Case for a four-day workweek

Published 7:55 am Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Anything that will save taxpayers money is usually a good move.

Southampton, Franklin and Isle of Wight public school districts have once again gone to a four-day workweek for the summer. Workers have a Monday through Thursday schedule.

In Isle of Wight, school officials expect to save more than $8,000 this summer by having employees work four, 10-hour days opposed to five, eight-hour days. One can assume the savings would come from not having to run the air conditioning at its full capacity five days a week.

Franklin Public Schools was not sure how much it would save, and Southampton plans to calculate savings at the end of the summer.

The four-day workweek is nothing new.

In rural Bonner Ferry, Idaho, where there is one school district for 1,278 square miles, Boundary County School District implemented a four-day school week about five years ago.

In addition to the school district saving thousands of dollars in transportation costs, it only has to pay custodians, cafeteria workers and bus drivers four days a week. Buildings only need heating four days a week.

Instead of an approximate six-hour day, five days a week, students now have approximate eight-hour days.

A recent survey of parents in Boundary County indicated that:

81 percent want to continue the four-day school week.

82 percent feel their children are getting an adequate education.

91 percent said their children like the four-day school week.

A year ago, Utah’s governor instituted a four-day, 10-hour-a-day workweek for some 17,000 state employees—and the results so far show big benefits, according to a Tuesday article on the website Newser.

Closed offices on Fridays have cut energy use by 13 percent. After nine months, the state had saved $1.8 million in operational costs, according to the article.

A survey showed that 82 percent of workers like the new schedule.

Who wouldn’t?

There’s something else that’s good about the four-day workweek. It’s a nice benefit for workers. This summer, local school district employees will have three-day weekends and it shouldn’t cost taxpayers a cent.