90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More Schools Turn To Four Day Week To Cut Costs

(AP)

Schools are cash strapped and they’ve been cutting the arts, sports, any after school activities, and now many are cutting a day.

The Washington Post reports that nearly 300 school districts across the country have cut a school day from the week to save money. Four day weeks have been around since the 1930s, but mostly in rural areas, where the cost of bussing students is so high. One school that recently turned to a four day week is North Branch, Minnesota.

“We wanted to maintain as many teachers as we could in the classroom, to maintain class size that was as reasonable as it could be and this is one of the great savings that we were able to come up with,” North Branch superintendent Deb Henton told Here & Now‘s Robin Young.

Total Savings=$250K

Henton says that the four day week saved North Branch $250,000. As the Washington Post reports:

Savings are gained in electricity, food and transportation as well as the wages for cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other nonsalaried employees…totaling around just 2.5 percent of a typical budget.

The Impact On Students

Henton points out that instruction time for students has not fallen, the remaining four school days are longer, and achievement has not decreased.

But there has been some criticism– some students who end up in day care one day a week say they are bored and would rather be in school. And with longer days, teachers have had to change the way they teach to keep students’ attention (Though some families say they like that their child has a three day weekend.)

Kids Caught In The Middle Of Debate

Henton said that North Branch moved to the four day week because of budget constraints. She said that voters in North Branch have rejected a tax increase to pay for the schools, a resistance she attributes to the high tax burden that residents bear. Henton said that in areas with more businesses or a denser population, voters have agreed to increased taxes to fund the schools. Henton says the state will not contribute more to pay for the schools.

“It’s a very difficult situation and caught right in the middle are the kids,” she said.

Do you have a four-day school week? Do you think this is a reasonable way to save money? Tell us in the comments section or on our Facebook page.

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Spotlight

We now have a digital bookshelf! Explore all our books coverage or browse by genre.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

January 22 Comment

The Playwright Behind ‘Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike’

Christopher Durang's Tony Award-winning comedy is currently being performed in 27 regional theaters across the U.S.

January 22 25 Comments

EdX CEO Lays Out Disruptive Vision For Higher Ed

Anant Agarwal believes MOOCs — massive online courses — can be a disruptive force for good in higher education.

January 21 20 Comments

What Happens When Your Sibling Makes More Than You?

Sociologist Dalton Conley explains what it means for family dynamics when one sibling is significantly richer or poorer.

January 21 2 Comments

Obama’s Proposal On Inequality: Is It Enough?

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz offers his take on the president's plan and whether it goes too far or not far enough.