Tag Archives: San Marcos Unified School District

A Message from the District Regarding Lead Testing

A message from SAN MARCOS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Good afternoon San Marcos Families,

As you may have seen in the media, there was a drinking fountain that was recently removed from San Marcos Middle School after it was discovered to have a higher level of lead than is considered safe.

It is critical to San Marcos Unified to ensure that the water used by our students, staff, and community is safe.  In addition to having the water tested at all of our school locations, we also wanted to provide information to our community regarding the steps leading up to this action.

What resulted in San Marcos Unified School District conducting tests at three District schools?

Following the event in Flint (Michigan), The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) amended the permit for all public water system in California in order to mandate free lead testing in schools, if requested by the school district.

While not required, Vallecitos Water District notified the District of this new mandate from the SWRCB.  The mandate became effective in January 2017.

Why did the District choose to test Alvin Dunn Elementary, Richland Elementary, and San Marcos Middle School?

In 1986, the use of lead solder was banned from use in joining copper pipes.  These three schools were originally constructed prior to 1986.  All other schools in the District were constructed or renovated after 1986.

What are the measurement standards?

The current standards followed by the Vallecitos Water District were developed and implemented by the United States EPA in 1991.  The standards state that the Action Level (AL) for lead is 15 ug/L.  This is defined to mean “micrograms per liter” or “parts per billion”.

The Department of Drinking Water regulations state that any results at 15 ug/L or less are considered safe.

What were the results of the tests conducted?

At Alvin Dunn Elementary, five samples were collected.  All results were below the 15 ug/L Action Level.

At Richland Elementary, five samples were collected.  All results were below the 15 ug/L Action Level.

At San Marcos Middle School, five samples were collected.  Four results were below the 15 ug/L Action while one sample was above.

What does this mean and what did the District do?

It is important to note that the water received from Vallecitos Water District meets current standards and regulations.

In this instance, the sample from a fixture (drinking fountain) at San Marcos Middle School had a higher level greater than 15 ug/L.  When the District was notified of the results, the fixture was removed from service.

The District is also making arrangements to have additional tests conducted at other locations at San Marcos Middle School.

Have there been any illnesses reported due to this drinking fountain?

No.  There have not been any reports of illness that are due to or can be traced back to this drinking fountain.

What can I do if I’m worried about my child having lead poisoning?

You can contact the California Department of Public Health – Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 619-692-8487. The best recommendation we can offer is to take your child to their general physician for blood tests.

San Elijo Life Interview with Matt Stack Candidate for San Marcos City Council

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Here is an interview with Matt Stack who is running for San Marcos City Council. San Elijo Life has invited all candidates for Council the answer the same set of email questions

Why should the residents in San Elijo Hills vote for you?

For starters, I lived in San Elijo in 2010 right before my wife and I were married so I know what a peaceful, beautiful community it is.  I believe the residents of San Elijo Hills want a Council Member who’s passionate about their home and their role as a servant to the public.  And that’s what they will get.

Please describe your stance on future development in San Marcos? 

This is one of, if not the most important issues I hear from voters.  Almost every home I’ve knocked on and talked with about our community, the #1 concern they have is the growth and development.  They’re worried about the traffic and the continued growth.  By no means am I anti-growth, but my stance on future development is that it has to be in line with what the residents of San Marcos want.  I believe there is healthy growth (which is paramount), but there is also growth that leads to challenges later down the road.  We shouldn’t have schools that are overcrowded along with our streets.  A couple weeks ago when a consulting firm recommended that we change the current Creekside District project I felt that was a step in the right direction.  Every person wants to live in a peaceful, thriving community.  But we want to make sure that our community can handle the growth that we’re projecting and planning.

How can you help solve school crowding issues in San Elijo Hills?

