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State Board of Education Takes No Position on Prop. 187

October 15, 1994|JERRY GILLAM | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SACRAMENTO — The State Board of Education declined Friday to take a stand on Proposition 187, the ballot initiative that would prohibit illegal immigrant children from attending California's public schools.

The board heard testimony from witnesses on both sides of the issue but took no vote on two proposed resolutions, one to oppose the ballot measure because it "punishes innocent children for their parents' violations of immigration laws," and another to push for "full federal reimbursement" of state costs of educating illegal immigrant children.

Gov. Pete Wilson, who supports the initiative and who either appointed or reappointed all nine members of the board, says the state cannot afford the estimated $1.5 billion it costs to educate the more than 300,000 illegal immigrant children attending kindergarten through 12th grade.

Opponents say the initiative is too extreme and would turn the schools into immigration offices.

Noting that virtually all major groups associated with the public schools oppose Proposition 187, Sherry Loofbourrow, president of the California School Boards Assn., said: "I believe they (the board of education) abdicated their leadership."

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