Summer is going to be a lot shorter for hundreds of elementary school students in two Southern California communities.
Students at Dickson Elementary in Chino and Rolling Ridge Elementary in Chino Hills were supposed to be done with school on Thursday, but a clerical error means they will have to make up 34 days. The alternative is to lose $7million in state funding, and now the kids are bummed.
Rolling Ridge fourth-grader Sean Cornish said the extended school year would interfere with his plans to spend time with family and swim in his family's backyard pool.
"Oh, mannnnn," said the 10-year-old, adding that the subject has been a frequent topic of conversation among his classmates. "They think it's dumb, that they have to go to school for these extra days because some lady messed up."
The problem is that under California law, schools' occasional short days -- taken to allow teachers time for preparation -- must be at least 180 minutes. An internal audit in May found 34 days at the two schools that were only 170 or 175 minutes.
That missing time could be made up in just one or two school days but a further quirk of state law says the short days don't count at all. That means every one of the 34 days must be made up to avoid the penalty in state funds.
Hilary McLean of the state's Department of Higher Education said legislators purposely made the penalties stiff to discourage districts from "shaving off minutes here and there."
One of the district's associate superintendents has taken responsibility for the errors. She is retiring this year.
Maybe they should make her stay after?