Q. How are high schools in Perris Union High School District performing?
A. Perris Union High School District strives to provide a caring, diverse and supportive learning environment for local students in the communities of Menifee, Perris, Romoland and Nuevo. We aim to prepare our students for success in college and future careers, ensuring that they are skilled in the use of today’s technologies and have a solid background in science, technology, engineering, arts and math. In the past few years, our high school graduation rate, standardized test scores and enrollment in career technical education courses have shown significant improvement. Our students make us proud and we are committed to ensuring that each child has an equal opportunity for success.
Q. How has enrollment growth affected our schools?
A. Our area is growing fast. For example, Paloma Valley High School — which was built for 2,200 students — currently has 3,200 students, and is expected to reach almost 4,000 students within five years. Crowded schools reduce the amount of time teachers get to spend with students, making it more difficult to teach and learn effectively. We need to build additional schools to keep up with this sustained growth and relieve overcrowding at our existing schools.
Q. Is there a plan to keep pace with this rapid enrollment growth?
A. The PUHSD Board of Trustees is closely examining local solutions because we know we cannot rely on the State to provide the level of funding needed to relieve overcrowding in our schools. One option currently being considered is a $148 million bond measure, which would provide locally controlled funding entirely dedicated to building and improving local high schools in our district.
Q. What projects could a bond measure fund?
A. Funding from a bond measure could support identified priority needs in our district, including: Building a new high school in Menifee to relieve overcrowding at existing schools Completing the final phase of construction at Perris High School, which includes additional career technical education classrooms, a performing arts center and a single point of entry for student safety Expanding physical education and athletic facilities needed to support student health, fitness and safety Upgrading career training facilities that prepare students for careers in healthcare, biomedical science, computer science, agriculture and skilled trades Providing modern classrooms, facilities and technology needed to support instruction in math, science, engineering, technology and skilled trades
Q. Do bond measures include any mandatory fiscal accountability provisions?
A. Yes, bond measures are subject to certain requirements to ensure transparency, including: - By law, bond funding cannot be taken away by the state or federal government - A mandatory project list outlining the use of all the funds - Annual independent audits and a Citizen’s Oversight Committee are required - Funding cannot be used for administrators’ salaries or benefits
Q. Can’t we rely on the State to fund these repairs?
A. The State has proven to be an unreliable funding partner for local school districts and we cannot rely on Sacramento to provide a stable source of funding for our facilities in timelines commensurate with need. Every dollar from a local bond measure would stay local for our schools and could not be taken away by the State or given to other school districts.
Q. Didn’t Measure T in 2012 address these needs in our schools?
A. Voters overwhelmingly approved Measure T in 2012 to upgrade and expand classrooms and facilities. With Measure T, we have been able to complete Pinacate Middle School, construct Phase II improvements at Perris High School and finalize planning and design of our 4th high school and 2nd middle school. Approximately $75 million of Measure T is set aside for projects in Menifee which, coupled with the proposed bond, would be enough to complete construction of the 4th high school. Since Measure T passed in 2012, enrollment has continued to grow in our high schools and further improvements are needed. For example, Paloma Valley High School is already 1,000 students over its original capacity and is projected to continue growing at a rapid rate. We need a local source of funding not only to accommodate the current growth in our schools, but to plan for the future sustained growth projected in our communities. The district needs another high school, expanded physical education facilities, upgraded career training facilities and modern classrooms and technology to accommodate this growth and prevent overcrowding.
Q. Are there enough Measure T funds left to address our current needs?
A. No. Although much has been accomplished with Measure T, sustained enrollment growth continues to affect our schools. Additionally, due to an unforeseen withholding of state funding, some Measure T plans were put on hold. The proposed bond will be structured in a way that guarantees that all priority projects will be completed, including building a new high school in Menifee, entirely with locally controlled funding. By narrowing the scope of projects to only the most critical, we don’t need to wait for state funding and don’t need to place an undue burden on our local taxpayers.
Q. How much would the proposed measure cost?
A. The cost of the measure would be limited to no more than $30 per $100,000 of assessed (not market) value of local property. Assessed value is based on the original purchase price of a home and is often lower than market value, particularly for those residents that have owned their homes for a long time.
Q. How is the oversight committee formed, and who selects the members?
A. By California law, a school district has 60 days from the passing of a measure to form the oversight committee. It must be made up of 7 volunteer members who serve a term of 2 years each. Composition of the committee must include representatives from the business community, a senior organization, a taxpayer organization as well as parents with children in the district. In addition, no employee or vendor of the district can be a member of the committee. To view all reports for the current PUHSD Oversight Committee, visit www.PUHSD.org/pages/citizens-oversight-committee-measure-t.
Q. When would the high school be open in Menifee?
A. If 55% of PUHSD voters approve a bond measure on the November 2018 ballot, our District would be able to begin construction on the high school in Spring 2019, which would put us on track for an August 2021 first day of school. Because we have already completed the planning and design phase of the new high school, we would be able to get shovels in the ground as soon as is possible after the passage of a bond.
Q. How would this measure affect the District if Menifee moves forward with unification?
A. PUHSD supports the eventual unification of the Menifee Union School District and building a new high school in Menifee is the only practical means forward for unification to successfully occur. The proposed bond includes funding for a new high school in Menifee, which is necessary today to help prevent imminent student overcrowding in our existing high schools, regardless of when unification occurs. If a new high school is not constructed in Menifee before unification, the Menifee community would have more than 5,000 students in a school originally built for 2,200 students. It is important to build a new high school in Menifee now, in the event that unification happens soon. PUHSD has already purchased the proposed site and completed drafting plans for the new high school. Additionally, the measure will be structured to evenly distribute the cost and funding between the two districts, in the event unification occurs.
Q. When would the potential funding measure appear on the ballot?
A. The PUHSD Board of Trustees is considering placing the bond measure on the November 2018 Election ballot.
Q. What level of support is required to pass a bond measure?
A. At least 55% of voters who cast a ballot on the measure must vote “Yes” in order for it to be approved.
Q. Who is eligible to vote on the measure?
A. All registered voters within PUHSD’s boundaries — which include all of Menifee and portions of Perris, Romoland, Nuevo, Murietta, Lake Elsinore, Moreno Valley, San Jacinto, Lakeview, Homeland, Good Hope, Quail Valley and Winchester — would be eligible to vote. You can view a map of the District’s boundaries at www.PUHSD.org/pages/about.