Chicago Public Schools Fiscal Year 2014 Budget

Schools and Networks

Budget Overview

Two major initiatives have significantly shaped schools’ budgets for FY2014: (1) the launch of “Student Based Budgeting,” a new budgeting model that allocates funding to schools on a per-pupil basis, and (2) the Board’s decision in May 2013 to close 49 underutilized district schools and one program.

Student Based Budgeting

In FY2014, CPS launched Student Based Budgeting, a new budgeting model that fairly and equitably allocates funding to schools on a per-pupil basis, instead of having Central Office dictate the number and types of positions that schools are to receive.

Under Student Based Budgeting (SBB), schools receive a per-pupil amount for every student enrolled, weighted by grade level and by “LRE” level (“Least Restrictive Environment” category for students with diverse learning needs).  The per-pupil funding represents the first 50 percent of a school’s budget and includes money for core staff, educational support personnel, supplies, and additional instructional programs.  Principals and communities work together to use SBB dollars in ways to increase academic achievement and improve student outcomes.

CPS introduced the Student Based Budgeting model in FY2014 to allocate only core instruction funding to schools on a per-pupil basis.  SBB replaced the quota formulas that were used in the past to allocate teachers and school administrative positions to most district schools.  However, SBB did not affect how schools received supplemental general state aid (SGSA), Title I funds, special education resources, early childhood programs, supplemental bilingual/ELL funding, and positions for magnet, selective enrollment, International Baccalaureate, or STEM programs.  These funding categories were not affected by the switch to SBB.

Benefits of Student Based Budgeting:

  • Consistency.  SBB provides a unified funding formula that applies to both district and charter/contract schools.  Previously, we used quota formulas to assign staff to most district-run schools, and three different per-pupil formulas for per-pupil pilot schools, performance schools, and charter/contract schools.  These multiple funding formulas were confusing and potentially unfair.
  • Reduce Funding “Cliffs.”  The quota formulas created disproportionate impacts, where one extra student coming or going could mean the difference in a full teacher position gained or lost.
  • Principal Autonomy.  We believe that those closest to the students should have discretion over how dollars are spent.  Principals working with their LSC’s can make better decision on how to use their resources than central office making quota decisions.  The College Ready fund in FY2013 was the first step towards giving principals more autonomy in budgeting; the move to SBB is a big next step.

District-run specialty schools and options schools did not participate in Student Based Budgeting this year because of the unique needs of the student populations at each of these schools.

Actions Associated with Underutilized Schools

In May 2013, the Board voted to close 49 elementary schools, including two specialty schools serving students with severe and profound disabilities, and two schools that would close over two years but continue to operate in FY2014.

For budgeting purposes, funding follows the students to their welcoming school. In the SBB funding model, reallocating funds is seemingly easy – you simply move the SBB dollars to the schools where the students will attend.

The challenge is predicting where the students will go.  All closing schools had a CPS-designated welcoming school (in some cases, several welcoming schools), and we could have simply moved the funding for those students to those designated schools.  We rejected this option because we knew that some of the students from closing schools could choose to go to schools other than their designated welcoming schools.  Giving all of the SBB funding to the welcoming schools now would mean that we would take some of the dollars away in September, when we true up the funding based on each school’s actual enrollment.

In the end, we decided to ask parents to tell us where they would choose to send their children.  Beginning in the last week of May 2013, we held enrollment fairs for each closing schools, with the goal of getting the parents of each closing school student to identify which school their children would attend next year.  We used the data from the enrollment fairs to reallocate 89% of the SBB funding originally planned for the closing schools.  (The remaining funds remained unallocated, and will be given out based on actual enrollment after schools begins.)

As it turned out, not all students chose the CPS-designated welcoming schools.  While the majority are choosing their designated welcoming school, funding was redistributed to another 240 schools not designated as welcoming schools; one-third of these schools (79 or 240) received funding for 6 or more students. 

School Budget Overview

The FY2014 budget contains $3.54 billion budgeted at school units, including more than $2.0 billion budgeted for core instruction at 649 schools.  The following charts show how funds and positions are allocated among the major school types and across the main program areas:

FY2014 School Budgets (in $000's)

Core Instruction

Special Education


Early Childhood

Other Programs




District Elementary









District High Schools









Charter / Contract









Alternative "Options"




























FY2014 Positions at Schools (FTE’s)

Core Instruction

Special Education


Early Childhood

Other Programs




District Elementary









District High Schools









Charter / Contract









Alternative "Options"



























Because of the switch to SBB, there are some variations between the FY2013 budget presentation and this one.

