Show Me the Money

I’m not going to get into what is the magic amount of formal learning/instructional time for Chicago Public Schools’ elementary students. I believe that both a 6h45m and a 7h30m day have worked well for my children at their elementary school, just as a 7-hour day will work well for them next year. 

However, I’ll willingly join the chorus of parental, teacher, and (occasionally) aldermanic voices asking, where is the money? How does CPS/the city plan to fund the full school day? 

Monica Lee told me in March that principals didn’t want to know the full school day budget amount in the absence of other information. CEO Brizard told me last Tuesday that all schools will receive a block grant to spend as they see fit in support of the additional 75 minutes of time, and that the district hopes to move to a per-pupil funding formula in the next 18-24 months. 

But given the district’s history of questionable actions and/or decision-making, I;m not sure that the district’s assurances that they are working on it are all that reassuring. In the city of big shoulders, the windy city, the city of corruption, graft, and lies, even fairly recent residents such as myself know that unless a bunch of people continually demand the truth from large public agencies like CPS,  they have little incentive to reveal their inefficiency and inadequacy through transparency. I’d love to feel comfortable simply trusting that the existing system will work out a viable solution, but I think that’s a false choice, to quote the Mayor. And I think that would be a false choice even if I lived in Lake Forest or Winnetka (or Schaumburg or Evanston).

The clock is ticking. Will CPS deliver on its plan to deliver budgets to principals by May 15th?


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