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Sugar City, ID 83448

Over the years quite a few patrons have suggested the district move to a four day week in order to save money. Here's an interesting article in the Post Register concerning the four day week.

From the Idaho Falls Post Register

Leading in the wrong direction (Commentary)
Posted: July 30, 2015
Switching to a four-day week was never going to create a windfall for Idaho’s cash-strapped school districts.
Still, for 42 of them — mostly rural — money got so tight when the Legislature started whacking away at school budgets that saving even a few dollars made sense.
Among them were Orofino, Salmon River, Highland and Culdesac.
Or so they thought.
Looking over the results, researchers Paul Hill of the University of Washington Bothell, and Georgia Heyward, an educator and UW graduate student, dispelled that notion. Working with the Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho and the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, Hill and Heyward knew the bulk of a school district’s costs were fixed. Teachers get paid whether they work four 10-hour days or five eight-hour days.
But shutting down schools on the fifth day was supposed to trim operations staff — custodians, cooks, school bus drivers — as well as building maintenance and transportation overhead.
If that happened, they didn’t find it.
Teachers, students and the community continued to utilize their school buildings on Fridays. So the heat and lights remained on.
Some cut staff hours; others did not because they feared the impact on their employees or the local economy.
And other costs went up. If you’re going to keep younger children in class for longer days, you need to provide snacks. Transportation to sporting events and field trips on Fridays requires fuel and drivers.
“In the end, only districts with unusual cost structures due to extremely long daily bus trips or high numbers of hourly staff can truly cut costs,” Hill and Heyward found.
Despite assurances to the contrary, there were usually misgivings about whether this would disrupt how kids learn.
Could the younger ones tolerate the longer days?
Would a three-day break impede the ability of teachers and students to re-engage on Monday?
And does this change create winners and losers? Motivated students with resources might profit from a fifth day off, but what about children who are idle during the extra time?
Say Hill and Heyward: Nobody knows.
All we’ve got to go on are averages - test scores, college acceptance and graduation rates.
It doesn’t tell you who’s falling through the cracks, although Idaho’s “go on” scores are last in the nation and rural students have an even more difficult time.
“Even before the introduction of the four-day week, rural students in Idaho were more likely than rural students nationally to graduate from high school, but ranked below students in 46 states as to the proportion who entered college,” the researchers said. “From this perspective, an initiative that stabilizes but does not raise student readiness could, in the long run, make Idaho’s rural communities less viable.”
Getting a final answer may be a decade away.
Nowhere in the country has this contagion toward shorter school weeks spread more rapidly. Only 1 percent of the nation’s school districts have adopted this system. There’s a smattering of four-day school weeks in Colorado, Oregon, Montana, Utah and California, but nothing like Idaho, where nearly one of every three school districts have made the transition.
Nor is it likely to change back.
Money’s not the issue.
Neither is the quality of education.
The fact is a four-day work week has become an amenity rural school districts can use to attract and retain educators.
Parents like the convenience.
Tell taxpayers it saves money and they will go along.
And senior state officials — from schools Superintendent Sherri Ybarra to state law- makers — don’t seem inclined to object.
That leaves Idaho on the cutting edge of a dubious experiment that gambles with children who have the smallest margin for error.
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