Board plans to borrow half billion dollars three months after claiming it was soo, soooo broke

Three months after the Chicago Board of Education voted that it did not have the money to fund the fifth year of the five-year contract with the school system's unions, the Board is planning to borrow a half billion dollars, according to the agenda of the Board's September 28, 2011 meeting. The complete agenda to the Board meeting, which is not put on line despite the easy possibility of doing so, includes a 21-page Board Report (a "Board Report" is what an agenda item to be voted on is called) pertaining to the bonds.

The complete title of the Board Report (Board Report #11-0928-RS7) is: "Resolution Providing for the Issue of Unlimited Tax General Obligation Bonds (Dedicated Revenues), Series 2011, of the Board of Education of the City of Chicago in an Aggregate Principal Amount not to Exceed $500,000,000 for the Purpose of Paying Part of the Cost of Certain Capital Improvements in and for Said Board and the Cost of Refunding Certain Outstanding Bonds of Said Board."

There will apparently be no further discussion of the complex borrowing deal on September 28, 2011. According to the Board Report, all of the necessary legal procedures were complete in 2009, when the Board posted notice that it intended to borrow more than $2 billion and then held a "hearing" on August 26, 2009, prior to the Board meeting of that data.

Contrary to claims by the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel that a new era of "transparency" would be initiated under his administration, which began with his inauguration on May 16, 2011, the Chicago Board of Education continues its murky business as usual. There has been no public record of any discussion by members of the Board of any of the recent bond issues. Instead, the Board conducts all of its business during its secret closed sessions, then votes every six months to seal the minutes of the closed sessions. The Board has voted to seal the minutes of the Executive Sessions since July 1, 1995, when former Mayor Richard M. Daley assumed control over Chicago's public schools after the passage of the Amendatory Act of 1995, which began the era of "Mayoral Control" over the schools in Chicago.

The Chicago Board of Education, all of whose members were newly appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in May 2011, voted at its July 2011 meeting to continue to keep secret the proceedings of the closed sessions.


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