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Blackduck School District considers four-day week

Blackduck School Board members agreed Wednesday they want more information about the impact of moving to four day school week.

Grant Mistic seemed to voice the feeling of other board members when he said unless there is solid community support for such a change, it just won't work.

At a community meeting a week earlier, the board instructed Superintendent Bob Doetsch to come up with additional information, especially from schools which have made the switch and then gone back to the traditional Monday-Friday schedule.

During that meeting, Doetsch had said savings could amount to $72,000 a year with the shorter week. Much of that would come from pay reductions to hourly employees including bus drivers and support staff.

Board member Larry Zea said, during a discussion of using the district's own drivers versus going to a private bus operator, that the present system gives the school more control and more flexibility in its transportation system. Doetsch added that drivers now employed by the district know their kids "and they really care about them."

The board also looked at future online and Internet TV classes for students with specialized interests. Mark Sparby told fellow board members the importance of looking at ways to offer more electives, "because the more we offer, the more kids we'll be able to attract and retain."

The board set the 2009-2010 school calendar with classes to start Sept. 8, immediately after Labor Day. The board was advised that again, that calendar may be changed if the school adopts the four day week or if the Legislature approves starting the school year before Labor Day.

The board will meet for its annual budget session Feb. 18, at 5 p.m.