Missouri’s largest school district yet to adopt four-day weeks

This story was updated Feb. 20, 2023 at 12:32 p.m.

Recently, Missouri lawmakers have been pushing to remove the four-day school week. As previously mentioned, one-fourth (141) of Missouri school districts have already switched.

Democratic state Senator Doug Beck was the original lawmaker who proposed the “Parents Bill of Rights” or Senate Bill 4. Essentially, this bill would eliminate the ability for Missouri school districts to transition to four-day school weeks, forcing them to stick with the traditional five-day weeks.

The reason is the pay increase that teachers received. According to Superintendent Dale Herl, “this completely goes against local control.

He believes that this is a decision for each school board. Luckily, the bill proposal was declined. Since the new four-day school weeks were confirmed, Independence teacher applications have increased by 530%.


Remember in grade school when we would go through the school week, and we would be dragging by Thursday or Friday? Well, some school districts are looking to change that. 

Back in December, the Independence school district voted 6-1 to become Missouri’s largest district to change to a four-day school week. Starting fall 2023, students will no longer have school on Mondays, but Tuesday-Friday school days will be extended by 35 minutes. 

Mondays will now be dedicated to academic support programs, including field trips, internships, special needs education and education for students behind grade level. 

One-fourth (141) of Missouri school districts have transitioned to a four-day school week. However, most are in rural districts. 

With the new four-day school week, the district hopes to attract new staff, such as teachers, bus drivers, etc. 

The main reason for this change is the need for more teachers. 

There is a teacher shortage all around the country for all ages due to low salaries, lack of support from the district and stress. 

The average salary for Missouri teachers is $31,842, according to niche.com. While the average salary for Americans is $54,132. This is over $22,000 below the national salary average. 

Teachers argue this salary is pitiful compared to their daily job responsibilities. Many work long hours inside and outside of the school building. Oftentimes teachers even spend their own money on classroom supplies or celebrations. 

Furthermore, teachers are finding less support from their principals and/or districts about what is being taught in the classroom. 

Lately, a big issue has been critical race theory. This theory supports that many aspects of history stem from racism and schools teach a “whitewashed” version of such events that paint Europeans as the “saviors” of slavery and racism. 

The average salary for Missouri teachers is $31,842, according to niche.com. While the average salary for Americans is $54,132. This is over $22,000 below the national salary average.

Numerous states and school districts continue to abolish critical race theory in schools while countless teachers stand by it. 

Additionally, educators now have the responsibility of protecting a classroom of 20-35 kids every day. 

In the United States, there were 51 school shootings for 2022. The most in a single year since Education Week began collecting this data in 2018. Nowadays, teachers are tasked with shielding their children from harm even when that is not in their job description.

Teachers are assigned to educate others based on their knowledge or competence, not to stop school shooters. 

Another perspective to consider is the parents. Parents are concerned about the childcare aspect. If students are out of school, what happens to them on Monday? Most parents work five days a week, Monday through Friday so they need a place to send their kids. 

Luckily, the Independence school district plans to offer academic support groups with provided transportation to most events. 

Monday extracurricular activities and practice will resume. However transportation to these events are still being decided.

Keeping this information in mind, as current MSSU students age and begin to start their own families, a four-day school district will be something to consider when choosing schools. 

Would you want your child to have an extra day off or would five days be easier for you and your family?