Grossmont Union High School District
GROSSMONT BOARD RESOLVES TO RESTRICT MEMBERS’ RIGHTS; LEAVES QUESTION OF ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL UNANSWERED
By Sharon Penny
February 15, 2014 (El Cajon)--At the February 13 Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) meeting, the Governing Board provided some recent positive outcomes in the district (see side story: Grossmont District Schools Shine Academically), but took a step back for democracy.
By a vote of 4-1, the Board adopted a resolution: “In Recognition of the Citizens’ Board Oversight Committee (CBOC) and Their Service to the Grossmont Union High School District.” It praises the District’s bond oversight committee-- but also aims to muzzle school board members from giving testimony to the oversight comittee.
By Sharon Penny
February 17, 2014 (El Cajon)--Ralf Swenson, Superintendent of the Grossmont Unified High School District (GUHSD) proudly discussed recent academic success rates throughout the district’s 11 high schools at last week’s board meeting.
An East County Magazine/KNSJ Radio special report
By Miriam Raftery
February 13, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – In the wake of a Grand Jury probe into the Grossmont Union High School District’s(GUHSD) response to a Grand Jury probe, concerns have been raised over the level of oversight provided by the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee. (CBOC) Listen to our radio interview on this explosive topic with Nick Marinovich, the San Diego Taxpayer Association’s representative on CBOC, Priscilla Schreiber, GUHSD board member, and Michael Waterman, an attorney/journalist who has been seeking answers to pointed questions from CBOC. (Note: The District and CBOC chair Nancy Herbst declined our interview requests.)
Hear our interview on KNSJ 89.1 FM here, which originally aired February 12, 2014: http://www.kiwi6.com/file/6rd0fni995
GUHSD RESOLUTION TO MUZZLE MEMBERS FROM ADDRESSING OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE IS “NOT ENFORCEABLE,” LEGAL EXPERT SAYS
District seeks to muzzle whisteblower Priscilla Schreiber (photo, left)
By Miriam Raftery
February 8, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Last week, Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) trustee Priscilla Schreiber testified before the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) to urge examination of a Grand Jury report and other evidence, as ECM reported. In response, the District’s board has proposed a resolution to prohibit its trustees from speaking to the Oversight Committee unless specifically invited to do so by the chair or a majority of committee members. The items is on the agenda on February 13.
ECM asked general counsel Terry Francke at Californians Aware (a nonprofit that works to protect open government), if this resolution was legal or not. “It's legally unenforceable," he responded via e-mail. "School trustees have the same First Amendment, Brown Act and Public Records Act rights as anyone else to attend meetings of a bond oversight board and obtain any documents that pertain to or result from its work.”
ALPINE RESIDENTS SAY CITIZENS BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE HAS FAILED IN ITS WATCHDOG ROLE OVER GUHSD, IGNORING GRAND JURY FINDINGS REGARDING ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL
Resident submit signatures to unify AUSD, split off from Grossmont District
"How deaf can this CBOC be without being complicit and compliant with the Board Majority’s political bias towards Alpine, as cited by the Grand Jury?”—GUHSD trustee Priscilla Schreiber
By Miriam Raftery; Janis Mork also contributed to this story
February 1, 2014 (Alpine) – At a contentious meeting of the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) Citizens Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) on January 30, Chris Loarie testified that the Alpine High School Citizens Committee (AHSCC) has submitted final signatures to the County Office of Education for unification of the Alpine Union School District (AUSD). Frustrated by the GUHSD board’s repeated refusal to build an Alpine high school despite two bond measures for that purpose, Alpine parents aim to bolt from the Grossmont District and expand the AUSD to include high school students and ultimately, build a high school.
Others, including an attorney and a district trustee, are leveling sharp criticism at the CBOC for turning a blind-eye to findings of a Grand Jury report on the District’s failure to fulfill its promises to Alpine voters, a report titled “Fool me once, fool me twice.” Critics contend that the CBOC has ignored facts and further, that the Chair has exhibited bias and presented skewed information for oversight committee members.
Projects Throughout East County Funded by Proposition H, Proposition U School Bonds
January 15, 2014 (San Diego's East County) -- Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) announced today that significant construction progress continues to be made at campuses throughout the District as part of the Proposition H and U school bond programs.
Youth focus group shows growing concern
January 5, 2014 (Spring Valley)– “After the assembly we had last week, I went to the bathroom. It was really smoky. I don’t think it was weed. It was hookah or something. I saw it and smelled it and just got out.”
