Mancos School District will move to a four-day week next school year.
Board members unanimously voted to make the switch at their regular meeting Monday after hearing results of a survey sent out to district parents. Most survey respondents favored the change, according to board members.
Though Superintendent Brian Hanson wasn’t completely sold on the new calendar, board member Monty Guiles said the board had to represent its constituents by making the change.
“Change is difficult,” Guiles said. “But the vote we got back is substantial.”
At the elementary school, there were 116 survey responses, according to Interim Principal Drew Pearson. Of those responses, 54 percent were in favor of the proposed schedule, 28 percent said they were not in favor of the schedule, and 18 percent said they were indifferent.
The first day of school this fall for students will be Tuesday, Aug. 15. Staff will work two days prior to that date, starting Friday, Aug. 11.
Students will not have school each Friday, but staff will work every other Friday.
Thanksgiving break will be Nov. 20-24, Christmas break will be Dec. 25 to Jan. 5, and spring break will be March 26-30. The last day of school for students will be May 24, 2018.
Fewer days per week means longer school hours Monday through Thursday. The elementary school will be in session from 8:05 a.m. to 4 p.m., and middle and high school hours will be 7:50 a.m. to 4:05 p.m.
Students will attend school for 147 days total under the new schedule. Teachers will work 165 days. Hanson was tentative about a new schedule.
“A four-day week concerns me,” he said. “I would hate to lose enrollment.”
However, he remained confident that the district could deal with challenges and parent concerns about changing the schedule. The district might be able to provide childcare on Fridays for parents of kids who work a full week, he said.
Board member Boe Hawkins said the schedule might provide an opportunity for community organizations to step up and offer activities for kids on Fridays when they are not in school.
Also at the meeting, board members discussed a possible departure from San Juan Board of Cooperative Educational Services, or BOCES.
A potential Mancos exit from the group would follow a similar move by Durango’s 9-R school district last year. The Colorado Department of Education approved the separation, which will allow Durango to form its own administrative unit to provide special education services effective July 1, 2017.
Hawkins, who is Mancos liaison to the BOCES board, said BOCES asked Mancos to contribute about $55,000 next school year after asking for about $46,000 per year in the last few years.
“They keep asking for more and more when they’ve lost 30 percent of the students they serve,” Hawkins said, referring to Durango’s exit.
Hanson said that, as a small district, Mancos Re-6 needs to be part of a BOCES or other administrative unit that provides special education services.
At their meeting Tuesday, the 9-R board approved on a 3-2 vote a policy allowing other school districts to be affiliated with their administrative unit, once 9-R leaves San Juan BOCES.
The policy will allow the superintendent to accept other districts into 9-R’s administrative unit, but outside districts will need to obtain approval from the Colorado Department of Education before being allowed to join.
Hanson said the district is exploring the option of joining up with Durango 9-R’s administrative unit.
Mancos Board President Blake Mitchell said he and other district officials had spoken with 9-R Superintendent Dan Snowberger about joining the district’s administrative unit.
“They just want to provide for their kids,” Mitchell said.
Mancos High School Principal Adam Priestley was in favor of a potential collaboration with Durango. Such a partnership could allow more support and services for Mancos students who need special education services, he said at the meeting.
“Why wouldn’t we want to do this for our kids,” Priestley said.