Tag Archives: SMUSD

SMUSD Attendance Boundary Committee Update

SMUSD Attendance Boundary Committee Update

On October 19th, the District’s Attendance Boundary Committee held its first meeting.  The meeting is comprised over more than 100 individuals, with representation from each school in the District.

The Committee is tasked with providing two recommendations.
  • Recommendation #1:  Propose adjustments to current attendance boundaries to optimize student at capacity at each school.
  • Recommendation #2:  Propose an implementation plan / schedule for the Board-approved attendance boundary adjustments.
At the first meeting, the Committee heard presentations from District staff and its demographer (Davis Demographics) regarding the following topics:
  • Current District and School attendance boundaries;
  • Historical and projected enrollment growth;
  • Residential development and student generation rates;
  • Criteria for school boundary planning;
  • The role of the demographer; and
  • Next steps.

On November 9th, the District’s Attendance Boundary Committee held its second meeting. During the first part of the meeting, Davis Demographics provided information about factors that impact attendance boundaries and how adjusting boundary lines impacts available capacity at each school.

Davis Demographics also shared an elementary scenario, middle school scenario and high school scenario to consider regarding possible adjustments to the current attendance boundaries.  These scenarios are NOT official recommendations from the District Board, staff or Davis Demographics.  But, rather, they were something to consider in order to foster dialog and conversation.

Following the presentation by Davis Demographics, Committee members had an opportunity to work together to provide their own possible recommendations.

The recommendations submitted are being examined for common themes.  Draft maps will be generated and shared with Committee members at its next meeting on December 7th.

As a reminder, these meetings are closed to the public.  However, if you have any specific questions or concerns regarding the Attendance Boundary Committee, you may submit them HERE.

Important Boundary and Budgetary issues facing San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD)

Important Boundary and Budgetary Issues Facing San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD)
Attendance Boundaries potentially being redrawn and District Budget Deficit, the district website has the following topics with information links that are important and public information. Please participate and share in the discussion here and on social media as this important issue that may potentially impact San Elijo Hills and San Marcos.
District Budget Deficit

Among the most important responsibilities of the Governing Board and Superintendent is to ensure the financial health of our district, and to inform the community when changes in district finances might meaningfully impact the educational services San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) provides. That is the purpose of this letter.

Due to flattening state revenues, and dramatic increases in mandated costs, we are forecasting very difficult financial days ahead here at SMUSD, which we more fully explain below. As we enter these difficult financial times, we want you to be aware of our predicament, the circumstances that brought us here, and our path forward.

Attendance Boundary Committee

“San Marcos Unified’s new Attendance Boundary Committee will meet for the first time next week to begin their work on recommendations for the Governing Board’s consideration.  As meetings continue, you will find more information HERE regarding the progress of the committee. We anticipate the committee’s recommendations to go before the Governing Board in the early part of 2018, which they will then review and approve all or part of the recommendations.  Our community will have an opportunity to comment publicly prior to the Board taking action.”

 

Solar Project at San Elijo Elementary-Parking lot will be closed

Solar Project at SEES

Here are the details regarding our Solar Project:

The SMUSD Solar Project is ahead of schedule which means that our SEES construction for solar panel installation in our parking lot will begin this weekend, October 21.  The solar panels will be installed in our parking lot along with shade structure in front of the school at the student waiting area for drive up. There are several benefits coming both to SMUSD and SEES. If you haven’t had an opportunity to look over the resources provided by the District on our solar initiative, I encourage you to CLICK HERE to view the information on the website. You will find a short, overview video, along with more information on the process and FAQ’s.

Our parking lot will be closed for staff and visitors for 6-12 weeks.  We will need your support and patience during this time. The front of our school will have a construction fence as well for the installation of solar panel shade structure in the student waiting area.

We are working closely with Tesla, the installing solar company, to ensure that all safety precautions are

in place during construction. Our site will be staged with temporary fencing for the construction zone

prior to work commencing. All material and equipment deliveries will be coordinated to minimize impact during drop off and pick up times.

Parking:

All staff and visitors will need to park off site. There will be handicap parking available by KOC buildings.  You will need to enter from the drive up lane to access these spots.  We ask for your patience when visiting our campus during construction and parking off site. There will  be increased foot and construction traffic, and we want to make sure that everyone moves about the campus safely. Please park in designated parking spots and always use crosswalks.

