As the local school district in Chicago, CPS serves as the charter authorizer for the city. Illinois Charter School Law requires 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 the nation’s third largest school district 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 55,000 students citywide.
The 2021 Request for Proposals
This RFP seeks proposals from development teams and existing operators who wish to open a charter school. This RFP also seeks proposals from existing Chicago contract school operators who seek a multi-grade expansion or seek replication to open a new contract school.
The information, forms, and support tools needed to complete this application can be found in the tabs on this site below:
- Timeline - Provides a timeline of the RFP process.
- Application and Supporting Materials - Provides the Application and includes the accompanying materials required to develop and submit a proposal.
Request For Proposal Process Timeline 2021
Each stage of the proposal submission and evaluation process is included in the timeline below. Please note that dates are subject to change.
|RFP Released||December 30, 2020|
|Office Hours with Applicants||February-March 2021||We encourage prospective applicants to email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule one-on-one appointments with us to discuss any questions.|
|Epicenter Account Information Due||March 3, 2021||Due by email to email@example.com by 5 p.m.|
|Tier I Application Due||March 10, 2021||Due by 5 p.m. to Epicenter|
|Applicant Meeting||Late March 2021||I&I staff will meet individually with applicants to discuss their proposal and the RFP process.|
|Tier II Application Due||May 17, 2021||Due by 5 p.m. to Epicenter|
|Tier I and II Publicly Posted||Summer 2021||Submitted applications will be posted on CPS.edu|
|Tier III Application Due||July 30, 2021||Due by 5 p.m. to Epicenter|
|Tier IV Application Due||October 5, 2021||Due by 5 p.m. to Epicenter|
|Applicant Capacity Interviews||October 2021|
|Public Hearing||November 2021|
|CPS Board Meeting||December 2021|
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.
Application and Support Material
All Application Support Material not currently available will be uploaded in January 2021.
This page includes all materials required to develop and submit a proposal if the applicant applying would be a new operator in Chicago or if the applicant is an existing Chicago operator.
Epicenter Account Information
All applicant groups must designate a lead contact/applicant who will complete the required application tiers in Epicenter, the online document management, compliance, and performance platform used by I&I. To designate a lead applicant for an Epicenter account, all applicants must submit the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 3, 2021 at 5pm:
- Lead Applicant Name, Email, Phone Number
- Proposed School Name
- If applicable, the name of the proposed management organization
The lead applicant will then be provided an Epicenter account (if they do not already have one) and will be provided access to the RFP Tiers in accordance with the stated deadline for each Tier.
2021 Request for Proposals for New Charter and Contract Schools
- 2021 RFP FOR NEW CHARTERS AND CONTRACT SCHOOLS
Application to open new charter or contract schools.
Domain 1: Community Engagement and Support
Domain 2: Academic Plan
Domain 3: Financial Plan
Domain 4: Operational Plan
Domain 5: Growth Plan
Helpful General Documents and Links
- ILLINOIS CHARTER SCHOOLS LAW
All proposals will be evaluated on compliance with Illinois Charter Schools Law
- CHARTER SCHOOL QUALITY POLICY
- CPS School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) Website – An explanation of the SQRP and tools to improve your understanding of the policy
- CHARTER SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY PLAN