FORESTBURG (KFDX/KJTL) — Four-day school weeks, it’s almost becoming the new norm for school districts in Montague County, as Forestburg ISD becomes the latest district to make the switch.
“A lot of the county was moving in that direction, and we didn’t want to fall behind, didn’t want to lose our good teachers,” Forestburg ISD Superintendent Jason Briles said.
Superintendent Briles said approving the calendar for the 2023-2024 school year has been a process several months in the making. Now joining districts like Bowie ISD, to now have some form of a hybrid four-day week schedule next year.
Bowie ISD Superintendent Blake Enlow said there’s one good reason so many of these smaller districts are making this change.
“Our biggest approach for this was recruitment and retention of staff. The state of Texas is in a teacher shortage already, and many times, smaller places like Bowie and places around the Wichita Falls area struggle to compete financially with the metroplex,” Enlow said.
A statement board members down the road at Forestburg agree with.
“I think you kind of just got to keep up with them, or you’ll lose good teachers, and we have a really good staff,” Briles said.
Both superintendents said this change still keeps education a priority and the kids first.
The big question from parents was child care on that fifth day, but Briles said the community has assured him that won’t be a problem for many families, and it’ll also save money that they can use in other areas.
“It’ll save us about $850 a day for those 12 days between food costs, electricity, gas, water, transportation. Not a big chunk of money, but it’s a portion of a salary we’re saving,” Briles said.
So how will this look? Next year, Forestburg students will have at least 12 weeks of instruction that will only spend four days in the classroom. They will still have the same amount of instruction. A decision that these schools feel will serve students in these smaller areas the best.
“They are very similar location-wise to us. They are right down the road, and so apart of their competition is Wise County schools, as well so, I think looking out to see what you can do to get the best teachers in front of your kiddos is a priority,” Enlow said.
A top priority, at that.
Saint Jo is now the only school that hasn’t officially decided on a four-day schedule for next school year, but they could be highly considering it.