The Pueblo (Colo.) City school board has decided to operate schools on a four-day school week schedule beginning in 2018-19.
The Pueblo Chieftain reports that the board voted 4 to 1 to approve the recommendation of Eric DeCesaro, the district's director of human resources. The district has about 17,000 students in 33 schools, according to its website.
"It's an opportunity to be creative, to be innovative," says board member Bobby Gonzales, who also pointed to a potential cost savings of $1.4 million a year from one less day a week as a boon.
Board President Barb Clementi voted in the negative. She says she wanted more discussion with the district's nine bargaining groups.
Board member Dennis Maes says the district should make the change without delay.
"I don't see any reason to kick the can down the road for another year," Maes says. "If we kick it down the road another year we're still going to have to have this discussion next year.
To meet state-mandated instructional hour levels, the board was presented with several scenarios: five more minutes per day in elementary school; 30 to 45 minutes more per day in middle school; 45 minutes more per day in high school; and individual class periods extended by extra minutes.
Before the vote was taken, Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso expressed her belief that ultimately, a move to the four-day week is inevitable.
"I think the question is whether we go next year or the following year," Macaluso says. "If we say we go to a four-day work week beginning next school year, I have full confidence in my staff that we will get it done, and I know that we can work collaboratively with the unions on a plan that's appropriate."