A Tuesday press conference resulted in the Senate Republican Caucus announcing their plans for the 2019 legislative session. Topping that agenda included returning to five day school weeks.
Sen. Paul Scott, R-Duncan, said commentary from other states has resulted in the want to return to five day weeks.
“Oklahoma has been criticized nationally for the number of schools that have switched to four-day weeks in recent years,” Scott stated. “While some districts cut days to save money and have done so without affecting student achievement, other districts have experienced low test scores and other falling academic markers. Those are the districts that are causing concern. The Senate is dedicated to helping schools return to the traditional five-day weeks to ensure students receive the best education possible.”
The Republican Caucus announced they understand four day school weeks can save smaller districts from financial burden and stated “they will honor and protect the $2.9 billion investment in Oklahoma students and teachers, and will restore five-day school weeks, providing for reasonable exemptions, to enhance student outcomes and repair Oklahoma’s national reputation.”
Scott took time to visit with superintendents in his district, both of small and large sizes.
In Duncan, Superintendent Melonie Hau believes attending school five days a week would be best.
“Local communities need the flexibility of adopting the best structures to achieve federal, state, and locally mandated outcomes for students,” Hau said. “For Duncan Public Schools, the question is always are we maximizing our time with students on the best quality instruction? Outcomes such as graduation rate, academic scores, attendance rates, and maintaining a strong and supportive school environment should all be considered when thinking about how many days or hours students will be in school. For our community, a five day school week is the preferred structure to meet these outcomes.”
Some of Scott’s smaller districts, like Dibble, said five days would be preferred, but money just isn’t there.
Chad Clanton, Dibble Public School Superintendent, said districts should maintain the right to choose.
“Dibble Public School does save money by utilizing the four day academic week,” Clanton said. “While I agree that a four-day week is not the absolute best scenario for public schools, I do believe this is a viable option for schools that struggle financially. The Dibble Board of Education and I are strongly in support of local control.”
The 2019 legislative session convenes for the first regular session Monday, Feb. 4.
For more information, contact Scott at 405-521-5522.