August Knodt School fifth grade teacher Judi Horton dips into her pocket as much as $150 a month to supplement classroom supply budgets provided by the Manteca Unified School District.
There is no requirement that she do so. But the money that is made available for discretionary teacher classroom spending typically comes to less than $1 per day of instruction. Principals determine how much discretionary money teachers will receive for the classroom after other campus needs are taken from essentially a “block grant” from the district designed to provide more flexibility for individual schools.
Horton noted the amount of money teachers take from their own pocket varies from teacher to teacher although virtually all teachers do so in a bid to provide more effective learning opportunities for their students.
The district provides textbooks, devices, and other material.
Manteca Unified spends $207 million on teacher salaries and benefits. Overall, labor and benefit costs for all employees including classified workers are pushing 90 percent of the district’s general fund budget that is nearing $260 million.
Horton is one of 1,200 members of the Manteca Educators Association. She also serves as the MEA vice president.
Horton — along with MEA President Ericka Meadows who teaches kindergarten at Woodward School — look out for the well-being of kindergarten through 12th grade teachers as well as credentialed positions such as counselers and psychologists. That runs the gamut from salary negotiations and grievances to working with the school board on collective bargaining issues such as workplace rules and school calendars. There is also a hierarchy of officers plus 70 MEA representatives at the various school sites.
Meadows and Horton shared what the MEA does and their role as a partner with the community and parents in the education of the 24,000 students of the Manteca Unified school District during last week’s Manteca Rotary meeting at Ernie’s Rendezvous Room.
It is part of an outreach effort by the MEA to let the community know what they do. Their bottom line is quality education.
What the MEA does also includes awarding a number of scholarships and supporting endeavors such as the Give Every Child a Chance free tutoring program and Stuff the Bus for Kids’ Sake at Christmas.
“The needy kids being helped and provided meals at Christmas are our kids,” Meadows said.
While some bash unions, both noted what unions have brought to the workplace over the past century including days off, paid holidays and vacation, sick leave, livable wages, and such that many today take for granted,
The first meeting of the MEA was on May 14, 1954 at Neil Hafley School. The first order of business was a talk by Neil Hafley why a local teachers’ association was needed. The organization was initially called the Manteca Teachers Association with dues set at $1 a year.