November 1, 2002


Sweetwater Union High School District Needs Changes In Its Troubled Board of Trustees

Relationships between Sweetwater Board members have led to an uncomfortable situation at Board meetings. The ability to conduct business in a dispassionate manner has become more and more difficult. As a consequence the school district is floundering. There is little that can be done to bring the present Board members to function in the interest of the Sweetwater School District. Money has become the hammer that now controls what happens. It is pervasive.

As an example, $187,000,000 voted in Proposition BB Monies has been spent with little or no accountability. No one seems to be in charge or to care, that millions of dollars to upgrade and/or build new facilities at Sweetwater High School have been squandered elsewhere. Dr. Brand and the Board of Trustees threw a bone to Sweetwater high school students and parents by building them a gym!

Somehow the funds in Prop BB designated for classroom repairs have been derailed. Most of the $187,000,000 money has gone to build two new high schools! Some of the Prop BB Monies have gone for Dr. Brand to hire three Assistant Superintendents! La Prensa wonders whether the District should perhaps be broken up into three smaller Districts? Where is the accountability on the spending of Prop BB monies? There is a serious lack of oversight and accountability within the District. La Prensa San Diego has no confidence in the Board of Trustees they have failed in their duties and responsibilities.

La Prensa San Diego Supports: Archie McAllister, for Trustee in Seat # 5. He is a retired Naval Officer who is experienced in managing multi-million dollar budgets and maintaining and accounting for large inventories. He has been responsible for managing large numbers of personnel, for 28 years with the United States Navy, and he has his own business. He also has the added advantage of having been a visiting teacher in the Sweetwater Union High School District since 1994! Archie McAllister has worked at every site in the Sweetwater School District. Rest assured that he knows where all the run down classrooms, buildings and firetraps are located within the District. He believes that “our students, the shareholders, are our future and that their safety must never be compromised”. McAllister is a graduate of the University of Southern California and National University in San Diego.

The Sweetwater Union High School District Board of Trustees was an accident waiting to happen as it barreled down the educational highway sans strong leadership.

The conclusion reached by the Board of Editors was that a change was needed, Sandoval, as President of the Board, had his opportunity. Time is running out on the District to demonstrate that it has the ability to bring its students to acceptable learning levels. La Prensa took a look at the two candidates opposing Sandoval. Bob McAlister (Note different spelling between Archie McAllister and Bob McAlister) and Lorraine Staffiero. Though both have much to recommend them and either one would be an improvement over Sandoval.

Choices oftentimes are difficult to make but La Prensa San Diego made the decision to support the candidacy of Lorraine Staffiero based on her extended background in field of education. Lorraine is currently the Vice President of the California School Employee’s Association (CSEA) and was its President for eight years. She has a particular perspective of the needs of the student, the parents and the employees that Mr. McAlister lacks. She has experience in dealing with budgeting, maintaining fiscal stability, and of the need to maintain accountability of the Districts finances. She will demand audits of the spending of dedicated funds such as PROP BB monies. She will insure fiscal and administrative responsibilities. If necessary oversee, and monitor bond funds. A bonus to her election will be that the Teachers unions will find it hard to strike against one of their own!

The third open seat in the Sweetwater Union High School District Board of Trustees is Seat #1 which is held by Jim Cartmill. Lorenzo Provencio and Bryan Felber are opposing him. We can dismiss, out of hand, the candidacy of Mr. Provencio. Our past experiences with Mr. Provencio resulted in very unfortunate outcomes for the District, parents, teachers and the students. We see nothing to change our perceptions of his inabilities to function in a major High School environment.

Bryan Felber initially had decided to run for seat #3. But at the last moment a switch was made. Friends encouraged him to run for Cartmill’s seat # 1. In our opinion, it was a mistake.

Jim Cartmill has been a mainstay of the Board of Trustees! He has provided a sensible, strong guiding hand and has managed to vote on the issues that are presented from a cool, reasonable position that focuses on the concerns of the school, students, & parents. He has kept above the petty bickering and cheap political stratagems that has embroiled the Board of Trustees. Cartmill has no “Right-Wing agenda nor a Left Wing agenda. What Jim Cartmill has is a student agenda! What he wants is to make Sweetwater High School District a high performance district that will turn out year after year high caliber students who are capable of functioning in our nation at whatever level is required of them! Students with knowledge, character, and a sense of responsibility who will be a source of pride to their parents, the District and their teachers.

Jim Cartmill is a product of the community. He has lived here for over 41 years. He knows the people and he loves them. He is a married to Cindy Ledesma and they have one daughter of their union. He is a graduate of Sweetwater High School and of San Diego State University. He is the kind of candidate for public office that brings hope and encouragement that there is hope in this country for peoples of all races and nationalities.

The Sweetwater Union School District is in the middle of the most population diverse area in the County of San Diego. It must deliver on the basic premise: To educate every child no matter what their race, color or creed may be!

The Editorial Board of La Prensa San Diego ENDORSES:

Jim Cartmill
for reelection
to the Sweetwater Union High School Governing Board Seat #1

Lorraine Staffiero
for election
to the Sweetwater Union High School Governing Board Seat #3

Archie McAllister
to the Sweetwater Union High School Governing Board Seat # 5

Vote on Nov. 5, 2002

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