“I knew we would probably be addressing this issue at some point,” he said. “I wanted to give the board the opportunity to have some discussion about it instead of just responding to bringing an item in action.”
Board members differed on the details and where to put up the mottoes and signs; some suggested a spot in front of the superintendent’s office.
“The core concept I’m OK with,” board member Tracy Pellman said. “I wanted us to all be aware that we’re in a serious budget crisis. If there’s any monetary cost, that needs to be considered.”
Board member John Briscoe said he would be willing to donate the funds to put the words “In God We Trust” in letters several inches high across the board room wall, but did not offer money for other sorts of display.
But board member Norm Westwell spoke against posting “In God We Trust” anywhere, calling it divisive.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not necessarily a good thing,” he said.
“We’re opening a can of worms. It can be an issue that can divide our community. We’ve seen that in Huntington Beach. It’s an issue that gets people’s hair on their neck standing up.”
Just one member of the public spoke at the meeting, Westminster resident Judy Ahrens, who also spoke at the City Council last week. She called it a comfort and a moral reminder.
“What good does it do for children?” she asked. “It would sure come in handy for kids who come from broken homes. It could sure be a comfort for children who have been molested ... When kids see that ‘In God We Trust,’ it’s very comforting.”
In other action, the district and the city have rejected claims — precursors to a lawsuit — filed against them by Robert Velasquez, father of a 7-year-old autistic boy officials said teachers used a controversial method of restraint on. “Prone restraint” holds the child face down to calm him.
The claims demanded at least $505,000 and alleged the district did not provide proper supervision and education to prevent child abuse.
District officials declined to comment.