The 2019 Chicago Public Schools budget is the most stable budget in years, making critical investments in academic priorities such as college-prep work and universal free pre-K for 4-year-olds, along with a $1 billion budget for needed capital investments in every part of the city. This budget reflects a historic education funding system that takes a major step toward addressing funding inequality for school districts that serve predominantly limited-income students.
Thanks to families, educators, parents and lawmakers who advocated for funding reform, the district is now on much stronger financial ground. CPS has stabilized its finances and with hundreds of millions of dollars in additional resources created through state education funding reform, CPS is able to invest more in schools and students, to support the historic academic progress they have made in recent years.
Stanford University professor Sean Reardon, a leading expert on education equality in the United States, conducted research that shows Chicago’s students learn and grow at a faster rate than 96 percent of school districts in the country – including wealthy districts. Reardon found that:
- Chicago’s growth rate is higher than 96 percent of all school districts in the United States;
- Among the 100 largest school districts in the country, Chicago has the highest growth rate between third and eighth grade;
- The average Chicago student’s test scores improved by roughly six grade-level equivalents in five years’ time – 20 percent more growth on average; and
- Each successive 3rd grade cohort is outpertaforming the cohort that came before it, which shows that students are entering 3rd grade better prepared for success than their predecessors.
These gains came at a time when the State of Illinois had the least equitable funding system in the country, proving that Chicago educators and students are doing remarkable work.
To build on this unprecedented growth, the FY2019 budget increases base school-level funding by more than $60 million and provides a series of targeted investments at schools with high needs to support our mission of providing every child in every neighborhood with a high-quality education while also operating with a balanced budget that promotes long-term financial stability.
Investing in the CPS Vision
CPS continues to invest in areas that drive student achievement and reflect the values and priorities of the administration as outlined in the 3-Year Vision, which focuses on academic progress, financial stability, and a district-wide commitment to integrity.
To build on the district’s record-setting academic progress, CPS is investing $3.1 billion in school budgets for FY2019 school year, an increase of more than $60 million compared to the current school year. Through strategic investments to promote more equitable access to high quality resources, communities throughout Chicago will benefit from expanded access to programming like International Baccalaureate (IB) and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs; expansion of free full-day Pre-K for four-year-olds; additional resources for at-risk students; and new postsecondary counselors to help high school students prepare for success after graduation.
In FY2019, CPS will also increase the Student Based Budgeting (SBB) rate by 2.5 percent to support academic programming and higher teacher salaries. In addition to the SBB rate, CPS is increasing funding for low-income students by 6 percent and creating a special fund to support schools that are experiencing sharp enrollment drops. Together, these investments will provide high quality instructional supports and resources to district schools.
Building for the Future and Investing in High-Quality Learning Environments
The FY2019 budget also includes nearly $1 billion in capital spending — which would be the district’s largest single-year capital investment in more than two decades for many students, this will mean new annexes and classrooms. For others, it will mean modernized school buildings that are safe and ready for the new school year. For every student in the city, this will mean access to digital learning tools and a state-of-the-art high school science lab.
21st Century Science Labs
As the first phase of a three-year, $75 million dollar investment in high school science labs, CPS will be adding, upgrading, or renovating high school science labs in FY2019 to ensure students receive a robust science education that is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and prepares them to excel in the 21st Century economy. CPS is finalizing the first group of science lab renovations and has budgeted $28 million for this initiative in FY2019.
Modern Computing Resources for All Students
To improve access to modern technology in schools throughout Chicago, the district is beginning a 4-year, $125 million investment that will ensure all schools have the devices and internet connectivity needed for students to engage with the modern educational resources that teachers are choosing to utilize throughout the city.
In FY2019, CPS is allocating $50 million to support the district’s highest-need schools. CPS will provide new equipment to support the use of classroom technology for 12,500 students at 24 schools — many of which lack enough devices for all students or have computers that have reached the end of their useful life. An additional 40 schools will receive new devices and equipment to supplement their current resources, which will reach approximately 22,000 additional students. School wireless networks will also be upgraded in 66 schools to provide increased capacity for access to online resources. Additionally, district-wide management software will be deployed to provide greater controls of devices within the classroom.
