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Chicago Schools CEO Resigns Amid Federal Probe

Chicago public schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett resigned this weekend amid a federal probe of a $20.5 million no-bid contract the school district granted to a company that previously employed her, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The newspaper reports that she ended her term effective today. In a letter to the school board president, Byrd-Bennett wrote that she will "always be thankful for the opportunity to serve the children of Chicago." Thumbnail image for Byrd-Bennett_Blog.jpg

The letter did not list reasons for her departure as head of the nation's third-largest school district, the Tribune reported. Her current contract, which pays her $250,000 per year, doesn't expire until June 2016.

Interim CEO Jesse Ruiz will continue to lead the district, according to the newspaper.

Byrd-Bennett's resignation comes two years after she recommended that the city's school board approve the multi-million dollar no-bid principal training contract to SUPES Academy.

Appointed to the city's top schools job by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2012, Byrd-Bennett was once employed by SUPES Academy. Byrd-Bennett went on paid leave in mid-April, days after federal investigators sent subpoenas to the school system requesting records about her, top aides she brought to Chicago and companies owned by her former employers.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent a statement saying he is "saddened by the circumstances that have led to Barbara's resignation," the Tribune reported.

"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," he wrote.

Photo: Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett speaks at a news conference in Chicago in 2012 after being appointed to the position by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, right. Ms. Byrd-Bennett has resigned her post amid a federal investigation over a $20.5 million no-bid contract that the district awarded to the SUPES training academy where she once consulted. --M. Spencer Green/AP-File

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