LAUSD Votes To Gradually Push School Start Date Further Back Into Late August

thomas_jeffersonhigh.jpg
LAUSD's Jefferson High School (Photo by Michael Locke via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)

Los Angeles Unified School District board members struck a compromise on the passionate debate over school start dates, voting Tuesday to gradually push the beginning of the academic year further back into late August—but still not after Labor Day.

Classes for the district's approximately 640,000 students will commence one week later next year, beginning on Aug. 22, 2017 (school started on August 16 this year). The start date will be pushed further back to August 28 for the 2018-2019 school year. The approved plan was a compromise presented by LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King, according to a press release from the district. We are sorry to break the news to our high school readers, but the change won't mean more summer break; the end of the school year will just extend later into June.

The board had been considering a proposal that would have pushed the start of the academic year to after Labor Day.

LAUSD's "early start" was implemented in 2012; up until then, most schools in the district started after Labor Day. According to KTLA, the nation's second largest school district made the change so that students would be able to take exams and finish the fall semester before winter break, and also hopefully improve AP scores in the spring. According to the L.A. Times, early start proponents credit the change with propelling rising graduation rates and "other gains" for the school system.

The earlier start date, however, has come with a host of complaints, many relating to the hotter August temperatures. Schools have had increased air conditioning costs, and parents have bemoaned the need to keep their kids indoors and out of the heat.

Martin Wong, an LAUSD parent whose daughter attends a Chinatown elementary school, told LAist that he felt starting school in the first half of August was "way too early and way too hot.”

"We liked going on little road trips after the new year when everyone else went back to school,” Wong said. "But a shorter break makes sense because most families struggle with that week of child care and you can imagine how hard it is to get kids back to school after so much time off."

The L.A. School Report reports that although the total number of school days will not change, the approved plan does include a few other calendar tweaks:

The number of days of instruction remains at 180. But the Thanksgiving break will be reduced next year to three days, instead of the whole week off, as students have had the past four years. Winter break will also be cut, from three weeks to two weeks. Unassigned days, such as for Jewish holidays, will not change.

“I am very pleased that Superintendent King has listened to the voices of our parents and our communities and has found a compromise that will start school after the worst of the August weather, and still end the semester before the winter break. This plan will give us the best of all solutions: meet the needs of our parent's busy schedules, maintain our ability to perform credit recovery over the winter break, and keep our schedule as much as possible away from the hottest portions of the year," school board member Dr. Richard Vladovic said in a statement.