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Interim report: Manteca Unified prepare for financial challenges
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Trustees of the Manteca Unified School District took care of an oversight Tuesday on the first interim report’s multi-year projections.

The San Joaquin County Office of Education caught the deficit error in one of the retirement funds for 2011-12 as part of the three-year projections.

At the special session, the board voted 5-0 (Rex Holiday was given an excused absent while Wendy King is likely to receive the same at the next regular session) on re-certifying the multi-year projections.

“(Retirement Fund 71) has been here since I’ve served on the board,” Trustee Vern Gebhardt said.

Under the Education Code, the district can use one-time revenues to cover ongoing fund and cash balances. The district was able to shift restricted and unrestricted monies – all told, about $7 million – but not from the general fund, according to Superintendent Jason Messer.

For school districts, the first interim report showed that they’re prepared to meet their financial obligations for the remainder of this fiscal year and subsequent next two years.

But it wasn’t easy.

Manteca Unified, for example, had to cut back in services, staff, programs and employee compensation to make ends meet.

Included was reducing certificated staff by 19 percent (1,202 in 2008-09, to 1,103 in 2009-10), classified by 24 percent (797 to 641), supervisory by 24 percent (51 to 41) and administration by 29 percent (89 to 69).

Gone, too, was class-sized reduction for kindergarten-through-third-grade students and certain freshmen courses.

The district did experience some unexpected growth, including the 144 ADA (average daily attendance) increase for this year. As a result, some teachers who received pink slips earlier were re-hired.

The next board meeting is planned for Feb. 9.