Four-day school week worth looking at

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Finally, the four-day school week has been put on the agenda and opened up for discussion.

Still, there are school board members who seem more concerned about the parents and their reactions. I would assume, maybe erroneously, that their major concern should be to maintain an adequate number of teachers and to be assured that our children are receiving a good education. A slightly increased day of exposure to their studies would enhance their learning.

The saving associated with one less school day per week is equivalent to a 20-percent reduction in services and consumption of utilities. Now they should also consider the extracurricular activities and all the costs associated with these programs. The word "extra" translates as "not truly needed." Surely you must agree these activities do not enhance the learning of the majority of students.

Also, in this economy and with the strains being put on all of us, many of us have curtailed the extras we do not need.

P.C. Santos

Augusta

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Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/29/10 - 10:58 pm
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The four-day school week will

The four-day school week will be a great improvement in delivery of educational services, will help the students focus, and will save the taxpayers money. The teachers and other staff members will love the three-day weekends. Of course, the logical day to close schools will be Mondays. Why? There are several school holidays on Mondays - Labor Day, MLK Day, President's Day, and Memorial Day. With the school already closed, there will be no schedule interruption for these holidays. Also, the U.S. tradition of high school Friday night football will be honored with a Monday closing instead of a Friday closing.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/29/10 - 11:00 pm
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The most significant savings

The most significant savings for the four-day school week will, of course, be in transportation. The buses will run only four days, realizing an instant savings of 20%. There will be less diesel fuel used. There will be fewer miles put on the buses (lowered maintenance and replacement costs per year). And, since the bus drivers are hourly workers, there will be lower labor costs over the course of the year.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/29/10 - 11:02 pm
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A second great saving will be

A second great saving will be in lunchroom costs. The lunchroom workers will work only four days, and their labor costs will be reduced by 20%. Also, not having to prepare meals on Mondays will result in lower electricity and gas costs for the stoves and ovens (not to mention opening and closing the refrigerators on Mondays). They will have less food to purchase, also.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/29/10 - 11:04 pm
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An unexpected benefit will be

An unexpected benefit will be in reduced costs for substitute teachers. There will be no need for substitute teachers on Mondays.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/29/10 - 11:07 pm
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Another important saving will

Another important saving will be realized if the school system lays down the law to the school facility staff (principal and maintenance). Friday evening through Tuesday morning the schools should be closed to all (teachers and students). The lights should be shut off. The thermostats should be adjusted (cold in winter, warm in fall and spring) over the three-day weekends. Computers and copiers should be turned off. Hundreds of thousands of dollars could be saved if utilities were managed intelligently.

dillster
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dillster 01/30/10 - 12:55 am
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Little Lamb, we get it. You

Little Lamb, we get it. You like the idea. Save money, screw the kids.

Dixieman
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Dixieman 01/30/10 - 07:09 am
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Government schools = child

Government schools = child abuse. These kids will learn more on Mondays than on Tuesdays - Fridays if they just read a book or go to the library or Fort Discovery. Scrimp, save and take a second job if necessary to get your kids into private school.

willienelson
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willienelson 01/30/10 - 08:38 am
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If it's really a budget issue

If it's really a budget issue why not consider the obvious? Stop school transportation. Let parents be responsible for getting their kids to school. Shut down school food service. Let the kids eat in the cafeteria then step outside to play. Surely parents cans spring for a pb&j sandwich, chips and a reusable bottle of water. School is about education not baby sitting. If this is this worse depression since the great depression, let's get serious about being frugal.

g-dog express
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g-dog express 01/30/10 - 09:04 am
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School systems support

School systems support personnel are the lowest paid in the system. They have already had pay cuts. Give them another 20% cut and they will have to find work elsewhere. They pay bills too. Secondly, Do you really think a student will learn if you increase their 8 hour day to a 9 or 10 hour day? If you do then you do not know much about children. What will happen is that you will increase the burden on the parents for that one day. They will have to find some sort of supervision for their children so they can work. It is funny to me that the same people who are now considering going to a 4 day school week just a couple of years ago were considering year round school.

deekster
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deekster 01/30/10 - 09:43 am
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They go to daycare, "hump

They go to daycare, "hump dancing" or the "Y" after school for a couple of hours. Who's job hours coincide with school schedules. Look at the reality of the life of a child with working parent/parents. "Backpacking little adults" or with "rolling airline luggage"on the street for the day with a change of underwear and a Gameboy.

deekster
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deekster 01/30/10 - 09:50 am
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The federal government has

The federal government has redesigned public education to be an "end", and not the "means to an end". Completing Public Education was preached as the "cure all for society's ills". Thus simply finishing school became the "end". Not learning anything was fine. "Stay in School. Prior to "federal education", school were to prepare students to "know the process of learning", to "reason", to "think", and thereby become a productive member of society. The federal government has failed at "education".

