CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett Resigns Amid Federal Probe

Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has resigned amid a federal investigation into a no-bid contract awarded to one of her former employers.

According to reports, Byrd-Bennett sent a written note to the school board announcing her decision.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports Byrd-Bennett wrote she will "always be thankful for the opportunity to serve the children of Chicago." 

The CPS Board of Education President David Vitale confirmed the news, saying in a statement that the resignation took effect Monday. 

"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," Vitale said.

Byrd-Bennett could not immediately be reached for comment. 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement he was "saddened by the circumstances that have led to Barbara's resignation," and wished her well.

"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 statement read.

Byrd-Bennett's resignation comes during a federal probe of a $20.5 million no-bid principal training contract with the Wilmette-based SUPES Academy, which once employed Byrd-Bennett. The Chicago Board of Education has since suspended its agreement with the training company. 

The Chicago Teachers Union wished Byrd-Bennett well, but said the investigation sets a "horrible example" for students and educators.

"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 CTU said in a statement. 

Byrd-Bennett took a leave of absense in mid-April as investigators worked to determine whether she received any kickbacks from the 2013 contract.

Her contract with CPS matured in June, and while she had the option to extend it for another year, Vitale said earlier that she had not yet exercised that option. 

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