Chula Vista school hurries to get ready for Arne Duncan

We’re painting the roses red

Castle Park Middle School
  • Castle Park Middle School

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is paying Sweetwater Union High School District a visit. Duncan is on a Southwest bus tour and will be at Castle Park Middle School September 13.

Why Castle Park Middle? In 2012 the U.S. Department of Education awarded $27.8 million in Promise Neighborhood grant money to a section of west side Chula Vista, which includes Castle Park Middle School.

South Bay Community Services is the lead agency in administering the grant and provides “wrap around” social services to students and families.

The agency is funded through the Sweetwater school district to provide after-school programs for students—which comes into play at Castle Park.

The principal of Castle Park Middle is Robert Bleisch. He is credited with turning schools around with a model he developed at Granger Middle School, although critics say the teachers, not Bleisch, turned the school around.

The model, now being applied to Castle Park, emphasizes attendance. The policy is enforced by escalating repercussions for students beginning with Saturday school, followed by after-school hours, and ending with appearance before an attendance board at the local police department.

One source for this story says, “Kids are rounded up at 2:30 and taken to the O room for the after-school program, some respond negatively.” Another source said, “Parents on the east side would never stand for this program.”

Preparation for Duncan’s visit to Castle Park Middle is frenzied.

First the media. On August 23, the Chula Vista Star News carried a story titled: “Attendance Numbers are up at Castle Park.”

Castle Park Middle School with attendance scores out front.

Castle Park Middle School with attendance scores out front.

Then Castle Park Middle got a facelift. New solar panels are being installed; new red flags wave in front of the school, and new banners bearing the name of every college in the country are draped around the campus. But the most sensational accoutrement is the fresh red paint—right over the windows of classrooms facing Second Avenue.

Freshly painted windows at Castle Park Middle School

Freshly painted windows at Castle Park Middle School

According to trustee Bertha Lopez, several teacher and constituents complained to her about the painted windows. She emailed Superintendent Brand on August 23 about constituent concerns regarding student headaches and safety. She contacted board president Jim Cartmill. Neither of them responded.

Over the Labor Day weekend two sources contacted the Reader. Beyond the concern with the red windows, sources raised concerns that either the student body or district money is being spent to the tune of $40,000 to gussy up for Duncan. One item, sources reported, was a stage that allegedly cost $25,000.

Principal Bleisch did not return phone calls by September 3.

Manny Rubio, spokesman for the district, responded to a public record request about the expenses on August 28 with these words, “The district is not making any additional expenses for Secretary Duncan's visit.”

However, on September 4, Sweetwater’s Chief Financial Officer, Albert Alt, responded to an email query with this update: “Some of the purchases are general fund, some are ASB funds….In any event, all of the expenditures are legal expenditures.”

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It is very interesting, taxpayer monies used to gussy up a school campus. One would think that these monetary resources would be far better spent IN THE CLASSROOM. However this is SUHSD we are talking about, where self promotion at any coast is the name of the game when it comes to certain individuals.

It appears B and B are looking to do a whole lot of 'see how great I, ME are'. The principal appears to have a reputation for taking any and all credit. Funny, I could swear it is the teachers who man those classrooms.

No money used? Can we translate that statement and call it what it is A LIE!!!!! How were those banners paid for that are now attached to the fence that surrounds the school? I know, the tooth fairy attached them.

You're upset that school banners were paid for by Tax Payer money? Really? Did you know that one of the reasons why YOU pay taxes is to PAY for school maintenance and everything that entails? Like banners. Have you ever seen a school without a banner? Have you? Damn near every school I've ever set foot in has tons of banners. So why attack Castle Park for something every other school does? Oh that's right, you have an agenda. And outside of private donations, wanna take a guess as to how they get paid for? I'll give you a hint, it's not the tooth fairy you nimrod. Tax payer money! It's supposed to pay for things like banners! Unbelievable.

I frequent public schools in many different districts in San Diego County and I have never seen a school that looks like Castle Park Middle. Could you please list schools that you feel resemble CPM? Also, if I may ask, what profession are you in that did not recently go through the recession I went through? Who would feel that this is a legitimate expense? Do you spend your own money this way? If you do, have you ever filed for bankruptcy?

To CV Resident: if one considers the number of bodies that Mr. Bleisch has left behind him in his efforts to transform CPM, one might want to reconsider their view of what's happening at CPM. Dr. Brand has placed Mr. Bleisch on a pedestal. My experience with Dr. Brand and the fellows he has placed on a pedestal, is that most all have fallen off when the rope of indictments, back room deals, and other good old boy network games has been wrapped around their necks. I, personally, would run as far and as fast as I could AWAY from Dr. Brand and his boys like Mr. Bleisch, less I be caught up in the falling debris.

Let's see $25,000 for a stage, $7,000 for t-shirts ASB funds and general funds used by the B brothers to impress Duncan. How is it that no matter the event it has to get screwed up by jerks like Brand and Bleisch. This is supposed to be an event for the Promise Neighborhood kids. It gets tainted because the BB brothers have to show their asses. Duncan isn't coming here to be impressed by all this extra hoopla. It's for and about the kids. Brand had Manny Rubio tell another lie about expenses and and try's to cover the fact that part of the monies came from the kids ASB funds. What a rip off to the kids. Why is it that everything Brand touches turns to shit. Can't we have events without drama, please get rid of this plight named Ed Brand so we can have our district back. Devious behavior ruins the day again,thanks to a lame duck board of trustees other than Lopez. Sorry kids it is supposed to be about you.

In what world are you living in where the US secretary of Education comes to visit a school and it's not an event? And since when is the event not about Mr. Duncan and the kids? Because a stage is being purchased? Because the superintendent of the district of the school that is being visited is involved? Should he not be there, showing his "ass"? Would that really make sense? Does that make it "not" about the kids? And isn't it common practice for nearly all schools to give tee shirts to their students all year long, multipIe times? So how would this event not be worthy of tee shirts? You must be a special kind of stupid...or maybe, just maybe, you have an agenda. And as far as "can't we have events without drama", oh my, are you delusional? YOU ARE the one causing drama. Shame on you.

The visit to a school by the US Secretary of Education should not be an "event". The school SHOULD be operating as a normal day.

When my kids were in school, I can’t recall them ever receiving a free t-shirt from a school. I remember paying for some things, but never for free. Is this really common practice in all schools? Or is it only common practice in schools that Principal Bleisch has worked in? If it is common practice, how much money are we talking about per year per school?

Why is board member Lopez being ignored by Jim and the superintendent? Expenditures may be legal but are they what people want their taxes spent on? All of this is quite hard to believe. The actions used by this principal are more like you would see in reform school, is this group of kids that bad that they are marched before police officials?

Once again, the author of this article seems to seek to mislead. Attendance review boards are comprised of many individuals, including reps from social services. They take place throughout the district...not just for this school. The goal is to figure out what the barriers to attendance are and hopefully assist the family.

Just because Mr. Alt says the expenditures were legal doesn't justify wasting our precious tax dollars on this dog and pony show. Painted windows, red flags, college posters, etc. give this school the appearance of "something's for sale here, come on down!". By the way, shouldn't the superintendent be required to respond to our elected board member, Bertha Lopez? Also, if, as someone earlier suggested, Mr. Cartmill is being advised to keep his mouth shut since he is under indictment, then he should step down or ask for a leave of absence until after his trial. Ms Lopez has also been indicted, but continues to speak up and represent us.

The principal does not answer to the superintendent I was told today that Jose Brosz is the principals boss. Is he the person that is responsible for all of this money being wasted. My nephew who gets all a's and b's told his mom that the kids do not like the principal at all. Many of his friends have been embarrassed by him in front of their friends.

My youngest of 3 is in 8th grade and is doing great at this school. I have noticed a big difference at CPM for my son. My other two children did not like the school when they went to CPM. We really like the teachers and the staff. The school is clean and the new paint makes our community proud. I think these people writing negative things about our school would rather see money being spent at an east side school? Kids at Castle Park deserve this.

If anyone has been paying attention, the changes going on at CPM have been in the works for the past year...college banners, fresh paint, and an overall upgrade to the look and feel of the school help to create an uplifting and inspiring atmosphere to learn in, and a school kids (and the community) are proud of. This article seems to imply that all of this is simply a show for Arnie Duncan...whose visit wasn't even scheduled until roughly 6 weeks ago.

This article is an exercise in taking a handful of facts, personal bias, and a bad attitude to spin another negative story that does nothing but rile people up. Funny that the first parent who responds (someone ACTUALLY involved and trusting her children to this school) has nothing but great things to say about the RESULTS. And isn't that what really matters?

