Four-day school week passes in Florida county
Marion County Superintendent Jim Yancy said the switch to four-day school weeks would save $4.5 million.
June 30th, 2011
07:21 PM ET

Four-day school week passes in Florida county

While students in many parts of the world attend school for up to six days a week, students in Marion County, Florida, will receive three-day weekends - every week - starting in the fall of 2012, making it the first county in Florida to make the change.

The Marion County School Board in Florida voted this week in a 4-1 decision to approve a four-day school week for the county’s schools, according to Kevin Christian, the school district’s public relations officer.

The action comes after a massive $24 million cut to next year’s operating budget. Making the switch will save the district around $4.5 million, Marion County School Superintendent Jim Yancey said, according to Orlando television station 13 News.

Students will attend school either Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday, with an additional 75 minutes tacked on each day in the 2012-2013 school year, 13 News says. One day less a week will save on water and energy, along with transportation costs.

A downside, of course, is long, draining class days, with three-day weekends possibly providing too much time between lessons, causing regression in learning.

The Education Commission of the States says the most a school will save is 2.5% of overall budget savings by transitioning to four days a week.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states already have school districts with public schools offering four-day school weeks.

While Board members originally considered implementing the shorter week for the 2011-2012 school year, the district was able to save in other places instead, but expects another $8 million in budget cuts for the 2012-2013 budget.

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Filed under: Budget • Economy • Education • Florida
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Eileen in NJ

    Mr. Yancy, 4 day classrooms of learning is sufficient, to many children are overwhelmed mentally w/,5 days, plus XTesting at the end of the year, is to much for kids in elementary education. Some teachers appear stressed out at times. Hopefully your ruling to a 4 day, other states will follow and save money. Overall, this allows parents more interaction time w/children, which is a good thing. Thanks Mr.Yancy!

    July 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Samantha

      Are you kidding me? What about parents that work?

      Education is important and should not be cut down to 5 days a week. The problem is that the Governor of that state (along with yours I might add) has no value for the future of our children. Everything they are doing is a quick fix to other problems. Children do not get overwhelmed by being in school for 5 days a week. They are overwhelmed by how they are educated. Recess, Physical Education, the arts, music programs – they are all being cancelled due to budgetary constraints, but these are necessary items for children. I was blessed to be exposed to all of this at my NYC public school growing up and I graduated with honors by High School. Having a well rounded education should be the goal and shortchanging our children is what this school board, this governor and ultimately the people who put them in office has done. Watch out - your governor is next...

      July 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      Seriously, kids are overwhelmed?? Kids do not even know what overwhelmed is here. Education is not good here, prime example why is a weight class considered any credit?? That's my Fav of ridiculous classes. There is not enough expected of children's learning. To graduate high school all you have to do is show up for class n stay awake basicly. Arts are being canceled to budget cost which those are far more important for a well rounded education. I graduated high school ten years ago n was not prepared for college. I did above avg n was not ready, why?? Since I did not have to do better I did the bear min for all my credits. Now shouldn't the bear min of credits be a well rounded education?? This was in a decent public school system. My children school is worse. All I know is I do not believe public school is doing well, the school system should be better. Parents should also be expecting n encouraging more of their children as well. It's two fold process, schools do their half n parents see it thru.

      July 4, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • L

      I agree with Samantha and others. This is ridiculous. I hope that all the parents out there have employers who will switch their work schedules to 4 days a week to accommodate this... hope the before and after care centers can accommodate this as well.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gort01

      great....now teachers not only get tons of "teacher buffet " days, teacher planning days, christmas and every other holiday off...they only have to work 4 days a week...omg...why dont they just give them the friggin moon and stars....omg Ive never seen a lazier, unmotivated, coddled and indulged career in my life,.,,

      July 21, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. Richard

    Wow, just what American kids need – less education. They already cannot speak English correctly or read books.

    July 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrX4000

      You nailed it !! 😉

      July 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ruth

    My question is, what do working parents do to fill that day? Do they enroll them in a recreation program? Will that program have to hire more staff to deal with the increase? Doesn't that lead to a growth in the size of government? Also, if parents can't afford to enroll their kids in a program, what do kids do? Get into trouble, I suspect. I don't think the 4-day week has solved anything for the school district. What it has done is create a budget problem for some other area of government.

    July 4, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gort01

      Ruth and all you other parents that think school is your personal day care: the taxpayers are not responsible for your childrens day care problems....omg....get smart....take care of your parental responsibilities....WE are not in the least bit obligated to pay for your daycare, to ensure that school is open when you need daycare....sickening

      July 21, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. me

    This ridiculous, all for 75 min added to school day how bout adding a six day school wk instead of four. Need to figure out other ways, less school days is not an answer. The current school system is not a good enough education as it is.

    July 4, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Greg Pyne

    and once again, children and the working class suffer...thanks Rick Scott. We'll see you out the door soon...

