More school districts consider four-day week
As energy costs rise, rural school districts across the country may follow the lead of the 100 or so schools in 16 states that offer classes just four days a week. Cutting out a day of heating, cooling, and transportation fuel -- which can be significant in spread-out districts where school buses might travel 100 miles round trip each day -- allows schools to put funds toward valuable programs and staff. Advocates say four-day weeks can also improve student attendance and performance (though at least one district switched back to a five-day week after concluding that effective teaching and learning dropped off at the end of an extended day). Kentucky's Webster County School District switched to a four-day week in 2004, and has cut total costs by 3.5 to 4 percent. "If we were to go back to a five-day week," says Superintendent James Kemp, "the school board and I would be run out of town."