Drive down a new Manteca subdivision and most people see single family homes.
Manteca Unified Deputy Superintendent Roger Goatcher knows all too well that the term “single family” can be misleading especially when you are trying to project student enrollment.
In the run up to the peak of the housing market in 2006 when the average new home was selling for $440,000 in Manteca, Goatcher was principal at Woodward School.
District administrators saw Woodward’s enrollment swell 100-plus students beyond what it should have been at — between 800 and 850 students — based on average student yields for families buying new homes.
“There were a lot of homes in the Woodward area where two families were (living in them) due to the cost,” Goatcher said.
Home prices are starting to surge again thanks to Bay Area pressures created by a hot job market and scarce housing. The National Association of Realtors earlier this week reported San Jose became the nation’s first market ever where the typical home being sold closes escrow for more than $1 million. The median price of a home in San Jose is now at $1.85 million. San Francesco is the second prices at $885,000. Both markets are within 70 miles of Manteca that is part of the Northern San Joaquin Valley that is now the de facto affordable housing solution for the Bay Area.
A similar trend pf more than one family — as defined as two couples with each having children — living in a new home was noted before the housing collapse in the mega-McMansions pushing 4,800 square feet built in neighborhoods near Joshua Cowell School in East Manteca as well as several Mossdale Landing neighborhoods in Lathrop.
Neighbors of such homes in East Manteca appeared at several council meetings 12 years ago complaining that single family homes were essentially being used as multiple family residents. Several models were even built with separate living quarters with a quasi-living room and small kitchen area on the second floors. They were told that federal law prevents the city from interceding to enforce the assumption that a single family home can legally be occupied only be a single family.
While there are rules on boarding houses and such being operated in residential neighborhoods, cities are limited to what they can do regarding the people who end up living in a house.
Mortgage brokers at the time even reported two families going either to buy homes. Typically though, what would happen is one family would buy a home and another would move in.
Regardless of the dynamics behind the trend, if it starts going traction again it could pose significant issues for Manteca Unified sand indirectly the City of Manteca.
The City of Manteca has 9,779 proposed homes in various stages of the planning process that the district — using traditional student yield formulas for new homes will ultimately require at least $340 million in new school construction to accommodate the 6,851 students.
That translates into 2,170 high school students or enough to fill the current capacity of Sierra High and a quarter of Manteca High.
Based on Manteca Unified student yield rates for housing the homes at buildout would generate 4,681 elementary students or enough to fill Woodward School or Veritas School 6.2 times.
But if a significant number of homes have more than one family with young children it could through those numbers out of whack and make the projections inadequate to meet the actual need.
Big surge this year in
Adding more pressure is the fact that the start of this school year Manteca Unified is experiencing its biggest growth at the kindergarten level. In the past it has been as higher levels as new families moving into the district tended to have older children. As a results growth surges were usually at higher grade levels.
“What that means with kindergarten students is we will have a larger number going through the (school district) for the next 12 years as well” Goatcher said.
Enrollment as of Wednesday was 23,906 up from 24,500 last year. If enrollment in county pre-school and other programs operated at district facilities is included the number increases to 24,037. Enrollment is expect to grow in the coming weeks as people return from vacations and new homes are sold and occupied.
School leaders have noted if school construction financing isn’t addressed now by getting the city school district, and developers together to devise and implement a solution it will have major consequences on everything from the ability of the city to keep growing to cover its costs, developers to keep building to sell homes, and Manteca schools being able to house students without resorting to year round school or drastic measures such as double sessions.
Based on Manteca’s existing schools, it can cost $25 million to $30 million to build an elementary school and in excess of $130 million to build a high school.
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