They have indeed been going on for the past year as has the push to get Duncan there. All last year the staff was hearing about the efforts to get Arne Duncan to visit the school.

I will not be politically correct and say this article is full of errors or misleading. I'm going to state exactly what it is: A shameful and pathetic article full of lies and deceit. The Reader should be embarrassed that it printed this. That school began undergoing a facelift last year...LAST YEAR, with the college banners and positive slogans painted along the walls. The solar panels are a Sweetwater District initiative that nearly ALL the schools are undertaking. All one has to do is drive by a Sweetwater District school and you'll most likely see the panels in the parking lot area. To suggest Castle Park Middle School is installing these panels and undergoing a facelift in anticipation off this visit is simply a shameful lie. And since when is it wrong to spend tax payer money on making a school look nicer. Hello, that's part of what the money is for. Amazing, people complain about how the "west Chula Vista" schools are old, ugly, and neglected in comparison to the east side, needing to have money spent on them and then when money is spent to make them look nicer, people complain about why the money is being spent. Incredible. Poor Castle Park and that principal. Damned if they do, damned if they don't. This article is clearly part of a smear campaign and for the Reader to be so off with its "fact checking" is a disgrace to journalism. Someone needs to take the Reader to task.

Brand has been bringing his son to work this week. He' shown him his masterpiece at Castle Park Middle. He's taken him all over the district. I hope the South Bay Guidance Center will not be forced to have a new employee,or God forbid SUHSD. Hopefully it's just a rumor. Well I wonder when the dist (Manny Rubio) will be announcing the sudden extra two classrooms at Sweetwater High School that will be used for Alliant University. Now the research to see if this is a gift of public funds with the state because Brand will certainly say of course not. He has to collect rent I believe.

Looks like the Sweetwater folks are trying to defend all of the money they have spent to impress Arne Duncan. This whitewashing is quite transparent. Shame, shame

Castle Parent, D Jensen, chulavistaca resident - Welcome to the conversation.

Allow me to clarify for you my concerns. When $20,000.00 worth of my tax dollars are spent on a stage for persons that Ed Brand and Bobby Bleisch want to impress, I have a problem with that. Why not have them sit on the same aluminum chairs that our children sit on at assemblies. When college banners are purchased with tax payers monies - what educational value is that to Castle Park students? The red paint over the windows, ridiculous! The face lift began last year, the red paint and college banners were not put up last year. Who are the ultimate victims in all of this frivolous spending - children.

The allegations that funds are missing out of the ASB account - very troubling. A couple of years ago the principal of Castle Park High and the ASB person were involved in a similar scandal. Thousands of educational dollars simply gone. The ultimate victims - children.

Are you aware that 4 of 5 of our school board members are under indictment - trial to begin in February? That our x superintendent also will be tried - another imposter who proclaimed his love for 'his' people and then allegedly robbed them blind. Are you aware that issues have been taken to the FBI?

This story is not a lie, what Sweetwater is attempting to do is bait and switch - make it appear as if those questioning the monies do not care about your children. I would ask that you attend a board meeting and meet them watch as they stand up and speak on behalf of your children.

It is the hard working, dedicated, caring teachers, employees and 'many' administrators who deserve the credit for educating our children. It is NOT Ed Brand, it is NOT a principal who is self promoting. What of the allegations by some of the very teaches you respect who have stated that a teacher was hired to teach, but is in essence acting like the principals personal assistant and helping him write a book about how wonderful he and his ideas are.

In closing let us unite and NOT allow the children of this community to be used, We must continue to educate ourselves on the facts, take the time to go to board meetings. WE ARE THE VOICE FOR THE STUDENTS and can not let them down.

Of all of the school districts to pick to host his event, why was SUHSD chosen?

I have a bit of a problem with that - the very leadership of this district is under legal scrutiny. SUHSD under Ed Brand has alienated itself from the majority of educational districts i.e. Elementary and Jr. College.

What criteria was used to vet the 'host'? Obviously none. Chula Vista Elementary District, why not choose it? Would it have brought forth the controversy - no. Would their superintendent have wasted tax payer dollars on a stage, college banners or red painted windows - not in a million dollars. But then perhaps it is because our Elementary Schools District leaderships are there for the students, and could care less about the glory!

Is it not a shame that this District has, once again, taken a positive and turned it around to make it all about Ed Brand and a certain principal by using tax payers dollars to turn this event Into misappropriation of tax dollars and missing ASB funds.

Mr. Duncan is visiting Castle Park Middle school is because the Castle Park neighborhood received a $30 million dollar department of education grant that is designed to improve students' chances to get into college. For more info on the grant visit cvpromise.com

Alieh - - Please know the students, the parents and the community are grateful for the grant. Anything that serves the students is what we are committed to. It is indeed unfortunate that Ed Brand has done what he is notorious for, lack of fiscal responsibility. Does Mr, Duncan care where he sits, what the students are wearing, the number of college banners that surround the school or what color the walls have been painted - most certainly not - but it appears that B&B do, you see for them it is all about them. Please understand the controversy began with a $20,000.00 stage - money this District can ill afford to spend. Now we have added painted red wiindows and tshirts; add to that the allegation of missing ASB funds and what we have is typical Ed Brand.

There's an interesting comment regarding Arne Duncan's bus tour on the official Department of Education Blog:

Sid S. Glassner says: August 20, 2013 at 10:57 AM-- I believe the Department of Education and all its public employees are accountable to the citizens they serve. Consequently, I would like to know two things: one, how much do these tours cost the citizens of our country and the second question is what good does this trip do and how do you know it? Thank you.

They're really the same questions many are asking here in Chula Vista, only on a larger scale. No answers yet.

Chulavistaresident - with all due respect, you are wrong. My tax dollars are to be used for the education of my communities students and the brick and mortar that is used to house the students. If I wanted for one of my children or grandchildren to have a college banner it is my responsibility to pay for it out of my own wallet.

Unfortunately your understanding of what is needed to educate a student is ill advised. A college banner does not make a college bound student - it is the education provided by the hard working teachers that make a college education possible.

Prop O monies, other taxes, are what are being used to upgrade our schools and 411 - college banners are not an authorized expense.

Might I suggest that you attend a board meeting and see for yourself the dysfunction of current leadership under Ed Brand. Perhapsmyounmightbwant to read the Grand Jury testimonies that are on line. I have read ever word, and there are thousands. Then perhaps you might want to join the growing movement of returning Sweetwaters once good name.

While I like the idea of a good fresh coat of paint on our schools, why are windows being painted over? Is this the type of paint that is one-sided? Like the vehicle wraps that allow bus passengers to look out, but you see the advertising from the outside. If that is what is in place, then WHY? Isn't that a higher cost?

If it is just paint, then who is the sloppy painter who can't distinguish between a window and a wall?

As for the college banners, shouldn't we be getting these from colleges themselves who are trying to recruit? They should be picking up the cost.

I do know that several schools have been going through the beautification process. Southwest High has had some fresh paint, and their Raider logo applied. It looks so much better than before. It feels more like a school than a prison. The students have more pride attending campus.

Finally, in paying attention, I see we have a few new commentators. Welcome. We need more people involved in keeping an eye on the actions of this district. I do find it funny, though, that this article was posted yesterday (9/4) and our 3 new people sign up yesterday to post last night into early this morning to decry this article and those who post. Curious.

What is funnier is that all three commented on each others posts, and then gave each other a thumbs-up and also gave themselves a thumbs-up? Who would give themselves a thumbs-up?

chulavista-resident...your comments look curiously like the comments that district spokesperson Manny Rubio sent to me last night.

And yes, you are right, the solar panels are going in throughout the district as Rubio said in both his emails to me. (I never queried him about the solar panels.) In fact, when we went down for pictures the other day, we also took pictures of the solar panel project that is under construction.

Now let's do some fact checking germane to the article.

Are classroom windows covered in red? Yes. Have there been complaints? Again, yes. Has the school and the district spent money in preparation for Duncan's visit? Again yes. Did Mr. Rubio deny there were any expenditures on August 28 when he inappropriately answered my August 23 public record request? (I requested invoices from the clerk of the board, not informal commentary from the district spokesperson.) That's another yes.

Below find September 4 comments from the district’s CFO which contradict Rubio’s statement that no extra expenditures were made for Duncan’s visit. As in all email chains my original query is below Alt’s response.

Hello Ms. Luzzaro, Sorry I wasn't able to get back to you yesterday afternoon. Regarding the information you have requested, I am preparing the information for your query. Some of the purchases are general fund, some are ASB funds so I need to put together itemization for your request to make the response clear. In any event, all of the expenditures are legal expenditures for the fund for which they are being paid. I hope this information is helpful but will have more information to follow.


