The Independence School District near Kansas City is the largest school district in Missouri to move to a four-day school week. About 150 of Missouri’s more than 500 school districts operate on a shortened school week. However, State Senator Doug Beck, D-Affton, wants to mandate five-day school weeks. He said there were discussions on adding the requirement to Parents Bill of Rights legislation.

“It was a part of the negotiation,” according to Sen. Beck. “It unfortunately did not make it into this bill, I was disappointed in that. I want to state also, I hate the bill also. I think it’s going to drive our teachers and make them make second thoughts about joining the profession, going into teaching. It’s also going to make our teachers look at maybe doing something else. That’s unfortunate that we’re doing that.”

Beck said he has “broad, bipartisan support” for mandating the traditional five-day school weeks.

“I was on a school board for nine years and that’s what we did when we went into the room,” explained Beck. “We would say first thing we need to do is what’s best for our kids here and how we’re going to educate them an doing it within our budget. Going from 174 contact days with the teacher to 142 is not beneficial to our kids. Having them in a class longer is not beneficial to our kids.”

The schools operating four days a week must still fulfill the same number of hours of instruction as schools running five days a week.

Independence School District Superintendent Dale Herl tells WDAF-TV in Kansas City that the proposed mandate is overreach and would take away control from local school boards.

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