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2019 Request For Proposals for New Charter and Contract Schools

At Chicago Public Schools (CPS), our vision is that every student in every neighborhood will be engaged in a rigorous, well-rounded instructional program and will graduate prepared for success in college, career, and life. This Request for Proposals (RFP) seeks to identify high quality school options that will accelerate academic outcomes for their targeted CPS student population.

As the local school district in Chicago, CPS serves as the charter authorizer for the city. The Illinois Charter School Law requires the review of all charter school proposals submitted to Illinois school districts. CPS releases an annual request for proposals designed to review new school applications, provides recommendations to the Chicago Board of Education on new school proposals, and provides oversight to authorized charter schools. CPS uses this RFP as its mechanism to accept proposals and meet the Illinois statutory requirement. The Office of Innovation and Incubation (I&I) is the office within CPS that oversees charter school authorization and oversight for the district.

CPS is one of the nation’s largest school districts and a national leading charter authorizer, implementing all essential practices established by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers critical to fostering high-performing charter schools. Currently, I&I oversees a portfolio of 137 charter, contract, and options schools and programs, and serves over 60,000 students citywide.

Among the portfolio of CPS-authorized schools are several diverse and innovative school models, blending technology with individualized instruction, dual-language programs, pre-professional training in the arts, and International Baccalaureate Programmes, among many others.

The 2019 Request for Proposals

This RFP will prioritize proposals seeking to serve communities with high need of improving educational outcomes and communities experiencing school overcrowding. CPS will consider proposals from operators who seek to open charter or contract schools to serve either a “traditional” student population (grades kindergarten through 12) or an “alternative” student population of students who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out.

The information, forms, and support tools needed to complete this application can be found in the tabs below:

  • Timeline - This tab provides a timeline of the RFP process.
  • New Operator Application - This tab provides the Application for Operators New to Chicago and includes the accompanying materials required to develop and submit a proposal.
  • Existing Operator Application - This tab provides the Application for Existing Chicago Operators and the accompanying materials required to develop and submit a proposal.

CPS will host a webinar for applicants in February 2019. We encourage all applicants to participate, and will provide information to sign up when an exact date is set.

Please contact 773-553-1530 or with any additional questions.

Request For Proposal Process Timeline 2019

Each stage of the proposal submission and evaluation process is included in the timeline below. Please note that dates are subject to change.

Activity Proposed Date Information and Updates
RFP Released December 28, 2018  
Applicant Intent to Apply Form Due February 22, 2019 Due by email to by 5 p.m.
Overview Webinar for Applicants February 2019 View the webinar on the RFP process for applicants.
Office Hours with Applicants Week of April 15-19, 2019 If you have specific questions about the RFP, please email with a list of the questions or request to schedule a consultation.
Tier I Application May 1, 2019 Due by 5 p.m. to Epicenter
Publicly Post Tier I Proposals Summer 2019  
Tier II Application Due August 1, 2019 Due by 5 p.m. to Epicenter
Tier III Application Due October 1, 2019 Due by 5 p.m. to Epicenter
Public Hearing at CPS Central Office November 2019 42 W. Madison, Chicago, IL
CPS Board Meeting December 2019  

I&I reserves the right to request additional information and documentation from applicants, as deemed necessary for review, and to amend this timeline as needed.