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Editor’s Note: The original article incorrectly stated that approving the Spanish-language immersion program at RH Dana Elementary School was rescheduled for a later meeting. The program was approved Wednesday, Dec. 12 and the article has been updated to reflect that. 

By Shawn Raymundo, Dana Point Times

The Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees on Wednesday, Dec. 12, approved plans to gather the community’s thoughts on whether a bond measure to update educational facilities should be placed on the March 2020 Primary Election ballot.

Over the coming weeks, the board will work with the firm True North Research to conduct surveys and polls of voters in the cities of San Clemente, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo and Dana Point.

Depending on how the voters in those areas respond to the questions, the board will determine whether to move forward with drafting the March 2020 bond measure that, if passed, would authorize funding for deferred maintenance projects. The priority, said CUSD Chief Communications Officer Ryan Burris, are the schools in San Clemente because they are some of the oldest schools in the district.

The next step in the process, Burris said, is to figure out the types of questions that will be asked in the survey. Essentially the poll is intended to answer whether the residents are ready to support a bond measure and, if so, what areas of the classrooms and school sites they are willing to invest in.

Included in the board agenda from the Wednesday night meeting was a proposal to transition RH Dana Elementary School in to a Spanish-language immersion school beginning next school year. With the CUSD Board’s approval, RH Dana will be rebranded from the RH Dana Science and Technology Academy to the RH Dana Language and Science Academy. It will also join four other schools in the district that have similar language immersion programs.

Marian Bergeson Elementary School offers a Mandarin Chinese program, while Las Palmas, San Juan and Viejo Elementary Schools currently have 80/20 Spanish immersion programs, wherein 80 percent of instruction is in Spanish and 20 percent is in English.

RH Dana will host a series of informational meetings regarding the program beginning. Dec. 18 at 9 a.m. The other meetings will be held on Jan. 9 and Jan. 16 at 9 a.m. and on Jan. 17 at 6 p.m.

The next CUSD board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24 at the district’s office, at 33122 Valle Rd., San Juan Capistrano.

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