Few details on Sweetwater district's student-data-sharing deal

Was South Bay Community Services "holding up money" for agreement?

A data-sharing agreement between Sweetwater Union High School District and South Bay Community Services/Promise Neighborhoods continues to be withheld from the Reader and the public from whom the data was collected.

South Bay Community Services provides a variety of services to families and individuals in South San Diego. In 2012, Department of Education secretary Arne Duncan awarded the local agency a Promise Neighborhoods five-year grant.

According to the SBCS website, the $60 million grant, which is also comprised of local matching funds, is “to execute a community-led plan that will support academic excellence and college-bound aspirations for all children in Chula Vista’s Castle Park neighborhood.”

A December 3 Reader article included email snippets from Castle Park Middle School principal Robert Bleisch. In the emails, Bleisch writes to former Sweetwater chief financial officer Albert Alt and tells him that Promise Neighborhoods is withholding “a good chunk of cash” — 100k — in exchange for a data-gathering agreement with the school district.

Bleisch was anxious to get that money to buy T-shirts, a stage, banners to impress Arne Duncan when he visited the school last September.

It’s worth repeating one excerpt written by Bleisch to Alt on August 5. The subject of the email was “Data-Sharing":

"Just a kind reminder if you can help us get this data-sharing agreement signed. FYI-They’re [South Bay Community Services] holding up money until I deliver on this [smiley face] need this [Promise Neighborhoods] money to pay $17k for a new stage and $3000 Flags, $5000 cafeteria college banners for Arne’s visit.

To date, neither the district nor South Bay Community Services has been willing to release the data-sharing agreement to the Reader.

In a December 10 interview, representatives of South Bay Community Services said they would get back to the Reader with the date of the data-sharing agreement — that hasn’t happened yet.

However, the Sweetwater district did provide an invoice for a 288-square-foot stage that Bleisch wanted. The invoice is dated August 7. The district also provided a copy of a check from the Associated Student Body account dated August 8. Later in the emails, the CFO promises to reimburse the student funds out of the general funds.

Mauricio Torre is director of SBCS’s youth and family services department. He also supervises the Promise Neighborhoods project. Torre is addressed in an email referring to the data agreement.

Kathryn Lembo

Kathryn Lembo

On December 10, I had an interview arranged with Torre at the South Bay Community Services office in Chula Vista. In addition to Torre, the organization’s CEO, Kathryn Lembo, also attended the interview. Also in attendance was the organization’s public relations consultant, Patty Chavez, and another woman who was introduced by Lembo as her assistant.

As I attempted to conduct the interview with Torre, Lembo continually interrupted. Asked about the interruptions, Lembo said, “I’m the CEO of this organization, Susan...and that’s my choice, isn’t it? I think I can help Mauricio with this interview and I think I have every right to.”

Lembo said data collected by Promise Neighborhoods uses a software program named “Efforts to Outcome” and that the data helps to ensure that people are benefiting from the services. She also stated that no data had been received from the district other than attendance records.

Regarding principal Bleisch’s emails that refer to South Bay Community Services/Promise Neighborhoods "holding up money" in exchange for the data-sharing agreement, Lembo said, “That’s completely untrue. I’d like a copy of those emails because that’s slanderous against the organization, my organization…. If someone is saying that to get their boss to do what they want them to do or to get them to look good, that’s slanderous of the organization.”

Lembo said, “I do all the budgets for the agency and there wasn’t $100,00 being held for the school district.” She also stated that there has been no transfer of funds to the district other than money for a software program named “Achieve 3000.”

Questions remain about the data sharing. Some readers may recall that Sweetwater had a big push in July and August to enroll students into a private university — Alliant.

In an August 6 telephone interview Lembo acknowledged that academic advocates for the Promise Neighborhoods had been calling 11th- and 12th-grade Sweetwater students about post-secondary opportunities and new information about Alliant. Lembo said the academic advocates were calling students based on their grade point average.

Note the tie-in of all the dates: August 5 is also when Bleisch was pressuring the district to get the data-sharing agreement to South Bay Community Services.

At the December 10 interview, I asked Lembo where Promise Neighborhoods academic advocates get the list of student names and phone numbers. Lembo responded, “From the district.”

She said she did not think the academic advocates — though making their calls based on grade point averages — had the individual kids’ grade point averages; they just had the kids’ names and numbers. (The academic advocates work out of Castle Park Middle School.)

