Summer is nearly here and school's out! Except for hundreds of poor students in Chino, California, who got an unwelcome surprise news that they have to sit for 34 more days of school because of a clerical error. If they didn't, the school district would lose millions in funding.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the mindboggling bureaucracy and arcane rules that is the school system:
"We made an error on the minimum days of about five minutes," said Dickson Principal Sue Pederson. "Realistically, that's our accounting mistake as adults. We're unfortunately making the children pay for it by making them give up their summer."
Students at each school exceeded the state's requirement of at least 54,000 minutes of annual classroom time, but the problem arose in the district's minimum days. Schools typically have one shortened day per week, allowing teachers to use the remaining time for planning and parent conferences. Under state law, these days must be at least 180 minutes, and the daily average classroom time over 10 consecutive days must be 240 minutes.
An internal audit in early May discovered that 34 minimum days had been 175 minutes at Dickson and 170 at Rolling Ridge, said district spokeswoman Julie Gobin. That adds up to a shortage of 170 and 340 minutes, respectively, which could be made up in one or two school days. But under state law, these too-short days do not count at all, meaning that all 34 must be made up to avoid a state penalty of more than $7 million.
Seema Mehta of the Los Angeles Times has the report: Link
(Photo: Christine Cotter / LA Times)