Friday, January 23, 2015

Update on the legal process regarding Alpine

I would like to provide our Grossmont Community with an update on the most recent development in the legal process regarding Alpine. Yesterday, the Court issued a Preliminary Injunction that has a grave impact on the Grossmont Union High School District’s Proposition U bond program. The Court ordered the District to set aside $42 million dollars in cash for the Alpine High School, money that was intended to be used right now for classroom modernization across the District and construction jobs throughout East County. Denying our District the ability to spend this money on classroom improvements means that 13,000 students sitting in 60 to 70 year-old facilities today, will have to wait several more years for modernized classrooms, technology, safety systems, etc.

The Court's ruling today, which we believe had no legal or factual basis, removed the discretion of our District’s elected Governing Board to determine the timing of projects that would occur under Proposition U. The Alpine High School is planned and budgeted to occur when enrollment levels reach the enrollment threshold approved by the voters in the Prop U Bond language; enrollment today is 1,700 students below that threshold. In the Court’s own words, the Grossmont District has, “valid enrollment concerns and other economic reasons to justify delaying construction.” Further, the Court found the plaintiff failed to prove their allegation of waste and abuse.

By ordering the reservation of funds, modernization projects that are ready to construct today, will be put on hold in order to reserve funding for a project that doesn’t yet meet the criteria called for in the bond measure approved by the voters.
Projects currently planned to start construction within the next two years are now in jeopardy. They include:

Valhalla HS – modernization of the entire main campus building - approximately 50 classrooms

Grossmont HS – new student support services/counseling/career center and 6 arts classrooms - replacing 70 year-old structures. Also, an events center with drama, choral, black box, dance, scene shop that serves 1,000+ students in performing arts program

Mount Miguel HS – modernization of 50 year-old classroom buildings and construction of multipurpose space

Monte Vista HS – modernization of 11 Career Technical Education classrooms - 700, 800, 800A with auto shop and industrial arts

Granite Hills HS – modernization of 12 classrooms that currently house students in relocatable classrooms

Helix Charter HS – modernization of classroom buildings

Santana HS – construction of performing arts spaces and modernization of older buildings

West Hills HS – replacement of 25 year-old HVAC equipment

Districtwide – upgrade security cameras and safety systems

I will be recommending to the Governing Board that we appeal this very devastating decision, in an effort to support our District’s commitment to our students, to our schools, and to our communities.

Superintendent Ralf Swenson