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MUSD mothballs Lindbergh School
Budget cuts drastically slash adult school offerings
Manteca High School senior Iliana Garcia stands in front of the Lindbergh School on East North Street while waiting for her mother to pick her up. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO
The young woman went up the steps to the front doors of the Lindbergh Educational Center, only to make a quick turn-around. As she did so, she glanced at the large sign on the grass and laughed self-consciously as she read the announcement.

“I have not been here in years!” she smiled, her way of saying she has not kept up with what’s happening at the Manteca Adult School. She was there to inquire about the classes.

The message on the sign board informed visitors that the school office is now located in the back and that access to it is via the gate on Sutter Street into the parking lot.

The would-be Adult School student was surprised to learn that the old Lindbergh School building on the East North Street is currently closed or out of commission. She’s not the only one who had missed that announcement made earlier this school year due to budget cuts.

The Adult School is subsidized solely by state funds, which totaled just a little over $1 million for the current school year. Class offerings were reduced with the remaining classes receiving just $400,000 of the total funding. The remaining $600,000 was then turned into flexible funds and placed in the general fund by the district to be used for teacher’s salaries.

The substantially reduced Adult School funding led to drastic cuts in classes and other expenses. One of them was to eliminate all the community classes such as the quilting and guitar lessons.

Clara Schmiedt, Senior Director of Secondary Education, and Adult School Principal Diane Medeiros were the district officials who had the difficult task of determining which classes to keep and to eliminate.

“We had many, many meetings and we decided what the most important programs are. We kept as many as we possibly could,” Schmiedt said.

Among them were the General Education Development program or GED to help those who want to secure an equivalent high school diploma, ESL (English as a Second Language) classes to help people get better jobs, and the ROP classes for high school students. Schmiedt said they also decided to keep the night school remediation class for high school students. Clinical Medical Assistant and a Pharmacy Technician are still available but they are being offered through the Boston Reed College thereby costing the district little or no money. However, students taking the classes have to pay a fee of $2,695 to Boston Reed instead of the Adult School.

Drastic times lead to creative drastic measures. To save the district transportation costs, ROP classes such as the popular Fashion Merchandising and computers were moved to various high school campuses. Fashion Merchandising taught by Angie Anaya was moved to Sierra High. The campus at Lathrop High School was chosen as the site for the computer classes.

Such moves meant “less transportation for the kids” who had to be bused from their high school to Lindbergh. But that was not the only advantage. Those moves also improved program “access for the students,” Schmiedt pointed out.

About the only part of the old Lindbergh School building that is now being utilized by staff and students alike are the restrooms. Principal Medeiros’ office was moved to the old Career Center. Two of the school portables also are currently not being used for any classes due to the budget cuts.

“Closing the old building was all about consolidation,” Schmiedt said.

But the bright side of moving the principal’s office to where it was is that it made the office really close and more accessible, she said.

While it’s not being used, the heating and air conditioning of the old school is not being utilized, Schmiedt said.

One thing that the district is looking at in the future is for the Adult School to “initiate fee-based classes” with the idea that the community classes will stand on their own financially. That will need a policy set up by the Board of Trustees to serve as guidelines for such classes, something that is not in place yet, Schmiedt pointed out.

Many of the adult classes were eliminated because ‘there’s not enough students in the classrooms to be able to pay the teacher,” she explained.