CBS 2 Uncovered Missing Curriculum, Questionabkle Spending At SchoolBy Lauren Victory


CHICAGO (CBS) — A troubled school where we uncovered questionable spending and missing curriculum is expected to closing at the end of the school year.

As CBS 2’s Lauren Victory reported, parents and students learned Monday about the plans to close the Chicago Virtual Charter School.

It was only a few weeks ago that we learned the school had landed on the CPS Warning List again. Thus, the news that the school is closing was not too surprising for parents.

But it still hurt.

“I’m trying not to tear up,” said Lisa Varga.

Varga was actually one of the lucky parents from the school. She won’t have to scramble to find a new place for her son, Stephen, next school year because he’s a senior.

“I do have a few friends in younger groups, and a lot of them are actually a little bit afraid, because they don’t know what to do now,” Stephen Varga said.

CVCS offers a model unlike any other in the city. Students learn online four days, and go to a physical classroom just once every week.

That works for Stephen Varga, so he can get on-the-job training during the day.

“I can just work ahead and then I won’t fall behind on that specific day,” he said.

But flexibility may in fact be what led to CVCS’ downfall.

We began investigating the unique school 10 months ago. The Chicago Public Schools had put the charter school on academic probation and gave the school an opportunity to right the ship.

But the ship started sinking more.

Staff members left in droves after they said administrators forced academic changes on them too quickly – including a curriculum shift that left students without their textbooks for weeks.

Then there were the peculiar spending decisions. Chief executive officer Dr. Cheryl Pruitt received a $26,000 pay bump to $176,000 – even though the taxpayer-funded school was on financial probation.

Pruitt was placed on administrative leave after our story.

Meanwhile, several parents said sAngela Richardson-Bryant, CVCS’ director of strategy, has been MIA.

We discovered the school was on the hook when Richardson-Bryant flew to and from work from her home in Atlanta.

“Last year was very stressful,” Varga said. “Last year was just when it all went down the drain.”

In a letter to parents, the CVCS board president said, “the decision to close has not been easy and the upcoming changes will be difficult.”

CPS said the final decision on the closure won’t be made until next week.

Meantime, the Chicago Public Schools’ inspector general said he is continuing an investigation that he launched after CBS 2’s investigation.

Lauren Victory