    July 4, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jenny

    Great! Let's sacrifice the education of our kids rather than decrease the ridiculous amount of teacher's pensions. Public teachers should be ashamed of themselves!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      This is not the teachers idea. It seems most think the word pension means you are rich or ripping off taxpayers. After joyfully teaching 30+ years, I will retire with a pension. If you think a 35K pension is ridiculous then perhaps teachers should get paid more to start with.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      I completely agree with Zack! First of all you place your most cherished possession in the caring hands of teachers and expect them to somehow make your child brilliant, teach them manners and everything else,( that you as a parent have neglected to do) but yet you begrudge them the small salaries they make, or the small pensions they may have at the end of 30 plus years. You are also the same one's that raise cane if your child is disciplined in any way, because of their behavior ( which should be taught at home!) Not left up to a teacher to do YOUR job!! My sister is a teacher and I can't tell you how much money she has spent out of her pocket to make YOUR children's lives better along with their peers, when the school budget just doesn't have it, but teachers don't have the heart to not give to the little one's! For all of those that complain and don't stand behind teacher's, why don't you go out and get your master's degree, pay for it yourself, and keep your kids home and teach them yourselves! My sister has been spit on, punched, had a knife pulled on her and the list goes on... and thanks to the ridiculousness of no discipline voiced by so many parents, they get a slap on the wrist and are back in school. I'm surprised we have any teachers left!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      You should be ashamed of yourself!

      July 5, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CloudyCover

    I don't understand the four-day "savings". School is open Monday-to-Friday....FIVE DAYS!! So where does the savings occur. Students are short-changed by not attending classes "everyday". Some will have three days to get bored and look for ways to occupy their time. I consider it a day without supervision. I don't see the benefit.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • L

      They save money by not using electricity and lunch time. Guess they spend a lot on that.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JimmyJo

    I'm not sure what I think of the shorter school week, but I do know that education stretches far beyond the 40 or 50 minutes a kid sits in a particular classroom. Time in school and a great teacher are equally important as having parents and a community who value education and are constantly on the kids to do well, to do homework, study, and maintain high expectations–and I don't mean simply saying "Did you do your homework? You better study." Schools certainly aren't perfect - but looking at the people I personally know I see major lacking in the second half of the equation.

    As for the four day school week... who knows. I would have loved it as a kid and I probably would have done just fine being that my grandma was always on my @$$ about doing well.

    July 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Schmendrick the Magician

    Sounds like teachers just got a pay bump!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      How do you figure that? The instruction time is the same and it says nothing about teachers getting a 4 day work week.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. zack

    Why do people this is the teachers idea? They will sill have to be at school 5 days a week. If people would read the article it says that kids will either go M-Th or T-F, so the teachers will still be there all 5 days. I would also like to know why people think teachers are paid too much. First off teachers must go to college for a minimum of 4 years. They then must continue their education at their own expense. Most districts require a teacher to obtain a Master's Degree within a certain number of years. Again, the teacher must pay for it. Does anyone begrudge a doctor, lawyer or anyother professional for making too much money? Look at how mch sports stars are paid. They only work a couple months a year. If you ask me we don't pay teachers enough. People complain that America has fallen behind in education, yet they want to nickle and dime teachers. Most teachers starting out are only looking at making in the upper 20's to low 30's starting out. That isn't much when you consider the student loans and other bills. Would a first year doctor work for that much? Finally, look at what teachers must put up with from kids and parents. Everything is the teachers fault. God forbid that the students or parents take any responsibility for anything. By the way, I am not a teacher.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • L

      Thanks for that clarification. Now I'm not sure how they are saving money now.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. M-

    Florida, leading the pack in the decline of western civilization.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
  12. NCTeach

    There is talk of this in NC but what people don't realize is that teacher's pay will be cut by 20%. Why? Because we will only be in the classroom 80% of the week. I think there is misunderstanding but it seems that they haven't made up their minds about M-TH vs T-F. There wouldn't be any saving money if teacher's pay wasn't cut, busses didn't run or food wasn't served not to mention electricity. At this point; home school is the way to make sure your kids get their education.

    July 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jenna

    I'm a teacher and it will actually save the district a lot of money. This is a day when they don't have to run the buses (gas money). The district won't have to provide lunch and breakfast to students. Electricity will be turned off. And on top of that there are numerous hourly staff that they will not have to pay for the fifth day bus drivers, lunch personal, custodians, etc. These staff members won't be doing any additional work on the other four days to be compensated for. Also, four longer days is better than five for instructional time. Many lessons are shortened because there is not enough time in a day for longer lessons expecailly science experiments. I think this should lead to more in depth hands on learning through projects which there has not been time for.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grace

      Jenna I could see how this would work to save money if the school was actually on a 4 day wk. But according to the article students have a choice of M-th or Tues-Fri. Which means the school is open 5 days a week and for a longer period of time. Students on all 5 days will still need to be bussed and fed. So the logic is not there to save money with this model. Unless, you group the children according to where they live and only have buses run specific routes each day, otherwise, nope not saving any money.

      And then there's the shortchange of our educational system. Fifty short years ago the US ranked in the top 5 of industrialized countries, now we're in the bottom. That should tell everyone something, like our children are not being educated.
      I started college late in life, had been a wife/mom for just over 20 yrs, didn't work outside the home. Decided to go to college and had to take all the placement tests, the only 'remedial' type class I had to take was an algebra class, which was no surprise to me. I went to an excellent community college and graduated 2.5 yrs later with a 3.98 gpa and many, many academic awards and scholarships and offers for 4yr colleges.
      What surprised me were how many students straight out of high school or in their 20's had to take a full semester of remedial/ catch up classes, English, math, science, etc. And that's horrible that costs parents and taxpayers thousands of dollars to teach college students what they should have learned in high school.

      And so now the answer seems to be to cut back the school week, which is something I've read several places are considering. But when you look at the logic it doesn't work, there's no savings now or in the future.

      July 20, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PA_Dad

    Dumb.

    July 9, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gort01

    Nobody really thinks teachers are going to work 5 days a week when there is only school 4 days a week....please dont insult our intelligence....most teachers barely work 20 days in a month...and only 9 months a year....soo this is a big fat paid day off for teacheres....sickening

    July 21, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
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