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ACGC completes four-day school week application form

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GROVE CITY -- The Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District met its April 1 goal of completing a state application for a flexible school calendar.

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If the state agrees, ACGC intends to implement a four-day school week this fall.

The final paperwork for the lengthy application was completed Thursday morning and the document was sent in the mail to the state Department of Education, said Superintendent Sherri Broderius.

"We answered their questions and tried to give them more than what they'd expect," said Broderius.

The school board voted unanimously last month to seek the state's blessing to hold school four days a week, Tuesday through Friday. Although students will go to school 29 fewer days, they will be in the classroom for about 336 more minutes because the school day will begin earlier and end later.

Closing the three school buildings in the district on Mondays is expected to save the district about $64,000 a year. An estimated $38,000 savings could come from reduced transportation costs.

A growing number of Minnesota school districts are considering a four-day calendar in order to save money.

Broderius was eager to get ACGC's application to the state before other schools did in order to expedite the review and response process. If ACGC does get the OK from Department of Education Commissioner Alice Seagren, the district has considerable work to do on the new schedule before the next school year begins in September.

Broderius said the Department of Education has not indicated how long the review process will take or when to expect an answer.

"I hope it moves pretty quickly," she said.

Christine Dufour, a media specialist from the Department of Education, said state law lays out the procedure the department must follow for reviewing and processing the applications.

She said there is no mandated timeline for the state to act on the applications for the flexible school year.

The MACCRAY School District is one of four districts that are currently using a four-day school week. MACCRAY was the first in the state and is in its second year.

ACGC is applying for a three-year plan. The district would have the option of discontinuing the four-day calendar prior to the end of the three years if the new schedule didn't meet the goals.

In mid-March, the Department of Education approved a three-year plan for a consortium of 25 school districts in southwestern Minnesota to implement a four-day week this fall, said Dufour.

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Carolyn Lange
A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
(320) 894-9750
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