CHICAGO (CBS) — Some parents of Chicago Public Schools students want to know why some schools are getting millions of dollars for repairs and improvements, but others are getting nothing.
The questions come as the Chicago Board of Education prepares to vote on a $1 billion capital plan for the district.
The capital budget was boosted by an extra $64 million from the state after Illinois lawmakers voted to change the state’s education funding formula.
Before the school board votes on the capital plan, questions remain over the district’s math.
The plan features funding to expand full-day preschool programs, to build a new open-enrollment school on the Near West Side, to provide high-speed Internet service and new mobile devices for all 300,000 students in CPS, and to create modern science labs in all 600 schools.
Additionally, some schools will receive huge chunks of cash for improvements to their facilities; Phillips Academy High School in Bronzeville would get $8.2 million for new athletic facilities, Ravenswood Elementary School would get $17 million for a new roof, but several schools won’t receive any capital funding.
Parents from various local school councils have been left wondering why there is such a disparity.
“A lot of this is going towards new construction. How did they decide that? What kind of community input did they get? How are they deciding?” said Roberta Sales, a parent and LSC member at John B. Murphy Elementary School. “That’s the thing. Maybe it is all something that we would all understand, but nobody knows. It’s a big mystery.”
CPS officials said the capital budget is “based on the needs of the school communities,” and that some investments are still being assessed. The district also said “some spending streams are specifically dedicated to emergencies that may arise.”
The school board was scheduled to meet at 10:30 a.m. to vote on the capital budget.