July 12, 2012
The Civic Federation supports the City Colleges FY2013 budget totaling $659.5 million because it demonstrates continued fiscal discipline and attention to financial best practices. Unrestricted operating funds, the portion of the budget over which the District exercises maximum control, will decrease by 0.8%, or $2.4 million dollars from the previous year. The property tax levy will remain flat for the third consecutive year, in-district tuition rates will remain flat and the District will maintain a strong fund balance of 15.2% of operating expenses.
City Colleges is now in the third phase of its multi-year reorganization effort called Reinvention. The program includes improving student outcomes, as well as the financial and operational health of the colleges system, by using zero-based budgeting to better align resources with goals . Under Reinvention, the District has achieved operational savings of $41.0 million that have now been redirected toward instruction and other quality improvements.
The analysis also includes recommendations based on recent fiscal developments in the State of Illinois and City of Chicago. The Civic Federation strongly urges the District to prepare for a potential shift of pension costs from the State of Illinois, and recommends future capital budgets provide full disclosure of information about investors and contracts when engaging in projects related to the Chicago Infrastructure Trust.