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.
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.
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).”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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 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.
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.”
College awarded two of nine grants funded by state chancellor’s office
October 11, 2012 (El Cajon) – If Cuyamaca College grant writers were members of a college sports team, they would be basking in the glory of a triple-season winning streak. You’ve heard of the Dream Team? Meet Cuyamaca’s Green Team.
Since June 2009, the crew has had had every one of its 39 grant proposals funded for a total of $7.3 million to train hundreds of students for solid-paying, dependable jobs, including those in up-and-coming green industries. The grants have also funded pilot programs, which have since been expanded and modeled by other colleges.
By Thea Skinner
October 10, 2012 (San Diego's East County)--Proposition 38 would raise income taxes to fund K-12 education. he measure differs from Prop 30, the Governor’s education funding initiative also on the ballot, in several key ways.
Prop 38 increases taxes on low and middle income earners as well as those with higher incomes, while Prop 30' sincome tax raise targets only the wealthy. Prop 38 imposes restrictions on how education funds can be spent. Prop 38 is limited to K-12 funding, while Prop 30 also includes community colleges. Prop 38 raises taxes over a longer time period.
By Thea Skinner
Miriam Raftery also contributed to this story
October 10, 2012 (San Diego's East County)--Proposition 30 is the Schools and Safety Protection Act, also known as the temporary taxes to fund education. The measure aims to provide a stable source of funds for public education, which has seen budgets slashed severely in recent years. Local schools have seen teacher lay-offs and class sizes increase; colleges have severely cut back course offerings and some have even eliminated summer school.
Proposition 30 increases income taxes for seven years on Californian residents who earn over $250,000 a year or couples earning over $500,000 a year. It also increases sales taxes for residents of California by ¼ cent for four years. If passed, Prop 30 could raise $6 billion annually for community colleges and K-12 schools.
October 9, 2012 (San Diego) -- On the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum, a floating tribute to America’s past wars, the region’s community college leaders said dwindling budgets are affecting their ability to serve those returning from today’s conflicts and heading back to school.
Cindy Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, speaks at Tuesday’s news conference focusing on the needs of student veterans. Behind her are from left, Constance Carroll, chancellor of the San Diego Community College District; Justin Dile, a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves; Paul McNamara, a Palomar Community College District governing board member; Melinda Nish, superintendent/president of Southwestern College; and Francisco Rodriquez, superintendent/ president of MiraCosta College.
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.
October 8, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego County Taxpayers Association, a watchdog organization that looks out for citizens’ tax dollars, has given its support to Proposition V, the $398 million bond measure being sought on the Nov. 6 ballot by the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.
Education News and Notes
By Anat Tour, math teacher and children’s author/illustrator
October 8, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Often when we imagine the month of October, witches, goblins and pumpkins come to mind. Now imagine cabbages! The Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program offers a unique curriculum for 3rd grade students to get involved in the love of gardening and raise their environmental consciousness. Think these are small cabbages? Think again! The biggest cabbage grown weighed in at 65 pounds. Read more about these oversized, giant cabbages in this month.
October 5, 2012 (San Diego) -- Mid-October is Homecoming week for San Diego State University. This year’s homecoming theme is “Paint the Town Red”--something the Honorary Chair and Grand Marshall for the festivities – The Show – knows all about!
SDSU will host several events starting Sunday, Oct. 7 and leading up to the homecoming football game against the Colorado State Rams on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 at 3:45 p.m. at Qualcomm Stadium.
October 2, 2012 (East County, San Diego) -- As summer 2012 comes to an end for students, many projects are also ending as part of the Propositions H and U school bond program. Construction teams have been busy renovating campuses throughout Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) to provide ADA upgrades and construct new classrooms, special education suites and Career Technical Education (CTE) facilities.
SDSU is No. 8 nationally for least debt among graduates, in top 20 for ethnic diversity and top 100 overall
September 22, 2012 (San Diego) -- U.S. News & World Report’s annual “America’s Best Colleges 2013” ranks San Diego State University No. 8 in the nation for students graduating with the least amount of debt. Among universities in California, SDSU ranks No. 1 for students with the least debt. According to the magazine, 44 percent of SDSU students graduate with no debt at all and the average amount of a student’s debt is $16,400.
September 21, 2012 (El Cajon) -- The Grossmont College Adult Reentry Program will host “Listen Up,” a free presentation on improving listening skills, from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at the Career Center on the El Cajon campus. Speaking will be Roxanne Tuscany, communications speech professor and director of the college’s speech and debate team.