Chicago Public Schools face formal investigation
In a signed, sealed and certified letter to Chicago Public Schools and the city's board of education, Illinois’ State Board of Education yesterday addressed the jurisdiction’s nearly year-old “financial watch status” with a formal declaration of investigation.
“As a result of this designation, we are exercising our authority under Section 1A-8 of the School Code to initiate a proper investigation of the financial integrity of Chicago Public Schools,” the state said in its missive, dated Feb. 18 and addressed specifically to Chicago Public Schools’ CEO Forrest Claypool and Frank Clark, president of the board.
Invoking the state board's right to obtain financial data, the correspondence requested the appointment and identification of a designated representative to serve as a main contact during the inquiry.
The letter stipulated that the local authorities submit specific fiscal data and contact information to the State Superintendent’s office by close of business on March 4. Ultimately, results will determine whether the troubled Chicago school system is to receive formal “certification of financial difficulty.”
“Our sincere hope is that the forthcoming investigation will identify opportunities for actions to be taken that will improve the financial condition of Chicago Public Schools, avoid 'certification of financial difficulty,' and most importantly, result in fiscal stability,” officials stated.
Pledging full availability, the message was signed by State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith and Chairman James Meeks.