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Fairfax Struggles to Restore Full Slate of Summer School Programs

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In Fairfax County, however, getting the classes you want might not be as easy as it used to be. That's because summer offerings still aren't back to where they were before the financial crisis hit.

Last summer, budget woes forced Fairfax's school board to shave back summer programs for younger students almost entirely.

School board vice chair Brad Center says this year, the financial situation was a bit better.

"Keeping in mind that we didn't have a lot of money to throw at it," says Center. "What we've ended up with is having different schools at the elementary and middle school level design their own programs."

As it stands now, approximately two-thirds of the district's 177 elementary and middle schools will have some sort of summer offering. Center says while it's better than none, he and other school board members worry about being able to measure students' progress.

"With so many individualized programs, how will we evaluate the effectiveness of the programs as a whole?" Center says.

Center, who isn't running for reelection in November, says while he hopes summer school in Fairfax returns to the full slate of offerings the district could afford in 2008, he doesn't know when that can happen.

The county still offers summer courses for students with special needs and high school students who need remediation to meet grade level or to graduate. It also offers online courses for students simply looking to get ahead.

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