Skip to content

Metro Denver School District Officially Opens 2018-19 as a Four-Day-a-Week District

August 14, 2018

A school district located in metropolitan Denver has just begun its first school year as a four-day-week district.

While a number of Colorado school districts have switched to four-day school weeks, this practice is apparently unusual for a suburban district.

Brighton-based School District 27J petitioned the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) for permission to offer fewer than 160 days of school to its students. The 2018-19 school year began on August 10, 2018, for middle and high school, and August 14, 2018, for elementary school. The last day of school for all students is May 24, 2019. Even so, students will receive the same amount of class time as they did during the five-day school week: 1080 hours per year for secondary schools, and 990 hours per year for elementary schools.

One of the purposes in School District 27J’s moving to the four-day week is to attract and retain teachers while addressing budgeting constraints. From the February 08, 2018, Denver Post:

The change [to a four-day school week] was proposed after voters rejected a $12 million mill levy override in November. The money garnered would have been used to compensate teachers, upgrade books and materials, and expand staffing.

While the district dug into savings to replace 20-year-old textbooks and outdated technology, it didn’t have enough money to boost teachers’ pay or update curriculum. Superintendent Chris Fiedler said he thought of shifting school hours while he was crunching budget numbers and wondering, “How in the world are we going to cut 20 percent of what we do?”

That’s when he saw it — five days in a school week, each day worth 20 percent. …

Fiedler said his first concern when considering the change was, How will kids make up the lost time from skipping a day each week? As proposed, the district would drop early releases, late starts and the occasional Wednesdays off, as well as add time to school days. …

Teachers would work 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays (and some Monday hours each month, to be determined). …

Fiedler is confident a four-day week would save the district $1 million a year, mostly in transportation, utilities, and substitute teacher costs. …

District 27J has the lowest starting and average teacher salaries of the 15 metro districts — and the turnover rate has been as high as 22 percent.

According to the March 22, 2018, 9News, teachers will work one Monday per month for only a half day.

The effort to attract teachers seems to have worked; an April 2018 job fair had so many 27J applicants that almost 200 were turned away. The 2018-19 27J salary schedule can be found here.

The district offers child care on Mondays for $30 per day and advertises that Monday day care scholarships may be available. For more information on 27J’s four-day week, including its 2018-19 school calendar, click here.

cutting the dollar


Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

  1. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Wonder how working parents who count on a predictable five day schedule will manage this, especially for the wee ones who really need some supervised day care.
    I suppose that some people in the gig economy will figure this out, but an affordable solution is improbable unless there is a willing and able extended family.
    Next up? Change in state regulations to make less seat time more screen time or other outsourcing scheme…

  2. Jill Reifschneider permalink

    I wonder if anyone noticed that 13th-year teachers got skipped on the salary schedule

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s