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$159M bond helps repair portables & other facilities
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Manteca Unified has numerous portable classrooms.

And many are showing their age.

If most school officials had their druthers, they wouldn’t have portables.

They don’t, however, have any choice.

Superintendent Jason Messer noted that many state school facilities funding programs require that if money from Sacramento is used to construct a school site, a third of it must be in portable classrooms.

It is why portable replacement and repairs are part of the $159 million bond issue before Manteca Unified voters on Nov. 4.

Manteca Unified has portable classrooms at virtually every campus with the New Hafley School campus being almost all portables.

Today’s portables such as the ones built by Manteca-based American Modular System have a much longer life span, are more durable, and more conducive to classroom learning whether it is comfort or lighting. The company’s Gen 7 class is a zero use structure meaning it produces all the energy it needs and then some in addition to being manufactured out of recycled materials.

Depending upon when modular classrooms were manufactured and whether proper maintenance is performed, they have a lifespan of between 19 and 50 years based on various state and industry studies. They also cost less than a permanent facility. Even so, in many cases such as the middle school in Ione that is two stories and built by AMS, you can’t tell whether they are a modular structure.

The district has had to deal with some instances of buckling floors and other structural issues in its older portables.

None of the classrooms, though, are in such deplorable condition as portables put in place over the past 10 to 30 years in Ripon Unified.

Voters in Ripon Unified last year approved spending most of a $24 million bond issue to replace aging portables at Weston and Colony Oak elementary schools. In Weston School’s case, the entire campus except for the multipurpose room was razed to allow the construction of permanent buildings.

The Manteca bond measure, if it passes, will cost property owners $60 per $100 of assessed value. That means if your house is assessed at $300,000 your tax bill will increase $180 a year.

The bond language allows the money to be spent on new building at all district school sites including ones that currently are just vacant parcels. It also covers rehabilitation of buildings, Internet-based learning upgrades, and drought resistant landscaping among other items.