Federal Authorities Investigate CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett

Mayor Emanuel plans to speak with Board of Education members Wednesday afternoon

Federal investigators this week have been looking into potential misconduct by Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, according to reports.

According to Catalyst Chicago, a publication that covers education issues, federal authorities are looking into a $20 million no-bid contract to a principal-and-administrator training company that once employed her. 

CPS declined to comment on the investigation. 

A spokesperson for SUPES Academy said federal investigators have "obtained records and files" in an investigation involving CPS.

"SUPES will of course cooperate with this investigation," the academy said in a statement. "At the same time, the company stands behind the countless hours of training it has provided to Chicago Public Schools principals. Principals are the key to improving schools and SUPES’ peer-to-peer leadership training shares the best practices of school leaders from around the country."

Earlier Wednesday School Board President David Vitale notified the press that investigators were looking into a matter with CPS and that they have requested to speak with several employees. 

“Yesterday the Board of Education was made aware that federal authorities are investigating a matter at CPS and have requested interviews with several employees. We take any allegation of misconduct seriously, and we are fully cooperating with investigators who requested that we not discuss any specifics regarding the ongoing investigation.”

At an unrelated news conference, Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters he has "little information" about the investigation and said he plans to speak with Board of Education members Wednesday afternoon.

"There's no information yet as to who, what, who's the target, who are the individuals," Emanuel said.

Emanuel noted the investigation was active and ongoing and that CPS was fully cooperating.

"Let me say this," he said. "With my background working through two administrations, you have an ongoing federal investigation, they don't share a lot of information while they're gathering information."

"I don't even know who they're looking at. It's a CPS matter," he said. 

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