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By Allison Jarrell
To the chagrin of some parents, the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees voted 6-1 on Oct. 14 night to keep the current academic calendar for the 2016-2017 school year with an Aug. 15 start date.
The board discussed three options for 2016-2017—keep the current calendar with an Aug. 15 start date, amend the calendar to mirror this year’s schedule with an Aug. 22 start date and the first semester ending in January, or start the year on Aug. 22 with the first semester ending in December, which would cut Thanksgiving break short.
Members of the public spoke for more than an hour about the options, with the majority of students and teachers in favor of keeping the calendar as is. A group of students at the meeting said they already start sports and extracurricular activities in mid-August, and the early end date in June aligns well with Saddleback College courses. According to CUSD, about 60 percent of the district’s college-going students attend Saddleback.
The parents who spoke opposing the Aug. 15 start date cited higher temperatures, lack of air conditioning and doubt that the schedule would actually help high school students.
While some trustees viewed air conditioning as a separate issue, Superintendent Kirsten Vital noted that the lack of air conditioning in some schools is currently being examined by staff.