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Continued: North Branch Schools return to five-day week

  • Article by: SHANNON PRATHER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 10, 2014 - 10:39 AM

She’s said the programing and staff cuts were more devastating than any schedule change. She’s relieved that the budget crisis is over after a decade of cuts.

Fears of idle children and teens creating trouble also did not materialize.

“There were some people that were predicting our call load would spike on Monday when the kids were out. We did track that. We’ve just never saw any of that,” said Police Chief Dan Meyer. “It was pretty much status quo.”

Concerns over day-care expenses turned out to be a mixed bag. District spokesman Patrick Tepoorten said while some families may have experienced increased costs on Mondays, others saw savings the rest of the week because the longer days eliminated the need for before- and after-school care. The district did offer community education programming for children on Mondays.

Despite the initial outcry, subsequent parent and community polls showed opinions evenly split about the four-day week. A telephone survey of 300 voters found 49 percent of the community supported the four-day week. An online survey of families found 56.4 percent supported it and 70 percent of staff were satisfied.

Parent Barb Hensch, whose children are in high school, said she worried younger children may have lost focus during such long days.

“They kept good on their promise to go back which was awesome,” Hensch said. “I am sure it was a very tough decision to do it both ways.”

Shannon Prather • 612-673-4804

  • related content

  • With the financial crisis finally in the rearview mirror, the district will end its four-day-week experiment.

  • In teacher Marcia Schindler’s eighth-grade advanced-math class, students were paired with fifth-grade math buddies during a game of virtual baseball. The North Branch District turned to the four-day week in 2010 after eight failed operating levies.

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