FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Jesse White
White resolutions would explore four-day week for school districts, Commonwealth employees
HARRISBURG, June 8 – State Rep. Jesse White, D-Washington/Allegheny/Beaver, will introduce two House resolutions to explore the cost-saving benefits of moving Commonwealth employees and public school districts to a four-day week.
"My legislation would commission a study to see if there is any merit to a four-day week, and carefully weigh all the positives and negatives,” White said. “We may find that a condensed week is not feasible, but I think it's important to have facts before ruling out these options. In difficult economic times, a little outside-the-box thinking can only help when finding solutions to Pennsylvania’s fiscal crisis."
White's H.R. 202 would direct the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to investigate the benefits and challenges of moving public school districts to a four-day school week schedule.
"I want to see if a four-day week could result in considerable savings to the taxpayers without hurting student achievement or extra-curricular activities," White said. "The current budget plan cuts nearly $1 billion in state funding for public education while essentially leaving homeowners to supplement those cuts with higher property taxes, so it's time to get innovative and see if we can make better use our resources."
White said the study would examine the effect of a four-day school week on utilities, transportation, food service, teacher and staff salaries, labor contracts, retirement and pension benefits, and relevant legal considerations, and also study the advantages and disadvantages for the students, teachers, parents, administrators, staff, and the local community.
White's other resolution, H.R. 334, would direct the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study on the fiscal, environmental and public impact of a condensed, 10-hour per day work week.
"A condensed work schedule could reduce energy consumption and operating costs incurred to run Commonwealth buildings," White explained. "An extended-hour workday would also make state government services more accessible to working taxpayers who cannot visit the offices during typical working hours. This type of schedule could benefit everyone and most importantly, result in significant savings. These measures have been successful in other states, and we should see if it could work in Pennsylvania."
White said Utah was the first state to move to a four-day, 10-hour work week in 2008. A study found that the state saved over $6.25 million in energy costs and reduced the government’s overall energy consumption by 10.5 percent. Since then, several other states such as Arizona, Illinois, Oklahoma and West Virginia have conducted studies and considered legislation to enact alternative work schedules as cost saving measures.