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CHICAGO (CBS) — Principals in the Chicago Public Schools are in line to get $130 million to help pay for next year’s longer school days.
As WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports, CPS administrators say budget cuts and shifts helped free up the extra cash for the city’s schools.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports
The Chicago Tribune reports CPS has cut $100 million in operations and administrative spending, and is shifting $50 million from programming at the central office to individual schools, so as to piece together the discretionary money to allow principals room for more flexibility.
Next September, Chicago public elementary students will be in class for seven hours a day, while high schools will be in class for 7 1/2 hours.
High school principals are set to receive their instructional budgets on Thursday and Friday, while elementary principals will receive them next week, the Tribune reported.
Debate over the longer school day has placed a rift between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS chief executive officer Jean-Claude Brizard have argued that the longer day is necessary to provide students with a complete education.
But the union has repeatedly blasted the plan for a longer day, saying officials haven’t sufficiently explained how the extra time would benefit students or how the district would pay for the extra time teachers would be required to work.
The union was further infuriated when Emanuel and Brizard urged schools to break ranks with the union and go ahead with the longer school day on their own. The schools that complied received an extra $150,000 in funding from CPS, and teachers at the schools received $1,250 bonuses and 2 percent raises.
Ultimately, all parties agreed to allow for the longer school day to begin next year. And earlier this month, Emanuel and Brizard agreed to scale back the longer day for elementary school students – to seven hours rather than 7 1/2.
High school students will also get a break, with the day ending an hour and a half early one day a week.
Still, the union accuses Emanuel and Brizard, and the Chicago Board of Education, of leaving teachers out of efforts to improve schools and forcing them to accept the longer day, as well as a longer school year, without explaining how to pay for it or use the additional time.