Former Cleveland, Chicago schools CEO pleads guilty

Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the former head of Chicago Public Schools, pleaded guilty to fraud on Tuesday, “admitting she steered $23 million in no-bid contracts to education firms for more than $2 million in kickbacks,” according to ABC World News. Associated Press reported that Byrd-Bennett “faced 20 fraud counts, each with a maximum 20-year prison term.” Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune reported that “Byrd-Bennett faces up to about 7 1/2 years in prison” for a single fraud count that her plea agreement required. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Byrd-Bennett issued a “tearful apology” following her plea, in which she said Chicago’s children and educators “deserved much more, much more than I gave to them.” Byrd-Bennett served as CEO of the Cleveland Municipal School District from 1998 to 2006.