The school board this week certified that it meets state standards in providing students with textbooks and instructional materials, despite concerns from the teachers' union and Trustee Katrina Foley.
The Newport-Mesa Unified School District's Board of Education voted 5 to 1 Tuesday to adopt a resolution certifying that the district is providing each student with "sufficient" materials, including laboratory science equipment, for the 2012-13 school year. Foley dissented. Board member Karen Yelsey was absent.
"We don't have the information available to us tonight to even be able to pass this resolution," Foley said at the meeting. "We're being asked to pass a resolution with just the assurance that, 'Yes, it's been done.'"
Foley brought up concerns that there was no detailed information about what equipment is being provided for high school students or what is being considered core equipment.
Supt. Fred Navarro said adopting the resolution isn't about what inventory the schools have but following state regulations that require the principals to sign an affidavit that they have a sufficient amount of textbooks.
Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers President Kimberly Claytor also asked for the resolution to be pulled for a later date.
She said she has received calls and emails from teachers who have to print their textbooks from a PDF file and that new students frequently arrive in class without a textbook.
"I'm just hearing that. At this point, I haven't been able to get to the bottom of it," Claytor said. "So this is just a request to put it off at this point until the next meeting so we can meet on these issues and resolve them before we move on."
Foley brought up her personal experience of being expected to buy her children science equipment.
"It is my understanding that, [at] all four high schools, we are not providing all of the required supplies," she said.
Board member Martha Fluor said, "It's never been told that we had to buy them. If we want to, it's a choice."
Asst. Supt. of Secondary Education Charles Hinman agreed that schools are still asking for donations but that all required equipment is paid for by the district.
Several board members requested a future report on what equipment schools are supplying.
Fluor also said she believes the board needs to have a conversation on what it considers adequate equipment and what constituents a good, solid science program.
"I think that is a conversation that deserves and merits some conversation at the board level," she said.