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West Memphis School Board votes down 4 day school week proposal

Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 10:41 PM CDT
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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (WMC) - You’ve heard of a four-day work week, but what about a four-day school week for your kids?

West Memphis School Board members voted whether to implement a four-day week for the upcoming school year Tuesday.

In a 4-2 vote, the West Memphis School Board voted not to implement a four-day school week for the upcoming school year, against the wishes of some parents and faculty members like Jessie McGruder.

“I have several teachers who are overworked,” said McGruder. “Coming off a pandemic because of a COVID year it’s been very difficult for them, and that extra day would’ve helped them prepare more. We don’t have enough time during the week to prepare for lessons and it just gets just difficult when you’re adjusting to so many different learning styles and kids who have gotten behind.”

McGruder is a parent, athletic coach, and representative for teachers at Wonder Junior High. He says in light of Tuesday’s vote, he would like to see other adjustments made so teachers have more time to prepare lessons.

Other parents like Kimberly Wolfe say they’re happy with the vote.

“It has been well planned, well executed and well presented for our community to come together and feel like this is going to be best for children in our economy,” said Wolfe.

Wolfe owns a childcare business serving kids up to age 12. She says even though there were multiple meetings about a potential four-day school week, she believes plans were not completely thought out.

“I’m thinking about them,” said Wolfe, “those parents who don’t have the flexibility that my husband and I do. What would they do? We had to go to virtual Wednesdays when the pandemic first hit, we housed about 50 of those children every day. Our teachers made sure that they got the academic support they needed because parents had to work, and they still do. If this would have passed, I don’t know how many employers would allow their employees a four-day workweek to coincide with the four-day school week.”

Superintendent Jon Collins says the district received favorable survey results from parents for a four-day week, but in the end, the school week remains Monday through Friday for thousands of West Memphis students.

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