Amid a federal investigation, Barbara Byrd-Bennett resigned as Chicago Public School (CPS) CEO Monday. The investigation looked into a no-bid contract worth $20 million given to her former employer, SUPES Academy.
According to the Chicago Tribune, federal investigators have been looking into SUPES and Byrd-Bennett's connection since 2013, and a grand jury has been reviewing evidence for over a year.
SUPES Academy has been paid nearly 75 percent of the $20.5 million contract, say district records.
This comes at a time when CPS has a $1 billion budget deficit. Additionally, the contract between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is set to expire this year. CPS missed a week of school in 2012 as the CTU striked to increase benefits and demands.
Before being hired by CPS in April 2012, Byrd-Bennett worked in similar roles in Cleveland, Detroit and New York. Byrd-Bennett became CPS CEO a month after the CTU strike in 2012. She faces controversy as she "oversaw the closing of nearly 50 schools the city said were under-enrolled."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who appointed Byrd-Bennett, said in a statement, "I am saddened by the circumstances that have led to Barbara's resignation and I wish 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."
She had been on paid leave since April, says ABC7 Chicago. Her contract was worth $250,000 before the resignation.