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Los Angeles Unified students will start school in mid-August and get three weeks off during the winter — for now. The Board of Education signaled doubts in its thinking on the school calendar yet again Tuesday night, approving only one more year...

L.A. Unified board unable to settle on long-term school calendar plan

Los Angeles Unified students will start school in mid-August and get three weeks off during the winter — for now. The Board of Education signaled doubts in its thinking on the school calendar yet again Tuesday night, approving only one more year...

L.A. Unified board unable to settle on long-term school calendar plan

Los Angeles Unified students will start school in mid-August and get three weeks off during the winter — for now. 

The Board of Education signaled doubts in its thinking on the school calendar yet again Tuesday night, approving only one more year of the current schedule instead of three. In a 5-2 vote, the board also asked the superintendent to survey parents on their preferences and collect data on how early school starts affect student outcomes.

In the past, schools across the country routinely started fall classes  after Labor Day. In recent years, though, L.A. Unified has joined other districts in starting the school year earlier.

Some families prefer a traditional post-Labor Day school start because it lets them schedule vacations and keeps their kids out of classrooms during the most intense heat of late summer. Some in the Los Angeles school system have pointed out that a later start also reduces air conditioning costs. Such views prevailed in September, when the Board of Education voted to shift away gradually from the earlier start. 

For months after she was named superintendent of the nation’s second-largest school system, Michelle King borrowed a strategy new politicians use to get the lay of the land: She traversed the territory on a “listen and learn” tour.

Although she had been working in the district for 31 years, she held...

For months after she was named superintendent of the nation’s second-largest school system, Michelle King borrowed a strategy new politicians use to get the lay of the land: She traversed the territory on a “listen and learn” tour.

Although she had been working in the district for 31 years, she held...

In December, board members rejected Supt. Michelle King’s compromise to eventually push the start date to late August and reduce the winter break to two weeks. Instead, they voted to start the school year in mid-August, preserving the entire week of Thanksgiving off as well as the three-week winter break.

Student board member Karen Calderon said the early school start and long winter break give high school students more time to meet college entrance requirements, complete applications with the help of school staff and prepare for Advanced Placement exams. 

King has been an advocate of an earlier start date, in part because it allows schools to finish the semester before the winter break and gives them more time during the break for credit recovery programs — which let students make up failed classes online or in person.

But board members George McKenna and Richard Vladovic pushed back Tuesday evening.

McKenna said that many parents don’t have the resources to take care of younger children for the long winter break.

“We have summer programs,” he said. “We don’t have winter programs where we feed the kids for three weeks.”

King said the repeated discussions about the calendar indicate that the board needs data both on outcomes and family preferences, but warned that those two might not align.

“We need to have an opportunity to really do a deep dive and look at the data over the course of the time that we’ve been on the early start, which we’re happy to do,” King said during the meeting. “In the end, it’s not going to be clear cut for us.”

Staff writer Howard Blume contributed to this report. 

A proposal to give civilians more power over disciplining the LAPD could backfire, President Obama gives his farewell speech, Frank Gehry's Grand Avenue project could go forward, and weeks of heavy rain and snow are reviving some California lakes.

A proposal to give civilians more power over disciplining the LAPD could backfire, President Obama gives his farewell speech, Frank Gehry's Grand Avenue project could go forward, and weeks of heavy rain and snow are reviving some California lakes.

A proposal to give civilians more power over disciplining the LAPD could backfire, President Obama gives his farewell speech, Frank Gehry's Grand Avenue project could go forward, and weeks of heavy rain and snow are reviving some California lakes.

A proposal to give civilians more power over disciplining the LAPD could backfire, President Obama gives his farewell speech, Frank Gehry's Grand Avenue project could go forward, and weeks of heavy rain and snow are reviving some California lakes.

Tonight, President Obama returns to Chicago to give a prime-time farewell address. Attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions is in the hot seat today. A storm that hit Northern California toppled the Pioneer Cabin Tree. Who should discipline police officers?

Tonight, President Obama returns to Chicago to give a prime-time farewell address. Attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions is in the hot seat today. A storm that hit Northern California toppled the Pioneer Cabin Tree. Who should discipline police officers?

Raw video of an attempted murder suspect leading police on a chase on the 405 Freeway Monday night.

Raw video of an attempted murder suspect leading police on a chase on the 405 Freeway Monday night.

Rescue crews were searching the Dominguez Channel in the Gardena area Monday morning after a woman reported her boyfriend had been washed away after entering the channel.

Rescue crews were searching the Dominguez Channel in the Gardena area Monday morning after a woman reported her boyfriend had been washed away after entering the channel.

Meryl Streep accepted the Cecil B. DeMille award at the 2017 Golden Globes Sunday Jan. 8.

Meryl Streep accepted the Cecil B. DeMille award at the 2017 Golden Globes Sunday Jan. 8.

Reach Sonali Kohli at [email protected] or on Twitter @Sonali_Kohli.

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