Students at Windsor’s special bilingual school resumed their normal studies Monday after the state Board of Education named the program a charter school, thus exempting it from the English-only provisions of Proposition 227.

“I can’t tell you how excited we are,” said Windsor Superintendent Rick Brewer.

The state Board of Education on Friday approved the charter school request of Cali Calmecac Immersion School. The K-8 school teaches English- and Spanish-speaking students to become fluent in both languages.

Charter schools are exempt from many of the requirements of the state’s education laws. That includes Proposition 227, which requires students with limited ability in English to be taught in English.

Thus, Cali Calmecac on Monday was able to resume its normal program where all students learn subjects in Spanish as well as English. Until the state board acted, the school had complied with the law by teaching students solely in English or by obtaining parental waivers for older limited-English students. The school will continue to obtain such waivers, Brewer said.

Cali Calmecac was one of about 10 schools to receive charter status, including five from the dual immersion program schools, Brewer said. The school becomes the 162nd charter school in the state and the eighth in Sonoma County.

Five Windsor representatives, including a school board member and a Cali graduate, attended Friday’s meeting.

Other school officials fared less well Friday in their efforts to win exemptions from Proposition 227. The state board members, all appointees of Gov. Pete Wilson, set aside requests by four Bay Area districts that sought waivers from carrying out the initiative. Instead, the board members voted to appeal a court ruling that orders they must consider such waivers.

Brewer suggested Windsor succeeded in its request because the state board has demonstrated “tremendous support for charter schools and tremendous support for schools of choice.”



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