Grand Jury Probe of Grossmont HS District is Politically Motivated

Jim Kelly: “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.”

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.  

Jim Kelly,
Grossmont school board member  

Editor’s note: Attached is a response by school board candidate Bill Weaver, which was sent to Patch on Friday.

barry tarvin November 03, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Mr. Kelly is well versed in political tricks, isn't he? WHo can forget the news conference he called to present his hand picked school board candidates, under the guise of throwing more, unfounded mud attacks at Helix? Mr. Kelly claims he is not a politician. Hmm, if he isn't a politician, why is he on the county Republican Central committee. Please prove your lack of interest in politics by resigning from the committee.
Bill A. Weaver November 03, 2012 at 08:51 PM
http://lamesa.patch.com/articles/direct-knowledge-of-a-grand-jury-investigation-of-guhsd FYI...
Bill A. Weaver November 03, 2012 at 08:54 PM
http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/11592 FYI... full disclosure
Lauren G. November 04, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Mr. Kelly, I hope you get your wish.
Lauren Gillihan November 04, 2012 at 04:09 PM
My thoughts, exactly, Mr. Tarvin! Have you noticed that Woods has not made a peep about this, and that Kelly is doing all the talking for him? That's because Woods is Kelly's puppet. He says and does exactly what Kelly wants him to do.
Bill A. Weaver November 04, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Gary Woods; you were vocal in 2008... where are you in 2012? What is your response? None? A $20 million site investment... people booted ff this property by eminent domain, construction costs at historical lows... a waiting list of new ADA funded students are in the wings, yet they aren't going to go forward. Why? More lies? Or is in existence, there any substance to the spin, which you'd wish to share... just rhetoric? Gary, are you out there... no comment, where do you stand?
barry tarvin November 04, 2012 at 09:42 PM
He's checking with Mr Kelly as to how to reply.
Jim Kelly November 05, 2012 at 06:34 AM
Mr. Weaver, please answer for the voters of East County 3 easy and fair questions. 1. Why did you, and Priscilla Schreiber, not mention a word about building the new Alpine high school in your 200-word ballot statement which allowed you to communicated with EVERY voter in East County? Forgot? 2. Did you participate in anonymously asking the County Grand Jury to investigate the Grossmont School Board about this issue? 3. When I simply pointed out that you never mentioned this issue in your ballot statement you stated that I was dragging your name through the mud. For simply pointing out a fact? Please explain.
Bill A. Weaver November 05, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Mr. Kelly; I look forward to putting this behind us and getting on with a positive ethic that gets the people business on tract, benefitting the GUHSD; Answers; 1) My ballot statement told about me, my values. Elsewhere, I have a paper and virtual trail about my views on the Alpine High School that are seemingly endless. 2) No, I had absolutely nothing to do with this. 3) Ballot statement... Grand Jury insinuation? Implication is muddying, IMO. Thank you for your questions, to allow me to clarfy.
Jim Kelly November 06, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Bill, thanks for your positive and professional reply! I'm still hoping that Priscilla Schreiber will follow your example answering why she never mentioned the new Alpine high school issue in her 200-word ballot statement or how she found out the County Grand Jury investigation into this issue "by accident". Apparently, she refused to answer that question repeatedly so it looks like she is trying to manipulate the voters of East County by hiding her agenda from them and playing politics with the Grand Jury investigation for the benefit of her re-election. We'll see.
Priscilla Schreiber November 06, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Mr. Kelly, with all due respect to you as my board colleague, go pound sand. You know about the Grand Jury, you've been told by me personally, so stop with your fabricated innuendos. If you can't remember, ask the district office about the Grand Jury call, when they received it and what was said. Stop making stuff up for your political manipulations. If a constituent wants to contact me about anything regarding my candidate statement, my phone number is listed. I do not have to write my statement to your satisfaction. It was about me, please don't make it about you. You will have your chance to write a ballot statement anyway you see fit in 2014.
Things I Learned November 06, 2012 at 04:24 AM
Fabricated innuendos are disfavored.
Jim Kelly November 06, 2012 at 06:27 AM
