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Four-day work week working well at OTC
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      Last October, I reported that Ogeechee Technical College (OTC)was adopting a four day work/school week in an effort to cut costs in the face of significant budget cuts. A few months have passed, and school officials are pleasantly surprised by some of the positive results the new schedule has produced.
       "Student overall attendance in classes was slightly higher on a 4-10 (4 days per week, 10 hours per day) schedule when comparing 2007 Fall Quarter to 2008 Fall Quarter," said Dr. Jessie Strickland, vice president for academic affairs at Ogeechee Tech. "In addition, students said the 4-10 schedule saved an extra day of transportation (gas) costs."
       Another added benefit for students involves working and child care. "Many students expressed that the 4-10 schedule helped them earn another day's pay, if working," Strickland said. "For nonworking parents with younger children, it helped cut cost of a sitter or freed a spouse to get in extra work for pay."
       Strickland said OTC's faculty and staff has really taken to the schedule.
       Faculty and staff attendance was significantly higher on the 4-10 work week schedule before the December winter break when compared to 2007 Fall Quarter which operated on a five day, eight hour per day schedule (a 5-8 work week)," she said. "The 4-10 schedule permitted faculty and staff members to utilize Friday for scheduling medical or other necessary appointments without using classroom time which translated into a better benefit for students and faculty."
       Other benefits of the four day work week include a significant savings on the school's power bill. "In the last quarter of 2008, we used 20 percent less energy, saving an average of almost $6700 per month," said Jeffrey Davis, executive director for operations at OTC. "We achieved some savings throughout the early part of 2008 as we tried traditional ways to conserve power. When the 4-10 schedule was adopted, we saw significant and consistent decreases in our power use."
       Barry Turner, executive director for public relations at OTC said the biggest benefit may the increased availability of resources within the College itself.
       "Before the new schedule was implemented, offices here at the College typically closed at 5:00 p.m.," said Turner. "Now, our financial aid, admissions, registrar, business office, and other areas are open later in the day to better accommodate those who may need those services. It was often hard for a student or prospective student to get here by 5pm, but now they have until 7:00 p.m. to access all areas of the campus."
       If it were up to the students and staff regarding a return to the old hours of operation, Strickland said has a feeling what the response might be.
       "In my opinion, the 4-10 schedule has been very well-received by the Academic Affairs Division," she said. "Even if budget constraints lessen and an 8-5 schedule could be reinstituted, I believe faculty and staff members as well as students would overwhelmingly rather keep the 4-10 schedule."