While the final reconfigured lines themselves have yet to be formally adopted, one thing is certain – the boundaries of five Manteca Unified elementary school campuses are going to change.
On Tuesday, the Board of Education heard an update from the district’s growth steering committee that detailed a proposal that will drastically shift the configuration of current enrollment boundaries for areas south of the Highway 120 bypass and the schools to the north to handle the massive influx of students expected with development in the coming decade.
According to the map included with the proposal, the existing boundaries of Veritas School will be reworked significantly as development occurs around the campus and drives up site enrollment to the point where existing boundaries would no longer be feasible. That means that a portion of the existing boundary for Veritas would be transferred to Nile Garden to the south, while Lincoln Elementary would shift its boundaries to the south, and Walter Woodward Elementary School should shift its boundaries to the east. The current boundaries for Sequoia Elementary, which end at the Highway 120 Bypass to the north, would include a portion of new commercial development while Veritas expands out through the heart of Manteca’s new development epicenter.
Students currently enrolled at elementary schools that will be affected by the adjustments will be given the opportunity to remain at their school sites through a “grandfathering” practice that will allow students to apply for priority registration through open enrollment.
According to the presentation, siblings of students enrolled as of May of 2019 are included in the priority registration if they apply in the 2018/19 school year to be “grandfathered” into the school outside of their residential boundary.
The district is currently proposing two upcoming informational sessions – March 22 and Woodward Elementary and April 11 at Veritas Elementary – to allow residents and parents of students to ask questions about the proposal, and how it will affect their children and their neighborhood moving forward. Information received at the workshops will allow district staff to follow-up with individuals to address any concerns that may arise. That information will be compiled into a proposal that will be presented to the board for recommendation in early May.
If approved, the new attendance boundaries would go into effect on May 9, 2018 for the upcoming school year. In the coming months, the district will reach out to affected families and school sites regarding the proposed changes and the specific details of the “grandfathering” practice to ensure that students have the opportunity to remain at their school.
Some of the issues that have yet to be formally ironed out include whether students at certain elementary schools that live too close to be bussed under current regulations will qualify because of extenuating circumstances. For example, because Lincoln Elementary will be shifting its boundaries south of the 120 Bypass in the proposal, students that live within the 1.5-mile zone, which would include most of the new area that will serve Lincoln, would be too close to be bussed but would end up having to walk under a freeway, over a set of railroad tracks and down busy Moffat Boulevard in order to get to the campus.
District administrators have begun with the transportation department to come up with a plan that would provide those students a ride to school in the morning.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.