We understand that there may be (again) a declared "delay" of the 12th GUHSD HS startup. This will effectively kill this project forever. -- Bill Weaver
By Bill Weaver
February 1, 2011 (Alpine)--How could the upcoming Feb 10th GUHSD Governing Board meeting’s discussions and decisions affect our future high school students, and impact our elementary school districts?
There could be a significant negative impact on the hoped for growth of potential ADA funds, and new student populations as we hope for growth within the school districts, especially affecting Alpine and Blossom Valley if our expected and anticipated new high school is taken away. Growth brings prosperity. It creates opportunities for new jobs, increased home and property values, a stronger school tax base, and stimulates our economy.
In Southern California (our paradise), population growth is inevitable over time, and growth in our economy will return. Presently we have tough economics, and a depressed business climate, our area is suffering. We have flat, even declining growth. We are in a recession. But this is temporary, and our economy will turnaround, and growth will return. We must prepare for a turnaround, even cause the turnaround, and expect a rebound as a resulting effect. Before this turnaround, we will see a swing out of recession towards inflation. Costs will go up. Times will get tougher, but afterwards stability will return. Then we will let the good times roll again. To prepare, and cause this, we need to invest in our educational system. Invest in us.
Our Grossmont Union HS District has been teasing us with the prospects of having our own local high school, for serving the greater Alpine and Blossom Valley area. The GUHSD has given us hope, and taken it away... many times over. We understand that there may be (again) a declared "delay" of the 12th GUHSD HS startup. This will effectively kill this project forever. A "delay" is hitting the "easy button" by the GUHSD. It is the easy way to avoid decisions that should be made now, by the GUHSD ADMINISTRATION and BOARD.
Now is the time to give this issue its due process. The 12th HS has been a pawn for too long... 15 years running. Dating back to before the GUHSD’s 11th comprehensive high school campus (Steele Canyon Charter High School) was built. More 12th HS delays will likely cause problems for the GUHSD beyond their comprehension. This is expected fact. The GUHSD seems afraid to take this bull by the horns and wrestle it to a victory. GUHSD Asst Superintendent (Business Services) Scott Patterson has evidently self-determined that the GUHSD cannot afford to open and operate this new 12th HS. Quite the opposite is actually true, The GUHSD cannot afford not to open and operate this new 12 high school.
Why? We have probed Alpine area parents asking the question; what if this new HS is not built? The answer is that many, perhaps hundreds, will look outside the district over the next several years for alternatives to the GUHSD. We've checked with High Tech High, with private schools, charter alternatives and we know that well over a hundred (perhaps 2 or 3 hundred) Alpine area students will seek to attend those alternatives. Many already do. We have many students enrolled at those alternatives already, such as Coronado HS, to access their magnet and arts curriculum program. Some are planning to go to the "Big Picture HS" on the Mesa College Campus.
The GUHSD could lose much greater Alpine and Blossom Valley support. We are 5% + of the Grossmont school district... significant, and we are the Viejas and Sycuan tribes, the homelands of the Kumeyaay Native American Indians, aka. the Diegueno Indians, the Sovereign Kumeyaay Nation, who attend our local area elementary schools. The GUHSD could lose much average daily attendance (ADA) state funding, and other potential funds... maybe adding up to over $1,000,000 annually. Not to mention (but I will) that If the GUHSD builds the 12th HS, with added capacity for growth, it will likely bring in many new area students, with new ADA, and new other potential new funding to the school district.
A new 12th GUHSD Alpine and Blossom Valley HS will gain those that want State-of-Art education technology that doesn't exist elsewhere... technology that a new ground up designed HS would have! Many Alpine parents moved here thinking they were getting a high school... there will be families move to Poway, or elsewhere, our families want a new local high school, the one already being paid for under Prop's H and U! This is not a threat to the GUHSD... It will happen families will leave. District students will go elsewhere.
This New 12th Alpine/BV serving HS will bring in new students, and keep current in-district GUHSD students from bailing, and attending schools outside of district. The $1,000,000 or $2,000,000 that they could see disappear, will more than account for the needed funds to operate a 12th HS. Remember that 85% of operational overhead is teachers and staff. Salary and benefits... if Granite Hills HS (where our local students are now mostly crammed) is reduced by 1000 kids, they move to the Alpine/BV HS. That overhead and budget money moves also.
Then they have fewer overheads, less overcrowding, and fewer safety concerns at the GHHS campus, with far fewer classrooms to maintain, fewer student and faculty parking problems, the list goes on and on. The cost to operate the new HS is only 15% of a schools overhead roughly. This new school will be far more efficient to operate! The cost per student will be significantly lower because of lower energy costs, landscape costs (LEED efficiencies), janitorial costs, etc. This new high school will be much cheaper to operate than the older campuses. Beyond comprehension, ask their architects... I have!! Under the previous Superintendent, (Robert Collins) I was a member of the GUHSD 12th HS Design Team and was privileged to have this information provided to me.
The GUHSD is thinking about delaying this 12th high school project again. They are not thinking this through in a logical way. To not build this new high school, to delay it, or to keep it small makes little good sense. Losing this HS will hurt us all. We need this new and hi-tech, state-of-the-art, 21st Century ready high school to help turn our economy around, and to help prepare for inevitable long-term growth in our area. Please e-mail email@example.com to discus this further. Better yet, e-mail me, and come to the next GUHSD Governing Board meeting on Thursday, February 10th. Hope to see you there at 5:45 PM, its’ decision time. See this website to electronically proclaim your support for the12th High School; www.12thHighSchool.com. Thank you!
Bill Weaver is Chairman of the GUHSD's 12th High School Committee. 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, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.