Glendale: Vote set on school holiday

Los Angeles Daily News
March 28 2004

Vote set on school holiday
Proposal would give students day off on Armenian Christmas

By Naush Boghossian
Staff Writer

GLENDALE — The school board will vote Tuesday on two new student
attendance calendars, both of which include having Jan. 6, Armenian
Christmas, as a day off.

The financially strapped district lost about $250,000 in state
funding this year because so many Armenian students stayed home on
Jan. 6 to celebrate their culture’s Christmas holiday. About 10,000
of the district’s 29,200 students are of Armenian descent.

“If students are not in attendance, then that disrupts their
opportunity to have the continuity of instruction,” said Cathy
McMullen, the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources.
“We need to do everything to maximize instructional opportunities,
our financial resources and to be respectful of our community’s

Under both calendars — the product of several meetings with parents
and the teachers’ association — students on a traditional school
year would receive the mandated 180 days of instruction between Sept.
8 and June 23, but would have Jan. 6 and the day before Thanksgiving

The district originally was considering starting the school year a
week early and adding a week to its winter break to incorporate
Armenian Christmas as a school holiday, but the idea was thrown out
after complaints from parents.

School board member Greg Krikorian said it is unlikely they will be
able to please everyone in the community but the calendars that have
been settled on will allow the district to save a great deal of money
and be respectful of a holiday.

“We are steadfast in incorporating Jan. 6 as a day off in our school
district for students and staff because it helps us address the
budget challenge, it gives us a better opportunity to educate more
children on that day, and finally, it helps us be more culturally
sensitive to our large Armenian population,” Krikorian said.

Nearby school districts have made accommodations for days they
experience high student and staff absenteeism in order to avoid
losing average daily attendance revenues.

The Las Virgenes Unified School District, which has a large Jewish
student population, has a staff development day on Sept. 17 to
coincide with Yom Kippur.

The Los Angeles Unified School District has tried to build its
calendars around days when a large number of students and staff are
absent — including Good Friday and Yom Kippur.

Naush Boghossian, (818) 546-3306 [email protected]

IF YOU GO: The Glendale Unified School District board will meet at
3:30 p.m. Tuesday in the board room of the school administration
center at 223 N. Jackson St. For more information, call (818)
From: Baghdasarian