CPS Releases New Schools RFP as Part of State-Mandated Charter School Proposal Review Process 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
Phone: 773-553-1620
Website: http://www.cps.edu

CHICAGO – As part of an annual, state mandated process to consider proposals for new schools, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for potential charter and contract schools to open as early as fall 2017. Illinois Charter School Law requires CPS to review proposals for charter schools each year, and the issuance of the 2016 New Schools RFP is the first step in the annual application process that must be carried out by the District.
“Every child in Chicago deserves access to a high quality school, and we will use the state mandated proposal review process to identify potential proposals that would increase access to quality options in Chicago,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “Our thorough vetting process requires applicants to demonstrate they will meet a need for additional quality seats and have community support, and we will only move forward with applicants that meet our high standards.”
The annual RFP process allows the District to conduct a streamlined and strategic process for evaluating the expansion of academic options in partnership with the Chicago Board of Education. This year, CPS is issuing a single RFP seeking proposals for traditional charter and contract schools as well as charter and contract schools that serve an alternative student population.
For the first time since 2011, the new schools RFP will allow replicating charter operators to open new schools in multiple years. Operators approved to open campuses in multiple years will be required to maintain SQRP ratings that meet the District’s replication criteria, and they must secure a quality facility and demonstrate parent and community support. CPS will also maintain the right to rescind conditional approval at any time for schools approved to open beyond fall 2017. Allowing charter operators that have a demonstrated record of high-performance to submit applications to open campuses in multiple years will provide proven operators with flexibility to plan for effective school openings that will allow them to continue providing high-quality options beginning on day one at each new potential campus.
In recent years, CPS utilized a Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) process to solicit community input in the review of charter school applications. Last year’s NAC process was done at a cost of approximately $340,000 of which the district paid half.
Instead of directing scarce resources to facilitate this process, the District will require applicants to directly engage residents in obtaining the support of their desired school community. The 2016 New Schools RFP requires applicants to identify the support of individual parents, community organizations and businesses for proposals in the area, and provide evidence that there is sufficient student demand for half of the enrollment capacity for the school’s opening year.
CPS will examine this evidence of community support and plans on how the school would fully integrate into the community before making a recommendation to either support or deny applications. This direct level of engagement will ensure impartial community engagement occurs between the applicant and its proposed community.
Applicants intending to submit a charter or contract school application must submit an Intent to Apply declaration by February 22. The full application will be due by April 25, and an addendum including community engagement and facility information must be returned by August 17. The Board of Education will vote next fall on completed applications, which will provide any approved campuses nearly a full year to prepare for the arrival of students.

Page Last Modified on Wednesday, December 30, 2015