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Truncated School Week Saves Money

School Buses (Wikimedia Commons)

Although many education scholars argue that students should spend more, not less, time in school to excel, the Associated Press reports that a growing number of cash-strapped U.S. school districts are opting for four-day weeks to cope with tight budgets. More than 120 school districts across the country have so far decided to slice a day off the weekly school calendar, the AP says. Some districts say it’s either that or laying off teachers, the other major cost-savings option. For some districts, like Peach County in Georgia, the shorter week has proved a boon, the wire service says. Test scores went up there, as did attendance by both students and teachers.

To compensate for the day off, Peach County students spend a bit more time in school during the other four days, and students are offered more afterschool tutoring. Experts tell the AP that there is scant research into the effects of the four-day school week, so there is no good quantitative evidence to sift through, just anecdotal. To be sure, some districts have tried and dropped the scheme because they found it caused students to struggle, the AP says. But Peach County school officials report that it worked so well for them, and that students and teachers liked it so much, they’re bringing it back next year. The strategy also saved the district $400,000.

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