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MUSD Vocational Academy will start classes on Aug. 8
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Welcome to MUVA.

That’s the greeting some high school students could be hearing at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year – at least for those who will choose to enroll in the Manteca Unified Vocational Academy – MUVA – charter school.

The Board of Education Tuesday night approved 6-0, with Trustee Wendy King absent, the petition to establish a vocational charter school.

The vote also established the Board of Education to serve as the governing body  of the vocational academy, much like city councils in Manteca and Ripon serving as the redevelopment agencies.

The charter petition that was approved included the provision that “no general funds outside of the charter will be used” for the new school.

Some highlights of the charter school mentioned during the discussion:

• The vocational school’s first day of school will jive with Manteca Unified’s adopted calendar and will take place on Aug. 8, 2012.

• The school will begin with a total enrollment of 90 junior and senior students, with some of those possibly coming from other districts depending on availability of space.

• Like the regular schools, the vocational academy will be funded by Average Daily Attendance monies.

• There will be three areas of studies and skills training included in the vocational curriculum: Medical Office Assistant, Industrial Fabrication Technology, and Culinary Arts.

• Budget concerns may dictate the Culinary Arts and Industrial Fabrication Technology classes to be offered initially because the district already has facility and teaching resources to help get these classes launched right away. The Medical Office Assistant program would be the most costly program to get running, Superintended Jason Messer pointed out.

• Classes for the above vocational studies will be conducted in district-owned facilities such as the school farm, some space at the district offices, and Sierra High where Culinary Arts classes are currently being offered.

• Students finishing the vocational program could graduate both with a high school diploma from Manteca Unified and a certificate from Delta College or other post-secondary institution.

Other fiscal and staffing concerns brought up during the discussion will be discussed at a later time when the Manteca Unified board acting as the Vocational Academy board will meet to hammer out these and other concerns or set up any restrictions.

Trustee Manuel Medeiros said before voting on the charter petition, “I’d like for us to proceed with at least a partial curriculum.”

The retired farmer has always advocated a vocational training program for those students in the district who may not be thinking of going on to college after graduation but would benefit from a skills training or certificate program that would make them employable.

The principal for the Vocational Academy will be Diane Medeiros who is also the principal of the Manteca Adult School.