Newport-Mesa school board seeks to repeal contentious law [corrected]

COSTA MESA — The Newport-Mesa Unified school board Tuesday night approved a resolution urging legislators to repeal part of a contentious state law that stops districts from laying off teachers this year.

The bill also removes the requirement for districts to prove that they can meet their financial obligations for more than one year.

"It is an effort on the part of schools' boards ... to retain local control," said Trustee Judy Franco.

The resolution was approved 6 to 1, with Trustee Katrina Foley dissenting.

Foley said beforehand that she wouldn't be supporting the resolution. The time to lobby against the bill passed and the resolution is purely symbolic, she explained.

Foley also added that she wouldn't support increasing unemployment and didn't see the new law as tying the hands of the district.

"There is nothing in this new law that prevents our district from maintaining our local control," she said.

Trustee Martha Fluor, though, disagreed.

The law prevents the district from issuing layoffs, even if midyear budget cuts come down, she said.

"By taking that decision-making away from us … it is a dangerous situation in my opinion," Fluor said.

Fluor also added that dropping the requirement to certify that districts can meet their financial obligations goes against districts' fiduciary responsibility and requires them to turn "a blind eye to the future."

Foley disputed Fluor's claims. Foley said that dropping the requirement provides districts unable to meet traditional budgetary restrictions more flexibility and freedom.

• The district also set a date for the dedication of the press box at Newport Harbor High School's Davidson Field.

Officials will officially rename the box after former Daily Pilot Sports Editor Roger Carlson at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 6 during a game — and Carlson's 75th birthday, said district spokeswoman Laura Boss.

An earlier version incorrectly stated what time Newport Harbor's press box will be renamed. It's actually at 6:30 p.m.

Carlson covered sports for the Pilot for 40 years: 25 as a reporter and 15 as editor. He spent many a football night holed up in the press box, covering Sailors' home games.

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

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