By Mark Weyermuller –
Waste, fraud, mismanagement, and corruption is the theme of the time in Chicago. This week former Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Byrd Bennett heads off to prison for an elaborate kick back scheme involving over $20 million dollars. She was handpicked to lead the struggling school system by Mayor Rahm Emanuel back in 2012.
It was an elaborate scheme to hire outside contractors to educate high school principals to become superintendents with a company called SUPES, located in Wilmette, Illinois. The no-bid contract had Bennett receiving a big kickback of a couple million dollars. She had worked at SUPES at one point.
Having been found guilty, Bennett, now 68 years old, will serve four years at a federal prison in West Virginia.
I have followed and covered this story over the past couple years. While this scam was stopped, the mainstream media and elected officials treated this as a random occurrence rather then business as usual in Chicago. The $20 million Bennett scammed seems to have disappeared. Will there be an additional civil action to put liens on her assets and recover for taxpayers?
Many insiders and teachers union activists are using this crime as an excuse to promote their agenda to elect Chicago's Public School Board. Illinois already has 43,000 elected officials, so adding a dozen more politicians will probably just shift or compound any hope of improving the schools. Many feel the teachers would be able to elect union-friendly board members.
The Chicago Tribune has reported a huge drop of enrollment of 14,000 less students over the past couple years. This confirms a trend that people are leaving Chicago and leaving Illinois. Many feel people are leaving because of poor schools, high crime, lack of jobs, and massive property and sales taxes.
You would think the Chicago City Council would be working night and day on improving the schools. You would also think property taxes would be going down with so many less students. You are wrong. This week, the city council is debating regulations on "self driving cars." I'm not kidding. That's their focus, mixed up priorities.
Mark Weyermuller is a small business owner, real estate professional, and conservative activist in Chicago. He is a citizen journalist and regular contributor to Illinois Review. Mark can be heard weekly on the radio in a "man on the street segment" at 2:31pm as a regular guest on the Stephanie Trussell Show heard Saturday afternoons 1-3pm on the 50,000 watt WLS-890-AM.
Emanuel has been an absolute disaster on public education and police affairs.
Emanuel recommended Barbara Byrd Bennett for appointment to his crew of rubber stamps at the Chicago Board of Education. Bennett was under an ethical cloud at her previous position in education administration before her arrival in Chicago, but no charges were filed as she packed her bags and departed for Chicago. A thorough investigation and vetting would have raised issues that would have probably halted her hiring by the Chicago Public Schools.
The Chicago Public Schools have a declining student population, but costs continue to go up. Where in the real world does that happen?
Another “Good Democrat” goes into the slammer.
This is what you get when a mayor can appoint whoever he wants, whenever he wants, to whatever position he wants,
and school board members are not subject to elections.
Chicago politicians write laws excluding Chicago from laws in effect everywhere else in Illinois, simply by writing one line into the law;
“…except cities of 1,500,000 residents or more…”
…..of which Chicago is the sole exception in Illinois.