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San Marcos Unified approves shift in school boundaries

SAN MARCOS — The San Marcos Unified School District recently approved a shift in its school boundaries that will change where hundreds of students will attend school in an effort to relieve overcrowding.

After a several months-long process that included a boundary committee composed of 100 people, the school board in late February chose “Scenario 6” as the new map, which changes the current boundaries for San Marcos and Mission high schools, as well as some middle and elementary schools.

The largest shift involved the Double Peak K-8 school, whose eighth-graders under the current boundaries would attend San Marcos High. Under the new boundaries, students would attend Mission Hills.

“Overall, the board felt ‘Scenario 6’ at the elementary and middle school level was more consistent and less disruptive to the existing families,” said Superintendent Melissa Hunt. “And at the high school level, over time, it would migrate that school to Mission Hills High School. One of our goals was to better balance our enrollment with capacity.”

Parents from that community and others have been critical of the shift in boundaries, which they said would separate peer groups who had been together since elementary school. The board, however, said that the district needed to ease overcrowding at San Marcos, and Mission Hills has slightly more capacity remaining.

Currently, 3,300 students attend San Marcos High, which has room for 3,400, she said. Mission Hills High has enrollment of 2,500 and capacity for 2,700, but has more room for portables and additional classroom space.

School district officials are exploring options for building a third high school to further ease overcrowding, but those discussions are in the infant stages, school district spokeswoman Anna Lucia Roybal said.

Students who are new to the district will attend under the new attendance boundaries, the board decided. Younger siblings can start school at the campus their sibling attends, but must transfer to the new school when their sibling promotes or graduates.

Current students entering fourth grade and those who completed sixth or seventh grade in the 2018-19 year can continue at their current schools. Those in transitional kindergarten through third grade must switch to the new school in their attendance boundaries.

The new district maps can be viewed on the district’s website at