The New Year will bring consideration of a four-day school week in a suburban Tampa district. It’s been the goal of Pasco County School Board member Steve Luikart since he came on the job a year ago.
Luikart is a Pasco native who spent several decades as a teacher and administrator before running for a seat on the board. He now chairs a task force that is researching four-day weeks as a way of saving money while making sure student needs are met.
The task force had its first meeting in September. Members are examining an array of possible scenarios beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, like closing all schools and district buildings on Mondays or Fridays. Initial estimates several years ago suggested Pasco could save $3.2 million annually.
The task force will present its findings to the school board in March. The board will take a vote after getting input from residents during a public meeting. The district is also seeking feedback through January 20th online.
If Pasco approves the change, it will join Marion County as the only other district in Florida with four-day schooling. Last summer, the Marion school board approved a 2012-2013 school calendar in which students report Tuesday through Friday.
The biggest concerns with the short week seem to be the childcare issue for parents who work full-time and whether student learning will suffer. But it’s an idea that’s working in other parts of the country. More than 120 school districts in 21 states currently have a four-day a week schedule primarily as a means of saving money.