As the Valley Sun reported last week, the LCUSD Governing Board recently voted 4-1, with Joel Peterson dissenting, to cut four complete days of school next year, replacing them with four pupil-free days for teacher professional development. The district will add a few minutes to each school day to keep the total annual minutes about the same or even a little higher, but the four days will be gone.
The basic agreement was made during teacher contract negotiations, behind closed doors, with almost no input from parents or members of the community, who are paying more, yet getting less. The four days off is not a consequence of a weak budget. It is a completely voluntary district experiment.
Sadly, this major decision follows the same path the district and board took regarding the high school’s experimental STEP program. Starting in 2008, that program slashed valuable instructional minutes to make room for mini-courses, including table tennis and football study hall. Heralded by the district as an important enrichment program for students and teachers, STEP is now a shell of its former self, and instructional time has been restored to teaching core classes.