Sacramento City Unified school board grapples with massive budget shortfall
This year’s summer break could get shorter for students in the Sacramento City Unified School District.
The district announced Wednesday that its Board of Education approved a calendar change for the 2019-20 school year. Under the plan, which still needs approval from the teachers union, school will let out for the summer on June 13 as scheduled, but the next school year would begin Aug. 14, two weeks earlier than previously planned. The last day of school in 2020 would be May 28.
Students, who started the current school year on Aug. 30, would lose two weeks of vacation this summer only as the schedule adjusts.
Sacramento City Unified officials said that because students finish the school year later than surrounding districts, they’ve missed opportunities such as community college summer classes, summer camps and other programs.
“There are enrichment opportunities that are available in the summer and our students cannot participate because they are in school,” said district spokesman Alex Barrios. “From an academic and enrichment perspective, this is best for our students.”
Older students also could apply for summer jobs that start filling up in early June.
“This change is very student-centered,” Superintendent Jorge Aguilar said. “I would like to see our high school students capitalize on opportunities to enroll in Sacramento City College, particularly in career pathway programs.”
The district’s school year calendar currently ends after Sacramento City College’s first summer session begins.
Aguilar said one of the main driving points for the change was to create a clean semester break. The changes will allow students to take finals and end their first semester just before winter break, while the current calendar requires them to take their exams after the two-week break.
Changing the calendar will increase attendance at the start of the school year, according to the district. In previous years, many students reportedly missed class because the first day of school landed so close to Labor Day.
Sacramento City Unified is one of a handful of area districts that end school in mid-June and start at the end of August.
The changes would bring Sacramento City in line with other districts in the region, including Folsom Cordova Unified, and Elk Grove Unified’s traditional calendar.
The proposal won’t be finalized until all labor partners agree to it.
Four district labor partners — SEIU 1021, United Professional Educators, teamsters Local 150 and Teamsters Classified Supervisors — all supported the calendar changes. The Sacramento City Teachers Association has not agreed to the changes, and the district continues to seek the union’s approval.
“Our process is to involve all of our members and to think of the pros and cons,” said SCTA President David Fisher. “We haven’t come to a collective conclusion.”
Fisher said community members have expressed concern that students would attend classes throughout August, which often has Spare the Air days and some of the warmest weather of the year.