In each of the following three years, CPS will invest $25 million each year to build on current technology in schools, so that by FY2022 all students are able to access a computer and use modern educational resources under the instruction of a teacher.
A Significant Step Toward Universal Pre-K for Four-Year-Olds
CPS and Mayor Emanuel believe that universal full-day pre-kindergarten has the power to level the playing field for students of all economic backgrounds. To ensure our youngest Chicagoans are prepared for success by the time they arrive in kindergarten, the FY2019 budget includes funding to carry out the first step in Mayor Emanuel’s ambitious plan to provide universal, free full-day Pre-K for all 4-year-olds by 2021. This year, CPS will create 180 additional full-day Pre-K classrooms to provide an additional 3,700 children with access to high quality early childhood education.
Research shows that students benefit from accessing high-quality instruction earlier in life, and expanding access to Pre-K will help level the playing field and narrow the achievement gap for Chicago’s youngest students.
Once Mayor Emanuel’s Pre-K expansion is fully implemented, CPS will have provided students with an additional 3.5 years of classroom time since 2011.
Relieving Overcrowding and Investing in After-School Space
The FY2019 capital plan also includes $138 million to build new annexes to alleviate overcrowding and provide additional classroom space at Dirksen, Palmer, Rogers and Waters elementary schools. Additionally, CPS is working with community leaders in the Belmont-Cragin community to identify a location for a proposed new elementary school to address overcrowding in the area.
CPS will also invest $46 million to make critical site improvements to playgrounds, play lots, and turf fields at schools across the city.
To accelerate academic progress in neighborhoods throughout Chicago, CPS is investing $247 million in building renovations and new construction to address critical academic needs identified by the community in the following schools:
- McDade, Poe and Decatur, all classical elementary schools that currently serve students in grades K-6, will expand to serve grades K-8 and receive additions and renovations to support their expanded grade structure. McDade and Decatur will receive additions due to their current space limitations, and Poe, which currently has sufficient space, will be renovated to ensure it effectively supports a K-8 structure.
- Hancock High School will receive a new, state-of-the-art school building to ensure that students have access to a high-quality selective enrollment facility on the southwest side.
- Hyde Park High School will receive significant building renovations to better support the school’s International Baccalaureate program.
- A new Near West Side High School will be built to support the growing student population in the area and establish a high quality high school in the community. CPS is working with the community to identify a location for the new school.
- Prosser Career Academy will receive a new CTE wing to support Chicago Builds, a two-year training program in the building trades for 11th and 12th grade students who are interested in pursuing a profitable career in building trades after high school graduation.
- Rickover Naval Academy will relocate to the former Luther North High School facility, pending a final agreement to purchase the facility. In May 2018, the Board of Education approved the purchase of Luther North, which would be renovated and become the new home of Rickover so that the school can accommodate more students and better support their current high quality academics.
- Senn High School will be renovated to repurpose the space that Rickover will be vacating so that it can effectively supplement Senn’s current space and continue the school’s academic growth and ability to attract students.
Investments in Academic Excellence
New investments in neighborhood schools will provide more than 5,000 additional students with new opportunities to learn in high-quality academic settings, including IB, STEM, magnet and classical schools in West Englewood, Pilsen, Bronzeville, Gage Park, South Lawndale, West Woodlawn and other communities throughout the city. Specifically:
- More than 1,800 additional students will have access to proven IB programs, on top of the more than 16,000 students who already receive an IB education in the nation’s largest IB network;
- Nearly 2,100 additional students will be able to engage with the advanced coursework and professional exposure provided through new Early College STEM programs, building on the five current Early College STEM schools that serve over 3,800 students;
- Through the conversion of three schools into STEM magnet schools, nearly 1,000 additional students will have access to STEM magnet programming, building on the over 6,600 students who currently benefit from these programs; and
- To meet demand for rigorous classical elementary schools, CPS is creating two new classical schools, which will serve more than 350 students next year in entry-grades and grow to serve more than 1,100 students. With the addition of these schools, CPS will be able to provide more than 2,600 students with access to a classical school in 2018-19.
In addition to those significant programming investments, CPS will be adding a team of 10 new postsecondary counselors to support an additional 7,000 students in high needs schools as they create post-secondary plans through Learn.Plan.Succeed., the district’s groundbreaking initiative to ensure that all high school graduates have a plan to be successful in the next phase of their life. The new post-secondary counselors will build on the work being done by the new Postsecondary Navigators, who are employees of the City Colleges of Chicago charged with supporting 1,000 students as they create thoughtful postsecondary plans.
