Elementary school kids in a Colorado school district reported for their first day of class Tuesday, but that’s not out of the ordinary — Tuesdays will kick off school weeks in District 27J for the next academic year, reported KDVR.
The school board voted in March to switch to a four-day week when school reopened in order to save an estimated $1 million a year and to help recruit teachers, reported KUSA.
“We really feel like Monday is the day to prepare and to be better for kids,” Superintendent Chris Fiedler told the station. Teachers will be required to work a half-day one Monday each month.
The move follows six failed attempts to raise money through bond elections, KUSA reported. The district says it will cut busing and substitute teacher costs.
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To meet instructional requirements, the district expanded the school day rather than extending the academic year, reported KMGH.
Kindergartners and elementary school students will have class from 7:50 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Middle and high schoolers, who began school Friday, will attend from 8:30 a.m. to 4:32 p.m., according to the station.
While other Colorado districts also have four-day school weeks, the change makes District 27J the largest in the state with one, reported KMGH. The district serves 18,000 students from Brighton, Commerce City, Henderson, Thornton and Aurora, making it Colorado’s 16th largest.
“Most of those districts are more rural,” district spokeswoman Tracy Rudnick told KDVR. “Nationally, we’re probably one of the largest. So this will be an interesting year because people will be watching how we do.”
A report by the National Conference of State Legislatures says 560 districts in 25 states have four-day school weeks, with most found in Colorado, Montana, Oklahoma and Oregon.
But they’re mostly smaller districts, the report finds. In Colorado, the 98 districts with four-day school weeks represent half the state’s school districts but only 13 percent of its total student population.
District 27J will offer day care services to parents on Mondays for $30 a day, reported KDVR.