Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Chicago Public Schools CEO Guilty... and Sorry


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Barbara Byrd-Bennett, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, plead guilty and then told CPS students and teachers on the courthouse steps. "I'm terribly sorry and I apologize to them. They deserved much more, much more than I gave to them," She plead guilty, according to various news reports, to charges in an alleged scheme to steer $23 million in no-bid contracts to her former employer, education consulting firm SUPES Academy, for $2.3 million in bribes and kickbacks. According to federal prosecutors, bribes included a college fund for her grandchildren. Barbara Byrd-Bennett is 66 years old.

She released a full statement via her attorney:

Today I pled guilty to federal crimes I committed while CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. The people of Chicago as well as CPS, its teachers, staff, and-most especially, its students-deserved more and better from me.

There is nobody to blame but me, and my failings could not have come at a time of greater challenges for CPS. The issues CPS faces are significant, and the City needs-and the children deserve-leaders who are working without conflicts of interest.

I have devoted my entire professional life to public education and, while there is no excusing or downplaying my misconduct, I believe I have done a lot of good, including in Chicago. Today, though, all I can say is that I am truly sorry and that it is time for the District and City to move forward.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett's courtroom pleading was her first since being indicted October 8. She was never arrested or taken into custody.

As usual Twitter was buzzing following her guilty plea and apology: