Hollister High School

As the San Benito High School District pursues all available funding opportunities for a second high school, potential bond measures to support a second high school in the district appear viable, according to survey results presented during the Jan. 9 meeting of the Board of Trustees. 

Jessica Polsky-Sanchez from EMC Research and Jared Boigon from TeamCivX provided a summary to the board highlighting the information gathered from polling of 400 likely voters in June and November 2023. Initial support for two potential bond measures is right near the 55% threshold for passage, according to the most recent poll, and support increases once voters are provided with additional information about the need for, and benefits of, the measures. 

Student enrollment at Hollister High School currently exceeds its maximum capacity of 3,400 students and with continued growth in San Benito County, that number is expected to reach 3,900 students in the next five years. 

“Overcrowding is a real problem at Hollister High School, so I’m gratified that a majority of voters have indicated that they support bond measures that will help finance a second high school in our district,” said San Benito High School District Superintendent Dr. Shawn Tennenbaum. “As we continue to gather input from our community, it has become clear that a second high school is essential to ensure that our district continues to provide all local high school students with access to high-quality education.” 

The polling by EMC Research shows that the ratings of the quality of education and the overall job that San Benito High School District is doing have improved over time, with nearly two-thirds of respondents rating the quality of education “good” or “excellent.” 

Hollister High School for five years running has been named to the U.S. News Best High Schools list and in the past year has been named an Advanced Placement Honor Roll School and was recognized as one of just 14 campuses in California to earn Green Ribbon School designation for environmental stewardship practices. 

A second high school would include facilities for developing college and career readiness and feature classrooms and labs for math science, engineering, technology and core academics. The new campus, at an as-yet-undetermined location, would offer local students access to hands-on learning programs and specialized learning facilities for students with disabilities. It would also help relieve overcrowding at Hollister High School, where enrollment above maximum capacity threatens student and teacher safety in emergency situations. 

The EMC polling shows that two-thirds of voters see a need for additional funding for the district and nearly three out of four voters find the capacity and safety issues at Hollister High School to be especially compelling reasons to support prospective bond measures to help fund a second campus. 

Top voter priorities for how bond measure funding would be utilized include student safety, vocational and job-training facilities, classrooms and labs for STEM and core academics, adding classrooms and labs to relieve overcrowding, and providing all local high school students with access to quality education. 

The survey results were informational-only, as the Board of Trustees won’t make a final decision on whether to pursue bond measures to help fund a second high school until this summer. 

“The District will continue talking to residents to make sure we hear everyone’s questions and input before the Board of Trustees decides on the best course forward,” Tennenbaum said. 

A Facilities Needs Committee of more than 60 local residents met during the 2022-23 school year to discuss and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees about the need for a second high school. This school year has included two community town halls, in English and Spanish, in August and listening and awareness sessions at 10 local elementary schools throughout the Fall. 

This month, San Benito High School District will host two community town halls to provide updates on the feedback it received from the community throughout the Fall regarding the planning for a second high school. 

The Thursday, Jan. 18 session will be presented in English at 6pm in the Hollister High School Davis library on Monterey Street. The Wednesday, Jan. 31 session will be presented in Spanish at 6:45pm. Food and child care will be provided at both events. 

Attendees are asked to RSVP to Carol Heiderich at [email protected] or by phone at 831.637.5831, extension 1132 so there is enough food and seating for everyone.

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  1. I, for one, will NOT be supporting another bond measure, and if anyone out there is putting up signs when this comes to the vote, count me in for a NO sign on whatever measure it turns out to be. I’m sure there are thousands just like me that advocated for a second high school when they passed the LAST bonds to spruce up the already oversized San Benito High. My taxes went way up to pay for those pretty new renovations, and you should have listened to us when we told you back then that we needed a second high school. No chance this is getting passed. We’re fed up.

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