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Palo Alto scales back summer school plans

Original post made on Oct 21, 2013

Palo Alto school officials are scaling back their plans for summer school next year following a court settlement and state legislation barring school districts from charging summer-school fees, even for recreational classes.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 21, 2013, 5:00 PM

Comments (55)

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm

I would very much like to know how much was spent refunding summer school this last year.

I would also like to know where the money came from to refund these fees?

Is our school district so awash with money that all the fees could be refunded without the district making cuts elsewhere to make these refunds?

There is more to this than we are being told. If these fees can be refunded without a murmur of budget problems to make up the difference, then we are being conned big scale.

The same has to be said with respect to language work books, science spiral notebooks, binders and binder reminders to mention a few which we were not asked to pay for this year as had been done in the past.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 21, 2013 at 6:21 pm

For those of you who didn't think the summer school cut-back was going to happen, you now have your answer.

Posted by Fees
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm

The money for the refunds came from the money paid for the classes. It's a wash, other than the administrative costs

Posted by Sara
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2013 at 9:11 pm

It would be great it they could provide proper education and services during the regular school year before they launch into larger summer school plans.

At my neighborhood school of 550+ elementary children here's what's missing but should be 100% time:
an school nurse
an assistant principal
an school psychologist
a staff member in the front office who speaks spanish (perhaps the nurse we don't have should be bi-lingual.
a REAL music program
a REAL P.E. program

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 21, 2013 at 9:12 pm

If what fees says is correct, then there are even more questions.

Summer school costs something to put on. Teachers have to be paid. Facilities have to be lit and cleaned. The office is running. A nurse has to be on site. Supplies are used. I would imagine that fees should cover these costs. With the refunding of fees, how were these costs covered?

If on the other hand, there is enough money in the slush fund to cover these costs, why on Earth are we being asked by PIE to cover things like aides, playground supervision, counselors and other things.

I would much rather this slush fund used to pay for basics like playground supervision and aides, counselors and what have you, and pay for summer school and a binder reminder. If this is what the "law" says, then the "law" is an ass.

Posted by Smoke and mirrors
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Inform yourselves. Read the Weekly, the Post, and Kevin Skelly's weekly communication, which used to be more redacted than not, but now still gives insight to how much money Skelly is blowing through. He recently praised sending principals on a junket to Harvard for an extension course that cost in the tens of thousands of dollars, he's spent $150K for a former vice principal who is masquerading as a public relations specialist (she's terrible!) to do his job, which is to be the official representative and spokesman of PAUSD, and now there's talk of hiring outside special education consultants to do the job that Holly Wade has not demonstrated that she can do. There is plenty of money for summer school. It is not a priority. How do we know that? Well, anytime Skelly says he "wants" to do something, as in "we want to find ways to do this for our students" please know that these statements are next to meaningless and that they really are intended to divert attention from Skelly being held accountable for his lack of leadership. Check the board meeting archives and listen to how he wants to get better, the first 10 times I heard this, I believed it, but each time thereafter it is an insult to one's intelligence. How much worse can this get?

Posted by Sara
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Smoke and Mirrors is right. Every time I think it can't possibly get worse, it does. There's no accountability. Very, very sad.

Posted by Smoke and Fire
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 21, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Since Super Skelly said in May that he was committed to continuing the summer school program as is, didn't the district announce a 5 million windfall budget surplus from extra property tax revenue. As are result, they now plan to cut summer school in half? 

Posted by Another Paly Parent
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 22, 2013 at 10:16 am

Far be it from me to defend the dumb spending priorities of PAUSD - PR people etc, give me a break. That said, you have to land the laurel wreath for this one on the visionary and far-seeing work of the ACLU and the state legislature.

Yes indeed, it's unfair to charge anybody for summer school. But, apparently teachers don't like to work for free -- who knew? So PAUSD responded by shutting down most summer school over the last couple of years. The remaining ones have been remedial classes and Living Skills, the latter massively oversubscribed since it's the only one left.

Apparently having no classes at all is better than having to pay $350 for a class.

Of course, you can still go to Stanford and pay $3000 for a summer class.

So thanks again to the ACLU, Senator Lara and the state legislature for helping kids everywhere, and preserving equal access to summer classes for everybody, independent of economic status.

Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 22, 2013 at 10:28 am

PAUSD can't charge for summer classes so they are concentrating on the kids who actually need help. We are lucky they have chosen to continue to do that since many other districts in California offer nothing over the summer. I would personally be angry if they offered the mix of classes that they used to provide, since they would have to be free, we would be providing essentially free summer camps and day care.

The result is that only kids whose families can afford it will be able to take non-remedial summer classes.

Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 22, 2013 at 10:48 am

And all those parents who complained about summer school fees for the non-remedial classes did not expect this outcome?

Too late to lament now.

As "Another Paly Parent" said above, you can now go and pay Stanford $3000 for the summer programs PAUSD use to charge $350 for. You asked for it, you got it.

Posted by mutti
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2013 at 10:58 am

The other option is for PAUSD to do what other districts do. Rent out the space at the schools to Kaplan and others who want to run summer programs on school campuses. Then those entities can charge whatever they want. Enrichment classes are still at the school sites. The outside entities can even hire PAUSD teachers for the summer if they want. Other than these courses not showing up in PAUSD catalog, there isn't much difference to parents. The outside entities can print copies of offerings at their own expenses and send home with students.

Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 22, 2013 at 11:27 am

PAUSD summer school is mediocre anyway, and serves as daycare for many. Sure, you can hit gold but finding it is like finding a needle in a haystack. However, my son took the math bridge class in 7th grade with a fantastic JLS math teacher (James Sperry). Other classes have been a waste of time; there are many excellent camps which provide more learning experiences, although more expensive.

Posted by Another Paly Parent
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 22, 2013 at 11:34 am

@palo alto resident above has it spot on. Since we're destined for a two-tier school system in California -- private schools and enrichment classes for wealthy kids, and mediocre and remedial-focused public schools for everybody else -- we might as well get on with it. Bravo!

Posted by Palo Verde Parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 22, 2013 at 11:37 am

"The outside entities can even hire PAUSD teachers for the summer if they want. Other than these courses not showing up in PAUSD catalog, there isn't much difference to parents."

There would be one significant difference - cost. PAUSD charged around $400 for 3-4 weeks of school and the outside entities will charge $400 per WEEK (at a minimum). Summer enrichment will now only be for those who can afford the steep price tag. PAUSD used to offer financial assistance to those who needed it. The outside entities will not do that, at least on a regular basis.

Posted by Crescent Park Mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2013 at 11:59 am

I agree with the strategy @mutti lays out. The only thing missing is scholarships. Maybe this could be another layer added to the PiE fundraising effort or another fundraising organization could be founded to support it that applied for Grants from other organizations.

Posted by retired teacher
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 22, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Students from public schools are filling up area private schools for classes in basic math, grammar, and reading as well as enrichment classes such as theater, art, and music. I'm most familiar with Pinewood which benefits from the slim offerings of public school.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm

As an annual donor to PiE (our kids have already graduated but we still contribute), I would have a huge issue with PiE providing funds to families who want to purchase "Kaplan" type of courses. Should never use donated funds that would end up in the hands of a for-profit enterprise. Sorry.

Posted by It's the Constitution
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 22, 2013 at 2:31 pm

@Another Paly Parent, it's not the ACLU or the state legislature doing something to you, it's the Constitution of the State of California, which ensures a free public education for our children. If you're against that concept, then we can agree to disagree on a fundamental point,, and you should go try and change our State Constitution. The district needs to live within its means, instead of having parents fund things off-balance sheet in a pay-to-play environment. We'll get used to it and figure out how to operate within our means and within the law.

Web Link

Posted by Mom of five
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 22, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Once again, as per Kevin Skelly, PAUSD thinks that the laws do.not apply to them, and they can just ignore the students' and parents' constitutional rights.

The BOE and Kevin Skelly need to be served their just deserts, the sooner the better!

Posted by Another Paly Parent
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm

@It's the Constitution

Well, sarcasm aside, the problem is well-intentioned enthusiastic people carrying good ideas to extremes, and nobody in the chain applying a little common sense.

In this case the problem is charging something to cover the costs of summer school. The principle behind this is that some people can't afford $350 for a class. The result was to eliminate all summer classes, as opposed to -- duh -- identifying the people (in Palo Alto schools, a small number) who couldn't afford it and waiving their costs. I certainly have no problem with the school district (and our parcel taxes) subsidizing a few low-income kids to take summer classes if they want, and I don't believe I know anybody who'd feel differently. That's what public education is supposed to be about, right? High-quality education, with access for everybody. But in this case, not how it turned out.

