School Board President Nativo Lopez joined a lawsuit seeking to overturn Proposition 227, the English-language ballot initiative approved by voters June 2.

“I encourage teachers and students to use every effort to resist Proposition 227,” Lopez said. Lopez, who said he is acting individually and not representing the district, encouraged strikes and boycotts by students and teachers.

The measure requires all students be put in English-immersion classes within 60 days. It would affect about half of the district’s limited-English students — those currently being taught in their native language.

Trustees discussed legal action against the proposition. No action was taken.

Trustee Rosemarie Avila countered later in the meeting by reading five letters from residents urging the board to comply with the proposition.

“‘How do you justify using taxpayer money to oppose this initiative?
This is not a message we want to send our children,”‘ Avila read.

Trustees Rob Balen and Audrey Noji voted against the proposition but wouldn’t put their names to a lawsuit. Noji said she wanted to calm fears teachers, students and parents have about the proposition. She asked for immediate oral and written communication with parents.

Keith Breon, attorney for the school district, explained the legal aspects of the proposition. He said a friend of the court filing would cost about
$10,000.

Joseph Tafoya, superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said buying new textbooks would be the biggest financial strain caused by implementing the initiative locally. The district recently spent $2.5 million on Spanish-language texts. In other business, Avila and Lopez approving a salary for a facilitator for Santa Ana 2000, a collaborative between the district and local businesses.

The item failed for lack of a majority vote. Trustee Aida Espinoza was absent.

Avila said she opposes a policy-making body whose members are not elected officials. Lopez said he believes the collaborative is exclusive.



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