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Hollywood High lost more than $300,000 dollars in its budget for the 2013-2014 school year and must dismiss six teachers and one counselor. Administrators have proposed a seven-period schedule to help keep class sizes under 27 students since there will be fewer teachers.
According to the Student Site Council budget, the school lost about $300,000 from Title 1 funds because 45% of students did not turn in lunch tickets forms. The school also lost some funding from QEIA (Quality Education Investment Act), resulting in the loss of teachers.
Hollywood was one of the school chosen by lottery to receive QEIA funding for the past several years, helping out purchasing more teachers and supplies. For next year’s budget Hollywood only got enough money to only purchase 12 teachers from QEIA instead of usual 16.
“L.A.U.S.D. only gave us 22 teaching positions and two counseling positions. I will have to displace six teachers and one of the deans. Changing the bell schedule will give students the chance to recover missing credits, but it will [also] help Hollywood keep QEIA a little longer,” said Principal Alejandra Sanchez.
A new bell schedule will students who are not meeting the requirements to graduated a chance to make up those missing credits and students who are a chance to get involved in other electives available.
Teachers and counselors will vote tomorrow and Friday whether or not to change from a six to a seven-period schedule. Last year the idea was turned down by a wide margin when former Principal Jamie Morales brought up the subject.
“I do not think we should change something that is not broken. Hollywood’s API scores are very high and we were able to accomplish that on a six-period schedule,” said J.T. Burciaga, social studies teacher.
Other teachers favor a seven-period schedule.
“Change is good and we should not be afraid of it,” said Kelly Bender, TCA lead teacher. “Changing the schedule now will only help put Hollywood High ahead. I think sooner or later it will have to be done and the sooner the better. I strongly believe that Hollywood has already lost enough money and I know eventually we will lose QEIA ,but I feel if we are able to keep it longer it will be better. It will be very sad to see my colleagues leave so soon.”
Bender, a social studies teacher, continued, “Yes, it will be more work ,but teachers should not be afraid of taking that challenge and understand that we need to care for our students and it is scary to know what will happen if we do not change.”
Some remain unconvinced.
“ I do not think we should change to a seven-period schedule because students should pass the class the first time around. If the system did not work then no one would graduate,” said Neil Fitzpatrick, social studies teacher. “It’s up to the students to choose whether or not they care about their education. If we were to change teachers would have to go home every day and prep for another class and that takes a lot of time and work. Teachers will be doing extra work and I just do not think that teachers will be able to teach as great having seven classes per day.”
The faculty will decide in the next couple of days whether Hollywood will implement the proposed schedule. As for next year, the school will be able to recover some its money lost if more than 65% of students turn in lunch ticket applications. According to Principal Sanchez, if a student does not turn in their lunch ticket, they will not have a locker.