Warsaw School District to officially adopt four-day school week

WARSAW, Mo. -- With five in favor, one opposed, and one abstention, the Warsaw School District is making the move to a four day school week starting with the 2018-2019 school year.

"I'm glad to have it behind us," said Dr. Shawn Poyser, Warsaw R-IX Superintendent. "I think it'll be great for our district. We can start making plans and let our community know, our students, staff, parents, and start making adjustments in our calendar and activites."

The district has said they've had an attendance issue, and after seeing similar schools in the state adopt a four day school week, they believe their attendence will increase.

"We have 83% of our kids here 90% of the time. It's a concern for us, obviously," Poyser said. "It starts at home, [with] parent involvement. But, if you look around at four-day schools, their attendence all seems to go up. We're going to work hard at that, but I think it's an individual basis, really."

Board member Drew Burdick was one of the five who voted in favor.

"If this would've been a bad decision, I wouldn't have supported it from the get-go," Burdick said. "This is, what I believe to the best move for our district at this point."

"I don't think it had to be a 'never' thing, but I didn't feel that we were ready at this time," said board member Amie Breshears.

Breshears said while she hopes it's successful now that it passed, there are still some concerns.

"Children who might be missing meals on weekends, or who wouldn't have adequate supervision," Breshears said. "Also, for struggling learners and our students with special needs, how this schedule would affect them."

Poyser said those issues have been brought up, and will be addressed.

"We're going to add extra meals to our buddy packs on Fridays. We provide 111 families with meals over the weekend," Poyser said. "We'll increase that. We'll also do snacks throughout the day, Pre-K through 12. And, we're going to reach out to families to see what kind of help they need with daycare, and if we have to open somehting up here at the school, we will. But, we hope something can be done with the community. We're working with different factions, civic and church organizations, to help with any daycare issues in the community."

Poyser says this move increases the school day slightly, and will actually increase the school year's instructional time by 40 hours.

It's on a three year trial period, and the board will reassess before the 2021-2022 school year.

Note: Brandy Fajen was the one board member who abstained from voting on both motions regarding the four-day school week. She said she owns a daycare facility in Warsaw, and due to state statute and local board policies, she was not in a position to vote.