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Bond foes hope board keeps word
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The Manteca Unified school bond, commonly known as Measure G, did not receive 68 percent of the votes as predicted by the results of a survey taken early in summer.

The prediction was 12.02 percent off the actual figure that came out of Tuesday’s elections; the measure garnered 56.98 percent of the total votes cast. In the end, the difference did not matter. The vote count was enough to give Measure G proponents the victory which translates to $159 million to meet the structural needs of aging schools and other district structures, many of which the district contends are suffering from serious health and safety concerns. That was the promise that won the voters’ support.

But although Measure G passed, school bond opponent Karen Pearsall believes the election figures also tell another story. The 12.02 percent difference – between the 68 percent survey prediction and the 56.98 actual votes – “showed that some people did think, ‘wait a minute, it’s not all about safe and safety.’ But, I think, people in general want to support the schools,” she said.

Pearsall expressed regret over the passage of Measure G. But the one thing she takes solace in is in the fact that contrary to the consultants’ prediction following their summer survey, the school bond passed way below the predicted winning mark. 

The Board of Trustees did indicate that their intention was to do the projects that deal with safety and health issues first, Pearsall pointed out. But, she cautioned, “the way Measure G is written, they don’t have to do all that. It’ll be interesting to see what promises are kept and what aren’t.”

She had hoped that the bond would be postponed until the presidential elections in 2016 so that there would have been enough time to fine-tune the language of Measure G. But since that is now a moot point, “I hope they (the board members) honor what most voters voted for which is to do all the renovation things first,” Pearsall said.

The school bond did not get the blessing of all the board members before it went on the ballot. Trustee Nancy Teicheira of Area 4 bucked the board by voting against the measure. “I am for the safety of the kids,” she said, but she had reservations about how the money was going to be spent on projects such as the district’s $30 million Going Digital and others that don’t have to do with health and safety issues.

That is precisely what Pearsall said will be interesting to see as the school bond money is divvied up to the various projects, in light of the district officials’ previous announcements that they are going to use the master facilities plan as their blueprint or guideline which lists the projects and how much those projects are going to cost. Based on that list, Pearsall crunched the numbers.

“If you do just the health and safety projects, it’s $92 million for the elementary schools and $30 million for the high schools – or $125 million just to do that. I wonder if they are really going to do all those projects. That will leave them $35 million left.”

With the district’s vocational charter school, academy, needing $20 million, and the Going Digital project needing cash infusions as well in the millions, the district is not going to have the money for all that, Pearsall pointed out.