Overwhelming support for Alpine High School
By Chuck Taylor
For The Alpine Sun
At the 2nd and final public hearing concerning the unification of the Alpine Union School District in front of the County Board of Education, there was standing room only at the East County Education Center in El Cajon. As was the case during the first public hearing in Alpine, the meeting was packed with Alpine High School supporters.
Among the dozens of speakers, County Supervisor Diane Jacob urged the County Board to forward their recommendation of approval to the State Board of Education, saying that the decision should ultimately be made by the voters in Alpine. Tribal Vice Chairman Cita Welch told the board that Viejas was in full support of the high school and mentioned that there had been accusations made that Alpine simply wanted the school to avoid having to serve more minority students. Mr. Welch said that as a Native American, he would be the first to know if that type of attitude was pervasive in Alpine and that was most certainly not the case. Others speaking included members of the Alpine School Board, our outgoing superintendent and Mark Price who delivered a scathing indictment concerning the history of lies and deceit that the citizens of Alpine had endured for over 15 years. Al Haven mentioned that the first High School committee had been formed 17 years ago in his living room. Sal Casamisina spoke about the 1000’s of hours of study and research had been put in by the committee which included the physical buildings, the design and the advanced curriculum.
Grossmont High School board members Hoy and Shields spoke against Alpine’s unification efforts stating that although the had always planned to build a high school in Alpine, the cost of construction had inflated and was no longer feasible. They said that it would cost the Grossmont District in excess of One Million dollars a year to run the school over and above the revenue that it would generate. They further stated that Alpine could not afford to build the school, even if it was approved.
By the end of the 3 plus hours of testimony, the County Board members made a few comments and it seemed like they might have been leaning towards passing their approval on to the State Board for their ruling. Should the County and State boards approve the unification effort, then the final decision would be up to voters during and election period. The County Board must issue their recommendation no later than August 13th but may move on the decision before that time.