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Chicago Public Schools Increases Classroom Spending to Better Serve Students

13 June 2023

Proposed $9.4 Billion Budget Makes Strategic Investments, including Additional $128M to Support Students with Special Needs 

CPS Office of Communications

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

CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Tuesday posted a proposed $9.4 billion FY2024 District budget that supports the critical investments that have guided students’ academic recovery from the wide-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and increases investments in key areas to support the District’s Diverse Learners and students with the greatest needs, from Pre-K through high school. The CPS budget, covering the educational and operational mission of the District and its more than 600 schools, is posted on its public website and available at the District’s central office for review in advance of budget hearings next week and the Board of Education’s monthly meeting June 28. 

”This proposed budget is a step toward fulfilling CPS’ commitment to providing resources for every school community so that our students are healthy, safe, engaged, and on the path to long-term success,” said Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. “This investment in our children is not only an investment in a stronger future for them and their families but is essential to living up to Chicago’s promise as a world-class city.”

Since the District’s release of draft FY24 school budgets in April, the FY2024 budget now contains $4.8 billion in school-level funding, an increase of more than $480 million over the past two years. Increased allocations address school-specific concerns and the continued multi-year move away from student-based budgeting and toward funding that better considers students’ varied needs. Highlights of the revised school budgets include:

  • Per-pupil spending is increasing by more than $1,000 in school budgets next year.
  • Ninety-two (92) percent of schools will have a higher per-pupil funding level compared with last year — up from the 91 percent reported in April.
  • Ninety (90) percent of schools will see increased funding over last year — up from the April projections of 82 percent and up from 70 percent last year.
  • Thirty-nine (39) percent of funding in school budgets is allocated according to Student-Based Budgeting  — down from the 43 percent reported in April and down from 46 percent in FY2023.
  • Overall, schools will receive more than $240 million more in their budgets compared with last year — this figure is up more than $90 million from the $150 million increase reported in April. 

 The school budgets continue to support the priorities that CPS principals and school communities have shared are critical student success, including:

  • Reasonable class sizes
  • Limited split classrooms
  • Access to high-quality arts education
  • More intervention supports, including the hiring of more nurses, counselors, social workers, academic interventionists, and advocates for students in temporary living situations (STLS).

“We’re grateful to be able to fund these priorities - this foundation for what all schools should and can expect to receive,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “We will continue to work  to ensure every school has the resources necessary to meet students' instructional needs as our District moves forward, from expanding services to preschoolers to increasing our graduation rate and the dollars earned in college scholarships.” 

Any schools that saw cuts to their budgets this year are schools that have seen significant enrollment declines or have seen decreases in specific student populations, such as diverse learners or preschool students. FY2024 budgets include loss mitigation strategies, including $11 million to cap local funding losses at three percent and a $5 million increase to equity grants. 

The remainder of the District’s annual budget is made up of the budgets for the CPS departments that support schools, academically and operationally, along with the District’s pension obligations, debt service, and capital budget. The FY24 budget maintains a sharp equity focus on continued academic recovery, mental health service and best serving our priority students, including our Diverse Learners, English Learners, Students in Temporary Living Situations, and students who are chronically absent or truant. 

The District’s budget features increased allocations in several priority areas including: 

  • $128 million in additional funding for special education teachers and paraprofessionals
  • $32 million in new funding for teaching positions with an emphasis on filling positions within the District’s highest-need schools
  • $15 million increase in funding for bilingual instruction, including $8 million in additional funding for enrollment adjustments at schools receiving newly arriving students 
  • $5 million increase in Equity Grants for smaller and under-enrolled schools, for total of $55 million
  • Expanding pre-k by 480 seats with programs in all Chicago communities, and increasing the level of direct outreach to parents of young learners with a $101 million investment above what is funded by state grants and an additional $3 million for early literacy support 

In addition to these new investments, CPS is continuing the following key school-level investments from FY2023: 

  • $45 million to provide teacher professional development District-wide and fund additional instructional coaches at 184 schools.
  • $15 million to provide additional District-funded counselors at 131 of the District’s highest-need schools.
  • $11 million to support 80 schools with significant year-over-year enrollment changes to ensure resourcing for programming.
  • $8 million to support athletics administration, including full-time athletic directors at over half of District high schools.
  • $55 million in continued support for expanded summer programs and out-of-school time programs to keep students safe and engaged outside of normal school hours.
  • Continued central funding of student devices and curricular supports.
  • At least $10 million in continued funding for the CPS Tutor Corps, which has provided tutoring in reading and math to more than 10,000 students to date.
  • $13 million in new funding for school nurses, social workers, and case managers, bringing staffing levels to all-time highs in each of these categories.
  • Continued funding for students in temporary living situations (STLS), including 50 advocates for students at 45 schools with high STLS enrollment.
  • Continued funding to support the Community Schools model, investing $27 million, including $16 million of CPS resources, for programming at 118 schools.

