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By Jim Shilander

Capistrano Unified School District students will begin their school year before Labor Day the next two years, after the district’s Board of Trustees voted March 11 to begin the 2016-2017 Academic year on Aug. 15, 2016. The upcoming school year will begin Aug. 25. The earlier start allows the district to align the calendar with other county schools.

The calendar will also align more closely with Saddleback College in order to provide more opportunities for high school students to receive instruction at the college in the summer and direct instruction during the school year.

Heather Brown (the wife of San Clemente City Councilman Tim Brown) has started a petition drive against the early start. Brown said parents were not given adequate notice that the decision was coming and were not adequately informed about the decision afterward.

“We weren’t given the opportunity to weigh in before such a monumental change reversing decades of our schools existing summer schedule,” Brown said. “They should be considerate of parents and teachers and give us that opportunity and revisit this change.”

In addition to concerns about lost family time and vacations, Brown said she is concerned that the decision was made without consideration of the potential problems of lack of air conditioning in some schools. She noted that she is the mother of an AP student at San Clemente High School.

“Ultimately, there have to be other alternatives we can explore to accomplishing the stated goals without upending the entire K-9 school start schedule,” Brown said.

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