We’re already seeing it with our schools at capacity.  You know, a resident of San Marcos put it best the other day in her letter to the Editor and to summarize it, we have so much growth of housing and businesses but the schools can’t catch up (with funding and time).  We have a funnel of elementary schools moving into a lesser amount of middle schools and they are moving into an even lesser amount of high schools.  The real solution is to provide the matching amount of educational facilities to coincide with the growth of housing.  It’s not the prettiest answer, but it’s the truth.  If we’re seeing schools at capacity and more housing planned, then we need to re-address the projects to make certain that we can provide, but also provide with excellence.  We have a solid Planning Commission and School District and need to work with developers to certify that the needs are met.  In addition, we have to work with our outer lying cities that overlap within our district to plan in conjunction with them.

How can the council help address commuter traffic and school traffic in San Elijo Hills?

We also have a great City Manager and I know that he is currently in planning with our Sheriff’s Captain to come up with a solution to the commuter traffic.  A big concern is Double Peak with children crossing and I’m confident they’ll have a solution expedited for approval.

How can the city of San Marcos work with San Elijo Hills Development to complete the San Elijo Hills Town Center?

I believe in holding agreements accountable.  The way to completing the Town Center is ensuring both sides (the city and developers) are meeting deadlines, staying within budget and that the developers are paid when they’re supposed to be paid.  We have to hold everyone accountable.

What are your goals to improve the quality of life in San Marcos, such as events, parks, and trails?

I always want to improve the quality of life in San Marcos with events, parks and trails.  But I like to think of myself as an advocate for the residents in regards to what they want rather than my own agenda.  A healthy tree doesn’t struggle to produce fruit.  It just does.  I mean to keep our city’s growth healthy by having the residents know that they can trust their voice with me.  If they want a park, or an event or a trail (or don’t), then as their representative I will figure out a way to do what’s best for the community and make it happen.

If elected what are the top 3 issues you would focus on for San Marcos?

Safety is always the most important and ensuring our Police and Fire Department have the resources they need.  I have my wife Jen and our 9 month old son Callan and their safety along with the safety of every resident in San Marcos I take personally.  When I see break-ins and lawlessness, I guess the Marine in me comes out and I just want to do whatever’s necessary to have peace in our community.  The next issue would be managing our growth and development to ensure healthy growth and limit overcrowding and traffic.  It’s the #1 issue I hear people talk about.  The third would be fiscal responsibility and excellence with our budget.  San Marcos has an excellent budget and we want to advocate for long term health.  I don’t want to affect just what will happen in my term.  I want the next 20-30 years of our residents set up for success.

How will you clean up the campaign signs after election?

I’ll personally do it along with my team the 2 days following the election.  If for some reason we’ve missed any, they can send us a message on www.mattstack.org or send an email to stackforcitycouncil@gmail.com and we’ll get on it immediately.  It’s my home and I want it to stay beautiful too.  I’m passionate about this city so please let us know if we’ve missed any.
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Editors Note:

We have invited all 2016 City of San Marcos City Council Candidates to answer the same questions. 

San Elijo Life Interview with Rebecca Jones Candidate for San Marcos City Council

Rebecca Jones

Here is an interview with incumbent Rebecca Jones who is running for San Marcos City Council. San Elijo Life has invited all candidates for Council the answer the same set of email questions.

Why should the residents in San Elijo Hills vote for you?
As the current Vice Mayor I’ve been honored to serve the citizens of San Marcos for 9 years, and I am proud of what I have accomplished during that time. While serving I have helped keep our budget balanced, kept our public safety at the highest level, and added 6 new parks (with an additional one under construction). I have also championed legislation to keep dangerous designer drugs away from our children and a tobacco license ordinance that will regulate businesses that sell tobacco products so they are not selling these products to our kids. I have been endorsed by both the San Marcos Firefighters Association and the San Diego Deputy Sheriff Association and was recently recognized by the Red Ribbon Commission at their annual luncheon receiving the Excellence in Prevention Advocacy Award.

