Dozens of superintendents and other high-level district officials from across the country consulted for SUPES in the crooked deal that got former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett in trouble. And in some cases — from St. Louis and Huntsville, Ala., to Baltimore and Prince George’s counties in Maryland — those officials work at districts that have also had SUPES contracts.
In an odd twist, rugby, the national sport of Ireland, has become one of the most popular sports among Noble Street campuses. All of the 16 campuses have boys’ teams and most have girls’ teams as well.
CPS is known for a handful of powerhouse basketball teams. But most high schools, especially those in poor communities, offer few opportunities for teens to get involved in sports. To do so, schools must raise their own money for athletics.
For a select but growing group of schools in wealthier communities, parent fundraising has risen to new heights. In just a decade, the number of parent groups that raise more than $50,000 a year doubled to 41; 30 schools brought in more than $100,000 and eight raised more than $200,000. Altogether, these 41 schools raised roughly $7.6 million in one year.
The Chicago Public Education Fund supports projects meant to be scaled up as part of the school system. In recent years, it has also paid consultants to conduct searches for top district staff and to help develop plans for the district. Its board includes some of the richest and most influential people in the city. No one outside The Fund’s staff and board of directors know how it decides which programs to support, what the results have been and how or whether the results are communicated to CPS.
Governor Bruce Rauner, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Public Education Fund–the non-profit organization that paid to pilot the initiative at the center of an ongoing federal investigation into the circumstances surrounding a controversial $20 million contract–all sought to distance themselves from the situation on Monday.
Two days after the revelation that she faces a federal investigation into her relationship with a company that received a $20 million no-bid contract, embattled CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has taken a leave of absence. Board Vice President Jesse Ruiz has been named interim CEO.
“Bankruptcy code exists to help the organization get out of financial trouble,” the governor told an approving crowd at an event organized by The Chicago Public Education Fund. “There’s a reason for the bankruptcy code.”
Most principals in a recent survey say that privatized custodial services have left their schools dirtier than before and accuse CPS of ignoring their complaints. CPS says an independent audit found that schools are now cleaner and at a level of “ordinary tidiness.”