From crossing guards to crossing picket lines and declining school enrollment

EUSD iRead program in action. Overall district enrollment, however, is on the steep decline.

Task Force looks into EUSD enrollment drop

Inquiring minds wanted to know: Why were Escondido Union School District enrollment numbers dropping like a rock?

Maybe a task force can help tell us why.

That pernicious 12 percent drop in enrollment at Escondido elementary schools over the past decade has led to the formation of a special task force aimed at reversing the precipitous decline.

Escondido Union School District officials blame the decline on lower birth rates, an aging population in Escondido and a decision by some families to choose home schooling or send their students to parochial or charter schools. Officials say charter schools in particular account for the lion’s share of the enrollment dip.

District critics say the drop is due to poor educational quality, including inadequate programming for English as a Second Language students who make up 70 percent of district students,  and other management roadblocks.

The task force — which will be formed in the next few weeks and include parents, teachers, administrators, principals, and members of the business community — is expected to make recommendations to reverse the decline in enrollment by the summer.

Overall, data provided by the district shows that enrollment has declined 11.6 percent in the past 11 years, from 19,328 in the 2004-05 school year to 17,080 students as of June 30, 2015, according to Michael Taylor, assistant superintendent of business services. The decline has picked up at a faster clip in recent years, he said.

Meanwhile, enrollment in charter schools in the Escondido school district has jumped 124 percent during the same time period, from 911 students in 2004-05 to 2,042 students by last June, officials said.

Crossing guards sought for Escondido campuses

Crossing guard at Glen View Elementary School, 2201 E Mission Avenue.

Crossing guard at Glen View Elementary School, 2201 E Mission Avenue.

The Escondido Crossing Guard Program is looking for adults to help improve safety around Escondido Union School District campuses.

This is a paid job opportunity. No formal education required; training will be given. All candidates are subject to a background investigation.

The Escondido School Crossing Guard program is a partnership between the Escondido Union School District, the Escondido Police Department and COMPACT to oversee crossing guards in the district.

School crossing guards help students safely cross at key locations on their way to and from school.  Crossing Guards control traffic flow around schools in the morning and at the end of the school day.

The Compact was formed in 1989 as a partnership between the Escondido Union School District, the Escondido Union High School District, the Chamber of Commerce and the city, as a way to provide services and support to youth, families and the community.

In January, a pilot program was launched to determine whether the Compact could manage the crossing guards, plus provide grant money to improve the program with signs and infrastructure improvements at busy intersections.

For more information, contact Yesenia Martinez of the Escondido Education COMPACT at ymartinez@educationcompact.org or (760) 839-4515.

CSU (and CSUSM) faculty announces April strike plan

CSUSM History Professor Darel Engen, Ph.D. talks about salary differences within the university system. (NBC San Diego 7 screenshot)

CSUSM History Professor Darel Engen, Ph.D. talks about salary differences within the university system. (NBC San Diego 7 screenshot)

Stepping up its push for a new labor contract, the union representing California State University faculty announced plans Monday to carry out a five-day strike in April at all 23 campuses — including San Diego State and Cal State San Marcos — if a deal isn’t reached before then.

“We’ve said all along that we don’t want to strike, but we will if we have to,” said Jennifer Eagan, president of the California Faculty Association. “We must take a stand so that we can support our families, protect our profession and provide high quality education for our students.

“A strike is our last resort and we still hope that the chancellor will invest in the faculty who are the major determinant of our students’ success.”

According to the union, a walkout will be held April 13-15, and April 18-19 at all 23 campuses if a deal isn’t struck before then. Members of the CFA have already voted to authorize a strike.

The CFA is pushing for a 5 percent salary increase for faculty members, but the CSU is offering 2 percent.

CSU officials have said a 5 percent increase for CFA faculty would cost $68.9 million over the 2 percent the university is offering. The cost to the university could balloon to $107.2 million when other labor unions ask for the same increase, according to the CSU.

About half of the CSU’s 25,000 faculty are members of the CFA, according to the university.

CSUSM faculty last October authorized the strike at their campus Cal State San Marcos Associate Professor Darel Engen Ph.D. said the university’s president makes almost $350,000 annually.

With 14 years at CSUSM, Engen said he earned $75,000 as an associate professor of history. A lecturer with the university for 10 years earns $47,000 annually, he said.

“That’s unconscionable,” Engen said. “That’s shameful.”

 

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