When the Newtown-Harris board of education decided to shift to a four-day week for classes, beginning with the next school year, it added to the growing list of schools converting to four days of instruction each week. Yet to be determined at Newtown-Harris is whether the classes are to be held Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday.
Missouri Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven says the move to four-day school weeks has exploded in the state, almost doubling in the past year. During a House subcommittee hearing, she said the switch to shortened weeks started about one decade ago to help alleviate school busing costs.
Missouri currently has nearly 60 districts or charter schools using the four-day model with others expected to do so for the upcoming academic term. In 2011, former Governor Jay Nixon signed into law a bipartisan bill making a four-day school week optional for districts by moving from requiring 174 days of instruction to a total of 1,044 hours.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is about $185,000,000 short of full transportation funding. The agency is also developing its plan to recruit and keep teachers in the profession.