I guess there are a few people on this board prepared to argue that less access to education is better than more, but for most of us that's a pretty hard one to swallow.

Posted by Great Summers
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2013 at 4:37 pm

We loved the low cost enrichment and childcare from PAUSD summer schools. Yet there were not enough spaces for all who wanted to enroll. iI was not equitable. Some families benefitted from free enrichment, some could not get a spot, or a child had special needs and no summer school support, some lacked transportation to summer school outside neighborhood school. There were many reasons enrollment was unfair. The District has to have a priority of educating kids to be promoted to the next grade and to graduate. It is cheaper to provide them summer school than repeat a grade. If the District failed to educate them to reach a standard in the school year for whatever reason the District should provide summer help. It is more equitable to provide help for the kids who need help, it is a fair standard.

Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 22, 2013 at 4:48 pm

@great summers - I don't think the District ever charged for the remedial classes and at least at the elementary level, provided transportation (I think they picked up kids at the neighborhood schools). What will happen now is that summer classes will only be for remedial purposes (at the high school level, this probably means having a D or F in a class that is a graduation requirement).

@It's the Constitution - yes, our State Constitution requires a free education, but the current enforcement came about because of a lawsuit. As with many well-intentioned things, this has some unfortunate side effects:

Only families with $$ can provide their kids with enrichment programs and summer classes that used to be provided at a reasonable cost. The rich and poor districts and students just get farther apart.

Schools are now required to provide all necessary school supplies - which in most Districts just means the teachers are paying more out of their pockets to supply the kids.

Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Yeah!(not) Some students did not have access to summer school (for lack of slots, not for financial reasons since there were scholarships).

So, let's eliminate all summer school for all students (other than some remedial classes). What a great solution! (not)

That's called resorting to the lowest common denominator solution, or bringing everyone down with oneself. Let's keep doing things this way. We'll have a lowest common denominator education all around. Fantastic! (not).
Thank goodness it's our last year in the school district.

Posted by Smoke and Fire
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 22, 2013 at 6:06 pm

I don't get it. Skelly said he supported continuing the historic summer school programs. The district has a large budget surplus. And now Skelly is recommending cuts.

Posted by Goings On
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 22, 2013 at 6:28 pm

@palo alto resident

According to their 2011 catalog, PAUSD charged $535 for a semester and $875 for 2 semesters of any type of class. In fact most classes were designated as remedial. Financial aid: "fees will be waived for students on free or reduced lunch".

Charging tuition for summer school for-credit courses has been illegal for decades under the state constitution, even when financial aid has been made available to those unable to pay. Surrounding districts have not been charging for years.

Palo Alto Unified's COMPLIANCE with the law came late and it came about because of the bright light of a lawsuit about incidental & extra-curricular fees. Charging tuition was already a settled no-no.

Posted by Fred
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 22, 2013 at 6:36 pm

@Goings On, a resident of Midtown - we sent two kids to summer Livings Skills over the last 5 years and weren't asked to pay anything. Not sure how that jibes with what you are reading, but we didn't pay.

Posted by John Scopes
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Why not ask for donations from participants to help offset the loss of summer school fees? The delta between this year and last year's summer school budget is reported in the story as $127K. Since the district will have similar admin and overhead costs why not run the full summer summer school program?

Posted by Goings On
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 22, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Compliance was recent. In 2012, for-credit courses were free-of-charge for the first time. In 2013, as has been written, charges were "removed"/refunded for enrichment courses too.

Is it possible your children took Living Skills in the past 2 years? In 2011 and all previous years, there was a charge for summer school classes including Living Skills. No other explanation for your good fortune, Fred.

Perhaps a PAUSD official would be willing to speak on-the-record, explain their past approach to summer school fees, interpretation of the law and clear up this confusion?

Posted by have a sense of humor
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2013 at 7:16 pm

I don't see any reason to use the surplus to fund "enhancement" classes for those lucky enough to get a spot in one of those courses. No doubt that the surplus will help pay for the 2014 remedial programs that will be required for those students who need it.

What's done, is done.

Posted by or...
a resident of Mayfield
on Oct 22, 2013 at 8:13 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Great Summers
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2013 at 8:50 pm

@palo alto resident - at one time remedial classes for elementary students were free, however in the last few years the District charged for them, and enrollment dropped among some of the kids who needed it most. Small side point about last year, at time parents had to enroll children in summer school they did have to pay to get access to summer school, then later they were told they could not. No cost transportation was only for Special Education students, not all special education students are provided summer school. General Ed summer school transportation required parents to pay a per child fee. It went from some neighborhood schools for a fee, not all, and parents had to be able to pick up and get their children home at noon.

