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District gets OK to test four-day school week

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A small school district in western Wisconsin may become the first in the state to switch to a four-day school week.

The Department of Public Instruction has given the Blair-Taylor district, which has about 700 students, the OK explore a four-day week for the next school year. Superintendent Dennis Dervetski says administrators came up with the plan, with input from staff members and teachers who are still under a union contract.

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The purpose is not necessarily to save money. Dervetski says the idea is to use school facilities and tax dollars more efficiently, while giving staff members more time to prepare for their classes. It would not involve year-round school.

Dervetski says it's possible the state would grant a waiver from the normal 180 days of classes, although the district would still need to hold the state's minimum numbers of classroom hours.

The Blair-Taylor School Board has yet to vote on the change, but Dervetski says five members have told him they support it. Dervetski says a four-day school week has been adopted by other districts in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Idaho, and Oregon with great success.

The next step is for the board to hold public hearings. Then, the superintendent said the board would act on it. And if it passes, the DPI would review the details and then make a final decision.

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