Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) $9.4 billion FY2024 budget sustains and enhances the investments that have guided our students’ recovery from the wide-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, helping them build on the progress made over the last school year and setting them up for success in the future.
The investments outlined in this budget are aligned to the Recommitments of Academic Progress, Operational Excellence, and Building Trust outlined in the CPS Three-Year Blueprint that was introduced by the District in early 2023. Meant to serve as a bridge to our District’s next full-scale strategic plan, the Blueprint provides guiding principles that are helping students recover ground that was lost during the pandemic, while putting forward a plan to reimagine how our District can better meet the needs of our city and its children for years to come.
This budget also outlines how CPS is continuing to be good stewards of federal pandemic relief aid, using funds to strengthen academic, social, and emotional resources for our students and school communities.
Despite the challenges of the last few years, CPS students have continued to break records and achieve amazing things. Here are the highlights of CPS’ performance over the past two school years.
Class of 2022:
- A four-year graduation rate of 82.9 percent. This total is up 2.7 percentage points from the prior year.
- A Freshman On-Track rate of 88.8 percent. Freshman On-Track is among the best indicators we have that our students are starting high school strong and will persist through to graduation.
- 97.5 percent of 12th-graders completed a postsecondary plan prior to graduation. This high percentage of students completing a postsecondary plan is thanks to our District’s groundbreaking Learn.Plan.Succeed. initiative that sets our students up for success beyond high school.
Class of 2023:
- These graduates have earned more than $2 billion in college scholarships to date, which is a record for the District.
- More than 5,000 of our high school graduates have already earned college credit through their completion of dual credit, dual enrollment courses offered by our partners at the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC). More than 600 among this group earned 15 or more college credits, and 120 graduated from high school having already earned their associate degree.
- 884 students sat for International Baccalaureate (IB) exams in 2023 — up from 770 in 2022 — and 9,650 students completed Advanced Placement (AP) exams.
- More than 2,400 12th-graders from 87 District-run schools earned the Illinois Seal of Biliteracy, which is awarded to students who demonstrate proficiency in two or more languages. This is an increase of 25 percent from the 2021–22 school year, and reflects the District’s intentional investment in bilingual and dual language programming.
Individual School Budget Toplines
To build on this progress, our FY2024 budget totals $9.4 billion. The District’s operating budget, which covers day-to-day expenses on staff, contracts, and other regular costs, is $8.5 billion — an increase of nearly $500 million from the District’s $8.0 billion operating budget in FY2023.
Individual school budgets make up the largest portion of our District’s overall budget. As a result, the benefits of this funding increase will be felt most directly at the school level:
- District-wide, per-pupil spending is increasing by over $1,000 in school budgets in FY2024.
- 92 percent of traditional, District-run schools will receive more money per student in their school-level budgets when compared with the 2022–23 school year.
- 90 percent of schools are set to receive increased funding in their school-level budget when compared with the 2022–23 school year.
Overall, school budgets will see an additional $243 million in funding in FY2024. This is on top of a $240 million increase in FY2023, meaning that the District has provided $480 million more directly to our schools over the past two years.
Moving Toward a More Equitable Funding Model
As one of the largest districts in the country serving schools with 40, 400, and even 4,000 students, enrollment simply must be a factor in CPS’ funding formula. However, a purely enrollment-based funding model shortchanges smaller and under-enrolled schools — predominantly serving Black and Latinx students on Chicago’s South and West Sides — that do not benefit from the same economies of scale as our larger schools. As a result, our FY2024 budget takes deliberate steps to allocate resources in a way that is based less on student enrollment and more on student need:
- At the individual school level, this budget continues our multi-year shift away from Student-Based Budgeting (SBB); in FY2024, just 39 percent of school budgets will be allocated according to SBB — down seven percentage points from FY2023.
- We are increasing our Equity Grant program from $50 million in FY2023 to $55 million in FY2024, helping to stabilize funding for smaller and under-enrolled schools, mostly on Chicago’s South and West Sides.
