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TWO EAST COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTS WIN "FARM TO SCHOOL" GRANTS

November 30, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Julian Union School District and Lemon Grove School District are among six California school districts and a community organization that have collectively won nearly $336,000 in U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School Grants.

The funding is designed to help students understand the food they eat in school cafeterias often comes from local farms.  

SENATORS ANDERSON AND YEE CALL FOR DISCLOSURE OF PUBLIC FUNDS USED FOR CSU CHANCELLOR'S LEGISLATIVE REPORT CARD

Bipartisan opposition to Chancellor’s "waste of tax dollars"

November 30, 2012 (San Diego's East County)--Senators Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) and Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) have sent a letter to Robert Linscheid, Chairman of the California State University Board of Trustees, regarding what they call the gross misuse of state tax dollars to develop and distribute a 2011-12 Legislative Report Card of the administration’s top priorities, which included advocating for pay raises for top executives.

The legislators’ letter asks Linscheid to account for the spending on the report card and asks who approved the expenditure of tax funds.

AN ALARMING TREND ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES AROUND THE NATION: RISE IN STUDENTS SEEKING COUNSELING WITH PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS

By Bree Hernandez

November 27, 2012 (San Diego) -- There are many ways of encouraging young people to go to college, and community events like the popular “college for kids” day are good starting places. Once students enroll, our obligations to them do not end, as today’s post discusses.

Education writer Bree Hernandez takes a look at important new data suggesting that more college-age kids than ever before are suffering from mental illness.

THE BOULDER BEAT “BRIDGE BUILDING CONTEST FOR ENGINEERING WEEK”

November 19, 2012 (Alpine) -- Marshmallows and toothpicks taught Boulder Oaks Elementary students a lesson in engineering last week as engineers from UTC Aerospace System’s Aerostructures business came to celebrate Engineering Week with the children and serve as judges for the school-wide bridge building contest.

The annual Boulder Oaks Elementary Engineering Week is part of the school’s STEAM program emphasizing science, technology, engineering, arts & math.

 

Boulder Oaks Elementary welcomed visiting UTC Aerospace Systems engineers:  From L to R, Timothy Ronco- Thermodynamics Engineer, Kate Grabosky – New Program Supply Chain & EPO Community Outreach focal, Kurtis Mundell- Design Engineer, Jared Victor- Materials Engineer, Ryan Bolin- Stress Engineer

UPDATE ON LOCAL SCHOOL BONDS

By Bill Weaver

November 9, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – With all precincts counted but 375,000 absentee ballots remaining to be tallied, several local school bond measures appear to have passed, while others failed to win the required 55% majority.

Bond measures that appear to have won passage include San Diego Unified, Cajon Valley, Chula Vista, South Bay, and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College districts.

Those that appear headed to failure include Dehesa, Mountain Empire, and Ramona.

Below are the results as of last night, per San Diego County Registrar of Voters:

GROSSMONT-CUYAMACA COLLEGE DISTRICT LEADERS HAIL PASSAGE OF PROP V

By Bill Weaver

November 10, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—Leaders in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College are speaking out to thank voters for passing Prop V, a $398 million bond measure that passed by about 56.5 percent. 

“We’re pleased that voters understand the critical facilities and technology upgrades needed to better educate and train our students in today’s ultra-competitive world,” said Governing Board President Bill Garrett. 

Prop V will fund upgrades, repairs and renovations  to classrooms, roads, labs and infrastructure, including helping to meet the needs of our region's many veterans.

DEAD SCIENTISTS & EXPLORERS WAX MUSEUM AT BOULDER OAKS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

November 9, 2012 (Alpine) -- Last Friday, November 2, Marie Curie, John Muir, Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, Henry Ford, Orville Wright and Amelia Earhart were spotted at Boulder Oaks Elementary School in Alpine!  Fourth and fifth grade students from Mrs. Newcomb, Mrs. Morales and Mrs. Golden's classes brought famous figures back to life at the school's annual Dead Scientists and Explorers Wax Museum. 

TOP CAMPAIGN SPENDERS TAKE TOP OF VOTE TALLY IN ALPINE

Board majority to continue support for unification efforts

By Bill Weaver

November 7, 2012 (Alpine) -- The Alpine Union School District (AUSD) saw its top two campaign spenders become the winners of seats on its Board. Tim Caruthers was the top spender at almost $7,800, followed by  Joe Perricone, who spent $5,300.  Perricone got the most votes in the community, followed by Caruthers.

