Seven Key Numbers to Know From This Year’s School Budgets
BUDGET, DISTRICT | April 21, 2021
Seven Key Numbers to Know From This Year’s School Budgets

Today, CPS is releasing school budgets for the 2021-22 school year—the first step of the district’s annual budget process that will culminate with the release of our full operating budget later this year. The hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investments announced today connect back our core value of equity and are the first part of the district’s comprehensive plan to accelerate learning and safely support daily in-person instruction for all students when we return to school in the fall.

Here are the seven most important numbers you need to know about today’s announcement: 

1. $225 million: This is the total increase in school-based funding for next school year. This funding will prioritize the needs of our students by providing additional supports to help schools address the impacts of COVID-19 and prepare to offer daily in-person instruction next school year.  

2. $85 million: This is the total amount of new, supplemental funding that schools will be able to use to help address needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is just the start of the district’s efforts to address the academic and social and emotional needs created in the past year. In the near future, a comprehensive, holistic framework will be introduced that will provide a substantial increase in resources, including mental health supports, access to tutors and mentors, new technology, expanded summer learning, job opportunities, and more.

3. $66 million will go toward providing a record-high 401 schools with an average of $165,000 in Equity Grants. These funds are meant to support schools that have seen a trend of low or declining enrollment or are experiencing community hardship. 

4. $32 million to support schools with lower than expected enrollment and offset the enrollment declines due to the pandemic. This funding was shaped by community feedback around supporting schools and responding to COVID-19. 

5. $30 million to specifically support diverse learners. It reflects the district’s commitment to double the number of diverse learners offered admission at selective enrollment high schools by increasing special education positions at these schools. It will also expand access to blended early childhood programs. 

6. $17 million will be used to create a record-high number of nurses, social workers, and special education case managers. In total, 78 nurse positions will be added for a total of 503, 44 social worker positions will be added for a total of 580, and 51 special education case managers will be added for a total of 217. 

7. $16 million will go directly toward expanding free, full-day Pre-K in communities across Chicago. It will fund 62 new Pre-K classrooms that will serve over 1,200 students, including 15 new blended classrooms for diverse learners. As a result of this continued investment, CPS has now made age four the point of entry to free, full-day instruction for the vast majority of Chicago families and all families in our highest-need communities.