CPS Expands Students’ Access to PE and the Arts 

CPS Leverages TIF Surplus to Allow District to Hire Nearly 170 Teachers, Increasing Exposure to Arts and PE Across the City


January 21, 2014


CHICAGO—Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced it will leverage $21.5 million in TIF surplus funds over the next two years to hire teachers who can assist with arts and physical education (PE) programs for schools across the city.


The funds will help level the playing field for each and every child, ensuring that students in every area of the city have access to a well-rounded education. CPS’ TIF surplus will partially fund positions for 168 full time teachers: 84 art teachers and 84 PE teachers in School Year 2014-2015 (SY 14-15).


"Arts and physical education are fundamentally important to a child's ability to learn and grow, and are critical components of a well-rounded, 21st century education,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. "By incorporating more robust arts and physical education programming into the daily curriculum, we will help boost student achievement, while also placing our students on the right track for healthy living and bright futures in college, career and life."


Making exercise and arts complementary to the core subjects boosts student achievement and helps prepare children for success not just in the classroom, but in life. In order to meet the goal of every student graduating 100 percent college ready and 100 percent college bound, all students need access to a full school day and full school year that makes time for arithmetic and the arts, reading as well as recess.


The TIF surplus funds are designed to ensure that all schools have access to both arts and PE teachers in order to meet the following requirements over the next three years:


  • For students in grades K- 8, 120 minutes of arts instruction each week.
  • For high school students, a graduation requirement of two arts credits, as outlined in the District’s new Arts Education Plan.
  • A new District-wide PE policy requiring that all high schools provide daily physical education.


TIF funds will support the District’s new Arts Plan, the only plan in the country that offers an arts liaison for every high school, and all schools with targeted supports to advance in the arts and a data-driven system to track progress.


The funds will also allow CPS to help schools align with a new district-wide PE policy, ensuring that every high school meets requirements for physical education and tripling the amount of time elementary school students spend exercising.


Despite a billion-dollar budget deficit, the District has made every effort to keep cuts out of the classroom. However, principals often have to make difficult decisions about where to spend their limited resources.


TIF funds are being made available to schools in SY14-15 to supplement education initiatives through 2016. In order to benefit from these surplus funds, schools will be required to submit action plans that will determine funding allocations over the next two school years. The District will continue to support principals and teachers at schools that have received funding to ensure the sustainability and success of the program, and ultimately the success of students.


By providing schools with this initial investment to supplement teacher salaries, and on-going professional development, the District aims to create a stronger educational model that will support access to a high-quality, well-rounded education for years to come.


Chicago Public Schools serves 400,000 students in 658 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


Page Last Modified on Tuesday, January 21, 2014