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CPS Proposes FY2020 Budget to Invest in Hundreds of Neighborhood Schools Across Chicago

08 August 2019

Proposed FY2020 Budget Focuses on Equity and Directs Needed Capital Improvements to More than 300 Schools in Neighborhoods Across the City

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

Wednesday, August 8, 2019

Budget Highlights

CPS proposed budget for FY20 is $7.7 billion – $117 million more than FY19. Key budget investments include:

  • Critical building improvements for more than 300 schools across the city, with 93 percent of the $619 million in guaranteed capital funding going to schools that serve majority low-income students;
  • Largest-ever capital investment in pre-k classrooms ($120 million);
  • Largest-ever expansion of high quality academic programs, including STEM, IB and Fine and Performing Arts;
  • $10.5 million for ADA accessibility;
  • $10 million for nurse, social worker and case manager positions, and funds for recruitment and pipeline development; and
  • $12 million to support English Learners at more than 100 schools.

CHICAGO - As Chicago Public Schools students continue to make record-breaking academic improvements, the district is proposing an FY20 budget focused on equity that includes critical capital investments for more than 300 schools across the city as well as a significant expansion of school programming. The proposed FY20 budget includes an additional $73 million in classroom spending over last school year and is designed to accelerate learning opportunities in every school across the city by prioritizing equitable access to high-quality facilities and programmatic investments in high-need communities.

“This historic budget underscores Chicago’s commitment to our children through unprecedented investments across capital improvements, early-education, and expanded resources, giving students and educators alike increased access to state-of-the-art facilities and first-rate programming in every neighborhood and community,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “By putting equity first, we are ensuring every young person knows they matter, knows we care, and knows they can reach their full given potential, inspiring students of all ages to continue to set new academic records and create a city that is truly a beacon of hope and opportunity for all.”

The proposed FY20 budget prioritizes equitable access to high-quality facilities and programs by focusing on high-needs communities for programmatic investments and neighborhood school facility improvements. Equity served as the foundation for the district’s budget proposal, which was created in consultation with, and reviewed by,the CPS Equity Office. As a result of the district’s focus on equity, 93 percent of the guaranteed $619 million capital plan will support schools that serve majority low-income student populations.

“This budget, which invests in hundreds of neighborhood schools throughout the city, is grounded in the belief that every student in every school deserves access to high-quality academic programs and learning facilities," said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “With equity as our focus, the district is making investments that will impact students in every part of the city through academic programming, building renovations, IT modernization and Pre-K expansion. By providing additional support to our learners who need it the most, we are laying the foundation to build upon the district's record-setting progress."

CPS is able to responsibly increase its investments in the resources students need to access a high-quality education thanks to the district’s improved financial situation, which is due to the historic state education funding reform that families, educators, parents and lawmakers helped pass in 2017.

Capital Investments to Benefit Hundreds of Schools

CPS is investing $619 million as part of a total $821 million proposed FY20 capital plan that will benefit 161,000 CPS students across the city. Capital investments focus on priority facilities needs at neighborhood schools, the largest-ever Pre-K capital investment, ADA accessibility, and continued expansion of technology upgrades, modern science labs and other academic priorities.

Priority Facility Needs at Neighborhood Schools

Every student deserves to access a neighborhood school that is warm, safe and dry and CPS is allocating $263 million in funding for critical maintenance projects and interior improvements including roof, envelope, and mechanical repair and replacement, and critical interior repairs aligned with needs outlined in the Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP).

In previous years, the district invested in facilities needs along with significant new construction projects that benefited a smaller number of families. As part of its 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.

Expansion of Free, Full Day Pre-K For 4-Year-Olds

CPS is making the district’s largest ever Pre-Kindergarten capital investment as part of its plan to provide free full-day Pre-K to all 4-year-olds in Chicago by 2021. As part of a $120 million combined investment in Pre-K facilities, $20 million is being allocated for classroom conversions at 106 schools to be completed in time for the 2019-20 school year, and $100 million is being allocated for classroom expansion at schools to support additional Pre-K seats that will open in fall 2020. In the months ahead, CPS will engage with school leaders and families throughout the city to identify the schools that would benefit most from new classrooms to develop a plan to support the equitable expansion of Pre-K.

In addition to the historic $120 million investment in Pre-K classrooms, the FY2020 budget includes school-based funding to open more than 100 additional Pre-K classrooms in 28 high-needs communities, which will serve up to an additional 2,800 students.

Improving Access to School Facilities

As part of Mayor Lightfoot and CEO Jackson’s commitment to equity, CPS will invest $10.5 million to increase ADA accessibility as part of a multi-year program to ensure all CPS buildings have first-floor accessibility. While any major capital project contains significant ADA upgrades, for the first time in more than a decade, the district will set aside funds separate from existing capital upgrades or new construction to begin addressing this critically important need. CPS will work with the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities to identify the schools that most need ADA investments this year and the CPS Equity Office to ensure investments in the first year of this plan promote equitable access to accessible schools.

Programmatic and IT Investments to Build Upon School Success

The proposed budget also prioritizes high quality educational programming in neighborhoods throughout the city. CPS is investing $145 million in building modernization to ensure all schools are able to support 21st Century learning environments, including:

  • Science Lab Modernization: Invest $30 million to launch the second phase of its high school science lab modernization project to add, upgrade or renovate science labs in 29 high schools.
  • Upgrades to New Academic Programming: As part of the district’s new RFP process that empowered school communities to apply for programming through a transparent process, the district will invest an additional $30 million in capital upgrades to align with program needs.
  • Devices and High Speed Internet Access: To continue to expand access to modern technology in schools throughout Chicago, CPS is investing $85 million to provide devices and infrastructure modernization at over 130 schools.

