Christian Garcia is a candidate for the Palomar College board from Trustee Area 2, which includes Escondido and San Marcos. This is the first time the college district has held elections for trustee areas. Previously all trustees were elected at-large. He is running against incumbent Nina Deerfield.
Garcia describes himself as a “California and San Diego native, raised in North County.” He lives in Escondido. He went to high school in Rancho Bernardo and left the area for 11 years to work elsewhere in the state. He obtained a BA degree from UC Irvine and joined the Peace Corps and served in Cambodia as a teacher.
When he returned he obtained an MA in public policy at USC. “I worked in Los Angeles in the private sector and returned to San Diego, where I started teaching again,” he told The Times-Advocate. Currently he teaches math and social studies at an after school academic center and a private school.
Garcia is running for the Palomar board: “Because I’ve always been interested in public policy, especially when it comes to education. I think it is the absolute foundation of any community. I want to do what I can to improve the community by setting high academic standards and expectations. Since I am from San Diego I thought serving on the Palomar board would be a really good opportunity to serve my community.”
He was approached by “community leaders” to run for the board. “I understand that Palomar was having financial issues. I was asked to help reroute where the school is going and to help improve the school’s situation.”
Garcia’s primary issue is fiscal responsibility. “That and ensuring that our students have proper access to education,” he said. “By that I mean we are setting high standards for the school, we are determining the correct protocols concerning the COVID crises and that students have what they to need at their disposal to enroll.”
He added, “I don’t like to speak negatively of people but it seems some decisions have been poorly made in the past and we need to rectify them. Right now, we got a report in March saying that Palomar was on the brink of insolvency.”
He is referring to the State of California’s Financial Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) audit that concluded, that the district “has no feasible plan in place to reduce and/or eliminate total estimated deficit spending.”
He said, “This was troubling to me as a resident and an educator. Community colleges are one of the few remaining opportunities for students to get an education.”
One of his goals is to rethink the purpose of college. “One of my goals would be to create apprenticeship or internship programs that allow partnerships with businesses so students are betting equipped to go into the work force,” he said. “I think our colleges don’t do a good job of that and it negatively affects some students. We need to push for that.”
He wants to make education affordable. “Some of the biggest programs are after school high school to college partnerships,” Garcia said. “Where high schoolers are going to college after school, so they finish about a year early. To get college credits done by the time they leave high school, so they are looking at just one more year to get an AA or three more if they are going to a four year university.”
He intends to push for technical training. “So we have more opportunities for certification programs,” he said. “It might not be necessary to get an associate degrees if you get certifications that businesses are looking for. We need to look at the demands of business and align our programs to expedite things in that direction. To work more with local businesses to answer their needs. Train them to be ready to serve those communities in which we live and to help our local economy.”
The reason voters should choose him, says Garcia “is that I am in education. I am a teacher. I help students with admissions. I understand where the difficulties are for students applying to college. There is a lack of transition from colleges to job training. By the time they graduate they are not prepared to go into the work force. We need to make sure Palomar is making good fiscal choices. Unfortunately, the board hasn’t been as responsible as it should be.”
Garcia added, “It’s important to have a representative that can speak for the community and represent our needs and demands. We need to make sure we are keeping our community fiscally safe and prepare our youths to serve as productive members of our community.” He added, “I want to be a voice for our entire community. Regardless of political party, race, gender, religion or income, I want to ensure that we all feel heard and represented. We have too much division today, even though we all want the same things including a voice and equality. It is imperative that our community knows that they have a say in how our education is run and that we all have equal access to resources and opportunities.”
Christian Garcia is endorsed by the following: Latino American Political Association; GrowElect (Hispanic PAC); Jim Desmond, San Diego County Supervisor; Mike Morasco, City of Escondido Councilman; Ed Gallo, former City of Escondido Councilman; Dr John Halcon, Palomar Board Trustee; Dane White, Escondido Union High School District President; Joan Gardner, Escondido Union School District President; Victor Graham, San Marcos Unified School District Vice-President; Joe Garcia, pastor and community leader; Delores Chavez, president of LAPA and community leader.
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