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GUHSD Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) Meeting – January 31, 2018

Grossmont Union High School District Proposition H/U Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee Meeting (CBOC)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Grossmont Union High School District Office Conference Room

5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

 

VIEW AGENDA HERE

CBOC Agenda January 2018

*Submitted by: Louis Russo louisfrusso@gmail.com

GUHSD School Choice Application (Open Enrollment / School Transfer) Deadline is March 2, 2018

Dear GUHSD Parents,

 

This notice is for parent/guardians of students wishing to request a school transfer for the 2018-19 school year.   The window of opportunity to submit a School Choice application, once called Open Enrollment is currently open and will close on March 2, 2018 at 4:00 PM.  To be considered for a School Choice transfer we must receive your application by this deadline.

To submit your request(s), log into your Infinite Campus Portal account, click on the School Choice tab located to the left of the screen and make your selection(s).  You may submit up to 4 requests.  Once you are finished, click on the Submit Applications button and log out of your Portal account.

If you have any questions about the School Choice process or need assistance, please visit the district website or call Application Support at (619) 956 – HELP (4357).  Due to high call volume we may be unable to answer your call right away.  Please leave a detailed voicemail and we will get back to you the next day or sooner.

Thank you.

Application Support, ETS
Grossmont Union High School District

Letter to the EDITOR: To All the Alpiners That Want an Alpine High School, “DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED”!

By George Barnett

To all you Alpiners that want an Alpine high school, “Do not be discouraged”! 26 of your friends and neighbors and children traveled to Sacramento last week (read story here) to present our case before the State Board of Education (SBE),  The SBE had much sympathy and support for Alpine having its own high school.  It also harshly admonished Grossmont, and told Grossmont it had to repair a breech of trust Grossmont caused with Alpine.

Much more important, the State Board of Education suggested two clear and viable alternate routes to an Alpine high school; both of which it would support.

More on that later…..But keep your chins up!  I believe we will have an Alpine high school sooner than one might think.

 

Submitted By George Barnett 619-659-0345

EMAIL ME HERE

 

 

DOUBLE BLOW: Court Ruling and State Decision AGAINST UNIFICATION Knock Down Hopes for ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL

(Shared from East County Magazine) http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/double-blow-court-ruling-bond-funds-and-state-decision-against-unification-knock-down-hopes-alpine

By Paul Kruze; Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

January 21, 2018 (Alpine) — Just as students returned to school after winter break last week, lawyers for the Alpine Union School District (AUSD), Alpine Taxpayers for Bond Accountability and Grossmont Union High School District returned to court in front of a three-judge tribunal headed by Associate Justice Patricia D. Benke of the 4th District California Superior Court of Appeals.

But a week later, the court panel upheld an earlier ruling by Judge Pressman against Alpine, agreeing that the GUHSD need not keep millions of dollars set aside for an Alpine High School that now may never be built, despite previous bond measures approved by voters that included funds for the school. Then on Friday, the State Board of Education denied Alpine’s unification petition that would have enabled the AUSD to build the high school. The double losses may prove to be knock-out blows for the hard-fought effort to bring a high school to Alpine.

The appeal was filed last spring after a trial judge ruled that the GUHSD was under no obligation to build a high school as it had promised to the Alpine School District (AUSD) because an enrollment trigger of 23,245 students in the Grossmont district had technically not been reached “at the time of release of request for construction bids,” according to Grossmont’s argument.

At a hearing where cameras and audio recording devices were not allowed, attorneys for the AUSD and a local taxpayers group, Alpine Taxpaters for Bond Accountability (ATBA), argued that Judge Joel Pressman had erred in his decision. (See official recording obtained from the court above.)

Attorney Jon R. Williams from the law firm Williams Lagmin LLP, representing AUSD, said that the meaning and intention of Proposition U, a ballot measure which was supposed to fund the measure, had never been tried in court. They said that the GUHSD had effectively started construction by purchasing six parcels of real property, leveling and demolishing homes where the high school was to be built on former ranch lands.

