With Labor Day just around the corner, students in Glendale and La Canada Flintridge are peeling off their swimsuits, digging out their three-ring binders and preparing for back-to-school rituals that signal the arrival of another academic year.
While Glendale schools will remain fairly untouched by budget cuts this year, La Canada Flintridge classrooms will have more students per teacher and fewer academic offerings than in years past.
Ditto for students from Northeast Los Angeles, who attend Los Angeles city schools and are in their second week of classes under a year-round academic schedule that began Aug. 19.
Here is a look at how area schools fare this fall.
Northeast Los Angeles
As a result of budget cuts, there are fewer counselors at Los Angeles Unified high schools. Class size also has risen in most schools: to a maximum of 29.5 in first through third grade, to 28.5 in fourth through sixth, to 30 in seventh through 10th and to 38.5 in 11th and 12th.
"The budget cuts are terrible; they're so disruptive, and it's not over yet," said Jeff Horton, the Los Angeles Unified school board member who represents Silver Lake, Los Feliz and Echo Park.
Several construction projects are under way in the Echo Park area, however, to relieve overcrowding at local schools.
Work is progressing on a new classroom building and cafeteria at Mayberry Elementary School, where students have been learning the three Rs in portable classrooms for 50 years. An addition is being built at Logan Elementary as well.
Some schools are moving forward with school-based management plans that aim to decentralize management and give schools more authority over daily operations.
Marshall High School in Los Feliz, for instance, is using a $750,000 grant from R J R Nabisco Inc. to keep its campus open later, plan evening and adult classes and use school facilities such as the auditorium for community theater, Horton said.
La Canada Flintridge
In the La Canada Unified School District, budget cuts have forced administrators to make unpleasant changes. Class size has been boosted by three students to 32 at the elementary level and by two students to between 34 and 36 at the high school level, said Supt. Judith Glickman.
Glickman attributes financial problems to the failure of a parcel property tax measure last June. To the dismay of the district, the measure failed by a third of 1%.
Advanced-placement classes, which allow bright students to earn college credit while still in high school, have been eliminated in English, physics, chemistry, government and economics. Athletics and extracurricular activities have been cut by a third, and drama programs have been canceled at elementary schools.
Although the district's educational foundation raised $110,000 this summer to offset the cuts, Glickman said that is only 9% of the money that would have been generated by the parcel tax. Educators say they intend to put the tax proposal back on the ballot in November.
In Glendale Unified, students will learn social studies from a new state-approved curriculum that stresses a multicultural, literature-based approach.
Spokesman Vic Pallos said the district is in fairly good shape. No teachers, counselors, librarians or nurses will be laid off, and the average class size of 29.9 students will remain the same.
The district has cut back on staff training, equipment and clerical services and has not replaced an administrator who retired.
At several Glendale schools, construction projects are under way or were recently completed.
Hoover High School, which currently serves 10th- through 12th-graders, is adding classrooms to accommodate ninth-graders from Toll Junior High School. Moving the ninth-graders from Toll will create more room at the junior high level.
Students at Muir Elementary School will have a new two-story classroom building and more spacious grounds.
"It makes quite a change," Joyce Zimmerman, a district spokeswoman said of the new building at Muir. "We got rid of a number of portables, and now students have use of the playground."