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Growth forces Veritas School boundary move
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Attendance boundaries for Veritas and Lincoln elementary schools are expected to be among the  first moves Manteca Unified will take to handle an enrollment spurt of between 1,500 and 2,000 students over the next three years.
Manteca Unified Superintendent Jason Messer noted while Veritas School is not yet at its design capacity of 860 students, based on actual home building activity the campus will have 1,362 students by 2021 if current attendance boundaries are left intact.
Lincoln School is the closest elementary campus to the high-growth area south of the 120 Bypass where there is existing capacity and the ability to build additional classroom space in a relatively short time frame.
Lincoln School borders the Manteca High campus. It has just been modernized and a new multipurpose room and office complex built. Infrastructure was put in place during the modernization that would allow a fairly rapid construction of an additional classroom wing. The State gave the school district a preliminary OK for such a move when they reviewed modernization plans for Lincoln School. Such a move to build more classrooms, if the school board opts to do so, would still require a formal approval by the state.
Messer did not elaborate on any specific changes noting it is still early in the process. In the past, the school district has made sure attendance boundary adjustments were put in place at the start of the school year. That means the earliest changes could occur for the two schools — and perhaps others south of the 120 Bypass — would be August of 2018.
There are numerous options the district could explore. It is apparent, however, given the need to cross the railroad tracks and the 120 Bypass that regardless of where additional areas south of the 120 Bypass would be added to the Lincoln School attendance area if that were to happen, it would involve busing the students.
The other big pressing concern involving current elementary school capacity is Mossdale School in Lathrop. Mossdale with a capacity of 990 will have 1,351 students by 2021. The only other elementary school  expected to be out of wrack by 2021  will have 110 more students in its attendance area than the campus has capacity to absorb.
Manteca Unified in a number of instances is already overflowing students from neighborhood schools to other campuses. The district overflows new students when the classes at their grade level are at capacity. That means a new family with a first grader and a fifth grader moving into an attendance area of a school where the first grade is impacted but the fifth grade is not would have the option of splitting the students or sending them to the nearest school that has space at both grade levels.
The district’s Growth Steering Committee at this month’s study session is scheduled to formalize the following recommendations:
uConstruct Ethel Allen Elementary School in the Mossdale Landing neighborhood in Lathrop west of Interstate 5. The school district already owns the land. This would take pressure off of Mossdale School.
uAdd a wing of classrooms at Lincoln School and rework the school’s attendance areas to include areas south of the 120 Bypass.
uSignificantly expand Nile Garden School to accommodate upwards of 1,000 students.
uAdd additional classroom capacity at Manteca High.
Between $22.2 million in development fees as well as $55.4 million in Mello-Roos special taxes and bond sale receipts, the district has $67.6 million available for new construction. The new elementary campus in Lathrop is expected to run between $25 million and $30 million while the other classroom projects could easily consume up to another $10 million leaving less than $30 million for the next wave of construction to accommodate growth.
Nile Garden happens to be among the five schools included in the next phase of Measure G modernization work. The others are French Camp, George McParland, and Neil Hafley schools.
The Measure G budget for non-growth improvements at Nile Garden is estimated at $7.1 million. That money will be spent on major and deferred maintenance, health and safety, and code compliance. That work would be done in such a manner that it would place infrastructure improvements to connect seamlessly with non-Measure G work that would be done to accommodate additional students.
Adding classrooms to existing elementary campuses is a cost effective way of increasing capacity. That’s because they already have big ticket items such as multi-purpose rooms, infrastructure such as water and sewer pipes, playgrounds, parking lots, and other support facilities such as libraries and offices in place. That leaves only the need to build classrooms and perhaps additional restrooms.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email