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Ventura County News Roundup

OXNARD : Translations Urged for Board Agendas

March 25, 1993|SARA CATANIA

An Oxnard Elementary School Board member has proposed that Spanish translations of the board's agendas be made available to parents.

In proposing the action, school board President Mary Barreto cited the predominantly Latino student population, many of whom come from primarily Spanish-speaking families.

Opponents argued that translation services are costly and unnecessary because few Spanish-only speakers attend board meetings.

Board member Jack Fowler said before the meeting that he would consider printing a one-page summary of the agenda, which usually runs dozens of pages, in Spanish "if there is enough interest."

"We need books and pencils and paper for our students," Fowler said. "There may be a more immediate need for these things than for printing the agenda in Spanish."

Barreto said she would like to see the four- to six-page item outlines translated in full.

"It's about time we put the agenda in a language parents can understand," Barreto said. "Maybe then more of them would be interested in coming to the meetings."

Supt. Norman Brekke estimated that translation, printing and distribution of the agenda outline of the twice-monthly meeting would cost about $3,000 annually.

About 75% of the district's 12,700 students are Latino, board officials said. Barreto estimates that half the Latino students come from families where the parents speak only Spanish.

The Hueneme School District has been providing Spanish translations of its agenda outlines for a year, said administrator Jeff Baarstad.

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