Shorter school weeks possible

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Faced with declining enrollment and cuts in funding, a small Minnesota school system this year did the only thing it thought it could do: Change to a four-day school week.

That could become easier for Georgia school systems to do. Two lawmakers have filed separate pieces of legislation that would give school systems the ability to operate under a four-day week.

Minnesota's MACCRAY school system had cut $1.1 million out of its budget over the past two years, leaving it with $7 million or $8 million, said Gary Sims, the junior high and high school principal.

"We're broke," he said, so to avoid eliminating electives and losing students to neighboring school systems, it switched to a four-day week.

He projected that would save $85,000 a year but believed it will likely be closer to $100,000. The savings will come from transportation costs, substitute teachers and utilities.

The school day has been extended by 64 minutes, so the total amount of instructional time is unchanged, Mr. Sims said.

In April, Richmond County Superintendent Dana Bedden brought up the idea of a four-day week, saying the school system should explore all avenues to offset rising fuel costs. Fuel costs have dropped significantly since then, but the financial outlook remains bleak.

State Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, said school officials in his north Georgia district approached him seeking flexibility and ways to ease the strain on their budgets.

"We really want to provide as much flexibility as possible at the local level, especially during these economic times," he said.

The focus should be on instructional time rather than on the required 180 days, he said.

Rep. Mark Williams, R-Jesup, has introduced similar legislation.

"If they choose to go to a four-day week, as other states, they would have that right," Mr. Williams said. School systems currently must apply for a waiver to do this, he said.

Mr. Sims said his Minnesota school system didn't have a problem convincing parents the change was the right move, and there was very little grumbling about what to do with children on the extra day off.

"Basically, I asked them one question," he said. "What do you do during June, July and August?"

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (42) Add comment
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jajo1012
0
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jajo1012 02/08/09 - 03:39 am
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It's great for college, it'll

It's great for college, it'll be great for the RCBOE. Do it!

inside info
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inside info 02/08/09 - 04:10 am
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Yeah give the kiddo's an

Yeah give the kiddo's an extra day with nothing to do but get in trouble!!

triscuit
3560
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triscuit 02/08/09 - 08:03 am
0
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It would be a boon to the

It would be a boon to the daycare business..gotta have someplace to put the little darlins' while mom and dad work that 5th day.

atsugua13
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atsugua13 02/08/09 - 08:33 am
0
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Cant wait for this to kick in

Cant wait for this to kick in

55 F-100
1
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55 F-100 02/08/09 - 08:37 am
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Wouldn't it be horrrible if

Wouldn't it be horrrible if the welfare Moms had to actually "parent" their child an extra day per week? Oh well, maybe the child could earn their keep by cleaning the "spreewells"on his hero's ride, or get an early start on their careers by posting a "look-out" for "5-0", and reporting back to the entrepreneur when it is an appropriate time to grab the waistband of his sagging pants and run to a new location. And the little darlings could accompany Mom to her hair appointment, nail appointment, and then the grocery store where Mom could pass along the welfare shopping secrets that are passed on from generation to generation. I guess that it won't be all that terrible after all!

Bizarro
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Bizarro 02/08/09 - 08:38 am
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Wait a minute. First talk of

Wait a minute. First talk of year round school to better educate and now lets cut down to a 4 day week to save money. I guess their edicatin part ain't dat impurtent. Oh oh slipped on the slippery slope. I guess educators can maintain the same level of ignorance in Richmond county with a four day work week so it will work on second thought.

sgachief
0
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sgachief 02/08/09 - 08:43 am
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I'll be they didn't cut a

I'll be they didn't cut a single high school football game. Priorities first, ya know.

christian134
2
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christian134 02/08/09 - 09:00 am
0
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Now let me see who is this

Now let me see who is this supposed to benefit the system and the budget?...Uhmm you will probably get many loud "No way" from the "parents" who have built in baby sitters...Many times there are more of them than those parents who actually care as that seems to be the problem behind most of the deadly unruly behavior...

workingmom
0
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workingmom 02/08/09 - 09:23 am
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Bizarro, year round school

Bizarro, year round school does not increase the number of days of attendance for students. It only spreads them out during the year instead of one long summer break.

aaa
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aaa 02/08/09 - 09:28 am
0
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Why bother?