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/30/10 - 09:58 am
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g-dog says that when the

g-dog says that when the school staff support personnel (presumably bus drivers and lunchroom workers) have to take the 20% pay cut that they will have to take a second job. Well, that's okay. They will have every Monday off to work that second job.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/30/10 - 10:02 am
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Oh, and g-dog, the four-day

Oh, and g-dog, the four-day school week idea has nothing to do with the year-round school argument. You can create a four-day school week schedule to accommodate a nine-month school year, a ten-month school year, or a year-round school year. The intent of the four-day school week is to save money by keeping school facilities dark and cold from Friday evening through Tuesday morning.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/30/10 - 10:05 am
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This is a reminder that there

This is a reminder that there are many, many office workers and equipment operators in the CSRA who work a four-day, ten-hour schedule. The vast majority of those workers who transitioned from the five-day schedule to the four-day schedule love it. The three day weekends are great.

Riverman1
90290
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Riverman1 01/30/10 - 10:11 am
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Oh, I have no doubt workers

Oh, I have no doubt workers love three day weekends as teachers and administrators would, too. But it wouldn't be best for kids, parents and the community. I'm skeptical of a survey that says differently. Employees and possibly the kids can stuff the ballot box.

Junket831
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Junket831 01/30/10 - 12:12 pm
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The 4 day school week is

The 4 day school week is absurd on a number of levels. If saving a few thousand dollars on transportation is the goal, then stop busing the kids. Enforce neighborhood schools or hubs and use distance learning tools.

Ask most workers that put in 10 hour days and they will tell you it isn't as easy as it sounds. It takes discipline and the right type of job. Something adults are far better at then most kids. Not all jobs are tailor made for that type of shift. Teaching and school could be, but that really depends on the school and the ability to keep everyone focused and engaged. Something not easily done in the current schedule.

At the high school level, what time would all the extra curricular activities take place in a 4 day school week? Either you would need to cut out some of these activities or they would be pushed into the early evening.

curtis41
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curtis41 01/30/10 - 01:13 pm
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This is nonsense. More

This is nonsense. More industrialized countries are increasing the number of days students are in session. We are falling further behind in math, science and engineering as a nation. A real solution is to either skeletonize or totally abolish the U.S. Department of Education and to institute vouchers across the nation, where state money follows the student, with parental choice, and cover public, private, parochial schools. Then, you will see benefit for dollars spent and education instead of babysitting and wasting young minds. One example is the recent reports on the Warren School System accreditation loss. What readers do not know is the high school has not met annual yearly progress (AYP) and therefore, offer students an alternative school in Hancock County. The Warren High is rated a 2, and the alternative choice school is a 5 in Great School ratings. This is a microcosm of the problems that permeate the public school system. Let individual states work out the school system and keep the federal government OUT of the process, give vouchers and watch achievement skyrocket.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 01/30/10 - 01:19 pm
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Lamb,,, Let me guess,, you

Lamb,,, Let me guess,, you are a teacher... I like the 4 day week too.. It makes sense to do it..We could have community centers with lots of activities for kids on the day off.. Why not have community gardens for some areas (welfare district) & grow food for the most needy..& some of the folks drawing food stamps would have to work 1 day in the garden.

seenitB4
93471
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seenitB4 01/30/10 - 01:23 pm
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Curtis,,,I think our problem

Curtis,,,I think our problem is because of What we teach,, the way we teach,,the home life of many students,, parents not involved with their kids,, drugs too easy to get,,& gov. wrong decisions on pc attitude..the 4 days won't do any more damage..

Little Lamb
47897
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Little Lamb 01/30/10 - 01:23 pm
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High school extracurricular

High school extracurricular activities is worth thinking about, Junket. First, students and their parents would have to agree about whether and which extracurricular activity the student is committed to -- be it athletics, marching band, concert band, glee club, yearbook, newspaper, debate club, etc. Then the facts would have to be faced: the extracurricular activity would have to be done after school, and the school day now ends a little later than it used to. High schoolers with motivation, commitment, and desire will continue to succeed with extracurricular activities. Some may decide they just need to go home after school.

Second, it must be made clear that there will be no extracurricular activities that use the school building on Mondays. On Mondays, the school is closed. The only possible exceptions to this would be sports practice that does not require any lighting, computers, or building HVAC. That would leave outdoor activities that can be accomplished with no lights.

