Three-Day Weekend For Some

June 1, 2006

There are certain days in my work-week where I have to drive ALL day. I drive a little, thirsty SUV. Gas prices are nearing obscene and I almost cry every time I have to fill my tank…which is about every third day.

Apparently, I’m not the only one that is in physical pain every time my fuel needle nears the “E”. Public schools, like this one in Idaho, have decided to have a four-day school week starting in the fall.

In parts of the American West such as Salmon, sharply higher fuel prices have prompted a growing number of school districts to save money by shortening the school week to four days.

The number of states sanctioning districts with four-day school weeks has at least doubled since a survey by the National School Boards Association in 2003 showed nine states and roughly a hundred districts adopting the measure.

In exchange for getting Friday off, the Monday through Thursday school day would be extended by more than an hour. The schools that have switched to four-day weeks have reported broad support from teachers, parents and students.

In addition to savings from idling buses and contract workers one day a week, school systems reported increased attendance, with students and teachers tending to schedule personal appointments on the weekday off. Districts also have sought to stage sports events on that day to keep student athletes in class.

I think I like this idea, but as a single mother, I would want to also implement this to my work-week. I understand nurse Toni Hardin, an Idaho resident, who is also a single mother:

She says her budget is tight enough without paying for daycare on Fridays for her 6-year-old daughter. She and other low-income families also will lose access one day a week to the free meals schools provide for their children.

“I have real mixed feelings about it,” she said.