ENCINITAS (CBS 8) - Hundreds of North County parents packed a public hearing Tuesday evening, frustrated and upset over proposed changes for incoming students at two Encinitas elementary schools.
If this proposal passes, starting next year new kindergarten students at Capri Elementary School would only have the option of enrolling in a dual-language immersion program, in which classes are taught in both Spanish and English.
Parents who want to enroll their kindergartners in English-only classes would have to send them to Paul Ecke Central School across town.
Those students already enrolled in English-only instruction at Capri would be allowed to remain and graduate from Capri. This proposed phase-out of English-only classes would be transitioned in over a period of seven years.
Some parents with older kids already enrolled at Capri in the English-only program are upset their younger children just entering kindergarten would have to attend a different school.
"They are separating our families," said parent Michelle Pinard. "They are separating our children from attending the same school."
The district's superintendent says this possible consolidation of the dual-language immersion program onto one campus could improve the program's efficiency, and also cut down on costs in the face of looming budget cuts.
"All change is hard," Encinitas Union School District Superintendent Dr. Tim Baird told Tuesday's audience. "Sometimes there are short-term pains, but there may be long-term gains."
"I don't think this is gong to sit well with everybody," said parent Shawn Royster outside of the meeting. "I think taking options away in this school that has done well with both (programs) is a mistake."
A vote on this proposal by the district's school board is not expected until May.