La Cañada Unified's school board members discussed Tuesday revising the board's policy regarding school-related trips, which has for years caused frustration among high school student athletes who regularly attend off-site competitions, as well as their parents.
Last updated in 2003, the current policy (BP 3541.1) requires students to take district-provided transportation to and from such competitions and states parents or guardians must provide advanced written permission whenever they plan to drop off or pick up their children.
LCUSD Athletic Director Kristina Kalb told the board she's heard many concerns from parents over the years about the unintended inconveniences caused by such a requirement. She described students doing homework on bleachers and sidelines, or waiting hours before or after their own competitions to allow other students and team levels to compete.
"I've heard from families over and over that this is a really hard policy, but it's my job to enforce that," the athletic director said. "That's why I've proposed these changes."
Kalb's fix would be to allow parents and guardians to arrange transporting their children to and from games with a 24-hour advanced notice that would give her enough time to cancel unneeded buses without incurring a $100 late cancellation fee. The same consideration would be granted to formally established carpools, pending permission of a parent or guardian.
"We're hoping that will make students' lives easier. And maybe it will get more people to go to games. Because [if] parents are driving, then hopefully they'll stay," she said.
Board members wanted to ensure that allowing students to take alternate modes of transportation would not result in athletes arriving late to competitions or not having enough time to complete necessary warm-up exercises.
They also discussed liability issues and wondered whether other high school groups known for traveling off-site, such as choir and music students, might benefit from being mentioned in the policy.
Anais Wenn, the district's assistant superintendent of educational services, said she'd seek input from those instructors and report back, but expressed her support for the revision.
"This is a very welcome change, and I think a lot of parents are going to appreciate it," Wenn said.
The school board will likely vote on the policy change in a second reading at their May 8 regularly scheduled meeting.