Please describe your stance on future development in San Marcos
I support measured development and feel strongly about rights we all enjoy as property owners. In every decision I balance property rights and the overall good of the city. I take this job very seriously and believe that all infrastructure, needed to support that project, must be completed prior to development and that any development must be an asset to our community. I will continue to work with staff on keeping our traffic moving and will continue to invest in traffic enhancements and other important infrastructure.

How can you help solve school crowding issues in San Elijo Hills?
The role of the City Council is limited in this regard since we don’t build the schools or create the long term master plan. When a developer brings a project before us, to render a decision, the school district has already committed to whether they will be able to accommodate the projected increase in student population. That being said, I support continuing joint SMUSD and City Council public meetings that will continue to promote our working closely with each other as well as city staff meeting regularly with SMUSD staff so that we are always on the same page and have the same goals, educating our children in a city that we are all proud to call home.

How can the council help address commuter traffic and school traffic in San Elijo Hills?
I have personally requested directed enforcement by our Sheriff Department and will continue to make sure that traffic speeds are adhered to in San Elijo Hills. The speeding I have witnessed, in SEH and other parts of the city, greatly concerns me. Each of us has a personal responsibility to drive safely, protecting pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers. I like the idea that San Elijo residents have implemented “PACE PLEDGE” where residents commit to drive the speed limit and reminding others with “PACE” stickers on their vehicles. I’m committed to continue working with staff and the community to explore traffic calming measures that will keep our pedestrians safe and slow cars down. There has been no solution yet to stop folks from passing through to get to the 78 freeway, but I am open to exploring ways to stop people from using San Elijo Road as a quick cut though, but acknowledge some commuter traffic will always have to be addressed.

How can the city of San Marcos work with San Elijo Hills Development to complete the San Elijo Hills Town Center?
The entire council has been committed to making the Town Center become a reality and we finally have a schedule in place and the plans have been submitted to the City for approval. I know this has been such a frustrating journey and I am grateful that the developer was intentional in coming up with a plan that will be an asset to our community and a place that we are able to enjoy; so much detail has gone into this plan. If all the dates are met for the mutually agreed upon schedule, we should have grading started by late January and it should take around 12-18 month to build. This would be barring any inclement weather conditions but I am confident the community will be happy with the end result.

What are your goals to improve the quality of life in San Marcos, such as events, parks, and trails?
As I previously mentioned, since I have joined the council we have built 6 parks with another under construction as well as adding miles of trails. I requested we join the County of San Diego to become a “Live Well” city because I know how important health, having a safe place to live, and recreational opportunities available to our residents and visitors alike are to our quality of life. We are not called “San Parkos” by accident; it has been through intentional prioritizing through our planning efforts in considering how we add these vital parks and trails to our community. We kicked off our first Double Peak Challenge this year as a huge success that showcased our amazing open space, trails and parks. I’m committed to bringing other events to San Marcos to offer opportunities for us to stay in our community to enjoy local amenities without braving freeways and long commutes.

If elected what are the top 3 issues you would focus on for San Marcos?
I will continue my efforts in keeping San Marcos fiscally sound and business friendly. This includes making it easier to open businesses in the city as well as expanding in our city; this is how we are able to help maintain and create jobs.

Public Safety will always be a top priority which is why I strongly support our fire personnel having the best training and equipment, so we are ready for all emergency situations. Replacing aging and outdated equipment is one of the ways we provide our first responders the tools they need to do their job to the best of their ability; that is why I recently voted to purchase two new fire vehicles and to update our regional communication infrastructure and equipment. These are just a few of the examples of my commitment to investment into public safety. Our quality of life is extremely important to all residents in our city; which is one of the reasons I feel that my being easy to reach is so important. Feedback from residents that I don’t see on a regular basis helps me serve our San Marcos better. Parks, critical infrastructure, a safe community, and thoughtful planning will continue to make San Marcos a place we all feel blessed to come home to.

