Saturday, November 04, 2006

Voters Should Have Been Told When $20,000 Went Missing from Castle Park Elementary PTA Accounts


Approximately $20,000 was discovered to be missing from PTA accounts at Castle Park Elementary at the end of the 2004-2005 school year. Since that time, Castle Park Elementary has been without a PTA. Voters in other parts of San Diego read in the newspaper about money missing from their schools. South County voters are kept in the dark.

In 2004, three local newspapers (The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Chula Vista Star-News, and La Prensa) wrote many stories about the transfer of five teachers out of Castle Park Elementary, but hid the fact that Robin Donlan, one of the teachers who was transferred, was being sued for criminal actions against another teacher at the school.

Chula Vista Elementary School District SPENT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS to defend Donlan and her close associates. Donlan’s close personal friend, Chula Vista Educators President Gina Boyd, was also named in the lawsuit.

Why did South County newspapers hide the real story? Why did they give Robin Donlan, Gina Boyd and their close associate, former Castle Park Elementary PTA President Felicia Starr, free rein to attack CVESD Superintendent Lowell Billings and Principal Ollie Matos, while refusing to print any of the many letters they received in Billings’ and Matos’ defense?

The reason is that hiding the truth from voters is more important to South County newspapers than telling readers the full story.

Now that Felicia Starr is running for school board in Chula Vista, voters need a follow-up to all the one-sided articles such as the Star-News' Sept. 10, 2004 story, "Castle Park Principal Continues to Draw Fire."

That story contained many harsh allegations by Felicia Starr, who was at that time the recent past President of the Castle Park Elementary PTA, and Kim Simmons, who was the current PTA President. Many people at Castle Park Elementary believed that Kim Simmons was chosen to replace Starr because she did whatever Starr told her to do.

Felicia Starr and Kim Simmons, as well as teacher union President Gina Boyd and teacher Robin Donlan, all seemed to be joined at the hip right up to the time that the Castle Park Elementary PTA self-destructed. The public has a right to know more about Starr, Simmons, Boyd, and Donlan, who were given a large amount of newspaper space to criticize Billings and Matos.

Matos was a dynamic and decent principal who tried to get parents involved in the school as the law requires. Starr and Simmons did not want, for various reasons, to allow some parents to run for office in the PTA. The Star-News did not give those who were attacked by Starr and Simmons a chance to respond.

It now appears that those parents who were kept out of the PTA hierarchy were lucky, since they are NOT the targets of Detective Wayne Wooten’s Chula Vista Police Department investigation into what appears to be a serious crime.

For more information about problems at Chula Vista Elementary School District and San Diego County Office of Education, see the SAN DIEGO EDUCATION REPORT at This site was created in an attempt to remedy the culture of secrecy that pervades Chula Vista Elementary School District and Castle Park Elementary.

Since I attended Castle Park Elementary as a child, and taught third grade there until 2001, I care about this school. Candidate Felicia Starr NEVER mentions Castle Park Elementary on her website. She is covering-up her past. Voters deserve to know the truth.