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> Local News
April 13, 2006

New Superintendent Named for EUSD


eputy Superintendent Jennifer Walters will soon have a new title, new responsibility, and a new pay packet. As of July 1 she will become the new superintendent of the Escondido Union School District, following the vote of the Escondido’s elementary school district last week.

Walters, will replace retiring Superintendent Mike Caston. Walters new pay packet will reflect an annual salary of $175,000 under a three-year contract.

In other actions the trustees also approved a plan which will rename Grant Middle School to Mission Middle School, along with a restructuring plan which was mandated for failing to have met proficiency requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act;. provide more technology for students; restructure the school day with longer classes; provide more monitoring of students' academic progress; and create more mentoring and intervention programs. First year costs will be almost $800,000 and will be mostly funded by state and federal agencies.

Trustees also voted to eliminate or reduce the hours of several classified employee positions; and voted to include the district's new community day school in its expulsion plan.
The board voted unanimously to eliminate 13 classified positions and reduce the hours of four others.

The positions that were cut were 13 instructional assistants or bilingual instructional assistants at Central, Felicita, Juniper, Lincoln and Oak Hill elementary schools, and at Del Dios Middle School. The positions whose hours will be reduced include a school computer technician and volunteer reading program organizer at Felicita and two school clerks at Miller Elementary School.

Bond Measure Looms for Escondido School District

Overcrowding in Escondido’s high schools may well require a bond issue to solve, according to Escondido High School District trustees.
Last week they approved three contracts related to a possible bond measure, including a study to determine the level of public support for a bond and to determine what solution to school overcrowding voters most would like to see. They emphasized, however, that whether or not the district proceeded with a bond issue would depend on the results of a feasibility study they had ordered.

Other options include expanding one of the three large, traditional high school campuses or building a small high school.
After investing three years in a search for a suitable site for a new, large high school, demographic data showed the district was not growing as rapidly as has been expected. This brought the trustees up short and they began to consider less expensive alternatives.

They agree some relief is need as the district's enrollment is expected to grow from the current 8,000 students to a peak of about 8,500 by 2010-11. The present three traditional, high schools are already overcrowded.

Jim Eubank Dream A Little Closer to Reality

The late Jim Eubank, the founder of the San Marcos Restaurant Row complex, long held a dream of developing the San Marcos Creek area into an attractive combination of upscale shopping center, condos, town homes, and park area.

Current San Marcos business and community leaders seem to agree as the city's ongoing plans to develop such a downtown center near San Marcos Creek appears to be moving full speed ahead.

As predicted by Eubank, the project will be "huge for the city," said Ken Dubs, a real estate broker who is a vice president of the development corporation. "The project will be successful, unique and draw people from throughout North County."

Assistant City Manager Paul Malone and consultant Howard Blackson recently made a presentation to a large group of interested citizens as to the plans and progress to date about the progress of a citizens task force helping create plans for the creek area.

Malone said the city plans to create a natural channel around the creek to prevent flooding during heavy rains and encourage the redevelopment of about 100 acres between San Marcos Boulevard, Discovery Street, Grand Avenue and the creek.

The downtown center would have three- to six-story buildings of office space.
Jim Eubank had long envisioned such a complex, with the many shops and restaurants being within walking distance of the new housing. He also envisioned a large waterfall that could be easily seen from the freeway. It is not known presently if the city and/or developer plans to pursue that scenic design element.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 miillion would be needed to build the channel androad improvements, according to Malone.

The city has redevelopment money, which it gets from property taxes in redevelopment areas, to pay for up to $100 million or half the cost of the improvements that will include several bridges over the creek and parking structures. The balance would have to be paid for by developers, which would likely be a solid investment as the land value would skyrocket over a 10 to 20 years period because of the improvements.

Residents and business people who have an interest will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide input at two public design workshops June 10 and June 24 at the Civic Center.

Unlike normal zoning procedures the public will be able to come together at the beginning of the process rather than at the end, helping to lay out the nature of the complex. Normally, that comes at the end . . . with little or not citizen control or input.

Plans call for a specific plan to be submitted to the city by next year, according to developers. Thus far, the city council and city staff seem very supportive of the idea.

Eubank had pushed this idea for years . . . even after he had successfully developed his Old California Restaurant Row complex. The city listened and approved the concept . . . and now it appears they are moving. Sadly, Jim Eubank did not survive to see this plan. He died on March 1, 2004 at the age of 88.

Several council members and staffers chuckled when they recalled Eubank’s persistent selling of the idea. It is said that Eubank could talk the ear off a mule. And often did. It appears someone listened.


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