Clerical Error Means 34 More Days of School

Filed under: In The News

Summer is delayed for some California students. Photo: Maxime Perron Caissy/sxc.hu

As a kid, few things are as exciting as the anticipation of the last day of school. As the days get longer and warmer, the countdown to sweet, sweet freedom is a welcome distraction to the rigors and routine of the school year. But some elementary school students in Southern California are going to have to start over with their final countdown as their school year has been unexpectedly extended for an additional 34 days.

Through no fault of their own, the students at Dickson Elementary in Chino and Rolling Ridge Elementary in Chino Hills were dismissed 5 to 10 minutes early on thirty-four separate occasions since the school year began. This means they have missed anywhere from 170 to a maximum of 340 minutes of state-mandated classroom time. That adds up to maybe a day or two in school, but because of a quirk in California law, the students cannot just make up the actual missed minutes. They have do those 34 days all over again!

The rules are intentionally strict to discourage schools from deliberately shortening days and the penalty for non-compliance involves loss of state funding. But in this case, the short days were merely a clerical error on the part an associate superintendent, who has taken full responsibility and, coincidentally, is planning to retire this year. Probably a smart move on her part.

The kids are understandably upset and I imagine their parents are none too happy as well. But on the plus side, the students will get a jump start on next year's curriculum and enjoy some extra arts, music and science classes. That sounds like just as much fun as sleeping late and swimming all day, right?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.