GOOD NEWS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS: CALIF. STATE UNIVERSITIES TO ROLL BACK TUITION HIKES DUE TO PASSAGE OF PROP 30

By Bill Weaver

November 8, 2012 (San Diego) –Tuition at 23 California State University campuses—including San Diego State University and Cal State San Marcos locally, will rescind a $249-per-semestser tuition fee hike that had taken effect in the fall term. Fees will now revert back to $5,472, the same rate as last year.

“We are hopeful that the passage of Proposition 30 will be the beginning of the state’s reinvestment in higher education,” CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed said in a statement issued yesterday.

INCUMBENTS ARE RETURNED TO LA MESA-SPRING VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD

By Bill Weaver

November 7, 2012 (La Mesa) — Incumbents Emma Turner, Psy.D. was re-elected, as was William "Bill" Baber, a local attorney, to the La Mesa-Spring Valley School Board. Both are Republicans and both have shown support for public education in their district.

PROPOSITION 30 PICKED UP A MAJOR WIN FOR EDUCATION FUNDING IN CA

By Bill Weaver

November 7, 2012 (San Diego)—Governor Jerry Brown has announced victory for Proposition 30. The ballot measure will raise income taxes on the wealthiest citizens in the state and temporarily increase the state sales tax by a quarter of a cent to fund K-12 schools, community colleges and state universities. Prop 30 is expected to raise more than $6 billion in revenue. If it had not passed, schools and colleges would have suffered significant trigger cuts in state appropriations.

INCUMBENT WOODS LOSING SEAT IN GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

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.

COULD GRAND JURY PROBE INTO GUHSD BOND MONIES EXTEND TO COUNCILMAN BILL WELLS?

Update: February 13, 2013:  Councilman Wells indicates that three months after this story ran, he has not been contacted by a Grand Jury and believes that he is not a target of the investigation. 

By Miriam Raftery

November 5, 2012 (El Cajon ) – Updated November 6, 2012 -- Three people, including two members of the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) board, have confirmed that a Grand Jury is investigating why money from Prop H and Prop U was not used to fund a new high school in Alpine as mandated by the bond language.  

El Cajon Councilman Bill Wells chaired the Prop H Citizens Bond Oversight Committee  (CBOC) and according to multiple witnesses, played a lead role in killing plans to build the district’s 12th high school in Alpine.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR NON-CITIZENS, CITIZENS AND AB540 STUDENTS

By Bill Weaver

October 29, 2012 (San Diego) –San Diego is home to immigrants and refugees from around the world.  The Mano A Mano Foundation has provided the following list of scholarships available to non-citizens as well as citizens and AB 540 students. AB540 is a California bill passed on October 12, 2001 that allows undocumented students who meet certain requirements to pay in-state tuition instead of out-of-state tuition in California's higher institutions. For more information see ab540.com.

EL CAJON VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL COMPLETES TWO MODERNIZED CLASSROOM BUILDINGS, GROSSMONT HIGH SCHOOL ADDS TENNIS COURTS

October 30, 2012 (El Cajon )--On Thursday, Oct. 25, El Cajon Valley High School celebrated the completion of its 700 North and 700 South classroom buildings with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and program showcase. The two 9,000-square-foot buildings were renovated to improve safety and quality and now provide well-equipped learning spaces for career technical training and art classes as well as outdoor spaces for displays, meetings and comfortable student access. Modernization of the building also featured video production studios and computer labs for students.

FORMER TEACHER ELANA LEVENS-CRAIG WANTS TO "GIVE BACK TO MY COMMUNITY" ON THE SANTEE SCHOOL BOARD

By Janis Mork

October 26, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) - Elana Levens-Craig is running against Gabriel Pina and Robin Fries for the Santee School Board Seat 4.   ECM has contacted all candidates; below is Levens-Craig's interview with ECM.

Levens-Craig says she “is focusing on the ABC’s: Academics (innovate and improve classrooms), Budget (protect students’ education from financial cuts), and Communication (involve the community with their schools).”

A LEARNING EXPERIENCE: CANDIDATES CLASH AT GUHSD FORUM

By Miriam Raftery

View full forum videos by Paul Kruze:

Video part 1, Video part 2

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.

