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Cuts at CPS central office to fund full-day kindergarten

Mayor Emanuel visits with CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett   children Paul Cuffe Math Science Technology Academy Monday February 25 2013.|

Mayor Emanuel visits with CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett and children at Paul Cuffe Math Science Technology Academy on Monday, February 25, 2013.| Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: March 27, 2013 6:20AM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday his plan to provide full-day kindergarten to 4,200 more Chicago Public School students — and change the way the citywide program for 30,700 students is funded — will be paid for by $15 million in central office cuts.

Currently, Chicago Public Schools have the option of substituting full-day kindergarten for the half-day required by state law. But principals who choose to provide a full school day for their youngest students must use discretionary funds to pay for it.

At Cuffe Elementary, 8324 S. Racine, that meant giving up art.

On Monday, Emanuel and Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett held a news conference at Cuffe to announce that Principal Lakita Reed would no longer be forced to make that choice.

Starting next year, when full-day kindergarten will be provided to all 30,700 CPS students, the tab will be paid for with savings generated by $15 million in central office cuts.

“You can see it in their penmanship. You can see it in their letters. They know what to do. They know how to write. They know how to read. They know their math. They know their shapes. They know their colors. And they’re ready to go in first grade. They’re not falling behind,” the mayor said.

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