With a federal investigation underway into the Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) no-bid contract with SUPES Academy, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has resigned.
Byrd-Bennett said she would be stepping down on Monday as CPS CEO in a letter sent last week to Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale. In the letter, Byrd-Bennett said she will “always be thankful for the opportunity to serve the children of Chicago.”
The federal government is investigating the role CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett may have had in the $20.5 million no-bid contract with SUPES Academy, which provides training for school principals, as she was a previous employee of the company. Byrd-Bennett took a leave of absence in mid-April after the investigation began, and Chicago Board of Education member Jesse Ruiz was named interim schools chief of the CPS district.
In a statement Sunday, Vitale said “interim CEO Jesse Ruiz will continue in that role to advance the important work of the Chicago Public Schools on behalf of our students, families, and communities across the City of Chicago.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also issued a statement.
“I am saddened by the circumstances that have led to Barbara’s resignation and I wish her well,” the mayor said. “As a city, our focus must remain on finishing the school year strong and tackling the billion dollar budget deficit that threatens the progress our students, teachers, principals and parents have made over the last several years.”
The Chicago Teachers Union also reacted to the news via statement:
The Chicago Teachers Union is not surprised at the resignation of Chicago Public Schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett. The current federal investigation that forced her departure sets a horrible example for our students and the educators who look to her leadership. She leaves Chicago not only under a cloud of suspicion and organizational chaos, but also following one of the darkest hours in our city’s history when she closed 50 public schools in a single year, the largest number in U.S. history. The Byrd-Bennett’s investigation, as well as the obvious conflicts of interests among current Board members, underscores why we have advocated for an elected school board. We wish her well in her endeavors.