Harford County Public Schools announced last Friday that it will implement a four-day work week schedule for an eight-week period – from mid-June to early August – to save money and to have its facilities open into the early evening for parents who need to meet with school personnel.
As a result, all but a handful of school buildings and other facilities will be closed on Fridays this summer, and the school system's 12-month employees will work four 10-hour days from the week of June 17 to 21 through the week of Aug. 5 to 9.
"This new cost-saving strategy will save the school system approximately $120,000 by closing buildings for one day each week during an eight-week period throughout the summer," Superintendent Dr. Robert M. Tomback said in a news release announcing the change.
"Not only will we be able to conserve funding but this new schedule will allow us to provide extended operating hours Monday through Thursday for the convenience of the community," added Tomback, who is leaving his post at the end of June.
The news release also states: "HCPS has worked collaboratively with organizations that use school buildings for summer programs to rework schedules to allow for continuity of service."
"We expect cost savings in energy and transportation costs," Teri Kranefeld, the school system's communications director, explained. "We are always looking for strategies where we can save money. Where it will fall out in the budget, I don't know at this point."
The period affected overlaps the current budget year that ends June 30 and the new one that begins July 1.
During the Monday through Thursday schedule, school facilities will be open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Kranefeld said a few buildings may still be open on Fridays, including the one or two sites designed for summer school classes.
"There will be some exceptions in some areas, where buildings remain open for different programs," she explained. "We have, however, worked with parks and rec, summer camps and tried to keep them at a minimum." The Harford County Public Schools system has 54 buildings.
The four-day week period affects employees such as principals, central office staff and managers and clerical, maintenance and operations people, who are paid on a 12-month basis. All of them will continue to work 40 hours a week during the period, but in four days rather than five.
Most of the school system's 3,000 teachers and classroom support personnel are 10-month employees and are normally not working during the eight weeks in the summer.
"The key change is we will have a consistent start and end time, which builds in consistency for parents [who need to meet with principals, pupil personnel workers, counselors]," Kranefeld said. "All buildings and offices will be open the same time."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun