Chicago Board of Education borrows $1.5 billion for struggling schools

Amid a looming threat of a teacher strike, school closures, dwindling enrollment and the utterly chaotic state of finances in the City of Chicago, the Chicago Board of Education approved a $5.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2017 on Wednesday.

Buoyed by another round of property tax increases and expected additional $215 million in pension relief from the state’s General Assembly, the troubled schooling system’s budget remained hostage to a record $1.5 billion in credit, up from slightly over $1 billion in 2016.

The school board voted unanimously to approve the borrowing.

Running on a $338 million capital budget, the schooling system plans on spending $27 million for air conditioning units at 61 city schools and charter schools, $57 million is scheduled for upgrades to internet bandwidth for schools and additional technology needs and will spend $173 million on projects to expand classrooms and building at existing schools.

Deeply in debt, the Chicago Public Schools has had its credit rating reduced to “junk” status.

 

[Reuters] [Photo courtesy Jose Osorio/Chicago Tribune via chicagomag.com]