State to review Chicago Public Schools finances

An investigation of Chicago Public Schools’ “financial stability” was initiated by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) on Feb. 18, giving CPS until March 4 to provide a number of financial records. ISBE officials expressed hope that the “investigation will identify opportunities for actions to be taken that will improve the financial condition of Chicago Public Schools…and, most importantly, result in fiscal stability.”

Chicago schools have asked for a nearly $500 million state bail-out to cover their current budget shortfall. Senate Republicans have stressed suburban and downstate schools shouldn’t be on the hook for the beleaguered Chicago school system, noting that Chicago schools already benefit from nearly $600 million in sweetheart deals that no other school district receives.

However, in a recent interview, Senate President John Cullerton told WBEZ he doesn’t, “think any school should be funded until Chicago schools are funded fairly.” Republicans fear legislative Democrats plan to hold hostage funding for downstate and suburban schools in an attempt to bail-out Chicago Public Schools with nearly $500 million in additional funding.

CPS was asked to provide three years worth of audits and financial projections, payroll data and “major contracts” that have received annual increases.

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