The San Marcos Unified School District board tentatively passed a $227 million budget Tuesday, narrowly avoiding anticipated deficits for the 2018-19 school year.The school district, which serves about 20,000 students in North County, originally expected to run a deficit of more than $17 million for the coming school year. However, increases in state education funding helped stave off that shortfall. The district made spending cuts in recent months, and drew on other funds to close the remaining gap between revenue and expenses.The budget approved Tuesday projects that San Marcos schools will spend about $227.3 million in the 2018-19 school year, and bring in revenues of $220.5 million. The balance of about $6.8 million comes from district reserves, and from one-time state funds, said Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Mark Schiel. That will leave the district with a balanced budget, but with little left over.“We will have our required 3 percent minimum reserve, but there will be nothing above and beyond that” at the end of next school year, Schiel said.California state law requires districts to maintain reserves of at least 3 percent, Schiel said, but the average reserve for Unified School Districts is about 17 percent. If a school district falls too far below the requirements for maintaining balanced budgets and adequate reserves, the County Office of Education may step in to offer support, and intervene directly in spending decisions and labor agreements, according to the state Legislative Analyst’s Office.
During a wildfire simulation, students explored how drones could deliver hoses to crews
Last month North County firefighters gathered in San Marcos for a wildfire simulation, but this wasn’t your typical training.
The City of San Marcos rallied crews from several cities to help California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) students test a drone technology that could improve how wildfires are fought.
“Firefighters spend a lot of time and energy shuttling hoses from the engine to the actual wildfire,” explained Nick Blaylock, one of the students involved. “And they’re often doing this up steep slopes and across rough terrain, which is exhausting.”
Drones, however, could possibly help crews conserve some energy by air-dropping those hose- packs so firefighters don’t have to haul them. As part of a senior project, Blaylock and four other students spent months exploring that with Skylift Global, a San Marcos-based company that makes drones capable of delivering supplies to first-responders.
Though Skylift Global has been in business for three years, serving firefighters is new territory it wanted to explore–so the company submitted a proposal for the Senior Experience Program, which assigns CSUSM students to real-world projects like these.
The students began by researching what crews face during a wildfire. That led them to San Marcos Fire Battalion Chief James Colston, who oversees the department’s training and safety division.“We’re fortunate to have Cal State San Marcos right here in our backyard, so we were happy to help,” he said. “We invited them to observe our annual training, which I think opened their eyes.”
It did, in fact, says Blaylock. His team realized that a drone probably couldn’t help much during the early stages of a wildfire because the flames are too unpredictable. But it likely could help during the later stages, when a fire border has been established.
Based on that, the students designed a simulation that included fire hose packs every 100-feet, as if a drone had peppered them out for crews. Now, all they needed were firefighters to run the test.
“Thankfully, Chief Colston got an amazing turnout for us,” Blaylock said. “We were so thankful that so many firefighters were willing to come volunteer their time on a Sunday morning to help us.”
During the May 6 simulation, firefighters from the cities of San Marcos, Carlsbad, Escondido and Rancho Santa Fe—as well as the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)—participated. Results showed that if crews did not have to manually haul hose packs, they worked about 18 percent faster—and theoretically, would be less fatigued during a real wildfire.
“While time is a good measurement, fatigue is really the key factor,” explained Colston, who added that he can see the potential support drones could provide. “If something like this can increase efficiency while reducing the chance of firefighters getting hurt, then I’m all for it.”
That exact sentiment is what inspired Amir Emadi to start Skylift Global. His father was working as a United States cooperative in Iraq when he was killed by Iraqi forces while protecting a city.
“Since then, I’ve spent my life finding a way to introduce technology to the people who dedicate their lives to protect us,” Emadi said. “I formed Skylift to help our first-responders save time, money and lives by delivering their critical supplies with our heavy-lift drones.”
As a next step, Emadi will use the research conducted by the CSUSM students to develop a plan to bring the drones to market. There are still hurdles to navigate, as drones are legally not allowed to be in the air during a wildfire, but Emadi is optimistic he can keep the momentum going.
“It was refreshing to work with such a driven, intelligent and responsible team,” he said, adding that although the CSUSM students have now graduated, some have remained interns and he hopes to hire them. “I am so thankful that San Marcos is home to such bright young talent like this, as well as city leaders who value innovation and are open to collaboration.”
For more information about Skylift Global, visit https://www.skyliftglobal.com/
Dear San Marcos Staff and Community,
SMUSD Superintendent, Melissa Hunt, has announced her plan to retire, and it is with appreciation for her many years of service that the Governing Board accepts her resignation. Prior to being named Superintendent, Melissa has served as Principal of Woodland Park and San Marcos Middle Schools, as well as Director of Secondary Education. As a cherished employee of this district since 2001, Melissa has been admired by staff for her deep understanding of curriculum and instruction, and by students for her love and compassion. She has worked closely with students and teachers to improve achievement and inspire hope and confidence. During her tenure as Superintendent, Melissa started important and challenging conversations about the direction of San Marcos Unified, leaving the district better prepared for the future. The Board wishes Melissa the best, and hopes she succeeds in lowering her golf handicap alongside her husband, Burl.
