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With huge boost in budget, LAUSD expands summer school

Vanessa Romo | May 6, 2014

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LAUSD expands summer school with huge boost in budgetLA Unified’s summer school programs are getting a massive injection of money this year, to a whopping $29 million from the current $1 million budget. The surge of cash, drawn from a combination of sources, will increase access to classes for struggling students by 600 percent over the previous two years.

Altogether, approximately 60,000 students from elementary school through high school will be able to catch up on subjects at more than 200 school sites around the district.

“This is a great opportunity for our students who are behind or haven’t gotten everything they need during the school year,” Javier Sandoval, an administrator for Beyond the Bell told LA School Report.

The biggest chunk of money, $21.5 million, will support 37,000 high school students who need to recover credits to fulfill graduation requirements. For the first time in six years, students can take two classes over the five-week session. As another first, magnet school students attending classes on their own campus will be eligible for bus transportation.

The high school programs will be paid for with funds from Common Core State Standards, the CORE Waiver and Title 1 dollars from the current school year, which the district was able to use by squeezing in the summer school session before the end of July.

Elementary and middle school students in some of LA Unified’s neediest schools will have access to classes for four weeks over the break, in a program called Extended Learning Opportunity Summer Programs, funded through the district’s Core Waiver.

About 13,000 elementary students at 108 schools will have two hours of direct instruction in English Language Arts. More than 16,000 middle schoolers will get an hour each of English and math lessons, plus an hour of project-based activities. And every K-8 class will take a field trip that is tied into their curriculum.

As impressive as the numbers are compared with recent years of district-wide austerity, Sandoval says they still fall short.

“It’s still not enough,” he said. “There’s no doubt we’ll still be leaving out thousands of kids out.”

Sandoval recalls the hey-day of 2007-08, when the district spent about $43 million on summer programs.

“Back then,” he said, “all student in second through 12th grade had the opportunity to come to summer school for credit recovery or for enrichment. They could come just to get ahead.”

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