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Sharing of city, school facilities in Manteca under scrutiny
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Managing editor of the
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
Kids’ play is coming under scrutiny in the age of dwindling budgets.

The question of whether the sharing of facilities between the Manteca Unified School District and the City of Manteca primarily for youth activities is done in a fair and equitable manner is the subject of a “2x2” meeting featuring two representatives from each elected body. That meeting will take place Tuesday, Jan., 11, at 4 p.m. in the Manteca Unified School District board room, 2271 West Louise Ave.

The issue surfaced during the debate over the City of Manteca Kids Zone after school program as well as its sister morning program operated at a number of Manteca Unified campuses.

Private day care providers questioned the fairness of the city being allowed to “compete” with them with a program that they said was subsidized in part by free rent from the school district. Critics contend the rent should at the very least reflect all school district costs or reflect market value for renting such space. Several critics of the school district also questioned the wisdom of indirectly subsidizing child care for a couple hundred kids while they are cutting back classroom instruction expenditures due to a tight budget.

However, the Manteca Parks and Recreation Kids Zone is only part of the overall picture.

While the first agenda item Tuesday focuses on City of Manteca Kids Zone use of school district facilities, the second item addresses the City of Manteca and Manteca Unified shared use of facilities.

The city currently allows the use of Manteca Tennis Center courts as well as the Northgate Park softball fields by district school teams without charge.

In addition, the city subsidizes free play for the Sierra, Manteca, and East Union boys and girls prep golf teams at the Manteca Golf Course. It is collapsed into part of the $150,000 general fund subsidy the city commits to the golf course account for reduced senior citizen green fees for golf rounds, reduced youth rounds, and free high school team play.

The two agencies have a formalized agreement for shared use of several community gyms including Golden West, Stella Brockmam and Shasta that was required for the securing of state construction funds for the faculties.

There hasn’t been a formalized agreement, though, for the shared use of other facilities.

The elected leaders may discuss a wide variety of things related to the topic including whether each entity should shoulder charges for actual costs to whether the current arrangement should be continued.