Members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education meet on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education meet on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

New school board group will study 4-day school week

The group will meet regularly until next July, when committee members will present their findings to the full board

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District school board members voted Monday to create a temporary committee that will be tasked with researching the pros and cons of a four-day school week for the district.

The new Four-Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee will meet regularly until next July, when committee members will present their findings to the full board.

Monday’s vote came about five and a half months after board members convened for a work session on the topic. During that meeting, board members said the shift could attract new teachers and boost student attendance, but may also strain parents who would need to find a day’s worth of child care and also reduce overall instruction time.

Committee members include board members Jason Tauriainen and Tim Daugharty; KPBSD Director of Secondary Education Tony Graham; HR Director Nate Crabtree; Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce; Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association Susanna Litwiniak; and Kenai Peninsula Administrators Association President Pete Swanson.

Among the guiding questions to be considered by the group are what impacts the change would have on KPBSD costs, quality of life, student attendance and student outcomes, as well as whether the model could first be piloted at certain schools.

School Board President Zen Kelly said during Monday’s regular meeting that the board rarely establishes temporary committees, meaning those groups that have a set date on which they will cease to exist. Because two school board members will also be committee members, meetings of the group are subject to the Open Meetings Act and will be publicly noticed.

“I’m actually really excited to see what this committee brings forward as a report to the board in the summer of 2024,” Kelly said.

Tauriainen, who represents Nikiski and will chair the committee, called the four-day school week discussion a “passion project” of his and said he is excited to work with the group moving forward.

“There’s been much nagging from me,” he said of the four-day school week.

More information about the committee can be found on the district’s BoardDocs website.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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