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3-12-19 AUSD Board Meeting Update: 5th Grade WILL NOT Move to JMMS, Possible Consolidation of AES & BOES & A High School

Alpine Union – Board Meeting Update – Submitted By George Barnett – March 12, 2019

I attended last night’s board meeting. It was important.

First Item : Love For Luke: We started with a heart-felt tribute to Luke Hayworth, one of our town’s precious young students fighting cancer. Please support this Alpine family in need by visiting the Love For Luke FB page at https://www.facebook.com/pg/Love-for-Luke-2244457002443858/posts/

Second : District Re-Organization Proposals: The Board eliminated moving 5th grade to JMMS. Two proposals remain: one – consolidating Alpine Elementary into Boulder Oaks; and two – a high school. They will be addressed at Special Board meeting for next Tuesday. The Board announced a Letter of Intent with Grossmont Union to pursue an Alpine high school program. That sounds like a cooperative and mutually satisfactory joint effort. Wonderful news!

Third : Alpine Union Budget: The budget for the next two years is “okay” because of prudent management. Alpine’s budget is tight, and continued tight management of costs while focusing on academic performance is needed to prosper. Budget charts are attached. (Below)

Aa – California State Revenues : California has not met its expected revenues. This could result in Alpine getting $75,000 less funding.

Bb – State Employee Pension Plans : The cost is growing strongly as decades of under-funding those plans now have to be made up. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 compelled private employers to fund plans starting 45 years ago. State and Federal governments kicked that ball down the road for decades. Time to pay the Piper.

Cc – Alpine Union Revenues : 2019-2020 revenues from the state will decline. Total impact of all sources is down $640,000. A partial recovery of $400,000 could come for the 2020-2021 year. A two-year snapshot – revenues are flat unless we all work together to attract more students.

Dd – Alpine Union Expenses : 2019-2020 school district expenses are up $60,000, and up a further $300,000 in 2020-2021. A two-year snapshot – expenses continue to increase.

Ee – Fund Balance : This is a current snap-shot of funds on hand as a % of annual expenses. It is the district’s rainy day fund when something happens with either revenue or expenses; or a catastrophic need arises. It is 12.57%, $2 million. Sounds like a lot, it represents maybe 6 weeks of operating costs during those weeks school is in session.

While focusing on academic excellence, tight business management of the district must remain!

Alpine Union School District Community Forums Scheduled to Guide the Future of District

Alpine Union School District Community Forums

In the spirit of continued improvement, the Alpine Union School District (AUSD) launched a Thoughtexchange in September where we asked our community to share their thoughts and ideas about the future of our District.

The response to our Thoughtexchange was tremendous. More than 500 ideas were submitted. The level of engagement demonstrated that we have an enormous opportunity to channel the passion, ideas, hopes and dreams of our students, staff, parents and community into an organized, efficient and innovative plan of action to improve our District.

After reviewing the results of our Thoughtexchange and a range of District data, a Superintendent’s Advisory Task Force comprised of parents, teachers, staff, community members and administrators have been working diligently to identify options to help guide the future of our District. The Task Force presented these options to the AUSD Board of Trustees at the January School Board Meeting. At the upcoming February School Board meeting, the Board of Trustees will discuss the options and identify which will be prioritized for future action.

With any potential change to our schools, it requires careful consideration and deep community involvement. We want to make sure that we continue to gather the feedback of our staff, parents, students, and community members. The Board of Trustees has made it clear that we need your continued thinking to deepen and enrich the conversation around any potential changes to our District. We have scheduled a series of community forums at each school site.  Everyone is welcome to attend any or all of the forums. The dates for the forums are listed below:

February 25, 2019 – Alpine Elementary Library – 6 PM

February 26, 2019 – Shadow Hills Elementary Library – 6 PM

March 5, 2019 – Joan MacQueen Middle School Library – 6 PM

March 6, 2019 – Creekside Early Learning MultiPurpose Room  – 6 PM

March 7, 2019 – Boulder Oaks Auditorium – 6 PM

Thank you in advance for your continued support and willingness to engage with us in making Alpine Union the Destination District of East County.

