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Grossmont School Board Rift Explodes: Board Member Kelly Attacks Schreiber

Jim Kelly rips incumbent candidate Priscilla Schreiber for “cheap political tricks” with remarks.

Jim Kelly isn’t up for re-election until 2014, but he attacked current school board candidate Priscilla Schreiber this week for what he called “cheap political tricks and needless controversy”—her assertion that the Grossmont Union High School District is subject of a Grand Jury investigation.

“It is time to answer these misleading, politically motivated attacks,” Kelly said in an Oct. 30 letter posted on East County Magazine.

His response was posted 17 days after Schreiber said the district was under scrutiny for board actions involving bond money first promised for a new Alpine high school.

In an 860-word letter, Kelly accused Schreiber, who is up for re-election Tuesday, of “an old political trick to have your surrogates demand an investigation of your political opponent, right before an election, and then go to the media and announce that your opponent is under investigation.”

Kelly said the Alpine high school wasn’t built because of “massive cuts in education funding,” which would keep the district short of funds to operate a new school “without laying off dozens of classroom teachers and increasing class size.”

He also argued that “building a new school in a time declining student enrollment would be a violation of the intent of [Proposition] U. Currently, there is no need to build a new high school. Overcrowding is no longer an issue.”

Finally, he wrote, building and operating a new school would hurt existing schools and especially Steele Canyon and Helix charter high schools.

“In a time of massive educational cuts, we need trustees who are fiscally responsible with taxpayer money—not a tax-and-spend politician who wants to keep on building new unnecessary schools to keep her campaign contributors happy,” Kelly wrote.

Kelly said Schrieber was backed by a “handful of community agitators.”

He said Alpine high school advocate and board candidate Bill Weaver was a close ally of hers—but that neither “even hinted” in their ballot statements that they support a 12th school in the district.

“This is an acknowledgement that their position is not popular with East County voters,” Kelly wrote. “Rather than have the courage of their convictions and proudly stating their positions, they use cowardly tactics like demanding the Grand Jury investigation—knowing that it will be rejected AFTER the election is over.”

“The voters of East County can send the Grossmont District a message by voting for the candidates who support their views,” he said without specifying who they should vote for.

But at least one candidate—Barbara Stevens—has joined Kelly in criticizing Schreiber, who told East County Magazine that Proposition H and U funds were “only supposed to be used to improve facilities with 16,000-square-foot multi-purpose facilities. But our staff inflated that into these performing art centers with 35,000 square feet.”

Schreiber told the online site this would have inflated costs by $40 million.

“I stopped the process, but Helix got through,” she said Oct. 13, referring to a $15.2 million, 34,194-square-foot performing arts project on the La Mesa campus, arguing that that the board never approved the spending. “Now, Grossmont wants one.”

In an Oct. 14 comment on her Facebook page, however, Stevens accused Schreiber of having a short memory and “must have forgotten her own involvement in not only the way money was spent on projects, but her own involvement in terms of actually voting to approve these projects.”

“The decision process for replacing the old Helix theater and associated classrooms was not some surprise project that ‘slipped through’ under the radar as Ms. Schreiber would like to say now.”

Stevens continued:

And as far as “where has the Alpine school money has gone?” Ms. Schreiber has had a hand in that, as well. Starting with the hiring of a program manager in 2007 under the guidance of a Bond Advisory Committee formed under the leadership of Ms. Priscilla Schreiber and then board President Larry Urdahl.

With those decisions how much has the Program Manager cost the district? Then to hand a $11 million no-bid contract to this very same company with no competition, and if my memory serves me correctly wasn’t there a U-T Watchdog article regarding Ms. Schreiber and this exact same program manager?

Stevens wrote of the Schreiber accusations: “This is exactly why I decided to run for the Grossmont Union High School Board! It’s time for board reform in the Grossmont District! We need to start focusing on the real needs the entire student population within our district and not just one community. The board needs to stop using this district for their own personal political gains and start focusing on student education!”

The Oct. 13 East County Magazine report said Schreiber learned of the probe “by accident” while in the district’s office.

The report said “multiple sources” confirmed the investigation, although only one was cited and such investigations are never publicly revealed.

Another leading candidate for the Grossmont school board is former Grossmont Healthcare District board member Jim Stieringer, who said he supports an Alpine high school.

