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Fund Descriptions 2021

A fund is an accounting entity with self-balancing accounts that comprise its assets, liabilities, fund equity, revenues, and expenditures or expenses as appropriate. Funds are the control structures that ensure that public dollars are spent only for authorized purposes and within the appropriated amounts. The Chicago Board of Education adopts legal budgets for all governmental fund types. Governmental funds account for the acquisition, use, and balancing of the government’s expendable financial resources and the related current liabilities. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) uses governmental funds that have been historically divided into four types: General Fund, Special Revenue Funds, Capital Projects Funds, and Debt Service Funds. 

To control the budget and to comply with generally accepted accounting principles, accounts are organized into governmental funds, each of which is considered a separate accounting entity. Expenditures within each fund are further delineated by unit, grant, program, and account to more fully reflect the planned activities of the fund. The level of budgetary control, which is where management can compare the budget to actual performance in order to demonstrate budgetary compliance, is established for each individual fund, unit, grant, program, and account.

Fund Type

Fund Name

Fund Number

Operating Fund

General Fund

Education Fund

Building Operations and Maintenance Fund

114, 115, 117, 124


Operating Fund

Special Revenue Funds 

Tort Fund



Other Grant Funds



312 - 314

324 - 370

Capital Projects Funds

Capital Projects Funds

401 - 499

Debt Service Funds

Debt Service Funds

514 - 699

General Fund

The General Fund is the Board’s primary operating fund. It was created in response to the provision of P.A.89-15, which consolidated all of the rate-limited tax levies into the Board’s general education tax levy. The General Fund consists of the Education Fund and the Operations and Maintenance Fund. 

  • Education Fund (Funds 114, 115, 117, 124) is used to account for the revenues and expenditures of the educational and service programs that are not accounted for in any other funds. It includes the cost of instructional, administrative, and professional services; supplies and equipment; library books and materials; maintenance of instructional and administrative equipment; and other costs pertaining to the educational programs. The Education Fund contains the Special Education Fund (114), Regular Education Fund (115), Tuition-based Preschool Fund (117), and School Special Income Fund (124). 
    • Special Education Fund (114) represents centralized service delivery activities and administrative outreach provided for students with disabilities. This fund is supported by local property taxes, state special education reimbursements, and Medicaid reimbursements. 
    • Regular Education Fund (115) represents all instructional and service activities not accounted for in any other funds. 
    • Tuition-based Preschool Fund (117) keeps track of fees received and payments made for the paid preschool program for children whose parents are in need of a full-day education and child-care program for their three- and four-year-old children, or families who are not income-eligible for state- or federally-subsidized programs. 
    • School Special Income Fund (124) accounts for private foundation grants and donations that schools and departments secure independently, as well as revenues that schools generate for school-specific functions.
  • Building Operations and Maintenance Fund (Fund 230) supports the repair and maintenance of CPS buildings. The fund is used to account for minor building and property expenses, including the cost of improving, repairing, replacing, and maintaining property and building fixtures. The fund also pays for ongoing maintenance costs, such as utility costs, custodial supplies and equipment, and the salaries and benefits of engineers and custodial employees.

Special Revenue Funds

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) provide special revenue funds to account for and report the proceeds of specific revenue sources that are restricted or committed to specified expenditures other than debt service or capital projects. The use of a special revenue fund type is permitted rather than mandated for financial reporting purposes. For these purposes, CPS includes the special revenue funds within the General Operating Fund.

The Special Revenue Funds include the Workers’ Compensation/Tort Fund, School Lunch Funds, and Federal and State Grant Funds. 

  • Workers’ Compensation/Tort Fund (Fund 210) is established pursuant to the Tort Immunity Act (745 ILCS 10/1-101 et seq.) and the Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/34-1 et seq.). Property taxes constitute the primary funding source, and Section 9-107 of the Tort Immunity Act authorizes local public entities to levy a property tax to fund expenses for tort judgment and settlement, liability, security, Workers’ Compensation, unemployment insurance, and risk management. The dollars in this fund, including interest earned on the assets of this fund, should be used only for the purposes authorized under the Tort Immunity Act.
  • School Lunch Funds (Funds 312, 314) account for school breakfast, lunch, after-school snacks, Head Start snacks, and after-school meals for all children who participate in the programs during the school year. The National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs (Fund 312) are voluntary programs available to all public schools, private schools, and residential child-care institutions that agree to operate a non-profit program offering lunches meeting federal requirements to all children in attendance. Since FY1998, CPS has also been providing after-school meals for children under the Childcare and Adult Food Program; this activity is accounted for in Fund 314. The Childcare and Adult Food Program establishes a fixed reimbursement amount per meal for eligible students who participate in after-school programs.
  • Federal and State Grant Funds (Funds 220, 324–370) account for dollars that have usage restrictions imposed by grantors such as federal and state governments. Each specific project is accounted for separately using a complete group of self-balancing accounts in order to meet the grantors’ accounting and reporting requirements. 

Capital Projects Fund (Funds 401–499)

The Capital Projects Funds account for financial resources used for major capital acquisition or construction activities. Financial resources result from bond issues, receipts from other long-term financing agreements, or construction or maintenance grants to be used for school capital projects and capital leases. Proceeds from a bond issuance are often recorded in a separate capital fund, consistent with GAAP. However, an aggregated capital projects fund group is sufficient for the purpose of external financial reporting.

Debt Service Funds (Funds 514–699)

The Board is authorized by state law to issue notes and bonds and to enter into leases for capital improvement projects and cash requirements. Debt service funds are established to account for revenues and appropriations that are used for the payment of principal, interest, lease payment, and other related costs. CPS frequently establishes a separate debt service fund for each bond issue, although they can be aggregated for reporting purposes.

  • PBC Lease Funds (Funds 514, 516, 518) account for property tax revenues and lease payments to the Public Building Commission (PBC) for debt service on bonds that the PBC sold to fund capital projects for schools that the Board is leasing from the PBC. The Board has lease agreements with the PBC to pay principal, interest, and administrative fees for revenue bonds that the PBC issued to finance capital projects for schools that the Board leases from the PBC. These bonds rely solely on property tax levies.
  • Debt Service Stabilization Fund (Fund 602) was established by the Board to provide for debt expenditures (e.g. debt service, variable rate payments, and fees) and other uses approved by the Board. 
  • Alternate Revenue Bond Funds (Funds 606–699) account for pledged revenues and payments of principal, interest, and related fees on any alternate bonds. The Local Government Debt Reform Act of the State of Illinois allows the Board to issue alternate revenue bonds based on dedicated revenue sources. The Board has been issuing alternate revenue bonds since 1996 to support construction and renovation of school buildings.

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