Long Beach Board Drops 3 Elementary Schools From Study of Year-Round Plan

Times Staff Writer

The Board of Education has dropped three names from its list of elementary schools that will conduct studies over the summer on the feasibility of year-round operation.

Absent from the list approved at the regular board meeting this week were Twain, Burnett and Lafayette elementary schools. Board members two weeks ago had delayed final adoption of a list including those three schools after Twain parents objected strenuously to being part of any year-round plan.

"Our desire is to study year-round (classes) in an objective, unemotional way and to avoid active parental nonsupport," said Deputy Supt. Charles Carpenter in explaining why Twain had been dropped from the list. The other two schools were dropped, he said, because--like Twain--they are outside the "cluster" formed by the four schools still on the list. "It's an opportunity to have (year-round) schools clustered in a way that is more practical for the youth-serving organizations" that will provide child care during out-of-school periods, Carpenter said.

The schools now on the list are Burbank, Lee, Stevenson and Willard; all are within a 1 1/2-mile radius south of Pacific Coast Highway between Atlantic and Freeman Avenues. Twain is more than two miles away in the Lakewood Village section of the city, and Burnett and Lafayette are about 1 1/2 miles north of Pacific Coast Highway on the west side of the city.

Over the next few months, the four schools will be asked to conduct feasibility studies on the effect year-round operation would have on their campuses. Based on the results, Carpenter said, the board will be asked to designate two or more of them by October to actually make the transition to year-round operation beginning in July, 1988.

60-Day Term

District officials, who have long advocated year-round operation as a way of combatting overcrowding, say they hope the idea can eventually be implemented districtwide.

Under the plan being considered, pupils would be divided into four groups, each of which would attend school for 60 days, followed by 20 days of vacation. School officials estimate that enrollment at each year-round school could be increased by 25% to 30%.

Public meetings to discuss the issue at each of the schools originally being considered drew vocal objections only at Twain. There, one of the parents' major concerns was the difficulty of finding child care during the 20-day rotating, vacation periods.

Carpenter said at the meeting Monday that, after consulting with the Long Beach Department of Parks and Recreation and with private child-care organizations, he found that one obstacle to developing cohesive child-care programs for year-round students is the geographic separation of the schools they attend. "They feel comfortable with this cluster concept," he said of the child-care providers.

Only a few Twain parents were on hand this week to witness what, at least for the moment, seemed like a victory purchased with ambitious organizing efforts, among them a petition that listed more than 400 names.

"I am really pleased," parent Lani Halter told the board.

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