Chicago Public Schools Fiscal Year 2014 Budget

Fund Descriptions

Budget Overview


The Board adopts legal budgets for all governmental fund types. The acquisition, use and balances of the government’s expendable financial resources and the related current liabilities are accounted for through governmental funds. Governmental funds that Chicago Public Schools utilizes have historically been divided into four types: General Fund, Special Revenue Funds, Capital Projects Funds and Debt Service Funds.  A fund is a separate accounting entity with a self-balancing set of accounts that comprise its assets, liabilities, fund equity, revenues and expenditures or expenses, as appropriate. 

To control the budget and to comply with rules and regulations, accounts are organized into governmental funds, each of which is considered a separate accounting entity. Funds are the control structures that ensure that public monies are spent only for those purposes authorized and within the amounts appropriated. Expenditures within each fund are further delineated by grant, program and account to more fully reflect the planned activities of the fund. The level of budgetary control is established for each individual fund and within the fund by object and program. 

CPS Fund Structure

Fund Type

Fund Name

Fund Number

Operating Fund

General Fund

114, 115, 117, 124, 230

Operating Fund

Special Revenue Funds:
Tort Fund
Other Grant Funds


312- 314
321- 369

Debt Service Funds

Debt service funds


Capital Projects Funds

Capital projects funds


General Fund

The General Fund is the primary operating fund of the Board. It was created in response to the provision of P.A.89-15, which consolidated all of the rate-limited tax levies into the Board’s general education tax levy. The General Fund consists of the Education Fund and the Operations and Maintenance Fund. The Education Fund includes Special Education Fund (114), Regular Education Fund (115), Tuition-based Preschool Fund (117) and School Special Income Fund (124). The General Fund is used to account for all financial resources except those required to be accounted for in another fund.

  • Education Fund (Funds 114, 115, 117, 124)

The Education Fund is used to account for the revenues and expenditures of the educational and service programs that are not accounted for in any other funds. It includes the cost of instructional, administrative and professional services; supplies and equipment; library books and materials; maintenance of instructional and administrative equipment; and other costs pertaining to the educational programs. The Education Fund contains the Special Education Fund (114), Regular Education Fund (115), Tuition-based Preschool Fund (117) and School Special Income Fund (124). The Special Education Fund (114) represents all instructional and service activities provided for students with disabilities. This fund is primarily supported by local property taxes and state special education reimbursements. The Tuition-based Preschool Fund (117) keeps track of fees received and payments made for the paid preschool program for children of working parents who are in need of a full-day education and child-care program for their 3- and 4-year-old children. School Special Income Fund (124) accounts for private foundation grants and donations that schools secure on their own and revenues that schools generate for school-specific functions to maintain their internal accounts.

  • Building Operations and Maintenance Fund (Fund 230)

The Building Operations and Management Fund supports repair and maintenance of buildings at CPS. The fund is used to account for expenditures for the minor improvement and repair of buildings and property, including the cost of improvement, repair, replacement and maintenance of building fixtures. The fund also pays for ongoing maintenance costs such as the salaries and benefits of engineers and custodial employees; all costs of fuel, lights, gas, and telephone service; and custodial supplies and equipment.

Special Revenue Funds

Special Revenue Funds are used to account for the proceeds of specific revenue sources that are legally restricted to expenditures for specific purposes. The Special Revenue Funds include the SGSA Fund, Workers’ Compensation/Tort Fund, School Lunch Funds, and federal and state grant funds.

Supplemental General State Aid Fund (SGSA Fund 225)

The SGSA Fund was created to provide supplemental instructional services to students from low-income families.  CPS is legally required to contribute funds from its General State Aid revenues. Prior to FY1990, this funding supported basic as well as supplemental programs.  With the passage of the Chicago Public Schools Reform Act of 1989, funding for supplemental programs increased for five years until it reached $261.0 million in FY1995, eliminating at the same time any funding for basic programs. Under the 1995 Chicago School Reform legislation, SGSA funding is mandated at a minimum of $261.0 million per year, effective FY1996.

