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Why Do LAUSD Schools Have Friday Off? It’s Admission Day!

Los Angeles public schools honor the date when California was admitted into the United States by taking off the last Friday of August.

Why Do LAUSD Schools Have Friday Off? It’s Admission Day!

Friday, Aug. 31, is a day off for all Los Angeles public schools (and some private schools). 

And, it has nothing to do with Labor Day.

It’s Admission Day, an official California state holiday that commemorates California being admitted into the United States as the 31st state on Sept. 9, 1850.

The Los Angeles Unified School District observes the anniversary on the last Friday of August—it's a paid holiday for the teachers. This year, with LAUSD schools resuming classes earlier than before, the holiday is figured into the school calendar. The school schedule was changed to align more closely with the two-semester schedule used by most colleges, and to avoid having the three-week winter recess break up the first semester.

Venice High School, Westwood Charter, Fairburn Elementary, Emerson Middle School and University Senior High will all observe the holiday.

Even the day of Admission Day is a bit murky. The date California was admitted into the United States is officially Sept. 9, 1850, but local historians will point to the earlier treaty signed on Jan. 16, 1847, as a more significant moment in history because it ended fighting between the Californians and Mexicans.

Admission Day is usually recognized on Sept. 9, but because that date falls on Sunday, this year it will be observed on Friday.

Yet, the trick is to find any agency that recognizes it. The Los Angeles Superior Court offices will remain open and the state Employee Development Department will stay open. Certainly banks will remain open. The state budget crisis ended many such holidays, unless it’s considered a furlough day, which means a day off with no pay.

It used to be that Admission Day was more widely celebrated throughout the state. San Francisco had celebrations that lasted three days.

And, every once in a while, a California governor would remind us that Admission Day was a holiday. The most recent proclamation came from Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005. However, it didn’t mean a paid holiday for state workers.

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