State Treasurer Fiona Ma, CPA, Visits MVSD

State Treasurer Fiona Ma, CPA, Visits MVSD
Posted on 01/12/2024

The Mountain View School District (MVSD) was proud to welcome California State Treasurer, Fiona Ma, CPA, to the District on January 11, 2024 for a presentation on the fiscal challenges facing school districts, as well as a tour of two of the District’s eight schools, providing a glimpse of the dynamic teaching and learning that takes place each day for Mountain View’s 4,590 students. 

Dr. Andry, District Superintendent, addressed the crowd and welcomed everyone to the Mountain View School District.

“Thank you for joining us to learn a little about our school district and some areas of priority or challenges we face as we work to inspire our students and community.  We are proud to welcome Fiona Ma, California State Treasurer and thank her for giving us her gift of time and continuing to demonstrate her passion for education and the wellbeing of Californians overall,” said Dr. Andry.

Dr. Andry and District Administrators, with the support of Board of Education President, Christian Diaz, and Board Members, Veronica Sifuentes and Cindy Wu, delivered a presentation on Robust and Stable Funding for Schools - Fiscal Challenges Amid Declining Enrollment and a Daily Attendance Funding Model and showcased the priority areas regarding school funding/budgets that provide extreme challenges to MVSD and school districts across the state.  Among the priority areas shared were declining enrollment, absenteeism, restricted funding, increased pension liability, deferred funding and equity for students. 

According to Darin De Knikker, MVSD’s Associate Superintendent of Business Services and Strategic Planning, the state’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which is the plan that determines school funding, does not support the basic operational needs of district’s with declining enrollment like Mountain View.

 

“With LCFF, school districts are funded based on enrollment so district’s like ours which have been experiencing several years of declining enrollment face many fiscal challenges. Along with the decline in enrollment, absenteeism and the significant rise in pension costs have really strained school districts.”

MVSD administrators shared a few of the mitigation efforts the District has taken to address the fiscal challenges including the closure of four schools in 2021 and the implementation of positive attendance outreach, chronic attendance programs, increased student supports with mental health and social emotional services, the Community Schools Planning Grant, as well as enrichment and extended learning opportunities.

After the presentation, the guests, including El Monte Mayor, Jessica Ancona and South El Monte Mayor, Gloria Olmos boarded one of the District’s electric school buses to tour Miramonte Elementary to see the Robotics and Studio Arts programs, the Think Together Program, Home Field Advantage Soccer and sports and recreation programs offered after school.  The group then traveled to Parkview School where they observed the After School Mandarin Enrichment Program, the City of El Monte’s Parks and Recreation basketball and cheerleading programs, as well as Think Together’s after school offerings.  Students and staff from both schools welcomed the distinguished visitors with enthusiastic cheers and were proud to highlight their programs.

“I like to go out to the community to see and hear what the folks are excited about and what the challenges are,” said Ma.  “Today was a great opportunity for me to hear about some of the issues facing the Mountain View School District and I really enjoyed touring the schools. Education is the great equalizer and gives more opportunities and we all know that our next generation - it is up to them. We depend on them to make sure they are educated, they can get good jobs, they can pay taxes, and they can own a home, everything is all connected.  We need to get back to prioritizing our youth and as State Treasurer I do a lot with public education whether its funding directly or indirectly.”

State Treasurer Ma thanked MVSD’s team, the city officials, school board members and legislative representatives for their service and stated she looks forward to partnering with El Monte and South El Monte to bring back families and slow the decline in enrollment in order to reinvigorate the schools.

 “At the state level we need to provide more additional funding because of the per pupil spending criteria and the local control formulas I know need to be tweaked,” said Ma.  “The more that you advocate and lobby the more that will get done to benefit your school district and our kids and families.”

Concluding the event, Dr. Andry and Board Member, Cindy Wu presented Fiona Ma with a certificate of appreciation, thanking her for her time and support which enables MVSD to continue its mission of inspiring each student to succeed every day.

MVSD appreciates those who joined in the special event with State Treasurer, Fiona Ma including El Monte Mayor, Jessica Ancona, Mayor Pro Tem, Dr. Julia Ruedas and Councilmember, Marisol Cortez, South El Monte Mayor, Gloria Olmos, District Representative for Senator Susan Rubio, Karla Cardenas, as well as El Monte Union High School District Board Members, Qui Nguyen and Estela Torres de Siegrist, El Monte City School District Board Member, David Siegrist, Rosaelva Lomeli, Rio Hondo College Trustee and Theresa Dryfuss, former President of Rio Hondo College.

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