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Bill to force districts to get voter approval for 4-day school week heads to MO Gov. Parson

Posted at 11:14 AM, Apr 26, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A bill that would require school districts to get voter approval to move to 4-day school weeks is heading to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s desk.

Earlier this week, the Missouri Senate passed SB727, which requires school districts interested in moving to a 4-day school week - or keeping a 4-day school week - to ask for voter approval.

The measure already passed the Missouri General Assembly, sending the bill onto the governor.

The Independence School District was the first district on the Missouri side of the Kansas City metro to move to a four-day school week when the current school year started last August. The district’s elected Board of Education passed the measure 6-1, citing an effort to recruit and retain teachers.

The bill passed this week gives voters a financial incentive to return to a five-day school week.

Rep. Robert Sauls (D - Independence) says the district could be in line for $1.7 million in new funding for teacher pay if voters agree to return to five-day week. Other districts across the state would also be able to tap into a pot of $78 million if they return to five-day school weeks.

“The issue of closing down schools one-day a week, every week, is an important issue on which voters should have a say,” Sauls said in a press release Thursday. “Four-day school weeks are bad for kids and tough on parents, and I am glad voters will have a chance to be heard, while providing additional funding to raise teacher pay.”

An Independence School District spokesperson told KSHB 41 News reporter Elyse Schoenig Thursday the district would intend to put the item up for a vote during the 2025-26 school year. Depending on if other items are on the ballot, the vote could cost the district roughly $145,000.

Sauls says the legislation calls on districts to hold such a vote before August 2025.