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Bracing for growth spurt

Weston Ranch student count going up

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POSTED August 27, 2009 1:50 a.m.
Weston Ranch has been considered ground zero for foreclosures during the recent housing downturn.

But the situation in the southwest Stockton community could soon change once the vacant homes are filled, thus, bringing in a possible influx of families with students. Couple that with the construction of a 102-unit apartment complex.

Manteca Unified, for now, can accommodate about 4,000 students at Great Valley, August Knodt and George Komure, according to Assistant Superintendent Don Halseth.

At last Tuesday’s school board meeting, he said that the district experienced increased enrollment during the opening weeks of the new school year, with Great Valley and August Knodt bringing in, respectively, 100 and 80 more students than expected.

But that growth could be just a small sample of what’s yet to come.

Trustee Nancy Teicheira can see enrollment in Weston Ranch going upwards to about 6,000 youngsters, particularly if a 600-unit apartment complex becomes part of the plans.

The schools there were just taken off year-round education – a solution to handling overcrowding – and the chances of going back appear unlikely.

Trustee Rex Holiday, furthermore, noted the construction of Kimball Hill Homes.

“There’s an entire community just sitting there,” he said.

Added Teicheira: “It’s the City of Stockton’s job to build houses, but it’s our responsibility to build schools.”

She’s hoping that the district can secure property for future growth.

“There’s no money to buy land,” said Jacqui Breitenbucher in business services. “What’s left in Measure M money is only enough for the French Camp School multi-purpose building.”

Teicheira, meanwhile, urged the district to resume the two-by-two meetings – “We haven’t met with Stockton in two years,” she said – and direct staff to attend the planning commission sessions in Stockton.

The board voted unanimously, 7-0, to continue looking into possible solutions for future growth in the Weston Ranch area.
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