Support for At-Risk Students
In addition to investing in high quality academics throughout Chicago, school budgets for the 2018-19 school year include funds to support at-risk students and ensure every child in every school has the resources they need to be successful.
For the first time, CPS has created a Small Schools Fund for schools with low enrollment, some of which have experienced a sharp enrollment decline in recent years. The district is setting aside $10 million for 129 schools to ensure those students receive a rich academic experience in schools that can continue to retain and attract their students. In some cases, this will allow schools to continue specialized academic programming by retaining teaching staff; in other cases, it will allow schools to continue valuable after-school programs.
In addition to the Small Schools Fund, CPS will provide $14 million in additional funding for low income students by raising the rate for Supplemental Aid (formerly Supplemental General State Aid) from $857 per student to $910 per student, a 6 percent increase. Research has shown that students from low income households generally require additional resources to be successful, and the increase in funding for these students will help ensure all students have the support they need to reach their full potential.
Finally, CPS is providing $5 million in supplemental funding to protect schools that would otherwise lose more than 3 percent of SBB funding this year — even if they saw a significant enrollment drop between the fall of 2016 and the fall of 2017. This protection will help ensure that significant enrollment declines do not result in dramatic funding changes at any school.
Improving Efforts to Protect Students
CPS will launch an Office of Student Protections and Title IX, an unprecedented long-term commitment to ensure learning environments are free from sexual violence, harassment, and discrimination. The 20-member team, which will be formed this summer and report to the CEO, will have a mandate to advocate for students and coordinate the district’s response to any allegation of abuse. The Office of the Inspector General will investigate allegations of abuse against CPS staff; as the district continues to move forward with these plans, additional announcements about funding and staffing will be made.
In addition, CPS will be re-checking the backgrounds of all current CPS employees, coaches, and volunteers to ensure anyone working with students is evaluated under the district’s stringent, centralized background check process.
The district will also implement a public awareness campaign in schools, district offices, and City of Chicago facilities to raise awareness of child abuse and the responsibilities of reporting suspected abuse. This campaign will be developed in the coming months and implemented during the 2018-19 school year, and we will be providing regular updates at cps.edu/protectingstudents.
Ensuring Equity in Access to a High-Quality Education
Equity is a core component of the CPS Vision and in order to sustain the progress that our students have made in the past decade, we must examine our policies and programs to see where inequity exists—whether in resources, staffing, academic supports, social and emotional supports, or access to high quality programs—and take steps to eliminate it. In support of that goal, CPS will establish an Office of Equity that is charged with developing, implementing, and reporting on district efforts to address the strategic priorities for diversity, equity, and inclusion. We have launched the search for the Chief Equity Officer who will lead this critical work.
We will continue improving our school application program GoCPS to further improve both equity and diversity in our schools. GoCPS was utilized by more than 93 percent of incoming freshman (26,909) in its first year. An overwhelming majority (92 percent, or 24,806) of those students were matched to a school on their application, and 81 percent of those were offered a seat at one of their top three school choices.
Additional Investments for FY2019
In FY2019, we will also invest nearly $2 million to restructure the network system to better support the unique needs of elementary and high schools. Under the revised structure, which will be in place for the 2018-19 school year, all elementary schools will remain in their current networks, and all high schools will be placed into four new networks that are better designed to support their needs.
To ensure that our schools are clean, positive learning environments for all students, CPS will invest in 200 additional custodians; 100 custodians dedicated to our schools and another 100 to work with us during the summer, preparing classrooms, interior and exterior spaces to provide students with a high-quality learning experience to start the school year beginning in the fall.
Investments are Producing Results
These investments are integral to the academic gains CPS’ students have made in a short period of time. CPS is now recognized nationally as a leader in urban education:
- In a landmark study of statewide educational outcomes, the University of Illinois – Chicago found that CPS students are outperforming their peers in every major racial and ethnic group throughout the state. UIC analyzed 15 years of Illinois test score data to make comparisons between subgroups.
