Four-day school weeks aid rural Missouri districts

More and more schools in Missouri, mostly rural, are switching to four-day school weeks. With tight budgets and high transportation costs, the schools make the choice out of desperation.

Since 2011, schools have been able to make the switch to shorter weeks thanks to a change of state statute that lifted the 174 school-day requirement and lowered it to 142 days but with the same 1,044 hour requirement. If a district fails to meet at least two performance requirements, then it has to move back to a five-day week and the 174 day requirement.

Seventeen school districts switched to four-day school weeks; two subsequently stopped.

The General Assembly is currently deciding the state budget, which would affect how much money schools get for transportation. In Gov. Eric Greitens’ proposed budget, school transportation was cut by $36 million, which school officials said they would have to make up by taking money out of classrooms. The House’s proposed budget put the money back to fund transportation; the budget moves to the Senate for consideration this week.

Many districts that switch to four-day school weeks are happy with their decision, and wouldn’t go back to a five-day week even if funding was restored.

Read more: Columbia Missourian

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