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Capital 2019

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 FY2011 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.

Full details on the FY2019 capital budget are available on the interactive capital plan website: The site allows users to quickly select projects by school, geographic area, type, and year.

CPS’ five-year capital plan will include further investments in deferred maintenance, overcrowding, targeted site improvements and emergency projects, in line with the priorities outlined in the draft Educational Facilities Master Plan. Future projects will be determined by assessed need, district educational priorities, and available funding.

Sources and Uses

Table 1: Sources and Uses (Thousands)
Estimated Sources  
Anticipated Bond Offerings and Other Capital Funds1 $749,900
Prior Year Bond Proceeds $189,100
Other Potential Outside Funding $43,000
Federal E-Rate Funding $7,000
Total FY2019 Capital Budget Sources $989,000
Estimated Uses  
Educational Programming $339,200
Facility Needs $335,650
Overcrowding Relief $138,000
IT, Security, & Building System Investments $88,000
Site Improvements $45,700
Capital Project Support Services $25,250
Potential Land Acquisitions $16,000
Potential Externally Funded Projects $1,200
Total FY2019 Capital Budget Uses $989,000

Modern Computing Resources for All Students

To improve access to modern technology in schools throughout Chicago, the district is beginning a four-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 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 utilize modern educational resources at the direction of their teacher.

Investing in High-Quality Educational Programming

The FY2019 capital budget includes $339 million for critical infrastructure investments that support the district’s high-quality educational programs. $117 million has been identified for building renovations to expand programming at nine schools (Decatur, McCutcheon, McDade, and Poe elementary schools, and Hyde Park, Phillips, Prosser, Rickover, and Senn high schools).

This budget also includes providing $43 million to expand STEM, IB, and Magnet programming and high school science lab upgrades, and $18 million for new Pre-K centers. Finally this investment includes $46 million in site improvements to design and build new playgrounds, play lots, and turf fields at schools across the city.

$145 million has been reserved for two new high schools: a new school for Hancock HS, and a new high school on the near west side. CPS will engage stakeholders on the near west side to hear how best this new school can serve their community.

Addressing Critical Facility Needs

The FY2019 capital budget provides $336 million to address the district’s priority renovation projects and most urgent facility needs, including major roof, envelope, and mechanical repair and replacement. The district’s preliminary capital plan included $189 million for these investments, and the final capital budget includes an additional $147 million.

This funding will address 27 roof and envelope projects and nine replacements and renovations of boilers and mechanical systems. Along with these projects, the funding will cover $64 million of additional priority roof and mechanical projects, $40 million of unanticipated emergency repairs, $23 million of district maintenance priorities, $2 million for a chimney stabilization program, $0.5 million of student accommodations.

Providing Overcrowding Relief

The FY2019 capital budget includes $138 million to alleviate overcrowding at several schools across the district. CPS considers multiple factors when prioritizing schools for overcrowding relief. Generally, schools with boundaries receive priority for overcrowding investments, especially when long-term enrollment projections suggest that capacity issues will worsen. Additionally, new construction is considered if there is limited availability of nearby leased space to alleviate capacity, and if there are programming deficiencies, such as dedicated lunchrooms or gymnasiums, that can only be provided via new construction.

Included in this investment are 4 annexes to relieve some of the district’s worst overcrowding. These will provide additional classroom and programming space at Dirksen, Palmer, Rogers and Waters elementary schools.

Additionally, CPS is working with community leaders on the northwest side to identify a location for a proposed new elementary school to address overcrowding in the area.

Critical Investments in IT and Security Infrastructure

In FY2019, CPS is also allocating $38 million to support the district’s critical IT systems throughout the city. Of this, $19 million will be dedicated to improving internet connectivity and network infrastructure across the district and $3 million will support the ongoing implementation of a new student information system that schools and central office will use daily to track student and school-level data. An additional $6 million will support investments in the district’s data storage, financial reporting, and payroll software and hardware.

Other improvements include $5 million for fire alarm and temperature control replacement and $2 million for an air conditioning replacement program to maintain the district-wide air conditioning investments of the past four years.

Finally, to ensure student safety at every school, $4 million will fund new security equipment including approximately 1,000 state-of-the-art cameras at 50 schools, intercom phones, alarms, and screening equipment.

