Portola Valley schools spend $15,000 a year per student
• School board approves $10.8 million budget.
The Portola Valley School District starts its 2007-08 fiscal year on an upbeat note: a balanced $10.8 million budget, a projected 7.35 percent growth in property taxes, a 5 percent raise for teachers, and $2.1 million in reserves.
Enrollment, which has been stable for several years, is projected to grow to 731 students, an increase of 32 students over the previous school year. Projections show 335 students at Ormondale, a K-3 school, and 376 at Corte Madera, a grade 4-8 school.
"We've turned the corner on the number of fifth-graders leaving the district at the end of that year for private schools," said Superintendent Anne Campbell. This past school year, only six students transferred after fifth grade to private schools. Corte Madera will gain three new students when school starts Aug. 27.
The average yearly cost of a student's education in the two-school district is $15,171.
The budget, prepared by Assistant Superintendent Tim Hanretty, projects both revenue and expenditures increasing 5 percent — about $507,250 — over the previous year's $10.3 million final budget. The school board adopted the budget at its June 19 meeting.
Budget figures could change, Mr. Hanretty cautioned, subject to modifications due to actual property tax increases and finalization of the state budget for K-12 schools.
Portola Valley schools rely on local funding — property taxes, foundation contributions and parcel taxes — for 87 percent of the budget.
As a "basic aid" district, Portola Valley's keeps its property tax revenue because it significantly exceeds — by about $3.6 million — the state funds the district would receive as a "revenue limit" district. That's the amount the district would need to raise to fund current program operations should basic-aid status disappear on a state-wide basis, Mr. Hanretty said.
The district receives 70 percent of its income from property tax revenue, about $7.28 million; 8 percent ($860,000) from the Portola Valley Schools Foundation; and 6 percent ($650,000) from the district's annual parcel tax of $290 per parcel.
Other local income accounts for 12 percent of revenue. This includes reimbursements for special education services for neighboring districts; cost-sharing revenue for business office services for the Woodside School District; facility leases; and after-school sports fees.
Only 1 percent of the district's budget comes from the state and 2 percent from the federal government.
The largest chunk of budget dollars — 81 percent or $8.7 million — pays for salaries and benefits of the teaching and non-teaching staff. The budget includes a 5 percent raise for teachers, and sets aside funds for salary and benefit increases for non-teaching personnel.
Added to the budget is one full-time teacher at Ormondale due to enrollment growth; a part-time curriculum specialist; funding for other curriculum consultants to be determined; and an additional $64,490 for staff professional development.
The budget allocates $425,893 to 11 initiatives, including technology; improving instructional approaches at both schools; and "Math Mastery" and "Written Language" programs.
Copies of the 2007-08 budget are available at the district office, located at Corte Madera School, 4575 Alpine Road in Portola Valley.