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Annual one-time charge for Manteca athletes
MUSD athletes annual fee of $75 in line with other school districts
Manteca Unified charges athletes a $75 a year bus transportation fee. - photo by Bulletin file photo

Each high school athlete in the Manteca Unified School District pays $75 for transportation costs.

Still, with those costs escalating, some athletic programs are almost in the hole, or are actually in the hole.

The good news though is that the $75 per athlete being collected only once each year is in line with other school districts such as Sonora and Oakdale. Kimball High athletes in the Tracy Unified School District pay twice that much - $150. Some districts set a maximum fee of $300 per family.

“Ours is per athlete. That’s the way we’ve been doing it,” explained Clara Schmiedt, the district’s senior director of secondary education, during the school board discussion on the subject Tuesday evening.

Charging per student per trip “would be difficult,” if not time consuming, added Schmiedt.

Chuck Carpenter, a self-employed business owner who asked Trustee Nancy Teicheira to place this item on the agenda for discussion, said he thinks there should be a formula to determine the distribution of the fees.

He also wanted to know how many high school athletes there are in the school district. But Schmiedt did not have that figure that evening immediately at hand.

“How many (high school) athletes do we have in Manteca Unified? Nine-hundred? Twelve-hundred? Fifteen-hundred? At $75 per student, that’s a lot of miles,” stated Carpenter who described himself as a parent and a grandparent.

He also believes that the transportation fees collected from the high school student athletes should not be put in a “slush fund” but in another account such as a booster’s fund, he said. The money actually goes into a transportation account to cover the bus costs for taking teams to games

School buses are used as often as possible to transport the student athletes. However, board president Don Scholl commented that “we don’t have enough bus drivers to drive students in school buses” all the time.

While athletes are asked to pay $75 a year for that expense, there are scholarships available for students who can’t afford to pay, Schmiedt said. Fund-raisers are also held with proceeds used for that purpose, she said.

Transportation for athletes is an expense that the district cannot provide because there is no money in the budget for it, which is why the board has instituted a policy specifically addressing that issue. That policy also contains a proviso exempting cheerleading students from paying the fee.

This issue will be discussed further in April with the board members voting to table the item at their next meeting.