MAYFLOWER, Ark – Mondays in Mayflower classrooms will stay quiet as the district makes the switch to a four-day school week.
The school board voted on the schedule change in the spring and has been working the last few months to iron out the kinks before the school year begins.
Mayflower Public Schools Superintendent Andy Chisum says the change was originally considered as a way to keep teachers around.
“What can we do that’s not going to cost a substantial amount of money?” said Chisum.
As a small school district, Chisum says Mayflower has trouble staying competitive with neighboring schools and the main reason is that they pay less.
“We didn’t have that much trouble finding teachers and employees initially, but what we did see is we had trouble keeping them after four or five years,” said Chisum.
Chisum says teachers would get experience and then leave for higher pay, putting a strain on the district and the students.
“With our budget, we didn’t have the money to bump the salaries to where our competitors are,” said Chisum.
Chisum says he appreciates the work of his new teachers but would also like to see more seasoned teachers.
“[Our students] deserve a quality education as much as any other student at any other location,” said Chisum. “We’re hoping that our student achievement will improve if we’re able to get and maintain high-quality teachers.”
Chisum believes four-day school weeks will make the district competitive in its own way.
It’s an added perk for some, but others say it could be looked at as a burden.
“I myself wasn’t happy with it and neither were my children,” said Mayflower parent Daren Davis.
Davis is a single parent who works during the week, with two children in the Mayflower school district.
“My big concern with them was their athletics, how are they going to get back and forth to practice because they’re still going to have practice on those days,” said Davis.
Davis says he had to scramble to try and find rides for his kids. Luckily, he says, lots of people stepped up.
“The coaches were willing to help, teachers are willing to help, parents of other kids are willing to help,” said Davis.
Davis says he is thankful for the community support, still, he will have to make schedule changes of his own.
The school day will start around 7 and end around 4 each day, to make up for the extra day.
“The main thing is everyone’s got to get up earlier and everyone’s got to go to bed earlier,” said Davis.
Everyone agrees the change will be an adjustment. Some are hoping though, that it will all be worth it.
Mayflower Public Schools will have its elementary school campus open Mondays for K-6 for parents who need child care.