The Troy School Board has sidelined the idea to move to a four-day week after the public overwhelmingly opposed the plan. The decision was made at the Nov. 12 board meeting.
But Superintendent Dan Wendt said as shrinking budgets and enrollment continue to plague Troy’s schools, the plan to move to four-day school week could reemerge in the future.
“There is still some merit to the four-day school week,” he said. “I believe it’ll come up in the future when Troy’s schools face bigger budget issues … I don’t think it’s a dead issue.”
The idea of going to a shorter school week in Troy first emerged earlier this fall. Since then, Wendt has been researching what other Montana schools have done and believed that it was a viable option for his district. The four-day week has become popular at many rural schools across the state and, according to the Montana Office of Public Instruction, 31 public school districts and 53 schools currently have adjusted academic calendars.
Although the schools only hold classes four days a week, the number of instruction hours remain the same, as required by state law. To adjust for the change, schools extend the regular school day. Wendt says the adjustment has resulted in better attendance numbers and cost savings at schools across the state.
The school district conducted a survey this fall to gauge public opinion and Wendt said the results were clear: the public opposed the change. He said many parents raised concerns about students and teachers having a three-day weekend. He added that many called the school board to voice their opposition.
“What killed it was that board members heard overwhelmingly negative comments about (the four-day week) from their constituents,” he said.
Despite vocal opposition, Wendt still supports the idea. Wendt referenced other rural schools that have made the change and have seen positive results.
The change to a four-day school week would have forced some surrounding districts to also make changes, according to McCormick school board chairman Terry Holmes. Located near the Idaho boarder, the tiny one-room schoolhouse helps bus students into Troy from the surrounding area. McCormick’s students also attend Troy’s high school.
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