NYS Considers 4-Day School Week

By Julianne Sweeney

July 22, 2010 Updated Dec 11, 2008 at 8:01 PM EDT

Could the traditional school week get a shake up?

New York State is exploring the option of allowing local districts to cut back to 4-day weeks.

Action News Reporter Julianne Sweeney spoke with two superintendents, who say the switch could save money, but it's not simple math.

Students spend close to 7 hours a day in school.

Do they have the attention to study 9 hours?

That's the question some local district superintendents are asking.

"Making a longer day for kindergartners, would that be effective for them educationally?" says Union-Endicott District Superintendent Dr. Suzanne McLeod.

New York State is considering giving public schools the option of flexible scheduling.

Districts would chose a 4-day week instead of a 5.

Or take off every other Friday.

"I wouldn't want to have us rush to a decision on this before we understood the effects on the student." says Broome-Tioga BOCES District Superintendent Allen Buyck.

Flexible scheduling would be a way to save energy, fuel, and supply costs.

The fewer days schools are in session, the less buildings and buses are used.

McLeod fears a 4-day school week could pose more problems for families.

"Babysitting costs for a full-day for their little ones because of their own work responsibilities." says McLeod.

Buyck has a different concern.

Students from 15 school districts attend classes at BOCES.

BOCES would have to coordinate among districts on a flexible 4-day week and those that stay with the traditional 5-day week.

"If we had a variety of schedules out there, that would also cause us some difficulty." says Buyck.

Buyck proposes if local districts consider fewer school days, they should all be on board with one uniform, flexible schedule.

The New York State Senate Education Committee held a public hearing on the issue yesterday in Albany.

It was meant to give lawmakers the chance to gather input on the pros and cons of flexible schedule

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