Dr. Albert G. Alt

Good Afternoon Dr. Alt,

I have been given information by several sources that conflicts. I wonder if you are able to clear it up for me.

I understand that Castle Park Middle will be honored with a visit by Secretary Duncan.

Some people say the district is picking up the tab for expenditures...for the stage, t-shirts etc. Others say it is coming out of ASB funds.

If you are able to lend any clarity to this I would appreciate it.

I have an early deadline today. Thank you, Susan Luzzaro

Ms. Luzzaro: I would like to Thank You for being professional enough to set the record straight.

I have interacted with Mr. Rubio but do not know him personally - in his defense, not that he will appreciate me saying it, I must state for the record, and this is MY OPINION, I believe Mr. Rubio gave the response he was told to give. NOONE, says anything publicly that Ed Brand does not order them to say. Rubio is simply the latest to fall victim to Brands way of doing things.

Let us remember as I have long stated, these employees have mortgages to pay and families to support. How many reading this could afford to walk away if they told Brand to 'try to learn the definition of integrity?'

My issue with all of these tax dollars being spent is simple 'it is inappropriate and self serving for Ed Brand and 'see how great I am Bleisch".

If the motives of the superintendent would have been pure he would have let the wonderful students of CPM, the great community of Castle Park and all of the hard workind dedicated teachers be the shining beacons that they are naturally.

What has been lost in these outrageous expenditures is this - these monies should have been spent on the substance of educating students and not the glorification of a superintendent who will be OUTTA HERE no later than next year - and those of you who are like he - pompous, arrogant and full of self, let this be a reminder of what should NEVER EVER happen again.

Regarding Dr. Alt getting back to Ms. Luzzaro's query, last time I checked SUHSD has a pretty sophisticated computer system, that info should have taken all of about two minutes to spit out - long gone are the days of pencils, erasers and hand cranked adding machines -

OFF TOPIC, sort of, not really - question, what of the rumor that a certain person, who was (as in the past) also a coach receiving a stipen yet allegedly had the team practicing at a middle school and being paid as an after school employee - in other words rumored to be collecting two pay checks for the same work? I would like to add that this rumored flagrant breaking of the rules is an anomaly - the majority of our Coaches are highly respected, hard working caring individuals who are paying it forward - and we Thank them for it.

Manny aka chulavistaresident, I can't figure out why you are upset with my blog. I'm supporting the kids. I feel that $25,000 for a stage is inappropriate for the students monies to be used for. At the high school the students are consulted about these things. If you bothered to ask the questions like this you might be better informed. Why do the kids have to pay for this visit? Why is this event not open to the public? Did you register with the district and get ok'd to attend? I never said this wasn't about Mr. Duncan. Maybe you need to read my posting again. But it is not about Brand and Bleish. This event in case you do not know is about tithe Promise Neighborhood. Brand and you I mean Mr. Rubio have lied again to the public about the costs. The district should pick up the total tab not the kids. Now do you get it?

Does anyone know if Castle Park Middle's Saturday school actually offers students instruction by subject-specific-credentialed teachers? Some say these programs are nothing more than detention centers, and while they bring in the money, they really don't do much for the kids. I guess this district's going for the cash. Maybe the Reader should have Ms Luzzaro investigate and report on all of the district's after school programs. It might be an eye opener.

DJensen, You mention banners and paint to build an “uplifting and inspiring” atmosphere but I would like to ask how uplifting and inspiring it is to be called a “Bleisch Dawg?” Yes, he refers to students as “Dawgs.” It has been my experience that the slang “Dawg” was never used in college or any other educational setting for that matter. Before you have an excuse, denial, or reason why he uses this term remember he has T-shirts that students wear with this slogan. What good does a college banner do when you are wearing a demeaning phrase on your back? The last time I heard the term “Dawg” was in the same sentence in which I heard the term “homies.” That doesn’t sound like a good way to get student’s prepared for college. Let’s not forget who inspires students every day it is a teacher, even when a leader is not up to par.

Wow...way to accuse and assume before I even have a chance to respond! Just because you may disagree with me that an inspirational environment can make an impact and help create an academic culture where college becomes an assumed destination, it doesn’t naturally follow that we will forever be on opposing sides. I’m clearly new to posting here, but there seems to be a lot of “them” vs. “us” going around. One post and I’m suddenly on “their” side?
But to your point, I have heard about the "Bleisch Dawgs" and on this I do agree with you. I think it's a misguided attempt to "relate" to young teens. I used to do a lot of work with youth and found that respect and authenticity go a lot further. I can't profess to be an expert on Mr. Bleisch, having only met him on a few occasions, and while I think his ego is large, he has also impressed me as a hard worker who is a big champion for his students.

This smacks of stories going back to the 40's (and even earlier) of the "hurry up and get ready for the visit by El Presidente." Over many years I've heard first-hand tales from a number of people of how they saw such things happen in oil-rich Venezuela, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and of course, Mexico. Most of those stories go back much farther than the current regimes. What's the difference? So County is taking on more and more aspects of being our local answer to a typical banana republic, with the "caudillo", i.e. strongman (Brand), becoming more dictatorial with each passing day.

Then add in Nazi /Stalinist/Maoist-style posters exhorting the students to perform, and you have a chilling picture of a brave new world, that few of us would choose if we understood what was happening. If someone wants to write a history of a school district run totally amok, he/she will have to do no more than look up these blog posts and comments, edit them, and have a shocking expose of a bestseller. Or will anyone care and bother to read about it?


The 2012-2013 Accountability Progress Report has been released. The ONLY school in the SUHSD that has met criteria in English Language, Math, API, and Graduation rates is Montgomery High.

Mr. Cartmill, Ed Brand has failed to deliver - in a couple of weeks when his Performance Appraisal is up for discussion I urge you to stop the hemorrhaging by relieving Brand of his duties. What has he brought in the way of improvements - not a thing. The figures do NOT lie - you remember the controversy last year involving a certain high school, well it appears the whistle blowers were correct judging from the numbers just released.

These numbers are indicative of one thing - lack of leadership from the top, lack of focus on the education of our students - instead he is out there wheelin' and dealin' with his perceived back room deals. Brand was/continues to be hell bent on giving away a portion of our facilities via free rent for Alliant - a University that is more than capable of paying its own way.

Controversy, aren't you and the other board members about fed up with one scandal after another authored by Ed Brand? It is time to stop the madness, all eyes are on YOU, JIM CARTMILL as president of the board. How will you vote? How will the rest of the board vote?

At the end of the meeting we are expecting to leave focused on a new future with a superintendent that is trusted and respected - currently he enjoys neither - not from us or staff.

chulavista_resident may be for real. I doubt that, because here in Reader comments we have seen "sock puppet" comments in several situations, not the least of which were cases when Don Bauder was getting too close to home. Whoever he/she is, he/she should know that the Reader doesn't "smear", but rather seeks the truth. resident comes across as someone who has a big stake in this show-and-tell, so read those comments with a large dose of skepticism.

I'm afraid the enduring values of journalism are shifting in the digital age. What happened to the norms of objectivity? The bias in this "article" is blatant. Most reputable news directors would provide clear standards for their reporters, like NAME YOUR SOURCES. Anonymous sources were used twice to support the reporter's claim, in efforts to discredit. There are guidelines for naming sources for a reason and this reporting was woefully short of professional.

I am mostly sad however, because this attack is the reason why it is so hard and almost impossible to change the lives of poor inner-city children. They go to older dilapidated schools. They have horrible attendance, they fail and they drop out. But intellectuals respond, "Poor kids, they have an excuse to fail, we don't want to hold them accountable, so we will continue with the status quo and do nothing differently." We say we want change, but when someone has the courage to actually do something, you go after him. "Why is he spending money on painting the school? Why is he celebrating? These kids shouldn't feel a sense of pride, they are nobodies!" This is nothing new. Granger Junior High was once the lowest performing school where the gangsters were the ones that were admired. We used this exact model to turn granger around. We used tough love and expected the best. We painted the school, cleaned up the graffiti and bought banners. After a while students started to believe in themselves. They were proud to be Granger Griffins. They liked going to school. How sad that this reporter and the anonymous sources are trying to block a great transformation. They won't win. The parents and community will rally around the team of leaders and teachers at CPM who believe in them. Good luck CPM!

The irony of your statement, Meg, is that Castle Park Middle is not a "dilapidated" school. The tax payers approved the propositions to fund the renovation of this school not ten years ago. Most of the classrooms have been renovated, including new AC, storage, and windows. It is the unnecessary and perhaps unapproved painting of the windows that has lowered the value of the school. As a tax payer I was glad to pay for the renovations, but now I am sickened to think that I paid for the cheap and ugly paint, and outraged that eventually, eventually, when clearer heads once again prevail, I will pay for the restoration of the windows. Perhaps, Ms. Luzzaro, you can research just how much money we are talking about.

