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Some school districts opt for 4-day weeks

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Posted at 9:32 AM, Sep 08, 2022

Hope Tinnin is entering her 24th year as a teacher. This will be her fifth year teaching at a school that only offers classes four days a week.

Tinnin says she doesn't get paid as much working in the Warren County, Missouri, school district. However, she said her time is more important.

"I enjoy my three-day weekend and time. Time is something that all teachers appreciate, whether it's time with their families or time to work in their classrooms,” Tinnin said.

More than 1,600 school districts nationwide have trimmed their school weeks to four days.

A recent study showed varying impacts on students and teachers. Teachers mostly viewed the extra day as a “job perk” and little else. School boards said the move saved money. However, student achievement was lower.

Samantha Richardson has two children in the Warren County R-3 District. She's self-employed and can manage her kids at home on Mondays, but the district offers free childcare for those who don’t have another option.

"We are operating more efficiently than we were before, you know, turning the lights off and not having them run on Mondays, your back controls, not having to run bus routes, that sort of stuff,” Superintendent Dr. Gregg Klinginsmith said. “And no substitute teachers on Mondays. Those are cost savings. But at the end of the day, it's really not a tremendous amount. It's less than 1% probably.”

So often, decisions about the length of a school week don’t include the students. That same study found that most districts move to four days for three reasons: saving money, reducing absences, and retaining teachers. That’s what drew the decision in Warren County. And that’s why the county has no plans to go back.

“I don't see that ever happening,” Klinginsmith said. “I really think our community would be very upset if we did. You know, I think this is something that was going to be around for a long time.”