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Capital Improvement Plan for Fiscal Year 2021

Introduction

The FY2021 budget for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) includes a capital budget totaling $758 million of investments that will focus on priority facilities needs at neighborhood schools; full-day Pre-K expansions; ADA accessibility; and continued expansion of technology upgrades, modern science labs, and other academic priorities. To support schools throughout the city, the FY2021 capital plan provides funding in six main areas: critical facility needs, interior improvements, programmatic investments, overcrowding relief, site improvements, and IT and security upgrades. 

CPS is committed to promoting equitable access to high-quality school environments, and equity served as the foundation for the FY2021 capital plan. The district's Equity Office played an important role in developing the FY2021 capital proposal by helping to ensure that resources are distributed fairly and equitably across CPS schools so that all students can share in the district's record-setting progress. In addition, the FY2021 capital budget planning process included several enhancements, most notably around transparency and community outreach. The district conducted five public meetings and evaluated over 800 survey responses to gather community input during the capital plan development process. 

The CPS facility portfolio includes 522 campuses and 798 buildings. Our average facility age is over 80 years old, and the total CPS facility need is over $3 billion. Since FY2016, CPS has invested over $2.1 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. Additionally, CPS is investing $100 million in the next five years to ensure all CPS campuses are more accessible.  

The FY2021 capital budget is funded by future bond proceeds backed by Evidence-Based Funding (EBF), potential state capital funding, and potential 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.

Funding from the State

Thanks to the support and advocacy of the dedicated elected officials in Springfield, the $758 million capital budget includes $50 million in state funding that was approved this spring as part of a larger state capital bill for school construction. This funding has been directed to CPS for the construction of a new high school to service the Chinatown, Bridgeport, and South Loop communities

First District Equity Index to Prioritize Investments

In recent years, the district has focused on prioritizing investments that promote equitable access to high-quality learning environments. To advance this work, the district developed its first Equity Index, a new tool to help identify opportunity differences so that resources can be prioritized for the schools in greatest need. The equity index, which was informed by community feedback, was central to the development of this year’s capital plan.

Priority Facility Needs at Neighborhood Schools

Every student deserves to access a neighborhood school that is warm, safe, and dry, and CPS is allocating $306 million in funding for critical maintenance projects and interior improvements. As part of our commitment to equity, the district is prioritizing renovations at neighborhood schools throughout the city to ensure all students can learn and grow in school buildings that support high-quality learning environments.  

The FY2021 capital budget addresses the district’s priority renovation projects and most urgent facility needs. We will invest in 20 major roof and envelope projects and seven renovations to mechanical systems. Along with these projects, the funding will provide:

  • $149 million for priority roof, envelope, and mechanical projects;
  • $100 million for unanticipated emergency repairs;
  • $20 million for district maintenance priorities;
  • $14 million for masonry remediation;
  • $11 million for interior improvements;
  • $5 million for fire alarm system replacement;
  • $5 million for chimney stabilization; and
  • $2 million for critical temperature control system replacement.

Overcrowding Relief

The district’s overall building utilization average is nearly 70 percent based on the current school year. However, some buildings within the district cannot efficiently serve their currently enrolled or projected enrolled population due to limited space and require relief by way of new capacity or capacity expansion. Depending on the need, this may include a new addition or modular building. Based on the current enrollment pressures within the district, CPS will invest $40 million in FY2021 to provide overcrowding relief for Sauganash Elementary School. Sauganash is a heavily overcrowded elementary school, and 99 percent of the students who attend the school live in the neighborhood boundary.

Support for Students with Physical Limitations

We will invest $20 million to increase Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility in 36 schools as part of a multi-year program to ensure all CPS buildings have first-floor accessibility. Starting in FY2021, CPS is committing to spending $100 million over the next five years to improve accessibility of parking lots, main entrances, main offices, and public restrooms.

Expansion of Free Full-Day Pre-K

CPS is continuing to build on our commitment to provide free full-day Pre-K to all four-year-olds in Chicago by 2021. In FY2020, the district invested $120 million to complete classroom conversions in 153 classrooms for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. Building on this investment, the FY2021 capital plan includes $100 million to complete the remaining expansions and classroom conversions for the 2021–22 and 2022–23 school years.

