Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday that he was "not pleased" with a decision by Moody's Investor Service to again drop the Board of Education's bond rating but said his actions were a matter of priorities.
“Kids are getting an additional hour and 15 minutes today and I had to take care of that first," the mayor said Friday. "I could not put the fiscal challenges ahead of our educational challenges."
The bond-rating agency's action comes after a more than week-long Chicago Teachers' Union strike.
On Thursday, Moody's reduced CPS' debt to A2, reflecting "a weakened financial profile." The company said it thinks "the district will be hard-pressed to make the budget adjustments necessary" to close an approximate $1 billion budget gap for fiscal 2014. The rating applies to $6.4 billion in debt.
Chicago Public Schools said in a statement that it is making "tough decisions" to fix finances without sacrificing children's educations. CPS said it has cut more than $500 million over the past year.
"In the last 16 months, we’ve taken 16 percent of cost out of the system. We have more work to do. Yes, we had two [bond rating drops]. But, I want to repeat: this contract is cheaper and more frugal by 40 percent while our kids educational time has increased by 30 percent," said Emanuel.
In July, Moody's separately downgraded Chicago Public Schools' bond rating outlook from stable to negative.