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Board asks voters to OK $260M bond

The Manteca Unified school board gave the go-ahead Tuesday on placing a $260 million bond measure on the March 3 ballot.

Trustees were unanimous in adopting the resolution which, if approved, would address a variety of long-maintenance issues, from aging roofs and electrical systems, to modernizing classrooms for the 21st century academic endeavors.

“We’re putting this up to the voters,” said board President Stephen Schluer. “They’ll be the ones who will ultimately make the decision.”

The bond measure will require 55 percent approval at the ballot box by those residing in the MUSD communities of Stockton, Lathrop, French Camp and Manteca. It would levy a $60 tax on every $100 of assessed property valuation.

Many of the school sites that accommodates the over 24,000 students in the district are over 50 years old — MUSD recently conducted an extensive facilities condition assessment, identifying critical repairs and updates needed at aging local schools.

If approved, the bond measure would provide funding for:

uImproved student safety and campus security by upgrading fire alarms, surveillance and communication systems, fences, doors and windows.

uUpgrade aging classroom to meet modern academic and technology standards while improving the educational environment.

uContinue repairing and replacing inefficient electrical, heating, ventilation systems, asphalt, and upgrade the plumbing to provide safe and reliable drinking water.

uImprove access to classrooms and school facilities for students and staff with disabilities.

uBuild classrooms and facilities to accommodate growth in student enrollment.

Trustee Karen Pearsall believes that the bond measure should focus primarily on the school sites, with any work or repairs to the district office coming from other funding sources. Projects should also be prioritized, if the bond passes, she noted.

Al Moncada, who is a former member of the Measure G Citizens Oversight Committee — he served briefly as a parent of MUSD students — spoke out against the upcoming bond election, noting his concerns on the previous school bonds, Measure G and Measure M, as a homeowner, and lack of communication on this matter by the district.

MUSD held several public workshops in recent months.

Next up will be use of a consulting firm for the bond measure on the ballot.

Pearsall would like for this group to “advocate with integrity” in presenting this school bond before the public.

Added Schluer: “We feel there is a need — we’re putting it to our communities to decide with their  vote.”