Process to open a new school 

Overview of the 2013 Request for Proposals

ONS: Process to open a new schoolChicago Public Schools (CPS) is committed to providing a world class education for every student in every community. We believe that every child should have access to school options that will provide him or her with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in college and career. To achieve this ambitious goal, we have identified several key strategic initiatives. The 2013 Request for Proposals (RFP) process, developed to identify new, high-quality school options, represents one of these key initiatives. The District is seeking teachers, administrators, national education management organizations, current school leadership teams, and non-profit institutions from Chicago and nationwide to respond to the RFP with proposals that demonstrate the capacity to run high quality new charter schools.

On August 12, 2013, the District will release the 2013 RFP Tier 1 Application to solicit proposals for schools to open in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years. Educators who would like to open new charter schools should respond to the RFP with proposals for their schools. An updated timeline reflecting this year's proposal process is detailed under the Timeline tab below.

The information and support tools needed to complete this process can be found below in three tabs: The 2013 RFP Applicant Forms, including the Tier 1 application, registration form, and Business Plan option for qualifying existing Chicago operators; 2013 RFP Timeline, which will include dynamic updates as information becomes available, and RFP Support Documents and Resources, which provides helpful guidelines and information to applicants.

NEW! Please see the publicly posted proposals submitted through the 2013 RFP Process!

2013 Request for Proposals (RFP) Process

Required Applicant Forms and Documents

Applicant Forms and Documents Format

2013 CPS Request for Proposals

PDF icon.

MSWord icon.

ADA Compliance Report MSWord icon.

RFP Financial Form – All proposals must include the following financial forms submitted with the completed proposal.

Excel icon.
PDF icon.
Charter Proposal Assurances Statement PDF icon.
Illinois State Board of Education Special Education Form PDF icon.
Inspecting Architect's ReportAll proposals including an independent facility must include an Inspecting Architect's Report. PDF icon.
Sources and Uses ReportAll proposals including an independent facility must include a completed 'sources and uses' report. Excel icon.

RFP Timeline

Activity Proposed Dates Information and Updates
Release Tier 1 Request for Proposals August 12, 2013 Access the RFP
Applicant Webinar Training August 19, 2013  
Online Registration Forms Due August 26, 2013  
Tier 1 RFPs Due September 30, 2013
Capacity Interviews Conducted October 14–18, 2013  
Release Tier 2 RFP questions November 18, 2013  
Tier 2 Proposals Due December 3, 2013  
CPS Posts Complete Proposals on ONS Website December 12, 2013  
CPS Hosts Community Meeting at 125 S. Clark December 16, 2013 Sign-up for meeting will begin at 4 p.m. and end at 6:30 p.m. Meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m.
Public Hearing at 125 S. Clark January 7, 2014 Sign-up for meeting will begin at 3:30 p.m. and end at 5:30 p.m. Meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m.
Board Votes on New School Authorization January 22, 2014 Sign Up for Board Meeting
Coming in Late 2013

Support Documents and Resources

Documents and Resources Format
What's New with the 2013 CPS Request for Proposals?FAQ and more for applicants PDF icon.
2013 CPS Request for Proposals Webinar - Click here to view!  
CPS Approved Architects Opens in a new window
CPS Facilities Master Plan 2013A guide to communities and capital resources in Chicago PDF icon.

CPS Priority Communities

PDF icon.
CPS Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services Opens in a new window
ADA GuidelinesDetails charter and contract school requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act. PDF icon.
Instructions on completing ISBE Special Education Form PDF icon.
RFP Due Process Resource Guide PDF icon.
Sample Charter School Agreement – Coming Soon!  
Sample Insurance Requirements – Coming Soon!  
School Calendar Template 2014–2015 Excel icon.
School Calendar Template 2015–2016 Excel icon.
Helpful External ResourcesExternal sources to support in charter development PDF icon.
Dropbox Instructions PDF icon.

For any other questions, please call (773) 553-1110, or email


Neighborhood Advisory Councils

NEW! View presentations from the October 19th NAC Orientation Training!

What is a NAC?

Parents and communities are essential partners in developing new schools in the city of Chicago.

The District, in partnership with New Schools for Chicago, will facilitate the formation and training of Neighborhood Advisory Councils (NAC) in identified priority communities for which CPS receives proposals to open new schools. NACs are the central component of parent and community engagement in the New Schools Request for Proposal (RFP) to open new schools. NAC members serve as liaisons between Chicago Public Schools (CPS), their communities, and the applicant design teams to ensure that new school proposals offer high quality educational options.

