The following comes from a March 7 Inland Valley Daily Bulletin article by Beau Yarbrough:
The Chino Valley Unified school board is gearing up for a fight.
Months after a federal judge told board members — long known for their pattern of not just opening board meetings with an invocation prayer, but also for discussing religion and reading from the Bible throughout meetings — to stop the behavior, the board met Monday to choose the law firm that will represent it in its appeal.
A crowd of hundreds of spectators spilled out of the board’s meeting room, into the lobby beyond onto the sidewalk outside, many of them holding up white cards with a one word message emblazoned on them: “Pray!”
Chino Valley Unified’s district headquarters is located 1.5 miles from mega-church Calvary Chapel. At least two board members, James Na and board president Andrew Cruz, worship there.
In November 2014, the district was sued by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, along with anonymous district staff, students and community members. Chino Valley Unified was defended by attorneys from the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute, a nonprofit conservative legal defense organization that specializes in religious freedom. The district now owes the Freedom from Religion Foundation $197,405 in legal fees, more than the salary for four beginning teachers.
On February 18, U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal told the board to end its years-long tradition of “reciting prayers, Bible readings and proselytizing at board meetings.” But Bernal isn’t getting the final word: Last week, the board voted 3-2 to appeal Bernal’s decision.