In light of budget cuts, SUHSD makes changes to summer school

Avalon Johnson

Catherine Armenta, Managing Editor

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On average, every year, the district has an allocated amount of around 800,000 dollars to fund for summer school programs. However, as a result of SUHSD budget cuts, according to BVH Principal Roman Del Rosario, Ed.D., the district is left with 400,000 dollars available to fund for summer school.

“I know that there’s a sense of anxiety on behalf of students and families about summer school. Summer school is one of those items that is not mandatory for districts to offer and for students to take, but we want to make sure that the opportunity is there for our students,” Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Ana Maria Alvarez said.

As of now, it has been confirmed that summer school will be offered in the SUHSD. However, as opposed to the last two school years where summer school was offered at all high school sites, this year summer school will only take place at three schools: BVH, Sweetwater High and Montgomery High. Offering less sites saves money that would have been spent on hiring staff.

“Where we are now, we just have to tighten our purse strings a little bit more so that we’re able to make sure that we’re living within the budget. Summer school has always lived within the budget, but we have to make sure that we’re supporting our students the way that we should be without costing the district additional money,” Alvarez said.

According to Alvarez, these three sites were specifically chosen based on their central location, making them accessible for students from other schools to attend, and also because of their qualifications for Title I funding. If summer school is held at a Title I school, money is allocated to provide lunch to all students attending without having to use pin numbers or paying.

All three schools who will host summer school are Title I funded schools, however, because BVH’s entitlements to Title I began in the 2018-19 academic year, the school does not yet qualify for this benefit, also known as the “Seamless Summer Program.”

After being left with 400,000 dollars due to the district budget crisis, the district began to seek other sources for funding. One resource that came along was a Low Performing Student block grant, that was given to the SUHSD by the California Department of Education. In addition to this aid, Alvarez mentions that funding for middle school summer schools has been reallocated to high school summer schools. This means that this year there will be no district held summer school for middle school students, due to their funds being used for high schools.

Furthermore, due to the help of the block grant and the reallocation of funding from middle schools, Alvarez states that she was able to produce “about the same funding,” for this years summer school as in previous years, which is near 800,000 dollars.

Due to a decrease in host sites for this years summer school, the SUHSD will be considering enrolling students on a priority basis.

“Eleventh and tenth grade will have priority and then current ninth graders that will be tenth graders [next year] will have second priority,” Alvarez said.

While the word “priority” may seem threatening to some students, Alvarez ensures that she believes that no student will be turned away because they will be “operating very similar [to previous years] in terms of the spaces available” for enrollment. In regards tonon-graduating  twelfth graders, they are last on the list of priorities for summer school due to having access to making up credits at the Learning Center or adult school. According to Learning Center teacher Tony Valdez, students in that situation usually end up choosing those two options anyways.

As of now, students can only wait to sign up for summer school enrollment and the administration seeks to continue to benefit the needs of students overall.

“When times are good, we’re able to spend and make things a little easier for everyone. But when times are hard, we just have to be more creative and work harder. In the end, the expectations are the same,” Del Rosario said. “We want to provide services and support to our students, it’s just sometimes we have less resources to do it.”