“We’re talking here about heavy machinery out there at the site actually knocking down homes, moving earth, doing work which is typically referred to as ‘construction,’ hiring contractors to do that kind of work,” Williams said. “And notably at that time, they received bids to do that work — that demolition work, that scraping of the land. The enrollment trigger had been satisfied — that was in 2010.” Williams continued. He added that there was work at the site far beyond just site development.

*Continue reading here…..

Alpine Takes its Bid for a High School to Sacramento

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/communities/east-county/sd-se-alpine-school-20180111-story.html

 

Alpine has never had a high school of its own. That’s not for want of trying.

For nearly two decades, the tiny mountain community has tried to create an independent educational district, one that unifies a high school with its elementary schools and lone middle school.

Each time, it has been met with disappointment.

That outcome looks to repeat itself this week if the state Board of Education accepts the recommendation of its staff to deny Alpine’s latest bid to add a high school to its K-8 lineup.  A public hearing on the application is set for Jan. 19 and there will be plenty of local representation on hand.

Personnel from the Alpine Union and Grossmont Union High school districts, including Grossmont Superintendent Tim Glover and Alpine Superintendent Rich Newman and members of their school boards, will be in Sacramento for the public hearing.

The California Department of Education earlier this month recommended the board reject Alpine’s plan to add a high school. If the board agrees, Alpine will continue to send its kids to other parts of the Grossmont district after middle school.

Grossmont Union High School District schools currently serve about 22,000 students. After finishing eighth grade at Joan MacQueen Middle School, students in Alpine typically go to Granite Hills High School in El Cajon or Steele Canyon High School in Jamul. Getting to both involves long drives along the freeway or winding local roads. That remains frustrating to parents like Wendy Gilbert, who want their kids to stay local. Gilbert and her husband, Chad, moved to Alpine in 2004 with hopes that by the time their son was born in September of that year, there would be a high school for him to attend.

“We were always thinking, ‘If they build it, the people will come,’” Gilbert said. “We loved the community and when we heard they were getting a high school, we thought, ‘Great! Awesome!’ My son’s now 13, in eighth grade… and here we are. It’s horrible.” Gilbert’s son and about 150 other students will graduate from MacQueen this year.

San Diego County’s most recent district to unify was Bonsall, which began proceedings to do so in 2004. Its high school opened in the 2014-15 school year with 65 students. It now has 330 students and will graduate its first senior class this year.

Alpine has been trying to form a unified district since 2002, and has wanted to give residents an opportunity to vote on unification. In November 2004, the state board disapproved a previous Alpine unification proposal.

As for Alpine, the state board has two other options besides denial. One is to determine that the proposal has merit and send it back to the local level for further action. The other is to delay action until more information is received.

Some of the reasons the state believes unification should not be granted are:

  • Declining student enrollment in Alpine
  • School facility costs and the likelihood that a new Alpine unified school district would be unable to obtain sufficient funding to construct a new high school
  • Fewer academic and extracurricular opportunities of a smaller Alpine high school compared to options available at schools in the Grossmont district

Newman said that he would be speaking in depth to the state board members about what a high school in Alpine might look like, and explain that it would not be traditional, but rather “something innovative.”

“What we are looking at in the development of a school is something state-of-the-art in what it would offer,” Newman said. “It would be personalized in nature and offer unique opportunities, very different than a traditional high school. Our world is changing dramatically every day and schools need to be able to adapt.”

The County Board of Education in August 2014 voted to back unification for Alpine. Last year, the San Diego County Committee on School District Organization held public hearings and determined that Alpine met the necessary requirements in the California Education Code for approval of its petition to unify.

Alpine petitioners decided to give it a go again because residents in the area became frustrated that two successful general obligation bond measures that Grossmont Union High School District area voters passed haven’t resulted in the building of a high school for Alpine-area high school students

The bonds totaling nearly $700 million — Proposition H in 2004 and Proposition U in 2008 — included language about the plan to construct a high school in Alpine.