Submitted By Mary Ann Alvarez, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent – Alpine Union School District 619-445-3236 EMAIL: malvarez@alpineschools.net

JMMS Sports Fields and a New Park for Alpine Update – February 6, 2019

Parkland for Alpine – Update February 6, 2019 – Submitted By George Barnett

Along with Travis Lyon, Jim Easterling, and Jon Green, I attended meetings yesterday hosted by Brian Albright, Director of Parks and Recreation for the County of San Diego. Mr. Albright’s executive staff also participated. Two major parkland developments for Alpine were discussed. Following are my personal observations:

Joan MacQueen Middle School Playing Fields:
Concept plans are completed, and Alpine Union School District (AUSD) is moving ahead. The County process for directing developers’ fees to the project from the Alpine Park Land Development Ordinance account was reviewed. Ordinance compliance issues were discussed, and were integrated into the timing schedule. A key component will be the preparing of architectural designs and cost estimates. The matter of well water and irrigation infrastructure for grass fields, and the maintenance of infrastructure over time, has been addressed by the very kind offer from an Alpine resident.

Alpine Community Park:
The County has completed negotiations to buy 98 acres of Wrights Field open space not owned by the Back Country Land Trust. Next steps include the Board of Supervisors final approvals on funding and acquisition expected later this month. Once escrow is completed and the land owned by the County, and once the County concludes an environmental survey of the land, the County will begin community outreach through the Alpine Community Planning Group (ACPG) and by County-hosted community workshops. Those efforts will include the solicitation of ideas, wants and needs from the community. The County expects to begin its outreach late April or early May. Environmental studies on the targeted land site have started. Those studies will indicate how much of the 98 acres can be used for parkland (as opposed to passive use as open space), and will give insight into the types of facilities that could be suitable under California’s environmental law. As Director & Officer of the Back Country Land Trust (BCLT), I pledged BCLT’s and its Partners resources in support to the County on biological resource land management, fire fuels reduction, waterway clean-out and restoration, on environmental education via BCLT’s Living Classroom Program in association with Alpine Education Foundation, and on habitat restoration.

By implication, through the sustained efforts of many, and due to the firm commitment of Supervisor Dianne Jacob to Alpine and to our children, Alpine is destined to have unsurpassed open space preserves, a community park, and refurbished, modern sports playing fields at its middle school! 😁

For clarity, the non-County attendees at the meetings were:

George Barnett (me); elected ACPG member & secretary of its Parks Subcommittee, director/officer of BCLT.
Travis Lyon; elected ACPG member & chairperson, elected Trustee AUSD, and director of BCLT. Jim Easterling; elected ACPG member and chairperson of its Parks Subcommittee; & elected member and President of Alpine Fire Protection District. Jon Green; Program & Outreach Director of BCLT

The above comments are mine personally, and are not intended to be those of the others attending.

 

 

JMMS Security Fencing Installed.. “Say Something” Reporting System Info Meeting – February 4, 2019

JMMS (Joan MacQueen Middle School)SAFETY UPDATE – January 30, 2019. Security Fencing Installation is being completed this week at our school. Also we are having a “SAY SOMETHING” Parent information meeting on Monday, February 4, 2019 at 6pm. The “Say something” Anonymous reporting system allows you to submit secure and anonymous safety concerns to help identify and intervene upon at-risk individuals BEFORE they hurt themselves or others. JMMS is located at 2001 Tavern Rd, Alpine, CA 91901. For more info call (619) 445-3245

Alpine Union School District – Reorganization for the Future & A High School

*Submitted By George Barnett – January 16, 2019

I attended the January 9, 2019 School Board meeting, and these are my personal thoughts…..

Based on extensive public input and surveying via the ThoughtExchange process, the Superintendent’s Advisory Task Force has formed three Subcommittees to define forward strategic proposals for improving education in Alpine; the High School Subcommittee, the District Marketing Subcommittee and the School Options Subcommittee.

The members of each Subcommittee are listed in the attachment. Members include a selection of District principals, teachers, service & instruction support staff, parents and community members. Among these are; a manufacturing business owner, a technology innovation business owner, a former school superintendent/education innovation expert, and an assistant city manager/head of a city Public Works Department.

