Standard school year

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Standard school year

Alabama is about to join those states with a standard school year. In AL, it would be ending the school year no later than the Friday just before Memorial Day and beginning the school year no earlier than 2 weeks before Labor Day. The reason is tourism.

Other states have similar laws governing the start and end of school years.

What do you think? Should the calendar be a decision left to local districts or the state? Is tourism a good reason in planning the calendar?

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CA is so large, I don't think the idea would work. If we look at tourism as the reason, depending on the part of the state, the peak season for tourism is different. People flock to the beaches during summer and ski areas during the winter.

For other states I don't know how well it works, but it seems like the community where the school is would know its population better than the state lawmakers.

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They made such a law in GA last year (DH works in GA). We were thankful because every year the year started earlier and earlier. The year before they changed it they started back the last week in July. You then have the students going to school all of August. I am not sure why other places did it, but in GA August is just so hot you can't let the kids outside.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

They made such a law in GA last year (DH works in GA). We were thankful because every year the year started earlier and earlier. The year before they changed it they started back the last week in July. You then have the students going to school all of August. I am not sure why other places did it, but in GA August is just so hot you can't let the kids outside.

They passed a law in TX a few years ago too, they got waivers for a little while but almost all the schools are starting at least toward the end of August now. I am also glad because it is way to hot for them to be starting school so early in August. It is worst for kids who ride the bus because they aren't always air conditioned very well if at all. Plus I think it is crazy for schools to have all the added expense of keeping the school air conditioned for one of the hottest months.

ETA: I also think it is best for it to be set at a state level. It is very hard to manage if different districts are all on a different schedule, especially in a large metro area like dallas where there are many different districts in the same area.

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I think district level is fine, On the NW Coast of Oregon, we get the nice weather in August and Sept, Where in Central Oregon it is way too hot. It was horrible enough when I was a kid going back to school in Sept when the weather finally turned nice, let alone August, all our nicest weather would be spent inside the classroom. As a homeschooling Family we go year round, and take most of Sept off for Family Vacations. The campgrounds are empty and the weather is wonderful.

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i live in a little bubble...i had no idea wildly fluctuating school years was an issue anywhere. Everywhere i've lived its seems so predictably standard, both year to year and school district to school district. (nor did it ever seem like an issue that it was so 'standard')

Strange.

I guess i don't really understand the purpose of standardizing it yet. "Tourism" So the reason is that the state benefits because they can ensure the school year doesn't interfere with tourism?

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"KimPossible" wrote:

i live in a little bubble...i had no idea wildly fluctuating school years was an issue anywhere. Everywhere i've lived its seems so predictably standard, both year to year and school district to school district. (nor did it ever seem like an issue that it was so 'standard')

Strange.

I guess i don't really understand the purpose of standardizing it yet. "Tourism" So the reason is that the state benefits because they can ensure the school year doesn't interfere with tourism?

Think Six Flags.... Sea World... places like that have to have an operating schedule and hire people accordingly. They are open every day during the summer months, but only on weekends during school. If all the districts in the state can make their own schedule, it is very hard to set a schedule for huge places like these to be open. The state makes a lot of money from taxes from these places, plus they employ a large number of people, so it is in the state's best interest to help them out.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Think Six Flags.... Sea World... places like that have to have an operating schedule and hire people accordingly. They are open every day during the summer months, but only on weekends during school. If all the districts in the state can make their own schedule, it is very hard to set a schedule for huge places like these to be open. The state makes a lot of money from taxes from these places, plus they employ a large number of people, so it is in the state's best interest to help them out.

Not really. We have amusement parks here too and they can actually extend the tourist season by having staggering start/end dates. DD1's summer runs May 25th - August 13th; ours is June 21st - the day after Labor Day. Thus, they can extend Magic Mountain's operating calendar by 6 weeks! They employ high school/college students from all over the county, so it's never been a problem to staff the park.

Also, spring break fluctuates. Magic Mountain is open for (I think) 3 or 4 weeks in March - April because it varies so much. It seems the tourist attractions work around the schools' calendars instead of the other way around.

Is spring break standardized in TX?

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Not really. We have amusement parks here too and they can actually extend the tourist season by having staggering start/end dates. DD1's summer runs May 25th - August 13th; ours is June 21st - the day after Labor Day. Thus, they can extend Magic Mountain's operating calendar by 6 weeks! They employ high school/college students from all over the county, so it's never been a problem to staff the park.

