no new big line-item in the budget came from the study session.

One goal in this year’s budget is maintaining the district’s large stockpile of Chromebooks, which function as portable laptops for students at Mountain View and Los Altos high schools. Both campuses have a “bring your own device” policy (BYOD) requiring…

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