By IMPERIAL VALLEY PRESS STAFF
4:23 AM EDT, September 24, 2011
Why don’t all school districts in the Imperial Valley have the same holidays/days out of school? We have one charter school in El Centro that has a different winter break than the El Centro Elementary School District. This can put hardships on families. — Concerned, El Centro
We spoke with Denise Smith, Imperial County Office of Education assistant superintendent, administrative services, who said districts throughout the Valley used to attempt to have the same calendar, but for whatever reason, that does not happen any longer.
Calendars are set at the school district level and sometimes individual school districts’ calendars are subject to the approval of collective bargaining units, she said.
But in reality, as long as a school district has the prescribed number of instruction days mandated by the state Department of Education, they can adjust their calendars as they see fit.
There are actually two charter schools, Imagine of Imperial Valley and Ballington Academy. But they are under the flag of El Centro Elementary for certain things, and so they, too, must adhere to public school standards and days of instruction.
Smith said there is even flexibility in the number of instruction days, within reason. Up until this year, California school districts could shorten their instruction days by five days. But because of harsh budget conditions, Assembly Bill 114 allows wiggle room up to seven days.