  • The FY2013 budget showed all charter/contract tuition ($355.3 million) and the facilities supplement for charter/contract schools ($25.3 million) as part of core instruction, for a total of $380.6 million.  In FY2014, only the SBB portion of charter tuition ($310.6 million) is included in core instruction.  The non-SBB portion of charter tuition ($108.0 million) and the facilities supplement ($27.0 million) are shown as “Operations” costs.  The total amount of charter/contract tuition and facilities supplement for FY2014 is $445.6 million, an increase of $65.0 million from FY2013.  The increase is due primarily to new and expanding charter and contract schools.
  • The total amount of discretionary funds is lower by $102.0 million because it has been added to SBB, which is always “discretionary.”  This reflects $100.0 million of College Ready funds, which were shown as discretionary funds in FY2013.  College Ready funds have been rolled into SBB, so this amount is shown as part of core instruction in FY2014, which is now all under principal discretion.
  • The remaining $2.0 million difference indicates that the FY2013 and FY2014 budgets have roughly the same amount of SGSA and Title I funds at school units.  The amount in FY2014 should be much lower, because schools received a one-time increase of $26 million of SGSA funds in FY2013, which does not carry over into FY2014.  However, this decrease has been offset by the early rollout of $26.5 million of SGSA carryover, which has been included in the school budgets.  Carryover amounts have previously been kept in a central office contingency and given to schools after the start of the school year.
  • Full-day kindergarten ($29.9 million) was considered an “Other Program” in FY2013 because it was provided outside of the elementary quota formulas.  In FY2014, this funding has been rolled into SBB and is part of “core instruction,” reflecting the decision to formalize our commitment to full-day kindergarten for all CPS students.

School Types

For budgeting purposes, we separate schools into four categories based on how core instruction is funded in each type of school:  SBB-funded district schools, charter/contract schools, specialty schools, and alternative “options” schools.

With the move to Student Based Budgeting, we have eliminated many of the school types used in the past.  We no longer have quota schools, which were allocated positions based on a series of position formulas tied to the school’s enrollment.  We have done away with “performance” schools and “per-pupil pilot” schools, which received funding for core instruction based on two different sets of per-pupil rates, which were not aligned with each other, and neither of which were aligned with the per-pupil rates for charter/contract schools.

That proliferation of funding models has ended.  In FY2014, we are using a single funding model – Student Based Budgeting – for 507 district schools and 116 charter and contract schools.  Only a small number of specialty and alternative “options” schools receive their funding for core instruction outside of SBB due to the special needs of the student populations that they serve.

SBB-Funded District Schools

SBB-Funded district schools are the 507 district-run elementary and high schools that are funded through Student Based Budgeting.

Under the SBB model, all district schools receive the following funding for core instruction:

  • Three foundation positions – one principal, one counselor, and one clerk.  These are board-funded positions given to the school as positions.
  • A per-pupil allocation based on the number of students at the school.  The per-pupil rates are weighted based on grade level and diverse learner status.
  • Schools received a teacher salary adjustment if the average cost of their SBB staff positions exceeded the district average.  We provided a total of $30.25 million in teacher salary adjustments to 291 district schools.

District schools used their SBB funds to open 12,587 teacher positions, 489 AP positions, 157 additional counselor positions (over their foundation), 120 additional clerk positions (over foundation), and 394 other education support (non-teaching) positions.

SBB-Funded District Elementary and High Schools

End of Year


Number of schools



Number of K-12 students






Counselors (including foundation)



Clerks (including foundation)



Assistant Principals




Charter / Contract Schools

Charter and contract schools are public schools managed by independent operators.  First established in Chicago in 1997, they offer an alternative to traditional district-managed schools.  Charter schools are approved and certified under the Illinois Charter School Law.  Contract schools also are independently managed public schools with similar autonomies as charter schools in budget and curricular operations.  Both charter and contract schools are targeted in areas of the city identified as those in need of high-quality education options.

The budget includes $567.5 million to support 106 charter and 10 contract schools serving approximately 58,000 students.  Four charter and five contract schools provide alternative options to roughly 5,500 students who have previously dropped out of school, or are likely to do so.

