CPS Announces More Than $52 Million in Central Office, Operations and Administration Cuts to Help Close FY14 $1 Billion Deficit, Reduce Impact on Classrooms

Latest reductions include eliminating nearly 100 positions at Central Office; Additional reductions outside the classroom to be announced in coming weeks


Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced today that it has identified an additional $52.3 million in central office, administration and operations cuts as it continues in its ongoing effort to close a $1 billion budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) and minimize impacts on the classroom. With these new cuts, CPS has so far identified $52.3 million to date in reductions to non-classroom spending for the upcoming fiscal year, with more cuts to be announced in the coming weeks as CPS finalizes its district wide budget. This is in addition to nearly $600 million in reductions to central office and centrally funded programs made since 2011.

“Given the historic financial crisis facing our District, next year’s budget will not come without painful decisions, which is why we are making tough choices at central office in order to minimize impacts to our classrooms,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “We will continue this work over the next several weeks to further identify reductions to central office spending to help close the District’s $1 billion deficit and make sure that every dollar helps protect precious classroom funding.”

CPS faces a historic $1 billion deficit in FY14, driven mostly by a $400 million increase in its annual pension payment, increases in contractual salary obligations and flat or declining revenues. CPS will continue to finalize its districtwide budget over the next several weeks. 

This latest round of $20.7 million in cuts includes:

  • $10 million in anticipated savings from a new facilities management service model that will result in more efficient custodial service,
  • $8.9 million from a reduction of 96 central office positions across multiple departments,
  • $1 million in negotiated savings for landscaping, and
  • $0.8 million from relocating the central office into half its current space, reflecting a decreased need for space after several years of central office layoffs.

The new central office cuts come on top of $31.6 million in spending reductions CPS announced earlier this year. Those cuts came from a variety of sources, including:

  • $15 million from increasing efficiencies in district-wide engineer work and more effective management of engineering contracts to provide better services at a lower cost across the city’s schools, as well as realizing additional utility savings through renegotiating energy rates and energy reduction policies
  • $6 million from renegotiated healthcare contracts with vendors for the same or better services
  • $2.1 million from reduced IT infrastructure support costs via renegotiated contracts and insourced consulting positions
  • $2 million from renegotiated office supply contracts
  • $2 million from insourced or eliminated consultants and contractors supporting systems operations activities
  • $1.8 million in savings expected from shifting from standard-sized buses toward vans for paratransit students, better aligning vehicle size with ridership.
  • $1 million from a reduction in external legal counsel, managing more caseload and legal work using in-house expertise
  • $1 million from a new waste management contract that shifts the contract cost structure from a lump sum fee to a per-unit or volume-based fee that will better accommodate fluctuations in facilities and lend increased transparency on actual costs for service
  • $500,000 from the implementation of an easy-to-use purchasing system for schools that will drive the use of low-cost vendors through comparison shopping
  • $200,000 from reductions in non-personnel costs in the communications office and new fundraising partnerships for back-to-school projects. The local funds that had been used previously for back-to-school efforts will be redirected to classrooms
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