Books and Supplies - For some families, paying for supplies and field trips, especially overnight field trips in 4th and 5th Grades, is very difficult. Parents are still being told this school year they have to pay for field trips, and that they must pay for supplies and books, to buy them or order them themselves and give them to the school, teacher or service provider, especially in Special Education. In many cases we are told the school or service provider doesn't know where to get books and supplies for Special Education, and that for software the District doesn't have site licenses that allow home use so when kids need to use it for homework or practice, families have to buy the products themselves. Usually the school doesn't know where or how to find the supplies for school, so parents have to figure it out themselves. We spent many hours looking for supplies and academic materials. The problem is some of the materials are not available for individual sale, only to academic accounts. Also school libraries would not get the materials or books to check out to support Special Education classes or services.

Posted by Curious fan
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 23, 2013 at 9:02 am

Actually it came about not because of a lawsuit but because of a post by "Curious" who had an informal education blog here. Like village fool and Edmund Burke Curious seems to have been clearer out by the Editor to make way for the new Curious deserves credit for forcing the change. To be honest it is not clear why the district was spending money on "middle school gourmet" when there are minority and poor kids who are behind similar students at peer schools. We don't have money to burn and have to set priorities like special Ed too. If the district wants to fund enrichment summer fun fire the useless PR officer and cut the legal bills

Posted by continue living in your little world
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2013 at 9:45 am

"To be honest it is not clear why the district was spending money on "middle school gourmet""
More misinformation. Middle schools students had to pay to attend "Middle school gourmet". District costs were met. "After hearing in April from the California Department of Education that no fees could be charged", not Curious' posts (read the article), it's now been removed since the school district isn't willing to pay for students to attend enrichment programs.
It's the kids loss. If you want to blame Curious for that outcome, you're welcome.

Posted by Registration Not So Great
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm

The responses to Board of Ed question about registration last summer was not complete. Not all student could register before it closed, some had to wait for teacher information, for special education recommendations, or for more details from summer school office. It was very hard to get information needed to enroll in summer school. PAUSD put out registration information very late in the school year, and the skimpy brochure they provided gave few details. The summer school office didn't know answers to questions or said to wait. By the time some parents received answers, summer school registration was closed. Some families signed up and paid for summer school before they knew if they would attend just to save a spot, planning to drop later depending on information when finally received. Senior PAUSD Administrators went to some schools when registration opened and helped families register and gave them information, but not at other schools. Families and teachers at other schools were left in the dark and found it very difficult and time consuming to get access to information. Special Education did not coordinate their students, they always refuse to look at summer school needs until almost the end of the school year when it is too late to enroll.
Most summer programs in Palo Alto require registration earlier than in the past, but PAUSD has not kept pace. Ironically, it is PAUSD which created the situation by moving its school schedule to end in May. Other summer programs in Palo Alto set their schedule around PAUSD's school calendar. Let's hope this year they find a way to give equal access to information and registration in time.

Posted by parent
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 23, 2013 at 9:01 pm

We sent our child to summer school writing enrichment once and found it did wonders, it was fun, etc. We tried to get in twice in subsequent years and were too late, it's always oversubscribed. Then last year, we kept on top of the timing to apply immediately when they took enrollment, but we couldn't afford it. (The refunds came later - presumably the people who signed up could afford it.)

I'm ambivalent about this decision, because we thought the district summer school was worthwhile and helpful. On the other hand, we can no longer afford it, and now they're scaling back -- it's too bad the district can't afford to have kids go without charging.

Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 23, 2013 at 9:56 pm

I'm sure I'll be called an elist for this, but at least I have the gall to say it because others think it too. Why do people live in Palo Alto if they have no extra cash after the mortgage or rent is paid? That they have to buy second-hand clothing or have problems with paying for field trips or school materials. Is the school district so great that it's worth it to sacrifice all to the million-dollar mortgage or high rent? A child needs more than just schoolwork to be a well-rounded person. And what if the child needs a tutor in high school? He has to struggle because the parents are obsessed with living in Palo Alto so they cannot pay for a tutor for their child? Or they cannot pay for remedial school if the child needs it?

