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By Allison Jarrell

The Capistrano Unified Board of Trustees participated in a brief yet important discussion Wednesday night as staff presented the first reading of the district’s new immunization requirements for the 2016-2017 school year.

In June, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 277 into law, eliminating personal belief exemptions from immunization in schools statewide. In order to comply with the new law, which goes into effect July 1, staff reported that “the district will no longer be able to enroll students without the required vaccinations, unless the family submits a medical exemption from a licensed physician.”

Only one person—who was in favor of the new policy—spoke on the item during Wednesday’s public comment. In October, a group of CUSD parents addressed the board with their concerns about the new policy and mandated vaccinations.

While the staff report states that there is no financial impact to the district, Trustee Jim Reardon asked if there had been any assessment of the new policy’s impact on enrollment.

“We’ve heard threats of people removing their children from the district,” Reardon said. “A child who leaves the district is a child we will not receive ADA (funding) for.”

Susan Holliday, assistant superintendent of education services, responded that staff is beginning to pull figures regarding enrollment impact, which will be shared in a future update to the board.

The first reading of the new policy was a discussion only item, so no action was taken. For more information on the district’s new immunization requirements, visit and click “Board Meeting Agendas” under the “Board of Trustees” tab.

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