Some educational elitists frame it as “just selling the farm.”
In reality, Delta College wants to sell Manteca’s future along with that of 30,000 people that rely on San Joaquin County agriculture to support their families.
And it is all so Delta College can expand into Galt.
The Delta College school farm and Manteca educational center is on 160 acres at Frontage Road and Brunswick Road northwest of the new Lathrop Road and Highway 99 interchange.
Delta College’s master plan calls for selling the Manteca site and moving the school farm to Galt. That says a lot about what the Delta College administration thinks about Manteca, agriculture, and the future of countless thousands of South County young people.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone since Delta College has a rich history of misleading Manteca area residents.
Anyone remember the big push to get your vote on a bond measure by misleading Manteca, Lathrop, Ripon, and Escalon voters that the school farm site would be expanded into a satellite campus? Funny how that ended up in Mountain House.
There are 130,000 plus residents in the Manteca, Lathrop, Ripon, and Escalon area. There’s barely 10,000 in the Mountain House area. It would have been more logical to bypass Manteca for Tracy. But then again it wouldn’t fit into Delta College’s apparent colonialism expansion dreams to develop satellite campuses on the fringes of the district to an attempt to draw students from neighboring community college districts.
San Joaquin County supervisors as well as elected leaders in Manteca and Lathrop have made expanding educational opportunities locally a top priority in order to improve the economic lot of the county’s 720,000 residents. Perhaps Delta administators don’t communicate with elected leaders. Galt is in the extreme northern end of the Delta College district and it has only 25,000 residents.
Manteca in the 1990s and again in the last decade invested time, offered a site (the old Lindbergh School) and even possible financial assistance to get extension classes from Stanislaus State or Delta College situated so they could be readily accessible to commuters and those with limited travel options. I guess to those with doctorates and such that means Manteca isn’t interested in securing more post-secondary opportunities that don’t require a 45-minute drive to Galt
Did anyone mention that 62 percent of the students in the Manteca Unified School District are on free or reduced lunches? That should underscore the importance of having easily accessible post-secondary education available in the South County as opposed to Sacramento County.
Manteca for five straight years eperienmced more growth than all of San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties combined building 300 plus homes annually during the depth of the Great Recession. Last year Manteca was bumped to No. 2 in the county behind neighboring Lathrop which is a 10-minute drive to the Delta College site in Manteca. There are almost 20,000 housing units approved in Manteca and Lathrop that have identified sewer and water. What does Galt have in the pipeline? Perhaps a couple hundred homes?
Then there is the disturbing abandonment of an in-county school farm. The reality is agriculture is the main employer for San Joaquin County. And only the uneducated wouldn’t know that many of those jobs are decent paying and require skills to land. Everyone can’t work as a code writer for Facebook. People are always going to need food such as apples to eat meaning agricultural as an opportunity for employment will still be here long after Apple of Cupertino fame is gone as the decades and centuries march on.
And let’s not forget what Delta College would give up. The almond orchard on the school farm brings in $450,000 a year.
As things stand now Manteca has a surplus of commercial land with high profile freeway exposure. So the odds aren’t great it would be bought by someone eager to rezone it commercial and annex to Manteca. That means more houses. And with 160 acres that could be at least another 900 homes.
Is trading a viable school farm and a site for a future satellite education campus besides the two classrooms that are already there worth 900 more homes? It is if Galt is more important to you than Manteca, Lathrop, Ripon, and Escalon.
Catherine Mathis — the Manteca resident on the Delta College board — has taken issue with the short-sighted plan advanced by the administration. So far she is the only board voice that sees how foolish the master plan is when it comes to serving the most people.
Carlos Huerta — who is running against Delta Board President Claudia Y. Moreno-Rabago to represent Area 2 in Central Stockton — sees how the master plan is selling out 130,000 residents today in Manteca, Lathrop, Ripon and Escalon that at conservative projections will have 200,000 residents in 25 years.
While trustees have to reside in a specific area, voting is districtwide. A vote for Huerta might give Manteca, Lathrop, Ripon, and Escalon a fighting chance.
The only way that Huerta isn’t the best choice not just for the South County but Stockton as well is if you believe a satellite campus of or even the school farm relocated to Galt will be beneficial to the most people