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Petitioners Want Out of All-Year School Plan

June 04, 1987|DAVID HALDANE | Times Staff Writer

LONG BEACH — A group of parents from Mark Twain Elementary School this week continued their campaign to prevent year-round operation from coming to their campus by presenting the school board with a petition opposing it.

So far, Twain parents are the only vocal opponents of the plan, which has been under consideration since last summer.

"We would consider year-round school a very profound intrusion into our personal lives," said Boyed Hudnall, one of three parents who spoke at a packed meting of the Long Beach Unified School District board.

The petition the parents presented contained 411 signatures, which they said represents 45.3% of their school's enrollment.

Twain is one of seven Long Beach elementary schools being considered for year-round operation beginning in the fall of 1988. The others are Burbank, Burnett, Lafayette, Lee, Stevenson and Willard.

School district officials have said that year-round operation--which they estimate can boost a school's capacity by 25% to 30%--is necessary to accommodate growing enrollment and ease overcrowding.

But while a series of meetings held at the targeted schools drew little opposition to the plan, about 200 Twain parents attended a meeting last month at which strong opposition was expressed. Unlike the other schools involved, Twain--located in the middle-class Lakewood Village section of the city near Long Beach City College--has a majority Anglo enrollment of 69.2%. The next highest Anglo enrollment is at Burbank, with 35.8%.

Several Problems Cited

"We can't see anything our students have to gain from it and a lot they have to lose," Hudnall said of the plan.

Among the problems year-round operation would present, he said, are the interruption of "long-established patterns" of family interaction during the summer; disruption of children's access to summer-only programs like scout camps and Bible schools; and exacerbation of a shortage of quality day care during periods in which school is not in session.

The school board is expected next week to ask some of the seven schools in question to conduct feasibility studies regarding year-round operation as it pertains to specific conditions on their campuses. By October, board members say, they expect to designate the two or more schools that will actually make the transition to year-round operation.

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