READER'S EDITORIAL: JOIN PETITION DRIVE FOR ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL TO BE BUILT THROUGH UNIFICATION OF AUSD

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By Bill Weaver
 
July 30, 2012 (Alpine) -- An Alpine School District Unification Drive Has Begun. It is predicted that if the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) itself builds an Alpine High School, there will be millions of dollars that will be gained by the GUHSD, via a recovery of current LOST students, and some gained new students. If the GUHSD does not build it, and the Alpine Unified School District does, these millions from new student revenues will flow into the Alpine Unified School District (AUSD).

This revenue growth happens under the recovery predictions of the GUHSD's own professional demographer. Mr. Vince O'Hara, GUHSD Demographer also in 1996, correctly predicted Steele Canyon High School’s (SCHS) student inflow. He under-predicted to be conservative. SCHS growth rate exceeded his predictions. SCHS reached 2000 students in only 4 years after it opened. Today it is about 2300 students. Negotiating the divorce of Alpine from the GUHSD would entitle the community of Alpine to approximately $80 to $110 million dollars. That is Alpine's reported share of Grossmont's assets.
 
Unification is the most likely means for getting Alpine its own area serving comprehensive high school. This effort has begun with a petition drive to bring about the unification of the Alpine Union Elementary School District, which allows it to include a high school. A successful effort is expected to bring millions of new money into Alpine. This will be money that is lost by the Grossmont Union High School District. The GUHSD will also lose many of its best academically inclined students, many stellar academicians who are students from the greater Alpine region.
 
The first and most important task is getting signatures on a Unification Petition. At least 2,500 signatures of Alpine and Harbison Canyon registered voters are required. Contact Joe or Leslie Perricone at “cmakers1@cox.net” to get unification petitions and instructions.
 
The current effort for making a unified high school from within the existing elementary district is happening because of the abandonment of the new high school project (HS12) by recent GUHSD Governing Board actions. The final blow that is expected to kill the HS12 is planned at one upcoming 2012 GUHSD Board meeting. Politics will plays its hand when they actually kill the Prop H and Prop U ($697 million total), dual initiative headlined HS12 project.
 
Dr. Gary Woods will have the determining vote. Let us all vote against Dr. Gary Woods in November. The governing board majority threesome, which includes Gary Woods, is making many fiscally bad policy decisions, and is hurting our GUHSD’s financial wellness.
 
Alpine is not greedy in desiring a new high school. Alpine only wants its already twice bonded, and voter approved high school (there are millions that have already been invested on site plans, area preparation, and architectural work, and the CA Dept of Architecture plan review fees are already paid, also unbelievable of GUHSD not building HS12; the district displaced homeowners by threat of eminent domain).
 
We know: build it and the students will come, both locally and from afar, making the financial loss to the GUHSD, another GUHSD misstep. Once opened by the AUSD, the Alpine High School will become “Grossmont’s Folly.”
 
Alpine High School student predictions are safely conservative also. Six hundred Alpine students now attend the GUHSD, and 300 more attend Steele Canyon Charter HS. Two hundred or so go elsewhere. See the 12th Alpine High expected student recovery report for yourself on the GUHSD website. Understand the increased revenue expectation to WHOMEVER builds a comprehensive Alpine area high school. Go to the Grossmont Union HS Districts own website homepage at www.GUHSD.net, then click on the right side near the top, below the header, on this titled link “School Boundaries”, then click “Boundary Committee Historical Documents”, then click the report titled “Estimated Impact_DistrictPop_Recovery”. Here you will find much more detailed student growth info, and the conservative estimates or predictions.
 
Ask this question, ”Why has the GUHSD Governing Board ignored this data of gained students and revenue?”
 
Contact Joe or Leslie Perricone at “cmakers1@cox.net” to get unification petitions and instructions. The goal is to have all Petitions in by Labor Day.
 
The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contacteditor@eastcountymagazine.org