LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

BOISE The Homedale School District is the latest district in Idaho to make some big changes. The school board voted Monday night to switch from a five-day school week to a four-day week in hopes of saving money.

Other districts have tried this before, and according to the state superintendent's office, some districts save money, while for others it s a wash.

Garden Valley is one of the districts that went to a four-day school week and has some perspective on what can be expected.

School districts and difficult financial times seem to almost go hand-in-hand now days.

Homedale School District is the latest district to try and find a solution that doesn't include a levy.

Homedale hopes to save $40,000 to $70,000 a year by going from a five-day school week to four days.

When your budget is only, you know, $2 million, every little bit helps, said Randy Schrader, Superintendent of the Garden Valley School District.

Garden Valley School District is in its fourth year with a shorter week, and just about everyone likes it, and the reason isn't tied to money.

There's benefits that I didn't even realize ahead of time until I actually did it and experienced it, said 5th grade teacher Kristin Goff.

Goff and fellow teacher Bryce Court, who teaches social studies in high school, say they like the added teaching time with students.

I like the larger chunks of time to really delve into projects, said Goff.

You have to plan for the amount of time that you have. What I was able to do is sometimes you could get through a lesson and a half in one day, said Court.

How this works is - the district moves from five days and eight hours a day, to four 10-hour days.

People were worried about Friday, what are our kids going to do? Are they going to find time to get into trouble? And I think overall, as a community you don't see that happening, said Court.

When KTVB asked a class of students whether they like the four-day school week, all but one said they liked it. Some use their now free Friday to work at their job, others use it to study or get caught up.

If you're focused on academic performance of students and the functionality of your school, it's not had a huge impact, said Schrader. It's not been a detriment. It's actually been a positive thing and everybody likes it here.

Schrader says student performance has been excellent, while Goff says that students are doing just as good, if not better on their test scores.

The latest numbers across the state show 40 of the 115 school districts and 9 of the 47 charter schools have four-day school weeks. That number has increased every year for the past four years.

It's important to point out that most of the districts that do four-day school weeks are rural, so they account for the minority of students across the state.

Homedale's latest decision to switch is not included in that number. Their change from five to four days will begin this fall.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.ktvb.com/story/news/local/2014/07/03/12145591/