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Calendar Change Made Without Consulting Parents

Editor:

I’m writing to you to communicate my frustration and displeasure with the school board’s sudden decision to change the district calendar.

My family doesn’t want a whole week off of school at Thanksgiving. As it is, we already have so many breaks during the school year that by the time our kids get out, it is nearly the Fourth of July. Starting the 2013-14 school year in August would be extremely inconvenient for my family and many others I know. Most of these kids work summer jobs (many as lifeguards, at local businesses and the Sawdust Festival) or internships, and only have a few days at the end of the summer to enjoy the Labor Day weekend with their friends and families. We are a beach community, and much of our local economy is organized around tourism, and this final weekend of summer is an important part of our culture. I don’t particularly care what other towns do; Laguna is a unique community with its own unique needs.

I’m also very unhappy with the way this decision was made, and I’ve talked to a significant number of parents who feel the way I do. Changing the school calendar is a big deal, and it doesn’t appear that the school board even gave the parents in this district a chance to weigh in on it. I saw that this was an agenda item for the Jan. 22 board meeting, but the item was simply listed as “School Calendar, Mr. Vlasic”—Note that it did not say, “Consideration of changes to School Calendar,” or include any description of what was being proposed or any action that was going to be taken.  So a parent looking at that agenda would have absolutely no idea that the board was actually going to make such a significant change without any prior warning.  In short, it seems to many of us that the school board is operating in a vacuum, and doesn’t actually want the input of the community. This has got to change.

I’m requesting that the board and administration get real input from the parents in our district, and based upon that input, consider changing the calendar back to our traditional, post-Labor Day-start format.

Sarah Vanderveen, Laguna Beach

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