Educational Editorial: Chesterfield considering 4-day school week

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -  In preparing for the next budget cycle, fiscal year 2012, Chesterfield County Public Schools has floated the idea of reducing the school week to four days.

In the mid 80's Henrico was the first school division in the area to go to a 4-day summer school. While the approach was enjoyed by students and teachers…and actually increased the summer school enrollment…it was sold as public policy because it saved about $150,000 in energy costs in 10 weeks.

Since the state requires 180 days or 990 hours in order to receive funding, the issue is not about getting the sufficient amount of time…simply lengthen the day as is requested by teachers and parents when excessive snow requires more make up days.

Imagine reducing the fuel consumption of buses by 20%, significant reductions in HVAC costs, eliminating food services one day a week, cutting cleaning services, and reducing the demand for security.

Well, it is obvious that this adds up to big bucks. So let's connect the dots…students and teachers will like it and you will save significant dollars.

Well, before you slam-dunk this one…let me share with you that there is a lid on the bucket! When Chesterfield last had a comprehensive review of its starting times for schools, there were many parents and professionals who wanted change.

After months of study by both groups…and 16,000 survey responses…no changes were proposed.

Why? Each option disrupted family schedules. Inconvenience!

You want a test run on this idea…try eliminating spring break!

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