Stories like this were common when students at a local East County high school participated in a focus group last month to discuss current drug trends on their campus, the Grossmont Union High School District reports.
"There is no good faith, no no intentions..." -- Priscilla Schreiber, Board Member, who asserts that the GUHSD response "in no way satisifies what, I believe, the Grand Jury recommended."
"...The statement to the Grand Jury is a complete fabrication. The facts demonstrate there is no “intent” to build the Alpine high school ..." -- Sal Casamassimo, Chair, Alpine High School Citizens Committee
By Miriam Raftery
December 14, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Back in May, the San Diego Grand Jury issued a report urging the Grossmont Union High School District to "declare unconditionally, by December 31, 2013, if they are or are not going to build the 12th high school using funds from Propositions H and U.” The report, titled “Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice,” criticized the district Board for failing to build the school despite voters twice approving bond measures to fund the new school in Alpine, as ECM previously reported. The Grand Jury concluded, “Residents of the GUHSD and the greater Alpine area deserve clarity from the School Board regarding the proposed 12th high school."
Yesterday the Board issued the following brief media statement, which falls far short of the unconditional statement or clarity to district residents that the Grand Jury sought:
September 30, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Sprites of East County, a mother-daughter non-profit philanthropic organization, is looking for new members. The organization’s goals include providing volunteer service to local charities, financial assistance to their philanthropies, along with providing scholarships to deserving young girls in the community. Sprites is comprised of mothers and their 7th-12th grade daughters who reside in the Grossmont Union High School District.
Those interested in becoming a “Sprite” can contact membership coordinators Jocelyn Cherin and Emily Waring at email@example.com, on Facebook, and by mail at Sprites of East County Inc., P.O. Box 786, El Cajon, California 92022-0786.
District Records an Overall Gain of 14 Points
On August 29, 2013, the California Department of Education (CDE) released the 2013 Growth API for schools and districts in California. For high schools, the API measures how well students are performing on both the California Standards Tests (CSTs) as well as the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).
The Grossmont District’s API increased by 14 points to 769, marking the tenth consecutive year of growth.
In addition to significant growth at the District level, two of GUHSD’s high schools demonstrated dramatic improvements. El Cajon Valley High School increased its API by 73 points and Monte Vista posted a gain of 29 points. Below are additional highlights.
By Doug Deane
August 8, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – As you know, I was the Chairperson for the Grossmont Union High School District’s 2011 Boundary Study, and I appeared as a witness before the Grand Jury's Education Committee on 11/14/12. I am disappointed by many aspects of the GUHSD's July 25th response to the Grand Jury's report, and as the Boundary Committee Chair, I believe that I have a responsibility to clarify some misstatements and errors in the GUHSD Response to that report.
June 2, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- Throughout the month of June, approximately 5,340 students earning a high school diploma from nine comprehensive high schools, two charter high schools and three alternative high schools in the Grossmont Union High School District will be donning caps and gowns for commencement exercises. Below is information on each school, along with graduation schedules and names of valedictorians.
By Bill Weaver
May 24, 2013 (Alpine--originally written May 14, 2013) -- I am disappointed to report that new information has recently surfaced that indicates that Propositions H and U Bond funds have been grossly misused by the GUHSD, and that this misuse has been the subject of a cover-up by the GUHSD Trustees and Administrative staff. A "smoking gun" has been discovered that points toward unethical and non-transparent behavior by District staff, presumably under the direction of the Trustees.
You will see from the content in the attachment that District bond construction funds have been mismanaged at best, and GUHSD fiscal policies and decision-making are a train wreck. The attachment shows that the District's ongoing bond management practices and accounting procedures have cheated taxpayers and burdened the district with unsustainable district "OPEX" Operating Expenses.
By Miriam Raftery
May 21, 2013 (Alpine) – The San Diego County Grand Jury has issue a report t blasting the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) for repeatedly axing plans to build a 12th high school in Alpine despite voters twice approving bond measures to construct the new high school. The report is descriptively titled Grossmont Union High School District—Fool Us Once, Fool Us Twice?
The Grand Jury found that “residents of the GUHSD and the greater Alpine area deserve clarity from the School Board regarding the proposed 12th high school."
