Gore, Prue, Central High and Midway Public Schools all implemented a four day work week with longer days to save the districts money. However, several of the districts said they will be switching back to a five day school week next year.
Gore Public Schools Superintendent Monte Thompson said his district will go back to a five day school week. Although, he said to do so, he will have to eliminate some administrative positions.
Central High Public Schools will also switch back to a five day week. However, the schools' superintendent said the district will have to let five people go including two teachers.
By Amy Lester, Oklahoma Impact Team
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The state budget crisis had forced some school districts to cut a day of school. Instead of the traditional five day week, they're going four longer days.
"It was not a good idea, I never felt like it was," Julie Cotherman said. Cotherman's two kids attend school in Gore, Oklahoma.
The Gore School District has 550 students. This is the first year for a four day week there, and it will save the district around $35,000.
"I feel like it has really been a tragedy for the education of our children," Cotherman said.
A tragedy because kids are in class from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. everyday. Cotherman said her kids can't focus for that long and their education suffers.
"The learning process starts slowing down. Probably the last two and a half hours of school, they want to be somewhere else," Cotherman said.
Parents aren't the only ones who oppose this, some superintendents are actually against it as well.
"Here in rural Oklahoma, in Gore, Oklahoma, the four day school week is not the answer," said Monte Thompson, superintendent of Gore Schools.
Gore Schools adopted the four day week under the guidance of a different superintendent. Monte Thompson, the new superintendent, said he's received negative feedback from parents. He said he too has a problem with the length of the school day.
"I have a 4-year-old child getting on a bus at dark and getting home at dark, and they're at school, all day long. I don't see the positive in that," Thompson said.
Thompson decided that it would be best to return to the traditional, five day week, next year. The school board voted to make the change, and they will cut administrative positions to save money, instead.
"I haven't had one person come up and tell me, since we voted the five day school week, 'You guys are really messing up. We love the four days.' No one has said that," Thompson said.
Right now, four rural school districts have four day weeks. Gore, Prue, Central High and Midway Public Schools all go four days.
"I don't like it. I feel like I'm cheating the kids," said Bennie Newton, Central High Public Schools Superintendent.
Bennie Newton is another superintendent who turned to the four day week to save $25,000 this year. He said he also plans on going back to five days next year.
"I feel guilty, to be honest with you. I feel like we're shorting the kids, instead of giving them five days of education, I'm giving them four," Newton said.
To save enough money to return to five days and to withstand as much as a 10 percent cut, Newton is letting five people go. A bus mechanic, library media specialist, elementary teacher, middle school teacher and teaching assistant won't have a job next year.
"I've had many sleepless nights, still have sleepless nights worrying about what's coming next. What are we going to have to do next to make sure that it works," Newton said.
Not all school districts are leaving the four day week behind. The superintendent of Prue schools said the schedule is working there. The Grandfield school district, in southwest Oklahoma, is switching to a four day week next year to save money.
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