Education

Should LAUSD students start the school year in August?

File photo: LAUSD students will start the next academic year on Aug. 18, a week later than the current year.
File photo: LAUSD students will start the next academic year on Aug. 18, a week later than the current year.
Robyn Beck/Getty Images

Summer will draw to an end for Los Angeles Unified students with the start of classes on Aug. 18, a week later than the current year.

The school board agreed Tuesday to change the calendar, but some parents aren't happy with the new start date. They said students shouldn't be in classes when temperatures can surpass 100 degrees. District administrators admitted energy costs do swing up. 

Others think August should be reserved for vacations.

"I want my child to experience summer the way I did – long days of playing outside, swimming, baseball, and family picnics, as well as quiet time to just sit and watch the ants and think," wrote Mary Nadler, a parent in Pacific Palisades, on a petition that called for school to begin Aug.24.

Still others argue starting class earlier in August helps balance the high school semesters, allowing students to finish coursework before their winter break.  And, some suggest it gives teens a leg up on their Advanced Placement tests and high school exit exams scheduled in the spring. 

"I've heard very, very, very clearly from the high schools in the San Fernando Valley that they feel very passionate about keeping an early start," said board member Tamar Galatzan said during Tuesday's board meeting.

Galatzan recommended the issue be revisited next year. "We have to figure this out once and for all," she said.

LAUSD's first semester will end on Dec. 18. The second semester begins after the winter break on Jan. 11 and runs to June 10.

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