Chicago public school officials say they are suspending a contract with a principal training company that has drawn the district's CEO into a federal investigation.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Chicago Public Schools Interim CEO Jesse Ruiz has sent a letter to SUPES Academy informing the company that the district is suspending the company’s $20.5 million no-bid contract.
The action comes just a few days after district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett went on paid leave amid the controversy surrounding the contract and her role in awarding it. Byrd-Bennett worked for SUPES before joining Chicago Public Schools as a high-level administrator.
The district is seeking to have outside experts review the no-bid process under which SUPES received the contract.
Earlier: Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has taken a paid leave of absence while a federal probe continues into a no-bid contract with a company she once worked for, The Chicago Tribune reports.
MORE: Federal authorities are reportedly investigating Chicago School CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and her role in a $20 million no-bid contract given to a firm that trains education administrators.
Catalyst Chicago, an independent news organization, says the federal probe is looking into the same issue the school system's inspector general has been investigating since 2013: Byrd-Bennett and a possible conflict of interest in connection with the contract the district granted to The SUPES Academy, a firm based in Wilmette, Ill., that trains principals and superintendents.
A Catalyst investigation found that Byrd-Bennett had worked as a coach for SUPES until she was hired to lead Chicago Public Schools. Some evidence indicated that she continued to consult with related companies after she was on Chicago's payroll. In June 2013, the school board awarded SUPES the $20 million contract.
Byrd-Bennett’s three-year, $250,000 annual contract as leader of the nation's third-largest district is up this year. She came to Chicago in 2012 as chief education officer in 2012 and became CEO later that year after the resignation of Jean-Claude Brizard. Before working with Chicago Public Schools, Byrd-Bennett had been an administrator in Detroit, Cleveland and New York City.