Eileen Bagg-Rizzo and Randy Cambou to Represent GUHSD in Prestigious San Diego County Teacher of the Year Competition
May 21, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)—At its Governing Board Meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, the Grossmont Union High School District honored Teacher of the Year nominees from its school sites. These nominees are selected by their peers. A panel comprised of previous Teachers of the Year and District personnel selected two representatives from this distinguished group of nominees to be considered for the San Diego County Teacher of the Year competition. If selected to represent the County, the next step is the California State Teacher of the Year competition.
GUHSD 2013-14 Teacher of the Year Nominees:
GUHSD CITIZENS'' BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE ISSUES ANNUAL REPORT: AS FUNDS RUN OUT, SOME PROJECTS PUT ON HOLD
March 19, 2013 (El Cajon)--On Thursday, March 7, the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) presented their annual report to the GUHSD Governing Board. The CBOC is a group of 11 community volunteers who oversee the expenditure of Prop H and Prop U bond funds.
A cover letter from Chair Nancy Herbst raises concerns over finances in the wake of a recession and reduced state funds. Current funds will be exhausted by mid-2015, she warns, adding, "Further projects are planned, but will not be scheduled until future funding is more certain." A revised project schedule is included in the report. Prominent among projects placed on hold is the long-awaited 12th high school in Alpine.
Critics call action "meaningless"
February 12, 2013 (El Cajon )—Newly elected Grossmont Union High School District Board Trustee Jim Stieringer plans to introduce a resolution on the 12th high school for Alpine at the board meeting at 924 East Main Street, El Cajon. The public portion of the meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, February 13.
The motion directs the GUHSD to developed modified building plans and submit to the Division of the State Architect (DSA) –but only after it is determined that the Alpine School District Unification plan is either abandoned or fails to achieve voter approval. In addition, the site and building plans must be modified to stay within the remaining budget.
By Miriam Raftery
January 15, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Visitors to websites for several high schools in the Grossmont Union High School District on Saturday morning found material posted by a hacker.
“One of the District's web servers was compromised,” district spokesperson Catherine Martin told East County Magazine. Several school home pages were “replaced with photos of Osama Bin Laden and some commentary,” she added.
GUHSD Board Member Jim Kelly led the last 8 years by controlling the Board’s majority; now with a new member, Jim Stieringer, elected, let's review progress of a 12th high school
By Bill Weaver
December 2, 2012 (San Diego's East County)--There is an endless trail of disingenuous acts on behalf the majority on the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) Governing Board; this editorial touches on a few. Let’s reflect on years past. Prop H passed in 2004, authorizing $274 million; the Superintendent and the Board put a 12th new high school in the main summarizing Ballot statement headlining the bond explanation. There was a GUHSD Long Range Facilities Master Plan (LRFMP) dated 2003 that stipulated a 12th high school for "Safety and Overcrowding" reasons.
Update Nov. 8: With 100% of precincts counted and a portion of the late absentee ballots, Schreiber and Stieringer have retained solid leads.
By Miriam Raftery
November 7, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – In one of the most bitterly contested races in East County, incumbent Priscillla Schreiber won reelection handily with 95% of votes counted with 28.17% of the vote in the Grossmont Union High School District. A Republican, Schreiber has been an outspoken champion for building a new high school in Alpine--and a vocal critic of the board majority on a range of issues.
That majority may shift, with challenger Jim Stieringer in second place at 19.04%--ahead of incumbent Gary Woods, who has 18.66%. Woods has taken heat for his opposition to the Alpine High School at a time when a Grand Jury investigation is probing possible misallocation of bond monies approved by voters for projects including the high school in Alpine.
A Rebuttal to Jim Kelly's guest editorial in ECM
By Bill Weaver, candidate, Grossmont Union High School Board
November 2, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Jim Kelly is a blue ribbon fibber. Jim Kelly says, "It is time to answer these misleading, politically-motivated attacks."
I'll say it is--there is only one politically motivated attack agent. It is Jim Kelly who for years has been officially the recruiter for the out of touch extremist right local party that is in charge of ruining the conservative name with its radical right agenda. There is zero validity to Jim Kelly's rebuttal.
By Miriam Raftery
View full forum videos by Paul Kruze:
October 25, 2012 (La Mesa)—Six candidates vying for two seats on the Grossmont Union High School District Board addressed topics ranging from budgets to bond money expenditures (reportedly the topic of a Grand Jury investigation) and from technology to integrity. The forum October 22 was sponsored by East County Magazine and moderated by Donna Barlett-May the League of Women Voters.
