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Tuesday, March 26 , 2019, 12:56 pm | Partly Cloudy 62º


Summer Classes Could Return to Santa Barbara Schools Under Enrichment Proposal Pitched to District

Summer enrichment courses could return to some Santa Barbara public schools, thanks to the efforts of the Santa Barbara Education Foundation.

The nonprofit foundation is exploring a partnership with the Santa Barbara Unified School District to offer fee-based courses at one or more school sites for five to six weeks this summer. The foundation would provide the financial backing for the program.

Foundation executive director Margie Yahyavi presented a tentative facilities agreement for school board consideration Tuesday night during the trustees’ regular meeting.

No action was taken, but Yahyavi told Noozhawk she’s hopeful the agreement will come back for board approval at a meeting within a month.

She said the to-be-determined course list would be the first time in more than eight years that such classes have been offered for Santa Barbara students looking to get ahead in their schoolwork. Budget cuts prompted the district to eliminate similar classes, she said.

“We’ve been working on this project for a while,” Yahyavi said. “We’re excited about providing a program for the community and the district students. The response has been very positive.”

The tentative proposal, which includes a three-year facilities contract, is to serve high school students at one or all three school campuses, depending on the level of interest. The foundation would pay to use district facilities and for the salaries of the summer school teachers.

Barbara Keyani, a spokeswoman for the school district, said the proposal is expected to return before the trustees for action, but she could not confirm whether that would be at the next board meeting on March 12.

She wouldn’t say whether the board is behind the proposal, but she did say the district has generally been supportive of the foundation’s efforts.

“Our school district values its longtime, working relationship with the Santa Barbara Education Foundation,” Keyani said. “This new proposal reflects the foundation’s commitment to improving the academic opportunities for youth.”

The enrichment courses would not be for students who have fallen behind in their studies, since the district still provides those remedial classes, Yahyavi said.

She said the proposal is still in the conceptual phase, and she could not estimate the total cost of the program.

Tentatively, students would pay a fee to enroll, and the district would grant full academic credit for courses successfully completed. The district and the foundation would have the option to extend the contract an additional three years by mutual agreement, according to the proposal.

The ultimate goal, Yahyavi said, would be to offer summer enrichment courses to all of the district’s K-12 students.

“It’ll be the first time we’ve implemented a program like this,” she said. “It’s our desire to provide the highest quality of rigorous curriculum. The teachers are really excited. I think the community will embrace this idea, too.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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