Six months after barely closing a $712 million deficit, Chicago Public Schools officials have spent nearly $10 million that has not yet been budgeted in their aggressive push to lengthen the school day.
Fifty schools have gone to a longer day this year. With the entire city school system moving to a seven-and-a-half-hour school day next year, parents and community members are questioning how the cash-strapped district plans to pay for the extended time at more than 675 schools.
Becky Carroll, the school district’s spokeswoman, said that cuts would need to be made elsewhere to allow the costs of a longer day to fit into the district’s nearly $6 billion budget.
“A budget is about priorities, and you invest in what your priorities are,” she said. “At the end of the day, this is a critical priority.”