Log In

Reset Password

Montezuma-Cortez votes to continue four-day weeks

Four-day school weeks to stay in the district for next three years
The Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 voted Tuesday to implement four-day weeks for the next three school years. (The Journal file)

Four-day school weeks will be a mainstay for Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 for at least the next three school years, the Board of Education decided Tuesday in a 5-2 vote.

The board largely advocated for calendar consistency in years to come, with board directors Layne Frazier and Jeanette Hart voting against the measure, saying they preferred longer weeks.

Frazier worried about the loss of instruction in electives such as art, music and physical education.

“I want to retain teachers, I want to keep them here, but I can’t help but think of those people that it’s going to impact,” he said at the meeting.

The selected calendar was chosen from three options, and the community was invited to weigh in with an online survey that was open through Monday.

Staff and the community favored the 147-day calendar, with 85.5% of staff and 61.5% of the community voting for it.

The survey results are posted on the district’s website in Tuesday’s board meeting packet.

The calendar is subject to modifications from the school board, with further details on bus routes and school day times to come.

Work on salary schedules will commence now that the calendar is selected.

“We are not going to harm our personnel,” said Board Director Sherri Wright.

“I think that the perception is when we went to the four-day week many years ago, we did that because we were financially in trouble in this district,” said Board Director Stacey Hall.

That isn’t the case this time around, she said. The new calendar is “what is better for our district now,” and is not being “forced,” she said.

The district didn’t save much money when the four-day weeks were initially implemented, said Jim Parr, executive director of academic student services.

Board Director Ed Rice made the motion to lock in the four-day weeks for three years.

“I feel like the community really needs to know that we are committed to doing this,” he said.

Setting the calendar now will grant the board more time to focus on other issues including hiring more staff in the future, said board President Sheri Noyes.

A previous survey showed substantial community preference for the four-day calendar.

The calendar, effective January, was considered to provide relief for teachers amid a staff shortage.

More than 87% of staff favored the midyear shift to four-day school weeks.

About 77% of 704 parents and guardians previously endorsed four-day school weeks.

The four-day calendar with 147 student days aligns most closely with the calendar of nearby school districts, said Kyle Archibeque, executive director of finance.

Teaching staff can expect an additional 30 minutes each school day with the 147-day calendar, he said in a previous districtwide email.

In Colorado, schools must plan for 990 student contact hours at the elementary level and 1,080 at the secondary level. Schools are required to be in session 160 days, but Montezuma-Cortez may now request an exemption from the state.

The current school year is 160 days.

Colorado leads the nation in school districts with four-day weeks, with more than 60% of districts implementing the shorter weeks.