School trustees gave preliminary approval Monday to a policy allowing parents to seek exemption for their children from English-immersion requirements in Proposition 227.
The policy would be used by the Capistrano Unified School District to grant or deny waivers to a parent seeking to keep or place a child in a bilingual class.
In June, California voters approved Proposition 227, which requires that educators place California public school students in classrooms in which the language of instruction is overwhelmingly English. The State Board of Education recently issued emergency regulations, allowing district superintendents to grant waivers under certain circumstances.
Board member Peter J. Espinosa said parents should be given full and clear disclosure of the types of classrooms available.
Supt. James A. Fleming said parents were sent a letter, twice, in both English and Spanish, inviting them to meetings with school officials to discuss their choices.
Officials said parents have three options: a classroom in which only English is spoken; a structured English-immersion classroom in which Spanish-language instructional aids are available to students; and a dual-immersion program in English and Spanish at Las Palmas Elementary School.
Officials stressed that space in the structured and dual-immersion programs is limited and expressed concerns that demand for waivers might outstrip resources.
The state is working out details of waiver requirements, and the school board will revisit the issue at an upcoming meeting.