School board member pushes envelope with 4-day week idea
LAND O' LAKES - Editor's note: This begins a series of stories on Pasco County people to watch in 2012. Steve Luikart's suggestion that the Pasco County school district explore a four-day week was all but ignored by his fellow school board members the first time he brought it up. The first time wasn't the last, though, and now Luikart is heading a task force to research the idea and report its findings to the school board early in 2012. "It's not something we want to force on anyone, and the task force isn't going to make a recommendation," Luikart said.Luikart does hope the group's work will give the board the background it needs to decide whether a four-day school week would work for Pasco the way it has for other districts across the country. Luikart, who in 2011 was in his first full year on the school board, is a former teacher and assistant principal whose election campaign focused on his experience as an educator. He broached the idea of a four-day week in March during a discussion about how the district could save money to deal with a $54 million revenue shortfall. Switching to a four-day week could help cut costs for utilities, transportation and perhaps other areas, but how much is unclear. In February, the task force will hold town hall meetings where the public can ask questions. Even though Luikart showed a willingness to shake things up in 2011, he said he did so with reluctance. "I know people have a sense of what they think is normal," he said.
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