Quit defending Bleisch Maria. . . I mean "MEG". You have no idea what is going on at CPM from those on the inside who are not Bleisch's dogs. As others have said CPM is not dilapidated; in fact it looks much better than Granger even before the new paint job at your school. But you are correct, just like Bleisch, the GJH model used intimidation and fear. It followed no rules in terms of how you treat human beings. Look at the scores at GJH in the last several years. It's much like disciplining a child. You can beat a child into compliance and yes they will obey, but are they actually now compliant or are they just fearful. The truth is seen when the abuser departs and the child is able to choose how to function without the fear ruling them. If the Granger model truly changed kids internally then why is it that the scores at SUHI continued to be significantly lower - minus the one year when they magically went over 800 under the cloud of possible testing irregularities after which they dropped again? Why is it that scores have been dropping at GJH? So many questions, so few answers. And maybe the biggest question might be, why haven't you jumped ship and headed over to worship Bleisch with the others? Oh that's right, he doesn't hire females, he only abuses, intimidates and transfers them

I sure hope Arne Duncan is reading all of these comments. I am learning a heck of a lot about what is really going on with my taxes and I am not liking it one bit. Jim Cartmill and John McCann had better start talking and explaining to us why they are doing nothing to curtail their boy Ed Brand. While I haven't followed the politics of this school district for very long I can tell you it hasn't taken me long to figure out this ship is sinking and fast

MEG - you take exception to anonymous yet you choose to remain so. Your comments read friend or wife, not that it matters as both are entitled to their opinion.

I take exception to the brush you have used to paint the 'author' of this story. the READER and Ms. Luzzaro have been providing factual in depth coverage that pointed to the alleged corruption in some of our South Bay districts long before the antagonists went to the DA or FBI. If you had the taken the time to follow the relevant news provided by The READER via Luzzaro you would know that all that has been reported has been found to be factual.

I have to say I am about fed up with all of the pretenders, the persons who consistently refer to the 'poor inner city youth' as if they were a cancer that needs treating. The students of CPM and their families are to be celebrated not pitied. The balance in ones checking account does not define their worth or goals. Many of these 'poor inner city children' as you call them have gone on to be highly successful - and they did it without wearing a tshirt that referred to themselves as 'dawg or dog'. Is there room for growth, in all of our schools YES, but they do not need a self serving author to mandat they adhere to his model.

What of the teachers that alerted their community to the truth, they were like those hard working professional at Granger - sick of a certain person promoting self. The teachers that I speak of, they are the true heroes, they could have used that 20k in their classrooms for their students, they could have used that tshirt money, and they surely could have done without their classroom windows being painted over. What of the alleged missing ASB funds, where are they? What did the principal perceive was a good use for that money? - college banners? Give me a break!!!!!!

"We used this exact model". MEG here is a 411 for you, these kids are not lab rats for you to experiment on and I resent your reference. They could give a rats batuee about your model, and the same goes for me. You have done little to help the case of said principal selling HIS book about HIS model.

I am reminded of another snake oil salesman, he too worked in the Castle Park community, he too consistently sold himself as the great savior for these 'poor inner city children' - he cared alright - about enough to dip into ASB monies. He too had a friend singing his praises- currently they are both GONE!!!!

Make no mistake the teachers and good administrators at CPM are the persons we should be applauding not the self promoting friend/husband you are attempting to defend.

Respectfully submitted

You are right Ms. Cheers, only the higher socioeconomic students in our district deserve good facilities. The east side schools have state of the art facilities; gyms, auditoriums, theatrical stages for performances and assemblies. No one questions that these students deserve it. On the other hand, schools on the west side have "renovated" 50 year old buildings. The bond money paid for air conditioning, windows and paint, but it does not compare. West side students still eat lunch in the rain or hot sun. They have no auditoriiums for assemblies, so they line up aluminum benches outside in front of a microphone. yet you and the author have the audacity to begrudge them a stage? $20,000 seems fiscally responsble in comparison. I will also address the t shirts for students. CPM didn't invent this. I have heard of inner city schools all over the US that do the same. Why? When you are labeled a "failure" for years, that label sticks. You can move mountains and increase test scores, yet people refuse to believe. They hold on to the old label. People just like you respond, "they are improving? That can't be true. It must be fraud. They must be cheating." This is a very typical response. Improving acadmics is not enough to turn a school around. You also have to change culture and community perceptions. To do this you must recognize effort and celebrate. Students who once were embarrassed of their school, now wear their school t shirts proudly, in and out of school for the entire community to see. Change is slow, especially when you have to fight the stereotypes you promote. I have confidence however, that schools like CPM will prevail. We cannot go back to the status quo where you are satisfied with failing schools, and leaving generations of kids behind, as long as you don't spend money on a stage. Do them a favor and let them shine a bit. They don't need your kind of support.

While I don't currently know what CPM was scheduled to have in regards to the Prop O process, it seems that our illustrious leadership could have planned for some sort of mini ampitheater complete with awning as a shiny gathering spot for the students. Slapping a $20,000 stage in as a band-aid seems pale in comparison.

Until I know which funding (General Fund, ASB) is covering which portion (Stage, t-shirts) I won't be able to comment further. Except wondering if either was approved by the student body to fund with their money. (Don't they have to go through some student approval for those purchases?

Also, when was the stage ordered? Was it ordered as part of the general site improvements that have been going on, or did we just find out about Duncan's visit, and go "we need to put him on a pedestal"?

As for the school improving, have you seen their scores lately? For the entire district?? According to API site I just looked at, CPM made no progress whatsoever. Make no mistake, we WANT test scores to improve, we WANT these schools to shed these stereotypes (That we are NOT promoting), we WANT all of our schools (we are not East vs. West) to achieve.

Slapping paint over windows will not achieve this.

(For the record, my kids are west school.)

MEG, At first when you said "We" I thought you were part of Granger and Castle Park, but then you couldn't be because if you were you would know that the Granger turnaround program and the grant written for Promise Neighborhood uses the slogan, No Hay Pobrecitos. You should not be limiting these students with your labeling of "poor inner-city kids."


As for sources to the article, please read the article--there are three named sources: trustee Bertha Lopez, district spokesperson Manny Rubio, and district CFO Al Alt. If teachers and parents are more vulnerable -- then they need to be protected as sources.

But, thanks for commenting.

Hey Susan, MEG is indeed from Granger. Out of the classroom teacher "support" person.

Visduh, I've missed your perspicacious remarks...

MEG - anniej here.

Your arrogance and ignorance is showing. No where in my post did I elude to east side being more deserving, AND if you knew what you were talking about you would know that I have for 4 years been fighting for the schools on the west side. I guess Ed Brand forgot to educate you on that.

I am west side, and proud of it!

Allow me to educate you Prop O, have you heard of it? Or are you too busy with the book to know what is going on district wide? The 644 million dollars bond that was voted in is paying for the renovations on the west side. If you have issues with how it is being spent you might just want to trouble yourself to attend a Prop O meeting - I have for the past 4 years, interesting, I do not recall seeing you there.

Those east side folks, their taxes are the majority of the monies that fund Prop O - you aware of that?

The manner in which you speak of this community and these children is quite demeaning, although you make a failed attempt to act as their savior. These children have as much intelligence as those on the east side, they have dreams and ambition.

You seem to have lost the focus of my comments. It seems to be all about what BB is doing vs. what the teachers and other administrators are committed to - WHY? There is no I in the word 'team'. You fail to comment regarding the impostors I reference.

YOU RAISED THE ISSUE OF CHEATING, funny no one else here did.

You defend the spending far too aggressively - you fail to address the ASB funds that are allegedly missing.

Look if all it took was a tshirt to make an A student, I have no doubt every parent in America would be out buying one. What you fail to understand is this - BB is not the reincarnation of JC -

I would like for you to explain your TOTAL ignorance regarding the campuses on the west side - you state they have inadequate gyms and theatrical stages. Talk to me, explain the state of the art theatre auditorium at Chula, explain the new gyms at Mar Vista and Sweetwater, explain the new track and football field at Montgomery. Soon to come a new gym at Montgomery.

Bonita Vista, an east side school just THIS YEAR had their HVAC system restored and they are one of 'those' east side schools.

If you want to come here and defend BB go for it, but please be reminded many reading KNOW THE FACTS - they are teachers, and administrators, district office personnel, and west and east side taxpayers.

We taxpayers will not stand for fiduciary irresponsibility. We want our tax monies spent in the classroom!

