Monday, November 17, 2008

Small Iowa, Nebraska schools consider 4-day week

Four-day school weeks, which have had something of a boom this year because of high fuel prices, are being considered in other small school districts in Iowa and Nebraska as a way to save money, reports Staci Hupp of The Des Moines Register. "The Conestoga school district in Murray, a farming town 25 miles south of Omaha, stopped having school on Mondays two years ago in a last-ditch bid to pare expenses and dig out of debt," Hupp writes.

A shorter school week does not mean that students spend less time in class. The remaining days are longer to compensate for the lost day. Though the Conestoga district missed targets under the No Child Left Behind law in the 2006-2007 school year, its ACT scores rose, graduation rates stayed the same and the district scored high in the Nebraska rating system.

While some are skeptical that children can get the same education in a four-day week, the system has managed to save the school district a considerable amount. "Conestoga school officials have saved more than $100,000 a year, a tenth of their overall budget, in unused bus fuel, energy and substitute teacher pay," Hupp writes. The school system was able to burn a bank note at half time of one of their football games announcing that they were debt free.(Read more)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So if they are debt-free, why are the continuing go operate on a 4-day school week. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was just in Iowa talking about using Recovery Act money for the Iowa's schools and some of his ideas were adding afternoons, weekends, and summer dys to the school calendar. According to Mr. Duncan, "Our school day, week and year is too short as it is."