The Chicago Public Schools on Wednesday abruptly put off $875 million in borrowing needed to ease its financial crunch amid signs it would pay a heavy price - in the form of record-high interest rates - to attract investors. Brian Battle, director of trading for Performance Trust Capital Partners, a Chicago firm that analyzes bonds for investors, said temporarily halting the deal is something that happens occasionally but should have been avoided. "It's embarrassing to go to market and have to pull the deal," he said. "Either there were no buyers or there were no buyers at a price that the city was going to take. Either way, it's a bad sign for CPS." How bad it is, Battle said, depends on whether the school district's underwriters can find buyers quickly.