The Board’s priorities are also attached. The first three are; improving student achievement; improving educational opportunities for students; and ensuring fiscal responsibilities. In my mind, the balance nine priorities relate to supporting the first three.  Also attached are 9 proposals being evaluated – and explained below:

The High School Subcommittee is looking at four proposals for an Alpine High School – from working with Grossmont UHSD to different charter operations.

The Marketing Subcommittee is looking at a multi-faceted program of promoting our District and its superb programs and unique partnerships; and those marketing ideas can be rolled-out right-a-way.

The School Options Subcommittee is reviewing four proposals for consolidating the AES/BOES grade schools; two proposals for keeping AES independently operated; two proposals for consolidating kindergarten into the grade schools.  These are proposals only, and the Pro’s and Con’s need to be developed.  Part of the theme of consolidation is to better align curriculum from grade to grade and from grade school to middle school.  One idea is to be able to offer an education Pathway that is unique to, and better than, other school districts.  And, a proposal to house an Alpine high school within existing infrastructure is part of this.

Each Subcommittee will be developing the Pro’s and Con’s of every proposal, and will present final thoughts and information to the School Board for review, comment and top level prioritization. Of course, each Subcommittee will also determine the Pro’s and Con’s of maintaining the status quo.  That is, doing nothing.

During the period February 13 to March 12, community engagement and feedback will be sought. At the March 13th Board meeting, final Subcommittee recommendations will be presented. The Board may select and approve specific strategies and plans to transform our District for a strong academic future.

If approved, work towards achieving that future would then begin immediately.  It is likely that a transformation might take the entire 2019-2020 school year.  That seems to imply that any high school option could include an opening for the fall of the 2020-2021 school year.

Watch for District notices on this transformation of education in Alpine.

 

Post 2018 Alpine Election Thoughts – By Mary Harris

Food For Thought: Alpine Elections 2018

Running for a seat on the Alpine Community Planning Group taught me a lot. It was like a crash course on local politics.  I’ve been attending the group for over three years and I can tell you this:  if you have views that are not a carbon copy of the group majority, don’t expect to be warmly welcomed.  When I was campaigning, lies sprouted up like weeds from long term group members, and their friends, on Alpine’s social media sites. Some made little sense. One individual said that I had called Cal Trans and asked them to remove a church banner. This had nothing to do with the election. It was coming from a person grasping at straws, looking to put me in a bad light.

One Alpine woman, who works for Channel 10 News, posted a three year old video (edited) that she made of me and my puppy, walking on Christmas Eve. She was angry that my puppy was off leash in an area where he should have been leashed. I was startled by her abrasiveness. She came at me like a bully, demanding that I tell her my name and where I was from. I was ready to get home after a nice, long walk. I was alone, and, frankly, afraid. Not knowing how to respond to her aggressive demands, I gave her a false name, hoping she would go on her way. Before they left, she gave me this sarcastic greeting, “Merry ****ing Christmas! In all fairness, if one intends to publicize moments like this one, they should either notify the public that it has been edited or publish it in its entirety, which she did neither. She claimed that I gave her permission to do this. While I did tell her, “Go ahead”, it was without understanding her intent. As it turns out, she is friends with planning group members who had their own reasons to discredit me. When she found out I was running for the ACPG, she used the video to make me look bad, saying I was irresponsible, and a liar. Really? Many people were allowing their dogs off leash in that area, and it just emphasized to me how much Alpine needed a dog park. And who has not given a fake name to throw a bully off their trail? None of the good things that I have accomplished were taken into account, and indeed, not many are known by that group. When they want what they want, this is how they go about getting it.

Ironically, it was this meeting along with my discovery of Back Country Land Trust authorizing the use of Roundup at Wrights Field, on the very kind of plants that dogs like to eat, Wild Oats, that brought me to the ACPG in the first place, which was to advocate for a dog park in Alpine. I found out that the planning group had not been able to get a community park here, even after trying for twenty plus years. My efforts then went towards advocating for a community park, with the intent of having a dog park located within the park once it was established.

