LITTLE RIVER ACADEMY, TX (KWTX) – Following a unanimous vote at Wednesday’s School Board meeting, ISD Academy has chosen a four-day school week for the 2023-2024 school year.
County Superintendent Billy Harlan cites teacher retention and recruitment as a major driver of the decision.
“Some of our classes exceed the state requirement of 22 to one,” said KWTX Harlan, superintendent of Academy ISD. “So it’s a question, ‘Where do other teachers come from?’ and there is simply no one who wants to. So we thought maybe we could get some people who would like to be that type of model to teach in our area.”
Harlan says that more teachers mean smaller class sizes and, ultimately, higher academic achievement.
“We’re aiming for smaller classes because it’s better for education and maybe that will help us with that,” Harlan said.
But not everyone agrees.
One ISD Academy parent says the decision didn’t take all families into account.
“I think it was a little over 700 students getting free or reduced meals and school bus drivers,” said Caitlin Coleman, mother of an ISD Academy second grader. “So those who have families will suffer the most.”
Coleman’s main concern is the cost of day care, which will now be needed by young students whose parents work on Fridays.
“The cost of living is rising astronomically,” Coleman told KWTX. “You can’t expect someone to pull a few hundred more dollars out of their pocket when they pay four or five dollars for milk.”
The district says the solution to this problem is to offer parents ten recreational “camp” days that parents can use during the school year.
“It will be a fun, educational model very similar to what a boys and girls club can offer,” Harlan said. “So this is not a school. As a student I am not under school pressure and as a parent my child is in a safe place.”
But critics like Coleman say the camp schedule is just a suggestion, not something set in stone.
“Our superintendent suggested ten days of education camp on Friday weekends,” Coleman said. “But he literally said at the last meeting that nothing had been established.”
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