GROVE CITY -- Potential cost savings, and the possibility of capturing some educational benefits by going to a four-day school schedule, has piqued the interest of the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School Board.
During a brief organizational meeting Thursday morning, the board directed the school administration to research the pros and cons of a four-day school week.
Superintendent Sherri Broderius said she will look at potential energy savings, student and staff attendance rates, how parents deal with day-care issues and community response to a shorter school week.
She has spoken informally with administrators from school districts where it's already being used, MACCRAY for one, but said she intends to gather "more detailed information" as part of her research.
The option of a four-day week could be "very exciting for families, for students and for education," she said. There could be some "very nice benefits to all the players in terms of going with a four-day week."
Broderius is expected to give an informal presentation to the board on Jan. 25.
If the board decides at that time that it's "worthy of looking even further into it," then more research and community meetings would be held, she said.
The board also agreed to sign onto the Minnesota Education Department's effort to secure funding through the federal Race to the Top program. It could bring $175 million in federal dollars to Minnesota school districts. The application is due Jan. 15.
The state teachers' union, Education Minnesota, has not endorsed the program, which could hinder the state's ability to receive the federal funding.
Broderius said the program is controversial because of a quality compensation component of evaluating teachers. But she said there is "little money coming to education from the state" and the possibility of getting federal money is encouraging.
Seeking grant money is one way schools can help fund education, she said.
If the state and ACGC did receive the funding, Broderius said she would address the evaluation issue by collaborating with teachers in the areas of staff development, mentoring young teachers and working with the teaching staff to come up with plans that specifically help ACGC teachers.
If the state is approved, the $175 million would be shared with the schools, like ACGC, that have approved the memorandum of understanding.
In other action Thursday, the board approved a two-year teachers' contract that includes an 0.8 of a percent increase the first year and a 2 percent increase the second year.
"There's not a lot to give and there's not a lot to get," said Broderius. "Finances in education are tough right now."
The board also re-elected Judy Raske as chairwoman and made appointments to various committees.