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Done deal undone Robert Moreno | Sat, Sep 07 2013 12:00 PM

The Sweetwater Union High School District withdrew its application for a conditional use permit Aug. 21 that would have housed Alliant International University at the National City Adult School, said district spokesman Manny Rubio.

A ruling by the National City Planning Commission to decide if it would have granted the district a conditional use permit was expected to be heard at the Sept.16 commission meeting.

However, Alliant President Geoffrey Cox said the college and the school district are “moving on” with plans of bringing the first four-year institution to the South Bay.

“We are talking with the Sweetwater district about other locations, and yes, we will plan to provide classes in the South Bay next semester,” Cox said. “I don’t know exactly where that will be yet.”

Rubio said the district withdrew the application because it would have been a disservice to students attending Alliant had they missed the start of the fall semester.

Allie Pruitt, who sits on National City’s Planning Commission, said it is common for applicants to withdraw an application with the commission for any reason.

Alliant’s undergraduate campus director Dr. Guadalupe Corona said one possible destination for the university is at Sweetwater High School.

“My understanding is to return to a South Bay location, our main location will be Sweetwater High School,” she said.

“But that’s still under discussion; we will be coming back for spring.”

Brad Raulston, National City’s executive director, said school districts have their own permitting authority. He also said there could be some other permitting issues should Alliant decide to reside at the high school.

“I imagine there’s got to be some problems with that,” he said.

Raulston said the private use of institutional zoned land is a problem that may occur with Alliant operating from Sweetwater High School. Raulston said having a for-profit university in a public school might cause  some issues.

Rubio said Alliant is a not-for-profit school, and that there shouldn’t be any permitting issues if Alliant was located on district property.

“As long as it’s for educational purposes, we can make changes to a property,” he said.

The Sweetwater district does not own the property where the adult school is; therefore, the district needed a conditional use permit for Alliant.

Rubio added that if Alliant lands on district property, then the district wouldn’t displace anyone on that property.

A partnership between the Sweetwater district and the private university dubbed Alliant at Sweetwater has been at the center of controversy ever since the district wanted to use the adult school as a satellite campus for Alliant.

The planning commission halted those plans when they discovered that the school district failed to obtain a conditional use permit for Alliant to use the facility.

Critics argued that the Sweetwater district – the largest secondary school district in California – should not spend taxpayer dollars on a private university.

Sweetwater board member Bertha Lopez is one of those critics. The two-term board member voiced her opposition to Alliant possibly residing at the adult school at an Aug. 19 planning commission meeting.

“We’re in the business of educating seven through 12 in adult, and that adult school was basically made for an adult school,” Lopez previously said.

Without any financial aid assistance, tuition to attend Alliant this fall semester as an undergraduate is $620 per unit.

That equals out to nearly $15,000 a year for a full-time student, according to Alliant’s website.

Corona said despite not having a campus in the region, recent graduates of the district are still enrolled at Alliant.

Alliant is sending its students from South County to Alliant’s main campus in Scripps Ranch.

Alliant has made every effort to ease the burden of transportation for its students, Corona said

“Transportation has not been a challenge at this point because we provide the free shuttle service for them,” Corona said.

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sosocal Says:

Mon, Sep 09 2013 04:28 PM

Really, it is a sad thing to realize the lack of backbone, the absence of integrity, the black hole where it comes to leadership in the Sweetwater District. We thought we elected men and women who would look out for the students, but we were so terribly wrong.

May their every failing be emblazoned forever in our memories and their memories, so they will never forget how they have gutted a school district and destroyed the futures of many students. May the full weight of what they have done register with their families, their closest friends. May their parents and children tell them of their shame, as they will not listen to us.


anniej Says:

Mon, Sep 09 2013 09:01 AM

Jerry Thomas: If I had the money I would print thousand of copies of your comment and personally walk door to door handing them out.

This community must do better in 2014, it is going to take all of us working together to educate the South Bay regarding the truth of what is/has happened to our district.

Alas, it looks as if McCann too has thrown in the towel.


anniej Says:

Mon, Sep 09 2013 08:55 AM

Jim Cartmill could and should put an end to the turmoil that has become Sweetwater.. I have found myself torn when it comes to Cartmill - and wrestle with why I am torn. Could it be that I am hesitant to admit that a man I voted for soooooo many times
has abandoned the very students he swore to protect? Could it be I am hesitant to share that I am disappointed in self that I continue to hold out hope that he will draw a line in the sand stand up and say NO MORE and once again become involved in the management of SUHSD.

One thing for sure, here I sit at the age of 63, a woman who friends refer to as Polyanna
(always looking for the good in people) second guessing if perhaps others are right I am naive and Jim Cartmill is a prime example of my naivete.


Jerry Thomas Says:

Sun, Sep 08 2013 09:08 PM

The most intensive investigation of corruption ever undertaken in the United States was carried out by the Knapp commission in the early 1970s. The commission was in response to the revelations supplied to the local press by two outraged policeman Frank Serpico and David Durk, who found a pervasive pattern of corruption. It was not a case of a few "rotten apples". The commission did distinguish between degrees of corruption. It classified the corruption into two groups: MEAT EATERS and GRASS EATERS. The meat eaters were the truly aggressive who sought to squeeze every possible advantage from their position. The grass eaters took a much milder approach, confining themselves to accepting gifts, discounts, meals, and other favors. The grass eaters were the real problems. Their minor corruptions created a tolerance that allowed the worst activities of the meat eaters to flourish. Anyone reading the grand jury reports or attending the board meetings can see that Sweetwater Union High School District board actions have exhibited a lack of ethical and responsible criteria and principles. This is harming and destroying the Sweetwater Union High School District programs and student access to education. All individual and community members are responsible for good government. If the government is reckless or corrupt, it is because people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption.


Fran Brinkman Says:

Sun, Sep 08 2013 05:29 PM

If Brand brings Alliant to Sweetwater High School,Alliant better be paying rent for the two classrooms that the district will be providing. This is a PrivateNon-profit 4 year university. I as a tax payer will not stand for a gift of public funds to be instituted by Brand. It's a shame that we are not educating our 7-12 graders as is seen by the release of the new API scores. Now we are starting a University???


sosocal Says:

Sun, Sep 08 2013 09:22 AM

So who will be moved out of Sweetwater High School so that Alliant can have the space?

Who is paying for the shuttles for these students to get to Scripps Ranch? What classes are these students paying high prices for? Can we show them that closer, better, less expensive options are available to them, and that they have been hoodwinked?

Can we please put an end to all the machinations of Ed Brand and his complicit majority board members, henchmen and mindless, opportunistic "friends"?


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