By DENNIS WYATT
The City of Manteca and Manteca Unified School District have combined annual budgets in excess of $450 million.
Yet for years there was no formal agreement on how the two agencies shared facilities or how school resource officers were deployed.
That is now changing.
Last week the City Council approved a 31-page agreement formalizing the sharing of facilities — basically on a quid pro basis and making it clear all direct costs in using a facility are paid by the agency using it. It also clears up the issue of who is paying for the school resource officers as well as parameters and expectations of the three SRO. There is a SRO officer assigned all three high school campuses within the city limits — Manteca, Sierra and East Union.
The city will pick up the tab for the three SRO positions. They will basically work on campus from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on days when school is in session.
Previously the school district was being billed for SROs when under Measure M — the half cent sales tax voters approved in 2006 — there was a provision there would be at least two SROs for placement at high schools within the city from the funding that is generated.
The issue came to a head last year when the district questioned why they were being billed $200,000 a year for the SROs. The district refused to pay the $200,000 bill for last fiscal year citing the Measure M language.
City Manager Tim Ogden earlier this year confirmed Measure M — the half cent public safety tax approved by voters to initially hire 15 addition police officers and 15 additional firefighters — contains language that two of the 15 police positions would be school resource officers. The billing of the school district predates Ogden by three city managers.
Memos between those three city managers and Jason Messer, the district superintendent at the time, regarding the SRO positions and shared facilities were never approved by either the school board or the city council. Ogden and Clark Burke, the current superintendent, worked to change that.
“Both agencies value program and services while being good stewards of taxpayer dollars aligned to our respective mandates,” Ogden noted in a memo to the council. “This agreement will ensure our collaborative efforts, now and in future years, in order to keep community needs and resources as priorities for our organizations.”
The city facilities covered by the agreement that the school district can use include the Northgate softball complex, Lincoln/Morenzone ballfields, soccer fields, tennis courts, Woodward Park, Northgate soccer complex, Roberts Estates Park, Union West Park, picnic shelters, Library Park gazebo, all city park locations, senior center, Lincoln Pool, Manteca Golf Course (excluding carts and balls), and the Manteca Transit Center.
The city is permitted a minimum of 20 hours a week of after school use of each of the following community gyms — Golden West, Stella Brockman, Neil Hafley, and Shasta.
The city can also use facilities at all of the district’s campuses including classrooms, cafeterias, multipurpose rooms, practice fields, baseball diamonds, kitchens, parking lots, restrooms, and libraries.
An agency’s use of its own facilities takes precedent over use by the other agency.