- CPS has also updated its Opportunity Index, which is an analytical tool that CPS uses to identify barriers to opportunity including race, socioeconomic status, education, health, and community factors when making certain funding and staff allocation decisions. By applying the updated Opportunity Index to allocate additional teacher positions, instructional coaches, counselors, and other staff positions, we can ensure that the families who are most impacted by inequity have additional support to create strong, vibrant, and healthy school communities.
As a result of these (and other) updates to our funding formula, schools where Black or Latinx youth make up the largest percentage of students have a higher per-pupil spending level than schools where the largest group of students are either White or Asian.
Building on our Academic Progress
The FY2024 budget contains $4.8 billion in school-level funding, an increase of more than $480 million over the past two years. This funding will go to support the priorities that our principals and school communities have told us are critical to their success, including:
- Reasonable class sizes.
- Limited split classrooms.
- Access to high-quality arts education.
- More intervention supports, including the hiring of more nurses, counselors, social workers, academic interventionists, and advocates for students in temporary living situations (STLS).
- Funding for local-level priorities.
Here are some of the new school-level investments that CPS is making in FY2024:
- $128 million in additional funding for special education teachers and paraprofessionals.
- $32 million in new funding for teaching positions with an emphasis on our highest-need schools.
- $15 million increase in funding for bilingual instruction, including $8 million in additional funding for enrollment adjustments at schools receiving newly arriving students.
- $13 million in new funding for school nurses, social workers, and case managers, bringing staffing levels to all-time highs in each of these categories.
- $5 million increase in Equity Grants for smaller and under-enrolled schools.
- Expanding pre-k by 480 seats with programs in all Chicago communities, and increasing the level of direct outreach to parents of young learners.
In addition to these new investments, CPS is continuing the following key school-level investments from FY2023:
- $55 million in continued support for expanded summer programs and out-of-school time programs to keep students safe and engaged outside of normal school hours.
- $45 million to provide teacher professional development District-wide and fund additional instructional coaches at 184 schools.
- $15 million to provide additional District-funded counselors at 131 of the District’s highest-need schools.
- $11 million to support 80 schools with significant year-over-year enrollment changes to ensure resourcing for programming.
- At least $10 million in continued funding for the CPS Tutor Corps, which has provided tutoring in reading and math to more than 10,000 students to date.
- $8 million to support athletics administration, including full-time athletic directors at over half of District high schools.
- Continued central funding of student devices and curricular supports.
- Continued funding for students in temporary living situations (STLS), including 50 advocates for students, at 45 schools with high STLS enrollment.
Increasing Support for Priority Populations
While individual school budgets make up the largest portion of the overall CPS budget, the next-largest portion is centrally managed funding that supports our schools.
The FY2024 budgets for CPS central office departments mirror the priorities of our school-based funding, which are to provide stability to our school communities and continue investing in the programs and resources that support our students’ academic, social, and emotional recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Specific areas we are focused on improving include:
- Increasing staffing to support priority student groups including Diverse Learners, English Learners, Students in Temporary Living Situations (STLS) and students who are chronically absent or truant.
- Supporting our talent pipelines to ensure greater diversity and fulfill staffing needs in all schools, especially schools that are harder to staff or are experiencing staffing shortages.
- Building out our mental health support system to connect students with resources.
- Bolstering SEL resources for students and staff through curriculum, professional development, targeted interventions, and partnerships.
- Continued funding to support the Community Schools model, investing $27 million, including $16 million of CPS resources, for programming at 118 schools.
- Continued funding to provide students with exposure to various career pathways through enhanced Career and Technical Education programming and employment/apprenticeship opportunities including in the growing field of green jobs.
- Continued funding to support students with college readiness through dual credit, dual enrollment, and other early college programs, including our Roadmap with CCC.
Investing in Safe and Supportive Learning Environments
The safety of all CPS students and their communities remains our absolute top priority, which is why our District will continue funding the programs and resources that protect our students' physical safety while also addressing their mental health and emotional well-being. These include:
- $3.7 million for the Comprehensive Whole School Safety Plan: Introduced early in the 2022–23 school year, this plan outlines continued investments in proactive safety resources like school safety equipment, as well as efforts to build out our mental health support system and expand SEL resources for students and staff through curriculum, professional development, targeted interventions, and partnerships.
