California Rural Legal Assistance Inc., Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, representing Bakersfield students and parents, filed a lawsuit against the Bakersfield City School District on Monday to reinstate its districtwide summer school programs.
The three legal firms allege BCSD’s summer school cancellation violated the law because the district made its decision without seeking input from the parent advisory committee or any other stakeholder groups, according to a news release.
“This move by the District will adversely impact many of our client families, especially low-income and English Learner students, who need these programs to stay on track academically,” said Lyndsi Andreas, staff attorney with Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance. “The District should immediately reinstate all of the cancelled summer schools and provide a public accounting for why they circumvented the legal process.”
The district officially canceled the traditional summer school program during an April 24 Board of Education meeting in favor of a 16-day remedial English and math summer school, which will be held at Casa Loma, Longfellow and Stella Hills elementary schools, and Emerson Middle School.
The firms also allege the district, board and superintendent did not include any information about how $1.6 million, money allocated for summer school, will be used for the remainder of the 2018-19 school year, according to the news release.
BCSD said in a news release that students are "always our priority" despite "difficult decisions" that have to be made."
"The BCSD Board of Education, administration and staff are fully committed to educating all students at the highest levels of academic excellence. This requires careful and deliberate analysis and often calls for difficult decisions," the release states. "BCSD has previously informed GBLA that its gross misstatements regarding the District’s modification of summer school are based neither in fact nor law. We cannot let such gross misstatements stand."
The district also states it fully complied with the law when modified its summer school program.
"Both the California Department of Education and the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office have repeatedly advised that BCSD has and continues to comply with the legal requirements relating to its Local Control and Accountability Plan and the modified Summer Learning Program."