We sent San Marcos School Board incumbent David Horacek few SEH relevant interview questions. David was elected to the board four years ago, and is seeking re-election on November 4th.
What suggestions do you have about school drop off traffic and it’s impact on some neighborhoods in San Elijo Hills?
The increased traffic this year is definitely noticeable and I’m sure a source of frustration for most involved. I know that both principles and staff have put a great deal of time and thought into mitigating the effects of the traffic. They have coordinated the schedules of both schools to avoid drop off and pick up at the same times and have created detailed plans to keep our children safe and the flow of traffic moving. I live near both San Elijo Hills Schools and our family has been affected by this issue as well. Last year we drove everyday to pick up and drop off and now this year we coordinate with other parents in the neighborhood and take turns walking groups of kids to school and picking them up (“the walking School bus”). For those that drive, when possible carpooling is another option to reduce the number of cars on the road. If parents do drive it’s very important that they follow the rules that have been established by each school to keep the flow of traffic moving. For instance there is a drop off lane at San Elijo Hills Elementary that is meant only to drop the children off and then drive away. One of the problems I have observed is parents getting in the drop off lane and then getting out of the car and walking their child to the classroom. The problem with this is that it congests the drop off lane and stops the flow of traffic. These rules are there to keep the flow of traffic moving and our kids safe.
Did you vote to cut bussing?
No I did not. When the SMUSD board was presented with the option of cutting bussing I was the only board member that voted no.
How can San Elijo Hills schools plan for the 300-400 more homes to be eventually built?
Projections done by the district show that the two schools will be large, but each will be able to accommodate the community with the possibility of some boundary changes towards the most northerly section of San Elijo Hills. If there are any boundary changes in the future it will be my goal to ensure those changes only impact the new residents of the homes that have yet to be built. Principals will work closely with district personnel to ensure that the campuses are safe, students are housed, highly qualified teachers are in every classroom, and that the academic needs of students are being met.
Could San Marcos School District build another school as originally envisioned in San Elijo Hills to help with crowding?
The previous SMUSD Board was involved in these planning decisions, including the purchase or non purchase of land in SEH. To be honest, it does not seem probable at this time that SMUSD would have the resources to build another school that would only accommodate 300 to 400 homes. The cost of land in the San Elijo community is cost prohibitive for a second elementary school. Even at complete build out, the number of students would not justify two elementary schools sites. It is my goal to ensure we are able to accommodate all of the residents of this community within the existing schools while also keeping an eye on making sure they don’t get over crowded.
With the economic crisis further impacting the California budget how can San Marcos School District keep its budget in line and survive the crisis.
This year SMUSD has received virtually no cost of living allocation (COLA) increase and it appears that will be the case for the next few years. However SMUSD is very fortunate in that we are still growing and that growth will continue to bring in increased tax revenues to help offset new costs to our district even with the state cuts. We need to focus the limited dollars available on three specific areas which have made an impact on continued student achievement in San Marcos: 1) professional development, 2) intervention for students who have not yet achieved proficiency and extended learning opportunities for students who have mastered the standards, and 3) time for on-going teacher collaboration.
How can more of our tax dollars make it in the class rooms?
We need to continue working with both employee unions to ensure that we are able to honor the hard work and dedication of all our employees and still be able set aside a portion of your hard earned tax dollars and put them back in the classrooms where they are needed. This is a very attainable goal that will require a collaborative efforts from the Board, Administrative staff and both Employee groups.
What are your goals for your next term?
Students in SMUSD are some of the highest performing students in the region and each year we improve our academic achievement. SMUSD has now exceeded the state’s API target of 800. SMUSD has an API of 810, up 24 points from last year. My goals are very simple; keep the academic standards high, work with the district and the community to modernize San Marcos High School and other aging schools in our district and maintain laser focus on fiscal responsibility while ensuring the employee compensation is generous yet making sure we set aside money each year for our kids.
What can San Elijo Hills parents do to make the city of San Marcos and the San Elijo Hills area one of the best for education in the state?
Honestly, I think we have the best parents in the county. We have the most envied PTO groups in the district and some of the most active parent volunteers in the district. In the end the best we can do as parents is support our schools, teachers and children, and if possible volunteer at our children’s schools. I personally am fortunate enough to be able to volunteer two hours a week every Tuesday to a new program at San Elijo Hills Elementary called “Eagle Play.” This is a program that allows students to play games like tug of war, kick ball, sack racing, and many other fun and entertaining games every Tuesday and Thursday during their recess. My wife Becky also volunteers every Monday (alternating between our two kids) in the classroom and last year served on the SEES PTO. Research has stated that students are most successful when parents are actively involved in their child’s education. Positive active parents help build a bond between the parents, community, Schools, and our kids. If you are interested in knowing more about me and my candidacy please go to www.dhoracek.com
Editors note all San Marco candidates are welcome to contact us to conduct an interview.