In response to Melissa’s announcement, The Governing Board will be appointing Dr. John Roach as Interim Superintendent. Dr. Roach is the former Superintendent of Carlsbad Unified School District and will work closely with the Board throughout the transition. A comprehensive search for a new Superintendent, conducted by Dave Long and Associates, will convene following approval at the June 19th Board meeting. It is the Board’s intention to cast a wide net to find someone with the vision and leadership skills necessary to build on the successes that are the pride of San Marcos Unified School District. Your Board members will be actively engaged throughout the summer working with the search firm and will keep the community informed as the process unfolds. It is our hope to name a new Superintendent in the Fall of 2018.
On Behalf of the SMUSD Governing Board,
Stacy Carlson, Board President
Subject: The County of San Diego’s SD15 Property Specific Request (also known as Copper Hills in San Marcos) proposes up to 362 dwellings and 138,000of commercial space on San Elijo Road (next to old landfill) will be on the Planning Commission agenda for a Public Hearing. This is the last step before it heads to the Board of Supervisors for approval
When: This Friday, June 22 at 9am.
Important details: This is part of a larger County-initiated GPA called Property Specific Requests. There will be 43 PSRs presented to the Commissioners on Friday. Some will be quick and others will be more extensive. The Planning Commission requires that people fill out a speaker slip before 9am. SD15 will not be heard until later in the day, but you will still need to fill out a speaker slip (you can leave and come back later). Read the Notice of Public Hearing for more detail.
Location: County Planning Commission Conference Center, 5520 Overland Avenue, San Diego 92123
What will happen: The County Staff will present their findings and recommendation to the Planning Commission who will then vote to recommend for or against recommending approval. This is part of the County of San Diego’s process since the property is in the unincorporated County. It then goes the Board of Supervisors later this year.
Why should I attend? The County is specifically asking to hear from residents who might be affected by the project. Community input is important in projects like this, so the more attend the better. Public testimony can make a difference in approving or denying projects like this.
What if I can’t? Live bodies are always best and it is always important to do your civic duty to participate in the process even if it only once in a while… but, if you cannot attend, please make sure to email your comments to the County Planner, Kevin Johnston at the contact info below (and please cc the Town Council firstname.lastname@example.org).
San Elijo Hills Community Association Updates:
San Elijo Hills 80’s Summer Bash!
San Elijo Hills is bringing back the 80’s! Join us in your best (or ugliest) 80’s gear at our totally awesome 80’s Summer Bash on June 30th! The 80’s Summer Bash will be held June 30, 2018, at the lower softball field of San Elijo Hills Park from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Featuring the Wayward Sons! Wayward Sons is a nostalgia-fueled, power cord-packed rock show featuring the greatest songs of the ‘80s including hits from Journey, Queen, Bon Jovi, Styx, Foreigner, Guns n Roses, Van Halen & more. This LA-based band performs and headline at legendary Southern California rock venues. This tailor-made rock & roll performances are choreographed and arranged by seasoned musicians and singers who hit all the right notes, transporting audiences back to the arena-rock favorites that defined a generation. You will not only be entertained. You will dance and sing-along! Monster guitar riffs, face-melting solos, lighter-igniting ballads, heart-pounding rhythms, searing vocals, skin-clinging spandex, pure rock & roll euphoria resplendent with flowing locks of hair and genuine fake English accents.
If you are hungry during all that fun, fill up on BBQ chicken, BBQ pulled pork, hot dogs, baked beans, green salad, and fruit! This radical carnival will entertain our residents of all ages with carnival games, prize booth, obstacle course, bounce houses, slides, rock wall, and much more! This year we will have a dual mobile 180-foot zip line 28 feet up in the air! Exciting news for our residents 21 and over, a beer garden has been added this year! If you don’t drink beer, we will have several varieties of wines! You must bring a valid state-issued driver’s license or ID. Four drink tickets will be given per household. No outside alcohol will be permitted into the event. Please remember to bring proof of residency to gain entrance into the event (i.e.: driver’s license with on-site address, utility bill, HOA statement, etc.). Unfortunately, we will not be able to allow you to enter the event without verifying residency. No guests will be permitted. No pets will be permitted.
Don’t forget your 80’s costume! We will have a costume contest at 6:45 pm with a grand prize!
