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RANGELY I A four-day school week has moved closer to becoming a reality.
School board members voted Monday night to approve the switch to a four-day school week, contingent upon approval of an implementation plan to be presented at the board’s April 20 meeting.
“They (Superintendent Barry Williams and the administrative staff) have done a lot of work putting this together. We just felt like we needed to see a plan, rather than just saying we’re going to a four-day school week,” said Adair Norman, president of the Rangely School Board. “Staff has done a lot of work. They have all the information. They just need to put an implementation plan in place and then we can move forward. It’s not that we don’t trust staff. We do. But we have to hold them accountable, just like we (the board) are held accountable.”
Norman expects the board will take action to approve the change at the April 20 meeting.
“I hope so, yes,” Norman said. “I really would expect they will give us some information prior (to the meeting), so we can look at it and ask any questions. Hopefully, we’ll finalize (the plan) at that time (April 20), so people will know for sure what they need to plan for.”
The administrative staff has been researching the four-day school week, held public meetings about the possible change and surveyed public opinion, which favored the switch by a slight margin, 37 percent to 34 percent. Students were also surveyed and supported the change by a bigger margin, with 65 percent of junior and senior high students in favor and 78 percent of elementary students.
Norman said it was important for the board to move forward on the subject.
“Parents want to know what will happen, so they can make plans, and it’s getting kind of late in the year,” Norman said. “This (Monday’s vote) was meant to show the board was serious, but along with being serious, we need to be responsible. Just going to a four-day school week does nothing for us. It’s like signing a blank check. We need to know what does it look like, what do we expect of it.”
Phil Bonds, former Rangely administrator with experience in a four-day school week, spoke to the board at Monday’s meeting. He’s now the principal at West Grand in Kremmling.
“He talked to us about what they have done and how it started,” Norman said. “It didn’t work exactly like they thought it would, but they adjusted and they have a good system, they believe.”
Norman said the board, while recognizing the need to move forward, wants to make sure it has done its homework before taking final action.
“I know people are anxious and they want a decision, but this is a big change,” Norman said. “I wouldn’t want us to say, oh, wow, I wish we would have done more diligence and switch back a year later. That would be upheaval for everybody.”