Unification Takes a Wait and See Approach

"Wait and see" is where unification is headed, after trustees from the Menifee Union and Perris Union High school districts met today.

The two boards were there to figure out what to do, after it was determined by the County Committee on School District Organization that Menifee's unification bid fails to meet five of the State's nine criteria to pass muster.

Paul Jessup, Deputy Superintent of Riverside County Schools, was on hand to consult both boards on how to move forward. He said that for that most part, the biggest challenge is money. The other issues, particularly the racial imbalance, can all be mitigated. In fact, Jessup went on to say that the State has historically approved other unification bids where some of the nine criteria was not met.

Interestingly, the State can provide extra funding to help Menifee Union deal with the money issue, but only if the newly unified school district would have 25% or more of its total students in high school. As it stands right now, it would only be able to have 23.9%. If Menifee Union could get some more high school students to bump that up to 25%, then the unification effort can knock three of those five failed criteria off the list, and make a reasonable attempt at persuading the State to approve the unification bid.

The problem is that Menifee has been losing kids over the past year. Home foreclosures have sent families out of town. And now that gas prices are getting closer to the $5.00 mark, it's going to be tough to get commuters to move out here.

One solution is to take some students out of Heritage High, and move them to Paloma High. That would get us to 25%. Board members from Perris Union didn't sound thrilled about that idea, claiming that it would burden Menifee Union with having to build more classrooms to accomodate those students.

Another problem is that the unification bid also requires Menifee Union to conduct an evironmental quality study, which will cost $500,000, and can take up to two years to perform. I'm not sure what the environment has to do with shifting one bureacracy over to another, and I'm not sure the district has that money.

So all that we can do at this point is to wait until next year, and see how the demographics look. If we can get to a 25% ratio of high school students, then we can get some additional state funding to put the unification bid in a better financial standpoint.

There's also red tape. If we get to that 25% mark, and submit another unification bid, it may take a couple of years for the State to evaluate the bid, and by that time, the 25% might diminish to a lower number, and submarine the attempt.

As to when unification will happen, we're still looking at years down the road.




4 Comments:

  1. Steve,

    Clarification.

    It doesn't matter what school the students attend it matters where they live. Moving kids from Heritage to Paloma will not make any difference.

    The problem is too may young families have moved into Menifee over the growth period. It will eventually flatten out but that takes time.

    Actually, if the Old Perris Board would have signed the petition instead of waiting for my wife and others to take their place on the Perris board then the process would have started 2 years sooner and we would have made the 25% mark.

    ReplyDelete
  2. no, but they changed the boundaries and now those kids who used to live in the paloma district are now living in the heritage district. i have a son already at paloma in 11th grade, when it came time to register another of my sons in high school, even though i have one in paloma, my second son HAD to register at heritage (we've lived in the same house all this time and live in MUCH closer proximity to paloma). i went to the district and told them i was a widow with four sons and had no other family in the country and needed my kids to be in the same schools and they said NO!! so now i'll have two high schoolers in two different schools. plus two more in other schools. ugh. i think the boundaries need to go back to what they were a few years ago. just my opinion.

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  3. That should never happen I will help you fix this. Please contact me asap.

    Paloma and Heiritage are not districts they are attendance areas.

    ReplyDelete
  4. i don't know how to contact you mr. twyman. thank you so very much for your offer, i appreciate it and won't forget your kindness. thank you.

    ReplyDelete

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