San Elijo Hills Foundation
The San Elijo Hills Foundation is looking to fill a Board positions! If you are looking for a great opportunity to get involved, this is the perfect way to start! The San Elijo Hills Foundation is a California public non-profit organization created to support and enhance projects that improve the quality of life within San Elijo Hills. The Foundation brings community resources together to address community needs and relies on the support of the community through the sale of merchandise, fundraising events, sponsorships, and donations. The Board meets quarterly, typically on Mondays evenings every few months, right here in San Elijo Hills. If you are interested, please contact the Foundation at email@example.com or visit the Foundation website at http://sanelijohillsfoundation.weebly.com/ or call 760-798-9015.
Reporting Irrigation Leaks
We need your help! The Board has worked diligently in implementing water-saving measures by monitoring and repairing irrigation systems and would appreciate the eyes and ears of the residents to assist in reporting broken sprinklers, unnecessary watering or any other potential issues. Let’s work together to reduce costs and conserve this precious resource! To report any leaks, please contact Walters Management at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-431-2522. To report any matters after hours, please call Walters Management at (858) 495-0900 and our on-call staff will address your emergency immediately.
Please…No Wood Burning!
We have received reports of various neighborhoods burning wood in the yard areas or the street. We please urge you to refrain from doing so. With the summer weather, it can be appealing to hang out with your neighbors and enjoy a fire, but the risks outweigh the rewards. Thank you for your understanding!
We have added San Elijo Life to Alexa, her Spanish pronunciation is not perfect but you will enjoy our weekly news and events updates in your Flash Briefing, Please add us to your Alexa.
“Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?” “Alexa, what’s in the news?” and she will share what is going on in San Elijo Hills.
**Since 2006 SanElijoLife.com provides community news, photos, videos, and a directory of resources for residents of San Elijo Hills. The site is independent of the developer and the HOA and is run by local homeowners.
$1200 FREE ADT SYSTEM, 3 MONTHS FREE MONITORING AND FREE MONITORED SMOKE DETECTOR – San Elijo Hills Offer from ADT Steve Levine
Contact me through Facebook or call me TODAY!
San Elijo Middle School 8th Grade Promotion
Call for details: 760.744.2422 (Land Line)
Nestled in Elfin Forest
We wanted to thank the community for all of your support! Also, a big shout out to our gold and silver sponsors Keller Williams Ray Bahadori Group, Everbowl, Baked Bear, and Players! The carnival was a huge success! We’re close to meeting our goal of $7500, and hope to continue raising funds for the next month before the Relay for Life! carnivalforcancer1.weebly.com
The Kascoutas family
Marcos, CA – The City of San Marcos is home to about 25,000 residents 50 years and older who are approaching retirement–or are in the thick of it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready to slow down.
In fact, the San Marcos Senior Activity Center is buzzing with action. It serves about 7,000 senior residents per month, largely thanks to the dozens of volunteers who help run it. They do things like work the front desk, help in the computer lab and lead activities.
“Our volunteers bring a variety of talents that improve our services, and their support allows us to offer them at lower cost. That’s especially helpful to seniors on a fixed income,” said Parks and Recreation Manager Brenda Sylvia, who oversees the Senior Activity Center. “Volunteers are absolutely critical to our mission.”
A collaboration with California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) will help the City attract more of those critical volunteers.
The City and CSUSM recently joined forces to launch Democracy in Action, a program that lets university students tackle city issues. Unlike an internship, students are not given direction—but instead, make research-based recommendations, more like a consultant.
In this case, a group of about 30 students developed strategies to entice more volunteers to the City’s Senior Activity Center. This included designing marketing materials, creating a formal orientation process and finding missed opportunities to recruit volunteers. City staff is now fine- tuning the student-proposed strategies and plans to start rolling it out within the next few months.
“As North County’s education hub, San Marcos is fortunate to have plenty of bright young minds that offer a fresh perspective—something we greatly value here at the City,” Sylvia said. “Well-run cities with engaged residents lead to vibrant, thriving communities. If we want that to continue in San Marcos, we need to connect with our next generation of leaders and Democracy in Action is helping us do that. ”
This gets at the heart of Democracy in Action. The program’s bigger aim is to show students how their classroom knowledge applies to the outside world.
Dr. Eliza Bigham, CSUSM Department of Human Development, oversaw the students who worked on this project and she’s confident they left feeling empowered.
“Working with city staff and meeting with elected officials required my students to try something new and go outside their comfort zone. But I can’t tell you how many of them thanked me for the opportunity to grow through this experience,” she said. “They discovered that their skill set is so completely beneficial to address real, current needs in their own community.”
And Economic Development Manager Tess Sangster, who helps oversee the program, points out that this project benefits the community at-large.
“By boosting volunteer support at the Senior Activity Center, these students are helping residents age in place so that they can continue enjoying a high quality of life in San Marcos,” she said. “That’s a legacy we want to continue offering for generations to come, and projects like these are one of the many ways we’re making sure we can.”
To learn more about the Democracy in Action program, visithttps://www.csusm.edu/community/civiclearning/democracyinaction.html.
For more information about the San Marcos Senior Activity Center, including information about volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.san-marcos.net/adults50+.