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Employee Travel and Work-Related Expense Reimbursement

Section 507.1 | Board Report 17-0726-PO1 | Date Adopted July 26, 2017

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That the Board of Education of the City of Chicago (“the Board”) rescind Board Report 09-1216-PO4 and adopt a new Employee Travel and Work-Related Expense Reimbursement Policy.


The objectives of this policy are as follows: to establish requirements for employee travel expenditures in compliance with provisions of the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act (50 ILCS 150), and to establish conditions under which the Board allows reimbursements to employees for work-related expenditures.


This policy applies to all Chicago Public Schools (“CPS”) employees and the members of the Board of Education as indicated below. If reimbursement will come from a grant fund, employees are to follow the specific grant policy.

I. Definitions

  • “Travel expense” is defined as any expenditure directly incident to official travel by employees and officers of the Board or of the Board involving reimbursement to travelers or direct payment by the Board of private agencies providing transportation or related services.
  • “Entertainment” is defined as any activity inclusive of, but not limited to, shows, amusements, theaters, circuses, sporting events, or any other place of public or private entertainment or amusement, unless ancillary to the purpose of the program or event.
  • “Non-Reimbursable” is defined as an expenditure not allowable for employee reimbursement because the item(s) have been deemed as inappropriate or required to be purchased through the CPS Procurement process.
  • “Reimbursable” is defined as an allowable expenditure which is not required to be purchased through the CPS Procurement process.

II. Travel Expenses

  • Travel Expenses
    Employees and officers may incur and be reimbursed for travel expenses related to official Board business only. Official Board business includes:
    1. Delivery of legislative testimony
    2. Lobbying on behalf of the Board
    3. As a requirement for grant funding
    4. Presentations on behalf of the Board
    5. Participation in legal proceedings as determined or requested by the General Counsel
    6. Recruitment of personnel on behalf of the Board
    7. Meeting with bond rating agencies and other regulatory bodies
    8. Business meetings with non-local vendors
    9. Travel is permissible to attend conferences, meetings, seminars, or training sessions where:
      • The topic is of critical interest to the Board;
      • Representation at the conference is in the interest of the Board; or
      • The topic is related to an employee’s professional development or job duties
  • Maximum Travel Expenses
    Employees shall make every effort to ensure that travel expenses are the most economical available. Travel expenses for official business may be approved by the following managers and in the following amounts:
    1. Department heads, network chiefs and principals may approve the following types and amounts for travel expenses and for reimbursement:
      • Up to 100% of the United States General Services Administration (GSA) per diem rate for meals.
      • Up to 100% of the Internal Revenue Service Mileage Reimbursement Rate for use of personal vehicles.
      • Up to 100% of parking costs provided that there shall be no reimbursement for parking a personal vehicle for coming to and from work except in special circumstances where personal vehicle is needed to conduct official business for a portion of the work day.
      • Up to 125% of the GSA Rate for lodging, rental cars, and airfare;
      • The actual cost of taxi (or similar car for hire, e.g., Uber, Lyft etc.) plus up to 20% gratuity or other ground transportation (e.g., bus, train etc.).
    2. The CEO or designee may approve up to 200% of the GSA rate for meals, lodging, rental car fare and airfare provided that any such approvals are reported to the Chicago Board of Education in the month following their approval.
    3. The Board may approve payment of or reimbursement for travel expenses for meals, lodging, rental car fare and air fare that exceed the maximum amounts set forth in paragraph Section II.B.2. Such approval must by a roll-call vote of the Chicago Board of Education in an open meeting.
  • Standardized Form and Minimum Documentation for Travel Expenses.
    1. The CEO or designee shall establish a standardized form for submission of travel, meal and lodging expenses for payment or reimbursement. The form may be in an electronic format and shall include the following:
      • An estimate of the cost of travel, meals or lodging if expenses have not been incurred or a receipt of the cost of the travel, meals or lodging if the expense have already been incurred;
      • The name of the individual who received or is requests the travel, meal or lodging expense;
      • The job title or office of the individual who received or is requesting the travel meal or lodging expense; and
      • The date or dates and nature of the official business in which the travel meal or lodging expense was or will be expended.
    2. Minimum documentation. All travel expense payment or reimbursement requests from employees or Board members shall be submitted in the standardized form and shall be accompanied by receipts and any written cost estimates.

III. Other Work-Related Expenses

  • Reimbursable Work-related Expenses
    1. Employees may reimbursed for reasonable and necessary work-related expenses except as provided in Section III.B.
    2. The CEO or designee may from time to time freeze or restrict types or categories of reimbursable work-related expenses.
  • Non-reimbursable expenses
    The following expenses shall not be reimbursed, regardless of whether they are work-related or related to travel for official business:
    1. Gifts/Gift Cards/Flowers/Floral Arrangements/Plants/Decorations
    2. Alcoholic Beverages/Tobacco Products/Controlled Substances
    3. Entertainment Expenses
    4. Personal Items
    5. Sponsorships/Donations
    6. Appliances (e.g., microwaves, refrigerators, coffee makers)
    7. Kitchen Textiles (e.g., napkins, cups, utensils used in break rooms)
    8. Office Décor Items
    9. Traffic Citations/Parking Violations/Fines and Penalties
    10. Parking/Travel to and from Work (except in special circumstances where personal vehicle is needed to conduct official business for a portion of the work day.)
    11. Car Washes
    12. Cash Advances/Wire Transfers/Money Orders
    13. Capital Equipment/Construction
    14. Software and Related Licensing Agreements
    15. Professional or Trade Licenses Required for Employment
    16. Furniture
    17. Textbooks
    18. Computers, TV’s, iPads, Laptops, Printers, and other electronic equipment
    19. Any other item(s) deemed inappropriate/unnecessary for conducting CPS business or required to be purchased through the CPS Procurement process

IV. Employee Travel and Work-related Expense Manual

The CEO or designee shall promulgate, and from time to time may alter or amend, an Employee Travel and Work Related Expense Manual that shall contain rules, guidelines and procedures for travel and work-related expense reimbursement. At a minimum, the manual shall address the following:

  • Procedures for approval of employee travel and work-related expenses.
  • Audits of employees travel and work-related expenses, including audits of the approval process.
  • Reconciliation with Grant expense reimbursement procedures.
  • General Travel and work-related expense guidelines, including areas in which CEO may exercise discretionary authority.

V. Travel and Work-related Expenses Reimbursement for Board Members

  • This policy also applies to Board members and Board staff.
  • Board members shall submit request for travel and work-related expenses to the Board for a roll call vote in an open meeting.

VI. Effective Date

This policy shall apply to travel and work-related expenses incurred on or after July 1, 2017.

Policy References

Amends/Rescinds Rescinds 09-1216-PO4
Cross References 09-0722-PO1, 09-0325-PO1, 02-1023-PO04, 95-0726-EX5, 95-0726-EX6, 97-0827-PO3
Legal References 50 ILCS 150/1 et seq.

Policy Managed By Office of Finance


42 W. Madison St.
Chicago, IL 60602