School hasn't even started and the protests have already begun.
Several Chicago Public School students took a stand in Daley Plaza Wednesday to protest the changing start times at more than 80 schools, which will take effect with the new school year. The city says the changes are about saving money on transportation costs, but not everyone is happy about it.
Mayor Emanuel has a new CPS team in place, and they have a lot of work to do. Changing the start time is just one of the many headaches — as the district also negotiates a new teachers contract — but it is one that has struck a chord with many of its students.
Most high school start times will switch to 9 a.m. instead of 8 a.m., and elementary schools will move to 7:30 a.m. or 7:45 a.m.
"Think of the students who have to help their families economically. These students have jobs and will be affected by the time change," one student protester said.
Others worry about after-school activities, like sports practice.
"How does CPS expect to have a program like that if we don't have enough time to do our homework by the time we get home," another protester said. "Or if you live in a bad neighborhood, you can possibly get hurt on the way home."
The new leadership team, which includes Janice Jackson as chief education officer and Forrest Claypool as CEO, says they are listening, but changing the start times are a cost-cutting measure.
"We hear those concerns, and they are very legitimate concerns, and we're listening to those schools, but we're just trying to make sure we're doing everything we can to save money without impacting children and without impacting class size and teachers," Jackson said.
The Chicago Teachers Union says Claypool, who has been the go-to guy for two mayors, is really not in charge. They say Mayor Rahm Emanuel is instead.
Claypool may need a magic wand to solve the financial crisis. He has asked teachers to contribute 9 percent more to their pensions, but he needs a fix in Springfield, too. If not, he warns of layoffs.
"If Springfield will not be our partner, by the end of the year we'll be forced to make further cuts in the second half of the year," Claypool said.