While support for a four-day school week won, the opposition is nearly even in some areas

August 23, 2018

FARGO—According to a recent InForum poll with the question. “Would you like to see local districts adopt a 4-day school week?” Minnesotans and North Dakotans are mostly split in their decision.

Out of the 26 Minnesota votes, it was a 50/50 split with 13 in favor and 13 against the four-day school week.

In North Dakota, 90 voted in favor and 70 voted against.

Fifty-two of the 70 no votes came from the Fargo-West Fargo area, and 6 of the 13 no votes came from Moorhead.

Polling was conducted online using Polco to obtain validated feedback through online polling about specific topics or initiatives. The Forum is the first newspaper in the country to use the service.

According to The Center in Reinventing Public Education there are 550 school districts in 25 states that have a four-day school week model being used in schools.

In a study by the Education Commission of the States, they estimated how much money school districts could most likely save with a four-day week. Districts could save 5.4% overall, with big portion of that being operations and maintenance costs.

Most of the support has come from less populated areas in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Executive director of the North Dakota School Boards Association Alexis Baxley says there’s no overall state discussion about a four-day week, but there is a support for districts to do what they feel is best.

“We believe it should be every local school district’s decision,” Baxley said. “If that’s what works for them, it should be their right to decide. Pros would be less travel for students, more classroom time in a day, less time on a bus. A con is the family with two working parents and kids who go to school and them having to find child care.”

According to Baxley, the districts would still have to meet the same amount of time in a school year, which is 175 days, so “they would have to provide paperwork and explain how they would meet those requirements, whether the days are longer or there would be a few more weeks in school.”

According to Dale Wetzel, the public information specialist with the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, there are six different schools that have a four-day week in North Dakota:

• Alexander Public Schools, Alexander, ND, McKenzie County (K-12)

• East Fairview School, Fairview, ND, McKenzie County (K-8)

• Horse Creek School, Cartwright, ND, McKenzie County (K-8)

• Turtle Mountain Community School, Belcourt, ND, Rolette County (K-12; four-day week applies only to high school)

• Dunseith Public School, Dunseith, ND, Rolette County (K-12; applies to elementary and high school)

• Invitation Hill Seventh Day Adventist Elementary School, Dickinson, Stark County