Also, spring break fluctuates. Magic Mountain is open for (I think) 3 or 4 weeks in March - April because it varies so much. It seems the tourist attractions work around the schools' calendars instead of the other way around.

Is spring break standardized in TX?

Spring break isn't standardized but since start dates are standardized within about 2 weeks spring break usually falls within about a 2 week period also. The tourist attractions do work around the school calendars that is the whole point. The amusement parks have to factor in the cost to open vs. the amount of business they will get, and if the school calendar is staggered too much they will probably choose not to open during the week because it costs them more to be open if they are not operating at capacity. CA may be different because they get more out of state tourism where TX is depending more on in-state tourism. I don't think that many people come to TX just to go to Six Flags.

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Eh, I wish more students went on a year round calendar-- mostly bc it is best for learning-- and since I think that should be the top priority of our schools (and of our nation, frankly.)

I think decisions should be made by individual educators and districts, not by some state law.

Here something like this would never fly-- bc like California our "tourist" season varies widely. In the mountains, it runs from Thanksgiving to Easter (ski season) and on the Front Range it is the summer months......

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It cost a fortune to air condition schools here. Longer summer vacations mean more money for learning.

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"wlillie" wrote:

It cost a fortune to air condition schools here. Longer summer vacations mean more money for learning.

That used to be our district's reasoning for starting in Sept. and ending in June. Turns out it's a wash between running the AC in June and in August.

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Where DH works they add on to each day, but have a longer summer break. So they end at the end of May and go back in the very beginning of September.

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I'm with Kim in that I've never had this to be a problem. I don't even think Mass. has one. Most schools start around the same time but I guess it is up to the districts. We all tend to have same vacation schedules too...only difference would be some private schools especially the Catholic schools. We don't have amusement parks open except weekends in spring and early fall and then summer so that's not an issue for us. Mass. is not known for its focus on tourism so I don't think that is ever a factor for us.

I don't think tourism should be a reason to keep kids in or out of school. Priority should be the optimum schedule for their education.

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Ours ends in May and starts in Sept.

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

That used to be our district's reasoning for starting in Sept. and ending in June. Turns out it's a wash between running the AC in June and in August.

Not in Texas, it is definitely hotter in August than June. Even with the law here though they still start in the last 2 weeks of August so they get out around June 1st before it gets really hot.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Not in Texas, it is definitely hotter in August than June. Even with the law here though they still start in the last 2 weeks of August so they get out around June 1st before it gets really hot.

Is it significantly hotter? I grew up in AZ and live in the high desert. It isn't a significant enough difference to make the argument that . We also have solar panels now, so the cost has dropped across the board. In fact, the record highs have been in June, not in August.

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Is it significantly hotter? I grew up in AZ and live in the high desert. It isn't a significant enough difference to make the argument that . We also have solar panels now, so the cost has dropped across the board. In fact, the record highs have been in June, not in August.

Yes definitely.

http://www.dallasrealestate24-7.com/weather/

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92 degrees in June and 96 in August on average is not significant.

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I think it should be up to each district to set the school calendar. School here starts the third week of August and ends the Friday before Memorial Day. There are some schools on a year-round schedule; the "school year" still starts in August but some kids will be on tracks that start later. One of the schools we liked pretty well overall was year-round, but we aren't fond of that schedule, so we bumped it down on our application wish list.

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I want year round school. Better for family vacations without pulling the kids out of school, and better for retention.

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"Jessica1980" wrote:

92 degrees in June and 96 in August on average is not significant.

Maybe for a household, but if you take in an entire city's worth of schools, yes 4 degrees is very significant when it comes to air conditioning buildings that people are constantly walking in and out of. Heating and cooling a building is the highest energy cost associated with maintaining them.

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"wlillie" wrote:

Maybe for a household, but if you take in an entire city's worth of schools, yes 4 degrees is very significant when it comes to air conditioning buildings that people are constantly walking in and out of. Heating and cooling a building is the highest energy cost associated with maintaining them.

But a 4 degree heat difference changes nothing. If the average in June was 80 and average for August was 96 I would buy it. It's just not a valid argument.

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Here, they don't go to school in either June or August.

