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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Instructional Minutes at CUSD

Reader takes issue with cutting time in school to protect teacher paychecks.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The calendars previously attached to this letter to the editor were not official calendars from Capistrano Unified School District and contained inaccuracies. Patch has since attached an official calendar, approved by the Board of Trustees.

Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago: 

It is unacceptable that a student graduating high school in Chicago has had four years less of classroom instruction time than her counterpart in Houston. Until learning time is extended, particularly for students that need it most, achievement won't dramatically improve.

On an average of U.S. students go to school 6.5 hours a day, over the course of 180 days. The state of Illinois requires 176 days of education. Last year, the Chicago Public Schools only had 170 days. All eyes are on .

As a parent, did you know that the state of California has lowered the required minimum number of days of school to 160 (half days are treated like full days in this count).

The currently approved CUSD calendar gives our students 129 full days of school plus 45 Minimum Days, which is 174 (if you are counting minimum days equal to full days).  

CUSD elementary school children are in school 8 a.m. to 2:20 p.m., six hours 20 minutes per day during a full day and five hours per day during a minimum day.

Are the children in CUSD going to graduate high school with four less years of classroom instruction than their counterparts across the country? 

The CUSD Elementary School Calendar for 2012- 2013 shows that our children will be in school:

 Month  Number of Full Days   Number of Minimum Days   September   14  4  October  17  6  November  9  7  December  12  3  January  14  4  February  14  4  March  13  7  April  13  4  May  18  4  June  5  2  TOTAL:  129  45

Holding Our Children Hostage

The district . This would put our school year at 165 days (technically 164 days if your child's back-to-school night is not held on a minimum day). The last day of school will be May 26.

If needed, the district can use five additional furlough days as needed (down to 160 days) to balance its budget. This would end our school year May 17, (10 percent shorter school year than last year, which would make it the shortest school year in the nation.)

As a parent - how do you feel about our district short-changing your children's education to maintain employee compensation? That was the choice that the current board made this summer while parents were on vacation. They did so behind closed doors with no input from parents or the public. They did so on the record and with no discussion .

If you care about your child's education, you need to be a voice for your child because there is no one at CUSD who is making decisions from the perspective of what is in the best interest of the children – it is all about adult jobs.

Dawn Urbanek September 15, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I think the kids have sacrificed enough already and school days should be restored.
Capo mom September 15, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Typical CUEA response, everyone else needs to do something more. We in the community are already sacrificing. And our sacrifices will never be restored. The kids that are on the cusp of a breakthrough or preparing for an AP exam, their opportunities are simply lost. Now it is your turn. Bearing in mind that my expectations are quite low, come up with a tangible sacrifice/contribution that CUEA is willing to make that doesn't involve taking something away from our kids, please. We have seen how CUEA shares in the sacrifice-they go on strike. Vicky Soderberg has raised that as an ongoing possibility in the current environment. Things would look very different for our kids if unions actually advocated for them.
fact checker September 15, 2012 at 06:15 PM
What have the parents sacrificed?
Capo mom September 15, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Wow fact checker. Just wow.
Dawn Urbanek September 15, 2012 at 07:14 PM
$50 billion in taxes, countless volunteer hours plus millions in "donations"... My school site budget is about $450,000 (that is the budget the school is suppose to run on) but in addition to that we rely on $350,000 in donations. That is not sustainable and is by ACLU settlement standards- illegal. We now have schools fundraising for teacher compensation, instructional aids and library staff. If the District had not taken the furlough days- then employee compensation would be over 100% of the Districts budget.

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