Archive for Wednesday, May 7, 2003

District wants feedback on four-day school week

May 7, 2003

There have been several suggestions made to help the Baldwin School District during its budget crunch, everything from cutting programs and faculty to increasing activity and user fees.

One suggestion that hasn't been discussed yet, but has caught the attention of Supt. James White, is the four-day school week.

Each school in the district was asked to compile a list of ideas to help reduce next year's budget. White said the four-day school week was a suggestion from a majority of the schools in the district.

"I thought it was interesting that it came up on several schools' lists of ideas," he said. "This idea seems to have come from several teachers."

The idea behind the shortened school week, he said, is to save money on utilities and classified personnel, like cooks, bus drivers and custodial staff.

But by having a four-day school week, he said the school day or the school year would need to be extended to make up the additional days being cut.

White said he is not for sure whether a shortened week would amount to a significant savings in the budget.

"I really haven't studied it enough to know," he said. "It seems to me there would be a possibility of some savings and there may be other savings we're not aware of. It would take some research to make that determination."

Research would also be needed to determine whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. He said one problem parents would face with a shortened school week is daycare.

"For junior high and high school students, it wouldn't be a problem," he said. "But for the younger ones, there could be a problem with daycare."

Currently, White said he knows of only four schools in Kansas that are on a four-day school week schedule, and is not sure if the concept has been successful for the schools.

But before more research goes into the four-day week, he said he would like feedback from parents and other district patrons about the idea.

If there is negative feedback from the public, White said he probably wouldn't be interested in pursuing the idea.

"It just seemed to be a common item on the list," he said. "That was somewhat intriguing to me."

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