MVLA Foundation gives record grant

Courtesy of Jennifer Townhill Photography
Los Altos High School students work on a science lab for Meghan Strazicich's class. Strazicich received an Innovative Learning Grant from the MVLA Foundation.

The Mountain View-Los Altos High School Foundation has once again made a record grant to the high school district, raising $1.804 million, a $100,000 increase over last year.

The MVLA Foundation, which funds a variety of district programs, has a history of upping its contribution each year. The money largely comes from parent donations, as well as gifts and matching funds from local companies.

“Our parents really do step up,” said Laura Roberts, the foundation’s co-executive director. “If you communicate these needs well, they step up.”

Many of the programs the foundation funds remain consistent year-to-year, including paying for the tutorial centers, college and career centers, and extended library hours.

The foundation also contributes money to reduce class sizes in freshman English and math. This year, the foundation also funded class size reductions in Algebra II.

To determine which programs to fund, the foundation conducts an annual parent survey and works with district officials to identify areas of particular need.

“The foundation provides a conduit for parents to be able to express their support for the schools, as well as to provide input into programs,” Roberts said.

For Mike Mathiesen, the district’s budget director, the foundation has been a source of consistent and reliable funding over time. Particularly during the 2008 recession, Mathiesen said the foundation was able to provide the district with needed stability.

“It helps us offer all those … ‘extras’ that for MVLA seem like a given,” he said. “Those are things that are not the norm in most other high school districts.”

Next school year, the foundation plans to once again increase its giving, this time to $1.878 million.

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