The decision to reinstate the district-run Acorn League to provide after school sports for elementary school students will stand.
On Tuesday the Manteca Unified Board of Educated voted 4-2 against rescinding a previous decision to move the district forward with the previous decision to take the program in-house rather than contract with an outside agency – something that would cost the district money, but would eliminate the need for students to pay to participate.
Trustee Michael Seelye – who placed the reconsideration item on the agenda – abstained from the vote.
The options that were before the board on Tuesday gave them the opportunity to rescind their previous decision to reinstate the Acorn League – one of many deep cuts the board had to make during California’s fiscal crisis that hammered education – and put out a request for proposal to various agencies, groups and non-profits that would be able to step up and continue to provide the opportunities for students throughout the district.
The Manteca Unified Student Trust, which was formed after the dissolution of the Acorn League and has been providing leagues in a variety of sports for the better part of a decade, would have been one of the organizations that the district could have turned to.
And not everybody was happy with the way that they treated representatives from MUST when they came before the board last month to discuss the best way to move forward.
According to community member Karen Pearsall, Wendy King – the former Manteca Unified Board President that also became the driving force behind the non-profit that formed in order to ensure that after school sports for elementary school students – should have been regarded with a little bit more respect for all that she did for the district and in ensuring that students didn’t have to go without during a tough budget scenario.
“I thought that it was unintentionally insulting to both Wendy King and the staff at MUST, whether you meant to do it or not,” Pearsall said – noting that comparing MUST to the in-house program that was approved wasn’t a fair comparison and didn’t reflect the amount of work that went into making such a program work in the first place. “Nobody acknowledged what she did, and I just think the board as a whole handled it very poorly – usually the board is much more gracious and sensitive to the needs of everybody, and it just didn’t seem like it was very thoughtful.”
The new program, which would be implemented next fall, will still use school staff primarily as coaches, but they’ll be making much more than they did under the MUST banner. With a $300,000 influx from the district, the cost of coaches – which comes in at nearly $244,000 of that total – and all of the other expenses would be covered, and students would be able to participate without having to pay any money up front.