A Look at a Four-Day School Week
The economy is bad, banks are folding, and the price of gasoline is high. With the slow economy, school districts will receive less funding from the state. Thus, the schools are in an economic bind.
The governor of Georgia, Gov. Perdue, said that 225,000 gallons of fuel was used each day for school buses in the state of Georgia. Thus, he had the state school systems in Georgia to take two “snow days” after the recent hurricanes. This freed up nearly half a million gallons of fuel to be used during the gasoline shortage.
A four-day school week would save 20% on fuel costs for the school systems. The utilities could also be adjusted to save more money on a three day weekend while the schools were closed. The buses would be running less miles so the cost to maintain bus fleets would be reduced. Buses would not have to be replaced as often since they would be used less.
What effect would this have on the children. The four school days would be longer. Can small children or even high school students concentrate this long. Buses would sometimes be on the road before or after daylight hours. So safety for the child becomes more of a factor. Extra curricula activities such as sports practice that meet after school would carry over later in the day. How would the longer day affect academic performance?
What about some advantages. There would be less absenteeism since students could schedule dentist and doctors appointments on the day that they are off from school. School trips and other activities could also be scheduled on this day. Athletic teams could travel without missing class when playing on the off day.
Most of the community colleges in Alabama went to a four-day week about 20 years ago when the economy was bad. The four day week has been excellent for these students. Many community college students have a family and also work. Thus, they can work an extra day without conflicting with school.
The verdict is still out on the four-day school week. Would the savings be offset by the longer school days? Let us know what you think!