Squeezed Sisters schools may go to four-day week

Superintendent presents proposal, options to school board

Squeezed Sisters schools may go to four-day week

SISTERS, Ore - A four-day school week could soon be in the future of more than 1,000 students in the Sisters School District, as the superintendent looks at ways to make up for a projected budget deficit next year.

Wednesday night, Superintendent Jim Golden presented the proposal to the school board. He says current projections show the district will be $800,000 short for the next school year.

Golden attributes the loss in revenue to a decline in students.

"Since 2010, we have lost 101 students, so 101 students is approximately $710,000," Golden said.

To make up for the lost revenue, there are several options the district could do. In his presentation, Golden said cutting 13 to 16 staff members would save the district about $800,000. Eliminating all-day kindergarten would save $96,000 and eliminating programs like music, art, shop would save roughly $500,000.

The option that he is suggesting is eliminating Friday for students. He estimates the district would save about $450,000 by doing so.

Golden told the board students would spend a little bit more time in the classroom per day, and in the long run would have 66 hours, or close to two weeks of additional instruction time.

He added that another advantage to the plan is the amount of time teachers will have to prepare lesson plans, all day Friday. Teachers would still work a full five days, but hourly employees would only work four days.

Golden says Fridays have the lowest attendance rates among both students and teachers. He believes the four-day week would boost attendance and help cut costs. Golden said the district also would save on substitute, facility and transportation costs.

Wednesday night, the board asked the audience to hold any comments they had for a later date.

A public meeting is planned for next Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Sisters High School. The board and district is encouraging as many people as possible to provide feedback on the proposal.

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