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updated: 10/2/2012 6:17 PM

Fitch downgrades Chicago Board of Education bond rating

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Associated Press

A second major bond-rating agency has downgraded Chicago Board of Education debt following last month's Chicago Teachers Union strike.

Fitch Ratings changed the rating from A+ to A and said the outlook remains negative. In a statement Tuesday, the agency says the labor agreement negotiated to end the strike calls for increased costs to Chicago Public Schools at a time of "highly stressed operations." Fitch says dramatic changes are needed to close next year's budget gap. The rating applies to approximately $6.1 billion in debt.

Moody's Investor Service downgraded the board's debt last week, citing similar concerns.

Chicago Public Schools says in a statement that years of revenue losses and "misplaced priorities" have led to educational and financial crisis and tough choices must be made over the next three years.

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