Hillsborough school district might consider 4-day school week to address teacher shortage

Hillsborough County Public Schools might consider creative ideas to try and lure teachers to the district, including moving to a four-day school week, Superintendent Addison Davis said this week.

The superintendent hoped to raise teachers' salaries through a millage property tax increase that was on the August ballot, but the measure failed. Davis said the district might have to now consider creative ideas to compete with surrounding districts, nearly all of which have passed a millage increase to raise teacher pay.

RELATED: Hillsborough school tax referendum fails after recount

"I know this is a really radical suggestion, potentially looking at a four-day week for the school year," Davis said. "That is a way for us to become competitive when you work four days, and then you have an extended weekend, or you have the fifth day to be able to be engaged in professional learning."

There are currently 300 teacher vacancies in Hillsborough, down from about 600 at the start of the school year. Davis said the idea of a four-day school week hasn't been officially proposed to the school board.

"That comes with a lot of engagement with our community, that comes with a lot of conversations with our staff to determine if we can make that happen," he said.

Rob Kriet, the president of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, said his organization would be willing to consider the plan.

READ: ‘It’s a shame’: FDLE arrests 3 former Hudson High School teachers accused in $708,000 cheating scandal

"We have to be as creative as possible in this district," Kriet said. "We have to find every possible way to meet [students' and teachers'] needs and if that means changing the scheduling and traditionally how we do the work that we do, we're all for it. We're open to it."

As parents picked up their children at Grady Elementary School, their reactions to the possibility of a four-day school week were mixed.

"As a stay-at-home mom, I think it would be nice to have a four-day week. As far as for parents that work, I do think it would be difficult," said Katie Sickles.

MORE: Hillsborough County has fewer teacher vacancies than expected, but still needs more educators

"It'd be tricky, and it's already tricky," added Garrett Clausen." "But you know what? You work through it. You find out ways to make it work."

Hillsborough School Board Chair Nadia Combs said she would only consider a four-day school week if the district still offered parents a place to bring their children on the fifth day.

Other school board members, however, said they needed more information before commenting.