When I hit junior high and high school, there was a bit of a fiscal crunch going on. (Sound familiar?) The schools started trying new and creative ways to cut corners.
Our day began earlier, but eliminated one entire class period all together - if I remember right, we ended about 1:15pm. Study hall was gone. Many "electives" started going by the wayside, and even lunch got eliminated at one point. It was replaced by a "snack break." I don't really remember the duration of said break, but thankfully that was one change that didn't last long.
The NY Times has published a good article on the importance of recess. We are just starting our venture into this whole idea of school where Daniel is concerned. But I am seriously considering clipping this and filing it somewhere for easy access.