A survey shows a majority of Manteca Unified voters may be willing to support a $250 million bond aimed at classroom repairs, student safety, and academic excellence that would cost the owner of a home with an assessed value of $300,000 an additional $180 a year in taxes.
Interviews with 420 Manteca Unified residents — including 333 who were identified as likely voters in the March 2020 election — show a $250 million bond measure has a likely support of 68 percent. That two-thirds support increased to 78 percent after “positive messaging” with specifics on what the bond would deliver.
The survey is part of the due diligence Manteca Unified is doing to decide whether to go for the bond issue to partially tackle $625 million in safety needs and instructional space for existing students. The district has available $24.6 million in developer fees collected on a per square footage basis of all new construction and $29.9 million in Community Facilities Districts on hand. The CFD funds are restricted to schools within the geographic areas they are collected. Together the two sources of facility funding represent $54.5 million, leaving a $570 million shortfall.
The $250 million — that reflects a 60 cent charge per $100 of assessed value to generate $14.6 million annually — would address the most pressing needs.
Key findings from the survey show:
uVoters prefer that schools with the greatest need come first when making decisions on how bond funds are used.
uThe voters’ sense of the district’s need for funding and general perceptions of the district is in line with support for a measure re similar to what it was in 2014 when the $159 million Measure G bond was approved.
uA Manteca Unified bond measure “appears feasible for March 2020 with strong communications and a robust community led campaign.”
The top spending categories for a bond include updated classroom environments supporting quality teacher retention, technology upgrades, addressing growth, making basic repairs, safe drinking water, career and technology education, as well as safety.
Back in 2014, the board moved forward with the Measure G bond while realizing $130.1 million in needed health and safety work would not be tackled. Since then construction inflation has been averaging close to 8 percent a year. Not only has that swelled the cost to perform the unfunded work to $158.3 million but it also has eaten into work that is being done meaning less work than anticipated will be accomplished when Measure M funds are spent hence the $199 million still needed for safety work.
The first round of Measure M projects costing $56 million involved Lincoln, Lathrop Elementary, Sequoia, Shasta, and Golden West elementary schools. The current phase under way is addressing Nile Garden and Neil Hafley elementary schools as well as the Manteca, East Union, and Sierra high school campuses. Design of the third phase and what schools will address using what Measure M money remains will start next year.
The district will be mailing postcards to Manteca Unified residents in the coming weeks thanking them for their support with Measure G and showcasing how the money has been spent so far on the first phase. Those in the attendance boundaries on the five schools first tackled with Measure G bond proceeds will receive postcards tailored to Lincoln, Lathrop, and Sequoia, Golden West, and Shastra elementary schools. Other areas will receive more of a general postcard.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org