Audit finds Gary superintendent should repay $30K bonuses

Students wait to go into Westside High School Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2006, in Gary, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)

GARY, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana audit says the superintendent of Gary’s financially strapped school district should repay bonuses she collected without documented school board approval.

The Indiana State Board of Accounts report released last week found that Gary Community School Corp Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt received $30,000 in bonuses in March 2016 without documented approval, the Post-Tribune reported.

School board President Rosie Washington disputed the findings.

“(If) the board had not paid Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt the $30,000 bonus agreed upon, then the board would have illegally ‘breached’ her contract,” Washington said.

A clause under Pruitt’s three-year contract between July 2012 and June 2015 provided for a $10,000 bonus per year under a “Growth Incentive Plan and Bonus to be agreed upon by the Board and the Superintendent,” the report says. No approved documentation for the bonuses was presented for the audit, according to the report.

Auditors have sent the report to the Indiana attorney general and Lake County prosecutor’s office. They’ve requested that Pruitt repay the money.

Pruitt said she believes proper procedures were followed for the bonus payouts.

“From my understanding, (the board) went through several meetings, including executive session meetings,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt said she turned in all goals to the board and went through evaluations.

“If something was missed and I owe the money, I have no problem with paying it back,” Pruitt said.

She said she would need to speak with attorney about paying the money back.