CHICAGO (CBS) — Aldermen aired a lot of frustrations about the Chicago Public Schools’ finances at a City Council Finance Committee hearing Tuesday, with schools facing the possibility of closing three weeks early, but they took no action on a controversial proposal to use tax increment financing to rescue the district.
An ordinance to send surplus TIF money to CPS whenever the district is in financial distress remained bottled up in committee.
Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) said he’s not enamored with the idea of using TIF money to shore up CPS finances.
“Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not the solution,” he said.
Some aldermen seemed more upset about an apparent lack of contact with school officials, like CEO Forrest Claypool.
“Our CEO has said that schools will close June 1 if we don’t receive approximately $215 million, and even that number is unclear, because again we have not heard from CPS exactly what it is that they need to keep those doors open,” Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) said.
Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) echoed the sentiment.
“I just would like to know what’s the reluctancy of Claypool and [Chief Education Officer Janice] Jackson from coming to talk to this body,” he said.
Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) said CPS will be “waiting a long time” if it’s expecting any financial help from state lawmakers or the governor.
“The main thing I want to say is that CPS and this Council have to be on the same page,” he said.
Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said that’s not happening.
“We have a non-responsive head of CPS, you know, which is why I’ve been an advocate for an elected school board,” she said.