Cache: No School on Fridays
Starting April 15, 2016, Cache Public Schools (CPS) will dismiss school on Fridays through the end of school on May 19, 2016.
CPS is implementing the shortened week due to state school budget reductions this year by seven percent. The State of Oklahoma has declared a revenue failure in the amount of $1.3 billion.
For Cache Public Schools, this translates to $239,470. CPS will see an estimated $500,000 to $700,000 reduction in funds for the 2016-2017 school year.
CPS Superintendent Randy Batt said dismissing school on Fridays starting April 15 would help save in operational cost, but will not come close to making up the cuts Cache Schools has received so far.
“One particular school our size,” Batt said, “was projecting it would save them about $200,000 for the year to go to a four day week. We talked a little bit about that, and we think it would save us about [$10,000] or $12,000 this year on these five days.”
Batt said the administration team talked about cutting days from the end of the calendar and the difference between Mondays and Fridays. However, he said cutting days off the end of the calendar wouldn’t give the district the chance to test the four-day week.
Batt also said that Fridays were the better choice compared to Mondays.
“Between Fridays and Mondays,” Batt said, “the toss up was that Fridays have more school activities. We didn’t cancel any school activities, but we have a lot more [substitute teachers] on Fridays at school. We have a lot more kids out of school for activities. So it would be less impact on a Friday than it would be on a Monday.”
Batt said he hasn’t received much negative feedback from students, faculty or parents. He said the students and faculty “love the idea,” but that he has had a few calls and emails from concerned parents.
Most of the concern from parents is from those who have younger children in school. Parents who work a five-day week have to make other arrangements for their children on those Fridays.
Cache parent Jenifer Patterson has a child in first grade who attends CPS. Patterson said while the four-day week did affect her, she believes parents should point their energy toward the underlying problem and not the four-day week.
“We should be focusing on ‘why,’” Patterson said. “Why are we at this point? Why do the schools have to make these kinds of decisions? We should be angry about it. We should be angry that our lawmakers and our government are misusing all these funds. That’s where we should be upset.”
Batt said that parents and students shouldn’t worry too much about a four-day week carrying over to the 2016-2017 school year.
“I don’t foresee it happening next year at all,” Batt said. “But if it continues this trend, after that they may look at it. And if they do it will be a longer process. There will be some community meetings and get some feedback and other things.”
Patterson said the community needs to educate themselves on who we elect in the government positions.
“There’s a lot of educators that are putting their names on the ballot,” Patterson said. “Parents need to take note of that, and that’s who we need to vote for.”
Batt and Patterson both urge people to contact state leaders and encourage them to fully fund the state’s schools.