Peoria School Board Considers Four-Day School Week

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Friday, March 13, 2015 - 9:22am
Updated: Friday, March 13, 2015 - 2:42pm
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(Photo by Alexandra Olgin - KJZZ)
Parents, teachers, students at the Peoria Unified School District Governing Board meeting.

To cope with budget cuts, the Peoria Unified School District is considering going to a four-day school week - a schedule 42 other Arizona schools have adopted.

Parents, teachers and administrators were divided on the issue at last night’s governing board meeting.

Many faculty and staff voiced their support for the plan. Switching to a four-day week would allow the school district to save money on food, transportation and utilities; therefore not having to cut staff or salaries. The district did a study showing the savings from this adjustment would just about make up for the amount the district will lose with the new budget.

“It’s frustrating that we have to consider this," said Matthew Bullock, board president. "We have to make decisions based on funding, based on assets, that we don’t have a substantial amount of control over anymore.”

Among the board members there is disagreement about whether this is the best solution to deal with the lack of funding.

According to surveys, some parents would consider taking their kids out of the district if schools went to the four-day week. But some students, including Zuni Hills Elementary  eighth-grader Athena Ankrahl, said this cut is more favorable than other potential cuts to support staff.

“Jobs in maintenance would also be lost without the four-day school week. Without maintenance our schools would be unkempt and dirty," Ankrah said. "There would be no point in saving all of this money for technology and not being able to use it if there is no one to install it or fix it when it breaks.”

Parents say they are concerned whether the quality of the education will suffer and what working parents will do with their kids during that extra day off. The study suggests a possible day-care option.

The board will hold more public meetings before they make a final decision. 

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