Sac City won’t extend school year after all. What it means for students and district

·3 min read
Hector Amezcua/hamezcua@sacbee.com

Sacramento City Unified School District will not extend its academic year to make up for class time lost during an eight-day teacher strike, district officials announcing on Thursday, dropping a proposal that could have kept classrooms open until late June.

The last day of school will be June 16 for all 40,000 students in the district.

The announcement raises the likelihood that the school district will have to pay penalty to the state for failing to provide the minimum amount of required instruction time. It also means teachers won’t be paid for the days they would have worked.

The strike ended April 4. Since then, district officials and the Sacramento City Teachers Association sent proposals back and forth identifying ways to extend instructional minutes and days to the school calendar.

“We had hoped to be able to provide additional instructional time for students this school year to recover the learning time lost due to the recent strike,” read a statement from the district. “Unfortunately, we were not able to reach a student-centered agreement with the Sacramento City Teachers’ Association (SCTA) to extend this school year without the necessary assurances to appropriately staff our schools, especially given the varying needs of our diverse student population.”

The Sacramento City Teachers Association filed an unfair practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Board on May 13, which alleged the district imposed too many provisions on its proposal to extend class time. The teachers union sent its last proposal to the district on Monday, and said it was not part of the discussion to make up days over the span of two years.

The district said its now building a plan to add 16 days of instruction over a two-year period of time.

When a district opts to make up days over the span of two years, it must make-up twice the number of instructional days and minutes lost, according to the state Board of Education.

“After two years in which students missed significant classroom time due to COVID, we owe them more learning time, not less,” the district said in a letter to families.

By adding 16 days over the next two years, the district said it will seek a waiver from the state to reduce its financial penalty, which could amount to as much as $47 million.

The Sacramento district has a 181-day school year, just one day over the minimum number required by the state for full funding. The district would have had to seven schooldays to avoid a state penalty.

SCTA President David Fisher said requesting a waiver from the state was a “long-shot.”

“This just confirms what many suspected — the district was never serious about recovering the $47 million, demonstrating the continued fiscal mismanagement by this school board,” Fisher told The Sacramento Bee. “Think of the lives that could be improved with an additional $47 million.”

It’s unclear how and where the additional three weeks of instruction would be added in the next two years, but students and their families pushed back at the proposal of the school year being extended this summer. Many students hold summer jobs, and take summer school at local city colleges. Sacramento City Unified already ends much later than other school districts in the area.

Many parents in the district told The Bee that if the school year was extended, they would not bring their children to school. Many families had vacations and summer camps scheduled for the week that the district was considering to schedule make up days.

The 2022-23 school year will begin on Sept. 1.

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