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District Seeks to Avoid Year-Round Extension

October 23, 1998|JASON KANDEL

School officials will seek alternatives to expanding year-round schedules to all of the Santa Ana School District's 41 elementary and intermediate schools.

A proposal to begin year-round classes in the schools that don't have it was met by strong opposition from about 300 parents at a recent meeting.

"It's considered a real quick fix for the overcrowding issue," board Vice President Rosemarie Avila said. Year-round schedules "are very hard on everyone. The school's priority becomes scheduling. Academically, we have suffered because of going on year-round."

With a deadline looming next month to add schools to a year-round schedule for classes that begin next July, Santa Ana Unified board members last week decided to table their decision on a plan that would help alleviate overcrowding.

"We don't want to rush into year-round when there's a better solution for better learning environments," Avila said.

Twenty-four elementary and four intermediate schools currently run on year-round schedules in the district.

Year-round schedules spread nine months of school sessions throughout the calendar year. Four groups of students are put on a rotating schedule: 60 days in class, 20 days off.

Officials sought to change the schedules of the nine elementary and four intermediate schools remaining on traditional schedules, which run September through June, and formed the Student Housing Committee in August to come up with solutions.

"The No. 1 benefit of year-round cycles is the increase in capacity of the schools," committee member Mike Vail said. The committee will research transfer patterns at various schools to try to balance enrollment, and will consider increasing the high school day by adding periods to reduce overcrowding, Vail said.

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