Judge to sentence former head of Chicago Public Schools

CHICAGO (AP) – A federal judge in Chicago is set to sentence the former head of the nation’s third-largest school district for steering $23 million in city contracts to education firms for $2.3 million in bribes and kickbacks.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett faces up to 20 years behind bars Friday. Prosecutors want 7½ years and the defense will seek 3½.

Prosecutors say the 68-year-old was already well-off, including a $250,000 salary as Chicago Public Schools CEO. They’ve said her decision to scam the 400,000-student district was “rooted in greed.”

Byrd-Bennett began her career as a teacher in low-income neighborhoods in New York City. She’s also held top education jobs in Detroit and Cleveland.

A defense filing says she feels “crushing humiliation and shame” for what she’s done and will speak in court before being sentenced.

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