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Early August start to continue in 2019-20 for Burbank Unified

Though the days may be longer in August, vacation time that month continues to grow shorter for students, families, teachers, administrators and staff of the Burbank Unified School District.

The Burbank Unified board unanimously voted to approve the instructional calendar for the 2019-20 school year, which calls for the first day of the next school year to begin on Monday, Aug. 12.

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Sarah Neimann, Burbank Unified’s assistant superintendent of human resources, said Thursday she believes that’s the “earliest start in recent memory,” but was not certain if the district had ever in its history begun before that date.

Under the plan approved this week, instruction next school year would commence Aug. 12, with the winter recess from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3, 2020, spring break from March 23 to 27, and the final day of school slated for May 21.

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The start date brought about a question and perhaps a concern from board member Steve Frintner during Thursday’s meeting.

“We’re starting on Aug. 12,” Frintner said. “Are we about at the last year before we would roll back or get to the first week of August?”

The move continues a slow march toward earlier start dates for the district, which held its first day of school this year Aug. 13, began the 2017-18 year on Aug. 14, commenced the 2016-17 year on Aug. 15, and started the 2015-16 school year on Aug. 17.

Ten years prior, the district held the first day of the 2010-11 school year on Aug. 16.

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That trend, however, may be reversing.

Neimann said she believes the calendar committee will advise a start date for the 2020-21 school year for Monday, Aug. 17, rather than Monday, Aug. 10.

“That [Aug. 10] start would put teachers back in school sometime around Aug. 4 or 5 and that’s very early,” she said. “Administrators would be back to school late in July. So, it might be the year where we make the move to start that next week in August instead.”

On the instructional side, the calendar approval closes the work done by the district’s calendar committee, which recommended the earlier start at its Sept. 10 meeting.

What remains now is for the district to negotiate a work calendar with the California School Employees Assn.

While Neimann doesn’t expect any significant issues, a few items need to be hammered out, including whether the day before Thanksgiving would be an off day for faculty and staff.

Currently, Nov. 27, 2019 is listed as a “non-instructional day” for students.

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