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2021 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. 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 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 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.

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

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.

Activity Date Information
RFP Released December 30, 2020  
Office Hours with Applicants February-March 2021 We encourage prospective applicants to email to schedule one-on-one appointments with us to discuss any questions.
Epicenter Account Information Due March 3, 2021 Due by email to 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
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.