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Rustic site deal helps schools avoid $20,000 in property taxes
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Manteca Unified entered into a license agreement with the adjacent landowner of the proposed Rustic School site.

In doing so, the district will avoid paying $20,000 in property taxes and other fees, said Superintendent Jason Messer at last Tuesday’s school board meeting.

“This is not a lease but rather a license agreement,” he noted. “The licensee would be reimbursed for capital improvements.”

Included here is the construction of a fence and access gate for the district’s Future Farmers of America students to bring cattle and other livestock for grazing on the 20 acres of landlocked property and possibly housing of the animal.

 Messer did offer a scenario of an FFA student leaving the animal on the property located near Airport Way and East Fig Avenue rather than the school farm, in particular, after the livestock grazes on the land.

“I could see where a student lives nearby and may want to go home from there,” he said.

With students and their livestock projects on the property, the licensee could be required to have liability insurance, said Jacqui Breitenbucher, senior director of business service.

It wasn’t too long ago that the district had plans of constructing Rustic to accommodate future growth in the Nile Garden area. The project was even on the voter-approved Measure M list.

But then the housing market dipped followed by a drop in the student enrollment numbers at MUSD.

Messer doesn’t foresee the district building in the next three years, with the terms of the license agreement not exceeding five years.

Using the land as pasture for the FFA students and their livestock projects, according to the agreement, could “reduce or eliminate costs associated with weed and vegetation control” for the licensor.