IRVINE : Proposed Initiative on Schools Discussed

Irvine Unified School District officials took telephone calls from several people this week during a televised forum on the local cable channel to discuss a proposed statewide initiative that would allow parents to use state education money for private schools.

Among callers' questions were whether the proposed constitutional amendment would pay for student transportation, if parents sending a child to a private school could change their minds and go back to a public school, and whether state universities would accept students from the various private schools that would be expected to form should the initiative succeed.

The answer man at the forum, held at the beginning of the regular school board meeting Tuesday night, was Supt. David E. Brown, who confessed beforehand that he opposes the measure.

The measure would not require private schools to provide transportation, Brown said. Parents could change their minds and pick a different school. Universities would have to decide for themselves whether they would accept any school's education as adequate.

The proposed statewide ballot measure needs 615,958 signatures of registered voters by May 28 to qualify for the November ballot, Brown said. If it qualifies and later is adopted by voters, the state would be required to help parents send their children to private schools by providing a $2,500 voucher each year.

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