Classes will begin one week later in the Los Angeles Unified School District next year, then begin another week later the following year under a plan approved Tuesday night by the Board of Education.
Three board members — Richard Vladovic, George McKenna and Scott Schmerelson — initially introduced a resolution asking that the district begin future school years after Labor Day.
Superintendent Michelle King, however, suggested a compromise to begin classes next year on Aug.22, one week later than this year’s Aug. 16 start date.
She said in subsequent years, classes could begin the week before Labor Day, with the 2018-19 school year beginning on Aug. 28.
King said the compromise schedule allows the district to still finish the fall semester before the winter break, which will be reduced from three weeks to two weeks. She said the compromise will also require students to attend classes on two days during the week of Thanksgiving instead of having the entire week off.
The board approved the compromise on a 5-2 vote, with Monica Garcia and Monica Ratliff dissenting.
Garcia said she opposed the idea because the district’s move to an earlier start date was designed to improve scores on midterm exams and Advanced Placement tests, ultimately boosting graduation rates. She said the move has worked, and the district shouldn’t change it.
“I feel that we have made improved effort in this district because we have been focused on achieving academic gains,” she said.
McKenna countered, however, that he does not believe changing the calendar will have a negative impact on students’ education.
“I think the quality of instruction does not change based upon the calendar,” he said.
According to the board members who introduced the resolution, the district has received complaints about the hot weather at the beginning of the school year forcing students to remain indoors — limiting their physical activity — and about the cost of running air conditioners to keep classrooms cool.
“Maintenance on AC units is an ongoing and increasingly costly issue, including rising electrical costs; additionally, some activities must be conducted in rooms or facilities built without climate control,” according to the resolution.
The 2016-17 school year is scheduled to end June 9.