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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: Can Reduction in School Funding Cost Taxpayers?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Can Reduction in School Funding Cost Taxpayers?

(HT Drudge Report)  Government budgets from the local to the federal level are bleeding red ink and many new proposals are being considered.  The Klamath County School District in Klamath Falls, Oregon is considering a four day school week as a way to save $6.3 million dollars or about 10% of the budget.  Apparently, the budget cuts would largely come from wages paid to classified staff: teaching assistants, cooks, custodians, secretaries, bus drivers, etc.  These workers are understandably concerned about the proposed cuts.

I have a somewhat different concern.  While the district will reduce expenditures students, parents and other taxpayers may be made worse off.  The student work week has evolved to fit around a traditional nine to five, Monday through Friday work week.  Has evolved efficiently?  If it has, then some thought was given to the length of time that children can learn during a day.  I am not sure students can remain focused during a longer school day.  It also seems plausible that the new school week will cost parents, the tax payers, more in increased baby sitting costs and loss wages than the district saves in expenditures.  Productivity of workers outside of the school district may decline as parents struggle to mange their children's activities from work.  Finally, if learning does decline, society may lose some of the positive externalities associated with education such as more skilled workers earning higher incomes. 
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  1. Green Beans13/4/10 5:14 PM

    I believe that the way our schools are now is fine. I don't think that it is a good idea for school days to be shorten unless it's a college because of the parents. Parents will need to find babysitters and extra childcare as you stated above. I also believe this will then lead to negative externalities. The older people who are retired enjoy their time to go to the park or sitting outside without the noise of children. I believe this can lead to an increase in teen pregnancy and trouble for kids whose parents can not afford for their children to go to a day camp. I just believe that the system is not broke. Lets not try to fix it. If there is money needed I believe there are better alternatives.

  2. I think the school days lay out just fine. They around at a rounded time, school starts when most parents go to work and come home. By changing the hours this would cause for more parents to spend money on day care and babysitters, which eventually would not be able to have anymore kids in the area so you are spening more money on gas to a farther sitter. This way leave the days like they are is giving enough time for everyone to get ready and have a nice set day not up too early or getting home to late. Making the days difference I feel would cause more crime in the communitites and difficulites at home. If more money is needed there are better alternatives to gaining that instead of having to cost parents more.