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Is the 2015 Chicago Public Schools budget based on a "gimmick?"

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Q: What's 14 months long and lasts 365 days? A: The Chicago Public Schools 2015 fiscal year.

That's no joke. It's the gist of a report from fiscal watchdog the Civic Federation that eviscerates Chicago Public Schools' proposed budget for fiscal year 2015. The $6.8 billion budget is expected to be voted upon (and adopted) on July 23.

The Civic Federation says the proposed spending plan is based on an "accounting gimmick" that uses 14 months of revenue to support a 12-month budget.

"This is yet another misguided budget that fails to address the alarmingly clear message that the District's current cost structure is unaffordable," said Sarah Wetmore, vice president of the Civic Federation.

The report criticizes both CPS' plans for new programs and school buildings while simultaneously cutting budgets at existing schools. In general the Civic Federation criticizes the district in virtually all aspects of money management, from its creation of a teacher pension crisis to its efforts to blame state government for its money woes.

Ultimately, the report says the tricks and spending of the 2015 budget will create a deficit of $1 billion for subsequent budget years. Read the full report at Reboot Illinois.

As its schools face financial issues, Chicago's mounting pension crisis has fueled speculation whether it could join Detroit as the second major U.S. city to enter bankruptcy. But a vote by Detroit public employees and retirees might serve as an example to those affected by Chicago's pension trouble.