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By Allison Jarrell

The future of Dana Hills High School’s intervention specialist position, held by former CUSD trustee Mike Darnold, remains uncertain following a Nov. 19 letter from Capistrano Unified School District Superintendent Kirsten Vital, to the city of Dana Point calling for the elimination of the program.

Since 2009, Darnold, who is contracted and paid by the city, has collaborated with the city, sheriff’s department and school faculty, through a Memorandum of Understanding, to support at-risk students battling drug and alcohol-related problems and other issues.

Orange County Fifth District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, former Dana Point mayor, wrote a four-page letter to the school district dated Dec. 1, extolling the virtues of the position and urging the school board to reconsider.

City Manager Doug Chotkevys said the program has been successful at identifying at-risk kids early on due to its pro-active rather than re-active approach.

Heading into CUSD’s winter break, Chotkevys said the city is still in talks with the district and that Darnold would continue in his role for now.

Superintendent Vital could not be reached for comment.

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