"Alpine could be the first of a district-wide peel off! This GUHSD Governing Board needs a wake-up call." -- Bill Weaver
By Bill Weaver, GUHSD Governor Board candidate and parent
The current Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) Board majority, which includes up for re-election incumbent Dr. Gary Woods, has shot themselves in the foot with recent bad policy decisions. They claim declining enrollment, and loss of Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funds as the justifying basis.
The GUHSD Board has passed a resolution to not move ahead with the 12th High School, until California State ADA funding returns to the higher 2007/08 levels. This has the Alpine Union School District, and the Alpine High School Citizens Committee, currently mounting an effort to pull out of the GUHSD.
The blame for the Grossmont Union High School District’s substantial loss of enrollment falls squarely on the shoulders of this school board’s irrational decision not to build a 12th high school in Alpine despite voters twice approving bond measures to fund it (Prop H $274M-2004 and Prop U - $417M – 2008). The district is losing students to nearby charter high schools because parents seek a higher quality education for their kids, as well as schools closer to home.
Of the 11 GUHSD high schools, six actually gained enrollment. The real enrollment decline is revealed in just the other five schools – El Cajon Valley, Mt. Miguel, Monte Vista, El Cap, and West Hills. The first three of these schools have large minority English-as-second language populations and most have low-test scores. Together these 3 account for a decline of 1,223 students out of 10,068 here – a whopping 12.1% decrease. Mt. Miguel High School alone lost 452 students or 23.3%, which means this one school accounted for 42% of the entire enrollment decline from 2007/08. This is a socio-economic shift, not a demographic decline.
What all of this highlights is the colossal stupidity of not going forward with the one bond project that would actually attract new students and add ADA revenues to GUHSD – the Alpine high school. As the Boundary Committee report pointed out, the new state-of-the-art school would easily add about 500 students (including Steele Canyon transfers and new students), literally wiping out nearly half of the GUHSD enrollment decline. Instead, the Grossmont majority and GUHSD Superintendent Ralf Swenson are reaping what they have sown – a high school district that is in decline.
Now the District is on the verge of driving away another 1200 students, since fed-up Alpine parents are seeking to break away from the GUHSD entirely by unifying the Alpine School District (currently K-8) to include a high school of their own.
When the Alpine high school district unification ultimately succeeds, then we might see the day when the entire GUHSD implodes and comes to an end. Alpine could be the first of a district-wide peel off! This GUHSD Governing Board needs a wake-up call.
The opinions in this editorial reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact email@example.com.