The (EUSD) Board of Trustees Wednesday afternoon decided that Capri Elementary will indeed continue to offer English-only classes.
The district had been considering phasing them out if it merged Dual Immersion language programs at Paul Ecke and Capri. That merge could have meant that Capri would become dedicated entirely to the Dual Immersion program, and kids in the English-only program would have to enroll at another school. That idea caused an who claimed that merge would rob them of the ability to choose what they want for their kids, and deny them access to their own neighborhood school.
Wednesday’s special meeting to discuss the topic drew a full house—a good chunk of them Paul Ecke parents and teachers who said they felt their voices in the conversation were being drowned out by an overly vocal group at Capri—with a couple speakers even referring to them as "schoolyard bullies" and "fear mongers."
Several Paul Ecke parents and teachers said they wanted to continue to explore the idea of merging the two schools’ programs and felt it was too early in the process to be taking anything off the table. Many of them said merging the programs could provide more support for teachers and lead to better efficiency.
Of the 21 speakers who addressed the Board, 10 were in favor of continuing to explore the idea of merging the programs, and 11 wanted it off the table.
The board also had mixed views. Board members Marla Strich and Carol Skiljan said they were in favor of keeping all the options open while more information and community feedback was gathered. Board president Emily Andrade and board members Gregg Sonken and Mo Muir disagreed, and as the board majority, directed staff to abandon the idea of phasing-out any English-only classes.
“I cannot support leaving all these families in limbo,” Andrade said. “This has created a sense of insecurity and it’s divided the community into two parts. My heart says I want them back together.”
Skiljan said she was “disappointed” that the process was being halted at this point, but added that she would support the board’s decision “because that’s what we do.” The board is still in favor of making changes within the existing Dual Immersion program that could enhance it, and staff will continue to explore those avenues.
Many in the audience applauded when the board made its decision, though many were also visibly upset. Sonken said regardless of where parents stood on this issue, that packed boardroom was proof of just how invested they all are in their children’s education.
“We have something very powerful here in Encinitas. It’s off the charts.”