Irene, Wakonda boards exploring 4-day week

Irene, Wakonda boards exploring 4-day week
Many school districts across South Dakota are exploring the idea of going to a four day week schedule. The obvious reason for doing this to save money. For many school districts in South Dakota, two factors have caused a financial crisis: lack of proper state funding of education and declining enrollment of the districts. Both the Irene and Wakonda school districts are in this situation.

For the past two school board meetings, both boards have discussed the merits of going to a four day school week. There are some definite savings for the districts. The high cost of bus fuel and fewer bus route trips is a very obvious savings. Other areas of savings include heating fuel costs, electricity costs, hourly workers' salaries and other miscellaneous costs.

Besides savings in dollars, research of districts already using the four day school week has shown other benefits for education. Some of these are the following: less teacher absenteeism resulting in the additional saving of money by not hiring as many substitutes, less student absenteeism because appointments to doctors, dentists etc., can be made on the day off, increased staff/student morale, longer class periods allow more teaching time and fewer class interruptions, better student behavior and attitude, more parent/student time together, less teacher burnout, more preparation time for teachers, teacher in-service time can be conducted on the off day, and in most cases result in higher test scores.


Both districts are looking at a four day week which usually will run from Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:06 p.m. The only exception to this would be on weeks where a school holiday would land on a Friday, then the school calendar would use the preceding Monday. Two examples of this would be Thanksgiving week and the week of Good Friday. Ten minutes would be added to each class period resulting in a slightly longer school day. Research has shown that students, kindergarten through seniors, adjust to this very rapidly, especially with parental help at home.

The state requires that all students in grade 3-12 must attend school for 962.5 hours a year. Both the Irene and Wakonda school districts greatly exceed this minimum at the present time. The proposed four day week calendar that the boards are exploring would have 1,152 hours which is very similar to what the students are attending under the present five day week calendar.

For more information on four day school weeks please visit the following Web site: www.hssd.k12.sd.us/4day.htm.

Before the two school boards make a decision on a school calendar for next year, both boards would like to hear from their patrons about their feelings on going to a four day week calendar. A patron can do this by contacting the school office at 263-3311 in Irene, or 267-2644 in Wakonda with comment or questions or by sending the following short reply form:

I favor a four day week calendar ___________________

I do not favor a four day week calendar____________

Please comment on your position:___________________ ________________________________________________________________________________

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