Can a four-day school week really save money?
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Cash-strapped school districts are proposing to compress five-day school weeks into four as a way to save costs. Gretchen Hamel, executive director of Public Notice, challenges this notion in an OpEd released Monday:
An overweight person can shed pounds by cutting off a limb. An overspending school district can cut costs by eliminating a school day from the week. But both solutions are unnecessary fixes to the problems: there are far better ways to tackle bloat.
Government made mistakes. Politicians spent more than they had. Now, instead of correcting the problem by taking power away from themselves through spending cuts, politicians are passing the burden of their mistakes onto taxpayers.
Not only is this unfair and sure to build on the public’s dissatisfaction with government, it does nothing to address the root causes of our budget problems. As Hamel explains in regard to the four-day school week proposals:
State governments, local governments, and even school districts are chronic over spenders. Between 2000 and 2007, average per pupil spending increased 13 percent after inflation. The Department of Education estimates schools spend more than $10,000 per pupil each year, and some studies suggest these figures grossly underestimate public education’s true per pupil costs.
The systems in our country that require real reform will remain broken, so long as politicians’ proposed “solutions” are mere Band Aids to allay immediate symptoms.