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Transfers take pressure off Manteca High
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If it wasn’t for transfers out of the Manteca High attendance area to other high schools in the district the campus would have 455 more students.
It would also be 223 students over capacity.
Manteca High would have 1,843 students instead of its current enrolment of 1,470 on a campus with a design capacity of 1,703 students. East Union today has the highest enrollment in the district at 1,535 while Manteca is second at 1,470, a difference of 65 students. But if there were no intra-district transfers, Manteca’s enrollment would balloon to 1,853 students and East Union would drop to 1,356 students, a difference of 497 students in the other direction.
As Manteca Unified adds a projected 1,327 students over the next five school years to take its overall enrollment past the 27,000 mark, the dynamics of intra district transfers will take on greater importance for the school board in making decisions on where to spend limited school construction funds.
Transfers out of attendance areas and how Manteca Unified manages them is one of the pieces on the chess board to deal with pending or existing residential projects that — if they all are built — have the potential to balloon enrollment to 50,000 students based on the current yield of the planned housing types in Manteca and Lathrop.
By 2021 high school-aged students in the Manteca High attendance area are expected to swell to 1,817, Sierra High to 1,456, East Union to 1,339, Lathrop to 1,238, and Weston Ranch to 1,132.
While the Manteca High attendance areas will be the hardest hit in raw numbers its 74.7 percent gain is dwarfed by the 271.6 percent gain expected over the next five years in the Sierra High attendance area.
That has major implications as it would push Sierra past capacity once transfer students are factored in. After five years ongoing growth would force the district to abandon transfers into Sierra High from other attendance districts or else adjust attendance boundaries.
Currently Sierra accepts 281 students from outside their attendance area, East Union 274, Manteca 82, Lathrop 65, and Weston Ranch 10.
Most intra-district transfers originate from the Manteca High attendance area with 455 followed by East Union at 95, Sierra at 81, Lathrop at 50, and Weston Ranch at 31.
Of the 455 transfers out of the Manteca high attendance area, 221 go to Sierra, 214 to East Union, 17 to Lathrop, and three to Weston Ranch.
Given that a new high school campus on Tinnin Road in south Manteca would cost $140 million to build and the district has only $20 million in growth fees on hand along with a Mello-Roos bonding capacity of $25 million, that isn’t likely to move forward for perhaps decades due to more pressing elementary housing needs.
The 1,327 student growth expected over the next five years is split between 950 elementary students and 377 high school students. Manteca Unified elementary schools are built to accommodate 1,000 students. The district essentially needs one elementary school that will cost at least $25 million to build by 2025.
That leaves two options for highs school students as the district grows in the next five to 15 years — adding classroom wings to Sierra High and reconfigurating Manteca into  larger campus by building up to support a enrollment pushing 2,400.
The projected growth rate for the next five years is 5.6 percent which is on the conservative side based on building activity.
Superintendent Jason Messer said taking a conservative growth projection was done to assure the district doesn’t overcommit to various alternatives to deal with growth across all grade levels throughout the district.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email