Idaho Schools Switch To Four Day Weeks Knowing They Won’t Save Much Money

Mar 25, 2013

A widely circulated article says Idaho school districts won’t save much money by switching to a four day school week. Pocatello’s Idaho State Journal cites a report called “Review of a 4-Day School Week,” which says there are minimal savings when districts switch to a four day school week.

Credit Courtesy of the Idaho Statesman

But that story fails to point out that the report was published five years ago, in 2008. Since that time the number of Idaho districts with a four day week has tripled. For some districts even small savings were a big temptation.

“We all know that local school districts faced financial difficulties in 2010 and 2011,” says Melissa McGrath with Idaho’s Department of Education. “And many school districts might have chosen to transition to a four day school week during those years when they faced declining state revenues for the first time ever.”  

McGrath says the department hasn’t done a new study but the savings from fewer days are likely still small. She says some districts report cutting some costs, mainly in transportation and staff pay. McGrath says switching to a four day school week has had mixed results.

“Some really love it and others have gone too it and chosen to go back to a five day because it works better for them,” she says.

Forty Four Idaho school districts and charter schools had four day weeks this school year. That’s roughly a third of Idaho's school districts.