(RNN) – A district in Colorado began the new school year on Tuesday. That was on purpose.
They’re not doing school on any Mondays this year.
The district, which serves 18,000 students in a large suburban area north of Denver, is going with a four-day school week.
The district superintendent, Chris Fielder, believes it could save as much as $1 million – a big chunk of it from not running school buses on Mondays - after six failed attempts to raise money through bond issues.
The district is comprised of 12 elementary schools, four middle schools, four high schools and five charter schools.
Lost class time on Monday will be made up with longer days the rest of the week. Middle and high school students will have school days that last from 8:30 a.m.-4:32 p.m.
"We've done the math multiple times; we have the same number of contact hours in this schedule as we have in the existing calendar," Fiedler said when proposing the changes in February, The Denver Post reported.
Fiedler said teachers, who will still have to work a half-Monday once a month, have been supportive of the idea.
“We’re confident it’s going to attract teachers and keep them,” Fielder told KUSA in Denver. “I haven’t had teachers say that this is a horrible idea.”
The Post reported the district, 27J, has the lowest teacher salaries in the Denver area with a turnover rate as high as 22 percent.
On a district website explaining the new schedule, it says its schools “must be increasingly strategic in funding the priorities that matter the most for our students and their learning.”
A release said the district “can no longer be expected to do more with less financial resources,” KUSA reported.
Parents pressed to find supervision for their children on Mondays will be able to take their kids to a district-ran day care for $30 a day.
“I believe it is in our students’ best interests to provide high quality, engaged teachers using 21st century tools for learning four days a week rather than not have them five days a week,” Fiedler told KUSA.
It's not uncommon for districts in Colorado to use four-day school weeks, but usually it's an accommodation for rural areas.
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