Each school receives its share of the SGSA funds based on the number of students who receive free and reduced-price lunch. With the approval of Local School Councils, school principals develop programs in accordance with their school improvement plans as required by the Act.  The SGSA revenue supports programs that supplement the basic educational programs for economically disadvantaged students.  Recommended programs are early childhood programs, class-size reduction, education enrichment programs, attendance improvement, and remedial assistance.

Workers’ Compensation/Tort Fund (Fund 210)

The Tort Fund is established pursuant to the Tort Immunity Act (745 ILCS 10/1-101 et seq.) and the Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/34-1 et seq.). Property taxes constitute the primary funding source, and Section 9-107 of Tort Immunity Act authorizes local public entities to levy a property tax to fund expenses for tort judgment and settlement, liability, security, Workers’ Compensation, unemployment insurance and risk management. The monies in this fund, including interest earned on the assets of this fund, should be used only for the purposes authorized under the Tort Immunity Act. 

School Lunch Funds (Funds 312, 314)

The School Lunch Funds account for school breakfast, lunch and dinner for all children who participate in the programs during the school year. The National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs (Fund 312) are voluntary programs available to all public schools, private schools and residential child-care institutions that agree to operate a non-profit program offering lunches meeting federal requirements to all children in attendance. Children must meet the federal income guidelines for free or reduced-price meals or be determined as categorically eligible for free meals as members of Food Stamp or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) households. The federal government provides a minimum level of reimbursement for all lunches and breakfasts, while the Illinois Free Breakfast and Lunch Program also provides limited funding.  In addition to the reimbursement, the federal government provides commodities in lieu of cash based on the number of meals served.

Since FY1998, CPS has also been providing dinner for children under the Childcare and Adult Food Program, and this activity is accounted for in Fund 314.  The Childcare and Adult Food Program establishes a fixed reimbursement amount per meal for eligible students from 3 to 12 years of age who participate in after-school programs.

Federal and State Grant Funds (Funds 220, 324-369)

Grant funds account for monies that have restrictions on their use imposed by grantors such as federal and state governments.  Each specific project should be accounted for separately using a complete group of self-balancing accounts.  Care should be taken in establishing each group of self-balancing accounts so that the accounting and reporting requirements of the grantors are met.  If the grantor provides an accounting manual, it should be followed for the group of self-balancing accounts. 

Debt Service Funds (Funds 514-699)

Debt service funds are established to account for annual property-tax levies and other revenues that are used for the payment of principal, interest, lease payment, and other related costs.  The Board is authorized by state law to issue notes and bonds and to enter into leases for capital-improvement projects and cash requirements.  The debt service funds are required if taxes are levied to retire bonds or if other revenue is pledged to pay principal, interest, or service charges on other long-term debt instruments.  CPS is required to establish a separate debt service fund for each bond issue, although they can be aggregated for reporting purposes.

PBC Lease Funds (Funds 514, 516, 518)

These funds account for property tax revenues and lease payments to the Public Building Commission (PBC). The Board has lease agreements with the PBC. The lease payments to the PBC consist of principal, interest and administrative fees for revenue bonds that the PBC issued to finance capital projects for schools that the Board leases from the PBC. These bonds rely solely on property tax levies. The current lease payments support PBC bonds issued in 1992 and 1993, and refunding bonds issued in 1999. All of these revenue bonds will mature by 2020.


Alternate Revenue Bond Funds (Funds 606-699)

To support construction and renovation of school buildings, the Board has been issuing alternate revenue bonds since 1996. These funds account for pledged revenues and payments of principal, interest and related fees on any alternate bonds. The Local Government Debt Reform Act of the State of Illinois allows the Board to issue alternate revenue bonds based on dedicated revenue sources. A separate debt service fund must be established for each bond issue.

Capital Projects Fund (Funds 401–499)

The Capital Projects Funds are used to account for financial resources to be used for major capital acquisition or construction activities. Financial resources result from bond issues, receipts from other long-term financing agreements or construction or maintenance grants to be used for school capital projects and capital leases. The Board is required to account for proceeds from each bond issue in a separate capital projects fund. However, an aggregated capital projects fund group is sufficient for the purpose of external financial reporting. 


Page Last Modified on Saturday, May 27, 2017