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Eye On Boise

New study finds four-day school weeks don’t save school districts money

A new study by a rural education group examined the 42 of Idaho’s 115 school districts that have gone to four-day school weeks as a money-saving move, and found that none have seen significant savings as a result. “Minimal savings could be achieved by reducing time for hourly employees, but districts were often reluctant to take this step,” wrote researchers Paul Hill and Georgia Heyward of ROCI, the Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho. “Contrary to expectations, some districts saw their costs rise as a result of the need for additional enrichment activities and after-school snacks during the extended day.”

The researchers found some benefits from the new schedule, from opportunities for enrichment on the fifth day to longer days on the other four that better matched parents’ work schedules. But, they wrote, “None of the districts interviewed had rigorously assessed the effects of the four-day week on student achievement. Just one had set out criteria for reviewing its impact and returning to a five-day week if necessary. This means that the educational consequences of the four-day week, at present, are virtually unknown.” Read more in my full story here at spokesman.com.

You can read the full report here. ROCI is an initiative of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation. The study also found that Idaho has far more school districts on four-day school weeks than the rest of the nation; just 1 percent of school districts nationwide have adopted a four-day school week.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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