Text by Todd Oto, Ed. D., VUSD Superintendent
In November, the voters of Visalia approved Measure A, a general obligation bond that levies $105 million in local funds that, through matching funds from the state, will bring us nearly $225 million in improved and new school facilities. On behalf of Visalia Unified, I wish to thank our community for its support of our schools.
Measure A will bring four things to our district: upgrades to 18 schools that will make classrooms, restrooms and other student spaces more modern in function; modern science labs at our middle and high schools, improved security measures at all of our schools, and a new high school.
When will you see these changes happen?
The first thing to occur will be the security upgrades. We have a committee representing staff, parents and local police and fire departments that will advise our efforts in this area. This work will be visible within the next year. Upgrades to the 18 schools and middle and high school science labs will be next. Because this work requires formal planning and approval from the state, this will take a bit longer to initiate, but you will see this work begin within the next two years. And the high school will require much more comprehensive planning and a lengthy construction process, so you can anticipate that it will open in 2023.
We do not take the support of our community for granted. Measure A represents an opportunity for Visalia Unified to improve its facilities through modernization and also the construction of new buildings and a new high school. It also represents an opportunity for us to confirm our commitment to good stewardship of public funds. Measure A requires that we assemble a citizens’ oversight committee that will ensure that we use funds raised through the bond appropriately and for the intended purpose: improving our school facilities. It is our goal to do good work and, through that work, reinforce the trust that Visalia has in its school district.
Teachers working with kids is the most important thing we do. Supporting that work requires that we do our best to ensure that every classroom is modern and able to support teaching and learning at high levels. Measure A is about ensuring that our oldest neighborhoods have schools that compare favorably with schools in our newest neighborhoods.
Visalia, I thank you again for your support. We will work hard to honor that support by providing good facilities and a great education for every child who attends a Visalia Unified school.