- In its academic progress report, CPS reported dramatic improvements since 2011 on key metrics including participation in the arts, math and reading growth, graduation rates, freshman on-track to graduate, attendance, and dropout rates.
- CPS students have achieved a record high graduation rate, with 77.5 percent of students earning a diploma. The graduation rate has steadily risen over the past seven years, growing more than 21 percentage points since 2011 when just over half of CPS students earned a high school diploma.
- According to a University of Chicago’s To and Through Report, roughly 44 percent of CPS graduates now enroll in a four-year college or university – matching the national college enrollment rate.
- U.S. News and World Report heralded eight CPS high schools among the top ten schools in Illinois including two in the Top 100 nationally in 2018.
- The CPS 2017 graduating class received a record high $1.24 billion in scholarship offers, an increase of more than $80 million in scholarship dollars over the previous class year.
- Record rates of student participation and proficiency in Advanced Placement (AP) coursework has increased by over 43 percent since the 2010-11 school year and earned CPS its second College Board’s AP District of the Year Award since 2011. In the 2016-17 school year, the number of students earning a “3” or higher on at least one AP exam nearly doubled.
- In recent years CPS students achieved record scores on the Northwest Evaluation Association Measure of Academic Progress (NWEA-MAP) which measures academic achievement in grades 3-8. In 2017, a record 61.4 percent of students met or exceeded the national testing average in reading and 55.9 percent of students met or exceeded the average in math. For the fifth year in a row, CPS students have outscored national peers in both subjects.
- CPS suspension and expulsion rates have reached record lows for the district. By transitioning from exclusionary disciplinary practices to research based preventative approaches, the district has decreased out of school suspension rates by 76 percent and the expulsion rate has decreased by 59 percent since 2012.
- The Chicago Police Department announced that crime along Safe Passage routes has fallen by nearly one third since the 2012-13 school year. The program provides students with the confidence that they can travel to and from school safely and has improved attendance at the schools served. Crime along Safe Passage routes has declined by 32 percent since 2012, according to CPS crime statistics.
In FY2019, CPS is on a firmer revenue footing after years of chronic underfunding by the state. This is largely thanks to the Illinois General Assembly continuing to expand its financial support of public education by passing a state budget in a timely fashion. Under Public Act 100-586, as part of $350 million in new education funding statewide, CPS is budgeted to receive $65 million in added Evidence-Based Model funding and $18.5 million in early childhood funding in FY2019. The state will also contribute $239 million in pension support for the annual cost of Chicago teachers’ pensions, an increase from prior years and a dramatic improvement in teacher pension equity in Illinois.
The FY2019 revenue budget also anticipates a $75 million increase in property tax revenues and a $12 million increase in Personal Property Replacement Taxes (PPRT) revenues. With lower diversions into the debt service fund, this leads to an increase of $91 million and $36 million respectively for operating use, as indicated in Table 1. This is spurred by a steady increase of new property in Chicago, as well as a general improvement in the state’s business climate.
However, revenue generation will continue to be a significant priority for CPS in the years to come.
- Federal funding is pressured because of declining funding levels from the Trump administration.
- By statute, the State has declared that it intends to ramp up its education funding to fully fund the EBF model. This represents a great stride toward rectifying the historical underfunding of all local education agencies in Illinois. CPS was pleased to see the State live up to its commitment in this fiscal year and expects it will do the same in coming years.
- CPS does not have an unlimited ability to increase its property tax revenues, which are its main source of local revenue. Because of the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, if federal and state revenues were to slip, increases to CPS’ collection of property tax would likely still be capped at the rate of inflation, which has averaged around 2 percent in the past few years.
|FY2019 Budget||FY2019 vs. FY2018 Budget|
|All Other Local||$181.1||$214.2||$33.1|
|State Pension Support||$233.0||$238.9||$5.9|
As referenced previously in this chapter, the FY2019 budget for Chicago Public Schools includes a capital budget totaling $989 million of investments in long-term district priorities, improvements to make sure every high school in the city offers state-of-the-art access to science labs and district-wide access to digital learning tools. Building significantly onto the $136 million in investments made in the FY2018 capital budget, this proposed plan is the largest single-year capital plan since 1998. To support schools throughout the city, the FY2019 capital plan provides funding in five main areas: critical facility needs, overcrowding relief, educational programs, site improvements, and IT and security upgrades.
