Wagoner Schools To Move To 4-Day Weeks This Fall

Wednesday, March 9th 2016, 9:49 pm
By: News On 6

Believe it or not, first-grader Emily Fox doesn't like the idea of a three-day weekend.

"It's because I really like school!" she said, smiling.

Come fall, Emily and about 2,400 other Wagoner students will be going to school Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It's a move that saves the district between $150,000 and $200,000 a year - enough to keep three or four teachers from losing their jobs.

Superintendent Randy Harris said studies show students don't learn any less on this system.

"I spent about two weeks doing that research and investigated several districts across many states," Harris said. "I kind of went, 'There's really no evidence to say it's a bad deal.'"

Governor Mary Fallin announced Wednesday, legislators agreed to pull money from the state's Rainy Day Fund to help schools and prisons make payroll through mid-summer.

Public education will receive $51 million.

3/9/2016 Related Story: Governor, Lawmakers Agree To Use Rainy Day Fund To Help Education, DOC

Harris said he's not sure what that means for Wagoner Schools, but state administrators have warned more cuts are on their way for the upcoming school year.

"We are being reactionary to the hand that we're being dealt," Harris explained.

He said 91 percent of teachers were on board. As for the parents, they're more across the board.

"I understand that our district needs to save money, and I get that, and we have to do everything we can to save and cut costs," said mother of two, Heather Riggs. "But I also see the other side of it."

The other side, she explained, refers to the working parents who will have to find a babysitter on that Monday off. Emily's parents are part of that group.

"It's another hurdle," said Emily's father, John. "Because she's going be somewhere, rather it's daycare or rather in school, I'd rather [her] be in school learning."

The school district is working with churches and other agencies to ease the burden of finding child care. Dozens of high school students have offered to work as babysitters as well, Harris added.

He said he knows it's not the perfect situation, but looking at the state-wide cuts, it's the best last resort.

"Everybody's been cutting and everybody's been cutting, and now you're to the point where you look around and you say, 'Well, I don't know what else we have to cut,'" Harris said.

Both Inola and Oktaha schools made the switch earlier this year. Catoosa considered the transition earlier this year but postponed the decision.

Harris said he believes four-day weeks will become more popular in districts across the state.

If you'd like more information about the Wagoner Schools' schedule changes, you can visit its website.