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CPS' financial straits cost taxpayers with sharply higher interest rates on bond sale

April 22, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Public Schools — already facing a federal criminal investigation of its CEO and a projected $1.1 billion budget deficit next school year — now must pay a price for those problems through higher interest rates on a new $300 million bond deal. That came after Fitch Ratings, a Wall Street bond-rating agency, downgraded the Chicago Board of Education’s credit rating last month three notches, leaving it just one notch above junk status, and after school officials last week disclosed there is an ongoing federal investigation involving CPS chief executive officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett. Brian Battle, director of trading for Performance Trust Capital Partners, a Chicago firm that analyzes bonds for investors, said the district’s poor credit rating meant the interest rate on the deal was much higher than it would have been for a government selling bonds with a higher rating.

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Chicago School System Returns to Market Amid Headwinds

April 17, 2015
The Bond Buyer

The Chicago Public School system is facing headwinds as it returns to the bond market next week, stung by back-to-back negative headlines. The news reports include the disclosure of a federal probe into a no-bid contract to a firm with ties to the district's chief executive officer and comments from freshman Gov. Bruce Rauner that raised bankruptcy as an option for the district. Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners, [commented that] investors might be willing to overlook the governor's comments.

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