Students, Teachers Will Pay the Price for Schedule Chaos : Education: School day at Morningside High will be 48 minutes longer. District officials are 'furious' over mistake that could have cost district $400,000 in funding.


Because of a scheduling error that gave students at Inglewood's Morningside High School an extra half-hour for lunch, their school day will be 48 minutes longer starting Monday, embarrassed school officials said Tuesday.

The new schedule throws everything from bus schedules to cafeteria service into chaos, and has angered teachers who will not be paid extra for the longer school day.

Inglewood Unified School District board President Joseph Rouzan Jr. said that trustees are "furious" about the problem.

"I was absolutely astounded and shocked," Rouzan said. "We've got to look at responsibility and accountability."

The problem came to light when district administrators were completing their annual report to the state, which includes the total number of instructional hours at each grade level.

The faulty schedule was devised by a school site committee last fall because the school staff thought it would be better to have one long lunch period instead of having two shorter, staggered lunch breaks.

Supt. George McKenna said the problem occurred because the site committee did not notify the district that the lunch period had been changed without lengthening the school day. The committee was headed by Morningside Principal Liza Daniels, who declined comment on Tuesday.

McKenna would not say whether anyone in the district will be reprimanded for the error, saying it was a personnel matter. But he said that in the future, the district will require schools to provide more detailed notification if they change schedules.

Because state funding is tied to instructional time, the district stood to lose $400,000 if the mistake was not corrected. In all, students have been shorted 3,025 minutes since school started in September--about 50 hours of class time.

Instructional time has been tied to state aid since 1983. In an effort to upgrade education, the state said it would give more money to districts that agreed to increase instructional time to 360 minutes a day in high school and 200 minutes a day in kindergarten.

Virtually every district in the state went along with the idea, said John Gilroy, field representative in the state Department of Education's local assistance bureau.

Since the new law went into effect, he said, the state has had only about 12 instances in which districts miscalculated their schedules and had to make up the time or pay the penalty in lost aid.

Starting Monday, classes at Morningside will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 3:22 p.m. The 59-minute lunch period will be changed to two 30-minute lunch periods. Classes used to begin at 8:15 a.m. each day and end at 2:49 p.m.

Representatives of the Inglewood Teachers Assn. spent Tuesday morning meeting with district officials to discuss the problem and were unhappy about the new schedule. David Whittaker, president of the association, said the school district is penalizing teachers and students for its mistake.

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