Funding for Somerton High School signed into law by Governor
Somerton High School will receive $16.52 million in funding for fiscal year 2022 and an additional $16.52 million for fiscal year 2023 based on Arizona Legislature’s General Appropriations Act, which was signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey.
The funding will accelerate construction on the new high school, which has been in the planning and development stages since 2017. A groundbreaking ceremony is expected to take place in the fall.
“The funding that has been allocated for Somerton High School through legislation and ultimately Governor Ducey's signature is a result of so many people working towards a common goal that puts STUDENTS at the center,” YUHSD Superintendent Gina Thompson said. “All legislators representing our County have taken part at some point in supporting this work. Great questions were asked. Data was presented. Each and every meeting meant people coming to the table.”
Reaching the necessary funding has been more than six years in the making, beginning with the passage of the 2015 “Yes! Yes! Your High Schools” bond, which allocated nearly $20 million for “new construction” and included the Somerton project. Land for the new school was purchased in 2017 with several other milestones taking place, including working to obtain necessary pesticide covenants, reconfiguring square footage at Kofa High School and Yuma High School, selecting construction and design team, meeting regularly with the City of Somerton to plan for multiuse facility on property, and completing a master plan, programming, and schematic design.
“Arizona’s schools and educators do incredible work to keep students on the path to success, and I was proud to sign a state budget that supports all they do for kids and families,” Governor Ducey said. “Schools throughout Yuma Union High School District challenge students, help them prepare for their next steps, and help them grow in and out of the classroom. My thanks goes to Superintendent Gina Thompson and all the educators, school leaders and community members who have made supporting students their top priority.”
Somerton is home to approximately 1,200 students in YUHSD, a majority of which have commuted more than an hour per day to attend Kofa High School in the City of Yuma. The new school, which will be located near the corner of Highway 95/Main Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue, will allow future generations of Somerton residents to continue their secondary education in their home town.
“Established in 1898, Somerton has grown to be the best little city in Arizona, and its only getting better,” Somerton Mayor Gerardo Anaya said. “Our community has been anxiously waiting this high school. As a lifetime Somerton resident, it is an honor to serve as Mayor and I’m proud to see my community prosper. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with YUHSD to make this project a success.”
Superintendent Thompson added: “This particular project demonstrates what can happen when so many people come together for a purpose greater than themselves. There is no greater investment than that which we make in our children and our public education system. I am grateful. I am hopeful.”