School Funding in Chicago Public Schools

Video FAQ

Why is The Fund creating materials about school funding?

Managing a school budget remains one of the most pressing challenges for CPS school leaders. Since 2017, “my school’s available funding” has been one of the top three issues for Chicago principals on The Fund’s annual Principal Engagement Survey. As such, The Fund committed to releasing a series of materials that allow stakeholders to explore and engage with the complexity of the challenges within CPS’ budget. This video is the second in a series of resources that we will release. This series includes a report, Equity and School Funding in Chicago Public Schools, and an upcoming series of principal-focused case studies.

What is the purpose of this video?

This video aims to summarize the high-level facts about the CPS budget and the primary ways in which funding is distributed to schools. It notes the essential role principals and Local School Councils play in setting budget priorities for their schools.

Why doesn’t this video talk about how charter school funding in detail?

With 118 charter schools serving over 50,000 students in CPS, charter school funding is a critical component of any discussion on school funding overall. However, charter schools are funded through a different methodology than district-operated schools. Exploring this funding methodology for charter schools requires a more detailed explanation than this video can provide. Additional information is available in Appendix B of the FY20 CPS Budget.

Why doesn’t this video discuss capital spending in detail?

The CPS capital budget is developed through a separate process from the operating budget, with a different set of materials and venues for public engagement. Each capital budget is tied to a capital plan, which is aligned to the most recent Educational Facilities Master Plan. More details on the most FY20 capital plan can be found here. The FY20 Residents Guide to the Budget also includes a summary of capital spending.

Why doesn’t this video explore school-generated revenue (including “Friends of” funding)?

School-generated revenue accounts for a total of around $66 million in the FY20 budget. As such, it represents around 1.3% of total school-level spending. This includes revenue schools raise from a variety of sources, including competitive grants, philanthropic donations, leases and donations from affiliated independent groups (such as “Friends of…” groups). A school-by-school summary of this funding is available in the interactive reports to the FY20 budget.

Is CPS considering changes to the way it funds schools?

Yes. In July, the Mayor and CPS CEO Janice Jackson issued a joint charge to explore school funding in CPS:

“…To help ensure schools have resources to meet the changing demographics and needs of their students, CPS has committed to examining its school funding formulas and resource allocations. Specifically, CPS will work to determine if there is a more equitable way to fund schools across the district. CPS will engage and solicit feedback from its stakeholders throughout the 2019-2020 school year to ensure that voices of educators and community members are taken into consideration.”

To meet this charge, CPS convened a School Funding Working Group who met between December 2019 and February 2020. The Working Group includes parents, students, principals, CTU and charter school representatives, advocates and subject matter experts as well as representatives from the Governor’s Office, Mayor’s Office, Board of Education, and CPS. The working group will publicly issue a “phase one” report to help inform options for the FY21 budget cycle.

Last Updated: February 28, 2020

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