A key Missouri lawmaker says the tight state budget could cause some rural school districts to consider a four-day school week.
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ (R) proposed budget reduces the state’s public school transportation budget from $105 million to $69 million. Greitens says “insiders, special interests and lobbyists have made a mess” of our budget.
House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Reiboldt (R-Neosho) says a four-day school week is another “tool in the toolbox” for school districts.
“And it’s a consideration for especially rural school districts, because not only has their budget been cut also their budget for transportation has been cut,” says Reiboldt. “And I know that a lot of rural school districts drive a lot of bus miles.”
Then-Governor Jay Nixon (D) signed the optional four-day school week into law in 2011.
The bill moved from requiring 174 days of instruction to a total of 1,044 hours for districts that wanted to go to four days.
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) communications coordinator Sarah Potter tells Missourinet that 15 of Missouri’s 518 districts currently have a four-day school week.
“I want to point out that it is a matter of local control, it just gives them (school districts) another option, another tool in the tool box, should the local school board want to consider that,” Reiboldt says.
DESE says the Lathrop R-II School District in northwest Missouri was the first district to make the change. The district, which includes Clinton and Caldwell counties, has classes from Tuesday to Friday.
Two school districts that are near Reiboldt’s southwest Missouri district have four-day weeks: Miller and Pierce City.
The Neosho Republican tells Missourinet that churches there have opened gymnasiums for students who need a place to go.
“This is my understanding that the community (Miller and Pierce City) has come together and working together to find some answers for the children that have working parents, and grandparents have stepped up as well, I think,” says Reiboldt.
DESE says the 15 Missouri school districts that currently have a four-day school week are:
** Community R-VI
** Miami R-1
** Harrisburg R-VIII
** East Lynne 40
** Stockton R-1
** Lathrop R-II
** Everton R-III
** Albany R-III
** Laclede County C-5
** Miller R-II
** Pierce City R-VI
** Maries County R-II
** Wellsville Middletown R-1
** Montgomery County R-II
** Orearville R-IV