Tuesday, September 07, 2010


by Howard Blume |LA Times/LA Now blog |http://lat.ms/akSylS

September 7, 2010 | Welcome to the first day of school -- not.

The Tuesday after Labor Day marks the traditional opening of the academic year for students in the Los Angeles Unified School District, but not this time around.

Budget cuts have resulted in a shorter school year and unpaid furlough days for teachers and other employees. That reality, combined with the Jewish High Holy Days, have pushed things back to Sept. 13.

So why are there students already attending public schools in some parts of the nation's second-largest school system?

That’s due to another recent development: a desire by some principals to start school earlier so their students have more instructional days before the annual state standardized tests in May.

  • Alert the uh-oh! squad: The move is already afoot to dispense with the state standardized  tests in May – to be replaced with national tests to be given during the year.

High schools that started Aug. 9 include Arleta, Sun Valley High and Polytechnic, according to the district. High schools that started Aug. 16 include Canoga Park, El Camino Real, Taft, Cleveland, Jefferson and Maywood Academy.

And students in nearly 200 independently run local charter schools are starting whenever they want to.

Looking forward, furlough days also will extend the Thanksgiving holiday for students.

Another adjustment for students and parents will be the latest round of reductions in bus service. As a result of $9 million in cuts to transportation, students attending magnet schools will have to make it to the local high school for their bus pickup.

  • Uh-oh! #2: Students whose 'local school' is Eagle Rock HS have to get to Bernstein High School in Hollywood (a distance of 12 mi.) to catch the bus to the Daniel Pearl Magnet in the Valley. The direct distance from ERHS to Pearl is 19 mi. and takes 27 minutes in good traffic; the distance from Eagle Rock to Bernstein to Pearl is: 25 mi and takes 40 minutes. 

     How green/convenient/magnetic is that? 

There will be no more bus transportation at Lane Elementary in Monterey Park, Palms Middle School in Palms, Revere Middle School in Pacific Palisades and Westchester High and Wright Middle School in Westchester.

More detailed information is available at: http://transportation.lausd.net or by calling 1-800-LABUSES (522-8737).

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