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Manteca schools made long range hiring calls in depth of pandemic
Golden West School fifth grader Isaac Sagredo, center, reacts after returning to his seat after spelling a word correctly during Thursdays Manteca Unified School District spelling bee. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

When school starts Wednesday Manteca Unified — even with the possibility of a larger surge than normal in enrollment due to those that may have held their child out of kindergarten last year due to the pandemic — isn’t likely to experience a teacher shortage.

It’s because Manteca Unified last school year used part of its COVID funding to hire two extra teachers at every elementary site as well as additional kindergarten instructors.

The move was made for two reasons. It gave the school backup instructors given the good chance teachers could be sidelined due to either getting COVID or being part of a virus related quarantine. It also gave Manteca Unified a leg up on hiring for potential openings through growth or attrition for the upcoming school year  ahead of when other districts normally conduct such hiring.

While the COVID funds are one-time money, consistent district growth coupled with retirements and attritions teachers moving out of the area makes it highly likely any “excess” teaching capacity will be quickly absorbed to avoid creating an ongoing recurring cost the district couldn’t handle.

Superintendent Clark Burke noted the district may still have a few teacher vacancies if growth surges more than expected.

The issue of qualified teachers being needed at the high school level was less of an issue as they could call on teachers during prep periods to fill a vacancy in a pinch if a colleague was suddenly quarantined due to COVID-19 protocols.

That was on top of a decision to extend year-long contracts to 40 long-term substitutes and paying them roughly $100 more beyond the daily going rate of $150.

It eliminated much of the need to scramble for substitutes who ended up being in huge demand across California as the need outstripped the number of available substitute teachers. It assured substitutes would be available to minimize disruptions in instruction.

 The district in the past has never issued long-term contracts for substitutes unless there is a specific position where the teacher will be out for an extended period of time.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email