LATHROP – Martha Salcedo may be able to teach the Manteca Unified School District a thing or two about the relationship between municipalities and education.
She’ll get her chance soon as the Lathrop Councilwoman and teacher was recently named to the City of Lathrop’s half of a 2x2 committee that will examine the crossover issues that affect both agencies and how they can work together to achieve the best outcome.
Lathrop Mayor Joseph “Chaka” Santos – who will round out Lathrop’s two-person’s contingent – initially approached Manteca Unified Superintendent Jason Messer about the revival of the committee to bolster the relationship and help both gain an understanding about the workings and the goals of the current leadership.
There haven’t been formal talks between the two sides since 2008 – the year that Lathrop High School opened – and turnover inside of the administrative ranks at City Hall since then has made it difficult for anything long term to be formalized.
But not everything between the district, the city and the developer that initially sold the land that the high school was located on went according to plan.
Just months before Manteca Unified was getting ready to open Lathrop High, a subcontractor that was hired to do the work on the sewer lift station that serviced the area that included the school site informed the Board of Education during a meeting that work had stopped because the developer – Richland Planned Communities – had racked up over $1 million in back bills to his company.
The school opened as planned, but the sewer had to be pumped and trucked out to the Manteca Wastewater Treatment Plant at the tune of $1,000 a week.
While Salcedo’s job as a teacher initially raised a red flag among some in the council chambers, City Attorney Salvador Navarrete said that since only two council members don’t establish a quorum, there’s no way she could do anything that could affect her financially. He said that he could make himself available for consultation if anything were to come up.
Initially Santos asked for Vice Mayor Christopher Mateo to be the second appointee, but Mateo – who already serves on the San Joaquin Council of Governments Board of Directors – suggested that Salcedo, with her working knowledge of the district, might make a valuable asset during discussions.
“I think that she’d be much more of a help than a detriment,” Salcedo said during the brief discussion at the end of last Monday’s City Council meeting.
The council did not announce when the meetings would begin or how the information obtained would be disseminated once they did.