As a follow-up question, I asked Lembo — “This is before there was a data-sharing agreement and before there is a privacy…?” Lembo interrupted and said, “I need to get back to you back to you to tell you when the data-sharing agreement was finalized because I don’t know the answer to that question….”

Lembo did not respond to a December 19 email request for the data agreement, the date of the data agreement, or contact information for “Xavier.” (Lembo had said "Xavier" would know the date the district turned over the information to the academic advocates.)

Instead, consultant Patty Chavez responded that South Bay Community Services would not be able to provide a copy until the week of January 6 and “As for Xavier, if there are specific questions you have for him you can do so through me. As we discussed at the last meeting, I'll serve as your point of contact.”

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Stonewalling. Multiple attempts to disrupt, distract and throw the public off the scent.

Why would this be done, unless they are hiding something.

My conclusion is that the behavior of Lembo and South Bay Community Services indicates that all sorts of violations have taken place, and they are trying like everything to convince people otherwise.

Why is it that they just do not get it? The more they obfuscate, stall and attempt to confuse the matter, the more we, the public, know there is something wrong.

$100,000 being held until they could gain access to data...gosh, what does that sound like? Extortion? Or just a simple misunderstanding?

The FERPA - Family Educational Right to Privacy Act -- law is clear: the Sweetwater Union High School District, or other educational entity, may NOT reveal personal contact information for any of their students without express permission of parents of students who are not yet 18 years of age. It seems the SUHSD has violated the Federal law with their 'data sharing' with South Bay Community Services for whatever purposes. According to Lembo, the SBCS called students' in the 11th and 12th' grades...how did they come by the phone numbers?

By the way, Patty Chavez is the former CV council person (who was appointed, never elected) and special friend of former mayor Steve Padilla. Along with former mayor Shirley Horton, she now is part of the SBCS cartel reaping handsome salaries and commissions from the lucrative contracts (more than $1 million per year) from the Sweetwater District.

I'd love to see the data that shows whether this program is effective. I know at my site we are starting to question if the kids are benefiting because we see a lot of adults on the payroll, some of whom act like the teachers at the site are nothing more than an annoyance, and don't quite know what these adults do. I see recruiting but very little interest from the students. I'd like to see the number of students who are involved divided by the cost of the salaries for all of those adults employed to run the program. I know the teachers who teach the classes after school aren't being paid much and participate because they have a hobby they want to share with our students. Those teachers don't need anyone to administrate, and they recruit their own students and their friends as they have always done with after school clubs. Our counselors do a great job with scholarships and preparing kids for applying for college, so what exactly do these Promise Neighborhood employees do? Do they even have college degrees?

oneoftheteachers, i have heard discussions at the board meetings about the after school and Saturday programs and whether or not students are even being taught ... or taught in the subjects they missed. It is my recollection they were not. If high attendance scores are garnered through afterschool and Saturday school...I'm not sure how useful that is for students.

I note that the emails (only some of which were posted) include a reference to auditing CPMs attendance.

You ask some good questions.

Teachers are pressured into sending students to school on Saturday. These "interventions" are called by different names at different sites and students are almost bribed to attend. For example, if a student receives a punitive Saturday School, s/he can choose to go to an intervention class. Not only does the student receive extra academic credit, but s/he can clear truancies and 12 tardies by attending. When teachers assign detention and warn a student that she/he will receive a Saturday School for non-attendance, a common response is, " I don't care. I have to go to intervention anyway." The quality of teaching varies. When the actual classroom teacher prepares material and teaches that sixth day, I do believe the kids benefit, but when teachers are pressured to prepare even more curriculum for a substitute, that effort is time and energy taken away from the classroom. Sometimes, substitutes with little knowledge in the subject area teach the classes and science and math students receive the wrong information. Students, who are natural procrastinators, are developing a mind set that they don't need to do their work or even attend class for that matter because they can go hang out with their friends at the Saturday intervention program and with minimal effort earn extra-credit points while they clear tardies, truancies and punitive assignments. This program is hurting our students, not helping. I hope that the attendance for these Saturday interventions won't be used as evidence of how wonderful this Promise Neighborhood program is working. I know the attendance data is already being used to determine attendance rates at the sites, so the principals who pressure their teachers the most to send students are the principals with the best attendance rates.

