Two years after 50 low-enrollment public schools in Chicago were closed, district officials can’t say where many of the computers, desks, books and other items from those buildings ended up.
The Better Government Association (BGA), a government watchdog organization in Illinois, says it has been asking the school system for more than six months to say what happened the materials and equipment.
District officials say they don't know where much of the equipment is, and they place the blame on former district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who oversaw the closings in 2013. Bennett resigned last year after being implicated in a corruption scandal. She subsequently pleaded guilty to taking bribes.
The BGA, using documentation from freedom of information requests, says record keeping for what was moved out of closed buildings and what was relocated to open campuses was lax.
The watchdog group determined that of the more than 9,400 desktop and laptop computers at closed schools, 3,724 were moved to other schools or district offices. The rest of the devices were described as "disposed of," but the records did not make it clear how or to whom.
The district also cannot account for thousands of desks, tables and books.