On his campaign website, Stieringer said: “The new school will provide many benefits to our communities, not the least of which is obviating the time and resources our students waste while conducting their daily commute on Interstate 8.”

Other candidates for the two seats are one-term incumbent Gary Woods and Zach Miller, a 19-year-old junior at San Diego State.

Bob A O'Reilly November 02, 2012 at 07:18 PM
I have been to several GUHSD Board meetings. Woods is Kelly's puppet. It's almost ridiculous to see there show. Priscilla Schreiber will be getting my vote. I will also be voting for Bill Weaver. This dysfunctional board needs change and Woods should NOT be a part of it.
Barbara November 02, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Lauren, that's a great question. I probably will fall short on my answer to you, because I am currently unfamiliar with the specific processes within our district, but I am willing to take a look once I am on the Board, and provide a new set of eyes on the same arguments that seem to go nowhere near solutions. I don't know if you are familiar with my legal action earlier this year to try to stop the extension of the Construction Management company's contract. They had a 5 year deal where they could be reviewed and the contract extended. At the end of that 5 years, the contract was supposed to go out for competition. It did not. The Board approved an extension of the contract, and used the legal consultants to justify their actions. I'd like to get rid of that legal firm. I haven't heard of ONE actioin they have suggested that has been in the interest of anyone but the status quo. They certainly are not offering advice and guidance with any concern for the students of this district.
Barbara November 02, 2012 at 07:34 PM
(continued) Massive changes ARE needed in the way schools are funded. It makes no sense to me to get unfunded yet mandatory requirements from the Federal Level, and it makes no sense to me to increase taxes, send money to Sacramento, and hope that something different will happen, and some of it rains down to the student level. We have to ask ourselves: Are our schools first and foremost a guaranteed employment for teachers and the educational administrators? Are our schools a source of jobs for construction companies and managers? There were plenty of meetings and published plans outlining each of the campus's projects. The parties involved worked out their priorities, and came to a conclusion of what they each felt was needed at the campuses. Had those plans been followed, most of the existing problems would not be here at all. Making a plan and sticking to the core of it is critical to these projects. I'm sure it would make us all sick to learn how much has been spent at redesigning the redesigns, and covering "pet" projects at the expense of approved and vital programs.
Barbara November 02, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Lauren, one final note. I would welcome any comments, suggestions, and even complaints about how things are going. One thing that seems apparent is that parents and community members feel they don't have a regular avenue for substantive input. Let's change that.
No Bad Government November 02, 2012 at 08:01 PM
East County Magazine is nothing but a liberal rag.
Barbara November 02, 2012 at 08:03 PM
As far as the PAC debate, the real question is: how much was the original estimated budget for the multi-purpose buildings compared to the original estimates on the PAC's.? Where the budgets managed correctly or was there scope creep? there is a major remodeling project underway on the District offices...are those bond funds being spent? Was that part of the bond language? Maybe we need a full unbiased audit of the entire bond program!
Alpine Blossom Valley High November 02, 2012 at 09:21 PM
a "political trick"... handful of activists (Activists?) (This is a group of TAXPAYERS, and District Parents, who simply are holding this Gov. School Board accountable, Nothing more, no political trickery) ...listening to them trying to accommodate their concerns. (We TAXPAYERS have taken this into consideration, in our countless times reaching out to this Gov. Board, we have asked for the numbers, the spreadsheet to show a case for abandoning this bond funded TWICE, once in Prop H, again in U} 12th HS project... it hasn't yet been forthcoming... will cost the District approximately $1.5 million (Yes, our TAXPAYERS money, and $1.5 million is reasonable, the largest portion of this will be teacher, and staff salaries and benefits. These will be transferred from one campus budget to the new 12HS campus budget... status quot.)
