Chicago Board of Education Passes FY14 Operating Budget 

Despite historic billion-dollar deficit, new budget protects critical investments in student learning


August 28, 2013


CHICAGO – The Chicago Board of Education today voted to pass the Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) proposed operating budget for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14), which maintains CPS's commitment to provide a high-quality education for every student in every neighborhood while filling a historic $1 billion deficit driven in large part by a $405 million increase in pension payments due to a lack of pension reform in Springfield.


The draft FY14 operating budget was released on July 24. Since then, CPS has held three public hearings, presented the budget at a City Council Committee on Education and Child Development hearing, and conducted briefings with aldermen and legislators. CPS made three major changes to the draft budget after receiving input from parents, teachers, students, community members and elected officials:


  • The number of lunchroom worker staff reductions was changed, with 206 more lunchroom workers retaining their positions.
  • At the time the budget was released, all lunchroom staff was budgeted centrally and not in school budgets. We had said this was temporary. These positions are now again reflected in school budgets.
  • An additional $2 million in English-language learner funding will be released from a grant contingency to provide an extra $44 per pupil, benefiting 358 schools.


"The final budget passed today reflects the difficult decisions that needed to be made to close a historic billion-dollar budget gap, while protecting the critical investments necessary to allow our students to thrive and succeed in the classroom," said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. "We have reduced central office, administrative and operations spending wherever possible to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. We will continue to maximize the dollars and resources available to our District and look for ways to further reduce spending outside the classroom. However, we can't cut our way out of this crisis. We need meaningful pension reform that can generate significant savings and prevent devastating future cuts to our schools."


The FY14 operating budget uses nearly $700 million in one-time reserves and $112 million in central office, administrative and operations spending reductions to fill the $1 billion deficit. This is in addition to nearly $600 million in central office spending cuts since 2011. The budget maintains previous commitments to the Full School Day, expansion of early childhood education and Full-Day Kindergarten, and new commitments to expanded IB and STEM programs throughout the District.


This year's operating budget also incorporates a shift away from position-based budgeting to student-based budgeting. Student-based budgeting provides our diverse learning students a more fair and equitable funding model that meets each student's unique needs. In fact, student-based budgeting provides most students with diverse learning needs the same funding as before, and many even saw an increase in funding compared to the old position-based formula. This is an investment CPS has committed to in order to ensure that these students have all the support they need to thrive in the classroom.


The shift to student-based budgeting also affects funding for charter schools. This year, new charters are opening while some existing charters are adding new grades. Because education funding now follows the student, some charters are receiving additional funding this fiscal year. CPS is mandated by state law to pay per-pupil costs for any Chicago child that attends a charter school.


While critical programs have been protected this school year, this budget relies heavily on one-time revenues. One-time reserves will not be available when CPS begins work on its Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) budget, which is projected to have a $900 million deficit. In addition to a $405 million pension increase, this year's deficit and future projected deficits are driven by flat or declining revenues and contractual and statutory obligations such as salary increases and rising health care costs, among others.


CPS's top priority throughout this year's budget process has been to protect investments in student learning while balancing the budget as required by law. The District remains committed to improved outcomes district-wide and delivering a high-quality education to every student in every school. These goals are supported by CEO Byrd-Bennett's five pillars of CPS's plan for the future:


  • High standards, rigorous curriculum and powerful instruction;
  • Systems of supports that meet all students' needs;
  • Engaged and empowered families and communities;
  • Committed and effective teachers, leaders and staff; and
  • Sound fiscal, operational and accountability systems.


The Board voted on the final FY14 operating budget today at its August meeting. The budget passed on a unanimous vote of seven to zero. For additional information on the FY14 operating budget, please view CPS's budget overview presentation at

About CPS

Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school district.


Press contacts

Page Last Modified on Wednesday, August 28, 2013