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New Hearings on Year-Round School Plan Begin

December 10, 1987|ELAINE WOO | Times Education Writer

Opening yet around round of public hearings on expanding the Los Angeles school district's year-round school program, parents from the Eastside to South-Central Los Angeles told a school board committee Wednesday night that they are perplexed by the controversial calendars.

The hearings, which will be held in different parts of the sprawling district over the next three months, were promised by the board in October, after it withdrew a decision to place the district on a year-round schedule beginning in 1989.

Board member Warren Furutani, who represents an area stretching from Watts to San Pedro, asked for reconsideration of the volatile issue because he did not believe the public had been adequately informed.

"We brought in something through the back door that had not had public scrutiny," Furutani, who chaired the hearing, told the largely Latino audience of about 150 at Drew Junior High School in South-Central Los Angeles. "That was unfair."

One parent, Raul Martinez of Lincoln High School, said he feared that the year-round schedule would make it impossible for many students to attend special college enrichment programs offered only in the summer.

"How are we going to handle those kids?" Martinez asked. "If we go year-round, those kids won't be able" to take advantage of such opportunities.

Maria Garcia, whose child attends South Gate High School, a year-round school, said she strongly supported the concept. She said it has enabled many students to avoid being bused away to schools with extra seats, and it has been educationally sound. "Year-round school does not necessarily mean inferior education," she said.

The seven-member school board is split on the year-round proposal, with Furutani holding the crucial swing vote. A final decision on the issue is expected sometime after March 1, when the public hearings will be over.

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