Should Moffat County schools move to a four-day school week?
School district budget process started, board to consider cost saving measures such as a four-day week
Craig — In an effort to save money, the district is examining a four-day school week, but school board members seek more information about what it could mean for parents, teachers — and most importantly — students.
The Moffat County School Board of Education budget process for school year 2017-18 started with a special board workshop held Thursday.
During the next four years the district needs an estimated $17 million to fund capitol projects.
“We have long-term facility maintenance issues that must be addressed. I’ve not had one person come to me and say we are good. We have to start talking about the action to start addressing those things,” said Moffat County School District Superintendent Dave Ulrich.
One option being investigated is a four-day school week.
A four-day school week would maximize the lifespan of durable items such as busses, food service equipment and facilities, Ulrich said.
Student performance shouldn’t suffer from a shorter week, according to the State of Colorado Four-Day School Week Information Manual compiled by the Colorado Department of Education.
The manual states that students in four-day and five-day districts performed similarly on state assessments and showed very similar amounts of academic growth.
“The impact on kids education is nil and if that’s the case and we can save the money, it’s something that needs to be considered,” said Board Chair Darrell Camilletti.
The board will need to determine if the benefit outweighs costs to families.
“I’m philosophically opposed to it,” said board member Jo Ann Baxter. “I think it will have an impact on families and extra curricular activities. There is a lot more that has to be taken into consideration than the dollar amount.”
Many school districts in Colorado have adopted a four-day week.
“I believe 49 percent of school districts in Colorado have a four-day school week,” Ulrich said. His figures come from the state’s department of education.
Maybell is the only school in the district that is currently on a four-day week.
“The biggest impact is where do those kids go on the fifth day if their parents are working,” said board member Darryl Steele.
It’s an issue that parents already face with the early release of students on Fridays throughout the rest of the district.
“Parents are already having to spend time figuring out care (on Friday afternoons),” said board member Sue Voloshin.
For now all options are on the table, except one.
“It would be irresponsible for us to move forward with the status quo,” Ulrich said.
Baxter requested the investigation become broader to consider other options, such as going to the voters with a bond initiative or mill levy, and Steele requested information on campus consolidation.
“Before the board of education… address these needs through a bond issue, I have to be confident that all cost effective measures have been explored,” Urich said.
Ulrich was empowered to consider short- and long-term options.
“If you don’t explore every option Dave, you are not doing your job,” said board member Tony Peroulis. “I don’t want to be part of the problem. I want to be part of the solution.”
The school board meets at 4 p.m. Thursday for a work session and at 6:30 p.m. for its board meeting — both take place at the administration building on 775 Yampa Ave. in Craig.
“As this may have implications in our community, I will devote considerable time and energy to gathering feedback from stakeholders,” Ulrich said.