Parents, students and teachers if you would like to have a say in how your school is renovated, please attend the Prop O meetings and let your voices be heard. Also ask to be on your schools Prop O committee.

Again what about the missing ASB funds, where did they go?

Hear, Hear, AnnieJ,, I sense your frustration with the everything is great and good in the district being spouted by a few of new commentors. We are on the same page. see below BBQ

Oh, I get it. All 8 of you are in the S. Lazzaro fan club, and you get frustrated when someone new comes into your blogoshphere and disagrees.

meg, I reply here so it is at the same level as your reply.
First the issues many of us are frustrated with involve the documented disgressions of the District.

The district is comprised of the "Trustees", their appointed/hired hand "the superintendent" and his chosen "Advisors" and "Staff". Their arrogance and lack of communication with us the customers of their service (Education) is the main problem. Their overall lack of concern for the law with their "Network" of power is the real issue. I for one think the recognition of CPMS is great but let's be honest what have the Trustees, superintendent and adminstration really done for CPMS? and what are they doing to the rest of the district?

So, please continue to write and read these comments, defend what you believe in, but don't belittle us for not seeing it your way either.


Ladies and gentlemen, I have been off of the blog/comment circle for a couple of months, however it seemed to me that we are missing the big picture here.

First and foremost the eastside vs. westside arguement is nearly moot in the fact that there is more money being spent through Prop O ($640,000,000) on the westside than has been spent on the eastside.

Most of the District sites either have some "newer" construction on them like Mar Vista's new Gym, (8 years?) and the renewed CV Middle School (1 year), pretty nice, Sweetwater High (1 Year), Hilltop High (1 year). Paid for by all of us.

On the Eastside while we have relatively new buildings Eastlake High (20 years?), Otay Ranch (15 years?), Olympian (6 years?) being paid for through CDR/Mello Roos, they are deteriorating at a very fast rate due to different construction standards, cost overruns, and over-crowding due to Open Boundaries. So back-off the facilities issues....

The place we all should be standing together is the fact that our Trustees, Superintendant and some Staffers are not looking out for the best interests of the District or the Students. We have a Scandal involving Prop O Money, Pay for Play with regards to district contractors (including Food Services and other "contracted services"), Miss-use of CDR funds (Mello-Roos). Empire Building examples, Alliant University, Sweetwater University, Grand Canyon University, the CPM Teaching Method "Ownership", Political Stepping stones (Mayor McCann, hard to even joke about). Undocumented possibly illegal use of ASB Funds, "L" Street Property, majority of the district schools on academic improvement. I could go on but I'm sure you are starting to get the picture.

The leaders of the district are egotists, screwing up what once was a good school district by working to their own needs and not to those of their constituents, us the taxpayers, citizens and students in the district. Let's forget about East and West, let's use this "Dog and Pony Show" at CPM as another example of "Egotism" of the Empire Builders, Let's let the students, residents and faculity at CPM enjoy their success and noteriety (by the way the "Value" of neighborhood schools, most middle schoolers still attend their neighborhood school).
However .....Let's never forget the overall predicament that the District is in and who got us there. Best to you all, BBQ

Meg you are way off the wall on this one. I don't know when the last time you toured a school on the eastside but OMG they are falling apart. I am a proud parent of a CVH student and Meg we get all the bond money on the west side. Your cheating comment maybe staff on the west side care a lot more then those on the east side because they speak up.

Have you been following Ms. Luzarro at all she doesnt report anything without facts. You tell me where the slant is on this article? Mija it is all the information that the district reported. Dont read between the lines mi reina facts dont lie only our superintendent does.

So stop bitching about the west side schools so that the east side schools dont get our money. BTW bonita was built in 1966 and looks like crap. Those east side schools pay a crap load more of that mello something tax.

Wouldnt you people like to see over 30 k that was spent for the hoopla to go into the classrooms for lab supplies or other things. Come on people get with the program think whats important use your cabezas on this one.

And really district staff needs to get off the blogs these are for people that care about whats going on. You are way to transparent you would have to living under a freaking rock to defend the SUHSD. People please go back to work.

HMMMMM Jimbo and McCann are being real quiet on this but they for sure will be on stage with the Duncun guy smiling waiting for their photo op. But the parents know who has cut programs. Thats right the voting block of Ricasa, Cartmill and McCann under the direction of fast eddy.

No, I haven't followed her and I won't. Not objective enough. I think it's weird that she is commenting on her own artice too. It's like you are all on the same cheer squad. She gets her ideas for her "investigations" from you, then you all cheer her on. Any who, this is my last post- too many conspiracy theories. You are killing my buzz!

Truth is objective? Is there some other side that these facts represent? Reminds me of Brand chastising news outlets for putting a spin on stories unfavorably, telling them "This is how the story should have been reported".

Any comments by Susan on her articles that I have ever seen were responding to questions or others comments. (Other journalists do this, it is not unusual.) Or requests to others to contact for details in other areas.

BTW dont the ASB funds belong to the kids?

MEG - not to worry, you are not frustrating us - to the contrary we appreciate the opportunity to share the facts.

In the mix of all of this let us remember we are the stewards for the youth in our community.

I believe you would be surprised to know just how many people follow Ms. Luzzaro, ask Ed. He goes into a tizzy every time he hears -


Dear chulavista resident and MEG: OF COURSE WE HAVE AN AGENDA! GLAD YOU RECOGNIZED THAT WE ARE INTENT! We pursue our goal of bringing transparency to the secretive and dark ways of the Superintendent and his henchmen in the Sweetwater District...a school district that is SUPPOSED to be about educating our future citizens. Ed and Co. are not setting a very good example, so we are trying very hard to be diligent citizens and stakeholders to 'help' them make better choices about how they spend our money and educate our children.

We have learned they are not to be trusted with any public money, and this is yet another example of their perfidy. You may become upset as we call them out, AGAIN, but then that is our right as we foot the bill and have the Constitution on our side.

If you think you can scare or silence us by challenging our right to express our opinions, you should think again, and again, and again.

In this instance, they are indeed taking yet another opportunity to appear as though things are just ducky (they are not....4 of 5 trustees indicted, money flying out the window to pay for underwater real estate ventures, wheels and deals with private so-called universities, ad nauseam. )

Susan Luzzaro has done yeoman's work to keep the community informed of the travesties and tricks being foisted on this community. She deserves our applause

I, for one, love the headline to this story: "We're painting the roses red" a la Alice in Wonderland. Mr. Duncan may just as well find himself tumbling down the rabbit hole if he ventures too close to fast Eddy.

ASB funds are not missing rather they were spent on items that are clearly visible on the CPM campus. The question is not where is the money but what was it spent on and why?

Livetoknit1 - the fact that you are asking the question is reason for concern and the concern is legitimate. In my opinion -

If its not there And no one knows where or how it was spent

Then in my mind it is missing. When it comes to ASB monies, monies earned from students via their parents it should be a transparent process. When personnel, from the school come forward and raise the warning flag, it is our responsibility to ask the tough questions. Let us not forget what happened at Castle Park High's ASB monies just a few years ago via the principal and AP. We can not forget the lessons learned from our past.

And, live to knit 1, WHO decided? The S in ASB stands for students (Associated STUDENT Body). If it is their money, did they have a say into how it was spent?

did someone write this entire article because a couple of teachers didn't like the red paint on their windows?

I have a feeling if they were getting a stage for the sole purpose of this upcoming visit that they would have just rented a stage as opposed to buying one - obviously the school is planning on using this item just like everything else that is purchased at a school....

oh yeah and the comment about the 'eastside schools are falling apart' had me laughing - keep em up!!!!

Just so it is clear to readers who do not know the school (CPM), almost all of the classrooms that are currently used by students were rebuilt a decade ago. The ends of the buildings were kept in place while everything else (outside and interior walls, roofing, floors, electrical, windows and air conditioning) was new. The ends are kept so that it is technically a remodel so monies can be saved on the permit process, very common in the building trade, but for all practical purposes, they are brand new buildings. I realize the old, worn out school narrative sounds good to people pitching all of this fiction about the school for their own self-promotion, but the problem is that it just does not fit into reality.

I'm not an architect but it is not too hard to figure that if the remodeled classrooms were built with a complete wall of windows they must be meant to supply natural lighting to the room and perhaps be more energy efficient. Why then would you ever even contemplate painting over virtually brand new windows? Why would the district approve such an action? What licensed contractor would even consider the job? How does the paint affect the atmosphere of the classrooms on the other side of the paint? Who owns the school -- the principal or the district?

