Advertisement

Not Popular, but Necessary

October 21, 1987

Plenty of people dislike the prospect of year-round schools throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District. Parents in the San Fernando Valley don't want the lives of their children interrupted because schools are crowded in other parts of the district. Parents in more crowded communities don't want only their children on the non-traditional calendar. The competing complaints are all legitimate. Nevertheless, going to year-round schools throughout the district is the best solution to the terrible overcrowding in some parts of Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, Warren Furutani, a neophyte member of the Los Angeles Board of Education, has undone the courageous but fragile decision to place all schools on the unpopular calendar.

Furutani had initially agreed with the decision to change the calendar as of July, 1989. That decision, made a week ago, would have allowed enough time to plan a smooth transition. He then decided that the public hadn't had enough say, despite hundreds of responses and letters, and forced the revote that put off the decision until March. The delay will halt planning, but it won't slow enrollment.

Nearly 600,000 students attend the schools in the Los Angeles Unified District. Almost 130,000 children attend year-round schools in crowded areas on the Eastside, in South Gate, Hollywood and the Mid-Wilshire district. Another 30,000 youngsters are bused to an uncrowded school. But more room is needed.

If all schools--even the uncrowded campuses--switch to the new year-round calendar, the district can respond more quickly to overcrowding by shifting campuses to a tracked schedule without major disruption. The tracked schedule would allow students to share desks; some study while others are on brief and staggered vacations. The district can also encourage day-care providers, after-school programs and other services in order to adjust to the new schedule. And all children would get equal treatment, no matter where they live.

New schools would be the best solution, but the district does not have the money.

Year-round schools are not popular with many people, but the Los Angeles Board of Education really has no choice.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|