Lembo said she wanted to see Bleisch's email stating it would be slanderous to her organization. Well now that she has seen it where is the lawsuit? Why not provide the agreement date if your hands are clean. Susan have you been able to get the agreement from the district? Bet not,because Brandi's trying to change CPM into a Charter School. CPM staff have been told Bleisch will be principal of the Charter portion as well as principal of the remaining portion that will remain the same. I wonder if Arnie has the integrity to look into this matter or is he just another politician going into hiding until the storm blows over. Thanks again Susan.

I live in the Promise Neighborhood and have had questions about it since they first came to our doors asking questions for their survey (they gave out Sprouts gift cards if you answered them). I went to a public meeting about it a few months back. I left that meeting with more questions about what was really going on. The parents hired for each school to do outreach, hand out flyers, hold meetings and make connections to other parents was highlighted several times. The presenter said all the data for how well the program is working is available on their website. The presenter also said they wanted to make all neighborhoods Promise Neighborhoods in the district. Considering this is a multimillion dollar project for one neighborhood, that will be a lot of money coming from taxpayer funded grants and going who knows where.

My neighbor's son received an email from Southwestern Community College about going to a Manpower meeting for job help put on for students in the Promise Neighborhood. Manpower required the college kids to take a two week class with them which was held during the day when they were all in SWC classes. My neighbor said Manpower called their house and she spoke with the woman who said her job was specifically to work with the Promise Neighborhood residents because the survey showed unemployment was a problem within it. She then asked my neighbor if she needed a job because anyone, any age, living in the Promise Neighborhood is eligible for this program. When asked how many people had gotten jobs in the Neighborhood, she said it hadn't been very successful yet.

I hope more people start asking questions about this, because something doesn't seem to be adding up. It seems to have such a wide scope (cradle to grave for anyone living within the boundaries), and I am not sure who are the ones really benefiting. Thank you for writing about this Susan.

erupting, In response to a December 3 request for the data-sharing agreement and related materials the district promised a further response no later than January 6.

I am aware of a number of concerns about the startup of the charter.

Apropos of nothing and everything I like Diane Ravitch's holistic approach to education:

"Discerning, affluent parents demand schools with a full curriculum, an experienced staff, a rich program in the arts, a library, a well-maintained campus, and small classes. As a society, we must do whatever is possible to extend the same advantages to children who do not have them."

At what point are the authorities, all of them, going to converge on this 'allegedly' corrupt District and rid us of the cancerous plague that is eating away at all that is needed to provide a quality education for the Districts students. I am talking the FBI! the STATE, the IRS, the DEPT of ED. Where the hell are they???????????

Has Ed Brand learned any lessons from 'the largest corruption case in San Diego history'? Guess he, like the infamous rapper believes 'CAN'T TOUCH ME' - oh contrar!

Each and every person involved in this scandal should be FIRED immediately. All monies to South Bay Community services STOPPED immediately until they too are investigated.

Brand not providing The READER - Ms. Luzzaro information requested. It appears he is attempting to keep the truth hidden. We are talking about public monies here, ALL of this should be PUBLIC information. Furthermore, I find it most troubling that 'point' persons are stepping forward - 'those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing'!

IF South Bay Community Services believes this is all going to go away, they are sadly mistaken. You see we taxpayers are sick and tired of all the 'pretenders' using our students vs. serving our students. Where are all of the very influential persons connected with South Bay Comm Services?, persons who stand/will stand before up us and pledge to represent us via good government. Seems a pair of Jimmy Choo's or Lucchese Classics would be far better to have in ones closet vs. a skeleton like this wouldn't you say?

This news article along with several in the past seem to be indicative as to why Dr. Alt was fired. Transparent, honest people don't seem to work well with Ed Brand for some reason.

annie, we can all hope that the DA is now investigating this new round of misconduct. Things that have happened since the indictments were handed down make those charges pale by comparison. The DA should be all over that district again, with far greater resources than were ever brought to bear before. But don't bet on it. She's already gone wobbly with the guilty pleas, aided and abetted by the judge who put the cases off for months and months. Again, we can all hope that the FBI is looking hard, too. This disclosure of student information in violation of federal law is certainly within their bailiwick, whereas some of the other things may not have been. Brand is doing things like the old days, without showing any restraint, as if he is supremely confident that there will be no repercussions to him or his cabal. This all really makes me wonder if So County has stumbled into some parallel universe where none of the usual rules apply.

Sweetwater is sinking about as fast as a torpedoed sub. God help these kids trying to get an education.

