Chicago's City Council on Thursday appeared largely in favor of extending the school day, supporting Mayor Rahm Emanuel's push to make it happen.
City Council education chair Latasha Thomas asked the Council to approve a resolution to add 90 minutes "as soon as possible," and nearly every alderman stood up to back the longer day, offering much praise for the idea.
"Even if one kid benefits, it's worth it," said Ald. Richard Mell (33rd).
"This resolution is a no-brainer," said Ald. Tom Tunney (44th). "We are going to lose these families to other cities."
"Parents are demanding this," Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) said. "This should not be done one school at a time. This should be system wide."
At the same time, Ald. Scott Waugespack (32nd) said he supports it but "teachers should get paid." Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) wants to ensure the extra minutes be filled with instruction.
"Send a message to the union," said Ald. George Cardenas (12th). "The union is holding them back [with] scare tactics."
On Thursday morning Benjamin E. Mays Elementary Academy was the latest school to approve a 90-minute longer day starting in January.
Earlier this week Emanuel and CPS chief Jean-Claude Brizard announced incentives for schools that lengthen their day. Those that do so immediately will be given $150,000 each and a lump sum for teachers of $1,275, or two percent equal to the average teacher's salary.
Schools that lengthen the day in the new year will receive $75,000 and lump sum payouts of $800 for teachers.