CPS is known for a handful of powerhouse basketball teams. But most high schools, especially those in poor communities, offer few opportunities for teens to get involved in sports. To do so, schools must raise their own money for athletics.
For a select but growing group of schools in wealthier communities, parent fundraising has risen to new heights. In just a decade, the number of parent groups that raise more than $50,000 a year doubled to 41; 30 schools brought in more than $100,000 and eight raised more than $200,000. Altogether, these 41 schools raised roughly $7.6 million in one year.
The Chicago Public Education Fund supports projects meant to be scaled up as part of the school system. In recent years, it has also paid consultants to conduct searches for top district staff and to help develop plans for the district. Its board includes some of the richest and most influential people in the city. No one outside The Fund’s staff and board of directors know how it decides which programs to support, what the results have been and how or whether the results are communicated to CPS.