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Is the same argument made for the winter months? If January is colder than December, do they have winter break in January instead of aligning it to Christmas (December)?

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Heating costs down here aren't as big of an issue. People generally didn't turn the heat on in school except for like two weeks and even then, you usually just wore a sweater in the classroom. The buses don't even have the option to be heated.

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"Potter75" wrote:

I want year round school. Better for family vacations without pulling the kids out of school, and better for retention.

That is what I would vote for too. Also better for working parents.

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"Jessica1980" wrote:

92 degrees in June and 96 in August on average is not significant.

It is significant to me when my air conditioning bill is at least $100 more in August than June.

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"elleon17" wrote:

Also better for working parents.

Just curious how this is better for working parents? My brother teaches in a year round school. They still have a ton of time off. It is just two week here, and two weeks there. You would still need childcare for those times, right? Also for family vacations, the breaks are at all different times. So if one parent worked in one school, and the child went to another school the breaks would not necessarily be at the same time. Summer and Christmas are the only breaks that are for sure to be at the same time. The school that my daughter went to last year never had the same vacations as DH.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Just curious how this is better for working parents? My brother teaches in a year round school. They still have a ton of time off. It is just two week here, and two weeks there. You would still need childcare for those times, right? Also for family vacations, the breaks are at all different times. So if one parent worked in one school, and the child went to another school the breaks would not necessarily be at the same time. Summer and Christmas are the only breaks that are for sure to be at the same time. The school that my daughter went to last year never had the same vacations as DH.

Ya I agree not better for working parents. At least during the summer it is easier to arrange childcare for a few months at a time than a week here and there.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

It is significant to me when my air conditioning bill is at least $100 more in August than June.

Holy Heck Batman! I wish my cooling costs were that low! We're triple that for July. There is no significant difference in our electric bill for June and August - both are about $240. The flip side is that is only about $90 the rest of the year. Gas is $150 in the winter; $20 in the summer.

Maybe it's just here. You can make the argument all you want re: electric bills, but if the high schools are out in June and the feeder schools are out in August, it can't be that big of a difference.

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Holy Heck Batman! I wish my cooling costs were that low! We're triple that for July. There is no significant difference in our electric bill for June and August - both are about $240. The flip side is that is only about $90 the rest of the year. Gas is $150 in the winter; $20 in the summer.

Maybe it's just here. You can make the argument all you want re: electric bills, but if the high schools are out in June and the feeder schools are out in August, it can't be that big of a difference.

I didn't say my bill is $100, I said it is $100 MORE in August than June. My Electric bill in August is over $500

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

I didn't say my bill is $100, I said it is $100 MORE in August than June. My Electric bill in August is over $500

What temp do you keep your house?

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Jeez, our furnace still kicks in through the summer. The most we ever run in the summer is a fan in the bedroom. Other than that, it's just window air.

I don't know if I'm all that keen on the idea of school all year round. Since there's such a small window of nice summer weather up here I'd prefer for the kids to be able to play outside all day while they can.

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

What temp do you keep your house?

78

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"Potter75" wrote:

I want year round school. Better for family vacations without pulling the kids out of school, and better for retention.

Because of their age difference, my SIL had two kids in two different year-round schools & one in a traditional school, and their schedules never overlapped. They had only the week of Christmas and the week of Independence Day off together the entire year. The school district refused to coordinate schedules between schools. How is that better for family vacations?

Our main family vacation activity is camping. Many of the campgrounds we enjoy aren't open year round, or the amenities we go there for aren't open year round. Sometimes we find a midweek camping spot that was cancelled, that we can grab at the last minute, no worries about pulling the kids out of school. Having the summer off is best for our family because we can do the activities we want.

And I seriously question the retention thing. I'm sure there are a few parents out there who let their kids' brains turn to jelly every summer, but I'd like to think that most of us keep our kids engaged & active & interested & continue the learning through the summer. It's easy to incorporate math concepts into everyday activities, practice language arts on "wish you were here" letters to the grandparents, heck the whole wide world is a big science experiment!

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Just curious how this is better for working parents? My brother teaches in a year round school. They still have a ton of time off. It is just two week here, and two weeks there. You would still need childcare for those times, right? Also for family vacations, the breaks are at all different times. So if one parent worked in one school, and the child went to another school the breaks would not necessarily be at the same time. Summer and Christmas are the only breaks that are for sure to be at the same time. The school that my daughter went to last year never had the same vacations as DH.

