Lubbock, TX (KCBD) - One Texas lawmaker has suggested one way to help cut education costs is to reduce the school week to four days.
Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City) filed a bill to change the instructional week to four days. He said schools would benefit as savings could be made in fuel and utility costs.
House Bill 1326 would give schools the option of the four-day week – Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday. It also would increase the number of daily instruction hours from 7.5 to 8.5.
Lubbock Cooper ISD Superintendent Pat Henderson disagrees with the proposed changes.
"I think our kids need more time on task, not less, and you don't need to extend the school day into an 8 or 9 hour day," Henderson said.
"You're not going save utility costs, and your not going to save a lot on food. It's one of those things like consolidation. Ok, first you think were going to save money, but then you start looking at the details and think, oh, that's really not going to save a whole lot," Anderson continued.
Other school districts have weighed in on the subject as well. Lubbock ISD released this statement:
"We appreciate Rep. Guillen's effort to help school districts with costs; however, we anticipate the savings would be negligible and the potential of a detrimental impact on student learning would be great. We believe our parents and our community would be concerned about students potentially being unsupervised on Fridays while parents were at work.
"According to the information available regarding HB 1326, the savings to the district would be minimal. Because the length of the school day would be increased to make up for one less day of classes, the savings in utility costs would be negligible and personnel costs would not change. Some savings could be gained in transportation; however, only about five percent of LISD students ride a bus from home to school, so the transportation savings would be small"
Frenship ISD released the following statement regarding the idea of a four-day school week in Texas:
"Although the idea of a four-day school week may be beneficial in creating a more efficient economic environment, we feel this is a compromise, and thus a detriment, to the educational successes of our students. Our first goal is to ensure that our students obtain every opportunity available in advancing their education. Lessening the amount of time and instruction in a classroom hinders those opportunities. Furthermore, a four-day school week creates undue economic hardships on families who rely on the services our schools provide to the public during a normal five-day work week."
Henderson says that at the end of the day saving money is not a good reason to sacrifice educational quality.
"This is getting lost in a lot of the discussions in Austin: Is it good for kids? That's what we really need to focus on, not how much money we can save," Henderson said.
Mexico started the idea of a four-day school week back in the 1970's. The bill in Texas is still in the preliminary stages.
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