Lembo admits in the interview that the data now in the possession of the SBCS was provided by the District, and that it includes attendance records. She also admits that SBCS staff called 11th and 12th grade student homes in an effort to promote interest in Alliant University. One must assume that the District provided the names and telephone numbers of the students so contacted. She also stated that the students who were called in the Alliant marketing project were called 'based on grade point averages'..... Student record data include: address, telephone number, grades, other individual information except honors and degrees received.

The rules differ for students in K-12, and those who are over 18 enrolled in higher education. Students over 18 control their own student record data, not their parents. It is my understanding that information about student athletes is not restricted in either case but am not sure of the details.

So, by Lembo's own admissions, private student record data (that is how the FERPA law refers to student data maintained by educational institutions) from students enrolled in the Sweetwater District (specifically Castle Park) were compromised by being released without parental permission to SBCS.

Visduh - we are ALL accomplishing what we set out to do -

Get rid of 'the gandara' - put an x in that box

Send Bonny Garcia packing - box with a big x in the shape of a dollar sign

Clean house on the board - thanks to DA and her valiant staff - another x

Sooooo, we have/ are realizing our INITIAL goals,

Little did we realize the 'alleged corruption' would continue. Little did we realize that John McCann would bring Ed Brand back. So 'our' work continues, and we WILL keep on keeping on until Ed Brand, and several of his fair haired. 'consultants' are gone. For the record, WE WILL NOT STOP until integrity and fiduciary responsibility are returned to the taxpayers, students and parents.

The issue addressed in this article and other questionable issues will no doubt bring the weight of the DA down on Brand. The State, the FEDS, them too. Dept of Ed - add them to the list. Hopefully those Brand has reached out to are seeing that the 'antagonists' and CAVE people have been RIGHT on every single solitary issue.

** - for the record while I would have preferred felonies, they are gone and going - mission accomplished, well almost! The DA staff should be thanked as I have no doubt they worked their tails off for us. While I am in the minority I would respectfully ask what good would us paying for their prison time do? I just never want to look up another dais ever again and see their sorry faces or listen to their pompous self serving speeches - no more public office, EVER.


Brand once personally told me he had the DA's office on speed dial - that, along with 99.9% of what Brand claims I DO NOT BELIEVE. The DA is far smarter than Brand, far smarter!

The reluctance to disclose the data sharing agreement, which would be the right and ethical thing to do, sure does raise suspicion. Could it be that the date it was signed doesn't jive with the time SBCS was calling to recruit for Alliant University? By the way, does anyone know how the Sweetwater District notifies parents regarding their right to opt out of sharing their kids' data? The law says it should be very clear and accessible. Regarding the emails that Lembo says are slanderous, I'm wondering when she's going to file that lawsuit against the district, or if she really meant what she said.

IPADS for the CHARTER SCHOOL students were paid for out of whose account? "Budget string from Karen from '''slush''' find that Dianne set up". Did any of you see 'slush fund' column on recent budget documents share with the public.

Hopefully you all are right and the DA is looking into this however state and federally officials are the ones who can audit and put a stop to the funny money practices. There are people who know the truth and will speak to grand jury if called.

Parallel universe. Duplicitous delta. DA. FBI. Sunken sub. NOPE. We have all been waiting for the explosion that rips the rotten core out of the corruption in the SUHSD, but nothing happens. A tiny rip. A minor burp. Parallel universe, indeed. Those of us in the trenches continue to hold the district together. I'm worn down. La Lucha is correct that many who once loved their jobs now hate going to work. Too sad.

How much more can this district take before it implodes?

Our Board of Trustees must be very well aware of every single pathetic excuse for their non-action, inaction and wrong action.

Our superintendent has been leading this bunch of pathetic excuses along the pathway to his personal gratification--with no consideration being paid to the students and the teachers.

Where is the forensic accounting? Where is Al Alt?

Why does Sweetwater seem to get a pass for dozens of serious problems?

Is it because they are so tight with all those who are politically influential? Is Shirley Horton being protected?

Can someone tell me why we in this school district need to suffer under the worst leadership I have ever heard of--outside of Bell, CA??

Is there no one out there who sees the injustice to the students in this district? Is there no one out there who is aware that Brand is trying to undermine the teachers? (Is Brand's thought: weaken them enough, they will be shuffling zombies who will no longer question ANYTHING?)

