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Letter: Keep Carlton schools five-day strong

I am deeply troubled by the recent proposal to reduce the Carlton school week from five days to four. This change was proposed without adequate notification or consultation with parents, and it threatens not only our children’s education but also places an undue burden on working families who will need to arrange and pay for additional childcare.

Next year, I will have three elementary school students. According to the childcare rate at South Terrace school, this care will cost $4v per hour, resulting in $2,400 for my family next year. With the five-day week school schedule, my cost would be zero dollars. This difference is a significant amount of money, and charging families for fifth-day care will not be possible and/or acceptable by some families, and most definitely not desirable.

Neighboring districts offer free five-day week education. The shift to a four-day week will likely drive current working families away and discourage new ones from joining our district, especially elementary-age students. Elementary schools feed our middle and high school. Lower enrollment in our elementary will also result in less students continuing on in our district. The district is proposing the four-day week schedule in part as a potential recruitment method to increase enrollment. What research and facts do they have that a four-day school week is actually a successful recruitment tool?

The proposed four-day school week would result in our children losing 25 days of education per year, which is a significant amount of learning. While the four-day plan tries to partially make up for those days by adding minutes to each day, research shows that students benefit from shorter, more frequent learning periods. Some studies indicate that four-day school weeks result in increased juvenile crime, due to unsupervised children.

Moreover, the process through which this proposal has been advanced is deeply flawed. The survey conducted via Google Forms is anonymous, which allows for one person to submit multiple entries, therefore, the results are extremely unreliable. Also, the results are skewed in favor of those who were personally notified about it. There was no all-call, email or papers in backpacks sent home to notify families, those most likely to be opposed. I can’t understand why current families who attend Carlton schools were not directly notified about the survey, and the potential for such an impactful change to our schools and community.

I urge the community to contact Carlton school board members and ask them to reconsider this decision based on these concerns and maintain a five-day school week that best serves our children’s educational needs and supports family schedules. Carlton community, please also sign my petition if you agree that we should keep a five-day school week at Carlton Schools. http://www.change.org/CarltonSchools

Kendra Rupp,