By Allison Jarrell
Following a controversial vote last fall to start the 2016-2017 school year early on Aug. 15, the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees formed a School Calendar Committee tasked with making a recommendation for the 2017-2018 academic calendar. Comprised of 37 members—including parents, PTA, board members, union representatives, district personnel and students—the committee engaged residents with three public forums, input collected via email and a phone survey of 436 CUSD families. On May 11, the committee presented its findings to the board.
Feedback from the forums included the following concerns with an early start in August: heat and weather, impact on family vacations, alignment with sports schedules, ending the first semester before the winter holiday, and alignment with colleges for summer school and orientations. Staff confirmed that the current 2016-2017 calendar aligns with sports schedules and colleges, and the first semester ends before winter break. Addressing heat concerns, staff said it would cost an estimated $12.5 million to install air conditioning in every district classroom.
In the phone poll, 22 percent thought the Aug. 15 start date is a “very good idea,” 32 percent said it is a “very bad idea,” and 46 percent said it is somewhat good or bad or had no opinion.
The School Calendar Committee will meet again May 13 to review draft calendars for the 2017-2018 school year. Proposed calendars will be presented to the board on May 25.
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