By Joe May
The Southern Standard
After listening to an hour and 45 minutes worth of comments from patrons and employees, the Centerpoint School voted 5-1 Monday evening to switch to a four-day school week starting in the fall.
Twenty-two individuals addressed the board regarding the situation, including a delegation of teachers from the elementary school and the high school. Like the survey sent out earlier to patrons, a larger majority were in favor of the new policy, which has been successfully implemented at Ouachita and Kirby schools the past few years. Centerpoint joins Caddo Hills and Bismarck in making the change. Superintendent Dan Breshears stated that Arkansas now has 22 four-day schools.
Negative feedback centered on longer days, those children in unsafe environments, not enough research done, it would be harder on those in advanced classes, it would make students and staff lazier, schools in Oregon that went four days saw decreases in math and literacy scores, students would be more prone to drug abuse, the amount of juvenile crime would raise and those in athletics would miss additional class time.
Those advocating in favor of the four-day week stated that the half-day on Friday would give them additional time to work with students who are behind, math and literacy scores would go up due to plans to allocate more time to them, students and teachers would have more time to spend with their families, and teachers would have additional time for lesson plans and other work. Breshears also noted that it is growing harder to find and keep qualified teaching applicants and with other area schools going to the four day option, he feared staff and students might opt to join those districts.
After all the speakers had spoke, Breshears thanked those who participated and, citing the overwhelming support for the plan as well as staffing concerns, made a recommendation to the board that the district adopt the change.
Directors Nan Kirksey and Randy Bradford moved to accept the recommendation. Director Dale Sutton cast the only dissenting vote.