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MUSD picks public information officer
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Manteca Unified has a new public information officer – Victoria Brunn. The creation of this new position can’t be more timely for the district – and for very good reasons.

In the last four months, Manteca Unified has seen the addition of several major projects.

There’s the long-awaited $30 million Going Digital whose goal is to bring the latest learning technology into every classroom by putting a computer in the hand of every student and teacher in the district.

With the master facility plan completed and approved by the Board of Trustees after two years in the making, the district will next embark on the similarly challenging task of securing funding for the host of repairs, modernization and other maintenance needs of the district’s aging facilities. Additionally, the district is poised to adopt the Common Core State Standards into its math classes this year, which is where the Going Digital project comes in as well. For these reasons, the board is now researching whether a general obligation bond, like the $66 million Measure M that voters approved 10 years ago, should be pursued and brought to the voters in the next few months.

Finally, the district is looking at becoming the lead agency for a regional consortium of school districts in four counties whereby Manteca Unified would become the overseer of a regional vocational educational initiative while working with the area’s two community colleges – Delta in Stockton and Modesto Junior College. Superintendent Jason Messer said the application to secure $15 million – out of the $250 million that the state is pouring into vocational education – that would go to the consortium’s selected lead agency, submitted last Friday. Results are expected to be announced in April.

All of the above major undertakings will require an extensive need for public outreach and information, Messer said. That responsibility has been given to Brunn who will be exercising those duties on top of her responsibilities as coordinator for the district Sustainability and Energy Education.

While Brunn was given the PIO title – without additional compensation or reduction of her other job duties – she is not going to be the district’s sole source of information or public contact.

“We actually have multiple spokespeople,” Messer explained.

At all elementary and high school sites, the official spokesperson is the principal. At the district level, the main public contacts are Messer and Deputy Superintendent Burke Clark.

“And that’s how we’ve been since I’ve been superintendent,” Messer said.

The appointment of Brunn rounds out the number to three district-level spokespersons, he said.

With all of the additional projects coming on, “I needed to redistribute some of the work,” Messer explained.