Is the relationship with Chula Vista's chief of police just one more "solid" for Brand? If so, when would all this become one enormous stew of self-serving politicos and public figures, none of whom care one iota for this school district and all the communities of which it is composed. All of whom seem to be more than happy just to bleed us dry and give little that is of substance in return.

Loathsome, indeed.

Has anyone else noticed the similarity of the names Al Alt and John Galt?

...back decades ago where I went to school, it was a "thing" to pose the question "Where is John Galt?" all over campus in places where one wouldn't ordinarily expect to see anything.

Are you suggesting we should start doing that with "Where is Al Alt?"?

I wasn't suggesting anything. But your taking up the thread makes it sound like a good idea. Let's see if anyone picks up on it. The question was "WHO is John Galt?" But, you know, your question is better.

You are right about the Galt question. It was who, not where...

Might be interesting to see what would happen if such signs were to appear hear there and everywhere. Do you think Fast Eddy's bp would rise?

Luz, thank you for your informative comments on how Promise Neighborhood is operating in your area. A Sprout card if you participated in a survey?

I know ManPower is a partner in the Promise Neighborhood--however, Ms. Lembo said they did not share data with them. This is a temporary employment program, right? I wonder what the content of the 2 week program was.

I would like to learn more. Thanks : [email protected]

Lembo seems to speak out of both sides of her mouth. Regarding recruitment for Alliant University, first she says students were called based on their grades, but then a couple paragraphs later says she doesn't think that those doing the calling were aware of grade point averages, and that they only had names and numbers. Huh? Does the CEO know what's going on in her organization or not?  By the way, I wonder which students were targeted, high or low GPAs.

Excellent point! One that I hope will not escape the eyes of those that investigate such things.

"How SUHSD Turns" Another chapter in the continuing saga of the corruptness and incompetence of this place. Hell this is better then "Breaking Bad". This place is the gift that keeps on giving and now they are throwing boulders at each other. He said, she said, they said, it's all a blame game for all of these idiotic self serving people. They are playing with kids lives and this Lembo lady is going to sue for slander, WTH? What a freaking joke. You would think that she would have been shocked and made everything available that day to prove they did nothing wrong. TISK TISK Ms. Lembo you have been caught doing allegedly something illegal and your are defensive about it. HMMMM not a good sign in your favor. You and your agency are screwed for being greedy and playing naughty in the sand box with Fast Eddy. You see everyone that plays in the sandbox with Fast Eddy and this board gets burned and Ms. Lembo you have crashed and burned big time. Too bad you couldnt do things the right way and too bad this district hasnt learned their lessons. Its not about the kids never has been.

Too bad that while Fast Eddy and this board are in charge it never will be about the kids it is about themselves. Just ask McCann how many coin tosses on the West side he has had his bio read at for his upcoming city council run and then he leaves. He is not there for the kids to see them play he is there for his selfish goals. GUESS WHAT YOU ARE THE JOKE OF THE SOUTHBAY JOHNNY BOY.

Ms. Luzarro great article!!!! These emails are really damming to the these idiots, especially Mr. Bleich.

Stay tuned for another episode of "How SUHSD Turns".

Interesting bit of documentary, I was going to say evidence, but I will just say paper.

So Fast Eddy does have some friends in high places...wonder if he has made political contributions to them?

Will the back-scratching never end? Is every one of these creatures beholden to the next? Are they all craven and selfish, standing up for nothing? What's the next bit of business to unfold?

SBCS has too many plates in the air. Ms. Lembo must surely sense this, hence her appearance at the Reader interview. The only question that remains, is how long will it take her to realize that the GTM (Granger Turn Around Model) is outmoded and ineffectual in the face of new common core standards? Mandatory Saturday School's and and targeted interventions are useless in the face of a new curriculum that asks students to think, apply, ponder, reflect, and write. Arne Duncan and the Dept. of Ed. loves the GTM stuff because they are still pushing standardized testing. In the meantime, California has thumbed its nose at NCLB in favor of common core implementation. Whatever you may think of it, CC is here to stay. The GTM model is the least likely of models to support kids and teachers as they strife to achieve these new goals.

studentsfirst - I find it extremely ironic that those entrenched in the deceit of the SUHSD have no defense when challenged with facts. Throwing out a name, as if sending a form of intimidation - you have accomplished the exact opposite - now the investigators have a name to ask for and the community has another hero to add to the list.

There are many alleged 'Helen's', far more than you 'good old boys/girls'.

