No 4-day school week for Weiser schools next year

The Weiser School District will continue with its current 5-day school schedule for the 2022-23 school year, trustees voting down a proposed 4-day week during a special meeting held on Wednesday, May 11.
 “Trustees reviewed the results of the most recent stakeholder survey that had been released. They shared and discussed patron comments from the survey as well as other correspondences that they had received from various stakeholders over the last few days,” Weiser School District Superintendent Wade Wilson explained in a May 12 letter to school patrons. “After more than an hour of deliberations, and in a split vote, Trustees ultimately elected to maintain the traditional 5-day calendar that had previously been approved for the WSD for the 2022-23 school year.”
 The calendar can be found on the Weiser School District website at www.weiserschools.org.
 An initial survey was conducted in April, which showed that of 727 respondents, 64 percent were in favor of a 4-day schedule, with 23 percent in favor of a 5-day schedule, and 13 percent undecided.
 In its second survey, completed on May 10, the district found that of 447 respondents, 59 percent were in favor of a 4-day schedule, with 34 percent in support of the traditional 5-day schedule, and over 6 percent expressing no preference.
 During the May 11 special meeting, some trustees expressed concern over maintaining current educational standards, especially following online instruction that largely proved inadequate during the pandemic and the subsequent learning loss gap teachers have been working hard to close since that time.
 “When I came into this position, my number one thing I was going to do was put the kids first, and their education first, and from everything that I’ve seen, I don’t see enough information or research to show that it is a benefit to them and their education,” said Trustee Melanie Price. “They talked about a dip in it. Even if it’s small, we already struggle and that’s huge to me. That slight dip is a big deal if we are already struggling with the learning loss from COVID.”
 Price also said she did not support an extra 30 to 55 minutes that would have been required to make up for lost classroom time on Fridays, citing students’ attention spans as they approach the end of the day.
 Trustee Chairman Justin Erickson pointed out that almost half of the school districts in Idaho are now on a 4-day schedule and said that he does not know of any that have expressed regret for doing so.
 “From the community and the board, I’m hearing mixed thoughts, mixed emotions; it’s a big decision,” he said. “As long as anyone can remember in Weiser, we’ve been on a 5-day school week. In the last 20 years, things have changed. As of this last year, there were 54 districts on a 4-day school week and 19 charter schools. There are 116 school districts. That is almost half of Idaho school districts on 4-day school weeks. 34 school districts have been doing 4-day school weeks for over a decade. I have not heard an outcry that a 4-day school week is damaging in Idaho. I haven’t heard that feedback.”
 Erickson said that there are solutions to the various concerns people have about a possible transition to a 4-day week.
 Price said that she would be in favor of further research on the topic, but that more information needs to be collected versus moving ahead, perhaps, too quickly on the subject. Trustees Dr. Mark Pritchard and Nancy Lazaro voted against the proposed schedule, while Jim Brush voted in favor.
 “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to thank everyone who took the time to serve on the 4-Day School Week Committee, those who spent time doing their own research on the topic, and those who took the time to complete the stakeholder surveys that were made available this spring,” Wilson stated in his May 12 letter.
 

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18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
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FAX: (208) 549-1718
 

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