With schools facing major budget problems, lawmakers could give them the chance to go to a four-day school week. The Illinois House voted 81-21 Monday afternoon for House Bill 4886. It now heads to the Senate.
With schools facing major budget problems, lawmakers could give them the chance to go to a four-day school week.
The Illinois House voted 81-21 Monday afternoon for House Bill 4886. It now heads to the Senate.
The measure, sponsored by Danville Republican Rep. Bill Black, would require school boards to have public hearings before implementing such a plan. The measure would also require the State Board of Education to approve the shortened calendar before it could go into effect.
Black said he sponsored the legislation at the request of rural Jamaica Community Unit School District Superintendent Mark Janesky in his east-central Illinois district to save money on diesel fuel for buses.
"Some rural school districts are at the point where they will not be able to operate their school bus system unless they're granted some relief by the state, and they've been told by the state board don't expect any transportation reimbursement until August or September," Black said.
He said Janesky estimated the district would save 20 percent on diesel fuel and would save money on building energy costs.
Some House members agreed with Black about giving cash-strapped schools more options.
"I think this allows school districts the flexibility they need at this time, and I can't imagine this not gaining a lot of public scrutiny in every single district where they might attempt this," said Rep. Roger Eddy, R-Hutsonville.
But other members were concerned that it would harm students.
"While we are trying to save money off of the backs of our children, we are also placing them in jeopardy because a lot of people would know that these particular school districts are on a four-day week," Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago.