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State offers new flexible policies for school districts

POSTED January 5, 2010 11:59 p.m.
About three times a year, the Turlock Unified School District updates their policies to be in compliance with new laws brought down by the state. This time the state’s changes offer more flexibility and options to policies without requiring districts to adopt the new options.
At Tuesday’s board of trustees meeting, the board was informed of the new policies and at their Jan. 19 meeting they will vote on whether to adopt the policies or not.
A policy focusing on the California High School Exit Exam allows students with disabilities to be exempt from taking the exam on a condition of receiving a diploma if the student has satisfied all other state and district requirements for the receipt of a high school diploma on or after July 1, 2009.
Students without a disability have three opportunities to take the California High School Exit Exam in their last year in high school with the option of electing to take the exit exam five times during the school year. They may also receive intensive instruction and services for up to two consecutive academic years after completing grade 12 or until they have passed both parts of the exam. Students who have passed all the district course requirements but have not passed the exit exam will receive a certificate of completion but not a diploma.
The new policies regarding the school year calendar are made to reflect law ABX42, which authorizes a district, with agreement from their respective unions, to reduce the school year by five days through 2012 and 2013.
“Our goal is to maintain the number of days in our school year,” TUSD Human Resources Manager Mike Trainer said. “We have no intention of reducing our school year.”
California now allows districts to take on the option of the “school district choice” program in regards to interdistrict attendance. The new program allows the district to do a random drawing held at a board meeting when more students apply to transfer than the board has permitted. TUSD administrators said they will not be taking part in this program if this policy is approved. The district will continue to approve interdistrict transfers case-by-case depending on individual student needs.
“We haven’t reached capacity, so we do not need to use this program at this time,” said Gil Odgen, TUSD director of student services.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.

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