By DENNIS WYATT
The Manteca Unified School District board is conducting a study session Wednesday that could serve as a precursor for a November 2020 bond issue.
The board meets Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the RESC Building on the MUSD campus, 2271 W. Louise Ave.
The study session will focus on an updated needs assessment and identify the funding gap.
The school district as of June 2018 had $143 million left in bonding capacity. Construction inflation is expected to erode the buying power of the bonding capacity by 16 percent by the time 2020 rolls around.
After addressing pressing issues at five elementary schools, there is $103 million left in Measure G bonds that voters approved five years ago. The balance has been earmarked for projects currently going forward such as the work now underway at Manteca High. That money will not fund all of the projects originally intended due to inflation stoked by a Bay Area-Northern San Joaquin Valley building boom.
Manteca High — the linchpin in the school board’s plan to avoid building a new high school that would cost $150 million to build in today’s dollars to handle growth in the next 10 to 20 years — will likely swallow all $15 million in Measure G bond money set aside for the campus for health and safety addressing everything from asbestos, gas line issues, electrical wiring, and a multitude of issues underground and behind walls.
That leaves $25 million in non-Measure G bond receipts — $21 million in growth fees and $4 million in one-time redevelopment agency funds — to go toward positioning the 99-year-old campus to go from a design capacity of 1,703 students to 2,200 students to serve new growth.
It will require about $10 million to build a new gym large enough to accommodate an entire student body of 2,200. The current gym’s limited size means school assemblies for the current enrollment of 1,600 students has to be done in multiple waves.
The balance of the 2014 Measure G bond that isn’t budgeted for Manteca High is going for work at Sierra and East Union high schools as well as elementary schools such as Nile Garden and New Haven among others.
Complicating the picture is the State of California. Manteca Unified — just like other districts such as Ripon Unified — are counting on the state bond matching funds to leverage additional work. But as of this month, the state — which has approved the first five Measure G projects to be placed on the list for consideration for funding — has not moved closer to awarding a dime of the $3.3 billion available in matching state bond funds for school modernization projects throughout the state although they have announced they are no longer considering projects to add to the list. The district would use partial reimbursement for projects they submitted to help fund other modernization work.
But even if they do receive reimbursement from the state, MUSD still won’t have enough money to cover all of the necessary work through the district.
The facilities need assessment will include an update on the capital needs list compiled prior to the Measure G bond measure to secure a kore accurate idea of the cost of needed improvements. Pressing work at that time the last assessment was conducted was pegged at $600 million. Construction inflation is expected to push that figure upward.