School’s Out For Friday!

Posted on Sun 04/18/2010 by


Satire by  Shawn Goodwin

Kids, are you tired of the brutally-long and overly-boring five day school week? Parents, would you like your little crumb crunchers to enjoy a three-day weekend for nine months of the year? Teachers, are you in dire need of some quality margarita time not afforded you on those loathsome Friday afternoons? If you answered “Yes!” to any of these questions, you might want to enroll in the Klamath County (Oregon) School District.

The school district, like most school districts in the country, is suffering through this recession. Times are so tough that Klamath County teachers are using cue chalk to write on the blackboard and students have to squish berries in their hands to finger-paint. The organization is hemorrhaging money, and as a result, school administrators are mulling over a plan to eliminate Friday classes:   …  

“District Superintendent Greg Thede says that a $5.8 million cut to his $60 million budget and nearly 20 layoffs last year prompted the district to form a committee to study the option of cutting Fridays from the school week. He says that school days Monday through Thursday would be longer to meet state hourly requirements.

But there are concerns from the Klamath Falls Association of Classified Employees, the union that represents classified staff, such as teaching assistants, cooks, custodians, secretaries and bus drivers. Union President Linda Braden says one less day in the week will mean a day less of work for 380 classified staff.”

Classified staff? That must be a pretty sweet gig. Like many union members, they can simply walk around all day doing nothing. When someone asks them why they are sleeping in the broom closet, they can simply respond, “I’m sorry, but that’s classified.”

The only job better than classified staff is Union President, a position that makes Congress seem overworked. In this case, Ms. Braden admirably fights for her fellow members, but makes the common mistake of not seeing the bigger picture. Yes, her members will lose a day of work, but is that not better than losing the position outright? Bell-bottom jeans have a better chance of coming back than this current economy does!

Sadly, the elimination of Hawaiian Shirt Gonzo Friday is just the first step for Klamath County. The district’s computers will be collected and sold at auction. In return, the schools will be outfitted with the pinnacle of 1980s technology, the Commodore 64. Sure, these systems are not Internet-compatible, but they provide a valuable resource. The 64 is an item that can be used to illustrate the history of the personal computer, as well as a competent computer science tool. Kids have to learn MS-DOS and Word Perfect sometime, right?

Similarly, some jobs will be combined to save salary monies. Hall monitors will now receive a mop and broom with their badges. To echo the sentiments of Jerry Seinfeld, they are walking the halls anyway, why not tidy up a bit? In addition, guidance counselors will be expected to double as groundskeepers. Since most counselors spent their college years smoking grass, they can cut it now, too.

There are other plans in the mix, and they include cuts that would make Freddy Krueger proud. For example, with the implementation of the four-day school week, district staff will be modifying recess. Effective immediately, district-funded snacks will be forbidden during this time. When break time is approved, children will only be allowed to participate in school-related games such as multiplication hopscotch, Venn diagram hula hoops, and 52-flash card pickup. The idea to include the inner-city favorite, “chalk outline marbles” was thankfully rejected.

Activities are not the only items that have been trimmed. Utilities are seeing the thresher as well. With the skyrocketing cost of gas and electricity, schools in Klamath County are going green. Instead of paying for air conditioning and heating, the district is installing pedal systems in the desk of every student. When the weather either gets too warm or too cold, they can cycle themselves to relief. The benefits of this program are twofold: The students will receive some much-needed exercise, and energy costs will plummet faster than some politicians’ poll numbers. Educators will receive the added bonus of well-behaved children, as it is difficult to start a food fight when you are too exhausted to stand.

Now, while the switch to the four-day school week will undoubtedly result in toothy smiles from the Klamath County students, it will frustrate working parents who have to find Friday sitters. It will also adversely affect the teachers, who must now restructure their lesson plans to accommodate the new schedule. What’s worse is that the end result – an expected savings of $6 million annually – is by no means a guarantee.

Besides, what happens if the economy gets worse? Will Klamath County eliminate another school day a la The Boomtown Rats? They didn’t like Mondays, either.’s official satirist, Shawn Goodwin, is a blogger and police detective from Philly.

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