POWAY UNIFIED SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES MEET IN SPIRITED DEBATE

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Tom Abbott

October 25, 2012 (Poway)-- Andy Patapow, Kimberly Beatty and Linda Vanderveen met in a spirited debate over the policies and procedures at the Poway Unified School District (PUSD). Both Patapow and Vanderveen are standing for reelection, while Beatty is running an outsider campaign.

From bonds to busing to ballot propositions, audience members learned where candidates stood in the forum co-sponsored by Poway Chamber of Commerce and the Green Valley Association.

FACT CHECK ON THE GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT CANDIDATES

By Miriam Raftery

October 25, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Numerous claims and accusations have been flying among candidates running for the Grossmont Union High School District, where the Board majority is reportedly the target of an ongoing Grand Jury investigation over allocation of bond funds.  Which candidates’ claims are true and which are not substantiated by the facts?   Scroll down to read the findings of our hard-working team of fact-checkers.

PROMISED ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL SPARKS DEBATE AT SCHOOL CANDIDATE FORUM

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.

SDSU GRADUATION RATES, AS WELL AS DIVERSITY AT ALL-TIME HIGHS

Students set new records of success on all fronts

October 22, 2012 (San Diego) – San Diego State University students have set new records in graduation and continuation rates. And new campus census numbers released last week show that SDSU continues to be a national leader in eliminating the “achievement gap” between students of color and their counterparts.

The six-year graduation rate, which is the national benchmark for graduation rates, is at an all-time high of 66.5 percent at SDSU, up from 65.7 percent last year. For students of color, that number is at a record 63.5 percent, an increase from 61.3 percent in 2011.

ECM HOSTS CANDIDATES FORUM FOR GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD TONIGHT

All six candidates have agreed to participate

By Miriam Raftery

October 22, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Want to learn more about  candidates running for the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) board?  

The public is invited to a GUHSD candidates forum on Monday, October 22 at 6:30 p.m. in La Mesa.  The League of Women Voters will moderate the forum, which is sponsored by East County Magazine. Audience members will have the opportunity to submit questions in writing and hear candidates’ views in this important race. 

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.

GARY WOODS SEEKS REELECTION TO GUHSD, AIMS TO INCREASE TECHNOLOGY IN SCHOOLS

Trustee defends stances on Alpine High and bond monies amid reported Grand Jury probe

By Janis Mork and Miriam Raftery

October 12, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)- Elected to the Grossmont Union High School District Board in 2008, Gary Woods, Ed.D., is a professor of psychology at Southern California Seminary who says he has been an advocate of modernizing high school campuses and bringing technology into classrooms, although he opposed bond measures that provided that funding and is staunchly against new taxes.

Other priorities include "risk students and graduation success, best practices in secondary education, business internships, character development and charter school reform."

HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS TO VISIT JOHNSON ELEMENTARY IN EL CAJON TODAY

October 16, 2012 (El Cajon)--The World Famous Harlem Globetrotters will be visiting Johnson Elementary School in El Cajon today to meet with students during two assemblies. They'll be teaching students about the "ABC*s of Bullying" - a Harlem Globetrotters pilot anti-bullying awareness program.

The ABC’s of Bullying Prevention program originated through partnership with the National Campaign to Stop Violence. Each year, the nonprofit organization hosts its Do the Write Thing Challenge.  Last year, 60,000 middle-school students wrote essays on violence in their lives—and the most frequent experiences described by students traced back to bullying.

GRAND JURY INVESTIGATION OF GUHSD BOARD ACTIONS LAUNCHED, TRUSTEE REVEALS

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.

GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT TO HOST 9TH ANNUAL "GOT PLANS?" CAREER & COLLEGE FAIR OCT. 20

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.

MOUNTAIN EMPIRE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION: CANDIDATES AND A BOND ISSUE ON BALLOT

By Ariele Johannson

October 12, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--In the Mountain Empire Unified School District school board race there are three seats up for election. Voters will also be asked whether to approve a bond measure for local schools.

The candidates currently sitting on the Board of Trustees at MEUSD are board President Tina Heimerdinger,  Jeffrey G. Morrison, and Tina Ambrose. Ambrose unopposed.  Heimerdinger is opposed by Tom Brady,attorney, in Trustee Area 6. Jeffrey G. Morrison is being challenged by Diane Yops, an educator and business owner, in Trustee Area 2. 

GENIUS TEEN RUNS FOR SCHOOL BOARD: ZACH MILLER HOPES TO BRING A STUDENT’S PERSPECTIVE TO THE GUHSD

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.”

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