School districts across the country, reacting to wicked high gas prices, are shifting to four-day work weeks—and in some cases asking kids to walk a little farther to catch the bus.
While the potential benefits of having kids walk a bit more are intriguing, is it really possible to cram five days of student learning into four?
No matter. The rising cost ($4 a gallon and rising) of running those big yellow diesel school buses is too much for some rural districts, like this one outside St. Paul, Minnesota, which said a month ago it would save about $65,000 by switching to a four-day week.
A North Carolina school district told reporters it would save $500 to $800 a day by chopping one day off the school week.
And it’s not just schools. Even folks at a state attorney’s office in McHenry County, Illinois, are getting in on the action: they’ve gone to a 40-hour, four-day work week, as have members of the Suffolk County legislature in New York; although in some cases reaction to these decisions isn’t always positive.
South Carolina’s governor signed into law $19 million for school bus fuel for the 2008-09 school year. Some Houston school employees are even getting $250 bonuses to help with commuting costs.
Some argue the personal (happier employees!) and economic/environmental benefits are worth it. Others maintain, simply, that this “half-day crap must stop”.