States

Illinois House Approves Bill for a 4-Day School Week

By Erik W. Robelen — March 24, 2010 1 min read

Illinois lawmakers may want to brace for some irate phone calls from working parents. The state House, in response to concerns about tight school budgets, approved a bill this week that would allow local school boards to set four-day weeks for students, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Students would still be required to attend school the same number of hours each year, but schools could employ longer days or curtail summer vacations to reach the target. Lawmakers said the move could save districts money on fuel for buses and utility costs for buildings, the story says.

The bill passed the House on a vote of 81-21, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

It’s facing opposition from some education groups, including the Chicago Teachers Union.

Illinois is not the first state where this issue has come up lately, in the face of squeezed state and local budgets. Among the other places where it’s apparently being pursued are central Minnesota, northern Louisiana, and Kansas, based on recent stories.

And as this 2008 analysis from the Council on State Governments reminds us, the idea is nothing new, but has recently begun to attract more interest. The article highlights districts, mostly remote, rural ones, in states such as Colorado, New Mexico, and Kentucky, that already operate on four-day schedules.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.