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No real secret to why those LAUSD school days off are ‘unassigned’

Mike Szymanski | September 22, 2015

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calendar_iconIt may seem arbitrary, but there are usually half a dozen days off in the LAUSD school calendar that are called “Unassigned Days.” They are not for an official state or federal holiday, but somehow they usually coincide with a religious holiday.

So, the first Unassigned Day of the year fell on Sept. 14 when teachers and students had off. That was on the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana.

The next day off is tomorrow, which is Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.

Then, there’s the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the usual Thursday and Friday holidays for Thanksgiving from Nov. 23 through 27. Yes, this year the school district has off a week for Thanksgiving, probably something to do with a celebration of finding and catching turkeys.

And, the final Unassigned Day falls suspiciously on the Monday after Easter, March 28 next year.

The district isn’t calling those days off for the names of the specific religious holidays, but they know if those days weren’t taken off, there would be a high rate of absenteeism anyway. It costs the schools additional money for substitute teachers and a great loss of money in per-student attendance when there is high absenteeism.

“Days are labeled ‘unassigned’ because of high absenteeism on certain dates,” said Daryl Strickland, a district spokesman. “The District overall has a 180-day school year, spanning August to June.”

And, as one teacher, who recalls not having those Unassigned Days off during a year-round schedule in the past said, “I came to school one day and a third of the teachers were gone and the halls were empty. Then, the prinicpal told me it was Yom Kippur. We might as well have had a day off.”

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