L.A. Unified Board Unable to Settle on Long-Term School Calendar Plan

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On Tuesday, the L.A. Unified school board voted to maintain -- at least for the moment -- a three-week winter break, which would allow for credit recovery courses like this one at Newmark High School to continue. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Unified students will start school in mid-August and get three weeks off during the winter — for now.

The Board of Education signaled doubts in its thinking on the school calendar yet again Tuesday night, approving only one more year of the current schedule instead of three. In a 5-2 vote, the board also asked the superintendent to survey parents on their preferences and collect data on how early school starts affect student outcomes.

In the past, schools across the country routinely started fall classes  after Labor Day. In recent years, though, L.A. Unified has joined other districts in starting the school year earlier.

Some families prefer a traditional post-Labor Day school start because it lets them schedule vacations and keeps their kids out of classrooms during the most intense heat of late summer. Some in the Los Angeles school system have pointed out that a later start also reduces air conditioning costs. Such views prevailed in September, when the Board of Education voted to shift away gradually from the earlier start.

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