Members of the Missouri House moved forward on Tuesday a proposal that would allow school districts the option of moving to a four-day school week. They would do so by increasing the hours attended in a day and cut down the number of days attended in a year from 174 to 142.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Gayle Kingery, R-Poplar Bluff, said nearly 100 rural school districts were interested in the option.
There seems to be little interest in the idea after talking with superintendents of school districts in Northeast Missouri. They might be interested in something allows more flexibility in scheduling the mandated 1,044 hours a year.
Superintendents questioned the actual savings in terms of:
• Student learning
• Cuts to staff.
• Feeding the children, many of whom get a good portion of their nutrition at school Monday through Friday.
• And to families who would have to pony up more for child care.
Kingery, a former school administrator, teacher and coach, brushed of many of those fears. He pointed to youngsters who weathered the move to all-day kindergarten “like a duck to water.”
“The children are so resilient,” he said.
And if a school district’s performance standards decrease after two years on a four-day schedule, it must revert back.
As for the daycare issue, Kingery says most parents would either send children to private daycare, or school districts could create a system in which high school seniors and teachers take care of younger students.
“In every state where this has been implemented, child care has become pretty much of a non-concern,” Kingery said. “People have adapted to it.”
House Bill 242 has received first-round approval on a voice vote. It still needs another vote in the House before it can move on to the Senate.