The 9,779 proposed homes the City of Manteca has in various stages of the planning process will ultimately require at least $340 million in new school construction to accommodate 6,851 students.
That translates into 2,170 high school students or enough to fill the current capacity of Sierra High and a quarter of Manteca High.
Based on Manteca Unified student yield rates for housing the homes at buildout would generate 4,681 elementary students or enough to fill Woodward School or Veritas School 6.2 times.
And while 85 percent of the homes being pursued are south of the 120 Bypass, not all will be within the Manteca Unified boundaries. As much as 20 percent could end up being built within the Ripon Unified School District ultimately requiring the district that currently has 3,100 students to build several elementary campuses within the City of Manteca. Manteca Unified, by comparison, has 23,500 students.
Both school districts are making the pursuit of Mello-Roos districts in the areas south of the 120 Bypass a top priority in the coming months.
City Manager Karen McLaughlin noted Manteca has not received a specific proposal from either Ripon Unified or Manteca Unified regarding community facilities districts that are also known as Mello-Roos districts.
Manteca Unified Superintendent Jason Messer in April did contact McLaughlin to request that the city not enter into any development agreements or approve Statewide Community Infrastructure Program (SCIP) financing options for projects that first do not work out an agreement with MUSD to provide adequate school construction funding.
McLaughlin said city staff has not advanced any new agreements for development agreements or SCIP financing — a mechanism used by developers to tax future homeowners for subdivision infrastructure such as major sewer and water lines — since April. McLaughlin said the city has agreed to at least facilitate discussions between any developer who requests entitlements and the district before advancing those entitlements.
McLaughlin stressed state law prohibits the city from forcing any developer to join a community facilities district for school construction financing in order to build homes.
However, should a developer seek SCIP financing options to make their project viable or want the security of a development agreement to lock up sewer allocations over multiple years, the city does have leverage at that point.
While some builders are proceeding without development agreements and simply applying for sewer allocations as they go, others prefer having sewer connections guaranteed via a development agreement. That also makes it easier to secure financing from banks to build subdivisions.
Manteca Unified and Ripon Unified — like all other public schools in California — are legally obligated to serve new students and have no authority to stop development. That means without adequate new school construction funding to accommodate growth existing schools and students will share in the pain.
Currently Manteca Unified has funds from development fees and other sources to build one or two elementary school sites south of the 120 Bypass. Messer has indicated he expects ground to break on a new campus within five years.
Woodward School was at capacity and Veritas was at 70 percent capacity as of May. They are the only two schools within Manteca’s city limits that are south of the 120 Bypass. The next closest overflow school — Sequoia — is impacted like Woodward. That leaves the next closest school with some capacity at Brock Elliott.
That opens the door for the real possibility some elementary schools would have to go to year round even before the next school is built or afterwards.
School leaders have noted if school construction financing isn’t addressed now by getting the city school district, and developers together to devise and implement a solution it will have major consequences on everything from the ability of the city to keep growing to cover its costs, developers to keep building to sell homes, and Manteca schools being able to house students without resorting to year round school or drastic measures such as double sessions.
Based on Manteca’s existing schools, it can cost $25 million to $30 million to build an elementary school and in excess of $130 million to build a high school.
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