Swink considers options on 4 or 5 day work week

The Swink School Board met Monday evening to not only discuss the option of changing from a five-day school week to a 4-day one, but to make a final decision on the proposed plan.

Lisa Bamber, English and Communications professor at Otero Junior College began the discussion with a thorough and articulated letter to the board regarding her opposition to the four-day school week. In her letter she outlines the issues surrounding the shorter week, namely the extra burden placed on parents who are not able to take of the extra day to be with their children as well as the notion that the consistent break between “learning days” and “off days” would be detrimental to the educational foundation of the student body. Bamber proposes that if the board does indeed decide to switch to a four-day school week, that the “off day”, Friday, would not be completely education free, but rather a day of extra curricular activities. For example, open the library for the day, offer tutoring, designate Fridays as an “arts day”, or allow the day for extra AR reading, to name a few. Bamber then made it known that she understands that the board has the final say in this matter, but she hopes that the board consider the convictions outlined in her letter and to remember that “students are the priority.”’

District Advisory Council (DAC) representative TJ Oliver spoke on the matter and reported all that DAC has done to ensure that every possible measure was taken. This included a number of public forums and a survey. Survey results show that of the 159 parent responses, 30% favored the traditional five-day week, 54% favored the four-day week, and 16% had no preference. A copy of the survey results and parent comments were distributed to each board member. “Everyone needs to be informed and educated,” claims Oliver. “Let education be paramount.”

Following the two presentations, the board spoke individually on where they stand on the issue before voting and making a final decision. Finally, after a year’s worth of debate on the subject, the board reached the final decision to change to a four-day school week.

Other items of business included a renewal of the principal’s contract, the approval of the board to seek out an additional PARA, and a waving of policy to allow board member Lyn Neve to substitue teach.

Lastly, the board congratulated student Rico Carale on his outstanding performance(s) in this year’s Poetry Out Loud Competition. Rico placed first in the school-wide competition before moving on the place in the top 8 at the State level. Carale then recited for the board the state-qualifying poem “Dear Reader” by Rita Mae Reese.