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Santa Cruz charging parents for kids' vacations.

Original post made by Parent on Mar 9, 2007

According to channel 2 today, Santa Cruz schools are charging their students' $35 a day they are out of school on vacation during school time. This is because they don't get funding from the state on those days. Now, I know we have just had ski week and very few of us actually went skiing, but we do take our kids out of school for vacation reasons. Would we here in PAUSD think that this is a good idea for increasing funding here or would we all rethink our family vacations if we were charged for them?

Comments (9)

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 9, 2007 at 10:49 am

I would think that a lot of kids that USED to take vacations of a day or two would suddenly start being "sick" more often. What about the kids who stay home for non-sick, non-vacation days, like if they were just not feeling well that day, or had had a long night and slept in the next morning. Would parents get billed if their kids cut school (not a bad idea)?

Parents that take their kids on too many vacations really are possibly not doing favors for their kids, but I can see potential pitfalls for this plan. If they ever decide to extend it to ANY missed day, for any reason except with a written doctors permission, I can see howls of protest from parents of sickly children, especially from lower-income families. I sense a potential can-of-worms here.


Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 9, 2007 at 10:49 am

I would think that a lot of kids that USED to take vacations of a day or two would suddenly start being "sick" more often. What about the kids who stay home for non-sick, non-vacation days, like if they were just not feeling well that day, or had had a long night and slept in the next morning. Would parents get billed if their kids cut school (not a bad idea)?

Parents that take their kids on too many vacations really are possibly not doing favors for their kids, but I can see potential pitfalls for this plan. If they ever decide to extend it to ANY missed day, for any reason except with a written doctors permission, I can see howls of protest from parents of sickly children, especially from lower-income families. I sense a potential can-of-worms here.


Posted by Wondering, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 9, 2007 at 11:21 am

Do you think this is a big problem in PAUSD?
A bill would not hurt the affluent, but it most likely would hurt a few Latino families who sometimes add a week onto winter break for a trip to visit family in Mexico.
I'd be curious to know how school districts who charge for absences enforce their policy--by withholdiing diplomas? (Punish the kid instead of the parent?) Put a lien against the parents' house?


Posted by jq public, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 9, 2007 at 1:52 pm

This is an apples and oranges kind of question. Santa Cruz is a revenue limit district, whereas PAUSD is a basic aid district.

When students are not present in the Santa Cruz district, they receive less funding from the state. When students are out in Palo Alto, the state aid remains constant.

It may not be to the kid's advantage to take a vacation during school time, but on the other hand it's possible that they might learn even more than they would sitting in the classroom. If the teacher cooperates with allowing homework to be assigned and collected, I see no reason not to encourage it (in basic aid districts anyway).


Posted by incensed, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2007 at 2:59 pm

Before we start a discussion about charging parents for taking children out of school for vacation, the issue of teachers showing movies in class that are unrelated to the given curriculum and substitutes that show up late or ill-prepared to teach students should be placed on the table. Why not deduct daily fees from the parcel tax that we pay for each occurence of lazy or non instructional "supervision" our children receive at the hands of the school district.

I acknowledge that there are good teachers out there that aren't resorting to such techniques, but my children cite several examples that throughout the year, every year. Let's police fairly!


Posted by Mom of 2, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2007 at 3:22 pm

I think it would help if teachers sent notices to parents about movies in class and explain how they tie to the curriculum. My child watched a Monte Python movie in history class, and it was perfectly legit. They were studying feudalism and the movie took place in that era. The students were also supposed to watch another movie of their choice that showed life in the middle ages in Europe, and then they had to write a paper that described the historic contrast and compare/contrast the lifestyles of different classes of people of the era.

However, I've also heard of movies for the sake of movies. Some field trips seem to be for the sake of field tripping, too. Like going to see a Harry Potter film? Not that they'd read the book (although many probably had on their own).

Many of the elementary field trips related very well to the curriculum, but a few seemed to be nothing more than unrelated enrichment, such as a trip to the zoo or to a play. The "tie" to the curriculum was drawing a picture and writing a sentence. I wasn't impressed. Don't get me wrong--I like field trips as experiential learning and maybe even as enrichment, but sometimes they just seem to be holidays with no prepartion, no follow-up.


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Mar 11, 2007 at 2:55 pm

"A bill would not hurt the affluent, but it most likely would hurt a few Latino families who sometimes add a week onto winter break for a trip to visit family in Mexico."

Are "affluent" and "Latino" mutually exclusive categories?


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Mar 11, 2007 at 3:00 pm

And if we're going to charge teachers for poor teaching, I hope teachers can start to charge for the overtime efforts to make up for something lacking in a student's parenting, or the overtime spent dealing with excessive requests and parenting tips. OR... maybe it would be best to just figure everyone's doing the best they can, ask questions before firing off blanket criticisms, and try not to stress out about these things.


Posted by sheeeeesh, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2007 at 12:41 pm

... and while we're at it, let's have the teachers spend time, resources and materials justifying EVERYTHING they teach every day. Every minute should be accounted for and sent home for parents' non-professional evaluation and critique. I'd rather have my kids' teachers doing what they are trained to do: teach by the means they feel best deliver the curriculum, suit the students, address the topic and reflect the day.


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