The need for Manteca Unified to deal with the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will mean 100 vacant positions will not be filled in the school year starting Aug. 6.
It is one of several ways the district is working to deal with the need to absorb what is expected to be a 7.92 percent decrease or a $28.1 million loss in basic state funding triggered by a $54 billion multi-year deficit created by measures to flatten the spread of COVID-19.
The school board meets tonight at 6 p.m. to consider adopting a $256.4 million spending plan for the upcoming school year. The board is meeting at the district office, 2271 W. Louise Ave.
The budget takes into account the need to implement “an education delivery model” that includes distance learning along with reduced class sizes for on-site instruction. The need to change how school is conducted is a direct result of social distancing mandates needed in order to physically reopen schools Aug. 6.
The hybrid model will require less staffing to instruct students.
Details of what school will look like next year in terms of staggered sessions and when students will be on campuses are still being pieced together. The new model will require the need to re-evaluate nutritional services and student transportation.
The budget as presented includes eliminating 55 full-time equivalent (FTE) certificated positions (teachers and administrators) as well as 45.88 FTE classified positions that run the gamut from bus drivers to clerical staff. All of those positions are now vacant. When the pandemic hit in March closing schools, the district suspended its efforts to hire replacement workers.
There are another 65 certificated staff positons that will need to be eliminated in the 2021-2022 school year as the impact of state revenue shortfall will roll through at least two to three budget cycles. Those positons are anticipated to be eliminated through attrition.
That means by the time August 2022 rolls around just under a 10th of the district’s 1,172 certificated positions will have been eliminated. Meanwhile, the average daily attendance or enrollment is expected to increase by 258 to being the total number of students to 24,033.
The proposed hybrid distancing model also reduces substitute teacher and extra pay costs by $1.5 million.
The staffing reductions will save $1.9 million in benefits in addition to $7.1 million in salaries.
The district will also have to manage a decision by the state to defer payments that schools are due so the state can balance its own budget. That means Manteca Unified — just like other districts — will need to tap into reserves and possibly borrow money against funds they manage that can only be used for specific purposes. That money would be backfilled if and when the state makes good on their promise to repay it.
There have been past deferrals of funds made by the state where the amount schools finally receive is not 100 percent of what they were supposed to get from the state while being required to keep spending for the delivery of specific education services.
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