Saturday, July 29, 2017
[San Joaquin County] Serving Weston Ranch
Could the Manteca-Lathrop Boys and Girls Club be coming to Weston Ranch?
According to a report by the San Joaquin County Grand Jury – which investigated the after-school program at Weston Ranch High School that was operated by the Stockton Kids Club – the Manteca Unified School District has begun discussions with the Manteca-Lathrop Boys and Girls Club to see about partnering to fill the need of providing an after-school program to students in the South Stockton community that were left without options when the district terminated its memorandum of understanding with the organization caught up in a scandal involving former Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva.
On Tuesday, the Manteca Unified Board of Education accepted the findings and the recommendations of the report, and when asked about interest from organizations capable of providing the services recommended by the grand jury, Superintendent Jason Messer noted that they were looking for an independent entity “like the Manteca-Lathrop Boys and Girls Club” which the district has worked with in the past.
And based on the investigation conducted by the grand jury surrounding the Stockton Kids Club, things were anything but smooth when it came to the program.
Some of the issues that were discovered during the investigation included:
• A delay in the start of the program because of confusion with the background check of an employee.
• A conflict between MUSD and the Stockton Kids Club over a partial payment for days in which no after school services were provided.
• A lack of submission of monthly program attendance reports as required by the MOU between the two entities.
• A lack of daily homework assistance which was a condition of the MOU.
• Inconsistent supervision of the snack and supper program at the school, which led to the program itself being suspended and students themselves left without access.
And while the report doesn’t specifically mention Silva by name, one of the issues of concern, it said, in addition to meeting contractual obligations was the focus that came as a result of the felony charged filed against him for embezzlement and money laundering. It also noted that either party had the ability to terminate the contract given 30-day’s notice, which was presented to the organization on March 3. The district formally terminated its relationship with the Stockton Kids Club one month later on April 3.
Ever since, the report stated, students have been without.
“Weston Ranch is an isolated community lacking organized activities for many high school students,” the report read. “It is common knowledge that idle youth can seek to alleviate their boredom with poor choices. Community leaders and stakeholders are working to develop programs to address these problems, however, the next school-year is imminent and no after-school program is in place.
“It is imperative that community leaders move quickly to provide services for youth in this area.”
If the Manteca-Lathrop Boys and Girls Club does come in, it will be the third after-school program for Weston Ranch since the school opened. In addition to the Stockton Kids Club, Give Every Child a Chance initially provided tutoring for students and an after-school alternative, but chose not to submit a bid to continue providing the service after what the report states as a “conflict with some members of the school board.”
Former Manteca Unified School Board Trustees Sam Fant and Ashley Drain were both mentioned in a separate scathing Grand Jury report detailing their involvement with after-school programs in Weston Ranch – including Give Every Child a Chance – and issues that arose from their involvement. Based off of information that was provided to the Grand Jury from GECAC, Drain Athletics – which was run by Justin Drain – was also paid $12,750 as part of an MOU between his organization and GECAC. Ultimately the well-respected tutoring program determined that it was not cost-effective to continue to serve that community.
July 20, 2017
By Jason Campbell