FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, December 2, 2016
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools today released a proposed supplemental capital agenda, bringing the District’s maximum possible FY17 capital budget to $938 million. CPS anticipates the majority of the plan will be funded with bond proceeds secured by the Capital Improvement Tax approved by the Chicago City Council in 2015. The property tax levy is authorized under state law and can be used only to fund capital projects.
CIT bonds have no impact on the District’s operating budget, which funds staff and other day-to-day expenses because CIT revenue cannot be used for operating expenses. This allows CPS to issue long-term debt for building projects without impacting classroom funding. CPS plans to finance the projects by issuing one or more series of bonds. The timing of the financing will depend on market conditions and the construction schedule.
CPS is also hosting three public meetings on Dec. 5 to gather the public’s input on the proposed supplemental capital plan. CPS will take this input into account when determining which projects should move forward.
“Chicago’s students deserve to learn in modern school buildings with air conditioning, wiring for technology and enough room for all their desks in their classrooms, which is why we are tapping into a revenue stream that can only be used for building projects,” CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said. “CPS will continue to work to make critically needed improvements to school buildings in the most financially responsible way possible, without affecting our operating budget.”
Public meetings will be held at the same three locations in the City where the initial budget hearings were held in August. Meetings will be held at Bridge Elementary School (3800 N New England Ave), Kennedy High School (6325 W. 56th St) and the National Teachers Academy (55 W. Cermak Road) from 6 to 8 p.m. Registration to speak will begin at 5 p.m.
CPS has published a list of potential projects at www.cps.edu/capitalplan so the public can review and provide feedback on potential projects. Initial funding for the capital plan will come from CIT bond proceeds. The final amount and projects will be determined based on market conditions and community feedback.
Under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CPS and the Board of Education have provided over $1.7 billion since FY12 to build new schools, provide playgrounds and air conditioning, improve access to technology with new computers and expanded bandwidth, expand academic programs (career and technical education programs, for example), and make core investments in our facilities to repair roofs, fix chimneys, and replace or repair boilers and other mechanical systems. This has been done to ensure students have a high quality learning environment to support their education.
However, as a result of CPS’ financial crises, many of the district’s most pressing needs have gone unmet in recent years. Thanks to the newly instituted tax dedicated exclusively to capital, many of the supplemental projects also address critically needed facility repairs, including overcrowding relief, mechanical systems, roofs and completing the Mayor’s commitment to provide every school with air conditioning by this spring.
In August, CPS announced an initial list of $338 million in capital projects that addressed immediate needs. Previously announced projects include:
- $173 million in overcrowding relief, including annexes at some of the District’s most overcrowded schools – Byrne (135% utilization rate), Skinner West (120%), and Zapata (140%). The plan also included modular classrooms at Dawes (138%) and Bridge (231%). The plan also includes new buildings to relieve overcrowding at Dore (170% utilization rate) and South Loop Elementary School (126%). The South Loop Elementary School expansion will be funded entirely by TIF proceeds.
- $133 million in technology, architecture and design, programmatic and air conditioning upgrades, including upgrading Internet access, IT infrastructure upgrade, and programming at Dyett HS, Dunbar HS and Brown ES.
- $32 million in facility needs, including $20 million for emergency rehabilitation, $6 million for emergency plumbing rehabilitation, $6 million for maintenance and $0.5 million for ADA accommodations.
In addition to the projects previously published in the capital plan, CPS could move forward with the following potential projects, depending on bond proceeds and public feedback:
Background on Capital Improvement Tax Levy
- $285 million in roofs, renovations and mechanical projects at schools including Cardenas, Chavez, Clark ES, Clark HS, Curie HS, Franklin, Gary, Goudy, Haley Annex, Hammond, Hefferan, Lake View HS, Lincoln Park HS, Lindbom HS, Perspectives IIT, Rowe, Salazar, Solomon, University of Chicago Donoghue, and Zapata.
- $243 million in annexes, modulars or potential new school buildings.
- $37 million in programmatic investments and facility upgrades, including facility renovations at Amundsen and Belding, new classroom and physical education spaces at Sheridan, new labs at Von Steuben, and other renovations to support high quality academic programming.
- $29 million in site improvements including turf fields, Space to Grow campus parks and other site improvements at schools including Brooks, Clemente, Cook, Nathan Davis, Fernwood, Field, Morton Sauganash, Till, and Wells. This is supplemented by $6.7 million in outside funding.
The Capital Improvement Tax (CIT) levy is an annual property tax levy dedicated exclusively to school construction projects. In 2003, the Illinois legislature in Springfield gave Chicago the right to levy a $45 million special property tax, or Capital Improvement Tax levy, to help with school modernization. Led by Mayor Emanuel, the City followed through on this levy in the fall of 2015.
The Capital Improvement Tax generates roughly $45 million annually, which will be used to repay the bonds. The cost for an average homeowner is approximately $45.
Chicago Public Schools serves 381,000 students in 652 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school district.