Unification agreement between Menifee, Perris school districts moves forward

The school districts in both Menifee and Perris are working hand in hand to plan and build the new proposed high school in south east Menifee.

High School #4 is the current name of the school, which is currently in the Perris Union School District but eventually will be transferred into the Menifee Union School District as part of a district unification process.

“We are the first two districts in the state to put together a unification agreement,” said Betti Cadmus, public information officer for MUSD. “Paloma Valley High School and High School #4 will eventually become part of the Menifee School District.”

On Tuesday, July 22, school board members in the MUSD got their first look at the architectural plans for proposed high school. The team from BakerNowicki Design Studio of San Diego and members of the PUSD showed Menifee trustees the plans and held a question and answer session about the school. The school will be built on 52-acres at the corner of Leon Road and Wickerd Road.

“I am happy with the overall plans,” said MUSD Trustee Randy Freeman. “I like the smaller learning centers within the larger school.”

Freeman said he wishes the school could be built sooner than the proposed fall of 2018 but that would mean cutting corners like building a school with a no football stadium or performing arts center.

“Everyone wants the school and we need it but we have to build it right,” Freeman said.

Perris passed Measure T in November 2012 called the School Improvement Funding. The bond would be used by the district to construct a new high school and to expand, rehabilitate and upgrade existing school facilities, including improving classrooms, science labs, vocational education, and instructional technology, removal of hazardous materials, upgrading fire safety and school security and improving access for disabled persons.

The state currently is not providing matching funds and the school districts cannot proceed with building the school unless the state matches.

MUSD School Board Member Bob O’Donnell said the presentation of the new school was excellent.

“We just don’t have enough money if the state cannot match the funds,” O’Donnell said.

“They told us they have 79.5 million right now but need 125 million to complete the school.”

According to Cadmus, the MUSD also has to meet nine sets of criteria before the unification process can become complete. Seven of the nine have already been met.

PUHSD officials hope to open the school in the fall of 2018 and expect that it would have an enrollment of approximately 2,600 — including 1,000 students who would move over from Heritage High. They also hope to have nine requirements for unification met.

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