SAN JOSE (KCBS) — A San Jose city councilman who is also running for mayor wants to extend the school day for the city’s public school students. While education leaders are applauding the proposal, they are also questioning how to pay for it.

On average, American students go to school 6.7 hours a day. City Councilman Sam Liccardo would like to extend that to something more like an adult eight-hour workday.

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“We know that there would be a lot of relieved parents out there who know that they could pick their kids up at five, rather than struggling everyday to figure out how their children will be safely cared for after 2:30,” Liccardo said.

Besides the logistical benefits, Muhammed Chaudhry, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, said a longer school day or a longer school year would help to better prepare American students who are now competing in a global economy.

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“Japan spends 241 days in a school year, Europe spends 211. We went from 175 to 180, but we’re still behind our competition. We need to get more time on task,” Chaudhry said.

Liccardo admitted that City Hall has little power to change all 19 school districts in San Jose and currently the proposal is nothing more than an online petition at change.org. The councilman said voters would have to approve a bond measure to pay for longer school days.

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