Collbran schools will stay on 4-day week

Another year of budget cuts ensured Plateau Valley School District 50 will spend a second year on a four-day-week calendar.

Even if state reductions and other cuts hadn’t sliced $222,000 out of the district’s total budget year-over-year, leaving it with $3.741 million for 2011–12, Superintendent Greg Randall said continuing the four-day week schedule wouldn’t have been out of the question.

“It went really well,” he said of the district’s first year experimenting with three-day weekends.

“From things we’re seeing with initial end-of-year testing, we’ve seen a lot of growth in many students.”

Randall said four-day weeks were a “huge success” academically for the district’s 330 traditional students, and 130 to 160 alternative students at Grand Mesa High School. He said he has heard few complaints from students or parents about the schedule.

The school tried to have sports games on Fridays and Saturdays so athletes would miss class less often, and students had the option to come to school for one-on-one help one Friday morning each month if they were struggling with a subject.

Randall said community input would determine whether the school district returned to a traditional schedule if the budget situation improves. The district may be due more per-student funding in the next few years if enrollment growth in the elementary and middle school continues. At this time, kindergarten through eighth-grade classes are large, Randall said, but the high school has fewer students than in recent history.

Next year, Plateau Valley High School will likely have 86 students and about 70 students after that, Randall said, down from about 100 high-schoolers two years ago.

“We can’t have the same staffing pattern with 30 less kids,” Randall said.

That’s why when the district had to decide where to cut this year, the less-populous high school grades were affected first, Randall said.

The district cut an industrial arts class and eliminated two high school teaching positions.


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