School board opts for earlier calendar despite poll results

After conducting a poll of families and staff, the Santa Ana Unified School District School Board chose to limit vacations and begin and end earlier.

On January 24, 2017 the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education approved the 2017-18 calendar.  Next year’s calendar had significant changes including moving the first day of instruction to August 14, 2017, ending the school year May 31, limiting Thanksgiving break to three days, and reducing Winter Break from three weeks to two.

“I believe that the school board has to create a final calendar that they won’t be changing every year because to me it’s disturbing family time, and all the breaks we are supposed to have are not the same each year, ” said seventh-grader Mariana Garcia

Families and staff were polled earlier in the school year before the School Board made their final decision.  According to Principal Mr. David Casper, there were two options in the poll.  Option A was for students to enter on August 14, and end in May 31, 2018.  Option B was for students to enter in early September and end in late June.  

The Santa Ana Unified School District’s website says Option A was a good choice because it provides more time for students attending Summer Programs, taking the Advancement Placement Test, and the registration for students.  

The board approved the next 3 calendars 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-2020, all with the new, earlier calendar.  The calendar for 2017-18 students will be entering school on August 14 and ending May 31, the calendar for 2018-2019 students will be entering August 13 and ending May 30, and the calendar for 2019-20 students will be entering August 12 and ending May 28.

“The School Board has control of the calendar in our district. I would have loved to keep the third week of Winter Break, and the full week of Thanksgiving, and my survey response said just that!  In fact, a lot of the survey responses included those comments, but the board didn’t choose to agree to that.  The power here I think is mostly with the parents, honestly, because they are the ones who vote for our School Board members and who can vote someone else in next time to replace them if they want to,” said Language Arts Teacher Mrs. Claire Carlstroem.

Casper said the votes were not even a close match; Option A had about 20% and Option B had about 80%.  The Board of Education still chose the earlier calendar because they believed the changes would benefit students.

According to Casper, it does not matter what day we enter to school that when we come back to school all the teachers will be ready to teach. He will just have to move his vacation up and he will be set to go. Parents had an opportunity to either go on MacArthur website or the SAUSD website to vote, and they could vote multiple times.

“I would like to see the research that supports academic success with this new calendar,” said Language Arts Teacher Mrs. Cristina Barber

In conclusion, most parents and faculty voted for Option B, however, the school board ultimately decided to choose Option A.  As a result, families and faculty will have to reschedule their vacations not only for summer break, but also for Thanksgiving and Winter Break.

Read SAUSD’s official announcement here.