Top of Page

Statement from Cps Ceo Dr. Janice K. Jackson on Covid-19 Federal Relief Funding

22 December 2020

CPS Office of Communications

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

CHICAGO - CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson today released the following statement regarding the COVID-19 federal relief funding:

“We extend our sincere gratitude to leaders in Washington — and especially our Chicago delegation — who have prioritized the needs of public school students throughout the country. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, schools in Chicago and beyond have grappled with immense, unprecedented challenges that have made every aspect of supporting our students more complicated and costly. This crucial federal funding ensures our ability to support the critical resources needed to reopen classrooms, expand access to high-quality academic programming, employ record high numbers of nurses and social workers, invest in social and emotional supports, and provide additional resources to our highest-need schools. Black and Brown families in Chicago need the option to send their children to school this academic year, and this funding relief is essential to the safe and supportive learning environments needed to mitigate learning loss and prevent long-term harm. While we know so many in our city, state and country still need so much more at this time, these resources will allow us to make all necessary investments for our students this year and ensure essential investments can continue into next year despite anticipated revenue challenges ahead.”

Funding Relief to Support Students in FY21 and FY22 

  • The district anticipates an approximate overall allocation of $800 million as part of the COVID-19 federal relief funds approved by Congress on Dec. 21, 2020. Per federal law, the district is required to allocate approximately $80 million of those funds to non-public schools.
    • These figures are estimates based on the information available to the district at this time. The district expects to have exact figures in the weeks ahead when grant applications from the state are released.  
  • Federal relief funding is necessary to ensure we can follow through on our planned investments for the current fiscal year (FY21) and invest in our students next year (FY22) despite expected revenue loss in key funding sources.

Additional Funding for Key FY21 Investments in Remote and In-Person Learning

  • In August, the Chicago Board of Education approved the district’s FY21 operating budget, which assumed $343 million in federal funding that was not guaranteed at the time. Funding provided through the COVID-19 federal relief package will allow the district to fully fund its FY21 budget, which is supporting key investments tied to both remote and in-person learning. Key investments include:
    • $75 million in COVID-19 related expenses including technology purchases; personal protective equipment; cleaning supplies; free student meals; and contact tracing, among other needs. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, CPS has spent the following funds to support students.
      • Computers and Internet Connectivity for Students: Since the pandemic began, the district has spent over $42M on technology including — but not limited to — more than 62,000 chromebooks, 1,200 mifi units, 30,000 iPads, 110,000 headphones, and more
    • PPE, HEPA Purifiers and Cleaning Supplies to Keep Students and Staff Safe: Nearly $42 million has been spent since the pandemic began to equip schools with the HEPA purifiers, face coverings, soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and other resources that will help ensure the students and safety of staff this school year.
    • $44 Million in Equity Grants for High Needs Schools: To ensure all students have access to a well-rounded, high-quality education, the district provided $44 million in equity grants to support 255 schools that need additional support above and beyond standard funding allocations.
    • Over $115 Million to Staff Record High Numbers of Nurses, School Social Workers and Case Managers: As the district works toward its commitment to provide a nurse and social worker in every school by the 2023-24 school year, CPS has allocated funding to support record high numbers of  nurses, social workers and special education case managers. In total, the district is funding 426 nurse, 536 school social worker, and 163.5 special education case manager positions this year.
    • $8 Million in New High-Quality Academic Programs Across the City: During the past two years, the district has committed to opening new high-quality academic programs at 54 schools throughout the district. The vast majority of these funds are supporting students from low-income households and will bring programs like International Baccalaureate, STEM, Fine and Performing Arts and World Languages to neighborhoods that did not previously have access to these programs.
    • $6.5 million in Social and Emotional Support for Students: To support students during this uniquely challenging year, CPS has made a series of investments to promote access to resources that support mental health and social and emotional learning. By investing in mentoring programs, counseling services, and staff training to promote trauma-informed practices and restorative strategies, the district is working to ensure that the needs of the whole child are prioritized.

Essential Support for the Year Ahead

  • COVID-19 federal relief funding is intended to support schools over a multi-year period because the financial and operational challenges associated with COVID-19 will be with us for multiple years. 
  • IN FY22, CPS will see both an increase in planned investments as well as a decline in many of the district’s largest revenue streams. As a result of federal relief funds, the district will be able to support planned investments and help meet student needs, despite seeing revenue that falls below prior expectations. 

Planned FY22 Investments to Further Strengthen Schools

  • As part of the district’s five-year vision and the historic collective bargaining agreements signed 2019, CPS has multi-year plans to boost staffing in key areas and reward our staff for their service to the district. Known additional investments in FY22 include:
    • Additional Nurses, Social Workers and Case Managers: As part of the multi-year effort to enhance support staffing in schools, the district will invest an additional $17 million in nurse, social worker, and case manager positions in FY22.
    • Continued Expansion of High-Quality Academic Programs and Pre-K: In the year ahead, CPS is committed to continuing its investment in the academic programs communities are seeking as well as free, full-day Pre-K. In FY22, the district plans to invest at least $25 million in new academic programs and Pre-K expansion. Specific funding allocations in these areas will be determined closer to the FY22 budget release.
    • Cost of Living Increases for District Staff: In FY22, CTU and SEIU members will receive cost of living increases totaling $80 million in additional staffing costs for the district.

Significant Revenue Challenges in the Year Ahead

  • In addition to the planned investments in FY22 that will be essential to the continued success of our students, the district — like nearly all schools across the country — anticipates that COVID-19 will have a significant impact on revenue for several years. Federal relief funding will be an important step toward managing the impacts of COVID-19 in FY22 so that the district can effectively support students beyond just the final months of FY21.  
  • While financial expectations are fluid, the district conservatively expects to see an approximately $300 million financial impact in FY22 compared to expectations prior to the pandemic. The following revenues and district obligations have been impacted negatively by the pandemic, and federal relief funding will help ensure that we can provide students the academic, social and emotional, and safety supports they need in the next school year:
    • Property tax revenues due to a decline in property values
    • Teacher pension contribution growth due to the pandemic’s impact on the fund 
    • PPRT due to a slowdown in state economic activity
    • EBF funding due to the state’s inability to meet the minimum target level of new funding in FY2021 
    • Early Childhood Block Grant due to the state’s inability to invest in this area in FY2021. 

Need for Continued Education Funding Support

  • As CPS and school districts throughout the country have seen, the needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic are significant and constantly evolving. Federal relief funding will help address urgent financial challenges and allow us to invest in the months ahead, however, we know that additional needs and challenges will arise. Between annual growth in existing obligations — including employee health care costs and debt service — and new expenses that are likely to occur based on the evolving needs created by the pandemic, CPS and districts throughout the country will need additional support in 2021 to ensure all students receive the high-quality education they deserve.