Education · Visalia

Visalia Unified abandons plans for new high school

The Visalia Unified School District board of trustees put an end to plans for a fifth high school.

This decision comes after Proposition 13, a statewide school bond, failed to receive necessary approval from California voters in March and a likely decline in tax revenues driven by the economic shutdown tied to coronavirus pandemic.

Prop. 13 was the first state school bond proposal to fail in more than 20 years. If it had been approved, it would have authorized a $15 billion bond for school and college facilities, $9 billion of which were earmarked for preschool and K-12 schools.

The lack of bond money from the state put a halt to hopes of a fifth high school in Visalia.

The district now plans to redraw the boundaries of the four high schools.

Visalia Unified on its own still has a significant amount of outstanding debt. Area 1 trustee Walta Gamoian noted in a Valley Voice report that VUSD has $46 million bond debt.

Meanwhile, it would cost Visalia about $30 million to build a new school.

Instead, balancing out each of the existing high school’s population looks to be the answer.

Mt. Whitney and Golden West each have significantly less than 2,000 students. El Diamante has around 2,000 students and Redwood High has about 2,300 students.

Ultimately, a move to keep the school district in balance would bring each school’s population to around 2,000 students.

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.