High school supporters rally, prepare for board meet
6pm, Thursday, Feb. 10th, 2011
at East County Regional Education Center
ALPINE —- Supporters seeking a full-scale Alpine/Blossom Valley high school that would be built now are urging people to attend the Feb. 10 Grossmont Union High School District Board meeting.
The board could decide at its 6 p.m. meeting at the East County Regional Education Center in El Cajon to delay getting construction bids for a small new high school, in spite of voters passing two bonds that included money to build a local school now.
More than 300 people packed a Feb. 2 rally in Alpine favoring a full high school that would accommodate up to 1,600 students from Alpine, Blossom Valley, Harbison Canyon, Crest, Dehesa and the Viejas and Sycuan tribal reservations.
“The rally was very successful,” Bill Weaver, chairman of the Alpine High School Citizens Committee, said later. “The majority of the people there understood the problems, the possibility that the district may decide to delay this school.”
Weaver said he expects parents and supporters to “pack the room” Thursday before the Grossmont Union High School District board meeting. It starts promptly with public comment at 6 p.m. at the regional center at 924 E. Main St. in El Cajon.
“If this doesn’t get done, it’s for one reason and one reason only,” emcee Mark Price told the rally crowd. “They’ve (officials) made a political decision to once again tell Alpine to take a hike.”
Concerned that the school the board has proposed won’t meet local needs, community supporters and leaders also have been asking area residents and organizations to sign a resolution seeking a revised construction budget for the project.
Families in Alpine, Blossom Valley and the surrounding area have always had to send their teens to high schools up to 15 miles away in El Cajon, Rancho San Diego and Lakeside.
That has been hazardous, even occasionally fatal; takes away from family time and affects local property values and businesses, according to the local unified school movement supporters.
The school board is now proposing a $65 million high school that would accommodate 800 students.
The unified movement, which includes the Alpine Union School District and the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce, has been quick to point out that there is $85 million available for a full school that would meet all the educational needs.
And a new school won’t increase district expenses, school supporters maintain.
“The money follows the kids,” speaker Sal Casamassima told the crowd at a Feb. 2 school rally that filled the Alpine Elementary School auditorium. “It goes with them to the new school. So do the teachers.”
Many adults and older youngsters at the rally were eager to learn more about what is needed to get a full school now and how they can help.
Strategy was discussed as well as the facts and history of the local high school movement.
Dean Thornton of Alpine was one of many parents with his children, twin boys, at the rally.
“I feel a little bit better,” Thornton said afterwards. “I know there’s a lot of work ahead. I plan to go to the board meeting.”