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Encinitas Sunset School gets reprieve

4-1 vote against name change

“We change from the inside out.”
“We change from the inside out.”

After months of public comments at school board meetings, Facebook postings, online petitions, and protest gatherings, alumni of the 50-year-old Sunset Continuation High School in Encinitas celebrated on February 27. A proposed name change of their alma mater failed in a 1 to 4 vote.

Last June, the school’s principal, Richard Ayala, floated the idea of a campus name change to the San Dieguito Union High School District’s board. Other than three-minute open public comment times, the idea had been officially on the agenda only once. Yet former students and staff kept showing up at board meetings to express their displeasure with the idea.

Ayala believed Sunset High had a stigma in the community as a last-chance continuation school. A name change might benefit the program on the soon-to-be rebuilt campus on Requeza Drive, as an alternative option to traditional high school curriculum.

“It was a second-chance high for me, not a last chance,” said former student and 70s skateboard star, John Hughes. “It saved me and hundred of other students,” he said of the campus founded in 1970, named by the first graduating class.

Name-change opposition leader, Wendy Woodard, had presented the board with an online petition signed by 882 former students, parents, and school staff.

80-year-old Roy Riesner, a former longtime principal of Sunset, and according to his former students, much loved and respected, spoke out to the school board against the name change.

Ayala never held the promised community forums to survey the idea.

As a last chance effort, knowing they could count only on a minority of two board members voting in their favor, on February 21, former students and faculty held a protest at the Cardiff Kook statue, to the supportive honks of motorists passing by on Coast Highway 101.

On an old school Encinitas Facebook page, which had been the focal point for opposing the name change, Krista Yamada posted, “Sunset has been a savior for so many kids in our community. Changing the name would be disrespectful to Encinitas’ children who have benefited from this school.”

Board member Mo Muir was opposed to the name change. “A student spoke at a meeting and asked if Ayala had ever ask a troubled teen to change their name? It was a poignant question,” she said, pointing to the juxtaposition. “We change from the inside out,” added Muir.

Only board president Beth Hergesheimer voted for the name change. A 20-year member of the school board, she stated she was satisfied with the outcome.

The word “continuation” will be formally dropped from the campus’ name, and now become a school of choice, along with the district’s other four campuses. Sunset High School, now to be labeled an “alternative” school will be part of other programs offered by the district at the new Request Education Center to open in the fall.

Disclaimer: One of the writer’s children attended Sunset for a semester.

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Comments
13

And so another "supe" gets egg on his face. Rather than pull back gracefully, he stonewalls on a promise to survey for opinions, and now has been smacked down. (Yes, I said "smacked down.") For those educrats any board action that goes against their desires is a vote of no confidence. So, we may soon see him riding off to the next career stepping stone in some other district.

March 3, 2020

The problems that public schools have does not rest with the students, teachers or parents but lies at the feet of the overpaid arrogant pompous administrators and school boards.

March 4, 2020

You're always complaining that employees aren't being paid a "living wage" or they're "overpaid." You can't have it both ways.

March 4, 2020

I don't think Alex is inconsistent at all. What he expresses frequently is a belief that the "worker bees" or "folks in the trenches" or "rank-and-file" who actually do the work in organizations are not properly compensated. In this case he was referring to a managerial class of administrators; those school superintendents are too often pompous and usually grossly overpaid.

I blame school boards that don't have the guts to say "enough" when it comes to overpaying educrats and deferring to them when they are just plain wrong. In this case the board did the right thing.

March 4, 2020

I never said he was inconsistent. My point was he complains no matter what people are paid. If you complain about over-payment or under-payment, you're just complaining.

March 4, 2020

Not complaining just pointing out that many people who work hard and actually do the work are often paid low wages and low/no benefits. Employers who thrive on low wage workers and investing in future poverty. These employers benefit from the taxpayer, that you and me, providing welfare and health care benefits (Medicaid). The minimum wage was intended to be a floor for entry level jobs but low wage employers us it as a ceiling. Some employers, think restaurant/hotel industry, make millions of dollars in profit yet the taxpayer foots the bill for the welfare benefits that their low wage employees qualify for.

