WBEZ brings you fact-based news and information. Sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on the stories that matter.A potentially risky strategy to help balance Chicago Public Schools’ budget is moving forward. A panel is expected to be named this week to begin work on restructuring the district’s debt. But an official from Denver says her city’s attempt to try the same thing should give Chicago pause.
In 2008, the Denver Board of Education okay-ed a complicated plan to restructure that district’s debt and to plug a multi-million dollar gap in its pension fund.
Jeannie Kaplan sits on the board. She says no district should rush into debt restructuring.
KAPLAN: [I] spend more time than I can possibly tell you trying to unravel all of this and to see what does make sense. So I would say, ‘Ask as many questions as you can on the front end of this.’ That would be my advice.
Kaplan says the economic downturn made Denver’s plan more expensive. She says Denver ended up paying more than $20 million in additional fees from the restructuring.
CPS officials say they hope to have Chicago’s debt restructuring plan worked out by the end of the year.