To the editor:
Will the Grossmont Union High School District finally build a long-sought high school in Alpine?
At the request of new trustee Jim Stieringer, the school board discussed the path to construction at its meeting Feb. 13.
Unfortunately, the resolution was merely a conditional resolution and not a path to construction. The resolution was conditioned on the Alpine community abandoning its unification efforts and then, and only then, would the board consider resubmitting a modified version of the existing building plans to the Division of the State Architect.
It did nothing to remove the barriers to awarding construction contracts upon DSA approval, and moving the process forward. It simply stated, upon abandoning unification efforts, that then we will put your plans back into DSA.
On July 2011, the board had directed the submittal of a building design package to DSA, which was finally submitted in April 2012. But in June 2012, unbeknownst to the board, the plans were pulled.
This action was prior to any murmur of unification coming out of Alpine. Why were the plans pulled, without a vote of the board, since it was a 5-0 vote on a resolution to submit them? On whose authority were they pulled?
They even got the CBOC to approve the process to circumvent the board's authority. Precedent setting? Amazing!
Mr. Stieringer’s efforts are appreciated, but the language, from my perspective, inferred an attempt to hold Alpine hostage under another veiled promise to build the school. He and other board members may have a different take on why the resolution failed, but this is why I voted against it.
The conversation on how to handle those plans, once approved by DSA (a 6-9 month process) was to let them sit on the shelf for three years and then request another year extension before any consideration to award construction contracts. Grading the site was removed from the current projects list.
All this was to align the moon and the stars with all the other board-imposed hurdles to build the school. So under the failed resolution, there was nothing in it that I believe would have changed the hearts and minds of a community that has been dismissed, by this district, time and time again.
The purchase of the land is still a land asset to the district. Nothing further has been done to put a business plan into place to build the school, work with the community on transitional costs or joint-use ventures, or even to grade the land for community use—some kind of realized investment in their community with their tax dollars. But nothing.
The only thing the community was involved in was the program and building design and then that would have been modified by virtue of a successful resolution last night.
Then there is the issue of funding. With all the front-loading of projects, down the hill, and exhausting the current cash flow—and then pushing funding for the new school into the last bond issuance, proposed for 2017—what is the real intention for building the school? What would that last bond issuance cost the taxpayers?
The state has no more matching funds unless another Statewide Facilities Bond is passed in 2014.
There is an interesting timeline on the Alpine High School Citizens Committee website that will show which came first—the chicken or the egg? It will show the pattern of board actions that added intended obstacles in the path to building the school. It will show the 11th-hour amendment to Prop. U that was designed to essentially kill the school and push it way into the future.
The need for the high school was originally based on a need for a community high school, safety reasons and to relieve overcrowding at Granite Hills. It was meant to serve the Alpine/Blossom Valley area. That need still exists.
As it stands today and into the foreseeable future, Alpine will only benefit from the bond by driving (at risk) long distances to attend other community high schools in the district.
They will have a tax burden and nothing in their community to show for it.
They will not have the benefit that other communities in the Grossmont district have with a neighborhood high school. They will not realize improved property values. They will not benefit from new families moving into the community. And, in fact, because Grossmont has not delivered and pushed it way into the future, they are seeing families move out of the community.
What is that saying, in reverse—if you don’t build it, they won’t come?
At a time when Grossmont is trying to find ways to attract students into our district and then to totally disregard the potential for new students to a new high school in Alpine tells me that any road to gaining students is fine as long as it doesn’t go through Alpine. Hmm?
Grossmont Union High School District board trustee