The FY2020 budget for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) includes a capital budget totaling $821 million of investments that will focus on priority facilities needs at neighborhood schools; the district’s largest-ever Pre-K capital investment; ADA accessibility; and continued expansion of technology upgrades, modern science labs, and other academic priorities. To support schools throughout the city, the FY2020 capital plan provides funding in five main areas: critical facility needs, interior improvements, educational programs, site improvements, and IT and security upgrades.
CPS is committed to promoting equitable access to high-quality school environments, and equity served as the foundation for the FY2020 capital plan. The district's new Equity Office played an important role in developing the FY2020 capital proposal by helping to ensure that resources are distributed fairly and equitably across CPS schools so that all students can share in the district's record-setting progress. As a result of the district’s focus on equity, 93 percent of the guaranteed $619 million capital plan will support schools that serve majority low-income student populations.
As of August 2019, there are roughly 325 active projects across the district. These projects include major renovations to ensure our schools stay warm and dry, facility construction to relieve overcrowding, security cameras to provide a safer environment for our children, and renovations to aid programmatic enhancements, among others.
The FY2020 capital budget is funded by future bond proceeds backed by the Capital Improvement Tax (CIT) and Evidence Based Funding (EBF), potential state capital funding, federal E-Rate revenue, and potential outside resources as they become identified.
CPS’ five-year capital plan aligns with the priorities outlined in the draft Educational Facilities Master Plan. Future projects will be determined by assessed need, district educational priorities, and available funding.
Funding from the State
Thanks to the support and advocacy of the dedicated elected officials in Springfield, the $821 million capital budget includes $191 million in state funding that was approved this spring as part of a $45 billion state capital bill. This plan, named the Rebuild Illinois Capital Investment Plan, is directed at enhancing the state's roads, bridges, and public transit systems as well as significant improvements to K-12 school facilities. Because these funds have not yet been appropriated by the state and are part of a six-year state plan, the district is targeting to capture the full $191 million in this year’s budget so we are able to utilize any appropriations that may be made by the state this year. These funds will not be allocated to specific projects until funding is provided by the state.
Priority Facility Needs at Neighborhood Schools
Every student deserves to access a neighborhood school that is warm, safe and dry, and CPS is allocating $263 million in funding for critical maintenance projects and interior improvements. As part of our commitment to equity, the district is prioritizing renovations at neighborhood schools throughout the city to ensure all students can learn and grow in school buildings that support high-quality learning environments.
The FY2020 capital budget addresses the district’s priority renovation projects and most urgent facility needs. This funding will address over 19 roof and envelope projects and over six renovations to mechanical systems. Along with these projects, the funding will provide:
- $50 million for unanticipated emergency repairs,
- $15 million for district maintenance priorities,
- $10.5 million for ADA accessibility,
- $10 million for masonry remediation,
- $7.5 million for fire alarm system replacement,
- $5 million for chimney stabilization, and
- $2 million for critical temperature control system replacement.
Expansion of Free, Full Day Pre-K
CPS is making its largest ever Pre-Kindergarten capital investment as part of its plan to provide free full-day Pre-K to all 4-year-olds in Chicago by 2021. As part of a $120 million combined investment in Pre-K facilities, $20 million is being allocated for classroom conversions to be completed in time for the 2019-20 school year, and $100 million is being allocated for classroom expansion at schools throughout the city to support additional Pre-K seats that will open in fall 2020.
Support for Students With Physical Limitations
We will invest $10.5 million to increase ADA accessibility as part of a multi-year program to ensure all CPS buildings have first-floor accessibility. While any major capital project contains relevant ADA upgrades, for the first time in more than a decade, CPS will set aside funds separate from existing capital upgrades or new construction to begin addressing this critically important need.
Programmatic and Technology Investments to Build Upon School Success
The FY2020 budget prioritizes high-quality educational programming in neighborhoods throughout the city. CPS is investing $85 million in building modernization to ensure all schools are able to support 21st Century learning environments, including:
- $30 million to launch the second phase of our high school science lab modernization project to add, upgrade, or renovate science labs in 29 high schools.
- $30 million in capital upgrades to align with academic program needs.
- $25 million to provide devices and infrastructure modernization at over 130 schools.
Site Improvements that Foster Learning
The proposed capital budget includes an additional $45 million in site improvements to design and build new playgrounds, play lots, and turf fields at over 20 schools across the city so that students can benefit from a well-rounded education that promotes healthy development.
IT and Security Infrastructure
In FY2020, CPS is also allocating $60 million to improve internet connectivity by building and repairing network infrastructure across the district. $50 million of this investment is supported by federal E-Rate revenue, and the district will cover the remaining $10 million.
Finally, to support student safety at every school, $2 million will fund new security equipment including cameras, intercom phones, alarms, and screening equipment.
The district’s FY2020 Proposed Capital Plan is available on the interactive capital website. The interactive site provides community members with easy access to detailed information on all capital projects that are planned and underway. The site allows users to quickly select projects by school, geographic area, type, and year. The site has been designed to encourage public engagement and comment.
Public Hearings on FY2020 Capital Plan
Capital Plan Hearing
Amundsen High School
5110 North Damen Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60625
Capital Plan Hearing
Whitney Young High School
211 South Laflin Street
Chicago, Illinois 60607
Capital Plan Hearing
Morgan Park High School
1744 West Pryor Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60643