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Castaic Union reduces summer school

District will still offer math enrichment and special education programs

Posted: June 15, 2009 10:38 p.m.
Updated: June 16, 2009 4:55 a.m.
In a cost-cutting move, Castaic Union School District has reduced its 2009 summer school program following a 4-1 vote by board members Monday.

The K-7 intervention programs for math and language arts students will not be offered, meaning that 432 Castaic Union students will not be able to participate in summer school, said Janene Maxon, assistant superintendent of educational services.

Along with the vote to reduce summer school, in which board member Angela Marler dissented, the board approved rescinding offers of employment to 26 certificated employees and 10 classified staff members.

The district will still offer its math enrichment program, Gifted And Talented Education (GATE) summer enrichment and special education program to a total of 150 students.

The district is mandated to offer its special education program during the summer and funding comes from Individuals With Disabilities Act (IDEA) funding. Parents of GATE students have paid for half of the funding needed for the GATE summer program.

The modified summer school will start June 22 and will run for 16 days.

The full summer school program costs the district about $112,000 and the modified program will now cost the district an estimated $4,000.

Throughout the meeting, board members wrestled with whether to keep, eliminate or reduce summer school for the K-8 school district, bringing up the effectiveness of the district's summer school program.

"I feel that if we pass on summer school, it would not be a humongous deficit to us," Maxon said, later adding, "In other years, I would have been worried."

Maxon said the district has improved its efforts to meet student's educational needs during the school year.

"I haven't seen a tremendous amount of growth in our students in summer school," Maxon said.

While a summer school program creates learning opportunities for students, keeping the full summer school program could mean teacher layoffs and salary reductions later on, Superintendent James Gibson said.

Following the failure of the May 19 ballot initiatives, district officials determined that the latest state budget reductions to education would put the district from a positive $900,000 to a negative $1.6 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year budget, Gibson said.

After analyzing figures, district officials turned to eliminating summer school as a way to offset anticipated budget reductions in the next three fiscal years, Gibson said.

The last-minute decision was left to board members during a special board meeting held a week before summer school begins.


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