Decision on 2018-2019 school year won't take place until late fall

After intense discussions with the community, Monroe City School District leaders are unlikely to adopt a four-day school week for the 2018-2019 school year — at least for now.

Dr. Tracy Bottoms, superintendent of Monroe City Schools, said that the need to provide more staff development time has been the catalyst for presenting a four-day week to the community but that the Board of Education is not ready to make the move.

‘We don’t plan to make a decision for (20)18-19 calendar — not until late fall,” he said, adding that the district will monitor how other schools deal with the same issues.

Several months ago, Bottoms said the district needed options to provide more professional development time for faculty and staff. A four-day school week was one of the options presented by Bottoms. Under such a plan, student would attend school four days a week, leaving teacher time for class preparation and professional development.

The Monroe County School District has conducted public meetings, drawing more than 80 people to its most recent session to discuss the subject.

“The comments have been both to support and oppose a four-day school week, from members of the community and even from our staff,” Bottoms said.

In addition to a four-day school week other option to meet the challenges of professional development include a five-day school calendar with less than the traditional 174 school day and a trimester schedule. The Monroe City R-1 school calendar provides for 174 days of school with 1,044 hours of classroom time. This 174-day calendar was implemented to accommodate the agricultural needs in the state.

“The current school calendar hasn’t changed in 60 years…what has changed are the state and federal requirements that must be accomplished within that time frame,” Bottoms said.

Bottoms applauded school district parents and community members who have participate in the discussions to date. The Board of Education needs to hear diverse points of view.

“It has been good for the district,” he said.