LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Classes next year will begin one week later in the Los Angeles Unified School District then begin another week later the next year under a plan approved Tuesday by the district Board of Education.

Board member Richard Vladovic, George McKenna and Scott Schmerelson initially introduced a resolution asking that the district begin future school years after Labor Day. Superintendent Michelle King, however, suggested starting classes next year on Aug. 22, one week later than this year’s Aug. 16 start date.

She said in subsequent years, classes could begin the week before Labor Day, with the 2018-19 school year beginning Aug. 28.

King said the compromise schedule allows the district to finish the fall semester before winter break, which will be reduced from three weeks to two weeks.

She said the compromise will also require students to attend classes on two days during the week of Thanksgiving instead of having the week off.

The board approved the compromise on a 5-2 vote, with Monica Garcia and Monica Ratliff dissenting.

Garcia opposed the idea because the district’s move to an earlier start date was designed to improve scores on midterm exams and Advanced Placement tests, ultimately boosting graduation rates. She said the move has worked, and the district shouldn’t change it.

“I feel that we have made improved effort in this district because we have been focused on achieving academic gains,” she said.

McKenna countered, however, that he does not believe changing the calendar will have a negative impact on students’ education.

“I think the quality of instruction does not change based upon the calendar,” he said.

Vladovic said other big-city school districts, such as Chicago and New York, both start school in September, after Labor Day. He also noted that Torrance began its school year Sept. 8, and it has a 96 percent graduation rate.

Board members who introduced the resolution said the district had received complaints about hot weather at the beginning of the school year forcing students to remain indoors and about the cost of running air conditioners to keep classrooms cool.

The resolution also states that the district received complaints from families “unable to travel due to affordability and time-off periods running concurrent with the August start period, or parents opting to travel when they can afford and/or have leave time from work, thus causing children to miss critical start-of-year classroom time.”

The 2016-17 school year is scheduled to end June 9.

Based on the school board’s direction, King will draw up the final calendar for the coming school year and bring it back to the board for approval.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (4)
  1. Jackie says:

    This is the most ridiculous “compromise” I have ever heard. September is the hottest month, not August. Shortening the winter break from 3 weeks to 2 weeks is what will really affect parents travel plans (which I don’t think should be a consideration anyway). Students will be pulled out of school early or late- many students travel out of the country during that time. I think the district will lose TONS of attendance money. The early start works, don’t change it. It really is better to have the semester end before winter break. There is NO reason for this “later start”. In addition, as a teacher, I rely on that third week of winter break for doctors appointments, etc. If I can not do it then, I will have to take days off of work- which is a further drain on the districts money. This is a stupid idea, not taking into consideration all of those involved.

  2. Anthony Cook says:

    Many people are planning to see the total solar eclipse that crosses the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina on Monday, August 21, and will have trouble returning to LA by the 22nd!

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