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CPS to Invest Nearly $1 Billion to Modernize Schools and Propel Academic Growth

06 July 2018

Proposed Budget Launches First Phase of Free Universal Pre-K, Major Academic Investments and Largest CPS Capital Plan in More Than Two Decades.

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
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Friday, July 6, 2018

CHICAGO - As CPS students continue to make record-setting academic progress and earn national acclaim, Chicago Public Schools is proposing a budget that will accelerate their gains, with nearly $1 billion in capital, the first phase of the free, full day Pre-K initiative and major academic investments at schools in every neighborhood.

The proposed capital plan — which would be the district’s largest single-year capital investment in more than two decades — will promote equitable access to high quality resources by investing in educational programming, overcrowding relief, facility maintenance, athletic spaces, and IT and security upgrades. In addition to the capital investments, the FY19 operating budget increases classroom spending by more than $60 million and makes critical investments that will help create new opportunities for students in every neighborhood, particularly in areas struggling with poverty and low enrollment.

“Every student in Chicago deserves equitable access to modern school buildings, high quality academic programming and the resources they need to make learning come to life,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These unprecedented investments will support the record academic progress Chicago’s students are making, and inspire the next generation as they continue to shatter barriers and redefine what they can accomplish when given the opportunity to succeed.”

CPS’ proposed FY19 budget includes $7.58 billion in spending for the district in FY19. The proposed FY19 budget would be an increase of over $285 million compared to last year. CPS is able to responsibly increase spending thanks to the district’s significantly improved financial situation as a result of the historic education funding reform won by the Mayor, educators, parents and stakeholders.

“From expanding free universal Pre-K to the largest school modernization process in more than two decades, every school will be in a strong position this fall to provide a great education, especially as we do more to support schools with the greatest needs,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “By directing our available resources to the schools that need them most, we are working to ensure that all of our students – regardless of their zip code – have access to high quality resources and a world-class learning environment. The record-setting progress our students have made in recent years show how immensely capable the children of Chicago are, and we look forward to working with parents and educators to build on this progress.”

Largest Capital Plan in More Than two Decades to Help Provide All Students with High Quality Learning Environments
The nearly $1 billion proposed FY19 capital plan will build on nearly $4 billion CPS has invested in schools since 2011 to provide playgrounds and air conditioning, improve access to technology, build new facilities to relieve overcrowding, fix and maintain our facilities and expand academic programs that are propelling students’ progress.

High Speed Internet Access and Devices for All Students
To improve access to modern technology in schools throughout Chicago, CPS is launching a 4-year, $125 million investment that will ensure all schools have the devices and bandwidth for students to learn using state-of-the-art digital tools.

In the initial investment in FY19, CPS is allocating $50 million to support the schools with the highest need. Nearly 12,500 students at 24 schools — many of which do not have enough devices for all students or have computers that have reached the end of their life cycle — will receive all new equipment to support the use of technology in the classroom. An additional 40 schools will receive new devices and equipment to supplement their current resources, which will reach approximately 22,000 additional students.

In each of the following three years, CPS will invest $25 million each year to build on current technology in schools, so that by FY2022 all students can learn using modern educational resources at the direction of their teachers

Finally, as part of an IT safety investment to ensure student safety at every school, $4 million will fund new security equipment including approximately 1,000 state-of-the-art cameras, intercom phones, alarms, and screening equipment for 50 schools.

21st Century Science Labs in All Schools
In May 2018, Mayor Emanuel and CPS announced an ambitious plan to invest $75 million in CPS high schools to add, upgrade or renovate science labs and ensure all students receive a robust science education that prepares them to excel in 21st century careers. As part of the proposed FY19 capital plan, CPS will begin the first phase of this process by investing $28 million in lab modernization this year. A list of schools will be released in coming weeks.

Programmatic Investments to Build on School Success
The proposed budget also prioritizes high quality educational programming in neighborhoods throughout the city. CPS is investing $247 million in building renovations and new construction to address critical academic needs identified by the community at the following schools:

  • McDade, Poe and Decatur, all classical elementary schools that currently serve students in grades K-6, will expand to serve grades K-8 and receive additions and renovations to support their expanded grade structure. McDade and Decatur will receive additions due to their current space limitations, and Poe, which currently has sufficient space, will be renovated to ensure it effectively supports a K-8 structure.
  • Hancock High School will receive a new, state-of-the-art school building to ensure that students have access to a high-quality selective enrollment facility on the southwest side.
  • Hyde Park High School will receive significant building renovations to better support the school’s International Baccalaureate program.
  • A new Near West Side Open Enrollment High School will be built to support the growing student population in the area and establish a high quality high school in the community. CPS is working with the community to identify a location for the new school.
  • Prosser Career Academy will receive a new CTE wing to support Chicago Builds, a 2-year training program in the building trades for 11th and 12th grade students who are interested in pursuing a profitable career in the building trades after high school graduation.
  • Rickover Naval Academy will relocate to the former Luther North High School facility, pending a final agreement to purchase the facility. In May 2018, the Board of Education approved the purchase of Luther North, which would be renovated and become the new home of Rickover so that the school can accommodate more students and better support their current high quality academics.
  • Senn High School will be renovated to repurpose the space that Rickover will be vacating so that it can effectively supplement Senn’s current space and continue the school’s academic growth and ability to attract students.

