(1/25/12) A small school district in western Wisconsin might become the first in the state to switch to a four-day school week.
The Department of Public Instruction has given Blair-Taylor the okay to explore a four-day week for the next school year which starts this fall. Superintendent Dennis Dervetski tells W-W-I-S Radio in Black River Falls that administrators came up with the plan, with input from staff members and teachers -- who are still under a union contract. He says the idea is to use school facilities and tax dollars more efficiently, while giving staff members more time to prepare for their classes. It would not involve year-round school. Dervetski said it's possible the state would grant a waiver from the normal 180-days of classes -- although the district would still need to hold the state's minimum numbers of classroom hours. The Blair-Taylor School Board has yet to vote on the change, but Dervetski says five members have told him they support it. He said the purpose is not necessarily to save money. Dervetski says a four-day school week has been adopted by other districts in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Idaho, and Oregon with great success. The next step is for the board to hold public hearings. Then, the superintendent said the board would act on it. And if it passes, the D-P-I would review the details and then make a final decision. The Blair-Taylor School District has just over 700 students.