How will you clean up the campaign signs after election?
As always, I will make sure volunteers that have offered to take down my signs or signs that have my name on them will be removed within a few days after the election. I also commit, as I have in the past, to personally take down any signs that may have been overlooked. I believe that leaders should lead by example so keeping the signage neat and tidy is important to me; and as important as that is, it is just as important to remove them in a timely manner.
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Editors Note:

We have invited all 2016 City of San Marcos City Council Candidates to answer the same questions. 

San Elijo Life Interview with Sharon Jenkins Candidate for San Marcos City Council

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Here is an interview with incumbent Sharon Jenkins who is running for San Marcos City Council. San Elijo Life has invited all candidates for Council the answer the same set of email questions.

Why should the residents in San Elijo Hills vote for you?

I believe residents would vote for me for several reasons. I have been an elected leader in the community over the past 18 years – the last 4 as the newest Councilmember and the 14 years prior as a Governing Board Member of San Marcos Unified School District. Prior to this time and during this entire time I’ve been involved with giving back to the residents of San Marcos by volunteering in or leading within various non-profit and community groups (these are listed on my campaign website – www.sharonjenkinsforcouncil2016.com). You can also see on my website that I have a broad base of supporters from throughout the San Marcos community. Those who work with me know that my goal, whether it’s a city, school board or volunteer decision, is to thoroughly evaluate the situation and make an informed decision.

Please describe your stance on future development in San Marcos?

In my mind, future development includes residential, commercial and industrial. We need to work with the property owners to balance the remaining developable properties with the needs of our community. In 2012, after several years community meetings (30+) the City Council approved an update to the General Plan. These open meetings were held at multiple locations throughout the city. Attendance ranged from 20 – 100+. The General Plan advisory commission itself had 30+ members representing various aspects of the city. This is the foundation from which most development starts. I am not a proponent of future development growth just for the sake of growth. I am a proponent of smart growth that balances the needs of the community, respects a property owner’s rights and provides a benefit to the existing community.

How can you help solve school crowding issues in San Elijo Hills?

I can attest to the fact that the city and school district have a long history of working together to help each other for the betterment of the community. It’s my understanding that the district is in the process of updating their facility needs.  The school district is a critical component of the success of our community. While the district will be the one deciding what to do I’m sure the City will do what we can to support their efforts. I think the city can help them out by helping to identify future properties that might fit within their needs and ensuring as new development is being planned that the developer and school district are communicating.

How can the council help address commuter traffic and school traffic in San Elijo Hills?

There has been much discussion of this topic lately. As a council we have already asked the City Manager to work closely with the local Sheriff’s Captain to continually look at ways to address both issues. In addition, we can continually evaluate our resources to see if we need more or can rebalance what we have, but we have to be mindful that when staffs do this they have to look at the overall needs of the community as well as associated costs to any changes. We can also encourage continued collaboration between the city, sheriffs and school district to review and refine, if needed, the traffic plan that was designed as part of constructing the school.

How can the city of San Marcos work with San Elijo Hills Development to complete the San Elijo Hills Town Center?

This plan was submitted to the city the end of September. The developer and our staff have kept the council informed throughout the process and staff will be working closely with them to move the project thru as quickly as it can. If the process goes as planned we can expect to see grading, if weather allows, by the end of January followed by 12 – 18 months of construction. As a Council, we can continue to monitor its progress.

What are your goals to improve the quality of life in San Marcos, such as events, parks, and trails?

Events are planned through our Community Services Department. They continually evaluate what events are needed as well as the success of current events. When challenged a while back to come up with a signature event I feel they hit a homerun with the recent “Double Peak Challenge” coordinated along with the Friends of San Marcos Parks and Recreation and The San Marcos Promise.

Parks – San Marcos is known for its parks. Funds for new parks come from either grants or fees paid by developers. New park land mostly comes to us through agreements with new development. With the help of Community Services we should try to ensure they are building what is needed and/or providing us with sufficient land to build in the future. In addition, we should continue to work closely with the school district to allow joint use of our sites for field use.

