Apache Junction School District will go to four-day school week

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An East Valley school district made a big move Tuesday night.

With a budget to balance, the Apache Junction School District had two choices: close a school or move to a four-day school week.

In the end, the district did both.

The auditorium at Apache Junction High School's Performing Arts Center was crowded with parents, teachers and students.

Many of them went up to the microphone to speak, hoping to sway the board about some major decisions that will impact the 2015-2016 school year.

The decision, board members said, caused them a lack of sleep as they look to close a $2.7 million budget shortfall.

They say they simply don't have the money and have to make some drastic decisions.

Tuesday evening, the school board voted to go to a four-day school week next school year with Fridays off.

"We get very little sleep as it is. We're getting crammed with tests and exams as it is, homework. It's just crazy how much we do as it is. And we're going to be given so much more with the four-day school week," said Apache Junction High School sophomore Carolyn Ford.

The board also voted to close Superstition Mountain Elementary School.

"Really sad that they're closing Superstition Mountain Elementary. It's a really close knit community. I believe a lot of staff and a lot teachers are going to feel displaced," said second grade teacher Linda Seese.

No teachers will be let go and most programs will remain in tact.

AJUSD Superintendent Dr. Chad Wilson says lawmakers and voters have put the district in its financial crisis with years of slashing education funding and voters rejecting bond overrides.

The new four-day school week with Fridays off begins this fall.