Former CPS CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett sentenced to 4.5 years in prison

CHICAGO -- Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett was sentenced Friday to 4.5 years in prison on federal corruption charges.

Byrd Bennett pleaded guilty two years ago to wire fraud. It was part of a plea deal reached with prosecutors.

She admitted to steering more than $23 million in no-bid contracts to her former employer, Supes Academy, in exchange for kickbacks.

Byrd Bennett's attorneys had asked the judge for a 3.5-year prison sentence while prosecutors wanted her to serve 7.5 years.

A spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel released the following statement following the sentencing:

"Barbara betrayed the public trust. She broke the law. She turned her back on the very children she was entrusted to serve, and the children of Chicago are owed much better than that. Today's decision is a reminder that no one is above the law, and with justice now served the entire CPS community can continue to focus on building on the record academic success of Chicago students."

One of the co-owners of Supes Academy, Thomas Vranas, was sentenced Friday to 18 months in prison.