Grossmont Union High School District

JUDGE SETS TRIAL DATE FOR DEC. 4 ON ALPINE SUIT AGAINST GROSSMONT OVER HIGH SCHOOL

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 11, 2015 (Alpine) – Alpine residents seeking to force the Grossmont Union High School District to turn over $70 million in bond funds and land acquired for construction of an Alpine High School will finally have their day in court.  Judge Joel Pressman ruled against Grossmont on Friday, refusing to dismiss the case and requiring that the money be set aside pending outcome of the trial.

The proceeding will be an administrative trial before Judge Pressman set for December 4th with the Alpine Union School District and the Alpine Taxpayers for Bond Accountability squaring off against the GUHSD. A 3-judge appellate court panel previously denied Grossmont’s request for a stay to stop the proceedings, a move affirmed Friday by Pressman. The County Grand Jury also found that the district did not live up to its obligation to Alpine taxpayers and recommended that the district build the high school or turn over the money to the Alpine Union High School District to build the school.  The district's board majority defied the Grand Jury and did neither.

The plaintiffs contend that Grossmont misallocated millions of dollars from Propositions U and H,  spending much of the $700 million measures approved by voters for projects not listed in the bond while refusing to build the Alpine High School that was a priority project in the bond measures.

COURT RULES FOR GROSSMONT DISTRICT IN ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL CASE

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 7, 2015 (Alpine) – Superior Court Judge Joel Pressman has issued a tentative ruling in the Alpine Union School District’s lawsuit against the Grossmont Union High School District over funding for an Alpine high school.

SDG&E WORKERS FIND HUMAN REMAINS AT ALPINE HS SITE

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 25, 2015 (Alpine) – Homicide detectives are investigating the discovery of human remains in Alpine, the Sheriff’s department reports. According to Lieutenant John Maryon, it appears the remains have been there for quite some time.

CUYAMACA COLLEGE PROFESSOR WINS STATEWIDE CIVIC EDUCATION AWARD

 

March 4, 2015 (El Cajon)-College economics professor Anthony “Tony” Zambelli  has won the Roy L. Erickson Civic Education Award from the California Council for the Social Studies, an annual honor given to educators, community leaders or legislators for promoting civic education in California schools. Zambelli will receive the award March 7 in Oakland at the council’s annual conference.

HIGH SCHOOL CUSTODIAN IN LAKESIDE ARRESTED FOR ARRANGING SEXUAL LIAISON WITH A 14-YEAR-OLD STUDENT

 

February 20, 2015 (Lakeside) – A 21-year-old substitute custodian with the Grossmont Union High School District was arrested yesterday after texting a 14-year-old female student to arrange an off-campus sexual liaison. Deputies from the Sheriff’s Sexual Assault Unit and Santee Sheriff’s station are continuing the investigation to determine if there are any additional victims.

JUDGE DENIES GROSSMONT DISTRICT REQUEST TO HALT INJUNCTION

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 31, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Superior Court Judge Joel Pressman this week denied a request by the Grossmont Union High School District, which sought a stay to halt a preliminary injunction issued to protect bond funds for construction of an Alpine high school.

JUDGE RULES IN ALPINE’S FAVOR ON HIGH SCHOOL FUNDING

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 23, 2015 (Alpine) – The Grossmont Union High School District must set aside $14 million in bond money immediately and another $28 million by January 2016 to fund building a high school in Alpine. Superior Court Judge Joel Pressman issued the ruling Thursday, granting an injunction sought by Alpine Taxpayers for Bond Accountability.

Priscilla Schreiber, the only member of the Grossmont Board who has consistently supported building the high school in Alpine, told East County Magazine, “I’m thrilled.” 

But a statement from the district claims that other schools in the district will not get needed improvements due to the court’s decision.  The district indicates it will be back in court January 28 filing for a stay in hopes of halting the injunction.

TENTATIVE VICTORY FOR ALPINE IN LAWSUIT OVER FUNDS FOR HIGH SCHOOL

 

East County News Service

January 21, 2015 (Alpine)—Superior Court Judge Joel Pressman has submitted a preliminary ruling ordering the Grossmont Union High School District to set aside bond funds for construction of a new high school in Alpine. 

The judge sent his ruling to attorneys for the district and to Alpine Taxpayers for Bond Accountability, which sought the injunction to protect taxpayer money approved for the high school.

SANTA BRINGS GIFTS TO HOMELESS KIDS-WITH HELP FROM FIREFIGHTERS AND MAYOR WELLS

 

December 22, 2014 (El Cajon) – Community members teamed up to bring joy to homeless children in a special Christmas party at the East County Transitional Living Center on Saturday. Santa made a special visit to pass out gifts, aided by CAL FIRE firefighters.

LEGAL WRANGLING CONTINUES IN ALPINE SUIT AGAINST GROSSMONT DISTRICT

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 7, 2014 (Alpine)—The Alpine Tavern & Grill hosts an “Injunction Function” last week, donating 20% of the evening’s proceeds to help fund a lawsuit against the Grossmont Union High School District over its failure to build an Alpine High School despite two bond measures approved by voters.

