CPS Releases Capital Budget for Fiscal Year 2016 

Financial Challenges Greatly Reduce Investments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                               
Friday, May 1, 2015                   

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

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today released its proposed $160.3 million capital budget for fiscal year 2016 (FY 16) that limits investments to only previously announced projects and funding for emergency repairs and maintenance. This budget includes $113 million from CPS and $47 million from the City of Chicago, the Federal e-rate program and other sources.

“Chicago Public Schools is facing tremendous financial challenges, and with a projected $1.1 billion budget deficit, we can only afford to addresses our greatest needs,” said CPS interim CEO Jesse Ruiz. “This budget is just another example of why we need immediate relief from Springfield. Illinois remains near the bottom in the nation for education funding and CPS is the only district whose taxpayers pay for pension costs for their own teachers as well as teachers across the state.”  

As part of the proposed budget, past commitments made for multi-year financed projects will be met, and the district’s schools with the most pressing repairs and maintenance issues will be addressed. The $113 million in CPS funded projects falls below the five-year plan released last year that projected $183 million in CPS investments for fiscal year 2016.  

As a result of the financial crises, many of our district’s most pressing needs, such as overcrowding relief and proven programmatic initiatives will go unmet. Instead, emphasis will be placed on basic building needs such as roofs, chimneys, and critical masonry repairs. 

CPS has 39 schools that were above 120 percent of capacity as of the 20th day of this school year. This capital budget does not include any new schools or annexes. 

The proposed capital budget does keep the commitment to projects already announced. Just over $10 million will go towards overcrowding relief at Dore and Mount Greenwood. The Mount Greenwood project consists of a six modular classrooms to address the growing population. Dore will receive an eight classroom modular addition to temporarily relieve severe overcrowding while design starts on a more permanent solution.
The two investments, while much needed, do not address the increasing need to provide adequate space for expanding populations within the district. Without assistance from a State capital program, CPS is unable to further address this outstanding need within the district due to limited financial resources.

The FY16 capital plan proposes nearly $69 million in roof, chimney and other building condition projects to address the most urgent needs throughout the District in order to keep students safe, warm and dry. Facility needs investments include roofs at Saucedo, Collins and De Diego, as well as chimneys at Alcott, Manierre, McCormick and Sumner.
In addition, Tilden will receive urgent masonry repair, and needed structural renovations will be completed at Crown and Shields. CPS also plans to complete a piping replacement at Douglass, and finish phase II of the Lane Tech major renovation started last year.
Within the capital budget, CPS will invest $20.9 million to continue to install in air conditioning, upgrade IT infrastructure, address programmatic needs, improve athletic fields, and continue work on the district’s playground initiatives.
In 2013, fewer than half of the CPS campuses had air conditioning in every classroom. Since 2013, CPS has installed air conditioning at 177 CPS schools and after the newest air conditioners are installed at 35 schools this summer, only 65 school campuses will remain without air conditioners.
A proposed allocation of $10.6 million will improve technology to enhance learning. Improved internet access through upgraded data networks will be provided for 50 schools for $8.5 million. Nearly $4 million in Federal e-rate funding will help to reach the $8.5 million.  IT will spend the remaining $2.1 million on projects to keep the District’s computer system updated.
All schools with available space will have playgrounds through a multi-year initiative that concludes in FY16. In the coming year, 28 playgrounds will be completed as part of the play lot budget.

Facilities at Columbia Explorers and Tonti will add needed space for expanded Pre-K opportunities. Four modular units will be added at Tonti and a leased space will be built at Columbia Explorers.

To help inform students, parents, teachers and community members about the FY 16 capital budget and its proposed investments, CPS has also today updated the interactive web application that shows school-by-school improvements scheduled for FY 16 and the next four years. This web application is available at www.cps.edu/capitalplanwww.cps.edu/capitalplan.
Chicago Public Schools serves 396,000 students in 664 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


Page Last Modified on Tuesday, May 05, 2015