As of August, District 27J in Colorado will no longer have school on Mondays. This will affect around 18,000 students in Brighton, Commerce City, Henderson, Thornton, and Aurora.
The new schedule means a short four-day school week, and the superintendent is optimistic about the decision. Chris Fiedler said that “We’re confident it’s going to attract teachers and keep them… I haven’t had teachers say that this is a horrible idea,” according to KHOU11.
Fiedler cites that this decision was due to the budgeting issues that the district has been facing. He bluntly pointed to the lack of necessary resources to keep the schools running as they should.
“I realize this will be a significant change for our students, their families… but our district can no longer be expected to do more with less financial resources.”
Cutting a day from the school week is estimated to save $1 million. The savings are estimated to be around $700,000 from not having to pay for bus service and the rest from cutting back on hiring substitute teachers, as well as lowered utility costs.
The impact of the decision is yet to be fully understood. Parents, however, know that they will require more childcare than before. Fiedler said that childcare will be available for $30 a day on Mondays through the district.
Additionally, the superintendent is trying to keep the focus on the positive rather than the negative.
For example, Fielder points out that no school on Monday gives teachers the chance to “prepare and to be better for kids.” However, he admits that the teachers aren’t necessarily paid for this extra day of preparation, but said that “they’re doing that work anyway.”
While no student will attend school on Mondays, teachers will be expected to come to work for one Monday a month for half a day.
This move is not completely shocking for Colorado residents, who have seen a gradual shift to four-day school weeks in various districts statewide. For example, Sterling’s RE-1 Valley School District has already been operating on a shorter school week, which was done to save $900,000, reported CPR.
The move is supported by a state report that shows that “academic performance is not negatively affected by the change.” But flaws from the report include a lack of addressing how the change might affect the achievement gap.
And while students may cheer the idea of a shorter school week, it’s bound to cause scheduling issues and childcare problems for parents and guardians. Plus, bus drivers will also be facing a scheduling and pay cut.