Nampa trustees will vote on four-day week, potentially embracing ‘magnitude of change’

A host of major changes are slated for Nampa students and staff next year, including school closures and redrawn boundaries amid declining enrollment. 

And one more change might be in store: Trustees are considering moving to a four-day school week. 

At a special meeting Thursday, Deputy Superintendent Waylon Yarbrough acknowledged that it would all amount to a “magnitude of change.” But a four-day week would be “the one positive that we could offer to our staff” after what he called a “season of uncertainty” as the district navigated financial shortfalls and an enrollment cliff

“If we can find some silver lining to offer a positive change in the midst of all of that, our hope … is that will help us retain people,” he said. 

After unanimously voting Thursday to redraw boundaries, trustees discussed whether they should vote on switching to a four-day week this year, or wait until next year.

Nampa’s new boundaries Trustees unanimously approved Option 3A Thursday night. For more details on the redraw, look at slides 26-30

Trustee Jason Su said it was “time to do this and stop talking about it.”

Fellow board members shared his sentiments, and will vote on the matter at their next regular meeting on April 16. 

“Eyes are going to be on the Nampa School District if the decision is made to go to four days, because we will be the largest district to make that move,” Trustee Jeff Kirkman said. 

Nampa has an enrollment of about 13,500 students, according to its website, and is among the five largest districts in Idaho. Nampa would become the 97th district or charter in the state to operate on a four-day week. 

The conversation comes at the tail end of a legislative session that saw pushback against four-day weeks, including a new law that deters schools from adopting shorter weeks. But a followup bill that would soften that four-day clause awaits Gov. Brad Little’s signature. 

Yarbrough expressed confidence that this bill would pass, but told trustees they would know in time for their April 16 meeting. 

Trustees consider potential impacts of four-day weeks

During Thursday’s discussion, school and community leaders discussed the potential impacts of a four-day week on students from low-income families who might depend on school services.

Superintendent Gregg Russell said the district would partner with organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club to provide meals and supervision to children who need them. Russell estimated that the organizations had capacity to help about 10% of the district’s students. 

Nampa School District Superintendent Gregg Russell

Other school districts, like Post Falls, have not seen many students use such services when they switched to a four-day week, Yarbrough said. 

Melissa Gentry, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Nampa, said a lack of transportation could be part of the problem, and it’s something she’d like to provide for Nampa students. She said she would present more information at the board’s next meeting about how the club could support students in need. 

At least one other school district, Jerome, recently decided to stay on a five-day school week, partly to keep services available for vulnerable student populations. The decision led to a teacher protest

Trustees also asked how the switch would impact student seat time. Under the proposed four-day schedule, students would be in class for just as many hours as they are now, if not more, Yarbrough said. 

Nampa: Student days and hours
Currently, Nampa students are in class for 175 days a year, and for 1,050 hours. In Idaho, elementary students are required to be in class for 900 hours a year, and the minimum for secondary students is 990. There is no minimum requirement for days.

A number of other factors were addressed, including how a four-day week could impact enrollment, academics, athletics, and staff. 

For more information on the four-day week, take a look at the district’s website, which includes a page dedicated to the topic

Carly Flandro

Carly Flandro

Carly Flandro reports from her hometown of Pocatello. Prior to joining EdNews, she taught English at Century High and was a reporter for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. She has won state and regional journalism awards, and her work has appeared in newspapers throughout the West. Flandro has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and Spanish from the University of Montana, and a master’s degree in English from Idaho State University. You can email her at [email protected] or call or text her at (208) 317-4287.

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