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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Is four-day school week a viable budget cut?



St. Lucie school district officials are taking a hard look at all sorts of options to cut spending by $17 million next year, in order to make up for expected revenue shortfalls.

Like the Pasco and Marion districts before it, St. Lucie has on its list the idea of moving to a four-day school week. It projects saving about $3.6 million by canceling classes on the fifth day, and another $1 million for cutting back maintenance work the same amount.

The move would get the district about one quarter of the way toward its needed reductions, meaning other options also would be necessary. Things up for consideration include reduction in athletics, salary cuts, school consolidations and job eliminations.

After investigations, both Marion and Pasco dumped the notion of a four-day week. Officials in both counties said the savings were too small, and the negative response from their communities was too great.

Meanwhile, many experts have suggested that students need more -- not less -- time in school. Can academic need trump financial reality? Is it better to change the calendar than fire workers? What are your thoughts about the four-day week?

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 2:33pm]


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