Los Angeles Times

Saturday, June 27, 1998

Santa Ana Trustees May Fight Prop. 227

Trustees of the Santa Ana Unified School District may file a brief in support of the legal battle against the recently approved Proposition 227.
      The initiative, passed in this month's primary election, outlawed most bilingual education in the state and instead mandated a one-year English-immersion program.
      A coalition of civil rights groups recently filed a federal lawsuit to block the measure from taking effect in the fall. The group is challenging the initiative's constitutionality.
      The matter is scheduled to be heard July 15 by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
      Filing the court brief before then might delay the hearing, the district's attorney told the school board this week.
      Trustees took the advice and postponed a decision on whether to file the brief, expected to cost the district $8,000 to $10,000, until after the hearing.
      Members of the district's bilingual advisory committee and parents of Pio Pico Elementary School students said they want the school board to fight the proposition.
      The parents said they fear their children, who are not fluent in English, will be robbed of an education equal to that given their English-proficient peers.
      Board President Nativo V. Lopez said fighting the proposition is in the best interest of the city, since local voters for the most part rejected the initiative.
      Trustee Rosemarie Avila disagreed: "I think it's wrong to spend public money to fight a law that was passed by voters. . . . We need to implement it right away."