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Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Hand Picked School Chief Who Shut 50 Chicago Schools Quits Amid Federal Corruption Investigation

Barbara Byrd-Bennett.
Barbara Byrd-Bennett.
By Mitch Smith
The chief executive of the public school system here, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who has been the subject of a federal investigation into possible misconduct, has resigned, the district announced Monday.

Ms. Byrd-Bennett has been on leave from Chicago Public Schools since April, following local news media reports that a grand jury was hearing evidence about a no-bid school district contract that was awarded to a former employer of hers.

In a resignation letter that was to take effect Monday, Ms. Byrd-Bennett wrote that she would “remain forever thankful for the opportunity to serve the children of Chicago.” She did not give a reason for resigning in the letter, which was dated May 29 and was released by the district.

In his successful re-election campaign this year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who in 2012 appointed Ms. Byrd-Bennett to her position, repeatedly cited improvements to the city’s challenged school system. Nonetheless, enrollment has dropped, many students fail to meet learning standards and the district is facing a massive budget deficit.

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