The Sleepy Eye School District learned this week that it’s application to institute a 4-day school week has been denied by the Minnesota Department of Education. The state denied the application because the proposed 4-day week was “not driven, first and foremost, by academic needs of the students of the district.” There were also concerns over the financial impact on low-income families in the district. Sleepy Eye had been pursuing a 4-day school schedule following the defeat of 2 levy referendums last year. More than $850,000 worth of budget cuts have been made in Sleepy Eye in the past 3 years. The move to a 4-day school week would have saved the school district an estimated $80,000 or more a year. District staff and school board members will be meeting with state officials next week to discuss the denied application and what steps should be taken next.