The taxpaying pubic 'owns' the school. We elect so-called trustees (the "Board") to set policy and hire (and fire) a CEO to oversee the operation and management of the District. That is Superintendent Ed Brand's job. How he distributes authority to site managers is up to him. Please do not forget that ultimately, it is all the responsibility of the elected Board of Trustees to make sure the CEO/Superintendent is effective at doing his job. We, the 'owners' of the District, have a responsibility to make sure the Board knows when things are not going well. Ergo, our opportunity to make public comment during Board meetings.

I was just doing a little researching on the California Department of Education website, this is what I found. Castle Park Middle’s API over the last 10 years has risen from 608 in 2004 to 802 in 2013, a rise of 194 points. That would be a yearly average increase of 19.4 points. The largest increase was for the 2011-2012 school year with an increase of 46 points, the first year Principal Bleisch took over. What I have been told and read is that during that year the Granger Turnaround Model was slowing piloted throughout the school year but was not fully functioning, teachers were allowed to make many decisions for themselves and it looks like it worked well. During last school year with the Granger Turnaround Model fully functioning at CPM, the school’s API rose 6 points; this is the smallest rise of any school year in the last 10 years. Am I missing something? What on earth is all of the fuss about the Granger Turnaround Model? With all of the extra money and people working there the school is scoring below its 10 year average, these are the years the fictional narrative would tell us that the school was in desperate need of help. Can someone please explain this to me?

ok, so please name all the schools in our district that rose 6 points or more last year.

why did you write "the school’s API rose 6 points; this is the smallest rise of any school year in the last 10 years."? I thought of all people you would 'knowthetruth'.

I just went on the website and CPM was the only middle school in the entire district that went up in API points last year. CVM stayed the same, while all the other middle schools dropped in API points. Only 3 high school gained points with the highest being SYH at 5 points. Yeah I'm not sure what all the 'fuss' is about.


Maybe I was not clear enough for you, the smallest rise at CPM in the last 10 years. Over the last 10 years here are the point gains for CPM starting with the gains from 2004 to 2005 and ending with the most recent scores in 2013 - +25, +17, +7, +30, +39, +8, +16, +46, +6. This last school year Castle Park Middle increased their score by the smallest amount over the last decade. That is why I wrote it. A system that does less for a school then all of the reforms that came before, explain to me all of the fuss?

Last year every middle school in our district dropped in API points, except CVM (they stayed the same) and CPM gained 6 points. Countywide, when compared to similar schools. they are the only school in the 800s. It seems like CPM is doing some good work on their campus. Great job to the entire school.

Stevie – Thanks for asking, you open up the enormity of the problem. Castle Park Middle had the highest rise in scores in the entire district at only 6. Most schools have crashed. What do you think Stevie, a result in district leadership? Be care answering that one. Granger, the namesake of the Granger Turnaround Model fell 30 points. Aren’t they still using the model? If yes, what happened? If not, why not? Just to put things in perspective for you, all schools have a similar schools ranking, a list of schools that are demographically similar so that there can be a more apples to apples comparison. In San Diego County there are three other schools that are on the list with Castle Park Middle. How do you think CPM ranks against them in growth for this last school year? Don’t worry about looking it up, I can tell you. CPM comes in third place out of four similar schools. Cesar Chavez in Oceanside went up 19 points, Del Dios in Escondido went up 8 points and Hidden Valley in Escondido went down 13. Are Cesar Chavez and Del Dios using the Granger Turnaround Model? They seem to be doing better. Wouldn’t be a good idea to see what they are doing? It seems to be working better.

Now that you're comparing similar schools, did you look at their current API score?

Castle Park Middle 802 Cesar Chavez Middle 796 Del Dios Middle 748 Hidden Valley Middle 722

I don't think I'd consider those schools doing better.

You just made an argument about other schools in the district not improving this school year as compared to CPM and I show you other like schools that have improved more over the same time period and you don't think those schools improved more? Let me take your reasoning to the next level, which school in SUHSD is currently a better school, CPM or Granger? They both currently have a 802 API. If you choose either over the other, you are countering one your own arguments that you have made here tonight. If you say they are equal you are also countering an argument that you have made. Sorry but it is checkmate. Good night.

I'd say both schools are doing a great job.

You made a comment that since CPM only went up 6 points last year that 'what was all the fuss about the Granger Turnaround Model?', I just pointed out that district wide the API dropped last year for most middle schools, except CPM.

Stevejanowski -

Did someone? have a feeling.

It is important Sir to study the subject matter prior to entering into a discussion. Clarification, the issues are - missing ASB funds and wasted taxpayer monies that would have been better spent in the classroom vs. a feeble attempt to promote self by impressing Arne Duncan. The allegation that a certain teacher is being used as a private assistant whose duties include assisting said principal with data for his book.

Those Prop O bond monies that are being used to refurbish the west side schools - primarily funded by the east side folks.

Obviously you have not been to Bonita Vista in the last, lets say 15 years - it is freakin falling apart.

yeah Arne Duncan will be super 'impressed' by a stage, I hear ya

steviejanowsi you must be a Bleisch's dawg? Do you have a Bleisch dawg shirt too? It's okay if you don't. Mr.Bleisch will buy you one with ASB funds and I'm sure he will have no problem getting his kids to approve it. Do ya read me?

no I'm serious, I doubt Arne Duncan has seen a stage before, he's going to be very impressed

I have a few complaints but overrall my experience at Castle Park Middle has been positive. As a parent I feel safe knowing that Mr.Bleisch is managing my child’s future. Just recently my child found himself in trouble. Proper disciplinary actions were taken. Not only was the experience surprisingly pleasant but it was handled in a non-threatening manner. The principal and his assistant principal Richard Grove really know how to relate to kids. They truly have their students best interests at heart. In fact I owe Mr. Grove a thank you. It upsets me that people can’t see the good things happening there. Everyone needs to chill out. If parents and students are happy what is the problem?

What? Mr. Grove is an AP now? He was an ASB advisor at Granger. He got his Admin. credential? Or is this just Mr. Bleisch putting his friends in high places. Those two left our ASB funds in sad shape and now they are able to move on to better positions? Here is my question, do people in the District have any kind of credit check done prior to handling our student’s money? If people are unable to manage their own money, how then are they qualified to handle thousands of dollars that don’t belong to them? Everyone keeps saying missing money. I guarantee it is not missing the district does audits, it is a matter of what it was spent on and whose judgment is driving the spending? Face it folks Mr. Bleisch went on a spending spree using student and tax payer dollars. Poor judgment left the Granger ASB funds depleted and it will be poor judgment that leaves the CPM ASB funds depleted.

You can check Mr. Grove's credential status on line.

Knowthetruth - call us what they may, one thing we commenters are is educated on the facts.

Where is 'all' that Ed Brand promised the community and the board when he was rehired? The 'all' has not materialized has it? Perhaps it is due to the fact that Brand spends the majority of his time on other, more important ventures - you know like Grand Canyon - failure, new CIF division - failure, Funds for Education - failure, open Boundaries - failure, IPADS - I here the recent testing caused IT to crash - failure, Alliant - failure, Charter School on L Street - had to vacate, failure ------- please all chime in.

Than You for your analysis of the State documentation.

CPM is one school in an entire District that is underwater in scores and achievement. What is the Superintendent doing about that? He is orchestrating all sorts of 'deals' with nefarious 'partners' and not tending to the business he is contracted to do...namely, educating our children.
To 'dress up' one school that is to be visited by some federal visiting fireman with student money is shameless...but then, that is what Fast Eddy does....sleight of hand and 'poof' problem is addressed. I do hope that Secretary Duncan is somehow advised that four of the five trustees of this district are under indictment for multiple counts of felonies...ranging from perjury under declaration to extortion. That is not a great way to oversee the public trust!


This is the beauty of blogs everyone has an opportunity to respond. I used your post as a platform to exercise my opinion. I agree that an inspirational environment is necessary. However, do not try to excuse Robert Bleisch’s spending habits. Were these banners necessary? No. Could this money have been used for something else? Yes of course. Also, you say that these improvements have been in the works for the past year, dramatic changes have only happened recently. The biggest being the red windows, which look terrible. I would like you to think of the last time you entered a room where the windows were painted over, it just seems like an odd decision. You may have a different perspective if you were able to see what was purchased over the course of the last few months. There is controversy surrounding this money for a reason. Although, Arne Duncan’s visit was scheduled only 6 weeks ago you don’t think Robert Bleisch knew he was already coming? Robert Bleisch is always looking for a photo op. He continues to portray himself as the knight in shining armor. For not knowing him or being an expert on him you sure do defend him. You also talk about results in your original posting. Can you show them to me? because I don’t see them. Robert Bleisch must have shown you his data. Its manipulated and false. To get a clearer picture look at district released scores.The school’s results have been about the same. Mr. Bleisch is just spending more money for the SAME results. I would also like to mention that Bleisch has also pushed out many teachers. Trust me Mr. Bleisch will get his photo op or his 15 min. of fame, but it wont be in a postive light. These money allegations are not coming from nowhere and they are not going away. When you have a sordid past it is easy to dig up dirt. It is also easy for a person to fall into their old ways. Bad habits die hard! But since you really don’t know him that well it shouldn’t really matter right?

