Minkkinen predicts changeWith the Lake Superior School District Board going forward on implementing a four-day school week, questions remain for many people.
With the Lake Superior School District Board going forward on implementing a four-day school week, questions remain for many people.
“It certainly defies the tradition,” Superintendent Phil Minkkinen said. He said education is changing, specifically with online learning, and he expects within 10 years that education will be a hybrid between online learning and in-classroom work. The district has looked into online learning for students on the open day but line speed constraints make it impossible.
The four-day week is expected to save $250,000 next year in transportation, utilities, and employee hours. The district tried to get a property tax levy increase passed, but it failed overwhelmingly in the mail-in ballot count last week.
Minkkinen said he did not see the Department of Education’s approval as a road block and said it would eventually be approved. He felt the district has already met the requirements of the application for a four-day week.
Students would go to school Monday through Thursday. Students would be able to play in Friday games. Home games would be held at the school on the off day. Minkkinen said the building will be cooler and many lights will not be turned on.
Employees will also see changes with their hours being cut, especially in food services, housekeeping, bussing, and paraprofessional work. Custodians could work Fridays to fix things without students in the classroom.
Some bus drivers could also be working five days a week if they bus students to North Shore Community School, the charter school within the district that plans to be open five days a week. The head bus mechanic should see five days of work as they will be working on buses on the fifth day.
Teachers, along with many in clerical and administrative staff positions, may not see hours cut.
Students will need something to do on that day. Among the options are moving church programs from Wednesday to Friday, community education classes and activities at the Lake County Fairgrounds.
Students would also be encouraged to go into the community for volunteer work. Some have mentioned partnering with educational institutions around the region.
“People need to be patient,” Minkkinen said. “Our function is to produce education. We do it better than other schools around us.”