CHINO, Calif. – Summer is going to be a lot shorter for hundreds of elementary school students in two Southern California communities.
Students at Dickson Elementary in Chino and Rolling Ridge Elementary in Chino Hills were supposed to be done with school on Thursday, but a clerical error means they will have to make up 34 days or the schools will risk losing $7 million in state funds.
Under California law, schools' occasional short days — taken to allow teachers time for preparation — must be at least 180 minutes. An internal audit in May found 34 days at the two schools that were only 170 or 175 minutes.
That missing time could be made up in just one or two school days but a further quirk of state law says the short days don't count at all. That means every one of the 34 days must be made up to avoid the penalty in state funds.
Hilary McLean of the state Department of Higher Education said legislators intended to make the penalties stiff to discourage districts from "shaving off minutes here and there."
One of the district's associate superintendents has taken responsibility for the errors. She is retiring this year.
The unexpected summer session will feature extra arts, music and science and will give students a head start on next year's curriculum, school officials said.
Still, the kids are disappointed.
Fourth-grader Sean Cornish says his classmates "think it's dumb that they have to go to school for these extra days because some lady messed up."