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Chicago Virtual Charter School CEO On Paid Leave As CPS Watchdog Investigates Questionable Spending

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The CEO of Chicago Virtual Charter School is in deep trouble, and others could be too, amid investigation into questionable spending.

Class might be over for the summer, but officials at the Chicago Public Schools continue to study what went on at Chicago Virtual Charter School during the 2018-19 school year.

CVCS remains on the district's charter school warning list, and more disciplinary action might be on the way.

CPS Inspector General Nicholas Schuler said he's launched an investigation after the CBS 2 Morning Insiders uncovered questionable spending by administrators.

For example, CEO Dr. Cheryl Pruitt received a 15 percent raise, bringing her salary to $176,000, even though CPS had placed the school on financial and academic probation.

Since CBS 2 reported on the school's financial issues in March, parents said Pruitt has been proving herself.

"I saw her try to reach the parents in order to get us together, looking for parents' support; which is something that is lacking here," Michele Gomez said.

The board of directors might disagree. They placed Pruitt on paid leave, and didn't even mention her during Wednesday's board meeting.

"Do we have a CEO? Do we not? Is she coming back? Is she not? I think they owe that to the parents," Gomez said.

CBS 2 has learned CVCS is in the midst of its own independent financial investigation.

CPS leaders said they instructed the charter school's board to "take appropriate employment action up to and including termination against any school officials that are the subject of allegations."

CVCS board president Ken Speller declined to discuss Pruitt's current status.

"Because it's a personnel matter, it's confidential," he said.

Asked if the board will be voting on possible termination anytime soon, he said "there's no discussion of terminations at this time."

Speller also was mum on why he voted against two of three parents who wanted to join the board. He said he was the one who called the CPS inspector general's office to investigate the school.

"I reached out to them first," he said.

However, Pruitt wouldn't say what he asked the inspector general to investigate.

"Again, a personnel matter. It's confidential. I can't discuss it with you," he said.

CBS 2 also has revealed the school was using thousands of taxpayer dollars to shuttle director of strategy Angela Richardson-Bryant between Chicago and her home in Atlanta. Schuler wouldn't budge when asked if he is looking into that, saying only there is an "active investigation" at the school.

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