Charter and contract schools receive funding on a per-pupil basis through the Student Based Budgeting model.  One of the goals of SBB was to ensure that charter and contract schools are funded on an equivalent basis with district schools.  Although district schools and charter/contract schools are not funded in exactly the same way, the funding methods are fully aligned.

SBB Component

District Schools

Charter/Contract Schools

Per-pupil amount

Based on enrollment, weighted for grade level and diverse learner status

Based on enrollment, weighted for grade level and diverse learner status

Administrative base

Receives 1 principal, 1 counselor, and 1 clerk

Receives per-pupil equivalent

Teacher salary adjustment

Some schools receive additional amount based on staff cost at school

Receives per-pupil equivalent

The SBB rates for charter/contract schools will often be presented as the sum of the per-pupil amounts given to all schools, plus the per-pupil equivalents of the administrative base positions and the teacher salary adjustment (which are handled separately at district-run schools).  When presented this way, it may appear that charter and contract schools have higher per-pupil rates than district schools, and thus are funded more generously.  However, the rates have been set for the funding to be equivalent between the school types.

Charter and contract schools also differ from district schools in how education support and non-instructional services (e.g., security, operations and maintenance, food service, transportation) are provided.  District schools receive these services directly from central office, and the funding is given on top of the school’s SBB funding.  Charter and contract schools, as independently-operated entities, have to provide these services on their own.

For this reason, they receive an additional per-pupil amount on top of their SBB funding that is the equivalent of the education support and non-instructional services that district schools receive directly from central office.  The non-SBB rate is based on the total amount that the district spends on schools operations (maintenance, janitorial, security, etc.), board-funded programs to district schools, and certain central office departments that serve district schools only.

Beginning in FY2014, charter/contract schools will be expected to reimburse the District for employer pension costs for all of their employees who participate in the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund. In the past, the District paid employer pension costs for charter/contract school teachers, and this fact was reflected in a lower tuition rate.

With the switch to SBB, we are now distributing an equitable share of pension funding to charter/contract schools, and those charter/contract schools whose teachers are part of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund are required to pay the employer contribution, just as district schools do. Because CPS statutorily makes the contribution, charter/contract schools will remit the payments to CPS (amounts will be withheld from tuition payments).  An estimated $16 million of charter/contract school tuition will be reimbursed to the District for these employer pension payments.

In FY2014, 13 new charter and contract schools are scheduled to open.  With the new schools and grade expansions at certain existing schools, enrollment for charter and contract schools is expected to grow by approximately 5,000 students, roughly from 53,000 to 58,000 students.

Specialty Schools

Specialty schools comprise four high schools, six elementary schools and two early childhood centers that are focused on high-needs students with diverse learning needs.  

Because of the special nature of the student population, the majority of teachers at these schools are special education teachers.   Specialty schools do not receive funding through Student Based Budgeting.  Instead, they receive the following general education resources:

  • 1 principal, 1 counselor, and 1 clerk.  This is the same administrative base that all district schools receive in Student Based Budgeting.
  • A number of general education teachers to ensure that teachers in self-contained classrooms receive coverage for their preparation periods.  The general education teachers are typically used for art, music or physical education instruction.
  • An allocation for non-personnel items, equal to $35,000 per school, plus $400 for each LRE 3 student.

In FY2014, specialty schools will receive $9.4 million in core instruction, which represents roughly 17% of their overall budgets of $55.0 million. Projected enrollment at the 12 specialty schools in FY2014 is 2,461 students.

The costs of these schools are significantly more than traditional schools when compared on a per-pupil basis to account for the specific needs of the diverse learners they serve.

District Options Schools, ALOP and SAFE Programs

Alternative schools provide educational options to students who have dropped out of traditional high schools (over-age students without enough credits to graduate), or students in restricted confinement. District schools include one school located at the Cook County Jail (York), one at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (Jefferson), one school serving pregnant women (Simpson), and one school serving students at risk of dropping out or returning dropouts (Peace & Education Coalition).

The district options schools are not funded through Student Based Budgeting, nor is their funding based on any formula tied to enrollment.  Enrollment counts at alternative schools can often be misleading, given the highly transient nature of the students. Rather, the core allocation given to options schools is based on the programs run at the school and the needs of the students served.

