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Portables move a step toward closing Lathrop Annex

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POSTED February 18, 2009 5:18 a.m.
Trustees of the Manteca Unified School District, as part of their goal to reduce $23 million from the 2009-10 budget, agreed not too long ago to close the doors of both the Sequoia Annex and Lathrop Annex.

On Tuesday, they took one step forward with the latter, voting 6-1 for relocating 10 classrooms, rest room facilities and cafeteria - all portable units - from the Lathrop Annex to the Lathrop main site.

Trustee Manuel Medeiros, who cast the dissenting vote, had concerns about paying $440,000 in order to save $200,000 annually.
“I think we’re better keeping the annex open,” he said.

Acting Superintendent Jason Messer, however, indicated that the move would come from a specific one-time CFD or Mello-Roos fund rather than the general fund in order to make such a move.

“From there, your savings would ongoing from the operational budget, which is an area (of the general fund) we need to cut,” he added.

Incidentally, cost for the move covers planning ($25,000), construction ($380,000), inspection ($10,000), testing ($5,000) and contingencies ($20,000).

“I’m glad Manuel brought this up,” said his colleague, Nancy Teicheira. “People need to be informed how things work (at the state level).

“But right now, we need to save money from our general fund.”

In addition, the move will add an estimated 460 kindergarten through third grade students to the main site.

And in order to insure the quickest possible completion of this project, staff, in staying within budget, will enter into a lease / lease back with F&H Construction.

Messer said savings from the general fund could be realized within the next two years.

He also noted that the board will be left with options on the Lathrop Annex site.

“You can decide to keep or sell the property,” Messer said.

As for future growth, he indicated that busing Lathrop students to either Mossdale School or the proposed Ethel Allen School could be among the options.

Meanwhile, the board is expected to discuss its budget in more detail at the Feb. 24 meeting.

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