Livetoknit1- your perspective, your working history with BB brings first hand info to the table. I too know several teachers who workeD with BB in his past positions - these are fine educators - you know the type, committed, caring, intelligent foot soldiers who day after day do the work educating the future leaders of this great nation. They ask for little in return since what drives them are the smiles on their students faces when they figure out a problem, or get that B grade, or deliver a speech that had them scared to death. Yes, the unsung heroes doing what they love. What I have been told about said principal is sad.

Look I know several great principals - will I name them, ah, that would be a NO! Why some would ask, because I have been asked point blank 'do not acknowledge me in front of others, do not refer to or about me and NEVER! EVER praise me for that will kiss my career goodbye.' God forbid Brand should believe we talk. Now ain't that a shame??????

Keep in mind the trials are in February, once the verdicts are delivered and the guilty are removed I have no doubt Brand will soon follow. No longer will any of them have influence over our district.

The truth will then be exposed regarding the finances of the district - and I believe it will be devastating

How many teachers and staff from Granger now report to Castle Park Middle? I get scared when staff makes changes,and Program Improvement is looming over a school. The reason it concerns me is because of Brands fascination with CharterSchools.

erupting, you may certainly be on to something. Never under estimate Ed Brand's ability to be devious, underhanded and manipulative with any situation.

Susan, I think CV Resident is actually Mr. Bleisch.

I do hope that everyone will understand that the CPM matter is not an isolated incident.

Rather, as several have pointed out, it is part of the greater SuHSD whole that is in serious trouble, and our kids' educations are in serious jeopardy.

IF the pending visit by Secretary Duncan had happened in an otherwise issue-free environment, this matter would not have risen on the radar as it has done. As anniej has suggested, it is important to educate ourselves on the bigger picture to grasp that this is ONLY yet another 'what in the world is going on here?' situation so typical of anything Ed Brand and his administration touches.

That is why we are on constant alert and are so bothered by the continuing bizarre spending of public and student dollars....Rome... er, Sweetwater, is burning and Ed and Co build stages!

Mr. Duncan, this parade is not really about you. It's part of Ed Brand's clown parade to distract us from the fire at our feet. So sorry.

This is what the community needs to know about Bleisch.

  1. He coerces students and their parents into forced attendance recovery through after school tutoring and Saturday schools. He tells parents and students that if they don't attend and make up an absence they will be dropped to independent study. This is how CPM's attendance percentages have increased so much. While it is true that the kids should make up absences, using bully tactics to frighten parents and students into submission is unacceptable. I would love to see him try to manipulate and intimidate parents on the East Side who generally have a more comprehensive understanding of the system and are usually more informed about their students' rights. Consider that recovering attendance through after school or Saturday school doesn't mean the students are actually recovering time missed in math, English, science, or history class. It means that the school is receiving lost ADA for the periods that child was absent. The real data that needs to be examined is CPM's actual attendance and not cleared attendance.

  2. Bleisch has sacrificed teaching content in core area classes to improve test scores in English. Social studies teachers have been directed to teach a reading intervention program during their history classes instead of teaching the California State Standards or Common Core Standards. Shouldn't CPM students be learning what the state and district have mandated? Remember, the content and skills these courses teach is essential for transitioning into high school A-G classes, AP classes, and IB classes. Or does Bleisch not really care if students are prepared for their futures as long as CPM's test scores go up? Would any principal on the East Side get away with this?

  3. Bleisch has consistently been accused by teachers and counselors of bullying. These are teachers from Granger, MVH, CPM, and even teachers on special assignment at the district office. Anyone who challenges him faces an uncertain future. Teachers who have raised questions about his management decisions are transferred out, but only after receiving humiliating text messages at 2 am or threatening reprimands where Bleisch uses his imposing physical stature to intimidate them.

  4. Bleisch likes to take all the credit for the Granger Turn-Around Model. He has NEVER acknowledged National City Elementary School District's efforts at transforming literacy among their students. Much of Granger students' success is related to the education they received in elementary school. But giving credit to someone else doesn't help Bleisch's bottom line . . . promoting himself.

  5. Bleisch has routinely provided South Bay Community Services with confidential student information so that they can recruit kids for outreach services. Bleisch has family connections with South Bay Community Services who financially benefit from this arrangement.

Do not believe everything they say about Bleisch. Only teachers and counselors who refuse to work hard complain about him. These are people who make sure they do not work one extra minute for our students. Teachers who were used to having things their way for many years also criticize Bleisch. Mr. Bleish has done what several inefficient principals failed to do in the past...transform the school.

Spoken exactly like one of those who receives the premium classes and the 1/6th pay rate for being a yes- (wo)man. Some of the best teachers at CPM have been ousted for calling Bleisch on his unethical practices.

Some of the teachers you call the best teachers only worked with the top students for many years. By the way, they carefully selected their students to create their own premium classes as you called them. Perhaps they left CPM beacuse this principal did not allow them to continue this practice.

Spoken like a male at CPM. Many teachers who put in hours and hours of their time and had great results to show for it were transferred out solely because they stood up for the kids and for themselves. No employee deserves to be trapped in an office and intimidated without easy access to get out. No male should ever use their size or power to intimidate a female employee without severe legal consequences. So maybe some of those females who were continuously assaulted verbally and intimidated physically by Mr. Bleisch did indeed reduce their after school hours - partially for fear of being left on campus with only him around. Perhaps they stood up and refused to teach English to their social studies classes because . . . ummm they are legally required to teach their content. YOu are misrepresenting the staff members who have been forced out or chosen to escape. Those remaining have been bribed or intimidated to the point of knowing that you either become a Bleisch Dog ie keep your mouth shut, rat out others who may say something negative, and you will be financially rewarded. But be careful, there are plenty who thought they were Bleisches dogs only to have him turn on them over night. You may be next!

amc, you and the principal hold the mistaken and simplistic belief that the teachers who do not participate in the after school and Saturday hours for extra duty pay "refuse to work hard" and "make sure they do not work one extra minute for our students." On the contrary, all the dedicated teachers I know put in countless hours on evenings and weekends grading papers, writing curriculum, and keeping up with all of the other work that the job entails. Why do the teachers do this without any extra pay and without complaint? The reasons are simple -- they are professionals, it is the right thing to do, and they care about the students. The motives of these dedicated teachers are transparent, unlike your motives, and unlike the windows at CPMS.

Thank you, yaheard. That description of Mr. Bleisch certainly fits with the tone and tenor of chulavistaresident's first post on this story September 5 at 1:19 in the a.m. Talk about bully and berating! Greenville got his number and idenity on this blog, I do believe.

knowthetruth - now, now you have failed to realize why Granger lost the 30 points, it was because BB was not there to lead the 'dawgs' and steer them right as only he can do - just ask him, he will tell you""""""

erupting - let me be clear, charters are not the money makers for Brand that he has made our district. Brand is known as a bully, the board members are being referred to as his pawns with the exception of Lopez and now Quinonez - I know that many still hold out hope for McCann stepping up, we will see. Brand, will not survive - he is feared and hated by his employees - his letters and speeches, the rah rah, rah dispised and ridiculed - thrown in the trash or hung up on. Results wise - nothing! Ability to work with surrounding districts and government officials - non existent. I wonder what it is like to walk into a Chamber meeting and have its members talk behind your back? Other than those looking to ride his coat tails TEMPORARILY - do they realize it is only temporary, that Brand is gone within a year and what happens to them then, oh my they may have to remove kissing up as their major job objective and actually work, BB's assistant and BB will have to meet at Starbucks for that book writing venture.

So you see there is light at the end of this tunnel - and with each month it is getting brighter and brighter. We must all vow to meet and raise our lemonades, Long Island ice teas, or glasses of milk and toast to INTEGRITY - something this district has not shared in an awfully long long time,

Let’s go back to the red windows. Who is this painter? Does he have a valid contractor’s license? Does he have Workman’s comp.? Has he filed his general liability insurance naming suhsd as additionally insured? Did he submit his commercial vehicle insurance? Were proper W-9 tax forms filled out and submitted? These are standard procedures but it sounds like Mr. Bleisch doesn’t follow procedures. Someone may want to look into this. Putting students and faculty at risk by having someone on campus who is not properly qualified is inexcusable.

ya heard - some very troubling info shared regarding South Bay Community Services, I am now second guessing that the Alliant recruiting was all just a big mistake. I am wondering if a thorough investigation needs to be asked for.

