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Frazee board eyes 4-day school week

After seeing the success of MACCRAY (Minn.) School District going to a four-day school week, Frazee-Vergas School is looking into it as well. That's not to say it will happen -- or happen soon.

"The economy isn't going to get any better," Superintendent Deron Stender said. "I'm not saying it'll work, just that it will warrant an investigation."

The MACCRAY School decided to drop Monday classes, since it would least affect sports and other extra curricular activities and games. The school year shifted a bit, with days obviously getting longer. The board closed the school on Mondays, beginning this fall, for an estimated cost savings of $200,000. MACCRAY is a district of 700 students.

"We need to look at all avenues. The reports I've seen (on MACCRAY) are positive," board member Nancy Dashner said.

The two largest savings areas for Frazee-Vergas would be heat and transportation if it changed to a four-day week. The district spends about $1 million a year on transportation alone, because of the rural community.

Board member Dwight Cook said it would be a 20 percent savings to the district to be closed one day a week.

Another benefit, board members pointed out, would be that teachers could delve deeper into some subjects by having longer class periods.

"It merits exploring," board member LaRaye Anderson said. "It does make for a really long day -- that's the down side."

She questioned when sporting practices would be finished at the end of the day with the school day extensions. It was also pointed out that some parents with younger children might be opposed because of the need for daycare for one more day a week.

Stender said the district isn't necessarily even looking at the change for next year, but "just keep an open mind -- never say never."

The board agreed that an administrative team of staff and board members would take a trip to the MACCRAY District and ask questions and see how the four-day week is working out for that school district.