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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

On four-day school weeks, business leader survey says no way

25

October

Marion schools have adopted the four-day school week for 2012-13 (though officials say it's just a precaution in case finances are too poor). The Pasco School Board has assigned a task force to investigate whether it will follow.

Public sentiment is starting to emerge against the idea.

A survey by the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations finds that state business leaders overwhelmingly oppose closing schools for an extra day weekly.  Of 277 respondents, 67.5 percent answered "no" to the question of whether it would be a good idea for their school district to move to a four-day week.

The respondents also said they did not believe K-12 education is adequately funded (85.8 percent) but that school districts use the current funding they have efficiently (69 percent).

They offered a list of ideas of how districts might save more money, including charging a fee for use of school buildings (58.6 percent), outsourcing services (53.9 percent) and increasing employee costs for benefits (43.8 percent). Four-day weeks did not register.

The arguments can go both ways. Districts can cut down on salaries, transportation and energy usage if they run four days a week. But instructional time and academic performance become question marks as schools demand more of kids on the days they attend, with a three-day period to forget. There's also the social aspects -- parents needing child care, teens out in the community perhaps unsupervised, and so on.

What's your take on the four-day week? 

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 3:51pm]

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