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Santa Barbara Education Foundation Receives Approval for Summer Enrichment Program
The Santa Barbara Education Foundation has received approval to operate a summer school program for high school students out of San Marcos High School’s campus, thanks to unanimous support from the Santa Barbara Unified School District board on Tuesday night.
The foundation had a facilities use agreement with the district and an agreement for the district to give students credit for the courses being offered in the summer program.
The foundation’s executive director, Margie Yahyavi, said the organization will now work on a course schedule with the help of district counselors and teachers. It’s a fee-based program, and the foundation is putting up the financial backing, including payments for the district to use its classrooms — $38 per classroom per day and $88 per computer lab per day.
“We’re trying to encourage our nonprofit partners and the community to work with us on this and find funding, and assist us to get funding so every child who wants to participate in the program will be able to,” she said. “We’re working very hard on that, actually.”
The foundation decided to use San Marcos’ campus because it’s centrally located, has bus stops nearby and the principals suggested it as the best choice.
“As much as we would like to have it at all three high schools, we need to hunker down and do it right the first year,” Yahyavi said.
Board members were quick to note that the program is not a partnership with the district, so SBUSD has no say in the courses offered, teachers hired or fees charged.
The curriculum will be enrichment courses, not remedial courses that cater to students who failed classes; the district still provides a program for those students who have fallen behind on credits, according to Superintendent Dave Cash.
Yahyavi said she is working with school counselors to identify overflowing classes so the summer schedule can help the flow of classes during the year, but not enroll too many students so sections get eliminated during the school year.
Santa Barbara City College is offering one summer sessions this year, June 17 to July 27.
“I think there are some kids taking courses at SBCC which is really appropriate for them, and others who would rather take classes in a more familiar setting with their high school counterparts,” Yahyavi said. “I think there’s room for both.”
She has also talked to performing arts and vocal music teachers about creating some courses so students from all district high schools can join together for class and performances over the summer.
“We’re really, really excited about this,” foundation board member Brian Robinson said. “I can’t think of a better organization to put kids in the classroom over the summer and put teachers to work.”
The school board also heard a budget update — the district hopes not to end the year with an operating deficit, though it reports one of $942,695 now — and gave notice to eight full-time math teachers. It’s possible that some could come back, funded by parcel tax or other revenues.
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