Scott Chase November 03, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Priscilla Schreiber and Jim Kelly need to be removed from this board. What is their real purpose? The infighting has taken center stage and their ego's have become bigger then the student's of this once fine District! The District is not there for them to have a position as a board member rather, they should feel honored to be a part of this once fine institution! One is using the district to support her own outside interests and need to feel important. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jul/16/grossmont-charity-ties-questioned/?print&page=all The other using the district as a position to support his Republican Party Central Committee. Mr. Kelly you've been on this board for over 12 years, its time for you to move on to your next political seat and let the fine students of East County free of your Hitler type reign! East County resident's please stand up and vote for Stevens and Weaver! It's time for REAL CHANGE!!!
Priscilla Schreiber November 03, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Thank you Doug, I appreciate your kind words. Hope this finds you and yours well? Sincerely, Priscilla
David B Secor November 03, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Regarding Quail Brush Peaker Plant, one local candidate attended and spoke out both at the San Diego Board of Supervisors' meetings, and the San Diego City Council meeting. In both, we the People won denial of rezoning from open space to heavy industrial. The CEC has final say, but the citizens who attended and spoke at those meetings were what won the day here, and CEC pays attention to what local boards and councils say. That local candidate is also active with Save Mission Trails Park and joined them in their protests as well. That candidate - to represent the people of Santee and the East County in Congress, is me. I'm a 30-year resident of Crest, at 20 served with the 1st Air Cavalry in Vietnam (1968), a lifelong member of the working class, determined to fight for the People and our environment not just Pentagon contractors, would never let Grover Norquist or anyone else control my vote in Congress, and take no bribes (only contributions under $100). You might approve. The deal-breaker in this district has always been a letter. The letter (D) next to my name on the ballot. The difference between me and the newest "Duncan Hunter" is that I actually give a damn about the people, health and the environment in our district. Mr. Hunter, who could care less about Quail Brush, has the letter (R) next to his name on the ballot. If the future for Santee and District 50 is important to you, consider this once voting for the person, not the letter.
David B Secor November 03, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Woods must GO. He can then continue slithering toward another more high-profile political office. Jim Kelly is not up for reelection but if had he any integrity, or felt any obligation to the students, parents, teachers and taxpayers, he would apologize to all and resign, saving us the trouble of throwing him out in two years.
David B Secor November 03, 2012 at 03:01 PM
"Time for a change," "We need to take a fresh look." Barbara, if you aren't clear on the issues, the history, the personalities and their agendas by now, a "fresh look" won't help. Several candidates have the basic courage to at least take positions - positions that voters like, or don't like. If all you have to offer is generalizations and slogans you don't have anything to offer. The people will not vote for you just because you're the one candidate who was seems so "nice?" you wouldn't say anything about anything. The issues, the personalities, the future, Prop 30, local bonds, Alpine High School - What is your position, where do you stand, you can't just float in mid-air. When you have no clear destination in mind only one thing is certain - you'll never get there. Specifics of course, mean many people won't like you. (That's why my opponent NEVER states his position on vital issues.) Don't go Duncan Hunter and try to sneak into office. Face the people, and your opponents and make your case. Some will say electing you means the end of life on earth, some respond that you are the new Joan of Arc saving the district! It's called politics, Barbara. All voters are better off if you just tell them where you stand, why you're different from the others, why some other candidates' positions are bad, or good, and what you'd do to see that the district "moves forward." One person's "forward" is another person's "downward spiral to disaster."
Sandy November 04, 2012 at 02:01 AM
TO GUHSD Board and Parents: It's high time to officially oppose the CoGentrix (Quail Brush) power plant that's to be sited about 800 yards from West Hills High School. Yes, public opposition CAN be a game-changer. The Santee School Board took a stand and sent their letter of opposition to the California Energy Commission. Take a stand now for the health of our young people. This is what GUHSD should be talking about! Parents - ask the Board to do the right thing for our kids. Meanwhile, send your own letter to Eric.Solorio@energy.ca.gov and reference 11-AFC-03. See sample letters at http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/quailbrush/documents/others/comments/ To see Santee's School Board's letter of opposition: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/quailbrush/documents/others/2012-10-10_Santee_School_District_Board_of_Education_Adopts_Resolution_1213-02_on_9-4-2012_Opposing_the_Quail_Brush_Power_Plant_TN-67641.pdf
