Our SEIU Local 99 bargaining team met with LAUSD on October 4. One of the key issues discussed was the district’s proposal to change the school calendar to reschedule acceleration days from Oct. 19, Dec. 7, March 15 and April 19 to dates during winter and spring breaks – Dec. 19 & 20 and April 3 & 4. Our bargaining team rejected the district’s proposal.
We believe that changing the school calendar in the middle of the semester will be disruptive to students, families and workers at LAUSD. A last-minute change to a calendar that was already set by the school board this past spring will do a disservice to the very students and families these acceleration days are intended to help.
Furthermore, implementing a change to the school year now, without input from parents and other stakeholders, nor data from the district justifying the change, sends a troubling message that critical decisions, which are debated and decided in public meetings, can be easily and quickly overturned without considering the voices of the entire school community.
The district’s proposal to change the acceleration day schedule to coincide with the winter and spring break disrupts the very purpose of giving students and families a break from the daily commutes and rigors of school. School breaks should be times of rest and renewal, essential for mental health. The district must strike a better balance between academic acceleration and emotional support for students who are already struggling.
If the district is sincere about utilizing the acceleration days as a core strategy for addressing learning loss, it should do so on days that maximize student participation. Working parents plan family gatherings and vacation travel far ahead of time based on the school calendar. A change will have a personal and financial impact on families and could impede a parent’s ability to enroll their children in the acceleration days.
Furthermore, in a survey of SEIU Local 99 members, nearly 50% indicated that they would not be available to work during the winter and spring break acceleration days because of previous commitments. Without enough special education assistants, food service workers, campus aides and other essential staff on campus during acceleration days, students and the district will face additional challenges.
We understand that teachers have agreed to changing the acceleration day schedule and respect their process. However, there are 30,000 other education workers at LAUSD – many also parents of students in the district – who are concerned about how the mid-year change will adversely affect students, parents and workers.
We let the district know that implementing a new calendar without considering the voices of the entire school community is irresponsible, disrespectful and in violation of collective bargaining laws.
If you are having issues regarding being required to work on October 19, December 7, 2022 or March 15 and April 19, 2023 and are not able to, please report it by completing the form below.
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