Why bother?

LittleLady
1
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LittleLady 02/08/09 - 09:31 am
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How does four day school week

How does four day school week effect necessary classroom hours? Are they increasing instruction hours during four days to make up for the lost day?

Chuchi
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Chuchi 02/08/09 - 09:44 am
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LittleLady: "The school day

LittleLady: "The school day has been extended by 64 minutes, so the total amount of instructional time is unchanged, Mr. Sims said."

acisbiasedandsucs
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acisbiasedandsucs 02/08/09 - 10:10 am
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this will be a nightmare for

this will be a nightmare for people that have little ones with no where to go -- with the cost of everything on the rise parents will not have the extra cash for babysitting and will then rely on the older kids to watch themselves along with their siblings. Sounds like alot of kids will have to much free time and allow them to venture out into trouble. It doesnt matter how children are raised and what they are taught = even the good kids will find and have the time to get in trouble. Keep the 5 days and get rid of the overpaid mid and high level people on the payroll. This and other brain dead decisions make by the board of (lack of) education is why Ga and SC rank so low ---

Augustapaperdoll
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Augustapaperdoll 02/08/09 - 10:33 am
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4 day week would save money

4 day week would save money and the schools should not even be thought of is just somewhere for a kid to go to stay out of trouble or free baby sitter. If you raise your kids right they wouldnt get into any trouble. and teaching a child shouldnt always fall on the teacher at school you have to work with your kids at home also. Parents are always so quick to blame a teacher some of your kids are so out of control the teacher cant even teach them or others. Learning starts at home first.

Craig Spinks
819
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Craig Spinks 02/08/09 - 10:51 am
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How can the RCBOE save money?

How can the RCBOE save money? How much money does the RCBOE waste when it holds quasi-judicial tribunal hearings to deal with habitually disruptive students? Why not institute administrative transfers to more suitable educational environments for the habitually disruptive? These kids'd be better off out of regular classrooms in regular schools? And teachers and kids who come to school to teach and learn, respectively, sure as hell would be, too!

familyperson
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familyperson 02/08/09 - 10:59 am
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I can't belive that so mnay

I can't belive that so mnay parnet don't wont their childern home,I would love to spend more time with mine,and yes it dose matter how you raise you're childern, if you act like a parnet and teach you'r kids right form wrong and not just send them out side or to their rooms but sit and talk to them and not make them defened for them self ,cook for them help them with their home work,and yes I do work and I do not have a 9-5 job either my husband works also and our kid dont get in to trouble. Because we belive that teaching you're kid right from wrong starts at home.

TechLover
15
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TechLover 02/08/09 - 11:09 am
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Since there are school

Since there are school holidays throughout the year, I don't see how this is any different when it comes to the days off. The problem I see is in keeping kids attention and keeping them alert for the extra time (especially since some bus rides are so long).

TheTruth
1
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TheTruth 02/08/09 - 11:21 am
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Most people don't understand

Most people don't understand how education works or educational finance and law. We have something called the Carnegie system based on the amount of time a student spends in class. It was aimed at "standardizing" the amount of time (not how much someone knows) invested in secondary and post-secondary education. This arbitrary use of time as a basis for measuring educational attainment is one of the most serious problems in education. Student learning varies among individuals. Some kids learn quickly, some take significantly longer. Mastery is a measure of knowledge, not a measure of time. Think of it this way: If you had cancer and were facing death, would you want a doctor that put in the time, or would you want a doctor that has a high level success in treating cancer? Time can be thought of in two constructs: quantitative or qualitative. Which is more important, the amount of time or the quality of time? THIS PROPOSED CHANGE IS ONLY ABOUT ECONOMICS - MONEY, NOT QUALITY.

soldout
1287
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soldout 02/08/09 - 11:22 am
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It might encourage some homes

It might encourage some homes to become single income earner homes. That would help the kids, lower stress, bring more peace to the home and lower unemployement. Children were meant to be raised and not farmed out to others.

steelermoose1
0
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steelermoose1 02/08/09 - 11:35 am
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familyperson... maybe your

familyperson... maybe your kid needs to stay in school so you don't have a chance to teach them your terrible spelling and grammar.