No one who attacked my character actually knows me. All of this nonsense was just to try to alter the outcome of the election. If someone like me, who is minimal competition, is gone after in such a fashion, imagine what lengths would be gone to in order to affect the chances of one who is significantly greater competition. The only thing I can say is: shame on these manipulators, whose intent is to destroy the names of good people, attempting to discredit them. I hope that the people of Alpine will ‘consider the source’.  As I’ve said, I have learned a lot.

Mary Harris

 

 

Al Guerra: ALPINE SCHOOL BOARD Candidate (Incumbent)

Researched by Voter’s Edge
Source: San Diego County Registrar of Voters
*Please note that the Alpine Community network does not endorse ANY CANDIDATE. All candidates are welcome to submit information to be posted so the community of Alpine can be better informed.

AL GUERRA
Governing Board Member, Alpine Union School District/Parent/San Diego County School Board Delegate

My name is Al Guerra and I advocate for an environment where all students, all teachers, and all staff are equipped for success. As the only locally elected officials chosen solely to represent the interests of students, school board members evaluate the superintendent; monitor, review, and revise policies; and are fiscally responsible for the yearly budget. I bring experience and understanding to every decision that I make.

I am a longtime resident of Alpine and know that great schools go hand-in-hand with great communities. My children have been in the Alpine Union School District since 2008 and are now in fourth, seventh, and tenth grade. I hold a degree in Organizational Leadership and have a sincere interest in the quality and efficiency of public education in the community. I also sit as a delegate on the San Diego County School Boards Association where school board members share best practices on topics such as budgets, legislation, and continued board member education.

I ask for your support to serve as part of a school board that will keep the district focused on learning and achievement for all students; communicate a common vision; operate openly, with trust and integrity.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The statement above was entered into Voter’s Edge on 10/22/2018 by a League of Women Voters volunteer, using the PDF version of a sample ballot prepared by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters:  https://www2.sdcounty.ca.gov/rov/Sample_Ballots/Eng/SB-ENG-104.pdf

That might not be your version of the sample ballot, though. To find your own sample ballot version, containing all the candidates and measures on your own ballot, please use the ROV’s sample ballot look-up tool at https://www2.sdcounty.ca.gov/rov/Eng/ballot.asp .

Eric Wray: ALPINE SCHOOL BOARD Candidate (Incumbent)

ERIC WRAY: ALPINE SCHOOL BOARD Candidate (Incumbent)
Researched by Voter’s Edge
Source: San Diego County Registrar of Voters
*Please note that the Alpine Community network does not endorse ANY CANDIDATE. All candidates are welcome to submit information to be posted so the community of Alpine can be better informed.
ERIC WRAY AGE: 49
Governing Board Member, Alpine Union School District
 
As a Governing Board Member of the Alpine Union School District, it has been my pleasure to serve the students, parents, and residents of Alpine for the last 12 years. We have accomplished so much together including increasing test scores, balancing our budgets, school safety programs, and adapting to the 21st century to include a national robotics program, bilingual language programs and new technology programs. We have continued to reiterate the importance of a primary education in Alpine to ensure all school children are prepared for high school and beyond. Alpine School District will continue to innovate while requiring all school children to understand the importance of mathematics, language arts, and science. Together we can continue to grow our local education initiatives into the 21st century and I ask for your support and your vote.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The statement above was entered into Voter’s Edge on 10/22/2018 by a League of Women Voters volunteer, using the PDF version of a sample ballot prepared by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters:  

An Open Letter to Alpine About False Political Mailers – By Lou Russo

October 17, 2018 – Submitted by Lou Russo

Good morning all. I am in Norfolk, VA on business this week.  Back there in Alpine, your mailboxes are receiving the latest round of false slime political mailers about me in the election for Alpine School Board.  They began to appear in our mailboxes two elections ago and I knew they were coming this election, and what they would say.  The same person is responsible and as before, not a single one of the people running against me has stood up to condemn them.

