This letter from Jay Rehak, CPS National Board Certified Teacher and elected President of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund was not published by the Trib or the Sun-Times… It was published by Substance News where you can read the whole letter.
February 6, 2016
To the editor:
This summer, when thousands of Chicago teenagers are without meaningful employment, consider what a 30 million dollar jobs program might have provided. Consider a summer jobs program that hired students at $10 an hour to clean the schools or help paint over graffiti tagged on public buildings, or hired students to be a part of a creative arts program. That 30 million dollars would have provided 3 million hours of honest work for many thousands of otherwise idled, unemployed teenagers. But where would Chicago find 30 million dollars? According to the Governor of Illinois, the Mayor and the business community, the City is broke. Chicago could hardly be expected to come up with an extra 30 million dollars for a jobs program. Right? Well, how about this: What if instead of CPS borrowing 725 million dollars at 8.5 percent interest, what if CPS had borrowed that money at 4%?
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, on Wednesday, February 3, 2016, the Chicago Board of Education borrowed 725 million dollars at an astounding interest rate of 8.5 %. This means Chicago will pay, this year alone, $61,625,000 in INTEREST. That 61 million dollars will provide Chicago school students absolutely nothing and every cent of that interest payment will be sucked out of the Chicago economy forever. The absolute tragedy of that high cost borrowing is the City could have done better and would have done better if the political leaders of this City and state had not driven up the interest rate with their own irresponsible rhetoric and irresponsible inaction.
That’s right, over $61 Million in interest in one year. This sort of borrowing is akin to a family charging rent, food and transportation expenses on a credit card.
Oh, help. I keep reading that the Chicago school system is going broke — and your exposure of this insanity is more than heartbreaking. It brings on a feeling of utter helplessness. Even at a distance, I feel so hurt for all of the teachers, and all of the kids.