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Up next: 5 more schools

Post Date:06/22/2017 11:22 AM

Up next: 5 more schools

by Dennis Wyatt, Manteca Bulletin

The timing of the next wave of Measure G school modernization projects depends on money.

Clark Burke and Aaron Bowers in front of new Lincoln office

Manteca Unified Director of Facilities and Operations Aaron Bowers, left, and Deputy Superintendent Clark Burke in front of the new Lincoln School office.

While that might seem obvious, Manteca Unified is trying to get maximum leverage out of the $159 million bond measure approved by voters on Nov. 4, 2014.

The reason the first five schools — Lincoln, Lathrop, Shasta, Golden West, and Sequoia — were picked for the initial round of work had as much to do with the pressing safety and modernization needs as it did being eligible for partial state reimbursement. The five schools represent $56.4 million worth of Measure G projects.

School structures being modernized have to be of a certain age to qualify for a shot at $3.3 billion set aside for that purpose in the $10.4 billion statewide Proposition 1D bond money approved in 2014.

The first five Manteca Unified modernization projects have been approved for placement on the list. Now it is a matter of waiting to see whether they will be high enough on the list that includes similar projects from throughout the state including Los Angeles that has an inordinate amount of schools that need modernization.

The next five schools Manteca Unified that will modernized based on maximizing the potential for partial state reimbursement are Neil Hafley, French Camp, George McParland, New Haven and Nile Garden schools.

The first high school targeted for a Measure G bond project — Manteca High — will be eligible for reimbursement for some of the work needed within three years.

Even though it is in the third phase, given the options Manteca Unified is exploring to possibly expand its capacity upwards to 2,400 students to not just accommodate growth but possibly offer programs not available at other highs school campuses it will require more lead time.

If all goes well the district ultimately could leverage the $159 billion local bond with $30 million plus in reimbursements from the state bond. That assumes there is money left when the future phases of the Measure G projects that have eligible components for funding are to a point they can qualify to be submitted to the state.

The district also is restricted on how much money they can sell bonds for at one time.

“Once the bonds are sold state law requires that we spend the money on projects within three years,” Manteca Unified District Superintendent Jason Messer noted.

Then there is the issue of favorable interest rates. Messer said the district has an obligation to time bond sales when they are ready to go forward to take advantage of the lowest possible interest to keep costs down for taxpayers.

There is roughly $104 million in bonds left to sell.

Ultimately every school in the district will have some Measure G work conducted although not on the scale as the first five schools or Manteca High that is penciled in to benefit from $30 million in Measure G work.

The school board could decide to invest developer fees or possibly Mello-Roos taxes if they are set up in the Manteca High attendance area south of the 120 Bypass to do growth capacity work at the 98-year-old campus at the same time Measure G work is conducted.

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