Trails – as part of new development they are required to provide trails and connect, if possible, to our existing 63+ miles of current trails. Again, we can also keep watch for grants.

I think there are other qualities of life aspects in San Marcos we need to focus on. Public safety is a top priority. The Council works closely with the fire department to make sure they have what’s needed to serve our community. I think we can all be proud of the heroic efforts of our firefighters and Sheriff deputies during the 2014 Coco fire. This was a prime example of public safety at its best serving and protecting our community. We are currently in the process of purchasing a new truck and engine to the fleet, which will be about a $2M cost. The department recently added an ambulance company due to the increased medical calls. We are participating in the County upgrade to the emergency response system, which will also cost millions of dollars. In addition, we receive reports on a regular basis from the Sheriff’s Department of areas where they’ve had success as well as discussions of areas of concern they want to focus efforts. Thanks to our local Sheriffs it was recently reported that overall crime was down 22% in San Marcos.

Another aspect of quality of life in San Marcos is the education hub we have been recognized for in San Diego County. As I mentioned in another post, the foundation of this is our very own San Marcos Unified School District. We are very proud of their accomplishments and I feel working closely together with them can only benefit the community.

Lastly, bringing jobs to our community is another important facet to our quality of life. If residents can find jobs within the community they live in then they will spend less time away from their family due to the need to commute. I think it’s essential that we continually look at how we can support current businesses and constantly look at what new businesses we can bring to San Marcos. Recent new job opportunities in San Marcos include: DMV, Hobby Lobby, Winco Foods, the continued expansion of SMUSD, Palomar College and CSUSM as well as the upcoming PIMA Medical Institute, Fairfield Inn and the continued development at the North City community across from CSUSM.

If elected what are the top 3 issues you would focus on in San Marcos?

San Marcos is known to be a well run city. So, I would have to say my number one issue is not to upset what’s known to work well – focus on public safety, quality of life, traffic management, be cautious with future development.

As a Councilmember we have to focus on everything so to come up with only three is difficult.

I think as we move into four voting districts plus a Mayor being elected by the entire population, instead of being able to vote for all five, could become a concern for San Marcos. I believe it is our responsibility to keep the focus on what’s best for the entire San Marcos community and not just our particular district. Though we all come with our intentions as to why we want to be elected to the City Council, as a current Councilmember I feel it will be partly my responsibility to encourage newly district elected Councilmembers to focus on the greater good of the entire community and not just what’s best for his/her own district.

Another focus would be to ensure we maintain, and even improve where possible, the financial stability of the City. We are constantly striving to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer funds and find ways we can better improve how we do business in order to save money. Our entrepreneurial approach to government helps to solidify our financial stability. Current examples include: our decision to build and lease to the DMV at market rate rents, buy the former Lowe’s building so we could receive greater rents from Hobby Lobby and Winco Foods, continually seeking new businesses that will provide sales tax revenue.

The most frustration I hear about from residents is the traffic within the community. I think we need to constantly look at ways to improve traffic management, especially at our peak times of day. Though it hasn’t proven successful in the past, I think we need to continually try to work with Caltrans for better coordination of the their ramp traffic signals on our streets. I think we also need to collaborate with the Sheriff’s Department to ensure resource levels are where they should be.

How will you clean up the campaign signs after election?

It is my responsibility to make sure they are removed as quickly as possible. If possible, I will start the night of the election or at the very latest early the next morning. Please email, or call me, if you find a straggler I missed.

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Editors Note:

We have invited all 2016 City of San Marcos City Council Candidates to answer the same questions.

