The Chicago Board of Education last week approved new Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s pick of Jean-Claude Brizard to serve as Chicago Public Schools’ new chief executive officer.

Brizard, who previously led the Rochester, N.Y. school district, will be paid $250,000 annually to run the nation’s third largest school system. “I am eager to work from day one to ensure that every dollar we spend, every program that we support and every reform that we make, moves the district forward and benefits our kids,” he said in a statement.

Brizard takes over the fiscally ailing district as it grapples with a $720 million gap in its next budget due to the growing costs of teacher salaries and debt service amid chronic delays in state aid payments and expiring federal stimulus funds.

Fitch Ratings last year downgraded CPS’ $5 billion of debt to A-plus. It is rated AA-minus by Standard & Poor’s and Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service, both with negative outlooks.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.