The first sentence of a school board policy on implementing Proposition 227 caused divisions Tuesday among trustees.
The preliminary language reads, “It is the intent of the Santa Ana Unified School District to adhere to the provisions of Proposition 227.”
Board President Nativo Lopez asked if it was necessary to use the word “intent.”
“Couldn’t our intent be otherwise?” Lopez asked.
Trustees reviewed a preliminary plan to implement the English-only proposition. The board policy will go through several reviews before a final version is approved.
Trustee Rosemarie Avila said she believes the language was logical and should be kept in.
Trustee Rob Balen said he preferred to keep the sentence in case of parent lawsuits. However, he wanted to delete any reference to “immigrant children.”
He said the proposition was created by targeting immigrants in a demeaning way and he didn’t feel comfortable such references.
Trustees bickered about other words and policies.
Lopez insisted on conducting individual conferences with parents explaining the policy and their rights to waive out of the program.
Avila said implementing the new program would take time. She said parents should be given a letter in their native language but didn’t believe it is necessary to take up teacher time with parent conferences.
Avila said waivers shouldn’t be the board’s emphasis.
“I find that a scheme to get out of Prop. 227,” Avila said. “We’re in danger of creating a fake program.”
The district is providing a 30-day evaluation of students’ language skills in English classes.
Joseph Tafoya, superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said the 30-day program was included in the district’s policy because of principals’ requests for teacher training.
Avila said a 30-day evaluation program should be reserved for teachers who need training, not for every classroom.
Board members will discuss the plan again Aug. 25.