 

Dear San Marcos Candidates

Letter to the editor-

Dear San Marcos Candidates,

As a mother of three children, all attending the three most impacted schools in the San Marcos Unified School District, I would like to ask how you would help alleviate the impacted schools and align the city’s growth plan with the school districts size. I was a parent representative on the 2013 attendance boundary committee for San Elijo Elementary.  As a member of the committee, I saw the need of alleviating the impacted schools of Discovery, San Elijo Elementary, and San Elijo Middle was critical.  The boundaries were realigned in an attempt to best address the impacted schools and a recommendation was made in favor of creating a K-8 school. This recommendation did not address the even larger concern, where do all of the elementary and middle school students attend for high school if those multiple schools are at capacity? How do you feed twelve elementary schools with average student populations of 1,000 into four middle schools, and ultimately  into two high school? What happens when more development occurs? I posed the question then to the committee of what  was the capacity of both Mission Hills High School and San Marcos High school.  I was told 2800 and 3200 respectively after additional buildings and portables added.  Surely, creating one K-8 school does not fully address the underlying problem of rapid city development and growth resulting in a larger student population impacting all  school grades. My children attend San Elijo Elementary,  San Elijo Middle,  and San Marcos High each school has the largest student population of their respective grade level school populations. San Elijo Elementary has 1,100 students in attendance,  granted this has decreased significantly by the opening of Double Peak for the 2016-2017 school year. San Elijo Middle has a student population of over 1,900 and is the largest middle school  in the district, whose attendance area includes Carlsbad and San Marcos. San Marcos High school has a student population of 3,200 which is at capacity according to the 2012-2013 attendance boundary committee projection. What happens with the influx of future students that will come with the completed development of the former quarry area, the college, and creek side development.  Where will those students from elementary through high school attend? The San Marcos Unified School district does NOT own any land for future school development. This  was an  issue in the acquiring land and developing Double Peak K -8. San Marcos High school is at its projected capacity and Mission Hills has a student population of 2600 of the 2800 capacity. In addition to the development in San Elijo Hills/Discovery/CSUSM area there has been the addition of multi unit family homes along Norhdal, Mission Rd, and Twin Oaks north of the 78. Those areas are just in City of San Marcos. The San Marcos Unified School District is comprised of  portions of Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, Vista, and Unicorporated County areas. That means five seperate areas within the district  have their own city growth design, development, and approval process. I understand all those cities and unicorporated  areas within the district boundary pay taxes to the school district. How do you align reasonable and responsible school growth size when another city or San Marcos itself approves 20, 100, 400 homes for development?

What will your role be in creating a responsible balance between city growth and development as well as maintain an excellent school district and not create overcrowed underfunded schools?

Sincerely,
Alexis Barbuto
Voter and Mother of 3 students in San Marcos Unified School District

*** Editors Note-We welcome letters to the editor and political statements from San Marcos Candidates -San Elijo Life

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Dear Candidates,

I am responding to your inquiry with regards to the  piece I wrote and was posted on San Elijo Life Facebook. As stated within my letter, I am interested in how you will be able to align the City Council and the School District to provide balanced development and adequate schools for the growing student population in San Marcos. This seems to be a difficult task when all of the North County School Districts are comprised of multiple cities and unincorporated areas that are not solely within the city itself as implied by the name of the school district. Another example beyond San Marcos Unified’s composition, residents in Carlsbad  could live in an area in that city where their children attend either Encinitas Union/San Dieguito Unified for middle and high school, Carlsbad Unified or Oceanside Unified. How will north county cities which are all under rapid development create smart growth to support their school districts, when the school districts themselves were drawn including multiple cities? How can one city tell another to stop developing homes because it will affect another’s school district? Can San Marcos City Council really demand Carlsbad or Escondido to not approve more housing developments because the San Marcos Unified School District does not have land to build another school or currently the schools are overcrowded? The problem is multifaceted the school district boundaries drawn years ago, included multiple municipalities under one educational district roof.

Cities, NOT school districts approve and design development plans.

