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City concedes it should have paid for 2 SROs from sales tax

The City of Manteca will not be expecting payment of $200,000 this fiscal year ending June 30 for two of the three school resource officers assigned to the Manteca, East Union, and Sierra high campuses.

It does expect $100,000 for one of the three positions plus the cost of a school security officer that was assigned to elementary schools.

City Manager Tim Ogden confirms wording in Measure M — the half cent public safety tax approved by voters in 2015 to initially hire 15 addition police officers and 15 additional firefighters — contains language that two of the 15 police positions would be school resource officer.

Ogden noted that going forward the district will not be asked to pay for two of the three SRO positions.

The billing of the school district predates Ogden by three city managers.

After 12 police officers were laid-off nine years ago when the bargaining unit that represents sworn officers opted not to take a 20 percent cut in current pay and negotiated wages that other city employee units did to save jobs, Manteca Unified stepped up and offered to help pay for the SROs so they would not lose them.

There is a series of memos dating back to 2013 between the city and school district addressing three items: the SROs, a separate contract for joint-use facilities (the four community gyms at elementary campuses), and the quid pro quo agreement regarding the use of specific school facilities by the city and vice versa that would occur without money exchanging hands between the two government agencies.

In a May 2, 2013 memo from then MUSD Superintendent Jason Messer to then City Manager Karen McLaughlin, Messer recapped the meeting the two had. It pointed out the three SROs cost $550,000 and that for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 fiscal years the City of Manteca would contribute $440,000 to the cost and the City of Manteca $110,000.

In a May 19, 2014 memo from Messer to McLaughlin summarizing what they discussed on April 14 regarding the agreement between the two entities, it was noted the SRO program now cost $660,000. And for the 2014-2015 fiscal year the City of Manteca would contribute $528,000 and the City of Manteca $132,000. Messer noted “this represents the same 20% that MUSD was contributing under the previous total of $550,000.”

In a June 8, 2015 memo from Messer to McLaughlin regarding what they discussed previously that day, the contents of the 2014 memo regarding the agreement was repeated.

Four months later on Oct. 7, 2015 another memo regarding the agreement was sent from Messer to McLaughlin containing signature lines for the first time for both the city manager and district superintendent. The memo reaffirmed that of the June 8, 2015 memo in regards to the SRO funding.

On June 16, 2017 Messer sent a memo regarding the SROs to interim City Manager Greg Showerman stating the school district will start paying $200,000 for the SRO program.

The next memo on May 21, 2018 was from Messer to Ogden. It states “beginning in 2018-2019 fiscal year, Manteca USD will contribute up to $300,000 toward the SRO program. Ogden said that agreement was executed with his signature and sent to Chelo DeLeon in the superintendent’s office on May 24, 2018.

A subsequent memo on Sept. 5, 2018 from current MUSD Superintendent Clark Burke to Ogden containing the same language as the May 12 memo that reflected a $100,000 increase in the school’s contribution was not executed.

At that point Burke raised questions about the quid pro quo portion of the memo after a check showed the city had been billing high school teams for the use of the golf course for practice and matches for at least six years when the city agreed not to do so.

Ogden, who indicated he was concerned a formal contract had never been in place for the SRO positions, prepared an agreement that used one employed by the City of Brentwood as a template.

The agreement — that spelled out everything from duty hours, SRO duties, the chain of command and even when students would be transported in police department vehicles — was emailed from Ogden to Burke’s office on Feb. 21, 2019. It references Exhibit “A” the delineates a lower charge for the SROs that the district would pay of $50,000 per officer as opposed to $100,000 per officer — for an overall MUSD cost of $150,000 compared to $300,000 the district paid in a previous year.

Several months ago as district staff was reviewing archived articles from the Bulletin regarding the 2006 tax measure, they saw the reference to the ballot measure language the voters approved regarding the two school resource officers. It was verified by a check of the formal language the voters executed by more than a two thirds majority that put the half cent sales tax in place.

Not only has payment not been made by MUSD for the current fiscal year that ends June 30 (Friday was the last days SROs were on campus for the 2018-2019 school year), but there is no agreement in place for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The City Council, when they were first made aware of the non-payment by the district for the current year during a budget workshop in May, made it clear they wanted the SRO program retained. The city is proposing fully funding the three position in the proposed municipal budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 while the cost sharing issues are worked out.

Several school board members have questioned whether the school district should be reimbursed for years that MUSD paid toward two of the SRO positions that city voters in 2006 approved ballot measure language that had 100 percent of the cost of those two SRO officers paid for from the half cent sales tax receipts.

Also based on Exhibit “A” as proposed by the city, the school district going forward would be paying only $50,000 which would go toward covering the cost of the third SRO officer.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email