Baldwin school board cautious on 4-day week

MILLEDGEVILLE — At the Baldwin County Board of Education work session Monday night, not a word was spoken about the possibility of considering a four-day school week.

Board Vice Chairman Ray Markwalter previously expressed his intention to bring up the option at the session so board members could take a vote at its board meeting tonight.

During the half-hour session, the board talked about other matters instead, from a plan to reduce maintenance costs to sending delegates to a Georgia School Boards Association conference in June.

After Peach County school officials declined to meet with a delegation from Baldwin County in the midst of numerous inquiries on the matter, Baldwin board members have seemed to approach the option more cautiously, said Markwalter.

Now, board members have said making a decision on adopting a four-day school week may take up to a year and a half of looking at standardized testing data from Peach County and other systems that have implemented it.

“We can save all the money in the world, but if we’re not educating our students, we’re not doing our job,” said board member John Jackson after Monday’s session.

Markwalter said he is simply encouraging the board to go ahead and begin researching the viability of a four-day week in Baldwin County and planned to speak to Superintendent Geneva Braziel about adding the item to today’s agenda.

“I don’t want them to shut the book before we open the cover,” Markwalter said.

Board Chairman Jeff McAfee said he has been listening to community input on the matter as he considers what the best move for the school system will be.

“They’re naturally concerned,” he said.

However, as they continue to face budget cuts, the board will have to consider all of its options.

“We will never give up on better ways to manage the system, ways to save money,” McAfee said.

To contact Andrea Castillo, call 256-9751.