LAWSUIT AGAINST GUHSD OVER FUNDS FOR ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL TO BE HEARD IN COURT DEC. 5

 

East County News Service

November 22, 2014 Alpine) – Alpine Union School District (AUSD) and the Alpine Taxpayers for Bond Accountability are seeking an injunction to stop the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) from spending money that plaintiffs contend should be set aside to build a high school in Alpine.  The case will be heard on December 5 at 1:30 p.m. in San Diego Superior Court, Dept. C-66 by Judge Joel Pressman.   View the lawsuit here.

The suit contends that the Grossmont district is “unlawfully wasting school bond revenues approved by the voters for an Alpine high school” by spending the money from Prop H or U on other unauthorized projects.  However the Alpine plaintiffs seek only to block bond fund use on any new or future construction projects – not interrupt any pending or contracted for construction projects.

JIMMIE JOHNSON CHAMPIONS GRANTS AWARDED TO LOCAL SCHOOLS

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 20, 2014 (El Cajon)--Once again, six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has proven himself to be a hero for education in his hometown, El Cajon.

The Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education has awarded $556,623 in grants for 2014—including grants to three schools in the Grossmont Union High School District.  The local grants include

  • Chaparral High School - $29,482 to create a computer lab that will augment the program at Chaparral through the use of online learning and digital arts instruction.
  • El Capitan High School - $23,000 to purchase new laptops for teachers so they can be better equipped to use digital/paperless resources and to teach students how to use the online resources and apps available to them.
  • Grossmont High School - $80,458 to integrate technology and foster collaboration and making connections between the arts and core academic classes.

Other grants went to schools in North Carolina, Okalahoma, and to Loma Portal Elementary School in San Diego.

READER’S EDITORIAL: NEW DIRECTION NEEDED AT GROSSMONT SCHOOL BOARD

 

 

“The claim of the administration and teachers' union that an Alpine separation would result in insolvency is a Halloween season scare tactic.” – Michael Waterman

 

By Michael Waterman, an East County attorney and writer

 

October 29, 2014 (La Mesa)--The state of the Grossmont School Board is not good. It's abysmal. Last year the County Grand Jury essentially charged the board majority with duping voters over the promised Alpine High School. In August the County Board of Education voted 5-0 to recommend to the State Board of Education that Alpine be allowed to break away from the District and build its own high school. This month a lawsuit was filed against the District which aims to stop bond spending on new projects until the State Board weighs in on the Alpine secession petition and a concomitant division of assets between Grossmont and Alpine.

ALPINE TAXPAYERS AND ALPINE SCHOOL DISTRICT SUE GROSSMONT HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

Forum on unification of Alpine, Grossmont districts set for Oct. 20 in Alpine

 

East County News Service

October 17, 2014 (Alpine) – Two lawsuits have been filed against the Grossmont Union High School District this week over its failure to fund construction of an Alpine High School. The litigation was filed by Alpine Taxpayers for Bond Accountability (ATBA) along with individual Alpine taxpayer plaintiffs who allege waste and misuse of Propositions H and U bond funds under the California Code of Civil Procedure. The ATBA law suit was filed simultaneously with an action by the Alpine Union School District (AUSD). Both suits seekan injunction to prevent the further expenditure of Prop H and Prop U bond funds until a decision is rendered by the State Board of Education in the coming months on how GUHSD assets will be allocated with regard to Alpine’s proposed unification of its school district. 

Amid the controversy, a forum on the proposed unification of the GUHSD and Alpine Union School District organized by supporters of unification is scheduled for Monday, October 20th at 6:30 p.m. at Alpine Elementary School’s auditorium, 1950 Alpine Blvd. in Alpine.

GUHSD SUPERINTENDENT ISSUES STATEMENT ON UNIFICATION; ALPINE EDUCATION LEADER RESPONDS WITH REBUTTAL

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: GUHSD Superintendent Ralf Swenson

September 18, 2014 (Alpine)—The Grossmont Union High School District Board (GUHSD) has passed a resolution opposing the proposed Alpine unification initiative.  Now, Superintendent Ralf Swenson has issued a statement to media voicing disappointment that a County committee has approved the unification measure and sent it on to the State Board of Education to take action. He wants to see all voters in the district have a say on unification, not just voters in Alpine. 

In his letter, Swenson claims a unified Alpine district won’t be able to afford to build and operate a high school offering programs comparable to those in the Grossmont district but insists that the GUHSD can’t afford to build the school, either.  Moreover, he  claims that the GUHSD remains 2,400 students below the “trigger” that the district has set for enrollment and that further declines are projected, making the likelihood that the district would ever build the promised 12th high school for Alpine appear to be virtually zero.

His letter has sparked a heated response, including a rebuttal from education leader Bill Weaver debunking dubious claims made by the Superintendent. Weaver has previously co-chaired education and business commitees for both the East County and Mountain Empire Chambers of Commerce.