Although I am sure all of the people involved in all of these shenanigans in the South Bay started with some sort of good intentions, why have they all become so self-serving? And how have they all found each other? Is there some sort of social networking site where like-minded individuals can connect? SelfServingRUs.com? If these people could simply put as much effort into the helping of others that their organizations say is their mission and less time trying to recruit people to perpetuate their systems and programs, everyone would be better off, even themselves.

Check out this link: is this the "data sharing agreement" that Mr. Bleisch was talking about? You know, it's probably okay to share data. How else would one determine the success or failure of a program. What bothers me is that Mr. Bleisch wanted the money to buy flags and stages. Was that how the money was supposed to be spent?

[PDF]Appendix C': Memorandum of Understanding - U.S. Department of ... www2.ed.gov/programs/promiseneighborhoods/.../u215p110108mou.pdf neighborhood with the services necessary to bring about significant change. Collaborating project partners include: South Bay Community Services (SBCS).

Here is another link to the entire implementation grant application for SBCS. Check out the 80-page appendix for program specifics. The school district stuff starts on page 18 or so. Dollar costs are redacted. But, let's see, Mr. Bleisch said his slice of the pie was $100,000 in that email he sent to Mr. Alt. Is that all, or just the first installment?

[PDF]JULY 2012 - U.S. Department of Education www2.ed.gov/programs/promiseneighborhoods/2012/app-southbay.pdf IMPLEMENTATION GRANT APPLICATION. JULY 2012 ... South Bay Community Services / Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood. Page 1. Table of Contents.

It is NOT OK to share data unless the data are aggregated, and if there is no release of individual student record information that could be linked to any specific student.

Per the Federal Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA), telephone numbers, grades, etc. of individual students are restricted and may NOT be released by the school to any party ( EXCEPT law enforcement with subpoena power) without express parental permission.

Question: So when I read the turn-around material, which appears to have been designed by SBCS and Bleisch (on one site I also read Susan Mitchell)--students who don't achieve 70% on a test go to an afterschool assistance program provided by SBCS?

SUHSD's own board policy BP5022 is Student and Family Privacy. Administrative regulations are listed in AR 5022.
It would seem to me that if students are directed to attend such an afterschool assistance program, it would have to be at the direction and supervision of school personnel and not some contract agency such as SBCS. If a student's achievement record on a test is used as a determining factor in the requirement to participate in some outside activity, the district is indicating that the particular student has scored less than 70 percent on the test and thereby revealing personal private information about that student. I don't think the district can just turn over such records to SBCS without obtaining permission from every student's parent/guardian.

Oskidoll, perhaps when we get the data-sharing agreement some questions will be answered.

Ms. Lembo told me during the interview that SBCS was not bound by FERPA only HIPPA.

I certainly hope so. SBCS may not be bound by FERPA, and I never suggested that they are. However, the DISRICT is bound by FERPA and may not give student record data to SBCS, or any other entity, without permission of each and every parent. My point is that if this 'data sharing' includes individual student record information, the District is in violation of FERPA rules and its own board policy.

It also occurs to me that SBCS might WANT to abide by FERPA (and may have to do so if they collect student record data on individuals as part of their activities under contract with SUHSD --- that would have to be determined by lawyers and/or the feds ) because it would be the right thing to do.

We know something is rotten in the district of Sweetwater, in fact, so much is rotten in this school district that it is difficult to know where to begin.

Except to point out that the common denominator in all this is none other than Fast Eddy, the one who set the wheels in motion.

Is everyone going down and leaving the Kingpin in place?

The first order of business when the district reopens will be to fill Ricasa's seat. The list of candidates for Brand's(chosen) will be interesting to see. Staff at CPM say Grossman heads the list followed by a BOC member. I personally hope that person is Kevin O'Neil,but I don't think Brand would choose someone that's honest and he couldn't control. The BOC seems pretty independent to me. If Brand has infiltrated the BOC I guess we will see. The process will be totally in the publics eye. But everyone knows Brand's hands are quicker than the eye. The lingering question is can he still control Pearl. I'm told she finally figured out he's only interested in what her vote can do for his needs. It should be an interesting start to the new year. Depending on who gets the position Brand could be gone before June. All that is required is doing his evaluation that has been put on the burner for months. Happy New Year hopefully.

erupting, this is an excellent assessment of the current situation.

Brand's evaluation...

An honest evaluation would of necessity basically eviscerate Brand, but as we know with the toadies all lined up, that is unlikely.

