Public Forums on School Attendance Boundaries Are a District Stalling Tactic

Gregory Kerrebrock: “If you asked me today who to replace [on the board], I would say all four were undeserving of their position based upon their conduct that evening.”

Editor’s note: This letter came as a response to questions from La Mesa Patch.

To the editor:

The two public forums [on Grossmont Union High School attendance boundaries] represent a conciliatory gesture on the part of the school district.

Representatives from the community and myself have met with the superintendent [Ralf Swenson] in a group meeting and at the Board of Realtors in El Cajon. The superintendent has placed a lot of weight and value in the Boundary Committee’s recommendation, which was approved by the Board in October.

He is loathe to backpedal to the point of forming a new committee to reevaluate options on an open slate. He would rather appease the individual issues and offer choice in lieu of representation. The superintendant has clearly represented to me that the framework established in October shall remain despite the skewed information upon which it was based.
[District spokeswoman] Catherine Martin’s statement as well as the actions of the superintendant are meant as a stalling tactic whereby the administration can say at a later date that the changes that have been put in to motion are too far in process for reversal. The window to address this decision as well as reverse its implementation is narrow and has never actually been defined by any representative of the district or board.

I am sure that at some point they will establish a “date of no return,” which will include a similar level of public notification.
As far as the school board is concerned—I respect anyone who would be willing to dedicate their time for the community with the limited compensation that is offered. At the same time, I would hope that the representatives elected would be responsive to their constituency. I will forward an inquiry to the [signatories] of the petition to see if anyone is interested in this position. …
Who do I oppose? I oppose those individuals who will sit in those chairs at a board meeting while over 100 of their constituents come to speak and then act as if nobody was in the room.

I witnessed this at the board meeting in January. There were over 100 parents and children in that room who were there to speak their mind about the boundary changes. They allowed 30 minutes for speakers and then moved on to the scheduled agenda.

At the end of the meeting, any speakers who were willing to wait 2½ hours were given the opportunity to speak. I think there were 10 speakers who waited for the opportunity to address the board.

At the end of the night, only Ms. [board member Priscilla] Schreiber had the decency and courtesy to acknowledge the presence of these concerned citizens. The arrogance of the other board members was appalling. If you asked me today who to replace [on the board], I would say all four were undeserving of their position based upon their conduct that evening.
Do I see victory? This was not a contest for me. This was about due process. This was about respecting the parents and families within the community. This is already a victory for me!

I wrote a letter and sent out an email in a country that permits freedom of communication. The result is still in process and is a matter of the constitution of the movement. I asked for the board to rescind the approval of the boundary changes. That is my goal. What happens after that is up to the community.
If the board thinks that their inaction regarding these changes will not affect their re-election then we will see.  The world loves gamblers. I just think that this is a bad gamble for the board to remain inactive on this matter. Every meeting provides a 30-minute forum for the people to itemize and elaborate on the failures of the board. That would be a good basis for anyone who wants to unseat the seated!
Greg Kerrebrock
La Mesa

Barbara January 30, 2012 at 02:55 PM
It would probably be a good time to consider the cozy relation ships enjoyed by the board members with some of the construction companies involved in the building projects going on in the district, as well.


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