By William Thompson
A majority of teachers and parents at a public forum on Tuesday were in favor of a four-day week for the Tucumcari public schools.
“What we have found (in research) is that with a four-day week, teacher absenteeism is improved 50 percent and student absenteeism is improved 20 percent,” said Rex Maddaford, an assistant principal at Tucumcari High School.
School board president Rex Kirksey asked that a special meeting be set up by the end of this month or the first week of July so that board members can come to a decision about the four-day week in time for the upcoming school year.
“We need to set up a special meeting date and make the decision and get it over with,” Kirksey said.
Parent Elizabeth Thompson was among those voicing support for a four-day week.
“If the four-day week doesn’t work, we can always go back,” she said.
About 35 teachers and parents attended the forum at the Tucumcari schools administration building. In a show of hands, only four indicated they are opposed to a four-day week.
Kay David, a substitute teacher, was one of the few who voiced disapproval of a four-day week. She cited recent incidents of vandalism in the community that some suspect has been committed by juveniles.
“For some older kids the weekend is already too long,” David said. “In a four-day week, you’re going to give them another day to think of something stupid to do.”
Superintendent William Reents said he didn’t know if a four-day school week would be a success.
“We don’t know. We haven’t tried it yet,” he said. “If you don’t try things, you don’t move ahead.”
If the school board adopts a four-day school week, it will have to submit to a yearly evaluation by the state education department the first three years the four-day week is in place.