The Forsyth School District is officially changing to a four-day school week next year. 

On Thursday, Dec. 19, the Forsyth School Board approved a proposal for an amended four-day school week calendar for the 2020/2021 school year. 

The idea to transition from a five-day school week to a four-day school week came about when the school district was tasked with hiring 27 new employees for the 2019/2020 school year to replace those who had left the district the previous school year. 

At a public meeting held at the Forsyth Performing Arts Center on Dec. 9, Forsyth Superintendent Jeff Mingus said hiring new employees has become more of a challenge as they, along with many other districts across the state, have been seeing a decrease in quality applicants. Mingus added that this led the district to ask themselves, ‘What could they do to better attract, hire and retain high quality teachers and staff?’

“We’re just trying to think outside the box and be as competitive and as attractive as we can to applicants. This provides us some leverage. It provides us with a little bit of a bargaining chip that we can use to get those folks coming in,” said Mingus. “We want 35 or 40 people stacked up outside the door wanting to come work and live and be a part of our community. We don’t want to take from the pool of one or two and take who we have to. We don’t want that.”

Currently, the Forsyth School District is in session for 169 days and students have 1,067 instructional hours in the classroom. By switching to a four-day school week, the amended school calendar shows school will be in session for 150 days and they would receive 1,050 instructional hours.

Mingus said that if they’re going fewer days a year, that would mean the days school was in session they would need to be longer.

“So we would attend 150 days and we would add 40 minutes of time per day. I think the key element here is that’s 40 minutes of instructional time,” Mingus said. “Instruction would start earlier in the day and run longer in the day. We’ve looked at a calendar now of 8 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. So really about 15 minutes in the morning time and 25 minutes in the afternoon. We wanted to give a balance there.”

Following the public meeting, the school district sent out a community survey to parents to discover their thoughts on a four-day school week. Similar surveys were also given to students and Forsyth staff. Mingus said the results of the surveys were then presented at the school board meeting for review and discussion.

“As part of our discussion we reviewed the (parent) community surveys, which showed 70% approval,” said Mingus. “We reviewed the student survey, which was 85% approval. We reviewed the staff survey that was at 95% approval and just continued on our discussion.”

Mingus added that the school had a total of 581 survey responses from parents.

“We were pleased with our response rate. That was higher than many of the districts that we had spoken with,” Mingus said. “They had the opportunity to respond to the question, ‘What would be your primary concern?’ About 20% of the folks said child care, but over 40% of the responders indicated that they had no concerns.”

Before the public meeting, Mingus said that the district visited with the Boys & Girls Club in Forsyth, who have made the commitment to being open on the Mondays school is not in session. 

While most of the school weeks would become four-day weeks, Mingus also explained that a total of seven, five-day school weeks have been included into the calendar due to things like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring breaks. Nine snow days and nine days of professional learning for teachers have also been scheduled into the amended calendar to take place on Mondays.

The amended calendar, additional four-day school week facts and research and a video recording of the Dec. 3 public meeting can all be found at forsythpanthers.org.

(3) comments

Amanda1988

I don't see how kids get to do a survey on whether they get to go to school or not. And why would you not do the whole school instead of just 6 through 12 grade cause I know that I would vote for one day less for school when I was in school but your not thinking about kids who actually need it

Amanda1988

I'm a concerned parent of my child education and will soon have 2 kids in school and I have told teachers every year that I would like some extra work for my child so he could keep on track and also longer days I know that my child is hungry when he gets home I think its bogus

trooper2

I do not have children in school. I think you will also find some additional benefits with a 4 day week. How much money will you save on the school bus system in fuel? Reduced cost of maintenance will occur as well. Electrical usage in the school could be evaluated and then implement changes for when school is not in session. Lunch and the associated costs could see changes as well. Other things will begin to show in how operational costs can be realized as well. I think from and operational perspective of the facility, and it's cost to operate one school day less, will provide more money for other programs that could benefit. I know when I converted several Public Works operations that reduced to a four day work week, that employee moral was quite possibly one of the most appreciated benefits. Now if we could only convince Taney County Administration whom are responsible for buildings such as the jail facility, to turn off 80% in electrical usage at night and they too could reduce the cost of their $18000 to $25000 per month electrical cost. Drive by the jail and night and ask yourself if that is really needed. Former Taney County Administrator.........

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.