Two Comanche County superintendents oppose bill that could switch schools back to 5 day weeks

Fletcher and Sterling school superintendents opposing bill to require 5-day school week

LAWTON, OK (TNN) - A few years ago, quite a few schools across the state went to a four day week due to budget cuts at the Capitol. Three years ago, Fletcher and Sterling followed suit for many reasons. Now, the four day week is something the students and families in their districts love.

Fletcher and Sterling are among the 92 districts who have school 4 days a week. Their superintendents believe the switch to 4 days made positive adjustments for their schools, so changing back isn’t something they are excited about.

“Teacher Morale, student morale is big. It also helps us in recruiting teachers. You know there’s a teacher shortage but we haven’t had any trouble finding applicants for teachers,” said Sterling’s Kent Lemons

For these schools to hit the 1080 hours required, both schools added around 45 minutes extra to the day. Missing a whole day a week seems like it might hurt the learning process, but teachers at Fletcher have seen the exact opposite.

“My wife also teaches and she knows at semester time, at Christmas, when she does her semester tests, there’s more things to cover now because she’s further ahead,” said Fletcher’s Shane Gilbreath

They both told me no school on Fridays has helped with attendance, especially when so many students are involved in extracurricular activities and would be missing school frequently anyways.

“A lot of our students are gone on Fridays and now that doesn’t have an effect on them missing class,” said Lemons

“We take off on Fridays which is a big day for softball, baseball tournaments, AG shows, and usually those are during the day and teacher’s don’t have to be off now," said Gilbreath

In addition to a happier community, the biggest impact for these districts is the amount of money saved each year.

“From what we ran from the very first semester that we started this, we saved over 16-grand, so I’ll say we save somewhere between 30,000, 35,000,” said Gilbreath

“It’s big for us to save 30,000 plus a year" said Lemons

Guys, I asked both superintendents how they thought their students and faculty would react changing back to 5 days, and they said there would be a lot of unhappy families in Fletcher and Sterling. Superintendent Lemons believes they provide more than enough support and educational opportunities for students, and hopes the legislature allows them to keep local control. Now that the bill has passed the senate, it’s awaiting action in the House.

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