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Two More Chicago Public Schools Break Ranks To Lengthen Day

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Updated 09/13/11 – 8:07 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Two more schools have broken ranks with the Chicago Teachers Union, and gone ahead with lengthening their school days — becoming the sixth and seventh schools to do so.

Teachers at Disney II Magnet Elementary School, at 3815 N. Kedvale Ave. in the Old Irving Park neighborhood, agreed Tuesday morning to a deal add 90 minutes to the school day there.

Twenty teachers at the school voted in favor of lenghtening the school day, four against.

Later Tuesday, teachers at Nash Elementary School also approved a longer school day, by a margin of 51 percent, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The longer day will begin Sept. 26 for both schools, meaning each school will get an extra $150,000 in funding from CPS. Teachers at the schools will receive $1,250 bonuses.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

Disney II staff has embraced adding additional time to their day since opening in fall 2008, when teachers agreed to work an extra hour at the end of the day for four days a week to provide additional instructional time for students, a news release the release said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard released a statement on the choice at Disney II, which read in part: “We’re gratified that the teachers at Disney II Elementary put our children first and voted to lengthen the school day. We commend Principal Bogdana Chkoumbova for her leadership and vision for making Disney II a world class school. The support of Disney II proves once again that that strong leadership and great teachers can overcome any obstacle.”

Emanuel and Brizard have been offering incentives to all schools that opt for a longer school day this year – including $150,000 for each school, as well as a 2 percent raise and a bonus of $1,250 to the teachers. Schools making the switch get $75,000 and their teachers would get an $800 bonus.

But the schools also have to waive the CTU collective bargaining agreement. The union this summer rejected an offer for a 2 percent raise in exchange for a longer school day this year, saying the small raise did not make up for the extra time teachers would be spending in the classroom.

The union calls the deals for schools to waive the collective bargaining agreement and lengthen the day unethical and illegal.

The offer came weeks after Emanuel and Brizard cancelled negotiated 4 percent raises for all teachers, citing the district’s $700 million budget shortfall.

Other schools that have agreed to lengthen their school day include Benjamin E. Mays Academy 838 W. Marquette Rd.; Skinner North Classical School, 640 W. Scott St.; Genevieve Melody Elementary, 412 S. Keeler Ave.; STEM Magnet Academy, 1522 W. Fillmore St.; and William H. Brown Elementary, 54 N. Hermitage Ave.

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