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Lancaster Shifts 2 Campuses to All-Year Plan : Schools: The move is aimed at seeking relief from crowded classrooms in the 10,000-student Antelope Valley district.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Lancaster School District, seeking relief from crowded classrooms, has decided to begin moving toward a year-round calendar by converting two of its 14 campuses to the controversial schedule this fall.

The change will mean an early end to summer vacation for students at Lincoln and Nancy Cory elementary schools, both of which opened last fall. Year-round classes there will begin Aug. 6, about a month ahead of other schools in the 10,800-student district.

The Board of Trustees voted 5 to 0 Tuesday night to approve the switch, which will expand the enrollment capacity of the two schools. Parents will have the choice of keeping children in those schools or transferring them to schools with traditional calendars.

Lancaster’s switch to a year-round calendar is the latest in a series of such moves by school districts in the fast-growing Antelope Valley, which are faced with spiraling enrollments but little money to build new classrooms.

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The topic of year-round classes has been controversial in the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is turning to such a schedule to relieve crowding.

Lancaster’s year-round calendar, like some of those that have brought objections from parents in Los Angeles schools, has no common summer vacation period for all students. But Lancaster officials said most parents have supported the switch thus far.

“There are parents who want their kids to go year-round. It’s more educationally sound,” said Alyce Ellis, principal of Lincoln.

School officials say year-round programs help students retain what they learn because they are not out of class for three months during the summer.

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The Lancaster district’s year-round schedule is expected to increase the capacity of the two schools by about 33% because students will be divided into four groups--called tracks--and at any given time, one of the groups will be on vacation.

Each group will have three 60-day school periods broken up by three 20-day vacations.

Enrollment at the two schools is expected to climb from about 750 students each to as many as 1,000 next fall.

Students already attending the two schools will get priority to re-enroll. District officials hope that transfers from other schools, students whose parents want them in a year-round program, will ease crowding at the other schools. School officials promised to try to keep brothers and sisters on the same tracks to avoid splitting their vacations.

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The neighboring Palmdale School District already has one year-round school and plans to add two more this fall, but Palmdale’s schedule keeps July as a common vacation month for all. Antelope Valley high school officials are considering converting at least one campus to a year-round calendar by the fall of 1991.


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