The district did purchase land for the school and has obtained some permits and approvals for construction, and developed some designs, but has not moved any further on it.

Petitioners also said they want a unified Alpine school district for several other reasons, including being more responsive to the unique needs of the Alpine community and geographically isolated high school students, increased collaboration among elementary school staff, high school staff and the community and a school that will provide a shorter and safer commute.

Grossmont district Superintendent Glover said he agrees with the state’s finding that Alpine be denied its request.

“It’s clear that the state spent a significant amount of time conducting a careful review of the facts before making their recommendation,” Glover said via email.

In documentation shared with the public about the coming meeting, the Grossmont district said it believes that if unification occurs, it would “result in harm to our students, teachers and community” and that it is unclear if an Alpine Unified School District “could pass the size of a school bond necessary to build a high school” or could fund the operational costs of a comprehensive high school program.

The state board of education report said that Grossmont believes that a new district “would be at risk of financial failure, threatening the elementary programs of the district.”

 

GUHSD Proposition H/U Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee Meeting – September 27, 2017

Grossmont Union High School District

Proposition H/U Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee Meeting

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Grossmont Union High School District Office Conference Room

5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

CBOC Agenda September 2017

View Chair Board Report to the Governing Board for this meeting here:

CBOC CHair Report Sept. 27, 2017

Alpine Urged to VOTE NO ON MEASURE BB – Grossmont’s “BAD BOND”

vote-noon-measure-bbWhat has Alpine and Blossom Valley gotten from these huge bond measures? Not a thing – not even a stick in the ground. There is NO ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL under construction and despite specific references in both H and U (and now in BB) to construct the high school, there are NO PLANS, now or in the future, to do so….

All voters in Alpine and Blossom Valley are urged to vote NO on Measure BB – probably one of the worst propositions on the November ballot.  Measure BB has been appropriately nick named “BAD BOND”.  Here’s why it deserves this title and your NO vote.

Measure BB will increase property taxes to support a bond measure for the Grossmont Union High School District.  BB states the bond will pay for needed repairs, renovation, and upgrades to its existing high schools and a new high school to serve Alpine and Blossom Valley.  It’s as if Grossmont was asking voters for the first time to approve such worthy objectives.  If you think that you’ve heard all of this before, you are correct.  Measure BB is the third time Grossmont has asked voters to approve taxpayer funds for these tasks, including an Alpine/Blossom Valley high school.  Don’t be fooled.  Grossmont has no intention to build our long overdue high school and the amount of this bond cannot even fund a fraction of the projects listed.  It is a complete fraud on voters and taxpayers.

When the $128 Million set forth in BB is added to the two prior bonds (Props H and U) the total amount of the 3 bonds (plus state matching funds for which you are also taxed) will exceed an astounding $1 Billion!  Taken together these 3 bond measures add about $300-$400/year in taxes for the average Alpine and Blossom Valley homeowner.  Keep in mind you probably have already paid thousands of dollars to Grossmont since the passage of H in 2004 and U in 2008.  When interest is added, Alpiners alone will have to pay back $125 million to bond holders and you will continue to pay this steep bill for decades to come.

Grossmont has “authority” to issue another $100+ million in Prop U bonds so why are they asking for this new bond?  Grossmont has burned through bond funds so quickly it reached the maximum amount it can tax property owners under that bond.  In other words, it has maxed out its credit card against you, the taxpayer, and can’t borrow any more money in the bond market for several years.  Grossmont now has the audacity to come back to ask taxpayers for a “bridge loan”, Measure BB, so they can get their hands on your hard earned money to cover their lavish spending plans until the Prop U spigot re-opens.

What has Alpine and Blossom Valley gotten from these huge bond measures?  Not a thing – not even a stick in the ground.  There is no Alpine high school under construction and despite specific references in both H and U (and now in BB) to construct the high school there are no plans, now or in the future, to do so.  In fact, all work on the school has ceased and the design plans for the school were withdrawn in 2012.  The school is at the bottom of Grossmont’s project list and all bond funds will be long gone before a spade of dirt is lifted to build the school.

