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CPS Finds $15M To Pay For All-Day Kindergarten

Chicago Public Schools will be instituting all-day kindergarten next fall. (CBS)

Chicago Public Schools will be instituting all-day kindergarten next fall. (CBS)

Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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(CBS) — Millions of dollars of new money being poured into Chicago Public Schools guarantees that every kindergartner will be in class a full-day.

As CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, it takes the pressure off principals and parents who in the past had to find that money.

It’s a full day of kindergarten at Paul Cuffe grade school. But it cost $100,000 of the principal’s discretionary funds – for a teacher, benefits and supplies — to offer the class.

“We had to choose between music and art,” principal Lakita Reed says. “So, we gave up art.”

Art, music, computers classes — it’s a sacrifice many principals and parents have had to make in order to fund a full day of kindergarten. No more, though.

“We’re no longer going to debate it. We’re going to do it,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a news conference.

And the district will now pay for it with $15 million to back the new mandate. The money will come from cutbacks at the central office, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett says.

It’s money everyone agrees is well spent in the classroom.

A full day means students will be in school seven hours instead of three.

“It makes all the difference in the world. I get a chance to work with them teach and reach every subject … math, reading, social studies, science and language arts,” teacher Angela Carter says.

And it means principals can now use their discretionary funds to bring back music, art and other enrichment classes.

CPS starts funding full day kindergarten classes next fall, which is when parents and students will see more enrichment classes.