January 5, 2006 -- Posted at 9:00 p.m. CST
INDEPENDENCE COUNTY -- Cedar Ridge School District is in the preliminary stages of changing their school week to only four days a week. The suggestion came up after Cord-Charlotte and Newark Schools consolidated last year, and the district realized they were spending more money than what they were bringing in.
The first proposed solution was an increase in the milage. The school revealed in an article to the Batesville Daily Guard, they had $2 million dollars in their budget but needed to pass a tax increase. Without all the information, many locals voted down the milage, saying the school had enough money. The fact was that money would only last the school another year.
Superintendent Guy Santucci told the faculty and board members they needed to find a way to save money. Dr. Ann Webb, Newark Elementary Principal, suggested a 4-day school week. She researched another school, Saratoga, who were already successfully using the 4-day program, and presented the information to the board members.
They created a state approved survey for parents to see the overall view and give their thoughts and opinions on the program. Dr. Webb has already had surveys returned, and told us the outlook is pretty positive so far, but that the surveys aren't due back until the 13th.
"The main problem with the program is daycare. Many parents are unsure of what they will do with the child on the day we are out. But we are already planning a daycare for them. Parents would have to drop off and pick up their children, and there would be a cost, but teachers are already agreeing to work in the daycare. And high school students are always looking for community service hours, and this would be a great way to help out."
Dr. Webb continued to say that there are many positive points she gathered from Saratoga School: Longer time teachers can spend with the children and complete all core hours set by the state; more time in class to finish work, which would lead to less homework; more physical activity; snacks and rest time would be provided; less absenteeism of teachers; an extra day for children and parents to spend together; and if parents work, their children would get home after they do.
"Our school has an after school program already, and kids don't get home till 5:30 or 6:00 at night as it is. The school days will get out at 4:15 so it's not that much longer. The kids are all for it; they're excited, and they say they can last that long."
The school board will meet the 16th to discuss this outcome of the surveys and decide whether or not to pursue the program.
"It has to be a community thing, otherwise, it won't work. If they don't like this, we'll just have to find another way."