Drive-up Drop off/Pick-up:

Drive up will be available for drop off and pick up for students in grades 2-5 as usual. Morning Drop-off for first grade will still be available.  There will be no drop off available for kindergarten during construction.

AM Kindergarten

  • Drop Off:  Students will enter through the KOC gate, hang their back pack up and line up by their classroom door. Students in room 601 will wait at their recess spot which is by room 103.
  • Pick-Up: Parents will enter through the KOC gate and meet their child’s class on the kindergarten playground.
  • There will be no curbside drop off for kindergarten families during construction.
  • Please leave strollers outside the kindergarten playground.

PM Kindergarten/Transitional Kindergarten

  • New Drop off time for PM only: 11:40. Please arrive prior to 11:47am for PM Kindergarten.
  • Drop Off:  Students will enter through the KOC gate, hang their backpack up and line up by their classroom door. Students in room 601 will wait at their recess spot which is by room 103.
  • Pick-Up: Parents will enter through the KOC gate and meet their child’s class on the kindergarten playground.
  • There will be no curbside drop off for kindergarten families during construction.
  • Transitional kindergarten will have regular drop-off with playground time at 11:40-11:50

1st Grade pick-up

  • First Grade families will still pick up near rolling gate. Please look for first grade pick up area which has been moved to just outside the rolling gate near the office.

Grades 2-5 pick-up

  • All students will exit to the rolling gate.
  • The back gate is still an option for those who would like to use the trails.
  • Drive-up will proceed as usual.  Drive up students will wait by the rolling gate.
  • Parents who meet their students outside the gates need to wait for students in waiting zone near kindergarten.

We anticipate taking a few days to get our new routines in place. Please allocate extra time for this transition as everyone learns our new routines.  We ask for all adults to think safety first by using crosswalks and driving cautiously.

We are excited to be part of a project that will provide savings, lesson plans, and educational materials

for all grade levels, as well as help our district go green. We will be sure to keep you updated on the

progress of our construction, but, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email

solar@smusd.org.

Double Peak Challenge 10k & 5k returns to San Marcos

North County’s most challenging 10K race returns to San Marcos on Saturday, Sept. 30. The race will feature a 10K timed race, a 5K untimed event and a free kids trail trot starting from San Elijo Hills Park, 1105 Elfin Forest Road. All participants must register online at www.doublepeakchallenge.com or in-person on race day at 6:30 am.

“Double Peak Challenge is a trail run like no other,” said Friends of San Marcos Parks and Recreation Board Member Nick Buck. “The race is a celebration of outdoor recreation where trail runners will experience unparalleled beauty atop one of North County’s highest point.”

With festivities kicking off at 7 am, runners can participate in a pre-race cardio stretch and warm-up.

Runners participating in the 10K Double Peak Challenge will set out at 7:30 am to begin a nearly 2,000-foot elevation gain up to Double Peak’s summit while winding along rugged hillside trails with sweeping views of North County.

While the 10K race will be a tough, timed event that will challenge even the most experienced runners, Double Peak Challenge will also offer a shorter 5K untimed course at 8 am and a free  kids trail trot at 9:30 am. All registered 10K and 5K participants will receive a commemorative Double Peak Challenge completion medal and awards will be given to the top 10K race finishers in each age category.

The event concludes with an expo and beer garden that will be located in the lower softball fields at San Elijo Hills Park. 10K race participants over 21 years of age with proof of ID will receive a complimentary beer in the beer garden. Additional beverages can be purchased for $5 each.

All race proceeds will benefit the Friends of San Marcos Parks & Recreation and The San Marcos Promise.

“Your participation in the Double Peak Challenge supports two great causes integral to the city of San Marcos,” said The San Marcos Promise Executive Director Herbie Smith.  “Your commitment to #ReachthePeak promotes health and economic prosperity for our entire region through investment in local parks and higher education.”

The Friends of San Marcos Park & Recreation invests in events, programs, parks and facilities to enhance the quality of life in the City of San Marcos.

The San Marcos Promise provides students in the San Marcos Unified School District with a path to prosperity by providing scholarships and career guidance to inspire academic achievement and post-secondary educational opportunities.

To register for a race or to volunteer during the event, visit www.doublepeakchallenge.com. Corporate sponsorship packages are also available.

