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Grossmont May Revisit Attendance Boundaries Amid Parent Criticism

High school district plans public information forums in February at two local middle schools.

Updated at 12:40 p.m. Jan. 27, 2012

The Grossmont Union High School District may be leaving the door open to revising school attendance boundaries in the wake of severe parent criticism of recently adopted lines.

On Friday, the district announced two public information forums on new boundaries—both set for early February.

But in response to a question from Patch on whether the school board plans changes in adopted boundaries, district spokeswoman Catherine Martin said:

We seek to be responsive to the concerns of parents of future GUHSD students. It’s premature for me to speculate on what might ultimately take shape as a result of the feedback we receive. The process will help us identify areas of concern as they pertain to particular neighborhoods. We have a sincere interest in giving our community a chance to provide us with feedback as we take a closer look at impacts.

The meetings will be Feb. 7 at Hillsdale Middle School in El Cajon and Feb. 8 at Parkway Middle School in La Mesa, according to a flier (attached). Both are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. and last two hours.

These come in the wake of public criticism of the school board over lack of public notice on attendance boundary deliberations.  Parents told a recent school board meeting that they didn’t have proper notice of the boundaries being changed.

Schools Superintendent Ralf Swenson on Jan. 12 said he felt a “sincere and transparent effort” was made “through a variety of different networks” to inform people of the nearly yearlong process.

The February forums will offer:

  • Review of new Grossmont high school district boundaries
  • Clarify choice/open enrollment options
  • Provide the public an opportunity to give feedback

Last Friday, three local prinicpals sent out a letter to parents giving more details on the boundary issue (see attached).

A letter dated Dec. 27, 2011, but sent out last week was signed by Rani Goyal, executive director of Helix Charter High School; Principal Dan Barnes of Grossmont High School; and Principal Steve Coover of Mount Miguel High School.

In part, it said: “Should you believe that Helix is not the best educational choice for your student, your alternate school of residence is either Mt. Miguel High School or Grossmont High School each of which has its own strong programs to offer students. Please contact Mount Miguel High School at 667-6412 or Grossmont High School at 668-6000 for further information or to schedule a campus tour if you choose not to enroll at Helix Charter High School.”

On Tuesday, Goyal said:

The letter was sent on behalf of the three schools because it is the mission of the district and Helix Charter High School to work together to alleviate the anxiety students, parents and guardians feel when not only entering high school, but determining which school to attend.

We believe this joint communication helps parents understand that while GUHSD has developed a nine school boundary model, Helix is still a part of the community and we continue to recognize our 1998 boundaries giving these families priority enrollment to our school. However, should students want to explore other options, they have the phone numbers of their district high school.

We hope the letter answers the question, “What are my options for high school?” for students who live in the 1998 Helix boundary.

A Jan. 7 Patch poll found that 52 percent of respondents thought the school board acted improperly in approving new attendance boundaries, while 41 percent said the board acted properly.

Rachel Entzminger-Lloyd January 30, 2012 at 05:58 AM
Well said Joe!
Joe Spencer January 30, 2012 at 06:21 AM
Thanks Rachel....I have had a few chances to stand up for things here in Santee...and it doesnt win any positive reactions from those you challenge thats for sure! But if you do it out true concern with and with true passion...and always respectfully....I dont see what the problem is.
Motivated Santee Citizen January 30, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Agreed 100%
Bg February 04, 2012 at 06:28 AM
So Helix can honor the boundaries because they are a charter, but Grossmont can't because they are part of the district. The district that plans to send my students 7 miles away to WH, though I'm a mile from g-mont. Could somebody explain how this makes sense?
concerned parent February 04, 2012 at 07:19 AM
GUHSD school board doesnt care BG. It's all about rebalancing enrollment to them (and taking away students from charters Helix and Steele Canyon for GUHSD district benefit only). Why do you think Steele Canyon would spend $15k on billboards in a dire state of education in California? Frankly it's embarassing to see billboards and new charter high school possibility with Grossmont.

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