Under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CPS and the Board of Education have invested nearly $4 billion since FY2012 across the city to build new schools, provide playgrounds and air conditioning, improve access to technology with new computers and increased bandwidth, expand academic programs, and make core investments to fix and maintain our facilities. Today, there are nearly $791 million worth of major capital projects underway at over 185 schools. Each project supports CPS’ vision of equitably expanding high-quality academic options for families across the city.
The FY2019 capital budget is funded by proceeds from remaining prior year bond issuances backed by the Capital Improvement Tax (CIT) and state revenues, upcoming bond issuances, and potential outside resources as they become identified. The FY2018 capital budget was funded primarily through bonds issued in November 2017.
For additional details on the sources and uses of the FY2019 capital budget, please see the capital chapter of the Budget Book. Full details on the FY2019 capital budget are available on the interactive capital plan website: cps.edu/capitalplan. The site allows users to quickly select projects by school, geographic area, type, and year.
The FY2019 budget includes total appropriations of approximately $607 million for principal and interest payments on the district’s outstanding bonds.
CPS funds its Capital Improvement Program largely through the issuance of bonds. Bonds are debt instruments that are similar to a loan, requiring annual principal and interest payments. In FY2018, due to advocacy from parents, educators and courageous elected officials from Chicago and throughout the state, the State of Illinois approved Public Act 100-465 (PA 100-465). This created a new funding formula for school districts throughout the State, including CPS. The new Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) formula replaces the prior General State Aid (GSA) formula. As a result of PA 100-465 and the EBF Formula, most of the outstanding CPS bonds that were previously repaid from GSA revenues will now be paid by EBF revenues going forward.
CPS’ Capital Improvement Program, described in the Capital chapter, funds investments such as school additions and renovations, playgrounds, air conditioning, WiFi networks, and technology devices. The Capital Improvement Program also funds core investments in facilities, such as repairing or replacing infrastructure and mechanical systems. These investments create high-quality learning environments in schools throughout Chicago to support a world-class education for our students.
As of June 30, 2018, the Board of Education has approximately $8.2 billion of outstanding long-term debt and $600 million of outstanding short-term debt.
For additional information on the FY2019 Debt budget, please see the Debt chapter of the budget book.
Appendix I: FY2018 Operating Budget Financial Performance
Due largely to the state’s payment of prior year categorical grant revenues and spending levels below budget, CPS is estimated to end the year with revenues exceeding expenditures by $232 million. The end-of-year surplus improves the district’s financial position by reducing the need for short-term borrowing.
|FY2018 Budget||FY2018 Estimated End of Year||Variance|
|Property Tax||$ 2,808.7||$ 2,808.7||$ -|
|Replacement Tax||$ 90.4||$ 109.8||$ 19.4|
|TIF Surplus||$ 88.3||$ 87.9||$ (0.4)|
|All Other Local||$ 181.1||$ 180.1||$ (1.0)|
|State||$ 1,466.4||$ 1,615.1||$ 148.7|
|State Pension Support||$ 233.0||$ 233.0||$ -|
|Federal||$ 773.0||$ 676.8||$ (96.2)|
|Investment Income||$ 1.1||$ 5.6||$ 4.5|
|Total Revenue||$ 5,642.0||$ 5,717.0||$ 75.0|
|Salaries||$ 2,409.3||$ 2,498.2||$ 88.9|
|Benefits||$ 1,400.0||$ 1,362.6||$ (37.4)|
|Contracts||$ 1,220.8||$ 1,215.4||$ (5.4)|
|Contingencies||$ 302.7||$ 21.7||$ (281.0)|
|Commodities||$ 242.8||$ 241.1||$ (1.7)|
|Transportation||$ 106.7||$ 106.0||$ (0.7)|
|Equipment||$ 17.1||$ 40.1||$ 23.0|
|Others||$ -||$ -||$ -|
|Total Expenditure||$ 5,699.4||$ 5,485.1||$ (214.3)|
|Revenue (less than) Expenditure||$ (57.4)||$ 231.9||$ 289.3|
While second half receipts for property taxes are still pending, the year-end total of property tax revenue is projected to come in close to the originally budgeted amount of $2.9 billion. Personal Property Replacement Tax (PPRT) revenues are projected to come in $19 million above budget due to higher than expected statewide receipts of corporate income.
