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RELEASE: Rep. Baker Applauds Department of Education Re-Opening Application Process for 4-Day School Week

Friday, March 15, 2024

SAINT PAUL – State Representative Dave Baker, R-Willmar, is applauding a decision by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to begin accepting Flexible Learning Year applications for new four-day week models after the application process has been effectively closed for the last ten years. Rep. Baker has been a leading champion in giving school districts the choice and flexibility to adopt a four-day week model if it fits within the needs of the community and district.

“This is great news that will give school districts, especially those in rural communities, the flexibility they need to address budget shortfalls, teacher retention issues, and much more,” said Baker. “To be clear, this option is not realistic for every district, but it provides choices. I am proud of our collaborative effort across party lines, combined with the advocacy of local school leaders, that has helped push the Department of Education to re-open the application process for schools. I encourage all interested school districts to visit the Department’s website to learn more about applying.”

Baker is chief author of House File 1242 which gives school districts the ability to transition to a four-day week without approval from MDE if the option makes sense for the district. The bill received a hearing in the House Education Policy Committee in February and is credited with amplifying the conversation around the issue. This week’s news does not fully align with the Baker bill, but he said it is a step in the right direction.

Baker continued, “While the changes by MDE are not fully aligned with what my bill proposes, I am nevertheless happy to see the Department re-open the application process for schools—giving them the chance to pursue these flexible options if it makes sense for their situation. Our work on this proves that if legislators, stakeholders, and local leaders collaborate, we can move the ball forward on the issues important to our communities.”

Applications are now open and school districts are encouraged to contact for more information.