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Illinois Board of Education Investigating Chicago District's Finances

The Illinois State Board of Education this week asked the Chicago Public Schools to send over a trove of financial information as part of an investigation into the district's finances, local media reported.

The request for financial information came after Gov. Bruce Rauner ordered the state to review the district's finances. The district has been facing a series of financial challenges: It has a $1 billion long-term deficit and recently borrowed $725 million at high interest rates to keep running until the end of the school year.   

In letters to Forrest Claypool, the district's CEO, and Frank Clark, the Chicago school  board president, the State Board of Education sought information on financial projections, major contracts, monthly payroll schedules, and debt schedules, according to the Chicago Tribune.

School officials told local media that the bulk of the information the state board asked for was already publicly available.

The state's request comes amid a war of words between Chicago officials and Gov. Rauner, who is seeking to put the district, the third-largest in the country, under state control.

Claypool and others have vigorously pushed back against Rauner's overtures to take over the school district. Rauner and two Republican legislators have put forward legislation to create a state oversight board for Chicago public schools.

Rauner's plan for state control is unlikely to come to fruition given that Illinois Democrats have already panned it. The district has also steadfastly maintained that the governor has no authority to take over the schools.

Chicago officials have called for the state to revamp its education funding formula, which would give the district some relief from its perennial budget woes.

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