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Sacramento City Unified students could face 16 added school days. Here’s when and why

Sacramento Bee
Sacramento City Unified School District students may attend eight extra days of classes each of the next two years to make up for lost instruction time after an eight-day strike shut down campuses in 2022 and to avoid a $47 million state-imposed penalty.

Sacramento’s largest district and its teachers union agreed to spread the 16 days across two years during negotiations regarding teacher raises and lowering class sizes.

In 2022, unions representing teachers and maintenance workers halted work in hopes to secure pay raises, address issues with health care policies and teacher staffing. Classes resumed with many of those demands met, according to The Sacramento Bee’s previous reporting.

The agreement comes after the California State Board of Education slapped the district with a $47 million fine for failing to meet the minimum minutes and days required of instruction during the 2021-22 school year. Sacramento City Unified and the Sacramento City Teachers Association agreed on the specific days of instructional time, which allows the district to apply for a waiver to forgive the fine.

School board members are scheduled Thursday to approve the waiver request. State Board of Education trustees will consider approving the waiver at a May meeting.

Money that has already been earmarked to pay the fine will instead be used to improve staffing and student services if the waiver is approved, according to the teachers union.

“We are appreciative that the new administrative leadership team, along with a super majority of the school board, have moved the District in a much more constructive direction,” said Nikki Milevsky, a school psychologist and the president of the SCTA.

California K-12 students are required to attend 180 days in school. Kindergartners must go to class for 36,000 minutes per year, according to the State Board of Education. Instructional time is 50,400 minutes for first through third graders and 54,000 minutes for fourth through eighth graders, according to the state. High school students must be taught for 64,800 minutes.

“Our hope is that you will use this information to make plans that allow students and staff to maximize attendance and engagement during these extra learning days,” Sacramento City Unified wrote in a statement to parents.

Here are the potential schedule changes

If the plan is approved by May 15, the additional days will be tacked onto the front end of the next two school years. The first day of school could be rescheduled to Aug. 19, according the news release.

Currently, the 2024-25 school year is scheduled to begin on Aug. 29. But if the waiver is approved, the eight additional days could be Aug. 19-23 and Aug. 26-28.

The eight additional days in the 2025-26 school year could be Aug. 18-22 and Aug. 25-27.

If the state education trustees approve the plan after May 15, then the new days will instead apply to the 2025-26 and 2026-27 school years.

The new education days for the 2026-27 school year could be Aug. 17-21 and Aug. 24-26. The additional school days for the 2025-26 school year would be Aug. 18-22 and Aug. 25-27, the same as the other plan.

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