Since I haven't dealt this yet, it is just one more of my concerns on what my son will miss because I am at work. Year round would allow for vacations not just in the summer(living in Florida the thought of a summer vacation is revolting to me because of the heat) or over a holiday period, there wouldn't be a struggle or scramble to have the kids enrolled in a day camp that doubles as a daycare and allows for late pick up times for the entire summer. It seems to me it would spread out the periods of time that you would have to find alternative care and not for as expansive a period of time.

Like I said these are all my assumptions, but I worry about them. To me shorter, more frequent stops is good for the retention and seems like it would be easier to manage.

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"elleon17" wrote:

Since I haven't dealt this yet, it is just one more of my concerns on what my son will miss because I am at work. Year round would allow for vacations not just in the summer(living in Florida the thought of a summer vacation is revolting to me because of the heat) or over a holiday period, there wouldn't be a struggle or scramble to have the kids enrolled in a day camp that doubles as a daycare and allows for late pick up times for the entire summer. It seems to me it would spread out the periods of time that you would have to find alternative care and not for as expansive a period of time.

Like I said these are all my assumptions, but I worry about them. To me shorter, more frequent stops is good for the retention and seems like it would be easier to manage.

Unless you have family to help out with daycare it is definitely NOT easier to arrange childcare for a short period of time. Daycare centers can hire a few extra people to help out when it is a couple months in the summer, they can't hire people for a week here and there.

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"Spacers" wrote:

Because of their age difference, my SIL had two kids in two different year-round schools & one in a traditional school, and their schedules never overlapped. They had only the week of Christmas and the week of Independence Day off together the entire year. The school district refused to coordinate schedules between schools. How is that better for family vacations?

Our main family vacation activity is camping. Many of the campgrounds we enjoy aren't open year round, or the amenities we go there for aren't open year round. Sometimes we find a midweek camping spot that was cancelled, that we can grab at the last minute, no worries about pulling the kids out of school. Having the summer off is best for our family because we can do the activities we want.

And I seriously question the retention thing. I'm sure there are a few parents out there who let their kids' brains turn to jelly every summer, but I'd like to think that most of us keep our kids engaged & active & interested & continue the learning through the summer. It's easy to incorporate math concepts into everyday activities, practice language arts on "wish you were here" letters to the grandparents, heck the whole wide world is a big science experiment!

Clearly family vacations were not important to your SIL if she chose to put three kids in three different schools with three different schedules. I would never put my family on such a schedule. If she chose to, bully for her. Just because you only have one family activity doesn't mean that other families do. We spend much of our summer at the beach and like to travel in the winter, whether to warm destinations or to ski. We think that travel is very important, and want our children to experience lots of different places/cultures/activities without being limited to simply traveling in the summer (when it is really really nice here). With year round school we could do all of those things without pulling our kids out of school.

You can question the retention thing all you want ~ and thats great that you have a SAHP who may be willing to engage your kids in such a way or that you can afford educational summer camps and whatnot, but poor families cant and don't, and those are the kids who suffer the most. Its quite well documented. Have you read "outliers"? The summer achievement gap is well documented.

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She didn't CHOOSE to do it. Her kids are four years apart so she had one in elementary, one in junior high, and one in high school. Schools are assigned based on your address, so her only options were to move, or put one or more in private school at an added expense for the family.

I do think year-round schools can work for some families, but they should not be mandatory. Like magnet schools that focus on arts or immersion programs where the learning is done in a second language, year round schools should be the family's choice.

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So the same district had elementary, middle, and high schools on three totally different schedules? One traditional and two DIFFERENT year round schedules? I can't imagine the outrage that would cause around here, voters would never accept that. I can't even imagine the logistics of bussing and whatnot. Bizarre.

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I never knew that some states didn't go by the same calendar. I live in New York, and being that we have Regents tests that EVERYONE in the state takes the same test for certain classes (think high school grades, not elementary) it would NEVER work to have each school on a different schedule.

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In CA, there is a window. It is when students have completed 85% of their school year: 12 days before - 12 days after including make-up tests.

AP tests have a set date but I don't think HS schedules are determined by when they are given.