The proposed capital budget includes an additional $46 million in site improvements to design and build new playgrounds, play lots, and turf fields at schools across the city so that students can benefit from a well-rounded education that promotes healthy development.

Overcrowding Relief
To alleviate overcrowding and ensure schools can meet the changing needs of their community, the proposed capital budget funds annexes at Dirksen, Palmer, Rogers and Waters elementary schools. Additionally, CPS is working with community leaders in the Belmont-Cragin community to identify a location for a proposed new elementary school to address overcrowding in the area.

Priority Facility Needs
Every student deserves to attend a school that is warm, safe and dry. To ensure school buildings are properly maintained and address facility needs, CPS is allocating $336 million in funding for roof, envelope, and mechanical repair and replacement. Capital funding for priority facility needs will address significant roof and building needs at 27 schools and renovate the heating and mechanical systems at nine other schools, in addition to other high-needs projects throughout the district.

Investments in Academic Excellence
To accelerate the academic gains CPS schools have made in recent years, the district is investing $3.1 billion in school-level funding in FY19. Through the district’s investments in academic excellence, communities across Chicago will benefit from new investments in high quality academics like International Baccalaureate and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs; additional resources for at-risk students; and an expansion of full-day Pre-K.

Expansion of Free, Full Day Pre-K
As the first step in Mayor Emanuel’s ambitious plan to establish free Pre-K for all 4-year-olds by 2021, CPS is expanding full-day Pre-K next year to accommodate an additional 3,700 students. To help ensure greater capacity going forward, the proposed FY19 capital plan also includes funding for new Pre-K centers at Dore Elementary and Perez Elementary.

Under this ambitious plan, an additional 180 full-day CPS classrooms will be added for this fall and will serve the families most in need – or roughly 15,000 of the city’s 4-year-olds. In the first year, expanded programming will focus on families of four who make less than $46,435 per year. Before the Mayor took office, less than 6,000 4-year-olds had access to Pre-K; this plan will ensure that 24,000 children are served.

IB, STEM, Magnet and Classical Expansion
New investments in neighborhood schools will provide more than 5,000 additional students with new opportunities to learn in high-quality academic settings, including IB, STEM, magnet and classical schools in West Englewood, Pilsen, Bronzeville, Gage Park, South Lawndale, West Woodlawn and other communities throughout the city. Specifically:

  • More than 1,800 additional students will have access to proven International Baccalaureate programs, on top of the more than 16,000 students who already receive an IB education in the nation’s largest IB network;
  • Nearly 2,100 additional students will be able to engage with the advanced coursework and professional exposure provided through new Early College STEM programs, building on the five current Early College STEM schools that serve over 3,800 students;
  • Through the conversion of three schools into STEM magnet schools, nearly 1,000 additional students will have access to STEM magnet programming, building on the over 6,600 students who currently benefit from these programs; and
  • To meet demand for rigorous classical elementary schools, CPS is creating two new classical schools, which will serve more than 350 students next year in entry-grades and grow to serve more than 1,100 students. With the addition of these schools, CPS will be able to provide more than 2,600 students with access to a classical school in 2018-19.

Supplemental Resources to Promote Equity
In addition to investing in high quality academics throughout Chicago, the FY19 budget includes funds to support at-risk students and promote more equitable access to high quality resources.

For the first time, CPS has created a Small Schools Fund for schools with low enrollment, some of which have experienced a sharp enrollment decline in recent years. The district is setting aside $10 million for 129 schools to ensure those students receive a rich academic experience and the schools can continue to retain and attract their students.

In addition to the Small Schools Fund, CPS is providing $14 million in additional funding for low-income students by raising the rate for Supplemental Aid by 6 percent and allocating $5 million to protect schools that would have otherwise lost more than 3 percent of their student based budgeting funding this year — even if they saw a significant enrollment drop between the fall of 2016 and the fall of 2017.

Improving Efforts to Protect Students
CPS will launch an Office of Student Protections and Title IX, an unprecedented long-term commitment to ensure learning environments are free from sexual violence, harassment, and discrimination. The 20-member team, which will be formed this summer and report to the CEO, will have a mandate to advocate for students and coordinate the district’s response to any allegation of abuse. The Office of the Inspector General will investigate allegations of adult-on-student abuse; as the district continues to move forward with these plans, additional announcements about funding and staffing will be made.

In addition, CPS will be re-checking the backgrounds of all current CPS employees, coaches, volunteer, and vendors to ensure anyone working with students is evaluated under the district’s stringent, centralized background check process.

The district will also implement a public awareness campaign in schools, district offices, and City of Chicago facilities to raise awareness of child abuse and the responsibilities of reporting suspected abuse. This campaign will be developed in the coming months and implemented during the 2018-19 school year, and we will be providing regular updates at

Budget Hearings and Board Consideration
To gather feedback on the proposed FY19 capital plan and total budget, CPS will be holding multiple public hearings this month.

Capital hearings will be held on Thursday, July 19 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Truman College - 1145 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL
  • Malcolm X College - 1900 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL
  • Kennedy King College - U Building - 740 W 63rd St, Chicago, IL

Additionally, the district will be holding two Budget Hearings on July 16 at 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at CPS Central Office, located at 42 W. Madison.

The final budget is expected to be presented to the Board for a vote at its July meeting, which is scheduled for July 25.

To view the full proposed FY19 Budget, please visit

Chicago Public Schools serves 371,000 students in 646 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.

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