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Board trying to negotiate 8% pay cuts
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• WHAT: Potential school cuts for Manteca Unified School District
• WHERE: Go to and click on budget watch

Officials of the Manteca Unified School District are currently in negotiations with representatives of the Manteca Educators Association, the California School Employees Association and the unrepresentative groups.

The goal is for all employees from throughout the district to agree to an 8 percent cut – that’s 3 percent and another 5 percent as proposed by acting Superintendent Jason Messer’s mid-year cuts – necessary for reducing about $23 million from the 2009-10 budget.

As part of the routine, they’re scheduled to meet again in closed session at Tuesday’s school board meeting in the new district office administration building. News, if any, will be announced during the 7 p.m. open session.

“I don’t anticipate that happening,” Messer said on Friday. “We’re just not at that point in the negotiation as of yet.”

At last month’s meeting, the school board voted 6-1 for workers ranging from the top administrators to certified and classified staff, along with the suggested cuts, working 10 fewer work days, going from a calendar of 180 days down to 170 days, with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger’s plan of reducing five days to all state employees factoring into the equation.

Messer is anticipating more focus on the budget during the Feb. 24 meeting.

In other agenda items:

• The board will continue to recognize students who achieved a perfect score of 600 on the California Standard tests. Some were at science camp during the time of the previous meeting.

• Trustees will consider approving the 2008-09 school plan for both elementary and secondary school sites.

• The board could give staff the OK to relocate 10 classrooms, rest room facilities, and cafeteria from the Lathrop Annex, scheduled for closure under the budget-reduction plan, to the Lathrop main site.

• Staff will provide updated reports on the state and federal budget status, the Measure M school bond committee, and the Give Every Child A Chance Bowl-A-Thon scheduled for Feb. 28.

Because of President’s Day, the district office will be closed on Monday.

More information can be obtained by calling (209) 825-3200 when regular business hours resume on Tuesday.