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"Potter75" wrote:

So the same district had elementary, middle, and high schools on three totally different schedules? One traditional and two DIFFERENT year round schedules? I can't imagine the outrage that would cause around here, voters would never accept that. I can't even imagine the logistics of bussing and whatnot. Bizarre.

The elementary & middle schools were both year-round schedules, and her kids were assigned to different tracks, neither of which coordinated with the high school schedule. If she had two kids at one school, they would be put on the same track. But when the kids are at different schools, the district says it has no responsibility to coordinate schedules. This year the two kids at year-round schools are on the same track but she still has to deal with arranging daycare. The year-round schools can't offer daycare during breaks, as a traditional school can during summer, because the classrooms are in use.

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That is straight up crazy about the different tracks and schedules. With baby #5 on the way, I can say that I would not be quiet about not having my kids on the same tracks/vacation schedules in different schools-- no way, no how.

I like the year round concept for the learning side of things. I also think there are opportunities for better building usage-- to maximize the use of expensive facilities that traditionally sit vacant for long periods of time.

Our schools don't have AC here-- and it has been really hot lately and really hot at the beginning of the school year, too. Though typically May/June are cooler than August/September (I was in DD's classroom last week and it was 88 degrees IN her classroom-- hot even when not preggers!)

We are big on travel and time out of school, too. I'm pulling our kids out next week to take them to the beach for a vacation (it is the last week I can travel before baby and I think our week as a family, with grandparents and an uncle, will be better spent than a week in the classroom.....)

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"Spacers" wrote:

The elementary & middle schools were both year-round schedules, and her kids were assigned to different tracks, neither of which coordinated with the high school schedule. If she had two kids at one school, they would be put on the same track. But when the kids are at different schools, the district says it has no responsibility to coordinate schedules. This year the two kids at year-round schools are on the same track but she still has to deal with arranging daycare. The year-round schools can't offer daycare during breaks, as a traditional school can during summer, because the classrooms are in use.

"boilermaker" wrote:

That is straight up crazy about the different tracks and schedules. With baby #5 on the way, I can say that I would not be quiet about not having my kids on the same tracks/vacation schedules in different schools-- no way, no how.

I like the year round concept for the learning side of things. I also think there are opportunities for better building usage-- to maximize the use of expensive facilities that traditionally sit vacant for long periods of time.

Our schools don't have AC here-- and it has been really hot lately and really hot at the beginning of the school year, too. Though typically May/June are cooler than August/September (I was in DD's classroom last week and it was 88 degrees IN her classroom-- hot even when not preggers!)

We are big on travel and time out of school, too. I'm pulling our kids out next week to take them to the beach for a vacation (it is the last week I can travel before baby and I think our week as a family, with grandparents and an uncle, will be better spent than a week in the classroom.....)

Me neither. No way, no how would I allow that to happen.

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Me neither. No way, no how would I allow that to happen.

How would you stop it?

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There has to be a written policy somewhere addressing the way students are assigned. I would start by reading the board policy on sibling priority. Then I would email both principals (in the same email) and say there must have been some oversight or misunderstanding because the siblings should be on the same schedule and ask for their suggestions on fixing it. (Request the sibling not on the track I want to be switched to the track I want.) If it didn't get fixed, I would ask to meet with them to further discuss options. Then I would cite board policy. If none of that worked, I would go to the school board members and ask them to have the schools comply with board policy.

When you get down to it, it's not an unreasonable request. Every district I've ever been involved in (student, sub, parent, teacher, community resident) has gone out of its way to accommodate siblings. Even when boundaries change they don't split up families unless the families want to.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

How would you stop it?

Pay attention to what is going on with the school district when your kids are little. If you don't like how things are going, get active & vote in new people on the school board so that changes can take effect before your family is impacted.

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Joined: 12/29/03
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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

When you get down to it, it's not an unreasonable request.

For thousands of families? That seems like a ****load of work to try to coordinate, so I'm not surprised the district didn't even try. Sibling priority only applies within the same school, not at different schools in the same district. At least that's been my experience & my extended family's experience in the Sacramento area.

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Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
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Well, yeah for thousands of families. At our HS district you just fill out a form that reads "Sibling Priority" or something to that effect. How else does your district give priority for the tracks?

ETA: All of the schools where I've registered my kids have a line on the paperwork for siblings' information such as grade level and school they attend. The oldest one would be placed and then as the other children register, they would be matched to the track of their older sibling.