- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

PIERCE CITY, Mo. (AP) - Students in two southwest Missouri school districts will no longer attend school on Mondays starting next school year.

Students in Miller and Pierce City will have four-day school weeks and Stockton also is considering a Tuesday through Friday schedule.

The Miller school board approved the change on Monday and Pierce City officially accepted the shorter week on Feb. 18.

The 153-day year will include longer days so students will have the same amount of instructional time.

Pierce City Superintendent Russ Moreland wrote in a letter to the community that he understands that people are concerned that shortening the week will impact child care, and that making the decision was not easy for the board.

“The district further realizes that this decision is not supported by everyone in our community and respects the different opinions and thoughts by all patrons,” wrote Moreland following the vote. “We simply feel at this time that moving in this direction provides numerous benefits to the district both in the short and long term.”

The Springfield News-Leader reports (https://sgfnow.co/1NfSHgb ) the leaders of the school districts say the shorter week will help save money, better engage students and retain quality teachers.

“Utilizing every minute of instructional time is important and keeping students on task and engaged will be important. The teachers have expressed excitement for the opportunity to allow students additional time to complete projects and have deep discussions and lessons during one complete instructional time,” said Miller Superintendent Tracey Hankins.

Miller officials believe that the district will save up to $175,000, and that their need to pay for substitutes will be reduced because training can be scheduled when students are not in school.

In the late 2000s, Missouri passed a law that allowed four-day weeks and gave districts more flexibility in how they structure their calendars. The school year still must include at least 1,044 hours.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, https://www.news-leader.com

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