Thousands of working parents in Hawaii are scrambling to make childcare arrangements ahead of the closure on Friday of all public schools, in a bid by the state’s education authorities to cut costs.
All 256 of Hawaii’s public schools will be closed in the first of 17 “furlough Fridays” that will see a drastic cut in school time for up to 171,000 children. The reduction of the school week from five to four days will last for at least the next two years.
The furloughs are the most draconian measure yet taken in the US, where the recession has forced many states to slash public services. At least 25 states have forced teachers to take unpaid days off, but most of the cuts have fallen on holidays or on preparation days rather than on actual school days.