Let us hope that the BOE is aware, functional and honest.

We really do need to watch this.

The Board's own bylaws (9223 - filling vacancies) stipulate just how a provisional appointment is to be made. The bylaw requires that the position "be advertised in local media to solicit applications and nominations....the board shall interview at a public meeting and accept oral or written input....select with a majority vote."

This is a great opportunity for those of the taxpaying public who are seeking an end to corruption to apply for the appointment. Even if not selected, it is a good experience and will clearly demonstrate if the remaining board members are interested in fairness and opportunity.

Let's watch is very, very closely.

Has anyone seen or heard of any advertising regarding this board vacancy?

What would happen if the board did not abide by their bylaws? Because I, for one, would be very surprised if this board lead by Ed Brand would suddenly start playing by the rules.

As they haven't thus far, it would be quite the revelation if they were to start!

I think the appointment could be challenged and a case could be made that the appointment was not valid if the board's own bylaw process is not followed.

John Molina, I did say in the 3rd graph former CFO. Did I miss it somewhere else?

Thanks for the comments and for the additional information. The non-profit info contributes to the discussion. More of this kind of information can be found on SBCS's website. They post their 990 tax form. Thanks again, Susan

oskidoll - be advertised in local media? You mean the way a certain audit committee was? Guess I have no choice but to go digging in the trash for the local PennySaver I threw away the other day.

I am most concerned regarding the 'rumor' mentioned above that good old Grossman is in the mix. Other than the obvious reasons that I have commented on regarding said Grossman, another issue is the fact that he is married to a SUHSD Administrator. Why would WE, the community - after enduring YEARS of special interest votes want to see yet another person on our Board whose wife's career and financial security is dependent on Ed Brand? I am not interested on handing that fox the key to the hen house - even though his alleged friendship is suppose to be a secret. We, the community, have fought too long and too hard for more of the same!

Kevin O'Neill, now that is a candidate I would TRUST, not always agree with but TRUST! Grossman, no way, no how - just ain't happening!

Burt Grossman's wife works in the district? Do you know where, and in what capacity? If he gets a board seat, that would make him the boss of his wife's boss. While I don't mind related employees working for the same organization, any policy that would affect his wife would be in suspect. Technically he would have to recuse himself of any decision that affects her.

Wasn't his main reason for running because he didn't want a disfunctional board? (Of course, he really didn't explain what his idea of a disfunctional board as he swapped his challenge from Quinones to Lopez. If he meant because they don't always have a perfect agreement on agenda items, the he's wrong, and I don't want him anywhere near that position. I want board members who disagree, while giving their reasons, actually discussing the issue before voting. They shouldn't just blindly vote on items that later have problems arise.) Putting himself in that position, needing to recuse himself for many of the votes definitely cures the "disfunctional" board. (/sarcasm)

With regards to the possibility of working above his wife, didn't anybody actually read their ethics policy before voting on it????

Grossman's wife is an A.P at Otay Ranch I believe.

AP at Olympian High School - oversees student activities

The District's policy on Conflict of interest is #9270. It appears that someone in Grossman's situation with a spouse employed in the District would be subject to removing himself from any vote that applied to the spouse individually, but not to a class of employees to which she belongs. However, it seems to me, that in this instance, the Board should be aware of the perception (let alone the remaining indictments) of Conflict of Interest that hovers over this Board and take the high road and avoid any possible appearance of conflict in the appointment they choose to make. It is easier to make a 'clean' appointment than to make one that is tainted from the outset.

oskidoll, the "Aha Moment"--if it should arrive for this board--as you put it so well:

"It is easier to make a 'clean' appointment than to make one that is tainted from the outset."

Would that this board obtains the clarity.

Grossman is a friend of Jim's as well.

So Grossman's role would be to shore up the eroding dreams Ed Brand has/has had of is own private empire, bought on the public dime.

Getting back to the excellent article that prompted all these comments, what is happening with this, now that the public knows their information has been sold? That private student records were released to a corporate entity in unauthorized fashion? That vulnerable students were preyed upon to sign up for expensive classes through Alliant (20 actually did sign up...).

Is the old boy/old girl network that strong that nothing warrants even a slap on the wrist for South Bay Community Services?

Just what do the administrators do there to justify their high salaries? Extort information from a complicit school district, handing over the $100,000 after the illegally acquired private information was passed along?

