By Sara Hall | NB Indy
The Newport-Mesa school board this week went on record in opposition to Proposition 19, the initiative to legalize marijuana in California.
Prop 19, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, will be on the ballot in November and the staff cited several reasons to oppose the measure, including student safety, district policy violation and possible loss of federal funding.
According to the staff report, the regulations for bus drivers from the Federal Department of Transportation are violated if marijuana is detected in the driver’s system but under the proposed act the district would be unable to prevent the driver from getting behind the wheel of a school bus unless it could be proved that the driver was impaired. The problem, according to the staff, is that there is no legally defined standard or guideline on how to determine if a driver is impaired.
The staff also reported that the district would be unable to address use of marijuana by employees at work in many situations due to legal protections, and therefore would be in violation of the district policy of maintaining a drug free work environment under federal law. Being in violation of the Federal Drug Free Workplace Act could jeopardize eligibility for federal funds, according to the staff report.
For all of these reasons the staff recommended to the board that it oppose Prop 19.
The board also approved the agreement for 108 6th-grade students from Newport Heights Elementary attend an outdoor education and science camp for the 2010-2011 school year. The camp will be held at the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center in Orange and will consist of five days and four nights at the outdoor center.
Students will be introduced to outdoor education through activities like hiking, experiments, archery, arts and crafts, low rope activities and the zip line. The hands-on outdoor education is aimed at helping the students have a greater understanding of the natural world around them.
Student fees and PTA fundraisers will pay for the trip.
Also on the board’s agenda was a memorandum of understanding between the city of Costa Mesa and the district for the TeWinkle Middle School Teen Center, which the board approved. The memorandum is for the 2010-2011 school year and explains that the city and school district will each provide up to 50 percent ($15,000) of the finds for the staffing, materials and supplies.
The center provides an after-school program that serves the students of TeWinkle. The city provides three recreation leaders and age-appropriate games, equipment and craft supplies.
Also approved by the board was an agreement with the Children and Families Commission to host one VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) member for the 2010-2011 school year.
The VISTA program works with the First 5 Service Corps, a statewide AmeriCorps program that involves participation from the community to help ensure that children under the age of 5 are healthy and ready to learn when they enter school.
The volunteer helps develop outreach materials and distribute them to families to assist in linking to the district and community services, develop and expand collaborative relationships with community partners, provide assistance for parent education workshops and school involvement events and assist in gathering data for program evaluation.
The district’s School Readiness Program and Health Services were selected to host a volunteer. The district has hosted one VISTA volunteer a year for the past five years.