Raise Your Hand was invited to meet with CEO Brizard, other CPS management and Board Member Jesse Ruiz last week to discuss the longer day. RYH conveyed our concerns that CPS does not have the funding to implemement a quality 7.5 hour day, especially given the projected deficit of $600 million for 2013 and roughly $1 billion for 2014.
RYH expressed the need for CPS to increase positions and programs in arts education, PE, language, etc. and add recess to the day. With the current budget situation, CPS cannot adequately fund what would be the longest school day in the nation for a large urban district. We did express that our membership does approve of a reasonable extension of the day, but that 7.5 hours cannot be accomplished with our current budget. As other districts around the country added extending learning time, such as Boston for 10% of their schools, they added $1300 per pupil. We do not have additional revenue in Chicago at this time to make this type of change.
We also asked them what might be cut from existing school budgets in order to make the longer day happen and we were not given any specific information.
CPS said they want to make a final determination on the length of the day before sending budgets to principals sometime in April. We told them we could support adding an hour to the day to include lunch/recess but only if it means no school-based cuts to the classroom.
Please sign our petition that we crafted with multiple other parent/community groups on a quality, funded longer day:
Help us present this petition to the Mayor on Friday, April 13th at 4pm at City Hall.
Let's keep advocating together. As parents, we need to make sure that our children are at the center of the education discussion and their needs in the classroom start to become paramount. We have the ability to make these changes by working together as parents across the city for a common cause - the improved education of all children in Chicago.