The fireworks started in opening remarks, when education advocate Bill Weaver assailed incumbent Gary Woods for a problem with “what I see as honesty,” alluding to use of bond monies that has reportedly drawn the scrutiny of San Diego's Grand Jury.
6 candidates in Grossmont Union High School District also tackle furloughs, Brown tax measure.
By Kristina Houck , Santee Patch
October 23, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Assailing what he called the school board’s lack of transparency, Grossmont Union High School District candidate Bill Weaver told a forum Monday night that he was running because he doesn’t trust the current board members.
BARBARA STEVENS STRIVES TO "DO THE RIGHT THING FOR PARENTS AND STUDENTS" IN THE GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT
By Janis Mork
October 12, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)- Challenger Barbara Stevens has been a writer/editor for over 35 years. She grew up in San Diego, attended Point Loma High School and San Diego State University.
She wants to focus “on the kids more so than adults, focus on student achievement, education, the students’ and districts’ needs.”Stevens was motivated to run because her daughter went through the district, graduating from Helix Charter in 2008 and recently graduating from California State University San Marcos.
By Miriam Raftery
An ECM Special Report
October 13, 2012 (El Cajon)—The San Diego Grand Jury has launched an investigation into possible misuse of bond funds by the Grossmont Union High School District’s board majority, muliple sources have confirmed to East County Magazine.
“We’re in a Grand Jury investigation about Alpine,” GUHSD board trustee Priscilla Schreiber told ECM. Schreiber said she learned of the probe “by accident” while in the District’s office. Schreiber has been a vocal critic of the Board majority (Trustees Gary Woods, Jim Kelly, and Robert Shields) for blocking construction of a high school for Alpine while allowing diversion of school bond funds for costly new projects not mandated in two bond measures, Prop H and Prop U. Both measures were approved by voters and specifically called for a new high school in Alpine.
October 15, 2012 (El Cajon) – Make plans to build a better future today! In partnership with the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, the Grossmont Union High School District is hosting its ninth annual Got Plans? Career & College Fair for high school students and parents on Saturday, October 20, 2012, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Grossmont College.
By Janis Mork
October 7, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—Zach Miller has first-hand knowledge of what a student needs to learn. Now 19 and a junior at SDSU, he is running for the Grossmont Union High School District Board to apply some critical thinking skills and assure that students' needs are met.
At age 5, he was admitted to American MENSA, an organization for those with genius-level IQs. He headed up Academic League teams and was captain of the Rubik’s Cube Competitive Team at Cajon Valley High School, where he graduated with honors. While still in high school, he took community college classes; finishing 10th grade he enrolled at San Diego State University’s mechanical engineering program.
His priority is to ensure that teachers and students have resources to teach and learn. He hopes to include more Advanced Placement and honors classes and increases in student enrollment, resources for AVID courses. He hopes to better the district, to look at what the schools need and use the money to help students learn instead of luxuries, such as building new swimming pools and performing arts centers.
JIM STIERINGER BELIEVES HE CAN CREATE HARMONY AMONG GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD MEMBERS
By Janis Mork
October 10, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)- Retired La Mesa city treasurer Jim Stieringer is running for the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) board with confidence that he can, first and most importantly, create greater collegiality among the board members by presenting a policy that all board members must abide by, if elected. In this policy, Stieringer expects that “all board members will agree to the standards of conduct amongst themselves, and their relationships with each other and the public.”
BILL WEAVER HOPES TO BE A VOICE FOR PARENTS' AND STUDENTS' NEEDS ON GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD
By Janis Mork
October 6, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)- Bill Weaver hopes to replace incumbent board member Dr. Gary Woods on the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) board. He is a parent of a son and a daughter in Alpine schools, soon to enter the district. His two kids are the main reason of why he is devoted to GUHSD. He has championed a high school for Alpine but believes in reaching out to all schools. He also pledges to listen to concerns of every parent, make kids the focus when reaching a decision, use tax money wisely, and be open-minded and considerate of students’ needs.
By Janis Mork
October 7, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)- Priscilla Schreiber seeks reelection to the Grossmont Union High School GUHSD) District Board this November. She is motivated to run again because “there are many things that still need to be done, and I’d like to be a part of it.” She was a concerned parent when she ran in 2000, and she’s been on the board ever since. Also a businesswoman, her priorities are maintaining financial integrity, rigorous academic standards, career technical education, and strong work ethic with character education.