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Lecker! WEEKEND | P.18 MARCH 19, 2010 VOLUME 18, NO. 11 INSIDE: MOVIES | PAGE 21 650.964.6300 Fiber-mania sweeps nation CITIES GO TO GREAT LENGTHS TO WIN GOOGLE’S ‘FIBER FOR COMMUNITIES’ PROJECT — MOUNTAIN VIEW CAMPAIGN MORE LOW-KEY By Daniel DeBolt T he mayor of Duluth jumped into a freezing lake. Topeka renamed itself “Google, Kansas.” And in Palo Alto on Monday, city staffers and residents leapfrogged and jived in front of City Hall to the tune of “YMCA” by the Village People. Cities across the country are staging publicity stunts to attract Google’s attention, hoping to be selected for the company’s live experiment with ultra-fast broadband. Will Google’s home town be able to compete? “I think we’ll be equally attractive whether I jump into the water Council lukewarm to giving up Shoreline funds By Daniel DeBolt W hen it comes to giving up Shoreline Community funds to local schools, some City Council members are more open to the idea than others. As reported last week in the Voice, Mountain View Whisman School District officials would like to negotiate a larger slice of property tax revenues from Shoreline-area companies like Google. Those property taxes are almost entirely funneled by the city into the “Shoreline Community,” a tax district which regularly runs multi-million dollar See SHORELINE, page 10 INSIDE or not,” said Mountain View Mayor Ronit Bryant. Instead of stunts, Mountain View leaders are calling on residents to write in and nominate their city for the experiment. “We plan to test ultra-high speed broadband networks in one or more trial locations across the country,” Google’s “Fiber for Communities” Web page states. “Our networks will deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today, over 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We’ll offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.” On that same page, located at, residents can voice their support for Mountain View by clicking on the “Get Involved” button and filling out a form. The point of the endeavor, Google says, is to jumpstart efforts to provide ultra-fast broadband everywhere by providing a test bed for the technology and exploring the numerous yet-to-be-discovered uses for it. To that end, Silicon Valley and Mountain View has an advantage: “They know the techsavvy kind of population we have,” Bryant said. Palo Alto, Cupertino and Sunnyvale are among the nearby cities in the race. Despite the competition — Mountain View is up against towns across the country with populations between 50,000 and 500,000 — the city has not gone to outlandish lengths to publicize its interest. There is an announcement on its Web site at www., and a Facebook page at fiberformountainview. See FIBER, page 16 MICHELLE LE READY FOR THE RUN: Ellen Clark instructs student Andres Schrier on where to pin up a flag of Zimbabwe prior to a volunteer recruitment speech she gave to Saint Francis High School runners. Clark is seeking help for the 11th Annual Run for Zimbabwe Orphans and Fair, coming up next Sunday. See story, page 7. Sticky budget scenario for MV Whisman DISTRICT’S FORUMS MAKE CLEAR THAT TROUBLE STILL LIES AHEAD By Kelsey Mesher W ith little hope for more support from Sacramento, state educators at all levels of instruction are again planning for a school year under severe budget constraints. Locally, the Mountain View Whisman School District is no different, grappling with a budget that district administrators say is $6 million less than it should be and, even worse, is continually vulnerable to more cuts from the state because of the way it’s funded. It’s a message being delivered over and over this month — 10 times in all — at budget forums presented by the district’s chief financial officer, Craig Goldman. Mountain View Whisman offi- GOINGS ON 22 | MARKETPLACE 23 | REAL ESTATE 25 | VIEWPOINT 17 cially became a “basic aid” district last summer, which means it is funded largely by local property taxes along with some supplemental funding by the state. Regardless of student enrollment, basic aid districts must operate with the same amount of funding. Goldman says such districts typically are thought of as affluent, because the revenues generated by property taxes exceed a “guaranteed” amount designated by the state. But with California $20 billion in debt, he said, the state has lowered that guaranteed amount. And some basic aid districts — like Mountain View Whisman, which serves high numbers of low-income students and therefore receives greater amounts of supplemental state funding — are the most vulnerable to state take-backs, he said. While local revenues generated from property taxes, parcel taxes or similar income sources are safe from state cuts, Goldman said, it is the state revenues, which include so-called categorical funds, that are vulnerable. These funds help pay for things like class size reduction, textbooks and programming for low-income students and English language learners. The result is a particular squeeze which comes from just barely qualifying for basic aid. (Last year, the Mountain View Whisman’s property taxes exceeded the state’s nearly $5,400-per-student threshold by See MV WHISMAN, page 13

Mountain View Voice 03.19.2010 - Section 1

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