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Board Of Ed Urges Charter Schools To Lengthen Day

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Board of Education is looking to sweeten the deal for charter schools if they adopt a longer school day.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports, the board will vote on a resolution this week that will give charter schools grants of up to $75,000, and teachers at the schools stipends of $800, if they implement a longer day during the present school year, the Chicago Tribune explains.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports

Unlike traditional Chicago Public Schools, charter schools are privately operated, and their teachers are not represented by a union. Thus, CPS officials can extend the day at dozens of schools without having to ask any teachers to break ranks with the union, the Tribune explained.

As it is, 85 of the 110 charter schools within the CPS system already have a longer day than traditional public schools, and most meet or even exceed the 90 extra minutes demanded by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools chief executive officer Jean-Claude Brizard, the newspaper reported.

But about 40 charter schools have shorter days than CPS is seeking, the Tribune reported.

Brizard and Emanuel have devoted great attention toward lengthening the school day, and have asked the union to accept the change before the beginning of next school year. The mayor also offered a 2 percent raise if the union agreed to the longer day.

But the union disagreed, complaining that the extra time teachers are being asked to work is not covered by a mere 2 percent raise. Thus, school officials asked individual schools to break ranks and agree to the longer school day on their own.

As a reward for lengthening their school days, each school was promised an extra $150,000 in funding from the Chicago Public Schools. Teachers at the schools are receiving $1,250 bonuses and the 2 percent raises.

Thirteen schools agreed to the offer.

In the latest development last week, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board voted unanimously to seek an injunction to block the longer school day from taking effect this year.

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