Friday, September 9, 2011
SAN DIEGO All San Diego County public schools were closed Friday to avoid potential problems related to the roughly 12-hour countywide power outage Thursday night.
The blackout also shut down a wastewater pump station in Sorrento Valley. The resulting dump of nearly two million gallons of sewage closed beaches from La Jolla to Solana Beach, but that didn't keep some families and kids away from the county's southern shoreline to pass the unexpected day off from school.
Before lunchtime families and groups of teens were trickling onto Mission Beach. El Capitan HIgh School sophomore Ben Janes said he was surprised to hear schools would be closed.
“It was awesome. I didn’t think I would get the day off of school, I thought they would have the power restored," Janes said.
After tossing a football around with his sister and a visiting foreign exchange student, Janes was planning to take a walk down the boardwalk.
Five-year-old Alyssa Bedford wasn’t as convinced that a day at the beach was such a treat. She said a day of kindergarten was more fun than time at the beach. But - she was busily collecting sand crabs in a plastic baggie. What did she plan to do with them?
“Well, um, let’s see, I’m going to play with them,” she said. Then she planned to release them back into the water.
Heidi North brought her four children, the oldest a sixth grader and the youngest a 4-year-old.
"I was going to take my youngest to the beach anyway," North said. "But, then my other three kids, because of the power outage were out of school. So, I was like, 'Sweet! It's another summer day!'"
Schools across the county are expected to be back on normal schedules Monday.
California funds school districts based on a formula that allots a certain dollar amount per student, multiplied by the district’s average daily student attendance. Last year each day a San Diego County student attended school brought their district about $29. So a day with all of the county’s schools closed could mean a big hit to district’s bottom lines.
But the County Office of Education will be working this week to help school districts submit emergency attendance waivers to the state that will remove the empty classroom day from funding calculations.
Many San Diego County school districts have 180-day school year schedules, five days more than the state’s 175-day minimum. That means most will not have to schedule make up days for instructional time.