Cash-Strapped School Districts Go to 4-Day Week

Parents, workers miffed, but effect on student learning is unclear
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2010 11:04 AM CST
A classroom.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – As school districts across the nation find themselves battling massive budget shortfalls, some are turning to the relatively rare but controversial practice of shortening the school week. Four-day weeks usually don’t affect teacher pay or the amount of classroom time for students, as the days are simply lengthened. But if you’re a bus driver or a service worker, say goodbye to part of your paycheck, the Wall Street Journal reports.

It's trimming those fixed costs that adds up to savings: to the tune of $400,000 this year in one rural Georgia district. The effect of longer days on learning is less clear—well, basically unknown, as the few studies that have been done have proven inconclusive. But anecdotal evidence is already cropping up. A superintendent says teachers have to do a “dog and pony show to keep kids' attention" during tacked-on hours. “I don't think finances justify hurting the kids educationally.”

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