Too many promises, not enough money:
Chicago, the nation’s biggest junk-rated city, has raised taxes and moved to shore up its debt-ridden pension system, but for its schools, the triage still has a ways to go.How bad is it?
The Chicago Board of Education is facing a potential strike by its teachers, which could further strain its coffers. The third-largest U.S. school district’s budget counts on state aid and union concessions that may not come. And this week, Moody’s Investors Service cut its rating deeper into junk, citing its “precarious liquidity” and reliance on borrowed money, as preliminary data showed an enrollment drop of almost 14,000 students -- a loss that may cut into its funding.
"To say that they’re challenged is an understatement,” said Richard Ciccarone, the Chicago-based president of Merritt Research Services LLC, which analyzes municipal finances. "The problems that they’re having poses risks to continued operations and the timely repayment of liabilities.”And of course, Chicago has a few other issues as well:
The school board’s situation has worsened as its fund balance and reserves shrink, according to Moody’s.
“Because the reserves and the liquidity have weakened steadily over the past few years, there’s less room for uncertainty in the budget,” said Rachel Cortez, vice president at Moody’s in Chicago. “They don’t have any cash left to buffer against revenue or expenditure assumptions that don’t pan out.”
Tuesday, Aug. 23, provided a particular glimpse of how the city's murder toll steadily grew.I left Chicago nearly 24 years ago. I have not regretted the move.
On that day, Victor Mata, 22, a member of a faction of the Satan Disciples, was found dead in the front yard of a house. It was the fourth time he had been shot in recent years.
Christopher Hibbler, 42, who belonged to the Black P Stones, a leading black street gang, died when people in a car sprayed gunfire at the corner where he was standing.
Tykina Ali, 20, was shot when someone opened fire on her boyfriend's car.
Johnell Johnson, a 37-year-old member of the Black Gangsters on the city's West Side, was found dead in the street, shot in the face.