March 4, 2020

As taxpayers, we're going to pay for the low wage workers one way or another. if they raise their wages, we'll pay double to dine out, rent a hotel room, etc. You don't really believe the employer won't pass the costs to the customer do you? Some employees will also lose their jobs if wages are raised. Low wage workers DESERVE low wages. I've worked those jobs, and it's one of the main reasons I went to COLLEGE. Maybe low wage/no benefit jobs should be given back to teenagers instead of unskilled adults working at McDonald's and demanding twice what they're worth. Get a real job.

Most (not all) people are paid what they're worth, despite the fact that you dislike wage differences. If you have an advanced degree, which I'm sure school administrators do - you'll see it in your salary. And rightfully so.

March 4, 2020

Two points that I agree with. 1. the low wage entry level jobs should be given back to teenagers. The minimum wage jobs were meant to be entry level jobs. 2. Yes those who have advanced degrees are generally worth more but it seems that in education the administrators are mostly excess baggage that do little except make it harder for teachers to teach. Also, degrees from a college/university are not the be all end all of education. There are many jobs that require skills that are not taught in college but are still worthy of the same kind of respect and compensation. I do have a college degree but have worked high skill jobs outside that degree.

March 6, 2020

An education administrator (Principal) organizes and supervises the programs, while managing the budget. A superintendent makes the key decisions on spending, staffing and other educational policies. Think CEO. I've never worked in education, but I would think these positions are necessary. As far as making it harder for teachers to teach, someone has to keep teachers in line. Otherwise, they'd be able to do whatever they want in the classroom, and that would be a disaster.

March 6, 2020

I don't disagree however there are many levels of overpaid mid level administrators that do little and do not advance the education of children.

March 7, 2020
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 7, 2020
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 9, 2020

Re: Sunset High Alternative School.

I graduated from there in 1973 and even got a diploma! To me, that school was better than a traditional high school. The name "Sunset High Alternative" sounds good to me. FYI, I saw the most beautiful rainbow on the ocean when I left there one day. Unforgettable.

Cathy Lounibos, Solana Beach

March 13, 2020

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“We change from the inside out.”
“We change from the inside out.”

After months of public comments at school board meetings, Facebook postings, online petitions, and protest gatherings, alumni of the 50-year-old Sunset Continuation High School in Encinitas celebrated on February 27. A proposed name change of their alma mater failed in a 1 to 4 vote.

Last June, the school’s principal, Richard Ayala, floated the idea of a campus name change to the San Dieguito Union High School District’s board. Other than three-minute open public comment times, the idea had been officially on the agenda only once. Yet former students and staff kept showing up at board meetings to express their displeasure with the idea.

Ayala believed Sunset High had a stigma in the community as a last-chance continuation school. A name change might benefit the program on the soon-to-be rebuilt campus on Requeza Drive, as an alternative option to traditional high school curriculum.

“It was a second-chance high for me, not a last chance,” said former student and 70s skateboard star, John Hughes. “It saved me and hundred of other students,” he said of the campus founded in 1970, named by the first graduating class.

Name-change opposition leader, Wendy Woodard, had presented the board with an online petition signed by 882 former students, parents, and school staff.

80-year-old Roy Riesner, a former longtime principal of Sunset, and according to his former students, much loved and respected, spoke out to the school board against the name change.

Ayala never held the promised community forums to survey the idea.

As a last chance effort, knowing they could count only on a minority of two board members voting in their favor, on February 21, former students and faculty held a protest at the Cardiff Kook statue, to the supportive honks of motorists passing by on Coast Highway 101.

On an old school Encinitas Facebook page, which had been the focal point for opposing the name change, Krista Yamada posted, “Sunset has been a savior for so many kids in our community. Changing the name would be disrespectful to Encinitas’ children who have benefited from this school.”

Board member Mo Muir was opposed to the name change. “A student spoke at a meeting and asked if Ayala had ever ask a troubled teen to change their name? It was a poignant question,” she said, pointing to the juxtaposition. “We change from the inside out,” added Muir.

Only board president Beth Hergesheimer voted for the name change. A 20-year member of the school board, she stated she was satisfied with the outcome.

