Chantal M. Lovell, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/19/2010 09:39:44 PM PST

REDLANDS – Summer school will be a thing of the past for elementary school students in the Redlands Unified School District.

The program was eliminated in the first level of district reductions during the last Board of Education meeting.

“One of the recommendations we’re making is to eliminate the elementary summer school program,” said district Superintendent Lori Rhodes.

“(Summer school is) designed for students that are at risk of or candidate students for retention,” said Sue Buster, RUSD director of curriculum and instruction. “If they are a retainees, they have priority for enrollment.”

In 2009, 655 students were enrolled in the first session of summer school, and 421 in the second, Buster said.

Eliminating summer school for elementary students is expected to save the district about $82,500, according to Sherryl Avitabile, assistant superintendent, Business Services.

If the district must reduce its budget further, which it anticipates is likely, summer school at the middle and high school levels will be at risk.

“We know that level one (of the budget reduction plan) must be cut to off-set the July state budget adjustments,” Rhodes said. “Level two through six will truly depend on what ends up falling with the governor’s budget.”

“Level one is $11.68 million and we need to go somewhere between two million and four million dollars deeper after level one,” Rhodes said. “We will be looking somewhere in the low three range, I believe.”

Elimination of summer school at the middle school level is included in level three of the plan and is expected to save the district about $129,500, Avitabile said.

Last summer, 781 at risk middle school students participated in summer school, and 567 in the second.

At this point, the district does not expect to have to reduce the high school summer school program this year. But, if cuts to the district end up being greater than anticipated, summer school will only be offered to high school students at risk of not graduating.

“Our high school summer school program is (currently) our remedial program,” Rhodes said. “This is a program that is used for students that are looking to increase grades, trying to improve a grade that they have received in a class. If they received a D, they may be trying to get a higher grade, so they’re repeating a course.”

“If we did this option, we would not be allowing students to repeat a course to receive a higher grade. We would only allow those students that have failed a course that need the credits to be able to receive that diploma.”

Reducing this program would save the district about $143,500, Avitabile said.

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