How many times have we heard that the a Chicago Public Schools are broke? Isn’t that why CPS laid off thousands of teachers and closed 50 elementary schools?

But wait: this week, CPS gave a $20 million no-bid contract to a for-profit corporation called Supes Academy to train principals.

CPS Superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett worked for Supes Academy until April 2012.

“The size and the circumstances surrounding the contract have raised eyebrows among some outside observers. The contract with Wilmette-based Supes Academy is by far the largest no-bid contract awarded in at least the past three years, according to a Catalyst Chicago analysis of board documents. In addition, CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett worked for the company as a coach up until the time she came on board at CPS as a consultant.

“There’s also conflicting information about Byrd-Bennett’s involvement with another company owned by the same individuals who run the Supes Academy.

“Andy Shaw, president and CEO of the Better Government Association, says that a large, no-bid contract such as this one deserves scrutiny.”

Scrutiny? I’ll say. Chicago has several excellent institutions of higher education that could have done the same job for far less money. Was this a necessary expenditure at a time when the schools don’t have enough teachers and at being closed, allegedly to save money?