To ease classroom overcrowding, Orange Unified School District officials have decided to put six elementary schools on year-round schedules, starting this fall.
Students at those schools--Cambridge, Sycamore, Fairhaven, Lampson, Taft and West Orange--will be on varying schedules so that one group of students is on vacation at any given time.
Called multitrack, such a system gives all classes more space and takes advantage of the state's class-size reduction program, which pays a bonus to schools that have no more than 20 pupils for each teacher in primary grades.
Two elementary schools slated for the change, La Veta and Jordan, were given a reprieve last week after parents protested to school board members. But officials said that will likely change for the following year.
Some district trustees said they do not support putting any schools on the year-round schedule.
"If we're going to be doing the 20-to-1 [student-teacher ratio] at the cost of going to year-round schools, then I think our priorities are messed up," said board President Martin Jacobson, who voted against the proposal.
Superintendent Robert L. French said the district's overcrowding has reached crisis proportions, however, even without the reduced size-class program. About 4,000 new students are expected in the next five years, which is enough to fill a new school each year, he said.
French said all 26 of the district's schools will probably have to be on the new schedules in five years just to handle the increase in enrollment.