CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Ted Kimbrough yesterday released a tentative $1.5 billion general funds budget for fiscal 1993 that reduces the projected deficit to $90.5 million from $185.5 million through actual and anticipated revenue increases and appropriate changes.
However, he warned that to erase the $90.5 million deficit for the fiscal year that begins Sept. 1, employee unions will have to make concessions. Under a deficit reduction plan proposed by Mr. Kimbrough, the school system would make up for the $95 million difference between the deficit projections through $92.1 million of revenue increases and $2.9 million in appropriations revisions. The superintendent had made the $185.5 million deficit projection in June.
But, Mr. Kimbrough said the only new guaranteed revenue in his deficit reduction plan is $8.0 million raised by refinancing Chicago Public Building Commission bonds issued for the schools and an increase of $24.2 million in property tax revenue caused by an adjustment in the Cook County multiplier.
He noted that the remaining $60 million of revenue increases is dependent on the approval of Gov. Jim Edgar and the Chicago School Finance Authority, the board's oversight panel.
Under Mr. Kimbrough's plan, the schools would receive a $43.7 million state payment in August 1993 instead of September of that year, so that it can be applied to the 1993 fiscal budget rather than the 1994 budget.
Though a measure allowing the earlier payment passed the Illinois General Assembly in the spring, Gov. Edgar does not plan on signing the legislation because of state budgetary restrictions, according to Dan Egler, the governor's spokesman.
Mr. Kimbrough also said that $21.7 million could come from lifting restrictions on funds the Chicago Board of Education is required to reserve for future bill payments when it prepares its annual budget. The funds are intended to ensure that the board always has enough cash to meet its financial needs.
However, the Chicago School Finance Authority has indicated it would not approve the measure.
If the school system does not receive the $43.7 million from the early state payment or the $21.7 million from the board's reserve funds, the $90.5 million deficit would rise to $155.9 million. Under that scenario, employee unions, which account for 80% of the school's budget, would have to make deeper concessions to offset the deficit, according to David C. Rudd, the superintendent's spokesman.
Mr. Kimbrough said $77 million could come from the Chicago Teachers Union's 7% pay increase, due in September for the last year of its three-year contract.
In June, Mr. Kimbrough's calll for an increase in property taxes to reduce the deficit was rejected by Mayor Richard M. Daley and Gov. Edgar.
Mr. Kimbrough said that the school board must present a balanced budget to the Chicago School Finance Authority by Aug. 1.
The school board has $48.4 million of outstanding general obligation debt, rated BBB with a negative outlook by Standard & Poor's Corp. and Baa by Moody's Investors Service.
The school board is obligated to make lease payments on $427.5 million of outstanding revenue bonds issued on its behalf by the Chicago Public Building Commission, which began a five-year building program last year. That debt, which carries the same ratings as the board's GO debt, is insured, except for about $17 million.