Moody's downgrades Chicago Board of Ed. bond rating

July 11, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The action comes after the board proposed draining its "rainy day" fund to repair a budget deficit.

Chicago school officials released a budget on Friday for the coming year that relies on the most significant raid on its reserve funds in 17 years - nearly $400 million.

Chicago Public Schools officials have launched an interactive site that allows the public to "build their own CPS budget."

The tool gives people the ability to focus on a few spending categories and slide a scale to see how adding or subtracting to that category would affect the system's budget.

Canceling 2 percent raises and $62 million in new property taxes are not options.

CPS leaders held three hearings Wednesday night concerning next year's budget.

The school district says it can only afford small raises for teachers and will have to dip into its reserves to fund employee pensions.

One of the hearings was at Malcolm X College. Outside, a coalition of parents, community members, and labor activists gathered in support of the teachers union.

At another event Wednesday night, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis talked with parents, teachers, and community leaders. She says changes have to be made in how education is funded in Illinois.

The Progressive Action Coalition for Education sponsored the event.

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