GROSSMONT LEARNS A LESSON: COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION VOTES TO SUPPORT UNIFICATION OF ALPINE DISTRICT

 

 

View a video of the complete San Diego County Board of Education meeting on the unification plan: http://stream.sdcoe.net/wc/boardmeeting081314/

By Miriam Raftery and Bill Weaver

August 17, 2014 (Alpine)--The County Board of Education provided a learning experience Wednesday to the Grossmont Union High School District:  If you ignore the will of voters and spend off bond money slated for a new Alpine high school on other projects, there are consequences.

DID THE GUHSD PUSH OUT A MEMBER OF ITS BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE TO SILENCE TOUGH QUESTIONS?

Grossmont CBOC Member Nick Marinovich Resigns After Pressure From Asking Tough Questions

By Sharon Penny

July 13, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--The Grossmont Union High School District’s (GUHSD) Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) serves on behalf of  San Diego County taxpayers to  “independently review the planning and execution of the Proposition H and Proposition U bond programs to validate to the public and the Governing Board that bond funds are spent within the intent of the bond measure.” East County Magazine has raised questions over problems with the CBOC’s watchdog role in a radio interview a few months ago.

Since his appointment to CBOC in June 2013, Nick Marinovich has a history of questioning the GUHSD Board about what many view as its inadequate responses for plans for an Alpine High School (funded by Proposition U) and for not properly addressing the Grand Jury’s report criticizing the Boardm as ECM has reported.

Effective June 19, Marinovich “resigned” from the CBOC. GUHSD Board member Priscilla Schreiber has told East County Magazine that she believes Marinovich was ”indirectly forced” to resign due to his probing questions and failure of the board to respond to his follow-up efforts.

NEXT HEARING ON UNIFICATION OF ALPINE DISTRICT MAY 7 IN EL CAJON

 

April 30, 2014 (El Cajon) – A petition has been filed with the County Board of Education that would allow Alpine families to shift from the Grossmont Union High School District into an expanded, or unified, Alpine Union School District that would serve grades K-12.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING APRIL 29: PROPOSED UNIFICATION OF ALPINE UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT

April 19, 2014 (Alpine) – A public hearing on proposed unification of the Alpine Union School District will be held in Alpine on April 29 at 6 p.m. in the Alpine Elementary School auditorium. The hearing will be conducted by the San Diego County Board of Education.

GOLDEN ARTISTRY TO HOST 6TH ANNUAL COMPETITION AWARDS NIGHT AND ARTS BENEFIT MAY 2

 

By Nicolee Hill          

April 1, 2014

April 15, 2014 (La Mesa)-- Master Goldsmith and Jewelry Designer, Terry Whyte of Golden Artistry Jewelry Design is hosting this annual competition to be held in conjunction with Golden Artistry’s 30th anniversary. The event will be held on May 2, 2014 from 5:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. at the La Mesa Woman's Club, 5220 Wilson, La Mesa , CA 91942. Numerous local vendors and restaurants will be donating gifts and services to be raffled off. In addition, Terry Whyte will auction off one of his original pieces of jewelry and the Grand Prize winning design.  All proceeds will go to the Golden Artistry Foundation which will disperse funds to local schools’ jewelry programs and to the internships at Golden Artistry.  Members of the community are encouraged to participate in this event.

GROSSMONT SCHOOL DISTRICT IGNORES GRAND JURY, VOTES TO OPPOSE UNIFICATION FOR ALPINE FAMILIES

 

 

 

By Nadin Abbott

April 10, 2014 (El Cajon) --Think of it as a contested divorce.

With a vote of four to one, the Grossmont Unified High School District (GUHSD) board made its intent clear. The majority does not wish to allow Alpine parents and students to leave the GUHSD and join forces with the Alpine Union School District. Board Members Robert Shield, Richard Hoy, Jim Kelly and Jim Stieringer voted against unification, while Board Member Priscilla Schreiber cast the lone vote in favor. 

Unification would allow the Alpine district to become a K-12 district, adding high school students so that the AUSD could build the long-promised high school that Grossmont has failed to build.  Not even a scathing Grand Jury report has been able to prod GUHSD members into taking action. The Grand Jury admonished the board to either agree to build the high school by the end of last year, or cooperate with unification efforts. Instead, the board has done neither.

UNIFICATION OF ALPINE SCHOOLS TO K-12 MODEL MOVES TO NEXT STEP

 

Public Hearings to be held on April 29 and May 7

By Sharon Penny

On the evening of March 12, the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) board members convened a committee meeting for transmittal of the petition to unify the Alpine Union School (AUS) District. 

Alpine residents successfully submitted a petition meeting all requirements to convert the K-8 Alpine Union School District to a K-12 Alpine Unified School District, which would then include a future high school in Alpine (http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/15043).

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.

IS THE CITIZENS BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE FULFILLING ITS WATCHDOG ROLE OVER THE GUHSD BOARD?

 

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.  

GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT ANNOUNCES QUARTERLY CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM UPDATES




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.

HOOKAH, MARIJUANA USE INCREASES AMONG LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

 

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.

GUHSD ISSUES VAGUE STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO GRAND JURY REPORT ON ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL

 

"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:

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