Dark Days at School: Eatonville May Go to a 4-Day Week

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Revenue shortfalls, spending cuts, and the general rotten state of the economy are hindering virtually every sector of our once-upon-a-time Great Society, with schools continuing to be one of the biggest casualties. According to a study by the National School Board Association, an estimated 100 school districts in 17 states have been forced to slice one day out of the school week. Most of those districts (largely rural) are in Kentucky, Colorado and New Mexico.

Seems that budgetary plague that is crippling public education has headed West. Now, the Eatonville school district is seriously pondering whether to go to a four-day school week with longer days as a way to cut spending.

Seattle schools, so far, has been spared having to turn to such draconian measures, though it did close for entire day on August 31 and will close early for a half day during the current school year -- the partial result of a $1.5 billion budget cut from the state's education funding.

If Eatonville decides to move forward with a four-day week, 30 days would be eliminated from the school calendar and most of the savings would be realized by less food service, lower utility costs and scaling back on busing.

Still, the district can do nothing until state laws are changed to allow a shorter school week. Rep. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, is currently working on the legislation.

A state law passed in 2009 already permits a four-day school week on a trial basis in a handful of financially-strapped Washington school districts with fewer than 500 students.

A series of community meetings to discuss the issue are planned for next month, and the district isn't expected to make any final decision until at least April.

 
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