Copper Hills Development

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San Elijo Life had an informative conversation with Jason and Scott Simmons. They are two brothers that have grown up in San Marcos and their company they are affiliated with are the developers of this project. Their father also has a historical footprint here in San Marcos as a developer.  They are very focused in connecting with the community by providing information on this project. They want to be available to speak and/or meet with anyone to answer questions, hear your feedback and solutions. This is a preview of information on this project and a more detailed article from us is coming soon. They provided this statement below for our San Elijo Life readers to learn more about Copper Hills. The site is a treasure for local residents to hike, bike, run and play and we encourage everyone to go and enjoy the spring green hills and familiarize yourself with the site. The old dump and it’s safety along with the long history of old recycling center are important parts of this area and the history before and during the existence of San Elijo Hills. Traffic, school crowding and designated open space are topics that should be part of the community discussion.

Statement

Just southwest of San Elijo Hills town center, nestled in between Old Creek Ranch and the old recycling center, is a little know gem of a property now known as Copper Hills.

You may have hiked or biked from the old recycling center gates on this property on your way to Copper Creek trailheads or the old Copper Mines southwest of San Elijo Hills. The property is currently located in the jurisdiction of the County of San Diego, but is being proposed to annex into the City of San Marcos. This will give us in San Elijo Hills and San Marcos a voice in the proposed uses for the site.  

While most of the land will remain in open space; a portion will be developed into usable residential and commercial as well as park space and recreation opportunities.  This is the last spot along San Elijo Road that could fulfill some of the needs of the community that have been missing.  Potential uses include community gathering facilities, trail access and parking, large park area, a Boys and Girls Club and Teen Center, a skate park, outdoor basketball courts, community pools, congregate care for seniors, family restaurants and breweries as well as a top notch residential community by respected high end builder Colrich Communities, who has built some beautiful communities in San Elijo Hills and Old Creek Ranch.  

The developer is actively developing solutions for traffic concerns and while the elementary school will be Carrillo, they understand school impact concerns and will be addressing those with the public’s involvement.  Your direct input to the developer is much appreciated and welcomed.  

The Bieri Companies, who has owned the property since 2003; however has been working in San Marcos since the 1980’s and is responsible for CSUSM and areas around it is much appreciated developments.  Local land planning firm CCI or Consultants Collaborative has been involved from the beginning and both principals live in San Elijo Hills.  All 3 firms involved are local and family owned. Please visit www.ExploreCopperHills.com for more information and direct contact information.

*www.ExploreCopperHills.com will be live next week

Palomar Promise Program Guarantees Free Tuition to SMUSD Graduates

Starting in the Fall of 2017, eligible graduates of San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) will be able to attend Palomar College full-time and tuition-free for up to two years while pursuing an associate’s degree, transfer requirements, and/or a certificate program.

The San Marcos Unified School District and The San Marcos Promise, along with the Palomar College Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Palomar College to create a unique opportunity called the Palomar Promise.

“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,” said Dr. Kevin Holt, San Marcos Unified School District Superintendent.
The Palomar Promise will build on the Palomar Pathways Program implemented at San Marcos High School in 2015-16. In addition to receiving tuition assistance up to $600/semester or $1,200/year from The San Marcos Promise and Palomar College Foundations, students will be provided tools to set career goals and participate in transition activities to increase college persistence.
Adrian Gonzales, Palomar College Interim Superintendent/President, could not have been happier to provide support for this initiative,  “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.”
Eligibility for the Palomar Promise will require students to 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), as well as the Palomar College Foundation Scholarship Application prior to the deadline each year.

The San Marcos Promise views the Palomar Promise Program as a natural extension of workforce development that will provide equitable opportunities for students seeking job training, certificate programs, associate or bachelor’s degrees.

“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.

The San Marcos Promise and Palomar College Foundation will continue to establishcommunity partnerships to ensure the Palomar Promise grows throughout the district. Both foundations are ideal organizations to provide financial support for SMUSD college-bound students.

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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.
____________

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

____________________________

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

Double Peak School in San Marcos focuses on innovation, and includes a “maker space.” | SanDiegoUnionTribune.com

Students from kindergarten through middle school will try their hands at engineering, design and coding at Double Peak School in San Marcos, which opened its doors Monday. The school, open to students in kindergarten through eighth grade, sits off San Elijo Road, with expansive views of the hills on either side. With a focus on innovation, it features a “maker space,” where students can practice conceiving and constructing inventions, and an innovation lab, where they will learn apps, programs and other technological tools.

Read More Via Source: Double Peak School in San Marcos focuses on innovation, and includes a “maker space.” | SanDiegoUnionTribune.com

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

Palomar-Promise-160621-018sq1000x1000

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.

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