CPS also funds nine Alternative Learning Options Programs (ALOP) serving students at risk of dropping out, and one Safe School program for students who have been expelled from traditional schools due to violence.  Although these are legally structured as programs and not schools, they operate like any charter or contract school serving the same population of students.  For this reason, these programs are funded at the same rates as charter and contract schools, even though they were not included in Student Based Budgeting in FY2014.

In FY2014, CPS is investing $13.9 million in new options programs to reach students who have dropped out or who are at risk of dropping out.  The number of ALOP programs in increasing from 3 to 9, with the goal of reaching 2,240 students who otherwise would have dropped out of the district.  Moreover, three of the new charter and contract schools opening this year will serve the same population of students, and will provide educational options to another 500 students.

Additional Funding Received By Schools

In addition to the allocation received for core instruction, schools receive additional funding from the following sources:

Special Education

Schools receive special education teachers and special education aides (typically teacher assistants, special education classroom assistants and child welfare attendants) based on the number of minutes of specialized instruction that must be provided to the school’s special education students, as identified in their individualized education programs (IEP).

Allocations are determined by the Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services.  In the FY2014 budget, a total of $530.7 million is budgeted for special education in school units, including almost 3,300 special education teachers and 3,000 special education aides.

Bilingual Education

Schools receive supplemental bilingual education teachers based on their number of English language learner (ELL) students.  There are two programs:  Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE), for schools that have 20 or more ELL students of the same language background, and Transitional Program of Instruction (TPI), for schools that have fewer than 20 ELL students of the same language background.  Funding formulas for each program are provided in Appendix B.  The Office of Language and Cultural Education (OLCE) tracks ELL students and allocates supplemental bilingual teachers to schools.

The FY2014 budget contains $22.2 million in supplemental funding to schools, including 178 supplemental bilingual education teachers.  Bilingual education is supported by state and federal funding.

Early Childhood

The FY2014 budget contains $101.3 million in funding for early childhood programs at 367 elementary schools.  Early childhood program serve pre-kindergarten students, usually ages 3 and 4.  Early childhood programs are funded from a state block grant (Pre-School for All) and federal Head Start funds.  This amount also includes $8 million of Title I funding that is used for 10 child-parent centers.

The FY2014 budget also includes $4.7 million for tuition-based pre-K programs at 16 schools.  Additional funding is provided to community-based providers for early childhood programs, as described more fully in the Early Childhood department narrative.

Other Programs

Some schools receive teaching positions or other additional funding for specific programs that are run at those schools.  The funding source for these programs is the general education fund. Significant programs include:

Board-Funded Program

No. of Teacher Positions

No. of ESP Positions

FY2014 Budget

Magnet Schools



$16.8 M

Magnet Cluster Programs



$11.0 M

International Baccalaureate



$10.7 M

Selective Enrollment HS



$4.0 M

Regional Gifted Centers



$3.9 M

Montessori Programs



$3.5 M

Classical Schools



$3.2 M




$53.1 M

Other Grant-Funded Programs

Some schools receive teaching positions or other funding for specific grant-funded programs that are run at those schools.  Significant grant-funded programs include:

Grant-Funded Program

No. of Schools

FY2014 Budget

Title II


$12.7 M

School Improvement Grants (SIG)


$14.6 M

Funding for some grant-funded programs does not show up in schools' budgets at this time because funding determinations have not yet been made.  Funds will be provided to schools during the year as funding is awarded.

Discretionary Funds 

Supplemental General State Aid (SGSA) is part of the General State Aid that the district receives from the State of Illinois.  SGSA funds are designed to supplement regular and basic programs supported by the General Education Fund.  SGSA funds are distributed to schools in proportion to the number of students enrolled who are eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunch under federal statutes.

CPS is required to distribute $261 million in SGSA funds each year.  SGSA funds are initially distributed based on the previous year’s count of free and reduced lunch students at each school, but the final SGSA amount will be determined by the current year count at the 10th day of the school year.

The FY2014 budget includes $256.5 million of SGSA funds budgeted at schools.  The remaining $4.5 million is tied to closing school students who have not identified which school they plan to attend in FY2014, and so the amount has been kept in contingency.

For the first time this year, a portion of schools’ SGSA prior year carryover has been distributed in the original budget.  Schools normally receive their SGSA carryover funds after the start of the school year.  We have released $26.5 million in prior year carryover funds.  This new budgeting practice will continue in future years. All total, almost $283 million of SGSA funds have been budgeted at schools in the FY2014 budget.