While the primary role of NACs is an advisory function, NACs are critical in reporting to Chicago Public Schools on the match between a proposed new school and the needs and preferences of the community.

What is the role of the NACS?

  • Meet regularly to review and evaluate proposals for new education options that may fit the community’s needs
  • Participate in an orientation, trainings, and a retreat session over the next three months
  • Meet with design teams and ask specific questions about proposals
  • Attend school tours to observe successful school models
  • Host community forums to gather feedback from the greater community on the new school proposals
  • Make a recommendation to be shared with CEO Byrd-Bennett.

Where will NACs be formed?

CPS is seeking volunteers to serve on NACs who live in the following overcrowded neighborhoods:

  • PDF icon. Ashburn
    Ashburn is defined by the boundaries of the boundaries of 75th Street, Cicero Avenue, 87th Street, and Damen Avenue

  • PDF icon. Belmont Cragin
    Belmont Cragin is defined by the boundaries of West Belmont Avenue, North Kenton Avenue, West Grand Avenue, North Harlem Avenue

  • PDF icon. Chicago Lawn
    Chicago Lawn is defined by the boundaries of West 58th Street, South Kedzie Avenue, 75th Street, South Cicero Avenue

  • PDF icon. McKinley Park
    McKinley Park is defined by the boundaries of 59th Street, Stevenson Expressway, and South Halsted Street

  • PDF icon. Midway
    Midway is defined by the boundaries of 65th Street, 51st Street, Harlem Avenue, and Cicero Street

  • PDF icon. Reed Dunning
    Reed Dunning is defined by the boundaries of West Belmont Avenue, North River North, North Austin, West Montrose, North Cumberland, and Dunning

In addition, CPS is seeking volunteers to serve on NACs who live on the Northwest or Southwest sides generally but may not live in one of the six specific neighborhoods above, to review only high school proposals as part of a nearby NAC. High school students are more mobile than elementary school students. As a result, CPS would like to offer the parents of high school students on the Northwest and Southwest sides the option to review new high school options for their students. The schools may not locate in their neighborhood, but will be located in the same area of the city, if approved to open.

  • The Northwest Side is bounded by the area west of Western Avenue, South of the Stevenson Expressway, and the city limits
  • The Southwest Side is bounded by the area beginning at Fullerton and the western city limit, east to Western, and north to the city limit

For more information on the NACs, please view our PDF icon. NAC Overview Presentation.


What are the timeline and time requirements for participating in a NAC?


Key Dates in NAC Process* Anticipated NAC Member Time Commitment
Request for proposals (RFP) released August 12 NA
CPS meets with key parent groups September  9 – October 15 NA
RFP Tier One Proposals Due to CPS September 30 NA
Applications to Serve on a NAC Due October 15 10-20 minutes to complete application
NAC Week 1 Meeting: Orientation and Training for all communities in centralized location October 19 8 hours
NAC Training October 21 – November 22 Weekly 2-hour training session, plus 2-4 additional hours/week to review proposal materials
NACs: Meet with operators (Location at CPS) November 25 2 hours
Individual and group school tours November 4-22 2 hours
Tier 2 proposals due December 3 NA
NAC Final Proposal Review (including review of Tier 2 Questions) and Retreat December 7 Off-site retreat
Chicago Lawn NAC Hosts Community Forum at St. Gall School, 5515 S. Sawyer December 9 6:30-8 p.m.; 1.5 hours
McKinley Park NAC Hosts Community Forum, at SEIU Healthcare Central Office, 2229 S. Halsted Street December 10 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.; 2 hours
Northwest Side NAC Hosts Community Forum, at Northwest Community Church, 5318 W. Diversey December 11 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.; 2 hours
NACs deliver final recommendations December 20 NA
CPS hosts Community Meeting at 125 S. Clark December 16 2 hours
Public hearing at 125 S. Clark January 7, 2014 2 hours
Board votes on new school authorization January 22, 2014 NA

Total anticipated time commitment for NAC members

Approximately 60-65 hours

* Dates are subject to minor changes


To review the NAC guidelines, please see the Neighborhood Advisory Council Handbook.


Contact information

Office of New Schools
125 South Clark Street
10th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Phone: (773) 553-1530
Fax: (773) 553-1559