A rural Missouri school district outside St. Louis reports success in implementing a four day week with longer school days, writes St. Louis Today.
According to the article, the district, Montgomery County, is saving $150,000 by moving to a shorter week. But while the district is cutting costs in janitorial services and school lunches, instruction time isn’t being scrapped: students are in school 50 minutes longer per day and spend more time in school year-round.
District officials (and students and parents) have already reported a decline in student and teacher absences and improved attentiveness in students. Montgomery County is one of five districts in the state that have moved to a shorter week, after being authorized by a bill that was passed by the state legislature in 2009. While the cost savings total is small, it’s been sizable for Montgomery County, which was able to save a few staff positions with the change.
The article briefly mentions the “burden of finding child care,” but does not go into great detail about whether the shorter week has placed a greater hardship on parents. While the Education Commission of the States reported in 2010 that eight states opened the door for their districts to move to shorter weeks to save money, I wonder how many districts would be able to implement a shorter week without significant push back from parents, particularly in districts with high percentages of low income families or both parents working.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Beyond School blog.