To the editor:
I’d like to thank Doug Deane for addressing the Grand Jury investigation, which I briefly mentioned in my editorial. I’d like to respond to Mr. Deane’s comments to bring greater clarity to this issue because I think Doug has some false impressions.
First, I do not believe the investigation is “bogus.”
There certainly is an investigation. I called it a “political trick.” Let me explain.
Priscilla Schreiber and her handful of activists who want the Grossmont [Union High School] District to build a new high school in Alpine have brought this issue to the Grossmont school board and senior administrators countless times during the 10 years I have served on the school board.
We have spent innumerable hours politely listening to them trying to accommodate their concerns. We have spent over $20 million so far buying 90 acres of land in Alpine, paying for environmental impact reports, etc.
Unfortunately, during the last few years enrollment has been dramatically decreasing along with millions of dollars of revenue. While most fair-minded people would acknowledge the current local, state and national economic environment is not conducive to building new $70 million schools, Ms. Schreiber and her cohorts believe the economic and demographic facts are nothing but “excuses.”
Whereas all of the school board members and senior administrators, except Ms. Schreiber, believe the cost of running the new school will cost the district approximately $1.5 million per year, the small number of activists cite a source or two to conclude that the new school will not cost the district any money or require anymore teacher layoffs.
They are entitled to their sincere opinions. But after many, many hearings and much discussions four-fifths of the board are convinced it is not fiscally prudent to move forward at this time.
So why do I say that the Grand Jury investigation is a political trick? Because Priscilla Schreiber and Bill Weaver, who are both candidates running for election and re-election to the school board, should be openly campaigning for the new Alpine High School.
That’s the proper way to deal with political issues—elections!
Let the voters of East County decide this issue by voting for candidates who agree with them. But neither Schreiber nor Weaver mentioned this issue in their ballot statements. I wonder why.
Instead, having failed to convince a majority of the board to agree with them, they anonymously, and cowardly in my opinion, waste the Grand Jury’s time by accusing the school board of mismanaging public money.
If this is all the activists did, that would be one thing. But in order to hurt Dr Gary Woods, who is up for re-election, Priscilla went to the media to publicly declare that there is an investigation—for political purposes.
Mr. Deane said Schreiber could not disclose anything about the investigation because she was called as a witness yet she is the one who broke the story to ECM! Finally, Mr. Deane concluded his letter by saying that he would not be surprised if other board members were called to appear before the Grand Jury.
I assume he means me because he is responding to my editorial and I am the one who called the manipulation of the Grand Jury a trick.
Perhaps he thinks I should be nervous. Let me be very, very clear to all those who are trying to use every sort of tactic to pressure me to spend taxpayer money inappropriately (and I do not mean Doug Deane).
I WELCOME being investigated by the Grand Jury or any agency at any time for any action I have ever taken as an elected official.
And I have absolute confidence in the three other trustees, who are men of unquestioned integrity. The four of us are not politicians. We are people who have sacrificed for many years to help the families of East County.
While some want us to help the community of Alpine at the expense of the rest of the expense of the entire District of East County I cannot and will not.
Grossmont school board member
Editor’s note: Attached is a response by school board candidate Bill Weaver, which was sent to Patch on Friday.