Programmatic and Technology Investments to Build Upon School Success

The FY2021 budget prioritizes high-quality educational programming in neighborhoods throughout the city. CPS is investing $102 million in building modernization to ensure all schools are able to support 21st century learning environments, including: 

  • $50 million to construct a  new sports complex to serve the south and near south areas;
  • $30 million to support the third phase of high school science lab modernization––adding, upgrading, and renovating science labs in 31 high schools;
  • $22 million in building upgrades to support STEM, STEAM, IB, and world language programs at 22 schools;

Site Improvements that Foster Learning

This year’s capital budget also includes $27 million to design and build new playgrounds, playlots, and turf fields at over 25 schools across the city so that students can benefit from a well-rounded education that promotes healthy and active development.

IT and Security Infrastructure

In FY2021,  as CPS works to provide devices and home internet access to remote learning from home, we are also continuing our multi-year investment in the school Technology Modernization Program and high-speed internet for schools throughout the city. In FY21, the district is allocating $35 million to promote equity by increasing student-to-device ratios at schools in greatest need as well as addressing underlying connectivity by building and improving network infrastructure across the district.

Finally, to support student safety at every school, $2 million will fund new security equipment including cameras, intercom phones, alarms, and screening equipment.

Transparency

The district’s FY2021 Proposed Capital Plan is available on the interactive capital website. The interactive site provides community members with easy access to detailed information on all capital projects that are planned and underway. The site allows users to quickly select projects by school, geographic area, type, and year. The site has been designed to encourage public engagement and comment.

Public Hearing on FY2021 Capital Plan

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020

Capital Plan Hearing
Hearing time: 12:00PM – 2:00PM

CPS staff, families, and community members are invited to attend this virtual hearing regarding the district's 2021 fiscal year Capital Plan.

Where: Members of the public can view this hearing via our YouTube channel during the time listed above at youtube.com/chipubschools

If you wish to speak in this hearing: Advanced online registration opens 8/14 at 10:30 am and closes 8/17 at 5:00 pm or after all speaking slots are filled: Capital Budget Hearing 8/19 Registration Form (recommended)

or

Phone:  773-841-2362

If you wish to leave us a comment, please fill out our Capital Budget Hearing Public Comment Form which will remain open until 5:00PM on August, 24th. 

Thursday, August 20th 2020

Capital Plan Hearing
Hearing time: 2:30PM – 4:30PM

CPS staff, families, and community members are invited to attend this virtual hearing regarding the district's 2021 fiscal year Capital Plan.

Where: Members of the public can view this hearing via our YouTube channel during the time listed above at youtube.com/chipubschools

If you wish to speak in this hearing: Advanced online registration opens 8/14 at 10:30 am and closes 8/17 at 5:00 pm or after all speaking slots are filled: Capital Budget Hearing 8/20 Registration Form

or

Phone:  773-841-2362

If you wish to leave us a comment, please fill out our Capital Budget Hearing Public Comment Form which will remain open until 5:00PM on August, 24th. 

Friday, August 21st, 2020

Capital Plan Hearing
Hearing time: 3:30PM – 5:30PM

CPS staff, families, and community members are invited to attend this virtual hearing regarding the district's 2021 fiscal year Capital Plan.

Where: Members of the public can view this hearing via our YouTube channel during the time listed above at youtube.com/chipubschools

If you wish to speak in this hearing: Advanced online registration opens 8/14 at 10:30 am and closes 8/17 at 5:00 pm or after all speaking slots are filled: Capital Budget Hearing 8/21 Registration Form (recommended)

or

Phone:  773-841-2362

If you wish to leave us a comment, please fill out our Capital Budget Hearing Public Comment Form which will remain open until 5:00PM on August, 24th. 

How To Use This Site

The district’s FY2021 Proposed Capital Plan is available on the interactive capital website at interactive reports. The interactive site provides community members with easy access to detailed information on all capital projects that are planned and underway. The site allows users to quickly select projects by school, geographic area, type, and year. The site has been designed to encourage public engagement and comment.