TechLover
15
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TechLover 02/08/09 - 12:55 pm
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steel: Please don't be a

steel: Please don't be a grammar Nazi. I'm sure most folks are doing other things while posting. I know I am (plus I have some hinkey keys on the keyboard.)

sprintman
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sprintman 02/08/09 - 01:15 pm
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GA and SC rank so low in

GA and SC rank so low in education becaue of the good ole boy. Who only wants to help whites who have money. Look at alabama, miss, tenn, west va, and other states. With horrible educational systems. All ran by the good ole boy. When the good ole boy is ran out of ga. GA scores will come up. Because then we will care about educating. poor whites, rich whites, poor blacks, rich blacks, poor hispanics, rich hispanics, poor asians, rich asians, and son on. Right now we only care about rich white kids. That's why we suck in education.

sprintman
0
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sprintman 02/08/09 - 01:15 pm
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4 day school week is a good

4 day school week is a good idea though.

iletuknow
7
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iletuknow 02/08/09 - 01:27 pm
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Keeping kids out of the

Keeping kids out of the streets is the only successful job the local public schools manage to do.

christian134
2
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christian134 02/08/09 - 01:56 pm
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Your problems with whites run

Your problems with whites run deep and strong doesn't it sprintman...Maybe a little counseling will help...:-)

corgimom
48141
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corgimom 02/08/09 - 02:27 pm
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Sprintman, perhaps you should

Sprintman, perhaps you should go visit a school. What you're saying is 100% wrong. I was a poor white girl and I got an excellent education- because my parents insisted that I go to school, listen and mind the teachers, and do my work.

Bizarro
13
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Bizarro 02/08/09 - 03:22 pm
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Look folks we are in the dead

Look folks we are in the dead zone here when it comes to education. I have friends still teaching at colleges and universities locally here and elsewhere (above the Mason Dixon) and they lament how even the students coming from the best schools with all A's are just lacking. They can't figure out what is going on as they wonder are they responsible too. The European and Japanese systems are excellent and perhaps we can take note of their success. This is just as dire as the bailout needed for our economy. We are breeding a generation of dummies.

RCBOEsLowestPdEmp
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RCBOEsLowestPdEmp 02/08/09 - 03:43 pm
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i get so tired of reading all

i get so tired of reading all of these comments from all of the parents complaining about a 4 day school week."we dont have anyplace for our kids to go one extra day a week," parents complain. not one of these whinning parents look at it from a teachers point of view. they think we are built in 5 day a week babysitters. who's going to keep your kids one extra day a week? the same person who keeps them when they have early release days at school. the same person who keeps them spring break week or over the christmas break for two weeks, and the same person who watches these same children over the summer for 12 weeks.thats who is going to keep them. when you parents quit whinning and complaining and actually sit down to think about it, being out of school gives "WE" parents one extra day to spend quality time with "OUR" kids, one extra day to acturally have some family time that we dont get to have on a weekday with all of the extra homework, projects and book reports kids have to do these days. i am a single black mother of 4, and i had to take a DRASTIC pay cut and change my zip code to make sure that i could be at home whenever my kids were out of school. you do what you have to.

GnipGnop1
2
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GnipGnop1 02/08/09 - 05:10 pm
0
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Oh yeah we have a black Supt

Oh yeah we have a black Supt of schools (so was the last supt)that only cares about educating rich white kids. Where's the responsiblity of those that are in school? The problem is we allow disruptive students to take over classrooms. We don't test kids so that they are grouped in like minded classrooms (because someone might get their feelings hurt if junior or buffy is a little slower) so all of the kids suffer. If the schools want to save money then they should try to reverse court ordered busing that is no longer needed in Augusta. The city is majority black yet we continue to waste money on bus fuel to send kids across the city for schooling. Once again this is so Augusta.

Craig Spinks
819
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Craig Spinks 02/08/09 - 05:47 pm
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GnipGnop says, "The problem

GnipGnop says, "The problem is we allow disruptive students to take over classrooms." GnipGnop is correct. Now the next logical questions: What are We the People going to do to place our teachers back in firm control of our classrooms? What are we going to do to place our site-level administrators back in control of their schools?

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