Each year, the Federal Government requires government agencies at the state and local level to release a comprehensive annual financial report – known as CAFR. The Chicago Public Schools CAFR for FY12 showed total operating revenues of $5.216 billion against total operating expenditures of $4.888 billion, and a balance sheet of $344 million. However, that $344 million balance is misleading.
In reality, the $344 million was budgeted for, and expected to be captured in, Fiscal Year 2013 to help cover CPS’ $700 million budget deficit. And, according to CPS Chief Financial Officer, Peter Rogers, it will still be spent in Fiscal Year 2013.
“It looks great on paper, but it’s deceiving," said Rogers. "In reality, this does not represent a surplus for CPS, period. While these revenues were received unexpectedly at the end of Fiscal Year 2012, they will be spent as planned in our Fiscal Year 2013 budget.”
For the first time in 30 years, the County gave CPS its local property tax collections on time—last July, at the end of FY 2012. Historically, CPS has not received these funds until October or November, which is why these revenues were expected to be received and spent in Fiscal Year 2013.
Additionally, the State was six months behind on its block grant payments to CPS at the end of Fiscal Year 2012, but, unexpectedly, paid CPS two months’ worth of these payments. This added another $100 million at the end of the CPS Fiscal Year 2012 balance sheet.
As the economy continues its slow recovery, revenue streams remain volatile and unpredictable. For instance, as of December 15th, the State again had fallen behind four months, for a total of $195 million. With all CPS revenues expected to decline again in Fiscal Year 2014, it faces a daunting $1 billion deficit. You can view the Fiscal Year 2012 CAFR by clicking the link below.
2012 CAFR Report