Colorado School District 27J was having no success finding ways to save. They tried six times to get more money through bond elections. Officials finally came up with a different solution back in March: shorten the school week. That decision goes into effect this week, with students attending school Tuesday through Friday, with an additional 40 minutes each day.
It seems like a drastic move, but Superintendent Chris Fiedler explained that one less school day will help the district save on transportation costs, teaching salaries and utilities. He predicts that will add up to $1 million in savings. The other benefit will be for teachers, the district explained, allowing them to have an extra day to prepare their lessons.
"I realize this will be a significant change for our students, their families, and the communities we are so fortunate to serve, but our district can no longer be expected to do more with less financial resources," the district officials said in a press release.
The district, which serves 18,000 students, will offer child care on Mondays for $30 per child per day.
The reactions were mixed, the main concerns being the students' limited education and the parents' limited financial resources.
Props to Colorado for being innovative, but I worry about 1) reduced teacher pay, but still working just as hard 2) parents having to pay for childcare on Mondays 3) student work ethic and mentality Tuesday-Friday. https://t.co/DzG6XGLO7S— Nathan Lee (@NathanLeeKY) August 15, 2018
How's that working in Colorado? The schools can't even afford to stay open for five days a week, forcing parents to pay more for childcare expenses. Poorer education plus paying more money for childcare does not equal prosperity.— Catherine Mulholland (@CatherineMulho7) August 15, 2018
NPR wrote a piece back in 2015 detailing how shortened school days in an Arizona school district left some parents with financial burdens, forcing them to pay hundreds on day care. No wonder parents fear the same fate in Colorado.
As for students' education, NPR noted Tuesday, "A Colorado school district intent on saving money has cut one of its greatest costs: teaching."