Southeast Kansas School District Moves Toward Four-Day School Week

Southeast Kansas School District Moves Toward Four-Day School Week
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Students in Chetopa and St. Paul will soon have thirty more minutes of class every day, as the school district transitions to a four-day school week in January

“You don’t have that hump day syndrome that tends to go on, because there is no hump day in a four day week,” says USD 505 Superintendent Bobbi Williams.

Williams says academic quality won’t be sacrificed with fewer days in class.

“What was really interesting is that there is no discernible difference in achievement between students on a four-day week and students on a five-day week.”

Like is the growing trend among rural schools, the decision was mainly financial.

“Kansas school funding is based on the number of students you have enrolled in your school, so in rural districts where you have a declining enrollment we’re impacted even more so because we have fewer students, our cost though to operate doesn’t go down.”

School officials say they’ll save $50,000 just in the first year, savings that can add up quickly over time.

“Savings initially are going to come from transportation, utilities, and reduction in substitute teacher costs. We are protecting the wages of our classified employees so they won’t experience a financial loss.”

Williams says 85% of parents surveyed approved of the switch, but the residents I spoke with had mixed opinions.

“Sounds like a good deal. I wish they’d move to a four day work at work,” says ’69 Chetopa High School Graduate Archie Johnson.

“I used to go to Chetopa and I think that they should go to five days because they’d have a hard time finding baby sitters, daycares and all that kind of stuff,” says former USD 505 student Donuld Hooper.

“I think it’s more chance for kids to get in trouble with it being a small town and not much to do,” says parent Emily Schoenhofer.

“I’m not sure yet. But I have faith in our school system and if they say that’s what we need to do, I have faith in ’em,” says parent Russell Davenport.

The switch to a four-day school week won’t happen until January 4th, when students return from winter break, to give parents time to make alternate arrangements for Fridays.