Sunday, July 27, 2008

Four Day Week Planned for Cash Strapped Schools

From Reuters:

Facing a crippling increase in fuel costs, some rural U.S. schools are mulling a solution born of the '70s oil crisis: a four-day week.

Cutting out one day of school has been the key to preserving educational programs and staff in parts of Kentucky, New Mexico and Minnesota, outweighing some parents' concerns about finding day-care for the day off....

About 100 predominately rural schools in as many as 16 states have already moved to a four-day school week, many to save money on transportation, heating and cooling.

Webster County School District in Kentucky switched to a four-day week four years ago under economic duress -- a state budget crisis left the school in limbo, leaving the district with the option of dropping school days or cutting staff and programs.

The district ended up saving tens of thousands of dollars in fuel and energy costs, helping to cut total costs by 3.5 to 4 percent, said James Kemp, the superintendent of the Webster County School District. The shortened week at Webster also brought unexpected benefits such as improved attendance and a boost in student performance.

"If we were to go back to a five-day week, the school board and I would be run out of town," Kemp said.

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