I want to applaud Morgan County School District Superintendent Doug Jacobs for his willingness to look at the four-day school week. This is a creative solution that can alleviate the district’s budget problems. It is no secret that the Century Center is costing us approximately $350,000 per year. The budget savings from a four-day week would easily cover the cost of the Century Center. It will also help the district cope with the additional costs of Obamacare.
When I first heard the suggestion of the four-day school week, I thought it would create a hardship for families using childcare. However, as I read about schools using the four-day schedule, it became clear this is not a problem. In fact, many parents feel it is easier to arrange childcare for one day a week then for a few hours every day. Parents also report that the schedule is more predictable with fewer random down days. This also made arranging childcare easier.
My other concern was that longer school days would cause student fatigue and behavior problems. However, when I spoke to friends in Hawaii, whose children are on a four-day week, my concerns were alleviated. They reported that the children are better rested and less stressed because they get a three-day weekend every week. This allows them to “buckle down” and focus better in class. Schools also report improved discipline. For example, a high school in Chattooga County, Georgia, reported a 73 percent decrease in disciplinary referrals since changing to the four-day week.
I hope the school board will give strong consideration to the four-day week.