Parents unhappy with council’s proposal to extend primary school day

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – “I don’t like it,” said Jason Lemmon, a father picking up his child from South Side Elementary School.

He wasn’t the only parent to say this, as they learned their child’s school day could be extended by almost an hour.

Champaign teachers plan to strike. They have a permission vote scheduled for next week. A contentious part of their negotiations involves a proposal to extend the school day for primary school students.

They say they are doing this due to a recent change in the law and they say they will make sure they work out the logistics with administrators, teachers and parents.

“They’re not giving teachers more time off and it’s really going to dig more into their planning and prep time and they’re already very limited on that and they’re not even getting it now so I don’t think that going to be very beneficial,” said Rebekah Wilson, a mother who picks up her child from South Side Elementary School.

Some parents waiting to pick up their children from South Side Elementary School were unhappy with a recent announcement from the Champaign School District.

“It’s just going to create a lot more stress, I think, for people who are actually working, especially teachers,” Lemmon said.

The board has proposed adding an extra 50 minutes to the primary school day. It would start at the start of the 2023-2024 school year. In a statement, they say it would allow more time for lunch and recess, as well as increase students’ learning time by 30 minutes, which parents say can be difficult for children. younger students.

“Their day is already so busy that those 30 minutes won’t mean much unless they have more time available to relax between all the learning transitions,” Wilson said.

“He’ll be a lot more tired because he’s only seven,” Lemmon said.

The school board says the plan to add this extra time is due to a new law called the “Right to Play Act”. Governor Pritzker signed it this summer. It requires Illinois students in kindergarten through 5th grade to have 30 minutes of recess.

“My son’s mom is actually a teacher, which just means she’ll have to work an extra hour at least, so it’s going to be harder for all of us,” Lemmon said.

“They overstepped their bounds,” Wilson said. “We can’t even find subs to take over the classrooms and so they’re already stressed this year and I think what we’ve learned so far is that we don’t know how to what will covid be like next year and there might be stress next year too. And now you’re asking for even more time on their contract. I think it’s just not the right time.

The union’s strike authorization vote takes place on Wednesday. This vote is the first part of the process. The union would need to take further legal steps before the teachers step down.

The WCIA called other school districts to find out how they are working under the “Right to Play Act.” Monticello’s superintendent said they continued to follow a normal schedule for their elementary schools. He said the children had 30 minutes of recess so they didn’t have to extend their days. Primary students go to school for 6.5 hours a day.

Meanwhile, in Mahomet, the superintendent said they are also already giving their children 30 minutes of recess so they don’t have to adjust the normal hours of the school day. We have contacted several other school districts and are just awaiting a response.

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