Measure E is getting a lot of support in Visalia

October 19, 2012 12:54:45 AM PDT
A South Valley school district is asking voters to approve a new ballot measure that would bring millions of dollars to help build new schools and renovate aging ones.

Measure E would not raise Visalia residents' property taxes any higher than they are now because the district is asking people to vote for a new bond just as an old one is ending.

If approved Measure E would help build a brand new middle school, and repair some of the city's oldest schools.

Visalia Unified School District hasn't built a new middle school since the mid-1990s. Administrators say based on the city's projected growth in four years -- the district will need a new school to accommodate an estimated 800 more middle school students.

Craig Wheaton said, "If we wait too long we're going to be very overcrowded at the middle school."

If approved, Measure E will help pay for a new middle school on the corner of Riggin and Akers in Northwest Visalia. It will also go towards making major repairs to AC units, classrooms and more to aging schools like Houston Elementary and Redwood High School.

Wheaton says Measure E would also help build new classrooms for Redwood High.

Wheaton said, "We would remove some portables and build a 16-classroom academic building there that would add about eight classrooms total."

Measure E is gaining widespread support throughout the city -- endorsed by the local chamber of commerce, city of Visalia and Visalia Unified Teachers Association. The $60 million bond would not increase people's taxes because it would start just as an old bond is ending.

Wheaton explained, "So we're asking the voters to allow us to sell a new bond using currently what we're paying for our old bond so that $30 per $100,000 would be the same amount taxpayers pay."

The bond will last thirty years. Though it's received approval from many in town, some parents we talked to said they would not vote for it.

Ramon Bolanos said, "It's too much the taxes they're too high."

If Measure E is not approved, taxes would be lowered slightly. Administrators are hoping the voters are willing to continue to pay this new bond, which equals out to the same amount as the tax they've been paying for the last 15 years.


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