Los Angeles Times

Friday, May 15, 1998

School Officials Say Prop. 227 Could Cost Area $100 Million

Los Angeles school officials said Thursday that Proposition 227 would hamper the learning of tens of thousands of students and could cost the district more than $100 million in bilingual education funds.
     In a dire report on the potential effects of the anti-bilingual education initiative, officials told the Board of Education's Instruction, Curriculum and Student Achievement Committee that if it passes in June, as now seems likely, the district would have to remodel its curriculum to accommodate students who are not proficient in English.
     The initiative, sponsored by businessman Ron Unz, would require virtually all of the state's bilingual students to switch to regular classes after a year of English immersion classes.
     A contingency plan presented to the committee said the district's nearly 7,500 bilingual education teachers would be authorized to switch to teaching English immersion.
     They would need training in the new curriculum, as would teachers of regular classes who would be forced within a year to teach students whose English skills are not up to par.
     District Budget Director Marty Varon told the committee that about $73 million in state anti-poverty funds, $25 million in state integration funds and $6 million in federal funds could be lost if bilingual education is scrapped, but that about $20 million the district pays for bilingual educational might be returned to the general fund.
     In compensation, the district could qualify for part of a $50-million state fund for tutoring and other programs. The cost of training teachers and tutoring students are unknown, he said.