The word “continuation” will be formally dropped from the campus’ name, and now become a school of choice, along with the district’s other four campuses. Sunset High School, now to be labeled an “alternative” school will be part of other programs offered by the district at the new Request Education Center to open in the fall.

Disclaimer: One of the writer’s children attended Sunset for a semester.

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Comments
13

And so another "supe" gets egg on his face. Rather than pull back gracefully, he stonewalls on a promise to survey for opinions, and now has been smacked down. (Yes, I said "smacked down.") For those educrats any board action that goes against their desires is a vote of no confidence. So, we may soon see him riding off to the next career stepping stone in some other district.

March 3, 2020

The problems that public schools have does not rest with the students, teachers or parents but lies at the feet of the overpaid arrogant pompous administrators and school boards.

March 4, 2020

You're always complaining that employees aren't being paid a "living wage" or they're "overpaid." You can't have it both ways.

March 4, 2020

I don't think Alex is inconsistent at all. What he expresses frequently is a belief that the "worker bees" or "folks in the trenches" or "rank-and-file" who actually do the work in organizations are not properly compensated. In this case he was referring to a managerial class of administrators; those school superintendents are too often pompous and usually grossly overpaid.

I blame school boards that don't have the guts to say "enough" when it comes to overpaying educrats and deferring to them when they are just plain wrong. In this case the board did the right thing.

March 4, 2020

I never said he was inconsistent. My point was he complains no matter what people are paid. If you complain about over-payment or under-payment, you're just complaining.

March 4, 2020

Not complaining just pointing out that many people who work hard and actually do the work are often paid low wages and low/no benefits. Employers who thrive on low wage workers and investing in future poverty. These employers benefit from the taxpayer, that you and me, providing welfare and health care benefits (Medicaid). The minimum wage was intended to be a floor for entry level jobs but low wage employers us it as a ceiling. Some employers, think restaurant/hotel industry, make millions of dollars in profit yet the taxpayer foots the bill for the welfare benefits that their low wage employees qualify for.

March 4, 2020

As taxpayers, we're going to pay for the low wage workers one way or another. if they raise their wages, we'll pay double to dine out, rent a hotel room, etc. You don't really believe the employer won't pass the costs to the customer do you? Some employees will also lose their jobs if wages are raised. Low wage workers DESERVE low wages. I've worked those jobs, and it's one of the main reasons I went to COLLEGE. Maybe low wage/no benefit jobs should be given back to teenagers instead of unskilled adults working at McDonald's and demanding twice what they're worth. Get a real job.

Most (not all) people are paid what they're worth, despite the fact that you dislike wage differences. If you have an advanced degree, which I'm sure school administrators do - you'll see it in your salary. And rightfully so.

March 4, 2020

Two points that I agree with. 1. the low wage entry level jobs should be given back to teenagers. The minimum wage jobs were meant to be entry level jobs. 2. Yes those who have advanced degrees are generally worth more but it seems that in education the administrators are mostly excess baggage that do little except make it harder for teachers to teach. Also, degrees from a college/university are not the be all end all of education. There are many jobs that require skills that are not taught in college but are still worthy of the same kind of respect and compensation. I do have a college degree but have worked high skill jobs outside that degree.

March 6, 2020

An education administrator (Principal) organizes and supervises the programs, while managing the budget. A superintendent makes the key decisions on spending, staffing and other educational policies. Think CEO. I've never worked in education, but I would think these positions are necessary. As far as making it harder for teachers to teach, someone has to keep teachers in line. Otherwise, they'd be able to do whatever they want in the classroom, and that would be a disaster.

March 6, 2020

I don't disagree however there are many levels of overpaid mid level administrators that do little and do not advance the education of children.

March 7, 2020
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 7, 2020
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 9, 2020

Re: Sunset High Alternative School.

I graduated from there in 1973 and even got a diploma! To me, that school was better than a traditional high school. The name "Sunset High Alternative" sounds good to me. FYI, I saw the most beautiful rainbow on the ocean when I left there one day. Unforgettable.

Cathy Lounibos, Solana Beach

March 13, 2020

Sign in to comment

Sign in

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