San Luis Coastal weighs cutting summer school

The San Luis Coastal Unified School District is contemplating a one-year hiatus for the majority of its summer school courses to save money as the district grapples with a $6 million deficit.

The district plans to eliminate all summer classes for elementary and middle school students and only offer a small number of classes for high school students seeking to make up credits.

The district typically has offered remedial summer school courses for struggling students.

“The summer program serves some of our neediest kids,” said Assistant Superintendent Rick Robinett. “That is the hardest part of this.”

Last year, 653 elementary students enrolled in the summer session and 598 secondary students took credit recovery or enrichment courses at a cost of $214,695.

“It literally comes down to money,” said Walt Millar, school board president. “There is no debate by anyone on the board about the value of summer school.”

The school board is expected to make the cuts to the 2013 summer school program at its March 19 meeting.

Robinett said the pared-down program for 2013, which will offer limited transportation and only a handful of mostly online courses for high school students, could cost as little as $20,000.

The district hopes to partner with Cuesta College to offer high school social science enrichment courses that will allow students to keep room for electives during the school year.

Superintendent Eric Prater said the district would re-evaluate the summer school program next year to find ways to offer more courses, more effectively.

Other school districts in the county were also forced to slash their summer programs in recent years because of funding.

For the second year in a row, Paso Robles Unified School District will not offer summer classes for any grade level. 

At Lucia Mar Unified School District, the largest in the county, a small summer program for elementary and middle school students will likely be offered this year for about 400 students.

Credit-deficient high school students will also have limited access to credit-recovery courses, according to Andy Stenson, Lucia Mar’s assistant superintendent of instruction.

Special education summer school, required by law, will remain at all county school districts.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.