The letter from Superintendent Jason Messer to Stockton Kids Club Board Member Sharon Simas was straightforward and devoid of very many details.
But as of last week, the Manteca Unified School District is no longer contracting with the embattled Stockton organization to provide afterschool services for students in Weston Ranch.
With the approval of the board, Messer was formally able to terminate the memorandum of understanding between the district and the organization that was formed after the Boys and Girls Club of America revoked the charter of the Stockton Boys and Girls Club nearly two months before it was set to expire.
When asked about the reason behind why Manteca Unified terminated the contract early, the district responded by saying that “it was not in the best interest of the students of MUSD to continue with the contract.”
The Stockton organization – which was championed by embattled politicians Sam Fant while he was on the Manteca Unified School Board – has been in the crossfire for over a month since the facility was raided and its former executive director, former Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva, was arrested on charges of embezzling what could end up being millions from the coffers that was earmarked to provide programs and services for disadvantaged youth.
Silva, who maintains his innocence, once again appeared in the news this week when his legal team requested that his ankle bracelet be removed so that he could go back to work at the Stockton Kids Club as a lifeguard – despite the fact that it’s the very organization he was accused of diverting funds from for personal use.
The decision means that students that have been taking advantage of the afterschool program – which provided supervised programming from the time Weston Ranch High School was dismissed for the day until 6 p.m. – will no longer be available.
Per the contract of the MOU, the Stockton Kids Club was also able to recruit students by visiting classrooms and speaking at both assemblies and staff meetings in order to drum up support for the afterschool program.
The Stockton Kids Club was also awarded a separate contract to operate the pool at Weston Ranch High School during the summer months so that the community would be able to enjoy the use of the facility. That item was always a hotly contested one – championed by Fant, who represented Weston Ranch, and opposed by current Nancy Teicheira because it wasn’t something offered at all high school sites.
According to the letter that Messer sent to Simas, the MOU was revoked on April 3 – 30 days after he contacted the organization to inform them of the district’s decision – and that during the period between notification and dissolution the district would “work with Stockton Kids Club to make a smooth transition to the program.”
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