GRAYSON COUNTY, Va. – As the school year winds down in Grayson County Public Schools, the district is busy planning for a future that could include four-day school weeks.
"This year, we've had a very tough budget because we've had $1 million less in revenue coming in for next school year," said Kelly Wilmore, Grayson County Public Schools superintendent.
Wilmore said the school board and staff have been exploring ways to address that problem, and the move to four-day weeks could be the solution.
"It's going to save us in diesel fuel, electricity and substitutes," Wilmore said. "People don't realize how much money you spend on substitutes in a year."
Wilmore said, if the district decided to change its week from five days to four, it wouldn't happen for at least another two years. He said there is a lot more research to do, including figuring out the length of the school day and child care options for parents for the Mondays on which students would be out of school.
"We want to make sure it's very well-organized and we have some access for parents to be able to have some day care via the county on Mondays if we went that route in two years," Wilmore said.
Grayson County Public Schools could be the first school district in Virginia to move to four-day weeks, but districts in at least eight states across the country have already implemented a four-day week.
Patricia Bowen, who has two children who are students in the district, said she thinks it would be a great idea for students.
"Just so they have more time at home, and then be cheaper, actually, on the school system," Bowen said.
Wilmore said studies they have looked at indicate the move wouldn't negatively affect student learning, and it could help Grayson County attract and retain teachers.
Wilmore cautioned that the district still has a lot of research to do before deciding if a four-day week would be a good fit for Grayson County students.
"We need to make sure we have all the bases covered before we go into that transition in two years, if we do it," Wilmore said.