Osage County School District Switches To 4-Day Week

Monday, August 24th 2009, 4:00 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

PRUE, OK -- The new school year is a little out of the ordinary at Prue in Osage County. 

There are still the assignments and homework, but the students are cutting class.  Students in Prue now attend classes only four days a week, instead of five.

While the school's 300 kids love having an extra day off, school leaders may like the savings even more.

"We think there is a possibility of substantial savings," said Tom Scully, Prue superintendent.

By going to four days, the district will pay less in transportation costs and will save on utilities.

"If we turn down thermostats, or shut off air conditioners or whatever on four o'clock on Thursdays and they don't come on again until Monday morning, that's a pretty good chunk of time they are inactive," said Scully.

Prue added an hour and 38 minutes of class time to each day, which enables the district to meet the 1,080 instructional hours required by the state.

"I think the children are a little more eager to work because they know they are going to get a three day weekend," said Victoria Baker, a Math teacher.

Math teacher Victoria Baker likes having more class time each day to work with her students, and Fridays free for grading and planning.

So if going to a four-day school week is working well for Prue, could it be an option for cash strapped schools all across the state of Oklahoma?

Prue's superintendent says time will tell if the strategy works, but he believes it could save as much as 10 to 15 percent.

"You know if you can save 10 percent, that's 10 percent that the kids can use," said Tom Scully.

Prue School leaders say the district is also expected to save on the cost of substitute teachers, since teachers will be able to use Fridays for things like doctor and dentist appointments.