Clovis News: Sports

Summer schools shrinking

Shrinking budgets won't stop Clovis Unified from keeping summer school open this summer, but the district plans to emphasize independent study as a way to cut costs.

The district's board Wednesday night approved a modified summer school program. Some classes will be available through the district's online school.

The district expects about 6,000 students to be enrolled, same as last year, but independent study will reduce the number of teachers needed and slice $400,000 to $500,000 from the summer program's costs, district officials say.

Clovis Unified is getting calls from parents in other districts where summer courses are being cut, said Kelly Avants, the district's spokeswoman. But its program is only available to students living in the district's boundaries, she said.

Eliminating elementary summer school would create other problems for Clovis Unified, such as slowing the pace of English language progress by English learner students and increasing the number of students being held back a grade, Michelle Steagall, associate superintendent for curriculum, told the district board during a summer school discussion in January.

Without a summer high school program, the district could end up with lower graduation rates, she said.

Meanwhile, other districts are making cuts to their summer school programs because of budget problems.

In Sanger Unified, the district will offer no transportation for students and no elementary school programs this year, Deputy Superintendent Rich Smith said.

Summer school will be offered only to junior high students who are in danger of being left back and to high school students who need make-up courses to stay on track to graduate, he said. There will be no credit offerings for students looking to move ahead, Smith said.

Last year, Sanger Unified had 1,600 students in summer school, but Smith expects that to drop to about 600 this summer.

Unlike last year, the district will not offer original credit classes, elective offerings and advanced placement courses this summer.

Central Unified Superintendent Mike Berg said the district is "not making significant cuts" to its summer school program but will focus on making seats available to those needing the classes most, such as those needing to meet graduation requirements.

"We are going to look at all students who have a desire to attend summer school," he said. "Those in need of credit retrieval or completing a class get a high priority in terms of enrollment."

Last year, 2,297 students enrolled in Central's summer school. It's not known how many students will attend this year, Berg said.