LINCOLN -- The School District will switch to a four-day academic week starting this fall, the School Board decided Monday, making Lincoln the only school district in Northwest Arkansas to adopt such a schedule.
School will run from Tuesday through Friday, adding 80 to 90 minutes to each day's schedule, according to Superintendent Mary Ann Spears.
The board voted 4-0 to approve the measure. Board member Ronnie Remington was absent from the meeting.
The district will schedule professional development and parent-teacher conferences on Mondays. The 2023-24 school year will begin Aug. 15 and end May 17, 2024, according to the approved calendar. Parent-teacher conferences will be held Oct. 16, 2023, and March 11, 2024.
"Our hope is that we can attract, recruit and retain quality teachers with us because we have a lot of teachers that drive in from Bentonville, Rogers area and all that," Spears said. "So this is one less day they have to travel, and maybe they won't look for a job in a closer district."
The district has about 1,065 students.
There were no questions or comments from the public during the meeting. The School District hosted community forums on March 3 and 7 to allow parents and others to voice their opinions and ask questions.
Board member Julie McConnell said the forums had a good turnout, and the district received good feedback from those at the meetings. McConnell pointed out the biggest concern was child care on Mondays for working parents.
Spears said she is working with the elementary principal and staff on this concern, and the district is prepared to offer child care, probably for kindergarten through sixth-grade students. The plan is to have firm details by Aug. 1 so parents will know what the program would look like, Spears said.
The Monday child care program will probably have a nominal cost for parents, with the amount depending on the number of children and the staff to cover it. In the meantime, Spears said the district will look for grants to help with those costs.
McConnell asked Spears if she had received any feedback after the two forums. Spears said she received 10-12 emails from people who were in favor of a four-day school week.
"That's the only feedback we've received since our two meetings," she said.
During the forum March 3, Spears said teachers at all three schools have indicated they support a four-day week and staff preferred having Mondays as their day off.
In Arkansas, 29 school districts use a four-day week, and others are looking at the option for next year, Spears said.