Site Improvements that Foster Learning

The proposed capital budget includes an additional $45 million in site improvements to design and build new playgrounds, play lots, and turf fields at more than 15 schools across the city so that students can benefit from a well-rounded education that promotes healthy development.

Funding from the State

Thanks to the support and advocacy of the district’s dedicated elected officials in Springfield, the $821 million capital budget includes an additional $191 million in state funding that was approved this spring as part of the state capital bill. Because these funds have not yet been appropriated and are part of a six-year state plan, the district is capturing the full $191 million in this year’s budget so we are able to utilize any appropriations that may be made by the state this year. These funds, along with an additional $11 million in contingency funds held for potential capital support from other external sources, will not be allocated to specific projects until funding is provided by the state.

School-Based Investments in Academic Programs, Staffing, and Supplemental Support

To accelerate the significant academic gains our schools have made, the district is investing $3.8 billion in school-level funding in FY20, which includes an extra $73 million in academic investments to ensure every student in the district has access to a world-class education. Additionally, CPS is allocating millions in additional funding to ensure that the students who need our support the most have the resources needed to succeed, through additional support personnel, equity grants, and support for English Learners and students from low-income households.

Staffing Investments to Promote Equitable Access to High-Quality Schools

As part of a series of commitments made by Mayor Lightfoot and CPS CEO Jackson in late July that were informed by meetings with dozens of teachers, principals, parents, and community members, the district is expanding staffing levels for key support roles over the next several years. The FY2020 budget begins this commitment by allocating $10 million in funding and recruitment efforts for additional nurses, social workers and case managers, which will be prioritized for the district's highest-need schools to help ensure equitable access to student supports.
Nurses: To ensure every school has the consistent, high-quality nursing supports that students deserve, CPS is adding at least 250 nurse positions over the next five years. The FY2020 budget begins this expansion by including $2.5 million in funding to hire an additional 30 nurses during the 2019-20 school year to support district schools.

  • Social Workers: To meet the needs of both special education and general education students, CPS will add at least 200 more social worker positions to district schools over the next five years. CPS is committed to expanding social work support in our schools and has allocated $3.5 million to fund 35 additional social worker positions in FY2020. Due to the limited candidate pool available, the district does not anticipate being able to fill these vacancies immediately, but is committed to developing the recruiting pipeline needed to begin staffing these positions over the course of the next year.
  • Case Managers: To support school administrators in ensuring diverse learners receive the supports and services they need to access a high-quality education, CPS is increasing the number of special education case managers over the next three years. In FY2020, CPS is allocating $3.6 million to fund 30 additional case manager positions for schools in high-needs communities that have high numbers of students with diverse learning needs and would benefit from additional case manager support.
  • Recruiting and Pipeline Development: To address candidate shortage and establish a stable pipeline of qualified candidates, the district is investing an additional $400,000 in FY2020 to support ongoing nurse and social worker pipeline programs and recruiting efforts, with the goal of directing new candidates to the schools who need our support the most.

Program RFP Process

As part of a new, equitable program application process, CPS will be providing 32 schools a total of $5 million in FY20 to bring high-quality programs to 17,000 additional students at 32 schools. Access to the following programs will expand as a result of these investments: IB, STEAM/STEM, Fine & Performing Arts, Dual Language, World Language, Personalized Learning, and Gifted programs.

Additional Support for Students Who Need it Most

To ensure that students who attend schools with low and declining enrollment receive the benefits that students attending larger schools receive, CPS is providing $31 million in equity grant funding to 219 elementary and high schools that need additional support. These funds will allow schools with low or declining enrollment to provide the instructional programming and supplemental resources and supports that students need to reach their potential.

Increased Funding for English Learners

In addition to providing equity grants to high-needs schools and increasing funding to support students from low-income families, CPS is allocating $12 million to ensure English Learners receive a high-quality education that supports their needs and celebrates their heritage. This investment includes $6 million in additional funding on top of the initial $6 million that was allocated when school budgets were released in March. Now every school in the district that serves EL students is receiving supplemental resources to support instruction. This includes additional supplemental FTE at the 112 schools with the highest concentration of English Learners, impacting 35,000 students citywide. In addition, CPS is expanding funding for after-school tutoring programs to include all schools with 20 or more EL students and providing a per-pupil allocation to support schools with fewer than 20 EL students.

Budget Hearings and Board Consideration

To gather feedback from school communities on the proposed FY20 capital plan and total budget, CPS will be holding multiple public hearings this month.

Capital hearings will be held on Wednesday, August 21, 2019, from 6-8 p.m. (registration to begin at 5:00 p.m.) at the following locations:

  • Amundsen High School - 5110 N Damen Ave., Chicago, IL
  • Morgan Park High School - 1744 W Pryor Ave., Chicago, IL
  • Whitney Young High School - 211 S Laflin St., Chicago, IL

Additionally, the district will be holding two Budget Hearings on Tuesday, August 20, 2019, at CPS Central Office, located at 42 W. Madison at 4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The final budget is expected to be presented to the Board for a vote at its August meeting, which is scheduled for Wednesday, August 28, 2019.
To view the full proposed FY20 Budget, please visit

Chicago Public Schools serves 361,000 students in 644 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.