Temecula City Council Members Matt Rahn and Zak Schwank, and Temecula Valley Unified School District Governing Board President Sandy Hinkson and Board Member Barbara Brosch, met last week as part of the 2020 Joint City Council/TVUSD Subcommittee, which was formed to support the strong partnership that exists between the City and School District to discuss items of mutual interest. Also present were City Manager Aaron Adams, TVUSD Superintendent Tim Ritter, Temecula Sheriff Captain Zach Hall, Fire Chief Bill Weiser, and TVUSD Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay among other City and School District staff along with members of the public. Council Member Zak Schwank states, “The collaborative working relationship established between the TVUSD School Board Trustees and the City of Temecula Council Members allows representatives to personally meet and discuss issues impacting our residents.” Council Member Schwank adds, “This Subcommittee will continue to tackle tough issues, work toward solutions, and build relationships with our elected colleagues.”
Agenda items included the trend of vaping at the high school and middle school level, local opioid concerns, fire and burglar false alarms at school facilities, and City/TVUSD joint use agreements of amenities.
City and school officials agreed to contact state legislative representatives to assess pending or needed state legislation to curb the illegal manufacture and distribution of opioids, including the grave and disconcerting circulation of counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl within the region, which is of utmost concern. “Pills manufactured by legitimate pharmaceutical companies and distributed illegally has its own set of dangerous issues, but young adults are now being sold counterfeit pills transported to Temecula with lethal doses of fentanyl or other life-threatening chemicals where one pill causes death,” states Council Member Matt Rahn. Additionally, synthetic vaping substances and counterfeit cartridges illegally sold to young adults under 21 are another cause of significant concern for the health and well-being of students. Council Member Rahn adds, “School Resource Officers have indicated that a zero-tolerance approach has led to a decrease in related on-campus citations over the past few months, which is a positive trend we hope to encourage on and off campus with additional public outreach to students and the community about these concerns.” Board President Sandy Hinkson states, “TVUSD continues to evaluate data, monitor trends, and look for opportunities to partner with our city and community agencies to offer education and awareness resources for our students.” Hinkson adds, “We have seen success with our Great Oak High School Saturday Academy and other intervention strategies being put into place, but there is much we can accomplish by partnering our resources.”
Superintendent Ritter addressed the opioid and vaping issues, “Because students are in our care and oversight for significant portions of time, the School District is often tasked with providing resources and education well beyond academics. To meet these growing needs, we have invested significant funding and personnel over the last two years towards addressing our students’ social-emotional needs, including education and resources for substance abuse, mental health, and adverse behaviors.” The School District is interested in continuing discussions about a joint resolution with the City that would express the mutual goals of supporting Temecula students and residents with the enforcement of legal age restrictions for purchases of vaping materials.
The School District is also re-evaluating alarm systems and staff access protocols at all school sites and facilities to reduce non-emergency police and fire response calls. In addition, joint use agreements between the City and School District for amenities at school and city parks are being reviewed and updated to address current needs, costs, and improvements.
Temecula City Manager Aaron Adams states, “Many topics cross jurisdictional lines between the City and School District so ongoing dialogue to resolve important issues or seek ways to enhance the quality of life for our families and youth will always be a top priority for Temecula.” This is the first joint City Council/TVUSD Subcommittee meeting of several planned in the future to keep open communications in support of Temecula students and residents.