Missouri has 168 school districts that have shifted to four-day school weeks this academic year. According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education the state had 143 school districts holding classes four days a week in the 2022-23 school year.

Rep. Brad Pollitt, the chairman of the Missouri House’s Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, does not think that legislative bills to restrict four-day school weeks would get much traction next year.

“I’m not really a big fan of four-day weeks. We’ve got other things that we need to concentrate on, in my opinion, besides that,” said Pollitt, R-Sedalia.

The schools might have shortened weeks, but they must still fulfill the same number of hours of instruction as schools running five days a week.

The four-day model has been a teacher recruitment and retention tool, especially for Missouri’s rural districts. After the Independence School District moved to a four-day school week, lawmakers tried unsuccessfully this year to restrict the shortened academic weeks.

“I’m not saying that I totally agree with four-day school weeks. I need more data on that, to be honest with you. I know a number of our schools have went to four-day weeks and if it’s fit in their community, you know, I really don’t have a stomach to go into that and try to disrupt that at this time. I think that we need to be concentrating more on trying to get teacher salaries where they need to be,” said Pollitt.

According to Pollitt, he plans to file a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would raise Missouri’s minimum teacher salary to $40,000. He also wants to raise the salaries of teachers with more experience and degrees.

Neighboring Arkansas has a new law that makes that state’s minimum teacher pay $50,000 annually.

The Missouri Legislature’s next session begins January 3 in Jefferson City.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.