CHICAGO (AP) — Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday sought to distance himself and a private education group he helps fund from the growing scandal over a $20.5 million no-bid contract at Chicago Public Schools that is under federal investigation.
The governor’s comments were the first since it was disclosed that federal investigators have demanded Chicago Public Schools records related to the Chicago Public Education Fund, a nonprofit education group closely aligned with the education initiatives of both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Rauner.
The scandal has focused on CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who once worked for the Wilmette-based SUPES Academy Company that received the no-bid contract to train school principals. The district announced Friday that she is taking a leave of absence.
Rauner was a board director and is currently a director emeritus. Last week, the governor’s hand-picked board of education named Tony Smith the state’s new superintendent of schools. Smith, who has spent most of his career in California, was appointed to the fund’s board of directors last year and was on Rauner’s transition team after the November election.