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Voters decide Tuesday on tax for school work
Lincoln school junior high students make their way into math teacher Mrs. Keatings class on Thursday. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Manteca Unified voters Tuesday will decide whether to pass Measure R that would increase what a homeowner pays each year for school bond debt by 86.7 percent.

Structural and maintenance needs to meet basis safety and operational standards such as electrical wiring for tech heavy 21st century classrooms as well as making sure the taxpayers’ investment in school facilities is protected is an issue at all 32 Manteca Unified school sites. Overall the current need to upgrade classrooms and support facilities such as gyms, locker rooms, libraries, cafeterias, and restrooms comes in at $427 million. 

It is why on March 3 voters are being asked to approve the $260 million.

 The bond requires 55 percent of votes cast to be in the affirmative to be approved. It will impose a tax of $60 per $100,000 of assessed value. That means if your home has an assessed value under Proposition 13 of $240,000, you would pay an additional $144 a year in taxes.

The home assessed at $240,000 is already paying $166.70 a year to pay down two previously approved school bonds — $63.26 for the $66 million Measure G passed in 2004 and $103.34 for the $159 million Measure G bond passed in 2014.

If passed Manteca Unified bond repayments would push the overall property tax bill to $2,536 on that $240,000 home assuming it is not part of either a Mello Roos District or a landscape maintenance district.

Almost one out of every three of the 1,400 classrooms in the Manteca Unified School District are portables.

Some — such as the portable classrooms that constitute the entire Neil Hafley School campus — are closing in on their 40th year of being used. Only a handful of portables classrooms are less than 20 years old.

The significance of those numbers are amplified given portable classrooms have a rated life expectancy of 20 years.

The $260 million bond measure on the March 3 ballot that emphasizes the three “R”s — repair, renovate, and revitalize — aims to make sure at least another 20 years of use can be squeezed out of as many portable as possible.

Passage of Measure R would provide the district to address the most pressing maintenance needs among the portables along with permanent structures, grounds, and “invisible” infrastructure such as water pipes and electrical wiring.

The fact the portables don’t need to be replaced is a testimony to the district’s maintenance crews and the fact Manteca Unified has been able to commit 50 percent more annually to maintenance than typical public school systems in California.

That 50 percent comes to 3 percent of the district’s general fund as opposed to the state minimum maintenance set aside requirement of 2 percent. After 85 percent of the set aside money covers the wages and benefits of the staff needed to do ongoing maintenance that leaves between $1.2 million and $1.8 million a year for materials and replacement equipment as well as to hire firms for work the district is not equipped to do.

One such endeavor that the district lacked the equipment to address was an aging waterline that broke recently. It cost the district $20,000 to contract the work out.

Even though many issues at Shasta School were addressed with part of the proceeds of the $159 million Measure G bonds voters approved in November of 2014, there was $8.4 million in additional work that the district was unable to fund. The Measure G funds were earmarked for a number of schools with the areas that were the most pressing being addressed first.

Measure M passed in 2004 primarily was used for new school construction including Lathrop High.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email