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After 9 missed days, CPS will now have to start making up school days under state law

Canceled classes Tuesday means the district will dip below the 180-day threshold required by state law.

CPS teacher Zeljka Girardi protests. Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Tuesday marks the first missed day Chicago Public Schools will be required by state law to make up later in the school year.

State statute requires school districts to plan a minimum 180-day calendar with at least 176 days of student instruction and another five days set aside for emergencies.

CPS’ schedule this year has 188 total days, which include 178 student attendance days, two parent-teacher conference days, four teacher institute days and four school improvement days.

With eight days missed for the strike through Monday, CPS has moved under the 180-day requirement by canceling classes Tuesday.

But that doesn’t mean CPS will necessarily add days to the end of the year. The district could instead take days away from winter break or other holidays or change school improvement days, for example, to student attendance days.

“The district is in the process of gathering a full understanding of potential outcomes and next steps regarding whether or not the district will make up school days missed beyond eight,” district spokeswoman Emily Bolton said. “The Board would have to vote to add on any additional student attendance days and the district hopes to have additional information and a decision prior to the November Board meeting.”

It remains unclear whether the district would be penalized or lose any state funding if it decides not to add back any days. An Illinois State Board of Education spokeswoman said before the strike started that it was unlikely the district would face any serious ramifications for missed days due to the strike.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has repeatedly said the district won’t make up the lost days, but union officials will likely push to reschedule some days as part of any agreement.

If days are added to the end of the school year, teachers can earn back some of their lost pay. But if the district chooses instead to use days in the middle of the calendar, then teachers likely won't receive make-up pay.