Impact of FY2019 Capital Projects on Operating Budget

All projects considered for inclusion in the annual capital budget are analyzed for their projected impact on the district’s operating budget.

Facility Needs

Addressing facilities projects today not only helps the district reduce the costs associated with temporary fixes, which have been increasing significantly over time, but it also helps reduce debt service payments associated with borrowing for these projects. This in turn frees up operating dollars that can be re-allocated for instruction, supports and other district expenses.

In addition, by replacing roofs and mechanical systems with more energy efficient solutions, we will reduce energy costs.

Overcrowding Relief

Overcrowding alleviation projects are necessary to accommodate the changing population sizes of neighborhood schools in order to ensure productive learning environments. Adding additional square footage to the district increases operating expenses on utilities, custodial services, engineering, and security.

Educational Programming and Site Improvements

Investments in educational programming that convert or improve existing space (e.g., new labs, converted classrooms, upgrades for IB and STEM) will have no appreciable impact on the operating budget because the district already accounts for the cost of maintaining these spaces. Investments in classroom technology to support the district’s new PreK-12 curriculum system will add operating expenses related to support and maintenance of software and devices.

Investments that require build-outs and add physical space to an existing building, such as an addition for new Pre-K classrooms, will add operating expenses for utilities, custodial services, engineering, and security, similar to the impact of annexes described above.

IT and Security Infrastructure

The remaining projects consist of infrastructure, hardware or software implementation that do not trigger any additional operating costs. The ongoing support for these projects will be absorbed by current available staff. The implementation of the new Student Information System will drive operating savings once implemented, as the new system will free up staff time. New security equipment will potentially add additional costs to the operating budget for maintenance and repair as time goes on; however, we expect these costs to be limited as we fit the new equipment into our current maintenance and repair plan.

Capital Project Support Services

This allocation of funds helps to support the management of the capital budget which includes reconciling invoices, managing project and construction timelines, and ensuring the effective design, implementation, and construction of various capital projects. These services are necessary to manage a complex capital program, conduct cost estimations, meet financial and management objectives, and plan for the next phase of the district’s capital plan.

Capital Projects Funds

The Summary of Capital Projects Funds table (Table 2) shows capital revenues and capital outlays (expenses) to be incurred in FY2019 regardless of the year the project was appropriated. The Fund Balance (unspent revenues received in prior years) accounts for the difference in expected FY2018 capital outlay versus revenue. For example, if the district raised $400 million in bond proceeds during a fiscal year but only expensed $300 million in the same time period, the remaining $100 million would carry forward in the Fund Balance for use during the following fiscal year.

Table 2: FY2017 - FY2019 Summary of Capital Projects Funds (Millions)
  FY2017 Actual FY2018 Estimate FY2019 Estimate
Beginning-Year Fund Balance $138.9 $822.2 $986.0
Local $75.8 $34.5 $36.4
State $30.1 $13.3 $15.3
Federal $6.7 $6.6 $6.6
Total Revenue $112.6 $54.4 $58.2
Capital Outlay $204.8 $218.6 $521.6
Bond Proceeds $775.5 $318.3 $313.0
Sales of Capital Assets $- $9.6 $3.0
End-of-Year Fund Balance $822.2 $986.0 $839.0

FY2019 Local revenue of $36.4 million includes $18 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF)-related project reimbursements and $18.4 million from other local funding sources.

The State revenue total of $15.3 million is comprised of $13.3 million in gaming revenue for new construction projects, $0.8 million from Illinois Green Infrastructure Grants, $0.3 million funded through state environmental fines, and $1 million in other State grants.

The Federal revenue total is an expected $6.6 million in federal E-Rate funding for upgrades to the district’s IT infrastructure.

Table 3 outlines capital funds spent each fiscal year, by the year in which the funds were appropriated. For a more detailed view into FY2018 spending, CPS will publish a report by September 30, 2018 that offers a breakdown of funds by project, source, and other categories.

Table 3: FY2015 - FY2019 Capital Spending by Year (Millions)

A data chart outlining capital funds spent each fiscal year

  1. The Board currently expects that the proceeds of the bonds will be applied to so reimburse itself not later than 18 months after the later of (a) the date the original expenditure is paid, or (b) the date the Project is placed in service, but in no event more than three years after the original expenditure is paid.