It was just last year that the Sweetwater Union High School District was investigated by the County Grand Jury due to the complaints received from the community about misuse of Prop. BB funds. The Grand Jury found no illegal wrong doing, but they did admonish the district for their spending priorities. Apparently the message went over the heads of the school district administration and in particular the school board.
Last year parents of Sweetwater Union High School District were under the assumption that the monies from the first bond sale would be used to repair decaying facilities, broken down bathrooms, new cafeterias, computer rooms and other repairs of this nature. The parents were upset when they realized that the monies went instead toward the construction of a new high school and the building of a 9 million dollar gym at Sweetwater High and a 11 million dollar gym at Mar Vista High. In the meantime, facility repairs that were highlighted in the campaign to pass Prop. BB were put on the back burner.
Apparently little has changed. Parents are still complaining about how Sweetwater Union High School District is spending their monies, in particular how come one high school is near complete and much nicer than another, supposedly to be identical and started at the same time. What is particularly interesting is that while the San Ysidro high school has more money allocated for construction it is lagging behind, as documented by Ray Beltran's front page story.
It would appear that in this case location makes a big difference. Otay Ranch High School is located in an upscale section of Chula Vista whereas San Ysidro High School is in a neglected part of South Bay. It was just recently that the San Ysidro Principal was able to buy lunch tables and benches, which the students had to do without since the school opened. In contrast Otay Ranch has had these particular amenities for some time.
At the same time according to the Department of General Services Office of Public School Construction for the State of California, on their web site they have listed as completed certain construction projects. For example, when you go out to the San Ysidro High School where a completed arts building is supposed to be sits an odd looking structure in the general area where the arts building is supposed to go. The arts building project is listed as completed on the State’s web site.
According to Bruce Husson, in Planning and Construction for Sweetwater Union High School District, $52 million dollars has been spent per school. The question the community wants answered is what happened to the San Ysidro school? While Otay High is near completion with minor work yet to be done such as landscaping, the San Ysidro school still has a ton of major work yet to get started, and according to Mr. Husson there is only about $10 million dollars left with which to do the work, and that they won’t be able to start construction on the rest of the school until 2005.
No matter how you look at it, the students and parents of San Ysidro High School have been discriminated against. The students and residents of San Ysidro have been neglected once again, while the more affluent neighborhood have been catered to.
It is now time for the community of San Ysidro to hold their elected school board members accountable and find out what is going on with the monies that were supposed to be spent building their high school. An audit should be called for to find out where the monies for San Ysidro High went. An investigation must be called for to find out why there is such a disparity in construction time. And the school board members must be held accountable for allowing this blatant form of discrimination to take place.
Ya Basta. Enough is enough, it is time to take a stand and demand equality.