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MHS: THE FUTURE

Roundtables seek community input

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MHS: THE FUTURE

A model replica created by Sam Bologna of the beloved Manteca High bell tower is on display at the Manteca Museum.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/


POSTED January 24, 2017 11:47 p.m.

Manteca High — the oldest campus in Manteca — is targeted for $30 million worth of modernization work.
And although actual work may not start for another five years using Measure G bond money, how Manteca Unified District proceeds will have significant impacts not just on future students and the surrounding neighborhood but much of the school district as well.
The district is starting its planning effort with two community roundtables scheduled for the Manteca High cafeteria. They are Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 3 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m.
It is being billed as an opportunity to “work with a small group to help shape the next evolution of Manteca High School.”
School leaders are seeking feedback on safety, parking classrooms, walking pathways, and other facility needs.
Given that $30 million has been described as a “drop in the bucket” by Deputy Superintendent Clark Burke when it comes to the long list of campus needs, the district also wants input on what the community believes the first priorities should be in spending the bond proceeds.
The input will be used to help form a modernization plan for the campus that dates back 98 years.
The Manteca High campus was rebuilt in 1949 with new structures and modernizations taking play in 1993, 1996, and 2002. It consists of a 45-acre campus split by Garfield Avenue. There are numerous program deficiencies related to structures including a gym that can only hold a third of the student body at any given time.
Manteca Unified has two major issues coming together at the same time — the need to modernize and improve the security as well as safety of Manteca High plus deal with growth mostly south of the 120 Bypass. That growth could balloon district enrollment by 20 percent over the next four to five years.
The district owns land on Tinnin Road designated for a new high school. The cost to build a high school campus for 1,500 to 1,800 students is pegged at $140 million plus. The big ticket items are extending infrastructure to serve the campus and support facilities such as a gym, football field, swimming pool, and such.
The district is at 96 percent capacity and lacks roughly a third of the funding to build any new school. That missing third reflects a combo of state and local bond money. None of the Measure G bond can be used for construction to accommodate growth. At the same time, the state school bond passed in November is not expected to yield much funding, if any, for new schools per se due to a backlog of modernization projects and existing new school work already approved for reimbursement when the state sells the school bonds.
The likelihood of Manteca Unified pursuing another bond with taxpayers still paying on two existing bond measures isn’t considered a possibility in the near future. That leaves Manteca Unified with only two funding sources for new construction: Mello Roos taxes or some other financial mechanism developers might be willing  to put in place and growth fees assessed on new housing on a per square footage basis.
With elementary schools costing $25 million to $30 million apiece, it is prompting Manteca Unified to look at all potential scenarios.
Almost 80 percent of all growth in the district could come from south of the 120 Bypass. The two closest high schools are Sierra High and Manteca High.
While busing to Weston Ranch, East Union, and Lathrop are options it would be only short-term temporary or could end up adding portable classrooms and overloading campuses. Lathrop High also has potential growth to address in that community although the volume is not as imminent as it is in South Manteca.
Sierra High could accommodate some additional permanent classrooms.
And while none of the $30 million earmarked for Manteca High Measure G work can go to house new growth, how it is spent and the campus configured could play a key role in accommodating that growth. That could mean growth fees collected on new homes could be spent to expand Manteca High.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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