Cajon Valley Union School District

CVUSD ASST. SUPERINDTENDENT PAINTS POSITIVE FINANCIAL FORECAST FOR DISTRICT AND OTHER LOCAL SCHOOLS, BASED ON GOVERNOR’S REVISED BUDGET

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

June 26, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Cajon Valley Union School District Assistant Superintendent Scott Buxbaum (photo, left) painted a positive financial forecast for the district at its Board of Trustees meeting on Jun 11, after attending a meeting in Sacramento with Governor Gavin Newsom.

The latest financial forecast based on the Governor’s May budget revision is good news not only for the CVUSD, but for all local public school districts. Newsom, a father of young children, has pledged to make public education funding a priority.  

According to Buxbaum, the May Revision builds off of Newsom’s “California for All” vision from January. Due to strong April tax revenues, Newsom was able to retain most of his proposals from January, and invest additional funds into programs he has envisioned as prioirities.

CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT MEETING BLOWS UP

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor; Editor Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

Photo: Board President Tamara Otero

June 11, 2019 (El Cajon) -- The high drama and hijinks which have been commonplace lately at Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) board meetings continued at the May 28th session. At one point the meeting was adjourned during a fracas among individuals outside the board room, overshadowing reports on district accomplishments. The action of adjourning, then reconvening the meeting for subsequent discussion and voting on agenda items raises new legal concerns.

Audio: 

Listen to audio: CVUSD meeting 5-28-19 adjourns in mid-session before reconvening
Excerpts of public comments at 5-28-CVUSD meeting including ECM editor MIriam Raftery and others
Reagles threatens Barto with recall on 5-3-19

CAJON VALLEY AGREES TO COMPLY WITH BROWN ACT ON MEETING RECORDINGS, BUT DRAGS FEET ON OTHER RECORDS REQUESTS

By Miriam Raftery

Listen to audios of CVUSD meetings from Dec.-March (scroll down)

Photos: unobtrusive recording device on tripod used by ECM reporter at two recent meetings does not obstruct views or traffic.

June 6, 2019 (El Cajon) – It took cease and desist letters sent by two attorneys to the Cajon Valley Union School District for ECM to obtain recordings of public meetings previously denied, along with assurances that our reporters will not be threatened for recording those meetings ourselves. But other important records requests remain pending beyond the time frames mandated by state law.  

More than five months after our initial Public Records Act request for tapes of public meetings, the Cajon Valley Union School District has turned over all but one recording from December 2018 through March 2019.  Miraculously, those include a Dec. 11, 2018 recording that the district previously informed ECM had been destroyed. The one missing audio file, for March 12, 2019, was not available to a technical difficulty, the district claims in a letter sent to Californians Aware attorney Terry Francke.  

The records were provided to Francke after the attorney notified the district that its refusal to provide copies of recordings violated the Ralph M. Brown Act (California’s public records act) to ECM reporter Paul Kruze and to board member Jill Barto.  The district’s purported destruction of the December recording after 30 days despite a records request made just one day after the meeting, as claimed by executive assistant Naomie Rodriguez, was also illegal, Francke informed the district.

The district sent its recordings only to Francke, with a short window to download copies, but never did provide copies directly to either Kruze or Barto, both have confirmed. Barto says the district has refused to provide CDs for any meeting prior to May, and that they told her they won’t provide CDs unless a request is made within 30 days of a meeting – backtracking off their vote in  late March to retain recordings for a year and make them available on CD, as ECM reported.

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29% OF CAJON VALLEY SCHOOLS ARE FLAGGED BY STATE AS NEEDING SUPPORT; SUPERINTENDANT SAYS STATE’S DASHBOARD MEASURES “WRONG METRICS”

For second year in a row, CVUSD schools are flagged by state for troublesome school performance issues.   

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

May 24, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Listening to Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) Superintendent  David Miyashiro’s “State of the Schools” address on Jan. 15, one might think that all of the district’s education programs are successful and that its student body is thriving. However, a report released in early December by the California Department of Education’s California Classroom Dashboard indicates that despite innovative career path programs, students at 8 of 27 district schools are not measuring up when it comes to college readiness.

ATTORNEY CORY BRIGGS REPRESENTS EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE IN ACTION AGAINST CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD

“Based on your agency’s history of deleting audio recordings of board meetings, it has become necessary for reporters to record the meetings because your agency cannot be trusted to carry out this basic governance function.Now that all board members are on notice of the fact that the public must perform this function, any member’s participation in a meeting at which the public has been thwarted in its efforts to make a recording will subject the member to criminal prosecution.” – Attorney Cory Briggs, in a letter to the CVUSD.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  ECM's recording device, a cell-phone sized recorder on a small tripod next to the front left seat, is clearly not obstructive or disruptive at the May 7 board workshop.

May 17, 2019 (El Cajon) – “Despite lawfully occupying open seats in the front  row, reporters have been threatened with arrest, removal, or both if they did not move to the back of the room,” states a letter sent by Attorney Cory Briggs of Briggs Law Corporation to Cajon Valley Union School District yesterday on behalf of ECM. His letter makes clear that such conduct is “flatly illegal.”

On May 7, Ryan Love, safety and security officer for the district, ordered ECM contributing editor Paul Kruze and editor Miriam Raftery to move to the back, where we explained that audio recordings would not turn out due to noise from an air conditioner and the audience. We refused to comply with this illegal request. 

On May 14, Love again demanded that Kruze move from the front row to the back, and Kruze again refused. Kruze says he was told that an El Cajon Police officer would be called to arrest him.

CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT OTERO FAILS TO DISCLOSE SON OWNS COMPANY THAT GOT $665,000 CONTRACT

Outbid contractor claims irregularities with bid process

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

April 30, 2019 (El Cajon) - A $655,000 construction contract for a new modular building at Los Coches Creek Middle School on Mar. 26 was awarded to Cajon Valley Union School District Board of Trustees President Tamara Otero’s son, Dryw Otero, owner of Otero Construction, Inc.   In total, 37 contractors “pulled plans” for the project and eight actually submitted bids.

Prior to the vote Tamara Otero was asked by fellow board member Jill Barto, “It looks like….is this your husband’s company?” Otero replied, “No,” and immediately brushed off the question, saying the internet connection to her computer on the dais is disconnected. (Barto says she asked about the family connections but her phrase, “and your family” was masked by Otero’s response.)

Tamara Otero is the mother to Dryw Ortero, the owner of Otero Construction, Inc., State Contractors License #1025227, according to the State of California, with offices located on the 8400 block of Magnolia Street in Santee. The young company has been in business less than two years, founded in April 2017.

Audio: 

Cajon Valley 3-26-2019

TRANSPARENCY SLATE RUNS FOR CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD

By Will Teach Yu

Special report: April 1, 2019 (El Cajon) – Promising a platform of transparency, accountability and better test scores, a trio of candidates has announced plans to challenge incumbents on the Cajon Valley Union school District board.  See their statements below:

CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD AMENDS POLICY ON ACCESS TO RECORDINGS OF PUBLIC MEETINGS—AFTER LEGAL DEMAND ON ECM’S BEHALF

CalAware warns district after CVUSD destroys requested school board meeting recordings

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Updated with CVUSD letter to CalAware)

March 28, 2019  (El Cajon) -- The Cajon Valley Union School District Board of Trustees voted 3-2 on Tuesday to change its policy on board meeting audio recordings. The action came after the district received a legal warning letter from Californians Aware (CalAware) regarding the district’s destruction of recordings from the Dec. and Nov. public meetings requested in a California Public Records Act request by East County Magazine in December.

Instead of destroying audio of board meetings after 30 days, the district will now keep them for one year and will make them available to the public on request on compact disc (CD). The measure, spearheaded by board trustee Jill Barto, was affirmed by Barto along with trustees Karen Clark-Meija and Jim Miller. Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) trustees President Tamara Otero and Jo Alegria voted “no” on the new policy.

The letter addressed to Otero accused the CVUSD of violating multiple sections of the California Government Code relating to its refusal to permit inspection and copying of audiotape recordings made by the District of open and public meetings. The government act violated is more commonly known as the “Ralph M. Brown Act” which legally obligates government agencies and bodies to abide by specific rules regarding open meetings and access to public documents.

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CAJON VALLEY UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT PARENTS GET TASTE OF FUTURE PLANS FOR SCHOOL SAFETY AND SECURITY

 

 

District releases audit of coordinated school safety plan

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Meeting recording provided by ECM: ECMCVUSDStudentSafety

March 11, 2019 (El Cajon)--Following a safety and security audit recently conducted by AECOM and DMB Consultants, two security engineering firms specializing in building security audits, the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) has been conducting a series of town meetings at local schools over the past month. The meetings are being held throughout the district to advise parents on what the district is doing to improve student safety and building security.

Meetings have so far taken place at Hillsdale Middle School, Grossmont Middle School, and Montgomery Middle School. Future meetings are set to take place at Cajon Valley Middle School on March 14,  Emerald Middle School on March 21, and Los Coches Creek Middle School on March 27, all at 6 p.m.

Audio: 

CAJON VALLEY UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT DESTROYS BOARD MEETING RECORDING DESPITE ECM PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST



Donna Frye, open government advocate, calls district’s actions “morally repugnant;” request follows negative state evaluation of CVUSD schools

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

February 20, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Some local government agencies including many school districts pride themselves on their transparency and openness towards local citizens. Others, such as the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD), would rather operate under a cloak of darkness.

Despite a legally submitted California Public Records Act (CPRA) request made by ECM for a copy of the recording for the Dec. 11, 2018 CVUSD board meeting, the district willfully destroyed the recording without fulfilling our request.

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CAJON VALLEY HOSTS SIX PUBLIC MEETINGS ON SCHOOL SAFETY

 

 

East County News Service

February 1, 2019 (El Cajon) – Cajon Valley Union School District invites parents to attend one or more of six school safety meetings where the district will share results of safety audits and recommendations. Participants will also engage with leaders from the El Cajon Police and Sheriff departments on immediate and long-term steps to maximize security and safety on campuses of students, teachers and staff.  

To attend, please RSVP to email@blackboard.com and complete this survey.  The meeting dates and locations are: 

CAJON VALLEY “WORLD OF WORK” PROGRAM FEATURED IN FORBES

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 20, 2018 (El Cajon) — Cajon Valley Union School District was recently featured in an article in Forbes, The World of Work - In Elementary School, highlighting the El Cajon district’s World of Work program by Tom Vander Ark of Getting Smart.

EL CAJON TEAMS UP WITH RADY CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL TO IMPLEMENT SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL PROGRAMMING

 

May 14, 2015 (El Cajon)--The City of El Cajon has teamed up with Rady Children’s Hospital for school pedestrian safety improvements.

CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT LAUNCHES NEW MULTILINGUAL ACADEMY

 

East County News Service

May 1, 2015 (El Cajon)  Cajon Valley Union School District announces launch of a multilingual program at the CVUSD Language Academy.  The program will offer students who speak English or Spanish as their first language the opportunity to learn to read, write, and communicate in English and Spanish, learn computer programming, and a fourth language.