By Mila Besich Lira
Copper Basin News
The Ray Unified School District will host a community meeting on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 6 p.m., in the school cafeteria to share information on the District’s possible transition to a four-day school week, beginning with the 2014-15 school year. A second meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. The school district is encouraging public input on this change to the 2014-15 school year.
Many of the smaller schools in the surrounding area have already began using a four-day school week to save on transportation and utility costs. Currently Ray and Superior are the only schools in the immediate area who still use the traditional calendar. Hayden, Miami and Globe have all used the four-day schedule over the past two years. The four-day week allows the students and teachers to conduct their personal business on a work day without having to be absent or require a substitute teacher
The Ray Unified School District board tasked the district administration to find cost savings measures to combat the $300,000 budget deficit that the school has been dealing with. One of the proposed ideas is to have the district utilize a four-day school week. Superintendent Curt Cook explained that the administration has been doing extensive research on the use of four-day school weeks since October. To accommodate the required instructional hours, the school day will have to be extended 15 to 30 minutes. “In addition to savings on utilities, other schools have used this schedule to help attract highly qualified teachers,” Cook said during a brief interview.
The board is expected to hear a final presentation and report on the outcomes of public meetings at their February meeting. A vote to adopt the new schedule could happen as soon as the March school board meeting.