To begin, let me state that the assertions on it are false, as have been the ones on the previous elections.  I am 66 years old and have NEVER been fired from ANY job.  I have never attacked ANY fire victim.  I have lost political races in the past but have NEVER lost a race for the Planning Group.

You may wonder why the same person keeps sending these out, election after election.  You will have to ask him (though I learned yesterday he won’t even admit to doing it).  In the end, he, and my opponents, believe a little bit of political power is worth the lies, worth having my family stared at the walk into Albertsons or Starbucks or anywhere else in Alpine and worth lying to Alpine.

The facts are simple, I can bring the change Alpine needs in our schools, while my opposition can only give you more of the same.  Their record is attached.  My ballot statements for both school board and planning group are attached.

Ask yourself if your schools are better off than they were four, or even two, years.  You know they are not.  You know if my opponents had anything positive, they would present it.  Their false slime flyers shows they don’t. Vote Russo!

 

The West Fire has taught us a lesson that I have known all along…

Development in Alpine must only be done with careful consideration for the fire threat in our area.  Emergency access is essential.  For years I have been the voice of reason on the Alpine Community Planning Group.  My primary concern is the safety of Alpine’s residents and protection of our homes, animals and possessions.  I have consistently stood up for intelligent, safe, development while protecting the private property rights of us all.  In addition, I am the only current planning group member to have worked with a group of residents for a park for all of Alpine, one that has shade, sports fields, picnic areas and a leash-free dog park.  Finally, I was the only current planning group member to have worked with parents to place the lighted crosswalk at Alpine Elementary and the traffic slowing signs at Joan McQueen Middle School.  A vote for me guarantees that you will be represented in planning decisions in our community.  I will not place any special interests above your interests.

 

ALPINE UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT (AUSD) HAS BEEN WASTING MONEY

AUSD was sued by San Diego Unified for putting Endeavor Charter School in San Diego Unified boundary.  AUSD lost and Endeavor was shut down with employees losing their jobs!

AUSD sued Dehesa School District over the Heights Charter in Alpine.  AUSD lost.  (Recently Dehesa renewed the agreement with the Heights.  AUSD threatened to sue again!)

AUSD sued Grossmont Union High School District over bond language.  AUSD lost.

AUSD applied to the State Board of Education to break away from Grossmont and have its own Unified District.  AUSD lost.

AUSD had to shut down the district office and move the district headquarters to JMMS….because the office was damaged by a storm and AUSD didn’t have the money to repair it.

AUSD had the buses fail inspections by CHP two times and was on the verge of failing a third time.  AUSD couldn’t afford to fix them and had to contract with Grossmont to run our transportation.  AUSD sold its buses for scrap.  Our children rode on them for two years while CHP said entire transportation department was unsatisfactory and the buses unsafe!

The principal and vice principal at JMMS were illegally changing grades.  When caught, the principal was allowed to resign and the vice principal was sent back to the classroom.  Neither had any adverse action filed with the State as required!

One of the Trustees’ wives was illegally promoted and had to be sent back to her old job.

Federal Department of Education Civil Rights Division in San Francisco currently investigating AUSD over bullying/racial bullying!

Essential staff positions are going unfilled.  In particular, JMMS missing both a vice principal and a librarian.  No vice principal means no one to handle discipline.  No librarian means that school certification at risk because a librarian is required by state certifying agency.

AUSD spent over $1 Million of YOUR taxes in legal fees for the lawsuits/illegal activities!

AUSD is rated as AVERAGE by Great Schools ranking website while Heights Charter and Los Coches Creeks Middle School are rated superior!

AUSD running out of money in October and has to borrow.

AUSD employees, from best principal to best teachers to Chief Business Officer leaving district.

MOST IMPORTANT!  THE CURRENT AUSD TRUSTEES UP FOR ELECTION (DICKIE, WRAY, GUERRA) PROMISED US A HIGH SCHOOL IF WE ELECTED THEM LAST TIME.  WE GOT DEGRADATION OF ALPINE UNION SCHOOLS BUT NO HIGH SCHOOL!

 

*Please note that the Alpine Community network does not endorse ANY CANDIDATE. All candidates are welcome to submit information to be posted so the community of Alpine can be better informed.