4-day week helps keep, create opportunities

Posted: September 15, 2015 in Four-day Week

By Meagan Clark
Cougar News Blog

     Every student dreams of having less school. For the students in Apache Junction Unified School District, their dreams are coming true.
     AJUSD is now giving students four-day school weeks, instead of the traditional five, which gives students more time on the weekends to do whatever they want.
     “I like how the four-day weeks, because they give me more time to hang out with friends or family,” eighth grader Chelsey McCarthy said.
     For about a decade, AJUSD has been losing students and money, and was facing a $2.7 million dollar budget shortfall for the 2015-16 school year. The close the gap, the district also closed Superstition Mountain Elementary School.
     “I understand that we had to make difficult decisions because of the budget, and know that we are doing whatever we have to in order to save money,” seventh grade teacher Mallory Stradling said.
     One of the big reasons to start the four-day school weeks, though, to keep and gain teachers that could make more money in elsewhere. It also allowed schools that are still open to save sports, clubs, electives, and other programs.
     “I think parents make a choice to send their children to Cactus Canyon Junior High, because we have a lot of great opportunities here at CCJH,” said assistant principal Meaghan Davis. “We have students who come here because of the many unique opportunities we have that most schools don’t.”
     For the second consecutive year, AJUSD hopes that the community, in November, will vote to increase taxes, so that extra money can be provided for district students and schools. Community members voted against override in 2014.
     “I hope we will be able to have the federal and community support, so we can get the things we need for the students,” said eighth-grade teacher Tammy Howard. “(We want to keep) programs we currently have, and to be able to build others.”

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