To be clear, no, I would NOT live here if all I could afford was the mortgage, even though I graduated from Paly. I would want my children to have more and would live elsewhere which is not so expensive.

Posted by Smoke and mirrors
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2013 at 6:56 am

Don't worry about being called an elitist, or an elist, your post will take care of that. Your post also helps me understand why Kevin Skelly and Charles Young have not been held accountable, though. Please, keep posting!

Posted by have a sense of humor
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2013 at 11:08 am

LOL smoke and mirrors.

The culture of zero accountability is pretty surprising. That's just part of what makes PA such a special place, I guess.

Posted by Registration
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm

The presentation slides say a "Strength" of this model is that Special Education children had full inclusion in your summer school. Actually, many Special Education children could not attend last year's summer school because there was no support for them to be included. Even worse, Special Education staff quits working at regular schools 2 weeks before the school year ended to "help their summer kids." Taxpayers may have thought their property tax money was being used to educate children for all the days of the regular school year, but Summer School is used to reduce that for disabled children who can't get into summer school.

Teachers and parents tried hard to get information from summer office before they could register children. Is the assistant principal listed at middle school the one who removed disabled children when a past principal of summer school? There are reasons why families and teachers of Special Education children tried so hard to get information from summer school office and from Special Education before they could register. Teachers and parents wanted to know that their disabled students would be safe, in an appropriate environment and with appropriate principals. Special Education delayed so much and did not provide summer information until too late, registration closed and kids couldn't enroll. Families need full information. Wish the Board of Education would stop believing everything their managers tell them and learn more about what really happens. That way they could work to make things better.

The comment about how much administrators love having inclusion children at summer campuses is condescending. From Board of Education comments it sounded like summer school was an afterthought, and that administrators putting it together were over worked and had little support. Sorry that happenes. If they are going to do this, you deserve strong support and resources.

@Smoke and Mirrors - to your earlier point about Special Education hiring consultants to perform Special Education's management functions, caution is needed since contractor staffers do not have to meet the high District requirements to hire an employee. Via contracts Special Education can hire people they like. You want Special Education to have flexibility to get their work done and to deal with varying needs and workloads. Still, oversight is easily lost within these contracts. Contractors are supposed to be independent and fully trained, without supervision or training from the District. There is no method for feedback from families or teachers about their work. Or feedback is ignored if Special Education likes them or needs the help. The Board of Education doesn't notice these non-employee contractors, hired to do not just training, but also for behavioral services, management of teachers, management of employees, and to speak at different sites and groups to promote policies they already decided on. Some contractors say they are teachers when they are not. Flexibility and time constraints are good reasons to hire contractors when needed. It shouldn't be a way to avoid hiring credentialed teachers.

Posted by Sarcastic
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Don't you get it? The reason for no more summer school is because Skelly has to save $$ to pay the APR lady's salary and the large fees to the attorneys that he he had to hired to protect himself from the office of Civil Rights, and all the cases brought up to him on behalf of special education students etc? I think we should pay higher amount of parcel tax, just in case he needs to hire someone else to protect him, better prepared than sorry. Aren we all with him. Yes Skelly is costing the district a fortune, but it is worth it, most people agree the he is doing an ok job. Come n people, let's raise the percentage of the parcel tax. Skelly needs it really bad.

Posted by Smoke and mirrors
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2013 at 7:17 am

The money is there for summer school. It's just not valued by the board. Take some time and read through the board packet, the board is burning through tons of it with new hiring and more. Watch out for the teacher's union, they'll be making their we-can't-afford-to-live-here speech soon.

Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 27, 2013 at 9:08 am

Even if the money was there for summer school - I guarantee that there would be an uproar if a small number of students got free summer camps - which is what the "enrichment" classes are.

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2013 at 12:21 am

@Curious fan - I am also a fan, and I also believe in giving credit where it is due. I noted numerous times my astonishment as to the quick closure of Curious' threads. These threads were made available only to those who log in (which practically stops the discussion) or totally locked. Here are two links, a tiny sample of the way Curious' threads were "treated": Web Link Web Link

I think that stifling the discussions initiated by curious is not disconnected from Ms. Mendoza comment - "...This is the way they work. If they do not talk about it, maybe people will think that the problem does not exist..." (Web Link
Sadly, it seems to me that this realization applies also to this board, Curious' threads being a very good sample.
I have addressed this issue in my blog - here is a link
(Web Link
I hope that my reference here will not be treated differently from other references. let's see.

Posted by Observer
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 31, 2013 at 5:49 am

Notice that the district is now going to give teachers and administrators 4 percent raises and 2 percent bonuses, on top of last year's pay increases. The district is running a surplus, happy times are here again, and it's time to hand out cash to the usual suspects. That doesn't kids who could benefit from summer school, obviously.

Posted by Smoke and mirrors
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2013 at 6:42 am

I told you that there was plenty of money for summer school. There still is. Students and parents who need summer school are not very important in PAUSD. The teacher and principals union, on the other hand, are needed for Skelly to get his $300,000, so they have now been paid. You will not hear a peep out of them.

Posted by Palo Verde Parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 31, 2013 at 8:32 am

"Students and parents who need summer school are not very important in PAUSD."

Not true. Kids who need summer school will get summer school. All of the remedial, and classes where students need to retake them for credit still exist. What is gone are the "camp" type classes from the middle school program. Things like volleyball and cooking. I would be upset if the district were to pay for kids to do this in the summer. In fact, most other districts are not even offering summer school at most levels.

Posted by Dwight fan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2013 at 8:48 am

"Not true. That sounds a lot like Dwight from The Office. Doesn't make your point true. I tend to agree that PAUSD doesn't care about summer school for those who need to make up school time. The community, in general, doesn't care about struggling kids, in fact, it looks like some folks are embarrassed of them or for them, ten there are those heroic folks who have pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps and merit success. After reading the news about the raises for the teachers, I'm not seeing the care for a few struggling students, but I am seeing something of a hush money arrangement with the teachers. It's a normal political thing to do, there's nothing sophisticated about it.

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2013 at 11:50 am

@Dwight fan - you wrote:"... After reading the news about the raises for the teachers, I'm not seeing the care for a few struggling students, but I am seeing something of a hush money arrangement with the teachers... "

Hush money for the teachers????? How could that be? My observations was that anyone who tried in the past to point to any problem/issue that most likely was observed also by teachers, was told that that problem/issue was not a reasonable observation since the teachers would have spoken as well, as Palo alto teachers enjoy Academic Freedom.
I am not sure what you mean.

Posted by Patty C
a resident of Los Altos
on Dec 19, 2013 at 11:34 am

I am very sad that we can not have access to SUmmer school to enable the bright kids to learn more. I am a cautious spender and wish the public schools were too. We are in catholic schools as we just can't deal with the politics. I must say my anger is that I pay taxes, while I see kids who can not affford supplies, but have the latest apple phones, designer clothes and things my kids do not.

while not happy to pay taxes, I would not mind, if the money really went to truly needy kids. If you can have an iphone and uggs-- you can pay for your field trips and paper

Posted by Que pasa, Dudes?
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm

What happened to all that surplus money PAUSD has? Pleading poverty does not work here--according to some insiders, both the district and the city are awash in money

Posted by Smoke and mirrors
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2013 at 6:27 am

Pretty obvious since this thread was covered that there was plenty of money. We've burned through a whole bunch for each employee in the district, from the lowest-paid classified folks to each and every teacher and principal. These raises demonstrate that all teachers and principals are equally competent, apparently, we don't have a bad apple in the bunch. Same with principals and all the district administrators, all the way up to Kevin Skelly. Still no money for summer school. Skelly only pays for what is important, and without PAEA keeping their mouths closed, he won't get his $300K, and that is what is ultimately important.

Posted by Que pasa, Dudes
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2013 at 11:43 am

Kevin Skelly must be the worst, underworked and overpaid superintendent anywhere ever!

My BIL used to work at City Hall as a finance manager. He left because Palo Alto was not challenging: no financial problems, and, according to him, this city and PAUSD are "rolling in money". Now he works for another B ay Area city, and has plenty of challenges and is better paid to boot,

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 20, 2013 at 12:44 pm

First - summer school will still happen. But the classes will be for those students who truly need the help/work --- for catch up, remedial learning, make up a failing grade, etc. This is funded.

I disagree with the assertion that PAUSD should use surplus funds to offer classes that essentially are babysitting and day camp alternatives. People should pay for those services. But since PAUSD can't charge for any summer school classes, let along "enrichment" or get ahead of your peers type classes, I'm fine with not offering those classes.

People should pay to attend classes that otherwise are not necessary for the typical student...that can't be taken normally during the school year.

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