- $13 million for Choose to Change: An evidence-based mentoring program designed to keep young people who are heavily impacted by violence and trauma on track to graduate from high school and out of the criminal justice system.
- $8 million for Back to Our Future: A high-touch intervention model designed to support youth who have been disconnected from school for at least 12–18 months, providing them with behavioral health services, mentoring and employment opportunities, and other wrap-around supports designed to help them safely reconnect with their school communities.
- $22 million for Safe Passage: Our program where committed adults from community-based organizations help keep students safe on their way to and from school and during summer programs and activities.
Launching a Multi-Faceted Capital Plan
The CPS FY2024 capital budget will follow a different trajectory than in previous years. To ensure that all schools are ready to receive students on day one of the new school year, CPS will pass a scaled-down capital plan in June of 2023 to address immediate facility needs, including emergency repairs.
CPS will soon launch a comprehensive review of all facility needs that will include robust stakeholder engagement. A supplemental capital plan with funding identified for priority projects will be released later in the 2023-24 school year, once this process is complete.
Supporting our District’s Long-Term Fiscal Health
CPS has been allocated more than $2.8 billion in reimbursable federal pandemic relief funds through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). As of June 2023, we project to have spent 65 percent ($1.82 billion) of these funds to support our students and families, with $670 million to be allocated as part of the FY2024 budget, as detailed below.
- $409 million to support school-level funding for District priorities and other local-level needs.
|Centrally funded teacher positions at every school on top of core funding allocations||$104|
|Funding for early childhood programs above what is funded by state grant funding||$101|
|Funding above projected fall 2023 enrollment||$70|
|Equity Grant support for small, under-enrolled schools||$55|
|Funding for loss cap and program support for schools to address outlier situations and support meeting instructional priorities||$23|
|CPS Virtual Academy||$6|
|Charter proportionate share of additional investments in school funding and recovery supports||$50|
- $228 million to support investments in academic recovery, SEL, and other student supports.
|Instructional coaching and school-based professional learning||$45|
|Summer school programming||$30|
|Skyline curriculum materials and supports||$25|
|Out-of-school time (OST) programming for all schools||$25|
|School assistants and other part-time operational support||$19|
|Instructional support leaders and content leads to support teacher professional development||$15|
|Re-engagement, home visits, and truancy prevention programs||$15|
|Additional centrally funded second counselor positions for high-need schools||$15|
|Mental health supports and trauma-informed interventions||$15|
|Early literacy support||$3|
|Universal SEL curriculum||$3|
|Chicago Roadmap funding||$1|
- $33 million to cover school-based operational positions, other pandemic-related needs, charter school funding, and other contingent expenses.
The decision to invest ESSER funds over several years has been both intentional and strategic. As the ongoing effects of COVID-19 continue to shift, so have the types of support our students need to recover and thrive. The responsible course is to maintain the funding flexibility necessary to adjust to their changing needs.
The below table gives a complete picture of how we have and will continue to allocate ESSER funds for the benefit of our students and schools:
|($ in Millions)||FY2020||FY2021||FY2022||FY2023||FY2024||FY2025||Total|
|Operational supports and supplies and other contingent expenses||$90||$61||$66||$56||$33||-||$306|
|Academic recovery and SEL supports||-||-||$97||$150||$228||-||$475|
|School-level funding for District priorities and other local-level needs||$6||$456||$460||$380||$409||$300||$2,011|
Our District’s long-term financial stability is made more complicated by continued inadequate and inequitable funding by the State of Illinois. CPS has made important strategic funding shifts over the last several years and has benefited from federal COVID-19 relief money. However, our District still does not have the appropriate level of funding from the state to meet our students’ needs.
