Chula Vista school hurries to get ready for Arne Duncan

We’re painting the roses red

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? ...

anniej Sept. 4, 2013 @ 2:46 p.m.

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.


erupting Sept. 4, 2013 @ 3:53 p.m.

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.


dbdriver Sept. 5, 2013 @ 9:15 a.m.

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.


oldchulares Sept. 4, 2013 @ 5:04 p.m.

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?


joepublic Sept. 4, 2013 @ 5:14 p.m.

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.


Ensenadamaria Sept. 4, 2013 @ 8:28 p.m.

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.


erupting Sept. 5, 2013 @ 8:26 a.m.

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.


oldchulares Sept. 5, 2013 @ 8:56 a.m.

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


anniej Sept. 5, 2013 @ 9:40 a.m.

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.


anniej Sept. 5, 2013 @ 10:24 a.m.

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.


dbdriver Sept. 5, 2013 @ 11:26 a.m.

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.


Susan Luzzaro Sept. 5, 2013 @ 1:18 p.m.

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


anniej Sept. 5, 2013 @ 2:31 p.m.

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.


erupting Sept. 5, 2013 @ 4:14 p.m.

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?


anniej Sept. 5, 2013 @ 10:59 a.m.

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.


johndewey Sept. 5, 2013 @ 10:43 a.m.

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.


anniej Aug. 28, 2013 @ 7:55 a.m.

And so the 'alleged' corruption began. 'The gandara' had slithered into town and was seen as a conduit to what ultimately became the 'largest corruption case in San Diego City/County history'.

Ah yes, and the board wonders why we want them GONE!!!!!!!! Did they sit back and simply watch our District unravel? NO! they allegedly took an active role!!!!

Wonder how many of our indicted board members will plead out? One thing for sure, after 4 years of this treachery anniej will be in court every day - let members of the board plead their case in front of the very public whose children's education and whose tax dollars they swore to protect.

Remember the words of Richard Nixon, "I am not a crook" - well, facts and history has proved differently.

Ms. Luzzaro Thank You for such an in depth factual piece of the puzzle, the mess that has now become SUHSD.


anniej Sept. 5, 2013 @ 8:28 p.m.

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.


Visduh Sept. 5, 2013 @ 8:04 p.m.

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?


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