Rural Districts In Texas Eyeing 4-Day School Week
Some rural school districts in the Lone Star State are giving serious consideration to switching to a 4 day school week.
The reason many of them are giving: too many teachers are taking jobs in nearby districts that DO have the four-day schedule.
According to these small town administrations, even when they offer more money it’s no match for that sweet, sweet three-day weekend that educators can get in some parts of the state.
Here’s a quote from the assistant superintendent of Mineral Wells in an interview with The Texas Tribune.
We started losing teachers to that four-day school week, regardless of what we paid. That was a big eye opener
----David Tarver Asst. Superintendent, Mineral Wells ISD
Many of the districts that have already made the switch have fewer than 3,000 students K-12. Texas communities like Athens, Chico, and Devers have already made the switch and Mineral Wells (population under 20,000) looks like it’s going the same route.
Fun fact that I just learned today: in Texas, schools must be open for a MINIMUM of 75,600 minutes per school year. Each district has a say in how those 75,600 minutes are divvied up.
So, a four-day week would necessarily have to have longer days. In the districts that have already made the switch, the school week is Monday thru Thursday with Fridays thru Sunday off.
Mineral Wells is also just 50 miles from Fort Worth so they also have to compete with the higher salaries offered in big metro districts. The pay differential can be 15 thousand or more per year for first-year teachers.
There’s a downside to the four-day schedule, though. Educators, as well as researchers, worry that poorer kids in the district who rely on services like free school lunches will have to go without on the off-day.