The Temecula City Council and Temecula Valley Unified School District governing board held the first-ever meeting of the two organizations’ joint subcommittee in February.
The city and school district announced the meeting, which was held Feb. 25, in a joint statement a little more than a week later March 5.
Temecula City Council members Matt Rahn and Zah Schwank and Temecula Valley Unified school board members Sandy Hinkson and Barbara Brosch sit on the new subcommittee, which the city and district said “was formed to support the strong partnership that exists between the city and school district to discuss items of mutual interest.”
Temecula City Manager Aaron Adams, Temecula Valley Unified Superintendent Tim Ritter, Temecula Sheriff Capt. Zach Hall, fire Chief Bill Weiser and TVUSD Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay, along with other city and district staff, were all present at the meeting as well.
Among the topics covered at the first meeting was vaping and drug use in local schools.
Officials from both entities agreed to contact representatives in the state Legislature to get information on pending or needed laws to curb the illegal manufacture and distribution of opioids, including counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl.
“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,” Rahn said.
Rahn also said school resource officers have indicated they have a zero-tolerance approach to vaping issues that appears to have resulted in decreased vaping citations over the last few months.
“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,” TVUSD board President Sandy Hinkson said. “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.”
Ritter also addressed the drug 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 toward addressing our students’ social-emotional needs, including education and resources for substance abuse, mental health and adverse behaviors,” the superintendent said.
The February subcommittee meeting is the first of several planned between the city and school district to address ongoing issues affecting both organizations.
“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,” Temecula City Manager Aaron Adams said in the joint statement.
Will Fritz can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.