However, Grossmont did spend $25 Million of your tax dollars to acquire the Lazy A site (90 acre parcel adjacent to the Albertson’s center), develop detailed architectural plans, and acquire state and federal environmental permits to build the school on the site.  Unless construction commences soon (which it won’t) these critical permits will expire, rendering the Lazy A completely worthless as a school site and flushing your $25 Million down the drain.

So what has Grossmont done with the huge sum of money collected under H and U?  In addition to the Alpine/Blossom Valley school, they told voters bond funds would be used to “repair, renovate, rehabilitate, and upgrade facilities”, just like they are now stating in BB.  Instead much of that money went to build new Olympic size swimming pools and aquatic centers, performing arts theaters, day care facilities, administrative offices, and other pork barrel projects while badly needed renovations in many schools went undone.  They also spent bond funds on management fees, administrative overhead, and legal fees.  In other words, instead of building what they told voters, the bond funds have been spent on whatever favorite projects were lobbied for by those political constituents most favored by the Grossmont governing board.

Grossmont claims there will be “strict fiscal accountability” for how they handle BB bond funds with oversight from the “independent” Citizens Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC).  This is another phony promise.  The current CBOC (for H and U) made a mockery of the word “independent” and essentially operated as a political arm of the Grossmont governing board.  The questionable handling of bond funds and poor CBOC oversight has been the subject of sharp criticism by the press, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, and other respected individuals and entities.  Such conduct along with misleading statements to bond investors led to a Forbes magazine article that said the following about Grossmont:

“{Grossmont} was alleged to have diverted monies from a voter-approved measure and into non-authorized projects – a classic bait and switch scheme.   When we investors read that what the uses of money are for and the issuer does not adhere to that specified project, why aren’t the people involved in jail? … Once {Grossmont} had the money in their hot little hands they thought they could do whatever they wanted with it rather than what they promised the taxpayers…”

Grossmont’s failure to build the Alpine high school also caught the attention of the San Diego County Grand Jury.  In 2012 the Grand Jury issued a scathing report entitled “Fool Us Once, Fool Us Twice” in which Grossmont was taken to task for not building the school as required in Props H and U.  It made specific findings and recommendations to build the school which Grossmont completely ignored.  The Grand Jury, therefore, would not be the least surprised that Grossmont now wants to fool us a third time with Measure BB.

In the prior two bond measures, the good people of Alpine and Blossom Valley were suckered into thinking these bonds would be used to build our badly needed high school.  We believed the numerous personal promises by Grossmont Board members to Alpine and Blossom Valley residents that they would build our school.  We believed their lies and voted twice in support of these bonds.  Our local Indian Tribes, Viejas and Sycuan, were also fooled into contributing tens of thousands of dollars to help promote both bonds to the voters.

We will be fooled no more.  We now know Grossmont will never build us our school unless the courts or the state orders them to do so.  Do not give them more of your hard earned tax dollars to waste on everything except our local high school.  Therefore, we need every voter in Alpine and Blossom Valley to vote against Measure BB.  This is truly a BAD BOND coming from a school district that has mismanaged, misspent, and misappropriated hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.  Send the Grossmont Board and their political cronies a clear and resounding message.  VOTE NO ON BB – the BAD BOND.

Sal Casamassima,

Chair – Alpine High School Citizens Committee

Alpine High School Citizens Committee WARNS AGAINST Measure BB “Bad Bond” 2016

Alpine High School site photo Lazy A Ranch by ken stoneThe Alpine High School Citizens Committee is the local Alpine/Blossom Valley group working for a high school in Alpine. The primary path is the process of transforming Alpine Union School District from a k-8 district to a k-12 district with a high school.

The County Board of Education has approved that transformation and recommended the State Board of Education also approve.  The State Board opens its validation process probably late next month.  AHSCC is also the force behind the lawsuit against Grossmont for “waste spending”.  That is, AHSCC is suing Grossmont over its miss-spending on projects not authorized by voters, and not spending on authorized projects such as the Alpine high school.  AHSCC demands Alpine’s rightful share of $42 million in cash plus the Lazy A high school site and its state and federal environmental permits for construction – valued at $25 million.