Ms. Schreiber, I simply asked you two fair questions which you again have failed to answer. In fact, the defensiveness and clear hostilty in your reply suggests that you are hiding the truth. You know you NEVER told me about a Grand Jury investigation into the new Alpine high school issue. Regarding your finding out about the investigation "by accident" as you were reported to have said to East County Magazine why not simply explain the facts rather than say "ask the district office". By simply stating the facts you would refute my contention that you are not being honest with the voters. Every candidate for office knows that a ballot statement is where a candidate reveals their agenda or goals for what they intend to do if elected. For you to refuse to mention anything about building a new Alpine high school, which you clearly intend to pursue, means you do not trust the voters to agree with your position. Hence, even if you win re-election you will have no mandate from the voters on that issue. You should have the courage of your convictions to let the chips fall where they will and not be so desperate to be reelected if it means revealing your agenda only to certain favorable audiences. Finally, you, and your allies, have publicly attacked your four fellow board members over and over again on this issue while we have only shown you patience and politeness. Now that I have finally responded to these attacks it appears you can dish it out but can't handle simple questions.
Bill A. Weaver November 06, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Today is it... the last day VOTE your wishes, collegiality is in order... but I would like to address Mr. Kelly Re:, "about building a new Alpine high school, which you [Schreiber] clearly intend to pursue, means you [Schreiber] do not trust the voters to agree with your position. Hence, even if you [Schreiber] win re-election you will have no mandate from the voters on that issue." I, Bill Weaver, take exception to your [Mr. Kelly's] very ERRONIOUS statement, because the voters have already voted twice, already is there a mandate by majority, a YES, build the Alpine 12th High school. We voters are simply waiting to see that mandate fullfilled... Jim? K!
Bill Weaver November 06, 2012 at 08:43 PM
This is such a BIG misstatement I really don't know how to quantify it as a misnomer." Let me re-state the fact that the voters approved the 12th HS expence, at the same time that 9/10 of the district was in declining enrollment, but GHHS was impacted. Let me reiterate, as much as Mr. Kelly wants you to believe his case... the same events that initiated the "Safety and Overcrowding Measure (Prop H) in 2004 exist today, unchanged between 2004 and 2012 (except that we voted them an extra $417 M (Prop U) to finish the job, it is poor project management that is st fault, maybe Gafcon should go out to a competitive bid proposal process again!
Bill Weaver November 06, 2012 at 08:55 PM
PS/ "[Weaver] they anonymously, and cowardly in my opinion, waste the Grand Jury’s time by accusing the school board of mismanaging public money. NOT, do me a favor Mr. Kelly, Google this,"Bill Weaver, GUHSD", then tell me how anonymously my HS12 stand is, and WHERE is GARY WOODS in SPEAKING out, MUM, afraid to speak out in defense of the indefensible positions he takes in regard to a 12h HS.
Bill Weaver November 07, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Congratulations to our re-elected GUHSD top vote getting incumbent Priscilla Schreiber, and our very welcome new Board Trustee Jim Stieringer!
Bill A. Weaver November 07, 2012 at 06:23 PM
A MINDFUL POINT OF ORDER: I qoute the Patch, "Stieringer, also responding to a Patch query, noted that he had expressed strong support for the construction of a high school in Alpine. And he said he respected differences among the current board members, “all of whom have my highest respect. I applaud their positive action in having procured the site for the proposed school.” But he said he found it distressing that district Superintendent Ralf Swenson has “arbitrarily withdrawn the building plans submitted to the State Architect [Office]. If that allegation turns out to be true, I am certain that all five board members will demand to know why that was done.” If elected, he said, “I would make engendering collegiality my first priority. As part of that effort I would make every effort to convince my new colleagues that we should promptly move toward construction of the voter-approved school. Weaver told Patch that even though “my opinions are cause to be suspect” because he is a school board candidate, “I respond because history makes the case strong that this GUHSD board majority is disingenuous to their mission of governing to the needs of the high school district, as best served.” He said he was tired of false hope and asserted that the current board has “lied, twisted truth and created delays that should have succeeded long ago to accomplish their goal—kill the HS12 project.” THE VOTERS HAVE SPOKEN, AGAIN!
Bill Weaver November 09, 2012 at 11:42 PM
This GUHSD Board and Administration is a BIG DISAPPOINTMENT! Last night, At the regular monthly second Thursday Bd. meeting, Nov 8th, they voted on 18 recommendations proposed by Superintendent Ralf Swenson in regard to the Bond projects. The 18th Recommendation was to pull plans on the 12th HS, and not continue to fund the project until further action is taken by the Board. Little discussion took place. I spoke, explaining that the Granite Hills HS is now going to have to be modernized for 2,800 students, this makes no good sense, 600 of those students should not be provided accommodations at GHHS, save that money, to put towards the 12th HS... The GUHSD Bd didn't listen, my comments fell on deaf Administration and Gov. Bd. ears. I also reminded them that the Bd. Makeup is likely to soon change, that a vote on this should wait. They ignored me, this Bd is unethical, unprofessional, and even laughable as they disregard good protocol, and best Governing Board practices.
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Alpine Blossom Valley High February 16, 2013 at 05:05 PM
SEE THIS; http://lamesa.patch.com/articles/12th-high-school-proposal-inferred-an-attempt-to-hold-alpine-hostage


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