By Tony Farkas
SHEPHERD — After a year under a hybrid schedule to determine if a four-day week is viable, the Shepherd ISD Board of Managers is considering whether to keep it at four days or to return to a regular five-day schedule.
Superintendent Jason Hewitt said during Thursday’s board meeting that a recent survey commissioned by the district had 435 responses from staff members, parents, students and community members, and offered three calendars to choose from.
However, Hewitt said the board may want to discuss the matter more, and possibly even send out another poll.
He did say that some things to consider are the fact that Shepherd is surrounded by school districts that have moved to a four-day week in order to attract and retain quality teachers, which means Shepherd could possibly lose teachers.
“We have 14 classes covered by folks in the NSpire Program, or by paraprofessionals and long-term substitute teachers,” Hewitt said. “My fear is that since 85 percent of the people working here drive into Shepherd, we could lose teachers.”
Hewitt also said that how they pay teachers is helpful, since at this time they pay more that surrounding districts, but a four-day district closer to a staff member would be just as attractive.
Board President Yvonne Johnson said that it was important for the district to make sure parents are surveyed; she has children attending school as well, and understands both sides of the issue.
The board will study the matter, and could at a later date schedule committees for further discussion.