* We talked about this escalating conflict yesterday, but here’s an update from the Sun-Times…
Chicago’s Board of Education on Wednesday narrowly approved key steps toward the construction of a Near South Side high school despite significant opposition from even the strongest advocates for a new neighborhood school.
The school board in a 4-3 vote opted to move forward with leasing former public housing land from the Chicago Housing Authority to build a high school and to acquire another nearby parcel for the CHA in exchange. The district will also ask the city’s Public Building Commission to begin designing the school.
The rare split vote came after heavy debate about the need, viability and fiscal responsibility of the project. Several board members questioned the speed with which the city is attempting to push forward the proposal, with one calling the decision to proceed a “misuse of public money.” […]
State Rep. Theresa Mah, a Chicago Democrat, made waves this week when she said she would block $50 million in state funding for the project that she had pushed through the General Assembly two years ago. Long a supporter of an open-enrollment high school for Near South residents, Mah said the city has not taken genuine community concerns into consideration. She accused Lightfoot and CPS of “manufacturing” support for the school.
I asked the governor’s people this morning what Gov. Pritzker will do with the disputed state funds. But, as it turns out, there’s no public money to “misuse.”
* From Jordan Abudayyeh at the governor’s office…
Capital projects are generally funded through the issuance of state bonds. To ensure that Illinois continues its improving fiscal trajectory, this administration also requires that capital bonds are backed by a specific revenue source, so that they can be paid back in a predictable and stable manner.
The authority to issue bonds is granted by the General Assembly, and requires a vote of 3/5 of the members.
In the case of this project, the General Assembly included the appropriation for the project but not the bonding authority in legislation. Until the administration has the needed bond authority or other source of revenue, this project is not funded.
So, while there is an official state appropriation, there’s no actual state money for CPS to spend because no bonding was authorized. It’s kinda like writing a check to pay off a bill and never mailing it because the bank account doesn’t exist.
All of this bitter infighting is over nada.