Alpine Union School District has a partner in that process too.  AUSD has legal standing in the argument that Grossmont not building a high school promised by voter-approved Prop H & U irreparably harms Alpine students.  This is not a frivolous lawsuit.  Alpiners are already on the hook for $125 million in Prop H and U bonds sales payments that in part were sold to raise funds for an Alpine high school.

Now Grossmont wants another $128 million and has on the November ballot its 3rd bond measure, Measure BB.  Measure BB “Bad Bond” for a third time promises an Alpine high school.  But that project is slated in Grossmont’s project listing as starting in 2038 – and there will be NO bond money left.  Think of it!  If “Bad Bond” passes, along with State matching funding, Grossmont will have spent $1 billion – and never will build the promised Alpine high school.

AHSCC is AGAINST Bad Bond, Measure BB on the November ballot.  If it passes, Alpiners will be on the hook for another $15 million – and Alpine will still never get a high school from Grossmont.

So be careful when you open the Measure BB promotional flyer in your mail this week.  Notice that it “promises” money for East County schools.  Notice that the name Grossmont Union High School District is NOT on the flyer.

It’s a hoax to milk more money out of taxpayers with the complete intention to never fulfill the promise of an Alpine high school.

Read AHSCC’s position AGAINST Measure BB HERE: vote-no-on-measure-bb-bad-bond-ahscc-2016

Posted By: George Barnett – Alpine High School Citizens Committee 619-659-0345 BigG88882@cox.net

 

“Save Alpine High” Campaign Started to Support Appeal Against GUHSD

Alpine High School Property Photo_2
In 2008 the Prop U Bond passed. It said the Grossmont Union High School District would issue $417,000,000 in bonds at legal rates and would be, “constructing a new school in Alpine/Blossom Valley.” Alpine High is to be delayed until the year 2032.  Please go to this site and support “Save Alpine High”…

Where is your money going to support this campaign?

1. Ongoing Litigation
We want to to ensure that GUHSD sets aside money raised in Proposition H & U bond sales for the high school that is promised in the bonds’ ballot language. This is the crux of the lawsuit against GUHSD. Judge Pressman recently ruled against AUSD and ATBA (Alpine Taxpayers for Bond Accountability) as plaintiffs, and we would like to appeal this decision. The appeal will involve considerable legal fees, which will be funded through this campaign.

2. Unification of the Alpine Union School District
Unification has been approved by the County Board of Education and recommended to the State Board of Education. That unfortunately is also a political issue as well as a practical one and therefore needs preparation, visits, expediting, and lobbyists. It includes the updating of CEQA EIR documentation presuming the Lazy A high school site in Alpine remains viable. Eventually there are the costs of the management and administration of a ballot measure campaign. If the SBOE approves unification, Alpiners will have the final ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ vote in an election.

The students of Alpine deserve a high school. They deserve to not have to drive 17 miles down a windy road to school. They deserve a school in their own community, a sense of togetherness and pride. They deserve to be able to go to after school activities like football games, music performances and dances without worrying about transportation. They. deserve. BETTER.

We, the Alpine High School Citizens Committee, are determined to make this decades-long dream a reality. We are parents, just like you. We are Alpiners, just like you. And we love our town. Just like you.

The funds raised in this effort will go towards defeating the efforts of the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) to deny the will of the voters who passed Propositions U and H (raising your property taxes with the promise to build the school!). We are currently appealing the most recent decision. If we succeed (and we believe WE WILL), funds will also be used to go directly back into the AUSD schools.

The high school will serve not only Alpine, but the communities of Blossom Valley, Harbison Canyon, and all of our east San Diego county communities.

We believe this is a community effort and know we can count on the fine people of Alpine, CA to make this dream a reality.

