Gossip and rumor mills too often obscure valid reform efforts in our district. Such has been the case with respect to a Torrey Pines' parent's recent efforts to ensure that foundation actions, including fundraising, comply with state laws and regulations, board policies, and the CA Constitution's guarantee of free public education. The effort began in October of 2016, with a simple question:
Why are student athletes getting kicked out of the public high school batting cages at Torrey Pines High School?
Despite efforts to get answers through a series of questions to teachers, staff, administration, Board Members, parents, students, former students, CIF, CDE and even the foundations, no answers were provided. The parent was encouraged to put all the questions in writing, which the parent reluctantly did despite fear of retaliation. The written inquiries were submitted on the condition that the parent's name be kept anonymous.
January 3, 2017 - Request for Investigation submitted to the CIF-San Diego Division.
March 1, 2017 - Granted an Extension (letter outlines process to this point)
April 27, 2017 - Second Extension Granted (letter outlines process to this point)
June 16, 2017 - District Responded to complainant in two parts:
Uniform Complaint Response (UCP)
Response to Complaint (Non-UCP)
In response to the UCP and non-UCP issues raised, the SDUHSD superintendent found that numerous claims required corrective action:
1. Torrey Pines Foundation's requests for donations should more clearly inform parents and students that their decision to donate (or not donate) will not affect their ability to participate in the district's programs;
2. TPHS coaching vacancies have not been internally or externally properly advertised for the past 3 years even though hires have been made;
3. a TPHS baseball coach charged for private lessons on the campus during non-school hours without submitting a permit; 4. two TPHS baseball coaches may have had pre-enrollment contact with students without submitting the required information as required by CIF Bylaw 510;
5. the TPHS Foundation entered into an agreement with a TPHS foundation member, to accept approximately $400K to erect baseball cages on campus without advance board approval as required by Board Policy 3290;
6. the donation of baseball cages had conditions that allowed the donor to use district property for no charge for outside teams;
7. the donated batting cages had been mischaracterized as "fences" by school staff in 2013 and not submitted for approval to the state;
8. the batting cages did not comply with the American with Disabilities Act when built per the Division of State Architects; and
9. the request for a "bus fee" for boys volleyball players "could lead a reasonable person to believe that the fee was mandatory" and that refunds were warranted if parents requested them.
June 25, 2017 - Appeal to CDE (by Statute a complainant only has 15 days to appeal the LEA's decision to the State)
June 29, 2017 - Letter from CDE acknowledging Appeal
August 21, 2017 - The CA Dept. of Ed found that given the mandatory nature of the "donation request," the district needed to automatically reimburse all transportation fees paid by the boys' volleyball team because pupils enrolled in public school cannot be required to pay any fees to participate in an educational activity. Decision of Appeal
Instead of spending time on disparaging emails and remarks, how about we all welcome the much needed improvements when parents volunteer their time to effect positive change?