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Schools not looking at four-day week

POSTED: February 25, 2010 7:49 p.m.

Contrary to some reports, the Effingham County Board of Education is not looking at going to a four-day school week as an option to save money.

“If it was something that we looked at for cutting the budget, it would be way down on the list — as far as I’m concerned — as even being considered,” said Superintendent Randy Shearouse.

He said he was surprised when saw the report on television.

“I (had) said I’m not in favor of it because, instructionally, I just don’t think kids need to attend (school) that long each day,” Shearouse said. “You think about a first grader even attending an hour longer each day is not a good thing instructionally for that. And then parents trying to find childcare for that one day a week could be very difficult.”

School board Chairman Lamar Allen confirmed this position.

“What four-day school (week)? We haven’t discussed it,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, that’s going to be the last resort. We have no plans to go to a four-day school week at this time.”

Some school systems in the state have adopted the four-day week strategy — but Effingham County is not, and likely will not be, one of them.

As of now, the school board is in the process of collecting information and they have yet to determine how much money they will have to reduce the budget by next year.

They are looking at different areas in the budget to cut, but nothing has been settled. Shearouse did mention that he is not in favor of cutting teachers’ salaries, as has been proposed during this legislative session at the state Capitol.

“We work under a state approved pay scale, and it’s extremely hard for me to think it’s fair for us to say ‘well this year, we’re not going to pay everyone the same amount just because this is a bad year,’” he said

The school board has recently had to make tough decisions about the budget, most notably to trim the last week off the end of this school year, although graduation dates are not affected by this adjustment.

But as far as next year is concerned, they are doing research and getting creative, and moving to a four-day school week is not on the table.

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