California’s unprecedented state budget crisis has caused the School District to look at making significant cuts to its programs but for now the School Board has decided to retain most of its Intensive Intervention Summer School (IISS).
Board members discussed the issue at their January 14 board meeting by deciding among three options. The first option considered was to have summer credit courses only for high school students who had failed and, if space permitted, for students who received a “D” in a course. Also included would be the Connect for Success program for IISS students who would be entering ninth grade in the fall.
Another option would be to have a limited set of programs that would include the program for high school students who failed or received a “D,” including Connect for Success, having AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) students take World History, and having IISS eligible students who will be sixth graders in the fall participate in Jump Start to Middle School.
The final option would be to offer all the summer school programs offered in the past with less administrative support. All options would also include the intervention/enrichment program at Title 1-funded elementary schools, the Extended School Year program for special education students at all levels, and the Young Collegians program at Santa Monica College.
Option two was decided upon by a majority of the Board with the addition of the program for students who will in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades in the fall who need extra help. Board members felt this option would provide some needed cost savings and continue the valuable opportunities Summer School can provide to District students.
Board President Barry Snell stated he couldn’t emphasize enough that there are a lot of tough decisions that we’re going to have to make in terms of budget cuts “and this decision is going affect our decisions down the road.” A direction had to be given about the Summer School program now because the District needs to begin its preparations for Summer School right away.
Board member Ralph Mechur cautioned the Board after its decision that if in the spring deeper cuts have to be made because the emergency/temporary parcel tax doesn’t pass, “some of this would have to go later on.”
The Board also heard a report on enrollment trends from its consultant Mike Regal from Decisioninsite. He noted that this year there has been modest growth and some of that can be attributed to the down economy which has caused families to place their children in the District rather than private schools. The key question is will they stay when the economy picks up? It will also be necessary for the District to continue to watch enrollment numbers over the next two years to decide whether the increase in enrollment is actually a trend.
Regal also noted that the District’s enrollment currently is 11,608 students with 14 percent (1,617) being students that attend on out-of-District permits. These are issued when a student’s family lives outside of the District’s boundaries. Regal stated these students “are creating stability” for the District’s enrollment but their numbers are declining due to the District’s current permit policy.
Enrollment numbers are significant because they determine the amount of money the District receives from the state in Average Daily Attendance funds.
Mirror Contributing Writerhannah@smmirror.com