Title I of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act provides funds to schools with high concentrations of low-income children to provide supplementary services for educationally disadvantaged students. Approximately 85 percent of CPS schools qualify for Title I discretionary funding.  The FY2014 budget contains $145.8 million in Title I discretionary funding for CPS schools.  Approximately $8 million has been kept in contingency for students at closing schools.  These funds will be distributed when Title I allocations are adjusted after the beginning of the school year.

Teacher FTEs Obtained with
Discretionary Funds






Title I






Non-Education Expenses

Schools receive additional positions, services and funding for operational expenses, including:

  • Building operations and maintenance:  Since FY2013, building engineers have been staffed in citywide units; custodians have remained staffed at individual schools.
  • Security: School security officers and security aides are assigned to schools by the Office of Safety and Security.
  • Food Service: This includes the labor costs of the lunchroom staff and the food costs required to provide lunch, and usually breakfast, to students.
  • Transportation: Bus transportation is provided to students with special needs and, with certain restrictions, to students attending magnet schools outside of their neighborhood.

In FY2014, lunchroom workers and bus aides are no longer shown in school budgets. These positions have been moved under central departments. Bus aides will be managed centrally and will no longer be reflected in school budgets. This accounts for approximately $20 million and over 900 positions.  Lunchroom workers are temporarily budgeted under the Nutrition department. This means over 2,000 positions and nearly $100 million that in the past would appear in school budgets are no longer reflected there. This accounts for an apparent decline in school budgets, but is really just a transfer elsewhere.

Please refer to the department narratives for more details about each of these operational areas.

Private Schools

Student, teachers and parents of private schools are eligible for federal support through No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  CPS must set aside a share of the federal funds it receives to make services available to eligible students, teachers and parents, but funds do not go to the private schools.  Instead, CPS operates the programs on behalf of the eligible students, teachers and parents of private schools.

Each year, CPS oversees and manages services for approximately 60,000 students in 240 private schools totaling approximately $30 million.  In addition, we oversee services for children who attend seven neglected residential sites that specialize in serving children under the guardianship of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

The following chart shows the proportionate shares directed to private schools for each of the federal programs.  FY2014 amounts are projections; the final amounts will be determined only after the district’s FY2014 application is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Federal Program

FY2013 Budget


Title I (Improving Academic Achievement of Disadvantaged Students)



Title IIA (Improving Teacher Quality)



Title IIA (Leadership Grant)



Title III (English Language Learners)



Individual Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)






The reduction in Title I funds for private schools is an effect of the overall reduction in the district’s Title I funds due to sequestration.  The steep reduction in IDEA funds is due to the fact that the FY2013 amount contained a large amount of carryover from the previous year.


District-run schools in CPS are organized into five geographic collaboratives – North/Northwest, West, Southwest, South, and Far South – and then further divided into 19 networks, which provide administrative support, strategic direction and leadership development to the schools within each network.  There are 13 elementary networks, four high school networks, one K-12 network that serves both elementary and high schools, and one network for options schools.

Networks are led by network chiefs, who are responsible for ensuring they are building effective schools with strong leaders by developing a professional development plan, collecting and assessing data to drive interventions, collaborating on best practices with other networks and enhancing community and parental involvement.  All network chiefs and their offices report to the Office of Network Support.  Networks are supported by deputy chiefs, data strategists, instructional support leaders for each content area, and administrative support.  Each network also has a Family and Community Engagement Coordinator, although these positions now appear in the budget for the Family and Community Engagement department; in FY2013, the positions appeared in network budgets.

Network budgets have been reduced significantly in FY2014 due to a planned restructuring that will reduce the number of networks and lower headcount.  Currently, the networks have $24.8 million in positions costs, but expected savings from the restructuring should reduce personnel costs to $20.5 million in FY2014.  In addition, networks have been allocated $4.2 million in non-personnel costs, bringing the entire network budget for FY2014 to $24.6 million.

Network Budgets (in millions)


Personnel costs


Budgeted savings from restructuring


Non-personnel expenses




Most of the non-personnel expenses are funded from Title I and Title II.  The amounts have been kept on a contingency line and will be transferred to network budgets during the fiscal year.


Page Last Modified on Thursday, August 28, 2014