Despite recent improvements, under the state’s own evidence-based funding (EBF) model, CPS is still funded at only 75 percent of what the formula says the District needs to be “adequately” funded. If the state’s EBF formula was fully funded, an additional $1.4 billion would be available to support schools, providing resources for staff and programs.
Furthermore, CPS is the only district in the state that is required to fund its own teacher pensions. The state covers teacher pension costs for every other District in the state, while providing only 32 percent of CPS’ total cost. The remaining 68 percent ($700 million) is covered by Chicago taxpayers, a burden no other district in Illinois incurs.
Finally, unlike every other district in the state, CPS has limited access to alternative revenue sources to fund capital projects. Because of this, CPS must use over $540 million of EBF and other unrestricted funds to make debt service payments on maintenance and building school infrastructure. These dollars would be otherwise eligible for everyday classroom expenses.
To mitigate these funding inequities, CPS has taken a strategic approach to using ESSER funds, outlined above, that has allowed the District to address pressing needs, support instructional priorities, and maintain fiscal stability. CPS, alongside community stakeholders, is currently advocating for additional funding to ensure the state fulfills its commitment so that our families and District can thrive.
Community Engagement Around Budget Priorities
The FY2024 budget is reflective of input from principals, network chiefs, Local School Councils (LSCs), the Principal Advisory Council, and other District partners. This budget also continues to advance the recommendations made by the 2020 School Funding Working Group, which included a diverse array of stakeholders. This variety of feedback and perspectives has allowed us to shape a budget that will better support each school’s unique needs while remaining aligned to our District-wide priorities. We look forward to receiving additional feedback from our stakeholders at upcoming budget hearings, the details of which can be found cps.edu/budget.
CPS’ Operating Budget by Spending Unit
CPS’ total operating budget includes $8.49 billion in funding, with 95 percent of these funds directly supporting schools. Funding allocated directly to District, charter, and contract school budgets makes up 56 percent of the operating budget. City-wide funding allocations to provide centrally managed support directly to schools, such as custodians, nurses, social workers, security, and other functions makes up 38 percent. These include funds transferred to schools after the start of the year to account for fall enrollment funding adjustments, grant awards, and other factors. The remaining 5 percent of the CPS operating budget covers central office and network costs providing essential services in support of schools and the district.
Chart 1: FY2024 Operating Budget by Spending Unit
CPS’ Operating Budget by Expense Category
The following table breaks out the District’s same $8.49 billion operating budget by expense category, to provide an overview of what types of spending CPS has planned in its FY2024 budget.
Chart 2: FY2024 Budget by Expense Category ($ in Millions)
Salaries and Benefits: 66 percent of the FY2024 operating budget funds employee salaries and benefits. The FY2024 budget for salaries reflects an increase of $229 million over the FY2023 budget. This is driven by major investments in school-based instructional and support staff, along with the cost of contractual increases for union employees. FY2024 benefit costs include an increase of $242 million over FY2023 budget, largely attributed to the District’s required contribution towards the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund.
Contracts: This category includes tuition for charter schools and private therapeutic schools and payments for clinicians that are not CPS staff. This category also includes early childhood education programs provided by community partners and programs such as Safe Passage and Safe Haven. In addition, this category includes transportation, repair contracts, legal services, waste removal, custodial services, engineering, and other services. FY2024 contractual costs will increase by a projected $117 million over FY2023 largely driven by contractual increases for the District's repair, custodial, and engineering costs, tech support for student computing devices, and a shift within the budget for early childhood programs from contingency in FY2023 to contractual services in FY2024.
Commodities: Commodities include spending on items such as food and utilities (which make up the largest share), instructional supplies such as textbooks and software, and other supplies such as postage and paper. The FY2024 budget for commodities is $4.3 million less than FY2023 budget based on increased commodity credits anticipated for the school meals we provide.
Equipment: Equipment pays for the cost of furniture, computers, and similar other non-consumable items. The FY2024 budget includes an increase of $15 million to provide hygiene product dispensers in all bathrooms and an investment in lunchroom equipment.
Contingencies: 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 current system for school funding, 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. The FY2024 contingency budget reflects a reduction of $104 million, driven primarily by a reduction in pandemic-related grant funding from federal and state sources.
CPS’ Operating Revenues
|All Other Local||$204.0||$453.1||$249.1|
|State Pension Support||$308.7||$322.7||$14.0|
CPS is projected to receive $3,816 million in property tax revenues in FY2024, which remains the district’s largest single revenue source. A portion of the district’s property tax revenues are restricted for specific uses. Within the operating budget, CPS projects to receive $557 million from the dedicated Chicago Teacher Pension Fund (CTPF) levy, which assists CPS in paying its annual pension obligation.
Personal Property Replacement Taxes (PPRT) are collected by the state of Illinois and distributed to local governments state-wide. While the tax rates behind the collections are constant, the amount of funding CPS receives from this revenue can vary significantly from year to year. This is because PPRT is a tax that businesses and partnerships, trusts, and S corporations pay on their net Illinois income, along with a tax that public utilities pay on invested income. CPS projects to collect $539 million in PPRT operating revenue in FY2024.
State law requires that surplus TIF district property tax revenue is proportionally distributed to the taxing bodies within the TIF districts. CPS expects to receive $96.9 million in TIF surplus funding in FY2024. CPS’ share of TIF surplus funding will be finalized once the City of Chicago passes its budget in the fall.
All other local revenue includes a variety of smaller revenue sources, including school-generated revenue, payments from charter schools, and revenue generated through intergovernmental agreements, including $142 million from an annual City property tax levy that funds the debt service on CPS issued bonds through the District’s School Building and Improvement IGA.
In FY2024, CPS’ state revenue budget is $2.49 billion, which comprises 26.6 percent of CPS’ total budget. As discussed above, the state provides funding to CPS through Evidence-Based Funding, support for pension normal cost, and several other appropriations that come in the form of reimbursable or block grants.
Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) is the largest portion of funding that CPS receives from the state of Illinois. In FY2024, EBF represents roughly 70 percent of the $2.49 billion that CPS is projected to receive from the state.
FY2024 is the seventh consecutive year that CPS has benefited from the State of Illinois making payments to the Chicago Teacher Pension Fund (CTPF). While the state contributions help to offset the impact that CTPF has on CPS’ financial health, Chicago remains the only district in Illinois that is required to pay contributions to the district teacher pension fund. In FY2024, the state contribution to CTPF is $322.7 million, an increase of $14.0 million from the prior year.
In addition to EBF and teacher pension contributions, CPS is projected to receive $433 million in revenue from other state appropriated funds and categorical grants. The majority of this funding is from the Early Childhood block grant, which increased from $221 million in FY2023 to an estimated $249 million in FY2024. CPS also expects to receive $12 million for teacher pipeline efforts as part of a new appropriation in the state's recently passed budget.
Most federal grants require the Chicago Board of Education to provide supplemental educational services for children from low-income households, children from non-English speaking families, and for neglected and delinquent children from preschool through twelfth grade. These grants are dedicated to specific purposes and cannot supplant local programs. Medicaid reimbursement and Impact Aid are the only federal funding that is without any restriction.
For additional information on the FY2024 Revenues, please review the Revenue chapter of the budget book.
CPS Personnel Budget
The FY2024 budget includes 45,160 full-time equivalents (FTEs), an increase of 1,782 FTEs from the FY2023 budget. 96 percent of all positions in the FY2024 budget provide direct support to schools.
Chart 3: Of the 45,160 Positions in the FY2024 Budget, 96% Directly Support Schools (FTEs)
|FY2023 FTE||FY2024 FTE||Increase or (Decrease)|
|School Support Staff||12,647||13,672||1,025|
|Citywide Student Support||6,604||6,711||107|
|Central Office Personnel||1,380||1,488||108|
|Network Office Support||291||287||(4)|
Note: Totals in above table may not foot due to rounding.
Continued Investments in Staff to Support Schools
The largest and most important investment that our District makes is in our people — the dedicated school leaders, teachers, and staff who inspire, guide, and support our students every day. The District has budgeted for a total of 45,160 full-time employees (FTE), an increase of 1,782 FTE from FY2023 with allocations that include an additional:
- 533 teachers, driven primarily by growth in special education teachers;
- 1,025 school support staff and administrative staff including classroom paraprofessionals, youth intervention specialists, security guards, restorative justice coordinators, and other school-based personnel;
- 13 school administrators, which includes Principals and Assistant Principals;
- 107 citywide student support personnel, including nurses, social workers, and other personnel working in schools;
- 108 staff in Central Office departments to support investments made in our schools, including:
- 64 staff across district academic offices to continue our investment in instructional capacity and postsecondary support, including the shift of 12 JROTC positions under the Office of College and Career Success
- 17 staff to support the District’s Title IX, Law, Audit offices, and the Office of the Inspector General, to strengthen support for students and district compliance measures
- 16 staff in the Talent office primarily funded by new federal grants supporting teacher leadership development
- 12 staff across CPS operational departments to support Facilities, Security, Nutrition, and Transportation staff in schools, and other related district functions
- 8 additional staff across network offices, including 5 positions supporting a new network for Options schools; overall network office staff reflects a decrease of 4 positions due to the shift of 12 JROTC positions to a central office designation under the Office of College and Career Success
FY2024 Capital Budget Overview
The CPS FY2024 capital budget will follow a different trajectory than in previous years. To ensure that all schools are ready to receive students on day one of the new school year, CPS will seek to pass a scaled-down $155 million capital plan in June of 2023 to address immediate facility needs, including emergency repairs. The FY2024 capital plan provides funding in five main areas: critical facility needs, interior improvements, programmatic investments, site improvements, and IT upgrades.
The District will soon launch a comprehensive review of all facility needs that will include robust stakeholder engagement to develop an Educational Facilities Master Plan. A supplemental FY2024 capital plan with funding identified for priority projects will be released later in the 2023-24 school year once this process is complete.
CPS is committed to promoting equitable access to high-quality school environments. The District's Equity Office played an important role in developing the past few capital proposals and will continue to do so for the FY2024 capital plan to ensure that resources are distributed equitably across CPS schools so all students can share in the District's record-setting progress.
The CPS facility portfolio includes 522 campuses and over 800 buildings. Our average facility is over 83 years old, and the total CPS critical facility need is over $3 billion. Since FY2016, CPS has invested over $3.5 billion into capital improvements across the District. These projects include major renovations to ensure our schools stay warm and dry, facility construction to relieve overcrowding, security cameras to provide a safer environment for our children, and renovations to aid programmatic enhancements, among others.
The FY2024 capital budget is primarily funded by the future issuance of general obligation bonds which are principally repaid by Evidence-Based Funding (EBF). (For more information, please see the Debt Management chapter of the budget book.) A portion of the FY2024 budget is also funded by Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds, state funding, and other outside resources as they become identified.
CPS’ capital plan aligns with the priorities outlined in the draft Educational Facilities Master Plan. Future projects will be determined by equity, assessed need, educational priorities, and available funding.
For additional information on the FY2024 Capital budget, please review the Capital chapter of the budget book.
FY2024 Debt Budget Overview
The Chicago Board of Education (Board) is authorized by state law to issue notes and bonds, enter into lease agreements for capital improvement projects, and assist in the management of cash flow and liquidity. As of June 1, 2023, the Board has approximately $8.9 billion of outstanding long-term debt and no outstanding short-term debt. FY2024 includes appropriations of $785 million for long-term debt service payments. Approximately $19.5 million of appropriations for interest on short-term debt is included in the operating budget.
CPS’ Capital Improvement Program, described in the Capital chapter, funds long-term investments that provide our students with a world-class education in high-quality learning environments. CPS relies on the issuance of bonds to fund the investments laid out in the program, which include roofs, and windows; state-of-the-art high school science labs; high-speed internet; playgrounds and athletic fields; and the expansion of full-day pre-k.
For additional information on the FY2024 Debt budget, please review the Debt Management chapter of the budget book.