By Tony Farkas
COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD officially approved the district’s move to a four-day school week on Jan. 23.
Superintendent Dr. Bryan Taulton the district has studied the matter for several months, finding that 80 percent of parents and guardians were in support of the move.
Taulton said the district will take Fridays off, which will allow the staff to prioritize education, as Fridays have a higher than average absenteeism and early leaving, as well as children losing education time to extracurricular activities.
Along with education, the move will help with the recruitment and retention of teachers.
“We have mathematics deficits across the district, state and nation, and we need better teachers to combat that,” Taulton said. “We will provide kids with a high-quality education, and this will allow us to do that, as well as market the district and compete for the best educators.”
Taulton said it has been his focus to keep the best teachers in front of the students, and since the country at large is dealing with a teacher shortage — last year, COCISD lost 49 teachers — the four-day week is a way to hire and retain educators.
“Our pay is disparate; to have a competitive edge for recruitment, we needed to go this route,” Taulton said. “Without high-quality teachers, it compromises the value of education. Research will tell you that the biggest impact in the classroom is the teacher, and it is my mission to recruit and retain the best.”
In other business, the board:
•approved school board elections for May 6 and contracted with the San Jacinto County Elections Administrator for the event. The board position formerly occupied by Ashney Shelley, of which Alec McGowen currently fills, as well as Danny Williams, Barbara Moore and Paul Buchanan are up for election;
•updated the district’s insurance policy for risk management; and
•approved updates to policy based on Texas Association of School Board recommendations.