Proposed Bill Calls for Shorter School Week to Save Money

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

Five-day school weeks could be a thing of the past if one state lawmaker gets his way.

A bill, just filed, would cut classes to four days a week and it's all in an effort to save money.

Rep. Ryan Guillen proposed a bill that would give districts the option to shorten the school week to four days but there is a catch. Students would be in school about an hour longer than usual.

Rep. Guillen thinks his bill would save money for schools during this budget shortfall.

NewsWest 9 spoke with one teacher who thinks all sides of this bill need to be looked at before any decisions are made.

"Let's not walk into it blind, lets make sure if we do approach this, that we do it in the right way," Teacher, Chuck Isner said.

Isner, who is the Regional President of the Texas State Teachers Association, thinks the proposed bill to cut back to four days in the classroom could be a good thing for schools.

"The fuel savings for the transportation, the electrical savings for heating and air conditioning and general lighting," Isner said.

He said the schools would be saving more than just money.

"We're concerned about jobs," Isner said. "Keeping the schools closed three days instead of two, then that could save some jobs so that definitely appeals."

Schools could opt to have either Friday or Monday off during the week but that means adding more time to the school day.

Magnet schools already run an hour longer than other schools, but that's not the only concern Isner has.

"There's the aspect of sports and extracurricular activities," he said. "If they have competition it has to be even later in the evening."

NewsWest 9 spoke with a few parents who say they're not sold on this new bill.

"What are we going to do with our kids on Friday? Pay a one day daycare?" Maribel Rodriguez said. "Yeah they go to school one more hour but that's more time we have to stay up late doing homework. I don't like that we stay up late doing homework now."

"My daughter, if she stays in the house, she's just going to be watching TV, eating chips, whatever she finds to do," Gabriela Montoya said. "I'd rather have her more time in the school."

But student Andrew Scott said the shorter school week would make it easier for him to work and wouldn't cut into his ROTC practices.

"If there's more time in school, then there's more time teachers can help us with our work," Scott said. "You have to give a little to get a little, so I think it all equals out."

Whatever legislators decide, Isner said they need to think about the long term effects of their decisions.

"We can't just try to fix it for this year and the next. We've got to fix it long term," he said. "These are our children that we're talking about and they are our future."