The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) found that the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district does not meet the requirements for a state takeover, according to documents published on its website.
"At this time, the district does not meet any of the criteria for certification," reads the packet prepared for next week's board meeting. "The district has not realized two consecutive years of negative operating fund balances nor is it forecasted in this model."
Gov. Bruce Rauner has been a proponent of a state takeover of the CPS district, and his board of ed appointees conducted an investigation into the district's finances to see if such a move was legally viable. While the cash-strapped district has a $675 million pension payment due next month and is facing a $1.1 billion budget shortfall for the next fiscal year, which also starts in June, ISBE did not find the district to be in bad enough shape to warrant an immediate takeover, opting instead for "continued monitoring."
"It's clear in our analysis CPS has financial challenges and a spending problem," ISBE spokeswoman Laine Evans said. "However, at this time they do not meet the criteria for certification of financial difficulty, as defined per statute."
CPS officials say the analysis proves that the governor's push for a state takeover is unwarranted.
"This decision demonstrates that Gov Rauner's attempts to drive CPS into bankruptcy are misguided and wrong," said CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner. "While CPS faces a $1 billion budget deficit next year, it can be solved if we all work together, as we are committed to doing."
Meanwhile, the Rauner administration continued blasting the district for its fiscal woes.
"You don't need an actuary or an accountant to know CPS has financial problems, otherwise the district wouldn't be repeatedly asking the state for an additional half a billion dollars," Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly reportedly said Friday.