Alpine Blossom Valley High November 04, 2012 at 01:34 PM
I agree. My letter is in N the mail.
Alpine Blossom Valley High November 04, 2012 at 01:37 PM
I agree. My letter is in N the mail. Mr. Secor... What is your opinion re: Sandy below...
Bill A. Weaver November 04, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Saturday, December 6, 2008 Rebuilding the high schools | The San Diego Union-Tribune: After 2010 – Reconstruction continues with money authorized by Proposition U, approved by voters last month. January 2009 – Staff likely to present a broad game plan for implementing Prop. U and ask for board approval. January 2009 – Draft of the environmental impact report for an Alpine/Blossom Valley area high school to be released with request for public review and comments. February 2009 – Tentative. Staff may ask board to approve sale of first tranche (slice) of Proposition U bonds. This area of the credit market has not seized up and is still viable due to the nature of this type of debt and the district's high credit rating. June 2009 – Possible board vote on approving environmental reports for Alpine/Blossom Valley school. Summer 2009 – Initiate process to purchase new school site and start initial design. Late 2009 – Completed designs on latest phase of major renovations of existing high schools, authorized by Prop. U, to be submitted to state for approval. Fall 2013 – Realistic opening date for Alpine/Blossom Valley area high school based on meeting district enrollment targets. Source: Scott Patterson, district deputy superintendent of business services Prop U - $417 Million - passed by 57% of voters in November, 2008... Prop H - $274 Million - passed by 62% of voters in March, 2004...
Bill A. Weaver November 04, 2012 at 06:15 PM
PS; GUHSD Enrollments Targets Were Met For Three Straight Years... Current dip is regained completely by 2014 per GUHSD Demographer Vince O'Hara...
David B Secor November 04, 2012 at 07:04 PM
An obviously outraged, Please-see-me-as-the-victim, Don't-believe-your-own-lyin'-eyes Kelly called them "misleading, politically-motivated attacks." Not unusual for a politician, he left out the part that said they were not true. I had the same situation when Duncan Hunter ran away from the debate we had set for 10/23 at Cuyamaca College. Hunter's excuse - he said I had made "disparaging remarks" about his hand-picked moderator, his associate Steve Hamann. Hamann, his company and its officers, are part of the un-holy trinity of developers, city officials and mega-church officials who when potential challenges or obstacles to their desires appear, share an uncanny ability to "part the waters" and move forward with their plans. Congressman Hunter said I'd made "disparaging remarks." He never said they were not true. He did add, however, that he would not face me in front of his employers, the voters. Not on 10/23, nor any day before his re-coronation, not at an open town hall with voters asking questions, not with someone from the League of Women Voters as moderator. MORAL:Don't ever hurt that Marine's feelings. If you do, he will refuse to carry out his mission, return to his quarters and refuse to come out until it's safe, which will be November 7th. At least that's how it's been for all "Duncan Hunters" for 32 years. It's not what Jim Kelly said. It's what Jim Kelly DIDN'T say. It's not what D.Hunter said. It's what D. Hunter DIDN'T say.
Jim Kelly November 05, 2012 at 07:06 AM
Ms. Schreiber, You have been quoted in the press as saying you found out about the County Grand Jury investigation "by accident" but you provided absolutely no details when asked repeatedly. If you believe in transparency please provide the details to the voters. Also, why didn't you mention even one word about the new Alpine high school issue in your ballot statement?
Things I Learned November 05, 2012 at 02:23 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifRKu1W1fXQ
Bill Weaver November 07, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Congratulations to our re-elected GUHSD top vote getting incumbent Priscilla Schreiber, and our very welcome new Board Trustee Jim Stieringer!
Dee Dean November 07, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Kudos to Priscilla - the voters have spoken! You are the number one vote-getter. You must be doing something right! Congratulations and stay strong! The voters are clearly behind you! Dee Dean
Bill A. Weaver November 07, 2012 at 06:15 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 11:44 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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TA November 16, 2012 at 07:36 PM
