INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The Independence School District is moving to a four-day school week starting next school year, after the school board approved the vote Tuesday night.

Superintendent Dale Hearl said the decision was made because of a teacher shortage. He says the district has already seen an increase in applications because of the shortened work week.

Stacia Martin has two young children in the district and with her youngest moving to kindergarten next year, she was excited to not have to pay for childcare. Now, she’s figuring out how she’ll pay for an extra day for both of her children.

“I was disappointed to say the least,” Martin said. “Raising salaries for teachers across the board, that would be a god incentive.”

“I think it’s important to remember what our school district’s primary function, and that’s to educate kids and to do that to the best of our ability we have to have the very best staff available, and we think that this accomplishes that,” Hearl said.

The school district will offer families several different programs at varying prices, on the fifth day that school is out.

“Through all levels, we will have academic enrichment, things like tutoring, field trips,” Herl said. “Our high school kids will have the opportunity to take college classes.”

Stacia was looking forward to saving money when her youngest goes to kindergarten next fall, but now she’s concerned about what it will cost to have her kids in the district’s “Safari Childcare” program.

The district estimates the cost for two elementary-aged students in the program will be around $1,000 for the school year. Stacia is worried about any extra expense in an already challenging economy.

“With the way the economy right now the way it is, it’s just been so rough,” Martin said. “We’re barely making paying for my son’s early education right now and so to not have that payment next year was gonna be kind of just a relief being able to pay off other things.”

Stacia hopes that some community organizations will offer programs at a lower cost.

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