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School board may cut their stipends by 5%

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POSTED March 24, 2009 4:33 a.m.
Trustees of the Manteca Unified School District receive a monthly stipend in accordance with the state education code.

That stipend - which is optional for those who seek election to the seven board posts – costs Manteca Unified taxpayers $33,600 a year with each trustee pocketing $4,800 or $400 a month. That is on top of much costlier health benefits that some board members avail themselves to despite not being full-time district employees. Again, accessing health benefits is allowed under state law for elected board members.

At tonight’s meeting, the board will be asked to join teachers, administrators, support and classified employees throughout the district by taking a 5 percent reduction in their stipends which technically isn’t pay in the sense that they are reimbursed for actual hours worked. It is structured under California law more like a stipend paid to those who sit on corporate boards. The 5 percent cut would cost each board member $20 a month and save taxpayers $1,680 a year

Trustees proposed the across-the-board cuts as part of the $23.5 million budget shortfall not too long ago.

Thus far, the Manteca Educators Association has been the only one of the five unions not aboard on the reduction plan. However, as part of the ongoing negotiations, a re-opener on the agreement for the 2008-09 school year will be among the action items at the 7 o’clock meeting in the new administration building, 2901 E. Louise Ave.

President Michael Seelye and his colleague, Wendy King, recently mentioned that the board receives about $400 a month as part of its monthly stipend. Seelye used his stipend to help pay for the event celebrating the improved state Standardized Testing and Reporting scores at French Camp School.

In other agenda items:

Trustees, in closed session, could appoint an assistant principal at Manteca High. Doug McCreath, the current assistant principal, was recently named principal to replace the retiring Steve Winter.

Superintendent Jason Messer is scheduled to give a report on the classified school employee of the year awards, woman of the year, the upcoming district art show, and a request to adjust the board calendar by eliminating the May 26 meeting.

Trustees will be asked to accept substantial completion contracts for the Neil Hafley School multi-purpose building and the new Shasta School joint-use structure. Both F&H Construction projects were price tagged at over $5 million and made possible by the voter-approved Measure M.

The board could award a lease-leaseback contract to F&H Construction at the tentative agreed amount of about $1.6 million to begin the third phase – part 2 of the Measure M modernization plan – at Neil Hafley School.

For more information, call the district office at (209) 825-3200 or log on to www.mantecausd.net.
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