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More and more, districts are moving to 4-day school weeks

Jerome could be the next to join them
Posted at 4:22 PM, Nov 14, 2023
  • 97 school districts are currently on a four-day week, including a majority of schools in the Magic Valley.
  • Jerome School District held a town hall meeting on Monday, Nov. 13 to discuss the possibility of joining the other neighboring school districts in the change.
  • Jerome School Board could decide to make the change during their November 28 Meeting. If they do, the change could take effect as soon as the 2024-25 season.

What follows is a transcription of the broadcast script:

In Idaho, 97 school districts have made the move to a 4-day school week. Jerome School District is the latest to consider making the switch. Kimberly school district is looking at it as well, and in Buhl they’ve already switched.

One Buhl parent, Marie Trusscott, said the extra day off was a good thing.

“It’s good rest and recoup for her [Truscott's daughter], but she’s only ever known a 4-day week until last year. Last year was her only year going 5 days, and last year, she was so tired all year cause its just not her normal,” says Trusscott.

I talked to Kim Lickely in the district office, who told me the discussion over 4-day weeks has taken place for a few years in Jerome, and they have already done surveys with parents and teachers.

“We actually had pretty good interest. The percentages of those wanting to go to 4-day week were higher than those not wanting to go to 4-day week,“ said Lickley.

The district has several construction projects underway right now, so had wanted to hold off on deciding about 4-day weeks. But interest from residents brought it back to the front.

“And then, the board continued to get some more kind of inquires from the public about ‘are we going to go to it, where are you now,’ and that’s kind of what began the process this year, is just more inquiries from the community,” continued Lickley.

The Jerome School Board has an opportunity to choose 4-day weeks for the 2024-25 school year during their November meeting. Or, they could wait and decide later, which would move the change to the 2025-26 school year.

RELATED | 4-day school weeks growing in popularity

The top three reasons given for interest in the 4-day school week in Jerome include recruitment and retention of teachers, improving student attendance, and improving morale overall at the schools where tensions have been a little high for the last few years.

The move does bring up concerns about an extra day of childcare, as many parents work five days a week. Other concerns include academic performance, with courses being covered in 4 days instead of 5.

With all the districts who already switched to 4-day weeks, none of them are switching back to five, which suggests that the recipe is working.

Trusscott said she wishes Buhl had chosen to have Friday off instead of Monday, because her family in Wendell has Fridays off, and she works Monday so she doesn't get to see her daughter on that extra day.

“We love it because it gives us a longer weekend so ... during the end of the year when it's warming up and we want to go do things, we have that extra day for travel or whatever we need to do. It's just Monday's that are hard,” said Trusscott.