In addition to the fact the district itself does not own real estate for future development. The city approves plans without looking into whether or not the school district can support more students in certain areas.  Where would a new middle school or high school be developed in the high population density and development areas that drastically need another campus to alleviate the problem? Those areas don’t have land to purchase and build another school or are slated for more homes and businesses. The district is then forced to find a parcel to purchase large enough to sustain a school and traffic needs, but must maintain that school.  Will the San Marcos City Council rezone areas or transfer city owned land to the school district to accommodate land acquisition? What happens when a campus needs to be built within another city in the district to meet the demands of a growing student population such as Escondido or Carlsbad? How will the San Marcos Unified School District be able to support not only purchasing land, developing a school, and maintaining another school both infrastructure costs and administration when the San Marcos City council or any other municipality in the district approves more home development? This isn’t just a build more schools to match the development problem. How can a district support these schools caused by the excessive development

approved solely by the cities that reside in the district? Where will the San Marcos Unified School District obtain revenue to support the educational demands due to the increased student population? Do we just pay more taxes to stop gap the imbalance and shortsighted rapid development without looking into sustainable growth and support for our district? This is obviously a big picture problem that affects the overall quality of life in San Marcos and needs to be addressed.

What will your role be to align two very separate structured government entities for smart growth and educational excellence? Where will the balance be sustained so that development approval supports the schools to enhance the city? What rules and regulations will you seek to reform to support this vision?

Sincerely,
Alexis Barbuto
Voter and Mother of 3 students in the San Marcos Unified School District

More than 600 runners participated in inaugural Double Peak Challenge

More than 600 runners participated in inaugural Double Peak Challenge

Runner
 at the top of the peak

With nearly 1,500 people attending, the inaugural Double Peak Challenge sponsored by the City of San Marcos lived up to its name Saturday, with the 10K trail run presenting hundreds of runners with a daunting uphill course and an exhilarating ridgetop view of the city.

More than 600 runners participated in the two morning runs, a timed 10K (6.2 miles) event that started at 7:30 am in San Elijo Hills Park that wound upward more than 2,000 feet to the Double Peak summit and returned, and a more casual untimed 2K event.

Proceeds from the race, the first ever for the city, will be invested in the community’s parks and higher education for local students through The Friends of San Marcos Park and Recreation and San Marcos Promise.

It was a winning day for the San Marcos community of San Elijo Hills, with both the women’s and men’s first place finishers coming from homes near the starting line.

The gold medal runner in the women’s category, Caitlin Cornell, is only 14 and runs cross-country at San Marcos High School. Her twin brother, Sean Cornell, also a cross runner finished sixth in the men’s competition.

“The first half was terrible,” said Caitlin, echoing comments made by many runners.

Even John Hatala, a 47-year-old retired Marine and experienced endurance runner who finished first in the men’s category, said the ridgeline trail where he often trains was “very challenging.”

With the challenge came the reward of a medal depicting the distinctive double peaks at the top of San Elijo Road and the promise of doing it again next year.

“People told me it was the hardest 10K they had ever run,” said Buck Martin, Community Services Director for the City of San Marcos and a board member of The Friends of san Marcos Parks and Recreation. “But when I asked them if they would come back, they said, ‘heck ya.’”

“You forget about the pain,” said runner Gerardo Alvarez of Escondido, 24, who finished second, “and think about the view” with its 360-degree panorama of north San Diego County.

The event combined an endurance test with a family gathering and featured strollers crossing the finish line in the 2K run and dozens of kids sprinting across the park’s baseball field in a short trail trot to the finish line.

The San Marcos Promise provides scholarships and higher-education guidance to students in the San Marcos Unified School District. The Friends of San Marcos Park and Recreation contributes to events, programs and facilities.

Other event sponsors included San Elijo Hills, Lusardi Construction Company, Rancho Tesoro, Stone Brewing Company, and Lounsbery, Ferguson, Altona and Peak, LLP.

Race results are available at www.gemininext.com.

