May 1, 2013
As a next step in its process to create a 10-Year Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP), Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today released a draft for public review that outlines how the District plans to balance investments in CPS facilities and the significant long-term financial difficulties it faces over the next decade. CPS is working to build a district in which every child has the quality education they deserve and the 21st-century learning environments needed to succeed, and the draft EFMP highlights efforts that support these goals, including efforts to address underutilization in several CPS facilities, redirect resources toward upgrading the quality of education students receive, and expand access to high-quality programs in every community such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme, Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) programs, and Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.
“Every child in every neighborhood deserves a high-quality education that prepares them to succeed, and we are working to build a district that sets that essential foundation for our children,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “Over the next decade, we will work to strike an equitable and efficient balance between prioritizing facility renovations where necessary and investing in high-quality programs wherever possible as we continue to address $1 billion-plus deficits annually over the next few fiscal years.”
The draft EFMP is a requirement of Illinois law (PA 97-0474 as amended by PA 97-1133) and a final version must be submitted and approved by the Board of Education by October 1, 2013. It must be released to the City of Chicago, Cook County, the Chicago Park District, Chicago Transit Authority, attendance centers and charter schools. It is also shared with the Mayor and each of Chicago’s 50 aldermen, as well as any state senators and representatives who have a district in Chicago.
Once the final report is approved by the Board of Education, CPS will thereafter prepare a 10-year educational facility master plan every 5 years, with updates 2 ½ years after the approval of the initial 10-year plan.
As a part of this work, CPS continues to develop a more thorough and detailed analysis of school-by-school capital needs. CPS today released a series of updated capital assessments for a number of schools, including many closing and welcoming schools. The last series of school assessments were completed four years ago. Beginning last June, CPS started updating assessments for each school and as of today 213 schools have updated capital assessments. Revised capital assessments for those schools are available on the website at www.cps.edu. Capital avoidance savings for consolidating underutilized schools has also been revised per the new assessments and is now estimated at $437 million, which will be presented to the Board in May.
In addition to addressing the District’s underutilization crisis and adding new programs, the draft EFMP highlights CPS’s commitment to ensuring school buildings are warm, safe and dry as well as equipped with long-term investments such as libraries, air conditioning and playlots. CPS will begin this summer to right-size the District’s real estate portfolio in areas of under enrollment (mostly on the South and West sides of the city) while at the same time addressing overcrowding in other areas (typically in the Northwest and Southwest sides of the city). Discussions with communities that are overcrowded will consider the costs and tradeoffs of various options, including boundary adjustments, changes to enrollment policies, program relocations, and increased physical capacity, with a focus on lowest cost alternatives.
Students, parents, teachers and community members were encouraged to provide feedback to CPS during the development of this draft. CPS engaged these important stakeholders in a variety of ways, including: surveys of school principals and LSC chairs; reviews of existing Community Action Councils strategic plans; five community engagement forums; collaboration with sister agencies; Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force meetings; an extensive text-message campaign on CTA routes asking Chicagoans for their opinions on facility priorities; and a website designed for residents to provide thoughts on facilities issues and needs.
CPS will continue to seek feedback as officials work toward a final plan due to the state by October 1, 2013. Students, parents, teachers and community members are encouraged to provide additional input and feedback to CPS by visiting
/About_CPS/Policies_and_guidelines/Pages/facilitystandards.aspx where the public can view the plan as well as submit public comment. CPS will provide opportunities for diverse stakeholder groups in varying geographic areas to provide community insight on key educational, facilities, and community needs and priorities as outlined in the draft Educational Facilities Master Plan. Over a 10-week period, CPS will engage various stakeholders across the city, including but not limited to:
- Parent Advisory Council Collaboratives (June)
- Local School Council Advisory Board & Chairs (June)
- Community Action Councils (July)
- Faith Based Leaders (August)
- Student Forum(s) (August)