For more info please visit our GoFundMe Page here: https://www.gofundme.com/savealpinehigh or our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/AlpineBVHighSchool
Submitted By: Caity Nugent Yaussi

Judge Rules for GROSSMONT DISTRICT Over ALPINE in HIGH SCHOOL LAWSUIT

If the ruling stands, it will allow Grossmont to keep $42 MILLION set aside for an Alpine High School that was NEVER BUILT

Alpine High School site photo Lazy A Ranch by ken stone

The Proposed Alpine High School Site at Lazy A Ranch on Alpine Blvd. *Photo by Ken Stone

 

Statement – From the taxpayer plaintiff group’s perspective. . .
“We are very disappointed that the judge did not decide in the favor of plaintiffs.  We had also always known and realized that no matter which party had prevailed or not, the case was going to be appealed to the Court of Appeal where it had been reviewed and decided once before.  Unfortunately, that task will now be borne by one or both of the plaintiffs, but we welcome the opportunity and the chance for this to come out as intended by the voters who enacted Proposition U.  The actions and conduct of Grossmont indicates it just does not care about the rather clear voter mandate for Alpine.”

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: May 6, 2016 via East County Magazine (Written By Miriam Rafferty)

A preliminary ruling by Superior Court Judge Joel Pressman would set aside a preliminary injunction against the Grossmont District. If the ruling stands, it will allow Grossmont to keep $42 million that had been set aside for an Alpine High School that the district never built. The money is a portion of bond measure funds approved by voters in part for the long-promised school.

The suit was filed by the Alpine Union School District and Alpine Taxpayers for Bond Accountability. The groups have 15 days to file an appeal.

ECM asked plaintiffs for comment but did not yet receive a response. However the Union-Tribune reports that attorney Craig Sherman, representing the taxpayers’ organization, stated, “…We welcome the opportunity and the chance for this to come out as intended by the voters who enacted Prop. U. The actions and conduct of Grossmont indicates it just does not care about the rather clear voter mandate for Alpine.”

Pressman’s 40-page preliminary ruling (View here:2014-34850 Alpine v Grossmont PROPOSED Statement of Decision Draft 3 (1) (6)) follows a 9-day trial that included extensive testimony. Plaintiffs contend the district spent money on items not in the bond and projects that were lesser priority than the new high school. Alpine students have died in the past commuting to schools up to 37 miles round trip distance on roads that can be icy during winter weather.

The district has claimed enrollment triggers required by the bonds were not met, though plaintiffs dispute that contention since the 23,245 number was met not once, but three times through the years.  But Pressman said only the start of construction counts. The district bought land, but never started construction and withdrew its architectural design review application from the state.

Pressman’s decision parses the language in Prop U, which states funds “may be spent” on building an Alpine High School, which he interpreted to mean the project was authorized, not required—however advertising for the bonds to parents in the districts touted building the high school as a reason to vote for the bond.

Grossmont Superintendent Ralf Swenson issued a statement that reads in part, “This is a win for the students, teachers and the taxpayers of East County, as our Governing Board can now resume their efforts to see that the taxpayer’s dollars are put back to work for the benefits of our schools and the students that we serve. All students at all schools in our district should have classrooms and facilities that meet the current educational needs of those students, and that ensure their safety.”

But board member Priscilla Schreiber, who has dissented from the GUHSD board majority and been a consistent voice supporting the Alpine School and opposing funding a lawsuit to oppose it, had this to say.  “Grossmont wins on all counts. Are you kidding me?”

A unification is pending before the state that would allow Alpine to leave the Grossmont district and become part of the Alpine Union School District, which currently serves only elementary and middle school children.  The County Board of Education has recommended approval of the unification petition, that would allow the Alpine district to expand to serve high school students and build the high school.

But even if unification is approved by the state and ultimately voters, it would be a hollow victory, if Judge Pressman’s ruling stands and is not overturned on appeal.  The right to build a high school, without the $42 million or more needed to do so, would still leave Alpine students forced to commute long distances to school for the foreseeable future.