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No More Fridays Off for Lake Superior School District

Updated: 05/06/2014 10:15 PM
Created: 05/06/2014 9:57 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

For five years students in the Lake Superior School District have enjoyed a four-day school week, but now the Minnesota Department of Education wants the Lake County students back in their desks five days a week. District officials said that could cause some budget problems.

Students at the Two Harbors High School and throughout the Lake Superior School District have Fridays off. Superintendent Bill Crandall said most of them love the schedule, and so do parents and teachers.

“We have over 70 percent, both community members and parents, in favor of the four-day week. Our students are in the high 90 percent as far as their approval,” Crandall said.

But he said the Minnesota Department of Education wants students back in class five days a week because of below average test scores in the district.

Crandall said the shortened school week was a move to save money five years ago and adding another day to busing students across Lake County will cost the district over $200,000 a year.

“We're a very large geographic area. We have two communities that are 30 miles apart. We are larger than the state of Rhode Island,” Crandall said. “Because we're going back on the five-day week we're going to increase our budget needs for transportation, food service, some of those other areas where we were seeing savings so those increases are going to go up and so to maintain our bottom line we're going to have to look at reductions in our future.”

He said that could mean staffing cuts and prevent new technology purchases for classrooms. Those budget concerns allowed the district to get a one year extension on the four-day week to allow for a smooth transition. Students will be back to a five-day week in the fall of 2015.

Crandall said that will hurt students in sports who will miss more class time with a five-day school week.

“We've scheduled, over this time, we've scheduled our International Falls trips on Thursdays or Fridays. By being on Thursday the students still get home at midnight or two in the morning, but they don't have to get up for school the very next day,” Crandall said.

The switch will be a big change for the district, but administrators said they will try to keep the impact from hurting students.

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