Might help schools but will not help not students.
Proponents say option could help struggling school districts
By Michelle Manchir, Tribune reporter
March 22, 2010
In an effort to help strapped school districts save money, the House on Monday approved a bill that would let local school boards set four-day weeks for students.
Students would still be required to go to school the same number of hours every year. That could mean longer school days or shorter summer vacations.
The bill passed the House on an 81-21 vote and goes to the Senate for consideration.
Lawmakers said the move could save school districts money on fuel for buses and utility costs for buildings.
Rep. Bill Black, a Danville Republican who sponsored the bill, said it started when a Vermilion County school superintendent approached him about ever-increasing fuel costs. Many smaller, rural districts have long bus routes with students who live on farms miles away from their schools.
"All he wanted to do is try and keep their school district operating," Black said.
Schools statewide are struggling due to delayed payments from the state for items like transportation and special education.
But the legislation is opposed by some major education groups, including the Chicago Teachers Union. Lawmakers opposed to the bill said denying kids a day of school is the wrong way to address the state's enormous budget problem.
"It is tragic when we try to balance the budget of the state of Illinois on the backs of our babies," said Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago.