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Comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan for Fiscal Years 2014 – 2018

Update 7/29/2013: CPS published FY13 capital expenditure data in accordance with Public Act 097-0474. To access the Capital Expenditure interactive data, please press the "FY13 Expenditure Report" button to the right.

Update 7/24/2013: CPS published an updated fiscal year 2014 (FY14) capital plan in conjunction with the release of the district's FY2014 overall budget that added $120 million in outside funded projects and $25 million in projects funded by CPS resources to the previously announced $161.8 million FY14 capital plan. Details of the updated FY14 capital plan can be found below or by clicking on the Interactive Capital Budget button to the right.

CPS is investing $187.7 million of district resources and another $120 million of outside funding to make our buildings safe, warm and dry; to relieve overcrowding; and to expand access to Career and Technical Education programs. The fiscal year 2014 (FY14) capital plan is part of a five-year plan that will help CPS meet our most urgent needs and educational priorities while recognizing the district’s fiscal constraints. As CPS works to improve facilities and infrastructure in ways that will provide every student in every school in the district with a high-quality education, we remain committed to allocating resources efficiently and effectively to help close a $1 billion operating budget deficit.


CPS’s FY14 proposed one- and five-year capital plans build on last year’s launch of the district’s first interactive capital website by providing an even greater level of detail and functionality, with easy access to information on all capital projects – planned and underway. The site allows users to quickly select projects by school, geographic area, type, and year; and the ability to scroll over an interactive map to gather details by area. The site has been designed to encourage public engagement and comment to ensure better planning and implementation of capital investments.

Developing and posting the proposed FY14 and five-year capital plan ensures that CPS has complied with the requirements of Public Act 097-0474. The FY14 and five-year capital plans were developed around findings from the draft Education Facility Master Plan, and will supplement the upcoming second Annual Capital Expenditure Report to be provided by September 30, 2013. Together, these resources as outlined in P.A. 097-0474 will provide a comprehensive picture of the utilization, capital needs, and future direction for CPS’s physical infrastructure.

Guiding Principles

The draft Educational Facilities Master Plan, the 10-year outline of community area-level needs and individual school level needs, available as of May 1, 2013, in accordance with P.A. 097-0474, as amended by P.A. 97-1133. We have used the findings and recommendations of the draft Master Plan to guide our FY14 and five-year capital plans. However, as the May 1 release is in draft form, any changes to the final Master Plan may cause corresponding changes to the district’s five-year capital plan. Areas of focus in the FY14 and five-year capital plans derived from the draft Master Plan include:

  • Educational goals guide the direction. Investments in Career and Technical Education Programs, Early College Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Schools (ECSS), and Recess initiatives and other programmatic initiatives are a top priority for new capital investment.
  • Health/safety must be maintained. Because the scope of our capital investment is limited, we are focusing directly on investments to protect the health and safety of the students, teachers, and adults in the school community. This means repairing masonry that is cracked and at risk of crumbling; chimneys that are in danger of collapse; roofs that are leaking and causing interior damage; and boilers that are in urgent need of replacement.
  • Support Full School Day. Continue building new playgrounds at schools currently lacking the facilities, which provides space for a real recess so kids can exercise and refresh.
  • Relieve Overcrowding. While the proposed school consolidations have begun to address the District’s areas of excess capacity, several communities in the District have too many students for the space available. The five-year capital plan begins to address the need to relieve overcapacity through annual investments in new Annexes.
  • Partner for external support. The district has been successful in expanding the scope of its capital program in the past through external funding sources such as TIF. Any additional resources can help expand the FY14 – FY18 Capital Plan beyond the current projects.

Financial Overview

The size and scope of the Capital Plan is very much dependent on CPS’s overall financial picture.  Each year, the District must balance classroom instruction with other costs, such as investment in infrastructure. In tight fiscal times, these tradeoffs are in high relief. This is especially true now, as CPS is facing a $1 billion deficit in FY 14.  CPS’s budget outlook is similarly very challenging as revenues are declining and operating expenditures keep growing.    

With these fiscal constraints in mind, we are presenting a capital plan that is more modest in scope than in the past.

Capital Plan graph

Our capital proposal reflects $155-160 million in new spending annually in FY15 – FY18, a reduction of approximately $40 million per year compared with the five-year plan released May 1, 2012. This reduction comes as the district further focuses on minimizing debt service, and as a result of the FY13 Supplemental Capital budget, which “pulled forward” to FY13 several projects originally slated to break ground from FY15 – FY17.

Hundreds of Projects Underway

In addition to outlining the proposed projects for FY14 – FY18, this website identifies each of the over 220 projects that are currently underway from our prior year capital plans.  Capital projects frequently cross fiscal years, as major renovations take time to complete or are done in phases when children are not in school.  Thus, while we are proposing to add $307.6 million of new CPS funded projects, CPS is currently working on over $900 million in projects that began in FY13 or before.  All of these projects are detailed in the Interactive Reports section of this website. 

Framework for Capital Planning: Public Act 097-0474 and PA 097-1133

These statutes provide a broad framework to guide CPS facility planning through annual plans, five-year plans, and the ten-year Educational Facilities Master Plan. These plans, along with the guidelines for school actions and the partnership with the Chicago Education Facilities Task Force, will ensure the broadest participation and greatest transparency in CPS planning.

P.A. 097-0474 established the following key components in addition to the one-, five-, and ten-year plans:

  • Bi-Annual Assessments:  In FY13 CPS began performing Facility assessments bi-annually, instead of the previous tri-annual timeframe, and has already performed 512 campus assessments. CPS now inspects 350 schools annually, up from 230 schools when using tri-annual assessments.
  • Annual Capital Plan Release Date: The public dissemination of one year capital plans at least 60 days prior to the end of each fiscal year. Prior to FY13, CPS traditionally introduced the capital budget at the same time as the operating budget. This document conforms to the requirements set forth in P.A. 097-0474.
  • Annual Expenditure Report:  An annual report detailing all capital expenditures incurred in the prior fiscal year is due by September 30 of each year.
  • Project Reconciliation: Any differences between the projected Five-Year Capital Plan and the projects included in the one-year budget must be explained. We have included below the rationale behind all changes to the FY14 Five-Year Capital Plan versus the FY13 Five-Year Capital Plan, exceeding P.A. 097-0474 requirements.