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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

JROTC Drama Continues with School Board Firing Shot Across Fiona Ma's Bow

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2009 at 4:15 PM

click to enlarge Fiona Ma
  • Fiona Ma

The San Francisco school board voted 6-1 Tuesday night opposing Assemblywoman Fiona Ma's bill that would force the district to reinstate the JROTC program. This ensures  the district's lobbyist will be deployed to oppose the bill in Sacramento as it makes its way through the Appropriations committee -- yet the school board still must comply if the state legislature were to pass the bill and the governor to sign it into law. 

But the state measure is not required to save the program, as the school board introduced a measure to bring back the program itself last month. Early indications are that the board may have the four needed votes to successfully pass the measure. As of now, the JROTC will have to pack its bags at the end of this school year, the result of a 2006 school board vote that the program was an inappropriate extension of the military into the civilian sphere. San Francisco would be the first city in the country to oust the program on ideological grounds, according to the national JROTC spokesperson.

In interviews for our cover story last week on the JROTC issue, several school board members, even those who support the program staying in the schools, said they thought it was a dangerous precedent for Sacramento to tell San Francisco schools what to do.

Staunch JROTC-supporting school board commissioner Jill Wynns was the lone vote in support of the state measure. "I think [the school board's vote is] yet another indication of willingness, I would say eagerness, of the opponents of JROTC to try to manipulate the political process to do anything to oppose JROTC," she said. She noted that the notice for last night's special meeting was announced last week while the schools were on spring break, and the resolution to oppose the Ma measure was added last-minute on Friday.  

Ma issued her own response to the opposition in a press release: "My legislation is about one thing: our children's freedom of choice. I am not surprised by the School Board's resolution opposing my legislation. If they had properly responded to the will of the voters and reinstated JROTC there would have been no reason for AB 223. The energy I am focusing on this issue is solely around saving a popular, effective program that makes a difference in the lives of our kids. This is about education and policy, not political posturing."

 Photo   |   Brainchildvn


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