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Needs City of Manteca to invoice time of three school resource officers; quid pro quo deal being scrutinized
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Bulletin file photo Participants in a city operated Kids Zone summer camp at Neil Hafley School.

The lack of an invoice from the City of Manteca for work performed by three school resource officers at Manteca Unified School District high school campuses has prompted both agencies to revisit a quid pro quo agreement in place for more than a decade.

The issue surfaced publically for the first time Tuesday when City Manager Tim Ogden during a City Council discussion of the proposed 2019-2020 fiscal year budget that goes into effect for the current year that indicated Manteca Unified has yet to pay $300,000 for the services of the three officers assigned to the Manteca, Sierra, and East Union high school campuses.

The proposed city budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes city funding for the three officers.

The quid pro agreement —  essentially each party obtains something from the other of roughly equal value at no charge — originally involved the city providing school resource officers and school district access to city facilities for sport programs and the city access to school facilities for recreation programs with no money exchanging hands.

It was decided originally at a two-by-two meeting — so named because it consisted of two council members and two school board trustee sitting down to discuss mutual issues and concerns — to use the quid pro quo approach. That was after MUSD Business Manager Michael Dodge and his city counterpart at the time determined the taxpayer-financed service each agency was providing the other was roughly the same in value. It was decided to avoid time consuming and costly bookkeeper to avoid exchanging invoices.

During the recession when the city’s finances were hammered harder than the city’s, a request was made to have the district pay an amount of around $200,000 to keep the school resource officers in place.

After Clark Burke took over as superintendent last year he questioned why there wasn’t an invoice for the school resource officers from the city that is required under government accounting practices to issue payments. 

As far back as June 2018 the district asked the city for an invoice so they could legally pay the $300,000. Meanwhile they also looked at the quid pro quo agreement. Because all requests made to use school facilities are logged into a software system with fees attached, the district by conducting a computer search of City of Manteca booking of everything from swimming pools, playing fields, classrooms for after school programs and summer caps, and even gyms that are not tied to a separate community gym use agreement between the two agencies they partnered to secure state funding for Golden West, Stella Brockman, and Shasta schools showed the cost to the school district of the city using their facilities annually is in excess of $400,000.

The district’s use fees — like those of the city — cover staff time to open and secure facilities, direct maintenance expenses, and related costs such as electricity.

The city pays the school district $15,000 annually toward electricity and custodial time tied to the community gyms.

City trying to determine

value of school use of

municipal facilities

The city is trying to determine the cost to them of the school using city facilities such as the golf course for the high school golf team matches, practices, and use of the driving range; the Northgate Softball Complex; Lincoln Pool when the Manteca High pool isn’t available; soccer fields; the senior center; and when city parks are used as gathering points for the free lunch program.

While such use of the city parks for 15 to 20 minutes at a time weekdays for free lunches in the summer doesn’t involve securing picnic areas and such as the district sets up tables to distribute lunches, the city notes they incur labor costs as all youth involved don’t place all of their garbage in cans.

With available figures, the district contends their end of the bargain is costing $400,000. The city has yet to give an accounting of what it is costing them to basically “wave” the fees charged to youth sports organizations and others would pay to book the use of fields and facilities.

Given the city has been charging the district for the school resource officers based on the district’s figure of $400,000 the city would have to show the district is using around $400,000 worth of city facilities for it to be quid pro quo.

Manteca Unified seeks

billing showing school

resource officer time

 As an additional wrinkle, the district is asking for the hourly billing excluding the overtime the district pays separately when officers are hired to staff football and basketball games.

The school resource officers work four days of 10 hour shifts at the campuses when school is in session. That is generally 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. If they took an hour for lunch during the course of a week they spend 32 hours on campus. When school is out they are not working at the campuses but are assigned elsewhere by the department including to city sponsored youth police academies take place at the school’s district’s campus at the Manteca Unified headquarters complex.

Based on three officers at $100,000 apiece and an entry level officer costing roughly $150,000 to put om the street the district is trying to get documentation from the city that $300,000 is an accurate charge. As a caveat adding to the issues, officers with longer years of service are paid more per hour.

The school district is also trying to justify the expenditure of tax dollars while realizing that taxpayers within the city limits supporting the two agencies are one in the same.

Under the original quid pro quo agreement if the time school resource officers spend on the campuses can be backed up as costing $300,000, if the school district was not paying for the three officers the city would have to demonstrate they are providing $100,000 worth of facilities to the district to be equitable.

As it stands now, the Manteca Unified — using the school district numbers — spent $700,000 in 2017 of school district tax dollars between the school resource officers and facility use as their part of the quid pro quo agreement. 

“We want to be good partners but we are required to be good stewards of the community trust,” Burke noted in a statement.

“As responsible agents of tax payer dollars we are continuously evaluating past practices and contractual obligations. In June of 2018, we reached out to City management of Manteca and requested to review the existing quid pro quo agreement based on several factors inclusive of insurance indemnification, cost sharing, and to re-establish our long-standing commitment to one another as public agencies for the 2018-2019 school year.

“Since June of 2018, we have reached out repeatedly and met in person on four different occasions with city management seeking resolution and equity for both parties. The original quid pro quo agreement indicated many revisions by both agencies. Unfortunately, we have been unable to obtain clear direction from the City as to their position on a final draft. 

“We need to ensure our obligations are met within the constraints of the law and to that end a quid pro quo agreement should specify no exchange of funds between our two public entities as we serve the same community. 

“If funds are to be exchanged, we must require supporting documents from the city with accompanying published rates to justify those costs which are asked of us. 

“We continue to encourage city programming in our schools and in our community. We continue to support the Manteca Police Department and their efforts to support our students and the families of Manteca.”

Both sides have made it clear they view the school resource offices as an invaluable program and want to make sure it stays in place They city has demonstrated that by budgeting the three positions for the fiscal year starting July 1 without showing any revenue from the school district.

Both view the other as invaluable partners in providing programs to youth and the general community.

Manteca Unified, as an example, said having City of Manteca after school, before school and summer camps on elementary campuses has been a godsend for parents and their children.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email