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Fact-Checking School Board Races

The campaign in Capistrano Unified is heating up. But no one seems to be talking about educational and financial issues.

With misleading website addresses and unreported campaign contributions, there seem to be more questions than answers associated with the race for school board in the Capistrano Unified School District.

Patch is here to help you figure out fact from fiction.

Who IS John Alpay?

There’s a website that asks that very question, www.whoisjohnalpay.com. Like the misleading domain names Patch has been reporting on this past week, the owner’s name is masked by a company called Domains by Proxy, which is owned by GoDaddy.com, which hosts the site.

Unlike the deceptive URLs, this site doesn’t redirect visitors elsewhere. With its somewhat grumpy-looking caricature, it probably doesn’t fool anyone into thinking it’s a fan site.

Alpay believes the domain name is "misleading."

So who’s behind it? Ken Starks, a San Clemente dad who said he was inspired to investigate Alpay’s record after Starks' two special-needs children’s academics declined when he moved here a year ago.

The site links its contentions about Alpay to minutes from school board meetings.

“It’s a good-faith effort,” he said. “The proof of an elected official is in their public record.”

Oh No, They’re Going to Close My High School!

Although no proposals exist to close any of CUSD's comprehensive high schools, advertisements for Alpay (Page 2), Carol McCormick and even a robo-call (see video) in Aliso Viejo say the current regime’s opponents intend to close fill-in-the-blank high school.

While the controversial charter school Oxford Preparatory Academy – a nonprofit unlike what’s said in the audio clip – is testing the waters to expand to a K-12 in Capo, there is no proposal before the district, Superintendent Joe Farley has said. And OPA Superintendent Sue Roche told Patch she will not ask for space at a CUSD high school.

"We have no intention of taking over a present high school. That's just a fabrication,” she said.

For the record, candidates Jim Reardon, Bill Perkin and Steve Lang all say they oppose closing any local high schools.

Don’t Use My Name, Part II

In a political brochure, Lang gave opponent Alpay all Fs in a report card for his tenure on the school board. One was for “Engaged in reckless deficit spending,” and cited the Orange County Department of Education.

The county education office's legal staff has sent a letter to Lang, asking that he not credit the county Department of Education because officials there actually commended CUSD on its most recent budget. (See the PDF accompanying this article.)

However, in the same letter that applauded the district for balancing the budget, the county noted that the district’s current budget includes $3.6 million in deficit spending. Last year’s budget included $9.6 million in deficit spending, according to the county.

Because the district cannot prove it will be solvent for the next three years, the county is monitoring CUSD’s finances and sent a liaison to board meetings all through the recent budgeting process.

Alpay’s Gonna Change it, Alpay’s Gonna Lead

Perhaps taking a cue of soliciting children from candidate Barack Obama's supporters, an Alpay campaign volunteer enlisted students from Shorecliffs Middle School to hold Alpay signs while parents picked up their kids in the parking lot off of Vista Hermosa on Monday, according to several parents.

The lot is not school property. 

Eric Bergstrom October 25, 2012 at 06:26 AM
The Debate will actually be at the community center in San Juan Capistrano. Located at 25925 Camino Del Avion. 6:00 pm is correct. We have 5 candidates who have confirmed that they will attend. I have name placards prepared for the 4 other candidates whose attendance is in question. One would think that they would want to be there to set the record straight in light of the recent news stories.
PDub October 25, 2012 at 07:01 AM
You'd think...apparently trying to collect more funds by charging their voters $20 for a margarita and a taquito, rather than save face, and address the real voters is more important. I would love to see who actually attends that event. Its too bad when its the kids, who love their teachers and the parents that love those teachers are forced to choose between corruption that represents the teachers and advocates for the children first....its not right...vote the union out...
Capo Parent October 25, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I've heard that at the Children First meet and greet Alpay & Korpi will be giving a presentation, "How to use Cyberfraud to Deceive Voters and Win Elections." Given their first hand experience using cyberfraud, it should be a fascinating presentation.
Capo Parent October 25, 2012 at 02:34 PM
I wouldn't hold my breath on any of them appearing. Given what Alpay & Korpi have done to date, I find it hard to believe Alpay would let himself get publicly grilled. The same is true for the other CF candidates who have created the closing high school rumors and who have run on protecting various high schools from closing. Questioning these candidates would be like shooting fish in a barrel. Since the other candidates are basically running as a CF slate, they will have to deal with the Alpay and Korpi controversies, whether or not Alpay is MIA.
PDub October 25, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Exactly CP....Im sure this meet n greet was scheduled very recently.... maybe move the debate to Ricardo's?

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