Regarding BB having an imposing nature - my daddy use to have a saying "the bigger they are the harder they fall". Can you see his shadow, it seems to be leaning all of a sudden - hmmmm listen you may soon here the call ------- TIMBER!!!!

It is important that specifics be shared with an entity that will expose it. You can remain anonymous!

Rumor has it that Bleisch has said this is his last year at CPM. Must be a promotion in the works that Brand has promised him. Maybe head of the charter school that he is planning to open at that site?

link text

Richard Grove doesn't have his admin. credential you can all look at it for yourself.

Livetoknit1 - don't ya just love modern day technology!!!!!

New READER article up by Susan Luzzaro - SUHSD backs off Alliant University

Employees of SUHSD - it is clearly obvious to the community that all is NOT WELL with SUSD - if you want to help bring about change - return our classrooms to the students and teachers and out of the hands of Ed Brand and those board members who are choosing to ignore the obvious then please share this website, and these articles. Encourage others to come and share 'facts' - Together we can do this!!!!!!!!!

The READER and Ms. Luzzaro have for several years provided the South Bay with the facts about our community. When you see a new article here or on the Star News website, or others share it and comment.

Painting over the windows--what better illustration can there be of the hucksterism that is on display for all to see. Yes, I am sure that the graphic is sharp and the intent was to make great photos and film footage out of it...the superficial trumping the actual substance.

Let's hope that Arne Duncan is smart enough to see when he is being sold a bill of goods.

Sounds like we need another big attendance board meeting. I can stay up till 3am dancing, so I guess I can do so for the sake of the students in the district. Is Jaime Mercado still willing to step in without pay for a year?


What do you mean hear say? People have experienced his bullying tactics first hand. Many have witnessed his unprofessional and abusive harassment from all areas in the district. I’m here to tell you it is not hear say. Clearly you have bought into his arrogance by referring to the past principals of CPM as “inefficient.” I wonder how his peers feel that he sees them as “inefficient.” Prior to Mr. Bleisch CPM has consistently seen growth in their API. Mr. Bleisch would never humble himself and give anyone else credit because in his eyes his “systems” are the only answer. Let me ask what you mean by transform the school? Are you referring to those red windows? Or maybe you are referring to the fact that he forced students to sit in opportunity room after school every day until they returned their registration packets? Or are you referring to the fact that he got rid of the social science curriculum? Or the fact that he diminished all of the accelerated programs forcing proficient and advanced students to find other schools that may offer classes to support their needs? Oh that’s right proficient and advanced students would fail to fit into his Granger Turnaround Model! I will say one thing for certain Mr. Bleisch’s peers whether inefficient or not don’t have their name plastered in the media for unethical behavior and they sure aren’t out there trying to force themselves down everyone’s throat! Did Mr. Bleisch tell you his teachers and counselor won’t work an extra minute for students? Are these the same teachers and counselors who won’t return his texts at 2:00 a.m. clearly Mr. Bleisch has a disjointed perception of when people should be available for work.

It bewilders me how a principal can use taxpayers money to paint over and destroy new windows that were paid for by those same taxpayers. What will be the cost we will all incur to now fix the problem? If I did something like that at my company without permission from my boss (the owner of the building), I'd be fired faster than it took for that paint to dry. Let's just hope that the students who now bask in the sun lit red glow everyday don't start chanting red rum, red rum, red rum.

Did anyone look to see if there was an Alliant University banner flying at CPM? From the astronomical cost of its tuition, it must be one of the best universities in the country!





What a dog an Pony show for the stupid! Duncan and the liberals throw tax dollars at a bunch of illiterate foreigners rather than applying the actual solution, which is breaking the backs of the government union brainwash machine, by implementing the voucher system and real private sector competition by putting all teachers on merit pay and holding them to the same standards as carpenters are held to (1/16" plumb, level, and true!)!!!!!

Kevinh5 - You would like us to believe that the problems at SUHSD (corrupt board, corrupt superintendent, corrupt toadies) are the fault of the UNIONS? That is at the very least a bold faced lie, and a base attempt to thwart those in the community who are trying very hard to bring responsible leadership back to our PUBLIC, taxpayer-supported schools! The unions have NOTHING to do with his mess, rather it is coming from the TOP, many of whom state they are political conservatives. Mr. Cartmill and Mr. Mcann, if you want specificis. If those so-called 'conservatives' had been doing their jobs, we would not have the current debacle. THEY chose Dr. Brand and are part and parcel of the corruption.

Adolf Hitler used skillful communication strategies (such as the glittering generality you just threw out there) to get everyone on his side and to hate the group upon which he intended to pin all of Germany's woes. You are attempting the same strategy here....blame the unions for Sweetwater's ills. However, it IS NOT TRUE. How in God's Green Earth are unions to blame for anything in this mess?

You said it, oskidoll!

The one thing I will agree with kevinh5 on is that Arne Duncan did bring a dog and pony show to town. But it was done for the benefit of those who will be supplying all the schools with their Common Core educational material, in my opinion. Then, of course, you will have the Texas group who will lobby for creationism to be put into science textbooks. You will have the people who are against the teaching of critical thinking skills, because they think that all that is needed is a docile and unquestioning workforce.

God help us, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart.


I think you have hit on a new topic that merits our interest=common core standards and the business connections of common core. Belatedly delving into this myself.

kevinh5, Illiterate foreigners? How many citizens of the United States are you speaking about?

Is this really how you want to speak about the young people, the future of this country?

Any updates on all of the spending mentioned in the article and the posts? Will the explanations of these expenditures be made public? If the school thinks that banners, painted windows, t-shirts, stages, etc. have a direct correlation with student achievement, then the tax payers deserve to hear the justification.

cvtaxpayer, Don’t hold your breath fast Eddy fixed Bleisch’s financials. He got his 25k back for the stage. Unfortunately, his new ASB advisor (not director) will give Mr. Bleisch the okay to spend that money. Let’s see how long that money lasts. The oddest thing when the going got too tough for the ASB advisor Mr. Bleisch hired a second ASB advisor for assistance. Is she not competent enough for the job? And if she isn’t why isn’t she back in the classroom? Hire a competent advisor instead of charging taxpayers double for the same job. Is this even legal? Is this the norm of SUHSD? When is Mr. Bleisch going to realize that rules are in place for a reason? When rules are broken there are consequences. When will Brand get tired of cleaning up Bleisch’s spilled milk? The better question is when will the board intervene and hold Brand accountable??? SUSHD is not Brand’s school district. CPM is not Bleisch’s school.

And if she isn't why isn't she back in the classroom? doingtherightthing, what the heck are you taking about or implying? There are several ASB advisors, administrators, and especially employees at the district office that lack the ability to teach in a classroom at schools like Castle Park Middle and Granger Junior High, or even work there on a regular basis. In fact, isn't it odd that employees who previously worked at both schools have been "moved" or "placed" at schools such as Bonita Vista Middle and Olymipian High to name a few?

You really can’t stop laughing that’s a real shame considering Bleisch has mistreated and harassed so many employees throughout the district. At the end of last year over 15 people documented their issues and inappropriate encounters. The Union President still holds this documentation and is waiting for teacher approval to move forward. His way of “weeding out” teachers and staff is highly questionable. Maybe the laughter will stop when he is finally called to be accountable for his behavior or if he finds himself in a lawsuit. I would love it if someone had the ability to get their hands on his tests scores as a teacher. I would venture to guess he was, as bad at teaching as, he is at being a principal. Bleisch would love to take credit for hiring teachers who believe in kids, as if he is the only one who is able to spot them. The truth is the truth he pushed out teachers who asked questions and did not buy into his cult like behavior. Get your facts straight teachers who left to Bonita and Olympian applied for open positions. They were not “moved” or “placed” as you try to imply, and as for the former CPM ASB advisor she left running after contracting Bells Palsy under his duress. Bleisch is truly lucky that ASB advisor left quietly or did she?

Perhaps Brand should be using his private investigators to dig into this principal's past instead of bothering law-abiding tax payers and community members. There are myriad questions surrounding Bleisch's spending habits, personnel issues, and overall lack of judgment as an administrator that should be investigated. Surely the district can find someone more suitable to be the leader of this school.

I am flagging Lloyd Christmas's blog, eat your burger. The accompanying youtube has a threatening aspect.

When I read this blog and I missed the comments that were removed--it made me think there is a very unhealthy environment in this school--and this district.

Yes, and the unhealthy environment is a direct result of the "leadership" of Ed Brand and the mindless followers in lock-step behind him.

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