“The budget sustains and enhances the critical investments that have guided our students’ recovery, promising to help build on progress made over the past school year and strengthen classroom teaching and learning as we move forward,” said CPS CEdO Bogdana Chkoumbova. “Our students need and deserve these continued investments.”

Investing in Safe and Supportive Learning Environments

The District will continue more than $60 million investment toward programs and resources that protect students' physical safety while also addressing their mental health and emotional well-being. These include:

  • Comprehensive Whole School Safety Plan: Introduced early in the 2022–23 school year, this plan outlines continued $3.7 million in investments in proactive safety resources like school safety equipment, as well as efforts to build out our mental health support system and expand SEL resources for students and staff through curriculum, professional development, targeted interventions, and partnerships.
  • Choose to Change: An evidence-based mentoring program designed to keep young people who are heavily impacted by violence and trauma on track to graduate from high school and out of the criminal justice system. The District will invest $13 million in this program this year. 
  • Back to Our Future: A high-touch intervention model designed to support youth who have been disconnected from school for at least 12–18 months, providing them with behavioral health services, mentoring and employment opportunities, and other wrap-around supports designed to help them safely reconnect with their school communities through an eight million dollar allocation.  
  • Safe Passage Program: The District will invest $22 million to provide students with support as they walk to and from school each day. 

Additionally, the District is also allocating $15 million on re-engagement, home visits and truancy prevention programs for enrolled students. 

College and Career Success

CPS has made significant gains in college and career readiness over the past couple decades with a 2022 District Wide graduation rate of 82.9 percent and freshman-on-track rate of 88.8 percent. The Class of 2023 has already earned the highest figure in scholarships with more than $2 billion earned to date while also earning more college credit than prior classes, as well as breaking records for the number of earned International Baccalaureate diplomas and the State’s prestigious Seal of Biliteracy. 

In the coming year, the District will maintain funding to continue its work to provide students with exposure to various career pathways, through  enhanced Career and Technical Education programming and employment/apprenticeship opportunities. In addition, the District will continue to support students with their college readiness efforts through dual credit, dual enrollment, and other early college programs.

The FY2024 investments are aligned to the Recommitments of Academic Progress, Operational Excellence, and Building Trust outlined in the CPS Three-Year Blueprint that was introduced by the District in early 2023. As the bridge to the District’s next full-scale strategic plan, the Blueprint provides guiding principles that are helping students recover ground that was lost during the pandemic, while putting forward a plan to reimagine how our District can better meet the needs of our city and its children for years to come.

The FY2024 budget is reflective of input from principals, network chiefs, Local School Councils (LSCs), the Principal Advisory Council, and other District partners. This budget also continues to advance the recommendations made by the 2020 School Funding Working Group, which included a diverse array of stakeholders. This variety of feedback and perspectives has allowed us to shape a budget that will better support each school’s unique needs while remaining aligned to our District-wide priorities. District leadership looks forward to receiving additional feedback from our stakeholders at upcoming budget hearings at 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 20 and 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 21 at the CPS Central Office, 42 W. Madison St. and live streaming on the Board’s website, www., and Advanced registration for public speakers is required via the website or by calling 773-553-1600 by 5 p.m. Thursday June 15 or until 20 slots have been filled for each hearing, whichever occurs first. Residents can also view the CPS budget at the Board of Education office, 1 North Dearborn St.

Launching a Multifaceted Capital Plan

The CPS FY2024 capital budget will follow a different trajectory than in previous years. To ensure that all schools are ready to receive students on day one of the new school year, CPS will seek to pass a scaled-down $155 million capital plan in June of 2023 to address immediate facility needs, including emergency repairs. The FY2024 capital plan provides funding in five main areas: critical facility needs, interior improvements, programmatic investments, site improvements, and IT upgrades. Capital budget hearings will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21st and noon to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, June 23.  These hearings will be virtual only and streaming live at Advance registration to speak will begin on Tuesday, June 13th at 5 p.m. and will close on Thursday, June 15, 2023 at 5 p.m. or until 20 slots have been filled for each hearing, whichever occurs first. Advance registration during this period is available by the following methods:

The District will soon launch a comprehensive review of all facility needs that will include robust stakeholder engagement to develop an Educational Facilities Master Plan. A supplemental FY2024 capital plan with funding identified for priority projects will be released later in the 2023-24 school year once this process is complete.