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Manteca Unified enrollment hits 23,800
Students cross the quad between classes at Lathrop High.

Manteca Unified has essentially doubled student enrollment during the past 30 years.

Enrollment after two weeks on school reached 23,800 students — up 200 plus from the same point in the previous year.

“It is right where we projected it,” Manteca Unified Superintendent Clark Burke said of the enrollment.

But what is different this year is the number of new students showing up to enroll for school for the first time at a Manteca Unified campus is still going strong.

Last week districtwide there were 7 to 8 new students enrolling on any given day.

“That is unusual,” Burke.

Typically the peak enrollment for a school year in Manteca Unified is reached several months after the first day of classes.

The 23,800 enrollment is a record high for Manteca Unified that serves Manteca, surrounding rural areas, Lathrop, French Camp, and the Weston Ranch community in Southwest Stockton.

Given it fits into the district’s projection they use to determine staffing, they were able to fill new positions in advance of the first day of classes.

The 23,800 enrollment is almost twice that of opening day in 1989 when the district enrollment hit 12,333 students. That translates into an average growth of roughly 4,000 students a decade.

While growth may seem high this year, compared to 1989 it isn’t. That’s because on opening day 30 years ago there were 686 more students than a year prior.

The year 1989 was also when Brock Elliott School opened with 477 kindergarten through seventh grade students.

Since then the district has built three comprehensive high schools — Sierra, Lathrop, and Weston Ranch — as well as a New Vision, the second MUSD continuation high school.

They’ve also opened 8 more elementary schools — Joshua Cowell, Veritas, and Walter Woodward in Manteca; Joseph Widmer and Mossdale in Lathrop; and August Knodt, Great Valley, and George Komure in Weston Ranch.

Despite significant growth in the past decade, Manteca Unified has not built any new schools although they did open a new campus — High Academy.

The district is facing significant growth pressure with upwards of 800 homes a year being built in Manteca and the part of Lathrop that is within the school district.

The district has embarked on a program of adding capacity to high schools and select elementary schools in a bid to avoid costly new campuses that can run as high as $160 million for a high school and $30 million for an elementary school.

Part of their effort to increase capacity at elementary schools has been to repurpose space at schools being modernized thanks to the last bond measure voters approved. They also plan to free up larger classroom space by constructing resource program buildings at select elementary campuses. Resource programs typically need less space that can also be used for other programs. The structures cost less than adding a cluster of six or eight classrooms to a campus.

Even so the district is facing critical shortfalls in simply being able to fund enlarging existing campuses to handle growth. It is why they are making a big push to encourage developers to include their new subdivisions in community facilities districts that help pay for new classroom space.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email