David: I completely agree! Jim Kelly & Gary Woods have zero concern for Grossmont District students! They have lied & been dishonest to this district for years! I have personally been at district board meetings & seen their lies first hand! How can a district kick off 5 or 6 families from the proposed 12th high school site, then not move forward with the plans to build the school! Kelly says the district can't afford the school, but even their own demographic study showed that a new school would bring 300-400 new kids to the district which equates to $1.8-$2.4M of new dollars to the district which would easily would pay for the new school. The new school will save countless hours for the students who now spend approx 1.5 hours per day on a bus going to Granite Hills (at what cost of fuel, time, & risk for these students?). It is a no-brainer to build this school! The district has the money through the bond, it has already spent approx $20M towards the $60M school (land, plans ,etc.) that are at risk if not built, it would save countless hours for students & parents, it would draw new students to the district, etc.!!!! This is all politically motivate by Kelly and his puppets to control the GUHSD! Get rid of these idiots like Kelly & Woods now!! They are running GUHSD into the toilet! If people really knew how bad these guys are (Kelly & Woods), they would prosecute both for misleading & mismanaging public funds!!
James Hartline December 01, 2012 at 06:07 PM
I have an enormous body of evidence showing the corruption and unethical actions of Jim Kelly behind the scenes to control the outcome of GUHSD elections in recent years. It has been Mr. Kelly who has engaged in years of manipulative and treacherous behavior against Mrs. Schreiber. It was Mr. Kelly who was the beneficiary of questionable campaign contributions during his 2006 campaign, ties to the illegal campaign contributions of Hamman Construction and the California Republican Assembly. It was Mr. Kelly who made personal trips to churches to manipulate christian pastors and their congregations into supporting his candidacy and to oppose Mrs. Schreiber. It was Mr. Kelly who was involved in the very corrupt replacement of the very corrupt Gary Cass on the GUHSD with immoral GOP mouthpiece Ron Nehring. It was Mr. Kelly who organized a dishonest press conference to bash board members he wanted defeated during the 2008 election by using a disconnected school sexual scandal to try to defeat those board members. Mr. Kelly's days of controlling GUHSD via political blackballing of his opponents is winding down and his being permanently discounted as any sort of credible voice on education is quickly approaching. Mrs. Schreiber's landslide victory in November is evidence that Mr. Kelly no longer has the ability to control electoral outcomes. James Hartline, publisher of The James Hartline Report, San Diego, CA
James Hartline December 01, 2012 at 06:08 PM
I have an enormous body of evidence showing the corruption and unethical actions of Jim Kelly behind the scenes to control the outcome of GUHSD elections in recent years. It has been Mr. Kelly who has engaged in years of manipulative and treacherous behavior against Mrs. Schreiber. It was Mr. Kelly who was the beneficiary of questionable campaign contributions during his 2006 campaign, ties to the illegal campaign contributions of Hamman Construction and the California Republican Assembly. It was Mr. Kelly who made personal trips to churches to manipulate christian pastors and their congregations into supporting his candidacy and to oppose Mrs. Schreiber. It was Mr. Kelly who was involved in the very corrupt replacement of the very corrupt Gary Cass on the GUHSD with immoral GOP mouthpiece Ron Nehring. It was Mr. Kelly who organized a dishonest press conference to bash board members he wanted defeated during the 2008 election by using a disconnected school sexual scandal to try to defeat those board members. Mr. Kelly's days of controlling GUHSD via political blackballing of his opponents is winding down and his being permanently discounted as any sort of credible voice on education is quickly approaching. Mrs. Schreiber's landslide victory in November is evidence that Mr. Kelly no longer has the ability to control electoral outcomes. James Hartline, publisher of The James Hartline Report, San Diego, CA
Alpine Blossom Valley High February 16, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Wow, 48 comments, all negative outlooks on Mr. Kelly, Hmmm... what inferred meaning do we derive? One more question to ponder.... Mr. Kelly, please answer this; A 12th HS campus, with modern classroom and 21st Century curriculum offerings is good logic, to benefit all of the GUHSD, and attracts new students and new ADA revenues. It would prevent 600 + Alpine area students from Unifying out of the GUHSD (600 x $6,000 ADA per student = a loss of $3.6 million) which just might save the GUHSD from financial disaster which it is flirting with! Also, the GUHSD lost 336 student from Alpine when Steele Canyon HS bailed out of the GUHSD. They could regain thse student if the 12th HS was built. 336 x $6,000 = $2.02 million + 3.6 M, totals $5.62 million that building the 12th HS could save or regain to strengthen the GUHSD bottom fiscal line... A no brainer Mr. Kelly!
Alpine Blossom Valley High February 16, 2013 at 05:08 PM
ONE MORE; http://lamesa.patch.com/articles/be-it-resolved-commence-guhsd-work-on-12th-high-school-in-alpine-asap

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