Palomar Promise Program Guarantees Free Tuition to San Marcos Unified School District Graduates

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Officials from Palomar College and San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) are shown celebrating the establishment of The Palomar Promise, which will provide eligible SMSUSD graduates with free tuition while attending Palomar College. From left are (standing) Palomar College Foundation Executive Director Richard Talmo, Herbie Smith, Executive Director, San Marcos Promise, (sitting) Palomar College Interim Superintendent/President Adrian Gonzales and SMUSD Superintendent Dr. Kevin Holt. (photo by Kurt Lightfoot)

Palomar Promise Program Guarantees Free Tuition to San Marcos Unified School District Graduates

The Palomar Community College District Governing Board has approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Palomar College, The Palomar College Foundation, San Marcos Unified School District and The San Marcos Promise to create The Palomar Promise, designed to provide all eligible SMUSD graduating high school students with free tuition for up to two years while pursuing an associate’s degree, transfer requirements, and/or a certificate program.

Starting in the fall of 2017, upon successful completion of Palomar Promise eligibility requirements, students will receive tuition assistance up to $600/semester or $1,200/year for up to two consecutive years from The San Marcos Promise and Palomar College Foundation. This unique opportunity will allow students to attend college, tuition-free, full-time.

“Palomar College has been serving this region for over 70 years and our partnering with San Marcos Unified to provide a free community college education to eligible students sends a strong message to local families that we are united in supporting our community,” said Adrian Gonzales, Palomar College Interim Superintendent/President. “We could not be happier to be in a position to offer the financial support that will make a difference for many students and their families.”

Dr. Kevin Holt, San Marcos Unified School District Superintendent said “San Marcos Unified, in partnership with The San Marcos Promise, is proud to announce its ‘promise’ with Palomar Community College.  This is a historic partnership, considering SMUSD will be the first district in North County to establish admission to Palomar College with a guaranteed scholarship provided by The San Marcos Promise and the Palomar College Foundation.  We are so grateful to Palomar College for providing this opportunity for SMUSD graduates.”

The program eligibility requirements include that students graduate from SMUSD with a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA and place into transferable Math, English and Reading, as indicated by Palomar placement test results.  In addition, students will be required to complete the Federal Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA) by the federal deadlines for each school year.  Students will be required to complete the Palomar College Foundation Scholarship Application prior to the deadline each year, to maintain eligibility.

“The Palomar Promise is the right thing to do.  It’s right for our kids, for business, and for our community.  Having affordable pathways to college and career in the comfort of your city makes San Marcos a special place to live,” said Herbie Smith, Executive Director of The San Marcos Promise Foundation.

Palomar College Foundation Executive Director Richard Talmo said, “We are excited to work with San Marcos Unified as our first Palomar Promise partner. It is fitting that we begin the first of many Promises for Palomar collaborating with a K-12 district here in San Marcos where our main campus is located.”

The Palomar College Foundation will continue to establish community partnerships and to solicit financial assistance from businesses and individuals to ensure that the Palomar Promise continues to grow throughout the District.  The Palomar College Foundation provides financial support to Palomar College matriculating students and the San Marcos Promise prepares students for an experience in higher education.  Both the Palomar College Foundation and The San Marcos Promise are ideal organizations to maintain responsibility for an agreement to provide financial support for SMUSD college-bound students.

A message from SAN MARCOS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

smusd
A message from SAN MARCOS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Dear San Marcos Families,

Given the situation in the Los Angeles Unified School District, I wanted to reassure all of our families that the San Marcos Unified School District is not aware of any threat to the schools in our district.

We are in constant communication with the San Diego County Sherriff’s Department – they have added additional patrols today as an added precaution. Additionally, all of our employees received a copy of the district’s protocol and procedures regarding bomb threats.

As always, safety is our highest priority, and we will do our upmost to ensure a safe environment for each of the students in our district.

Regards,

Kevin Holt, Ed.D
Superintendent
San Marcos Unified School District

Water Well being drilled on San Elijo Middle School Field

San Elijo Elementary also has a well on site that was drilled in the summer of 2014. The Wells are used for landscaping irrigation.

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