Boston Mayor, Schools, Teacher Union Negotiate Expanded School Day Proposal

The additional 40 minutes is equivalent to adding a month of school to the academic calendar

Adams Elementary School in East Boston is just one of 60 schools slated to have an extended day by 40 minutes if new dramatic changes are approved.

"This does set a new baseline in Boston," said Boston Public Schools Superintendent John McDonough.

The proposed change in the Boston Public school calendar would not cut time off summer vacation, but add extra instruction time per day during the existing school year.

"I think the best gift that we can give the city of Boston this holiday season is extended day," said Mayor Marty Walsh.

Much of the additional time would go to art, music, drama and foreign language, according to Boston Teachers Union President Richard Stutman. Stutman will present this plan to his membership, who stand to gain nearly double the amount of planning time.

"I've heard favorable things, I'm sure there'll be some people who don't, their lifestyle won't fit with an extension of the school day, but outside of that I think people will be pretty happy that we put this matter to rest and we came up with a plan that really works for the kids in Boston," Stutman said.

The plan would impact 60 of the 128 Boston Public Schools. That's about 23,000 elementary and middle school students

The extended time would be 40 minutes per day. That's an additional 1 month of instruction per year.

It won't affect high school kids, for now at least.

And if you think finding middle school kids who are okay with having more school is difficult, think again.

"It's fine with me," said 7th grader Mackenzie DeJesus.

"I don't really like the extended day. But if it works for me and my education, I'll do it," said 8th grader Janaya Melendez.

As for the teachers, they will get a $4,464 annual stipend for the expanded schedule. That's 20 percent lower than the average contractual hourly rate.

It'll cost an additional $12.5 million per year from the taxpayers.

The district plans to phase in 20 schools per year over the next 3 years. The union vote is set for January 14.

If approved, the school committee would vote on the proposed change.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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