Fort McMurray board considers four-day school week

The public school board in Fort McMurray is looking to move to a four-day week to deal with a $4.4 million deficit.

“The board is looking at what it might do to help correct the situation we find ourselves in," said Superintendent Dennis Parsons. "That realignment could possibly save upwards to a million dollars a year."

The public board wouldn’t be the first to move to a shorter week if the idea is approved. Fort McMurray’s Catholic board has been on a four-day week for the past year and a half.

Education Minister Jeff Johnson said what the board is proposing is fine as long as students receive the required number of instructional hours.

But NDP critic David Eggen believes the plan could hurt parents who would have to find additional child care and reduce hours for bus drivers and teaching aides.

Eggen worries the idea could spread to other cash-strapped Alberta school boards.

“There's lots of school boards that are in a precarious position across the province that I hope that will not look at going to a four-day school week," Eggen said.

"It's just not acceptable.”

The public board will vote on the plan next week.