Third, it must be made clear that the bus routes will be run shortly after school ends, and those staying for extracurricular activities must provide their own transportation home. In Richmond County, we currently coddle our students and provide bus transportation home for some students' extracurricular activities. This must stop.

DAMY46
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DAMY46 01/30/10 - 01:29 pm
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seenitB4, You can forget

seenitB4,

You can forget growing gardens...Folks on welfare will not work, period....

DAMY46
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DAMY46 01/30/10 - 01:48 pm
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Little Lamb, Does the school

Little Lamb,

Does the school board want to save money?

1..Consolidate some departments and programs.
2..Cut the 'fat' in the head office.
3..Get rid of the PR spokesperson (he makes over $120k a year).
4..Extend classes 15 min. in the morning and 15 min. in the afternoon.---Once they build-up 8 hours close all schools for a day.
5..Implement a 1 year hiring freeze on all job openings.
6..Stop all new construction plans for 2 years.
my 2 cents

Little Lamb
47897
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Little Lamb 01/30/10 - 03:06 pm
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Good ideas, Damy. Of course,

Good ideas, Damy. Of course, no one in the head office thinks his/her job is 'fat.' And it would be helpful if you could identify two departments to combine into one; and could identify two programs to combine into one. Theoretically, such a move would result in one less department head, and maybe one or two fewer admin assistants. Your 30-minute extension of the school day would take 16 days to build up 8 hours. It's better than nothing, but it is very small in savings.

seenitB4
93471
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seenitB4 01/30/10 - 03:37 pm
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Damy46,,,They would grow

Damy46,,,They would grow gardens if their food stamps were cut 50%,,that's our problem,, we reward folks sometimes for NOT working.

atsugua13
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atsugua13 01/31/10 - 06:10 am
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one thing that has not hit

one thing that has not hit the table yet...and people will surely get on their high horse is....bus drivers are paid 12 months a year....how ya like that folks.

Little Lamb
47897
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Little Lamb 02/01/10 - 08:05 am
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Thank you, Zoe. Your

Thank you, Zoe. Your next-to-last sentence is important in this debate. The fact is that children, parents, school staff, and all of society will adjust to the reasonable, cost saving four-day school week. What people forget is that children are resilient and tough. The ones who step up to the new schedule, work hard, discipline their bodies and minds, follow the rules, will succeed and prosper. The ones who whine and subvert the process will be losers. It will be our job as a society to promote the former qualities.

emergencyfan
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emergencyfan 02/01/10 - 09:49 am
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I don't understand why people

I don't understand why people are so worked up over the kids being off one day a week. All the teachers will be off too, and given the pay reduction due to furlough days, most would probably be willing to babysit your kids that 5th day. Think of how great that would be--four or five kids with one teacher all day. Think of how much the kids could learn without all the distractions of a formal school setting (assemblies, pep rallies, state-mandated testing, bullies, etc.)? plus they don't have to compete with 30 other students. And the added bonus that the teachers can make back a little of the money they've lost this year due to furlough days with the baby sitting fee. Win-win for those who truly want their kids to get an education.

curtis41
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curtis41 02/01/10 - 09:51 am
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seenitB4, I think you are

seenitB4,
I think you are correct that 4 day weeks will not hurt much. As a LONG time teacher, at every level from 3rd grade to medical school, our public schools are really, for the most part, terrible. TWO pregnant 8th graders in one class, low parental involvement, should probably separate sexes in math and science classes, poor administration, drugs, but the fact is you have to teach students who present in class and bring their level up to as close to class or better and proceed and TEACH. This largely is NOT happening, and it is NOT just a matter of money or facilities. It is a matter of competence and will. It is easier to let students watch Superman movies in class than to teach. One cannot, or at least, should not blame parents, society and the phase of the moon for NOT teaching youngsters. In my view, it is a cop out. In my experience, even in more depressed areas, students can and do learn with good, solid teaching, encouragement and investment in their success, with higher expectations, NOT lower, and then help them meet those expectations. Abolish the Department of Education, give vouchers to ALL parents, and then see education improve in public, private and parochial schools like never before. While money is a very serious concern with budget cuts, it is not the primary source of the failure of public schools to educate children. Many other countries are now doing a much better job. It is time to take stock of public schools' dismal record at educating youngsters, and to do so differently, with less micromanaging from Washington and with fewer demands on teachers for non-teaching functions that take up so much of their time and divert their efforts.

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