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Parent vows to challenge MUSD intradistrict policy
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Joni Costa is on a new mission starting today. First, she is going to the Manteca Unified School District office to file a complaint on what she and her family are calling biased policies being used in processing intradistrict student transfer requests.

Next, they are going to “research the laws” – or the district policy that is currently in place governing this pre-enrollment process – because the wife and mother of two said she did not feel that the Board of Trustees should wait two months to “revisit (the policy)” which was the action taken by the board at their meeting Tuesday night.

“To say that they’ll revisit (the policy) in two months is absolutely not acceptable to me, for somebody that broke their own policies,” said Costa who was not happy that her daughter, an eighth grader at St. Anthony of Padua School, was not accepted at East Union High School to continue her studies this fall.

“I’m going to get my attorney involved to help me out with this. My parents are attorneys but I’m pretty good at going to the laws myself,” she added.

The Costa family lives within the Manteca High School district area, which means that is where their daughter is supposed to attend. However, because of the “circle of trust” that Costa’s daughter has developed at East Union through her years of involvement in sports and other activities there, Costa and her husband Manuel felt the Lancer campus would be best place for their older child.

To get into East Union, the Costas had to file an intradistrict request. Their daughter was turned down. She was the only one among her graduating friends at St. Anthony School who filed applications at East Union and did not get accepted.

But she became even more disturbed, Costa said, after she was made aware of the fact that some people gave “not bogus but addresses of friends and family so that they could go to East Union.”

That the people she talked to at East Union were unaware of the intradistrict policies made her even more “disturbed” and “frustrated,” Costa said.

One parent, who said he went to the meeting after reading the Costas’ story in the newspaper, spoke at the board meeting in support of the Costas’ plight.

Another parent, Steven Guzman, also addressed the board about his problem of having his two daughters attending two different high schools saying this would impose a hardship on his family because they only have one car to transport the children to school.

Karen Pearsall, whose children graduated from Manteca High School, said, “Good parents put their children first. Our children are our priorities.”

However, she pointed out that the school district “has to look at every child,” adding, this is a “hard job” for the district officials “and I don’t envy any of you.” With some exceptions, she said, it is better that kids attend the schools in their district areas. She said, “we have these boundaries so that things balance out.”

She also said she respects the Costas’ “circle of trust” when it came to choosing the right school for their daughter. However, “every school in Manteca is a good school,” she said.

What Pearsall found “troubling” though was the information that “some parents allegedly gave false addresses” to get their children accepted at certain schools.

“That’s a really serious thing. That’s a very serious transgression and, in my opinion, it should be investigated if that’s going on,” she said.