Under the new Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) model, CPS in FY2018 received $6 million less than originally budgeted in EBF revenues. This was a result of other school districts being further from their adequacy targets than expected. However, as the state began to catch up on categorical grant payments, CPS received $157 million of prior year categorical grant revenues in FY2018. This made up for the shortfall in EBF revenue and drove a significant positive variance in state funding in FY2018.
Federal revenues received in FY2018 were $96 million lower than budgeted. A large driver of this was a $14 million shortfall in Medicaid claims as compared to budget, due to a $7.5 million prior year rate adjustment and lower than expected fee-for-service reimbursements. Much of the remaining $82 million of reduced federal revenues was offset by a corresponding reduction in expenditures typically reimbursed with federal funds.
Estimated expenditures are $214 million lower than the FY2018 budget. This underspend is driven by three main categories: interest expense, grant and school-based contingencies, and healthcare. The decrease in FY2018 interest expense was driven by reduced reliance on short-term borrowing due to better than expected state revenue receipts. As mentioned further below, funds budgeted in contingencies may not spend their full budgeted amount especially in the case where anticipated grant funds are not received. Finally, the district’s healthcare expenditures were lower due to less aggressive claims costs growth than anticipated.
Appendix II: FY2018-FY2019 Summary Information
The FY2019 operating budget is approximately $5.98 billion. 66 percent of the budget is tied to teacher and education support personnel salaries and benefits (including pension costs). Charter tuition makes up nearly 13 percent of the operating budget while commodities (utilities, textbooks, supplies), transportation, contractual services, contingencies, and equipment make up the remaining 21 percent.
Appendix II Chart 1: Budget by Expense Category (millions)
The FY2019 budget includes 37,107 FTE, an increase of 596 FTE from the FY2018 budget. 97% of all positions in the FY2019 budget provide direct support to schools.
Appendix II Chart 2: Of the 37,107 Positions in the FY2019 Budget, 97% Directly Support Schools (FTEs)
|FY2017 Expenditures||FY2018 Projected Expenditures||FY2019 Proposed
Salaries and Benefits
70 percent of FY2018 operating expenditures were on employee salaries and benefits. The increase from FY2018 to the FY2019 salary budget reflects a combination of factors. Vacancy savings from positions unfilled during the course of FY2018 caused a reduction in FY2018 spending, but this is partially offset by the addition of positions to the FY2019 budget. Additionally funds that are held in contingency often get transferred and spent on salary and benefits during the year (see contingencies below for additional detail) which accounts for the relatively low increase from FY2018 spending to FY2019 budget. Finally, the transition to an outsourced facilities management model also shifts over $25 million from salary spend to contract spend as employees transition to vendor management. Additional benefit spending in FY2019 reflects increased pension contributions and healthcare costs.
This category includes tuition for charter schools and private therapeutic schools and payments for clinicians - such as physical therapists and nurses - that are not CPS staff. This category also includes early childhood education programs provided by community partners, and programs such as Safe Passage. In addition, this category includes repair contracts, legal services, waste removal, janitorial services, engineering, and other services. The increase to the FY18 Budget is due to the shift to outsourced facilities management services.
Commodities include spending on items such as food and utilities (which make up the largest share), as well as instructional supplies such as textbooks, software, and other supplies, such as postage and paper. The increase from FY2018 spend is due to utilities cost increases.
Equipment pays for the cost of furniture, computers, and similar other non-consumable items. The equipment budget is down from FY2018 spending as schools transfer funds into the equipment account for purchases throughout the school year.
The cost of bus service is the vast majority of the Transportation budget, but it also includes costs for CTA passes and reimbursement that the district is legally required to provide. The FY2019 budget for transportation is relatively flat as compared to FY2018 expenditures, due to the continual implementation of route optimizations.
This account type includes three categories of spending. The first category represents funding that has been budgeted but not yet allocated to specific accounts or units where it will eventually be spent. Under the SBB system, schools are not required to allocate all of their funds, but can hold some in contingency while they determine how they want to spend it. Similarly, the district holds grant funds in contingency, particularly if the grant is not yet confirmed. Spending should rarely take place from contingency accounts, which is why the budget is significantly higher than the actual expenditures.