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Capital Improvement Plan for Fiscal Years 2016 – 2020

May 1 – FY17 Capital Plan

This Draft FY17 Capital Plan will continue all previously announced ongoing capital projects. Given CPS’ financial constraints and efforts to work with our partners in Springfield to resolve those constraints, CPS may reassess and amend this Draft FY17 Capital Plan when the District’s budget is released this summer.

The Draft Capital Plan for FY18, FY19, FY20 and FY21 anticipates utilizing proceeds from the recently passed Capital Improvement Tax. The expected $45 million in additional revenue will be used to address projects in the following categories: overcrowding, deferred maintenance, targeted site improvements and emergency projects.

Update 8/10/2015. CPS published an updated Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) capital plan in conjunction with the release of the District's FY16 overall budget that added $17 million to the previously announced $160.2 million FY16 capital plan. Details of the updated FY16 capital plan can be found below or by clicking on the Interactive Capital Budget button to the left.

Chicago Public Schools is proposing a $178 million capital budget for fiscal year 2016. The Budget reflects commitments to previously announced projects, but limits additional investments to emergency repairs and maintenance that immediately impact student safety and comfort. The budget includes $63 million in funding from the City of Chicago, the Federal e-rate program and other sources, with CPS providing $115 million.

Chicago Public Schools is facing tremendous financial challenges, and with a projected $1.1 billion budget deficit, its only option is to propose a capital program that offers the minimum to maintain or upgrade our aging schools.

As part of the proposed budget, commitments made for multi-year financed projects will be met, and the structural integrity of schools will be maintained for the safety of students and staff.

A summary of the FY16 and five-year capital plan is outlined below.

Limited Financial Resources

With funding severely limited by the District’s $1.1 billion budget deficit, we must shift the focus of our five-year capital plan away from the balanced plans released in prior years and instead address only the most urgent facility needs throughout the District. On average, our buildings are over 75 years old with a total repair need of $4 billion. Our financial shortfall forces us to reprioritize our capital plan towards an emphasis on roofs, chimney and other basic building needs and leaves little remaining for important investments that would ease overcrowding, add additional programmatic initiatives, or technology upgrades – despite the District’s enormous need for such investments.

The FY16 plan totals $115 million in CPS funded projects, significantly below the five-year plan released last year that called for $183 million in CPS investments, as we must further work through the District’s budget deficit.

We continue to seek assistance from outside entities in order to address needs we are unable to meet, and in FY16 we expect to receive over $62.6 million in outside funding from the City of Chicago, the Federal e-rate program and other sources to bring our total FY16 capital plan to $177.6 million.

Prioritize Building Needs

The FY16 Capital plan proposes nearly $101 million in roof, chimney and other building condition projects to address the most urgent needs throughout the District in order to keep students safe, warm and dry. Investments in the Facility Needs category include roofs at Saucedo, Collins and De Diego, as well as chimneys at Alcott, Manierre, McCormick and Sumner. In addition, Tilden will receive urgent masonry repair, Crown and Shields will benefit from needed structural renovations, we will complete a piping replacement at Douglass, and finish phase II of the Lane Tech major renovation started last year.

The five-year capital plan proposes to continue to direct available funding towards the District’s most urgent building needs, with annual investments between $70 and $80 million. Of this total, we will set aside $16 million annually for emergency projects that arise throughout the year, which becomes an increasingly important tool as we manage through a smaller-than-ideal capital plan and as our buildings continue to age.

Technology, Programmatic and Other Investments

While the focus of the FY16 capital plan will be on Facility Needs due to limited available funding, we recognize that several other areas throughout the District require immediate attention and have appropriated $20.9 million to invest in IT infrastructure, programmatic needs, athletic fields and near the completion of the district’s playground and air conditioning initiatives.

  • Continue full-day Pre-K expansion. We propose investing $2.7 million to continue the district-wide Pre-K expansion at Columbia Explorers and Tonti. Tonti, a high performing neighborhood school, will receive a new 4-classroom modular unit to expand on a successful Pre-K program at the school. The Columbia Explorers project involves building out new leased space to house Pre-K students.
  • Improve school internet access for enhanced learning. The District requires $10.6 million in immediate IT needs, $8.5 million of which will provide upgraded data networks at over 50 schools with the help of nearly $4 million in Federal e-rate funding. $2.1 million in IT spend will fund three projects necessary to keep the District’s computer systems up-to-date. An additional $2.6 million will fund projects that will be paid for with operating budget savings, and save the District money over time.
  • Playgrounds program successfully completed. With the completion of the 27 playgrounds in the FY16 playlot budget, CPS will wrap up the multi-year playground program that successfully built playgrounds at all schools with available space.
  • Air Conditioned classrooms to aid learning. In 2013, fewer than half of the CPS campuses had air conditioning in every classroom. Since 2013, CPS has installed air conditioning at 177 CPS schools and after the newest air conditioners are installed at 35 schools this summer, only 65 school campuses remain without air conditioners.

Outside Funding Provides Much Needed Enhancements

With the help of over $26 million in new TIF and other local funding, CPS is able to build athletic fields at Wells, Esmond, Hayt, Audubon, Clemente and Alcott, along with new playlots at Hamilton and Perez. In addition, Amundsen will receive an interior renovation and Orozco will continue the Space to Grow program started last year, both paid for through local funding.

Overcrowding Relief Underfunded

This capital budget does not include any new schools or annexes. Just over $10 million will go towards overcrowding relief at Dore and Mount Greenwood. The Mount Greenwood project consists of a six modular classrooms to address the growing population. Dore will receive an eight classroom modular addition to temporarily relieve severe overcrowding while design starts on a more permanent solution.

The two investments, while much needed, do not adequately address the increasing need to provide adequate space for expanding populations within the district. Without assistance from a State capital program, CPS is unable to further address this outstanding need within the district due to limited financial resources.


CPS’s FY16 proposed One- and Five-Year Capital Plans are made available on the district’s interactive capital website, providing community members with easy access to detailed information on all capital projects – planned and underway. The site allows users to quickly select projects by school, geographic area, type, and year. It also allows users 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 FY16 and five-year capital plan ensures that CPS has complied with the requirements of Public Act 097-0474. The FY16 and five-year capital plans were developed around findings from the Education Facility Master Plan. Together, these resources provide a comprehensive picture of the utilization, capital needs, and future direction for CPS’s physical infrastructure.