Just the usual back-scratching? At the expense of the students--in more ways than one.

Just another hijacking of our educational system? The students really are the last to be considered by Ed Brand and his clustering, deluded followers (most of whom are clamoring for or have successfully clamored for jobs at district expense).

It really is a disgusting mess, brought to you by the Sweetwater Majority Board and their Fearless Leader, Fast Eddy, the Scam Machine.

P.S. Love the new high school in Carlsbad! Built by some companies that Sweetwater deep-sixed in favor of payoffs. Take a look in the UT. Award-winning architects and everything. And I haven't heard a thing about pay-to-play in Carlsbad. Guess they know how to do things the right way.

County Board of Education, are you paying attention? How about enforcing some of the standards you are supposed to STAND FOR?

Have you washed your hands of Sweetwater, ready to declare it 'someone else's problem'? Just how does that work? Nominal governance, minimal performance?

Just a thought, possible title for Ed Brand's bio: "Growing Fat on Sweetwater, A How-To Guide to Financial Security Via Stripping Public Assets".

The County Board of Education is an embarrassment, as they at a minimum ought to be embarrassed by Sweetwater shenanigans. Instead, they are do-less, sitting on their dais pretending all is just peachy keen with the largest secondary school district in the state!

The law asserts that the CBOE is charged with fiduciary oversight of the school districts in their jurisdiction. They can deny it all they want, but they are just as responsible for the Sweetwater mess as any other officials because they have allowed it to happen.

Words to ponder, savor and keep in mind:

"There's a reason to keep fighting against the powers that be. Because no matter the setbacks or the years it may take, you can win."

--Bill Moyers

UT Watchdog story: Bill takes on officials’ fundraising Gonzalez wants administrators to stop seeking money for trustees Quote from story: School and college district administrators would be banned from raising campaign cash for the board members that they serve under a bill to be introduced this week by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.

Where have you been Ms. Gonzalez?

This issue has been ongoing for a minimum of 14 Months and in reality since Dr. Brand's first term as Superintendent of Sweetwater. It is interesting that now the cases have started to be settled and wrong doing has been determined it's a good time to start a bill to prevent it.
Ethics, Ethics we're not talking Ethics. to quote a famous Football coach "Playoffs, Playoffs....."

Ms. Gonzalez no offense to you, but look around at your contemporaries in the State House, Tickets from Universities, $1000 a plate dinners by your Political Parties etc...., Glass Houses as they say....

This will be interesting how it comes out. Maybe a look in the mirror for the rest of our government officials? I doubt it though, funny how your own stuff can be justified (My "Stuff" does not stink).

Just a bit off subject but where did the Ethics go? BBQ

bbq - we can always depend on you to simply 'lay it out there', and rightfully so.

I have, for four years, contacted every single representative and the ON!Y one to attempt to lend a hand was David Alvarez. When Ed Brand, under the Board presidency of Jim Cartmill attempted to change the Board Meeting times to late afternoon he took the time to write a letter - other than that ALL of our representatives have been MIA. Democrats appearing to want to protect their own, Republicans in fear that if campaign donation reform were passed it would affect them as well.

Just this am I saw on FOX that voters in the U.S. have had enough of business as usual and they are of the mind to vote them ALL out. Business as usual may not continue.

John McCann stated at a Board meeting that the Resolution Maty Adato was working on had loopholes. Loopholes he says, yet where are his efforts to clean up SUHSD? It appears he left them in the living rooms of all those voters he promised 'change' to.

Jim Cartmill has been 'studying' said Resolution of Adato's for months - or perhaps I should say stonewalling. Cartmill, McCann 'are' and Ricasa 'was' up for reelection in November. Guess Cartmill needed those questionable donations JUST ONE MORE TIME, or could it have something to do with the defense funds Cartmill and Ricasa set up? Who knows?

When you know better you do better, that is unless you are talking about the majority of the SUHSD Board and Ed Brand. They knew better yet continued to give us more of the same, alleged corruption - even under the cloud of FELONY indictments.

** it is important to note that campaign donation reform was FIRST brought to the Board several years ago by Ms. Nancy Stubbs, followed a year later by Bill Perno. You remember Stubbs, she is the acclaimed District employee that Brand stated the following about to me 'this District can not heal with Ms. Stubbs here'. Well Mr. Brand if you call your efforts healing I would hate to see what you define as Cancerous?

When are we going to see the data-sharing agreement and the follow up on this story?

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