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Saving shiny new schools at what cost?
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Editor Manteca Bulletin,
As I read about the further cuts coming to our school district, I was struck by the article that stated closing schools would only net a savings of less than $100,000. I am no mathematical genius by any means, but I did read the article in the Sun Post earlier this year, and I know that the principal from a school makes more than $100,000. Add in another $70,000 or so for the vice principal. This also does not even take into account the office staff, which would not transfer to one of the remaining schools, as there would not be a need for two office managers, budget clerks, head custodians; the list goes on and on.  Now consider utilities and maintenance, and the amount of money is far in excess of the measly $100,000 quoted in the article.

It seems to me the district is playing a game of politics, by trying very hard not to upset parents through school closures.  But, keeping these smaller schools open could cause the students at the other schools to lose electives, sports, busing, and other programs as the budget gap is filled.  Our district leadership needs to face the reality of the situation: Manteca Unified School District grew too fast.  The sooner they admit this, the sooner our teachers can get back to teaching our children without further cuts to save smaller schools.  I have no doubt that changing schools will have an impact on the students moving, but leaving these schools open has an impact on ALL the children of the district through further reductions in programs and staffing.  Even General Motors has started to close dealerships in the face of bankruptcy, but our leadership seems hell bent on not closing schools no matter what the impact on the other students in the district.  If this continues, MUSD will have all of their shiny new schools open, but the education of the students at those schools will be lacking programs that students in other districts have.  What a grand monument to their pride that will be.
Robert Brown
June 16, 2009

Editor’s note: Good point. The original savings were up around $250,000 to $300,000 depending upon the elementary schools. Most vice principal positions have been eliminated as have some support staff. The district argues that shifting students to another school would increase busing costs- assuming they are still busing – plus it would require teachers to move and at least part of the support staff. Based simply on the principal salaries and at least one support staff position that haven’t already been reduced, you should be talking about $150,000 minimum per school. Two school closures would save $300,000.