NEAR WEST SIDE — Due to legal issues, Whitney Young High School Principal Joyce Kenner said she will not be able to charge a $500 class fee for an extra class period, a plan that was intended to close the gap on the school’s initial $1 million in budget cuts.
Instead, all business classes will be dropped from the selective-enrollment magnet school, and Italian language classes no longer will be offered.
In addition, while Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s longer school day automatically entitles students to extra time in school, not all students at Whitney Young will be guaranteed that time is devoted to instruction.
Some students' longer school day will come in the form of study hall.
At a school meeting Friday, Kenner delivered the news to a mostly supportive group of almost 300 parents, teachers and students.
But several still had concerns.
“It’s very frustrating because we can’t plan ahead, the schools can’t plan ahead, and our children’s futures really are at stake,” said Whitney Young parent Debbie Rogers.
Rogers said she worries that her daughter — now a senior at the school — won’t be able to fit in a second math class, crucial to the engineering major she’ll pursue as a college freshman.
“The mayor can say what he wants, but it’s a bunch of baloney, and it didn’t do anything for our kids,” she said of the longer school day.
Whitney Young senior Khalil Dorsey, who was set to take a business and technology concepts course this fall, learned Friday his class was being cut.
Khalil, 17, said he wants to go into mechanical engineering and hopes to start his own business.
“It’s sort of disappointing, but I understand that they have to make cuts in certain places,” he said. “I can’t really do anything about it now.”
Since initial budget cuts in June, Whitney Young, 211 S. Laflin St., has received $80,000 from Chicago Public Schools, according to Kenner.
Those funds have allowed her to rehire several teachers and will allow the school’s writing center to remain open for one semester.
Kenner said she’s spoken to CPS representatives about restructuring the budget in order to reinstate several of the school’s business classes. She said she hoped for a response in the next two weeks.
“It is a sad state of affairs when a high school does not offer business classes,” Kenner said Friday. “We can no longer fund education the way we once did. This is not public. It’s really not free.”