By Dorothy Tucker

CHICAGO (CBS) — Cash for classes. That’s what the principal of the one of the best public schools in the city is proposing.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports Whitney Young High School wants to charge students $500 for an extra class to help plug the budget.

“Why do we have to pay $500 for a supposedly free education? Because not everybody has money like that,” said student Erica Wade.

But students who want to take seven classes are now being asked to find the money. That seventh class is considered extra credit and not needed to graduate.

Principal Joyce Kenner says the school needs the extra money because downtown cut Young’s budget by more than a million dollars.

“We’ve got five students into Harvard this year. Our average ACT score is 27.6. I’m not willing to jeopardize any of that. We have to come up with creative ways in order to fund what we’ve always been able to do,” said Kenner.

It’s the kind of creativity some parents are willing to support, even when they’re already paying fees for things like science and computer labs.

“That’s okay because the tuition at St. Ignatius was $13,000 and change so I figure I’m getting a bargain,” said Elena Bustos.

When asked if she feels she is starting a trend, Principal Kenner said, “I would hope that I can speak on behalf of the entire district and the principals. I think we need to look outside the box ,look at some additional resources.”

Dr. Kenner met with administrative leaders at the district this afternoon. She says they talked about trying to find additional funding for Whitney Young and other schools.

CPS sent CBS 2 a statement explaining how school budgets works, but we had asked what they thought about Dr. Kenner’s $500 proposal. So far they haven’t answered that question.

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