Boston school days are set to get longer by 40 minutes
The Boston Public Schools system, after experiencing a setback earlier this year, is moving ahead with plans to extend the day at dozens of schools by 40 minutes next fall, school officials announced Wednesday.
The final phase of the three-year rollout will be covered by an additional $14 million from city funds and will cover extra pay for teachers and additional staff, such as music and art teachers who will provide more enrichment during the longer day.
About 15,000 students in 39 elementary, K-8, and middle schools will benefit from the extended day.
Superintendent Tommy Chang said in a statement the extended day “is a critical component in our effort to close opportunity and achievement gaps.”
Chang also announced that individual schools will also see their budgets increase next year an average of 3 percent. Chang will present his budget proposal to the School Committee on Feb. 1.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh, school leaders, and the teachers union announced with much fanfare two years ago that they had struck an agreement to extend the school day at 57 schools over the course of three years.
While school officials added the extra time to about a third of those schools in fall 2015, they temporarily halted the effort for several other schools earlier this year as they sorted through a number of financial and logistical issues largely centered on transportation.
Ultimately, school officials decided it would be best to extend the days at the remaining schools simultaneously instead of dividing the schools into two groups and staggering implementation over two years.
“Our children need and deserve more time for high-quality instruction,” Walsh said in a statement.
The announcement comes less than a week after the school system decided against changing school start times for next fall, creating confusion for some parents about the fate of the extended learning time initiative.
Some parents had objected to a longer day at schools that start at 9:30 a.m. — unless school start time was made earlier — because students would not get dismissed until after 4 p.m.